The following "tailgate briefings" are designed to briefly cover the safety aspects of our daily job tasks here at Linfield. Supervisors are encouraged to use the following briefings for morning meetings with their group to enchance safety awareness. For a full training session on any of the subjects, contact Gordon Kroemer at the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at Linfield extension 2431.
Signs are used to prevent accidents. They are common in the work area, along the roadside, and in public buildings. OSHA has some specific requirements for signs. The requirements are in place to make sure hazard warnings are easy to recognize and don't vary from workplace to workplace.
OSHA defines signs as "the warnings of hazard, temporarily or permanently affixed or placed, at locations where hazards exist." Danger signs must only be used where an immediate hazard exists. Their appearance is specified by OSHA. These signs are red, black (or contrasting color), and white with room for words or symbols to describe the danger. Danger signs are common in areas where high voltages exist and where automatically-starting equipment is in use. You may be aware of other hazards which warrant the use of a danger sign.
Warning signs are orange with black (or a contrasting color) lettering or symbols. They are used to warn against hazards which aren't quite as serious as those requiring a danger sign-but are more serious than those requiring a caution sign. Warning signs may alert us to forklift traffic or similar hazards.
Caution signs must be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe work practices. Caution signs are predominately yellow with a black (or contrasting color) panel at the top of the sign. The word "caution," written in yellow appears on the panel. The lower part of the sign is used for additional wording which must be written in black (or a contrasting color). Caution signs warn of numerous hazards-everything from slippery floors to reminding us to wear safety glasses. Even traffic signals take a cue from the yellow caution sign as they warn us to be careful on the road.
Special signs are used just for biological hazards and radiation hazards. The biological hazard (biohazard) sign is fluorescent orange or orange-red with letters or symbols in a contrasting color. The biohazard sign alerts us to the presence or potential presence of blood or other biological hazards. Radiation hazards are identified with a sign bearing the familiar three-bladed radiation symbol in black or magenta or red on a yellow background.
Safety instruction signs are used to provide information about safety. They are not used to warn against specific hazards. These green and white signs remind you to report accidents, help locate first-aid equipment, and direct you along an evacuation route.
Though signs are never a substitute for good safety procedures and training, they are useful to remind us of hazards and ways we can protect against them. Always take seriously the information on a sign-whether in the workplace or on the road. Understanding signs and the hazards they warn us about can help prevent injuries and save lives.
Why is it so important to prevent accidents? Do you view accident prevention as simply a way to avoid getting hurt? Do you work safely just because you want to? Perhaps you view accident prevention as a way of keeping your company happy or your supervisor off your back. Maybe you just do it because you have been told to.
Of course there are many reasons that a company wants it's employees to work safely. But every one must have a more important reason to work safely than just because the company say to. They must have a personal reason. Your reason may be your family. What would they do if you were to get hurt. How about your hobbies? Would you still be able to enjoy them with a serious disability?
What you do for a living is nothing more than a means towards a goal that you have set for yourself. That goal may be the education of your children. You may plan to buy a home or a car. Maybe you want to get married after you have saved up enough money. Maybe your goal for now is just to make it to Friday night and going out on the town. Whatever your goals may be, they all generally tie back in some way to what you do for a living. And what you do for a living could be seriously derailed by an accident. All your goals can go up in smoke if you are injured and disabled.
A safety program is designed to help you reach your goals. It is not there just to make your work harder, or slower, or to meet some governmental guidelines. Safety and accident prevention programs are designed to PROTECT YOU so that you may reach your personal goals. When an unsafe act is pointed out to you, it is done so to help you by eliminating obstacles or job hindrances AND to insure that you get home all in one piece.
Every time you approach a project, every time you pick up a tool, every time you start a piece of equipment or machinery, think SAFETY. Look for what can go wrong and eliminate that possibility BEFORE your goals come to an abrupt end.
TAKE SAFETY PERSONALLY: MAKE IT A PART OF YOUR LIFE GOALS.
Time, on any construction project, is money: Wasted Time = Wasted Money. So it goes without saying that the key to a profitable project is getting it done "on-time" or within budget. But getting the project done quicker does NOT mean getting it done in a manner which is not safe. To ensure that time is utilized to its best and that the job site remains safe, use the following, time saving tips.
1. Keep an orderly work site. Assign one or two people the responsibility of keeping the job site clean so that others don't have to climb or walk around materials and waste. Make it an ongoing process and don't leave the mess to clean up at the end of the day, because it won't get done! A clean site is a safe site.
2. Send any unused material back to the shop as soon as possible. This keeps the site clean and orderly and gives management the opportunity the ship the materials to another site where they can be used.
3. Don't overcrowd materials and workers. Give the crew room to work; they will be quicker and safer.
4. Although you have now assigned a person or team the responsibility for a clean and safe work site, make sure that the rest of the crew understands that it is EVERYONE'S responsibility to maintain good housekeeping standards.
5. Always keep an eye out for the little thing that may cause an accident; an accident is Lost Time, Big Time.
6. Keep the tool boxes and cabinets neat and orderly. It doesn't take much imagination to realize that digging around for a misplaced tool is lost time. And using the Wrong tool because you could not find the Right tool is, in most all cases, unsafe and a no no.
7. Put the garbage in the garbage. This may seem simple but how many of you just walk away from that fast food bag after lunch? Now the wind comes up and the stuff is blowing all over the place. PUT IT IN THE TRASH before someone twists their back getting it out of a trench that is ready to backfill, or worse yet, falls into the trench head first.
All this boils down to one simple statement which we have all heard over and over again:
"Put Things Where They Belong".
By doing so you will be using time to its best, and you will
make the job easier, smoother, quicker.......and Safer.
The National Fire Protection Association has developed a rating system to identify and rank hazards of a material. You've probably seen the colorful labels used to communicate these hazards. The label is diamond-shaped, made up of four smaller diamonds, one each blue, red, yellow, and white. A number or special symbol is placed on the four diamonds. This week's Tail Gate Safety Topic takes a look at the meaning of the colors, number, and symbols used on the NFPA diamond.
Many people take one look at the NFPA diamond and give up learning what those colors, numbers, and symbols mean. It's unfortunate, because the system is easy to learn and really useful. One glance at a NFPA diamond label and you have a wealth of information about the material. Sometimes, too, people think the diamond only gives useful information if the material is on fire. This is not true. The diamond's hazard information is valid for the material under normal circumstances.
So what do those colors mean?
The blue diamond, appearing on the left side of the label, conveys Health Hazard information for persons exposed to the material. A number from 0 to 4 is written in the blue diamond. The higher the number the higher the hazard, as follows:
0- No hazard.
1- Can cause irritation if not treated.
2- Can cause injury. Requires prompt treatment.
3- Can cause serious injury despite medical treatment.
4- Can cause death or major injury despite medical treatment.
The red diamond, appearing at the top of the label, conveys Flammability Hazard information. Again, the numbers 0 to 4 are used to rate the flammability hazard, as follows:
0- Will not burn.
1- Ignites after considerable preheating.
2- Ignites if moderately heated.
3- Can be ignited at all normal temperatures.
4- Very flammable gases or very volatile flammable liquids.
The yellow diamond, appearing at the right side of the label, conveys Reactivity (or Stability) information. The numbers 0 to 4 are also used to rank reactivity hazards, as follows:
0- Normally stable. Not reactive with water.
1- Normally stable. Unstable at high temperature and pressure. Reacts with water.
2- Normally unstable but will not detonate.
3- Can detonate or explode but requires strong initiating force or heating under confinement.
4- Readily detonates or explodes.
The white diamond, appearing at the bottom of the label, conveys Special Hazard information. This information is conveyed by use of symbols which represent the special hazard. Two of the common symbols are shown here:
W - denotes the material is water reactive
OX - denotes an oxidizing agent
Some facilities use the white diamond to convey personal protective equipment requirements when using the material. You may see a picture of gloves, safety glasses, or a respirator in the white diamond.
To determine the NFPA Hazard Ratings for a material which does not have the label affixed, check the Material Safety Data Sheet. NFPA Hazard Ratings are commonly displayed there. Guidebooks are also available from safety supply vendors to assist with this task.
Taking a quick glance at the NFPA label provides a wealth of information. This information is useful to learn the hazards of a particular material and what you should do to use it safely. Follow the warnings on the NFPA label or any label affixed to a container of material. Remember, when you're working with hazardous materials, your safety depends on you.To Top of Page
Have you ever wondered who writes the rules? The safety rules, that is? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe those people who wrote the rules just don't have a clue as to what's really going on out on the job? Well let's take a look at these people who wrote the rules: It was the guy we've all heard about who cut two of his fingers off after he wired up the guard on a circular saw. He was helped by the machinist who didn't have the time to go back to the lunch room for her safety glasses and lost an eye when the bit broke in the drill press.
They both got advice from the fellow who had his head split open by a falling hammer because he just plain didn't like to wear hard hats. I think you get my point here. If not, then let me put it another way: Each and every safety rule came about because someone was hurt, maimed or killed. Their misfortune contributed to our knowledge of how accidents happen and how to avoid them. Rules came into being in order to help you avoid a similar accident or injury.
Linfield College is very interested in your safety. It has provided you with the tools, equipment and working conditions that we hope will help you do your best. But in return, the College expects certain thing from you. It expects your cooperation in abiding by the rules, in assisting your fellow workers with a willing attitude, by helping your supervisor by following their instructions and by your valuable comments and suggestions. The College also looks for your cooperation by maintaining your physical fitness to perform your job, by not showing up sick, and by getting the proper rest at night.
By cooperation or working together with the College, a win-win situation is created that benefits everyone involved. If you have a suggestion, please help everyone.
Safety rules benefit everyone. By working together with your fellow employees to ensure a safe working environment, you are, in many ways, ensuring your own physical and financial well being. It is not just a tired old phrase to say SAFETY FIRST. In fact it's the only phrase that makes sense when it comes to getting the job done, on time, under budget and, most importantly, a happier, healthier you when it's complete.
Have you ever made a decision to break a safety rule? How long did it take for you to reach that decision? What did you gain by taking a chance? It only takes a moment to decide to break a safety rule, yet that one moment could change your life forever. This subject offers you an opportunity to think about your personal safety behavior, both on and off the job. Specifically, about taking safety risks, your personal commitment to safety, and what you can do to keep that commitment strong.
Do you always work safely? Are you 100% committed to the safety of yourself, your co-workers, friends, and family? Are there times when your commitment to safety is not as strong as it should be? Have you been taking risks and getting away with it? Don't expect your luck to hold. No one ever plans an accident. An accident, by definition, is an unplanned event. No one wakes up in the morning and drives to work thinking, "I will have an accident today so I'd better buckle up." No one ever climbs to the very top of a ladder and knows for sure they won't fall. That's why it's so important to have a personal commitment to safety; a commitment to do the right things to prevent an accident - or minimize the damage done in case an accident does occur.
What is gained by taking a chance? Think about a time when you've risked your personal safety. Have you ever bypassed lockout-tagout procedures? Have you ever driven a car after you had too much to drink? Have you failed to use fall-protection equipment because it was just too much trouble? What did you gain in that situation? A minute of time, an ounce of convenience? Now honestly ask yourself if those gains were worth it. Is a little bit of time or convenience really worth chancing electrocution, a car accident, or a bad fall? Don't sacrifice your healthy future by taking a chance. Every time you're tempted to take a chance with your safety ask yourself if it's really worth the risk. Your family and friends will thank you for making the right decision.
Keeping a strong commitment to safety is not easy. What interferes with your commitment to safety? Is peer pressure a problem? Do your co-workers think it's silly to take time for safety? You can set a safe example for your co-workers. Consider taking a stand for safety. By committing to safety100% of the time, you can help reverse the peer pressure that sometimes causes unsafe behavior. Keep up this exemplary behavior. Someday you may find that the old peer pressure has given way to something new-the respect of your peers earned by setting a safe example.
It's normal for your commitment to safety to fluctuate. Sometimes it's strong, at other times it's weak. Unfortunately, it tends to be strong just after a close call, or perhaps for a few days after you hear of an accident. Then the commitment wanes, only to be strengthened again by another tragedy. Simply recognizing this pattern can help you avoid it.
Think about your work habits. Have there been times when you're more likely to take a risk? How about those times when you've been extra careful? Did the strength of your safety commitment depend on an outside event-like another person being involved in an accident?
You can keep your commitment to safety strong by remembering the commitment is for you. If you allow things that happen to other people determine the strength of your commitment, it is likely to fluctuate a lot. You can always learn from things that happen to other people, but to keep your commitment strong all the time, stay focused on your personal safety and those things you do that affect it.
Having a personal commitment to safety and keeping it strong are more important than any safety program, procedure, or rule. In fact, programs, procedures, and rules depend on a strong personal commitment to safety. Ask yourself where you are with your own safety attitude and behavior. Are you 100% committed to safety, 100% of the time?
Material Safety Data Sheets, commonly called MSDS's, have come to be very important documents. Every workplace should have readily-accessible MSDS's for all the hazardous materials which are used or stored there. This week's Tail Gate Safety Topic takes a look at the content of an MSDS and provides some other important information for using an MSDS.
First of all, the time to become familiar with a material's MSDS is before you begin using the material. If you have responsibility for procuring hazardous material, you should obtain an advance copy of the MSDS to review the safety information before the order is placed. Many companies and other institutions require approval of hazardous materials before they are purchased. The MSDS contains information which is very useful in the approval process.
Once a material is brought into the workplace, everyone who uses it should review the MSDS. You wouldn't want to wait for an emergency to learn about the material's hazardous properties! Suppose the material catches fire. The MSDS specifies fire-fighting procedures for the material. However, your chances of successfully extinguishing the blaze are very small if you waste valuable time running to review the MSDS!
There are also other very good reasons to review the MSDS before using a material. By doing so you will learn what personal protective equipment is required when using the material. You will also learn what conditions to avoid when working with the material, such as heat and sparks. MSDS's also tell you what materials should not be brought into contact with the hazardous material. The MSDS also provides valuable information for storage and disposal of the material.
The information on an MSDS is typically grouped into these categories:
MSDS's contain a wealth of useful information for you to use when working with a hazardous material. Remember, the best time to learn the content of the MSDS is before you use the material. Another thing to be aware of is that mistakes can and do happen. If you are using a material that doesn't seem to fit the description on its MSDS, do not use the material but contact your site's safety personnel immediately. There could have been a mix-up in the labeling or the information on the MSDS. The material may also be out-of-spec and could be dangerous to use as you were planning
MSDS's have proven to be very valuable tools in protecting people from hazards. They provide a wealth of information in a convenient form. But MSDS's are only as useful as you make them. Take the time to review the MSDS's for every hazardous material you use, and apply the information provided.
If you look up the word "toxic" in most any dictionary, you'll find that it means "poisonous." Most people want nothing to do with poisonous materials, but many people work with them every day. In fact, toxic materials have thousands of uses in industry. Many of the benefits we enjoy, such as safe water and food, medicine, transportation, and communications are made possible through the use of toxic materials. This week's Tail Gate Safety Topic explores toxic materials, their hazards, and how to work with them safely.
First, what exactly does "toxic" mean? We already know it means "poisonous," but let's take a closer look. "Toxicity" refers to a material's ability to harm living things. Some toxic materials, or toxins, may irritate the nose, eyes, and skin. Others may damage the body's internal organs. Other toxins may cause suffocation, sterility, cancer or other diseases. Some can be immediately fatal. Some materials don't appear toxic at all to adults, but can seriously damage an unborn child, and others may cause cell mutations, creating abnormalities in future generations. A material's toxicity is determined by two things: the amount of the material necessary to cause harm, and the possible extent of the damage.
The potential negative health effects sound awful, and indeed many of them are. But don't forget that thousands of toxic materials are used safely every day. Toxicity research has been done for years, and exposure limits for many toxic materials have been developed. In order for a toxic material to do harm, the body must be exposed to it. Exposure to a toxic material can occur in many ways. The material can be inhaled or ingested, may contact the skin, or be absorbed through the skin or eyes. Slight exposure does not necessarily mean minimal damage-the more highly toxic a material, the lower the permitted exposure.
There are many ways to control exposure to toxic materials. The most common ways are the use of ventilation controls and of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and respirators. Companies are required to make sure exposures to toxic materials are kept below established exposure limits. They're also required to inform you of the hazards of the materials you work with, and inform you of exposure monitoring results.
If you work with toxic materials, make sure you know exactly what you're working with. Follow the instructions of your company's policies and the material's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for use, storage, and disposal of toxic materials. Make sure you know what PPE is appropriate for you to use-and use it faithfully. If you use toxic materials, always practice common-sense hygiene by washing your hands before you eat. You may be required to wear special clothes or shower after your shift. All of these procedures are designed to help keep you healthy, so be sure you follow the requirements. Of course, if you do have any problems with a toxic material you are using, report it immediately.
Toxic materials can be used safely for many beneficial purposes, but they demand an attitude of healthy respect. You need not fear the toxic effects if you know how to control them properly. Don't learn about toxic material hazards the hard way! Keep yourself healthy. Take the time to learn about the hazards of the materials you work with, and how to protect yourself and others from the danger.
Ladders are one of the biggest hazards of overhead work and result in many accidents. This topic expands on other ladder briefings by again covering certain rules which must be followed in the selection, use and care of ladders.
As mentioned in Safety and Ladders - Part I, always inspect a ladder before using it.
1. Loose rungs or cleats
2. Loose nails, bolts or screws
3. Cracked, broken, split, badly gouged or worn rungs, cleats or railings
4. Slivers or splinters
You should always select a ladder that is long enough for the work to be done. As a rule of thumb, and to allow for reasonable safety, the ladder should be long enough so that you can work standing no higher than the fourth rung from the top. This allows you to grasp the side rails of the ladder.
The top of the ladder should never extend more than three or four feet above its upper support. Never step on a rung above the upper support since it's liable to make the base of the ladder "kick out."
When climbing or coming down a ladder, always face the ladder and keep both hands free for griping the side rails.
Wall grips on the tops of risers are useful to prevent side slipping when the ladder's leaning against a smooth surface. The top and bottom of the ladder should be secured to prevent shifting. Safety feet, cleats, lashing, etc., can be used to make portable ladders secure.
When placing the ladder make sure you don't rest it against a sash or window pane. A board securely fastened (not nailed) across the top of the ladder will provide a solid bearing at each side of the window.
If you must rest a ladder against a pole, or round column, be sure the upper end of the ladder is firm so it won't slip or cause the ladder to fall. When ladders are used this way, they are less likely to sway or fall if the upper end is equipped with a rung of webbing or similar material.
When carrying a ladder, balance it on your shoulder near the center. Keep the front end of the ladder high enough to clear the top of anyones head and the back end close to the ground. Be extra careful and keep your mind on where the ladder is in relation to the people and objects around you as you carry it. Pay particular attention when you approach passageways and doorways or any place where your view is obstructed.
NEVER stand a ladder on a box or barrel or any other makeshift objects so as to increase its reach. Another words, ALWAYS use a ladder that is the correct height for the work at hand. If you don't have a ladder that is long enough then get one. If you must borrow a ladder be sure to thoroughly inspect it and make sure it is safe.
Before climbing a ladder make sure it is at the proper angle. The recommended angel is about 75 degrees from horizontal. If the base is out too far, the stress on the side rails is more severe and the wider angle can cause slippage. If the horizontal distance is much less that one-fourth of the incline length of the ladder, it is pitched to steep for safe work.
Store your ladders in dry, well-ventilated locations where they are not exposed to the weather or excessive heat or dampness. When stored horizontally, support both ends and at in-between points to keep the middle from sagging, and maybe loosening the rungs orcleats and warping the rails.
Treat wood ladders periodically with a clear preservative such as clear varnish, white shellac or linseed oil. Never paint a ladder because it hides defects and deterioration.
Ladders are necessary and useful tools. Be sure to use yours safely and take care of them when not in use so that they remain useful and SAFE tools.
Compressed gases present several hazards. Labels on the cylinder and the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) supplied with the gas tell you about the hazardous properties of the gas; such as toxic, flammable, or oxidizer. In addition to the gas hazards, compressed gas cylinders pose other hazards simply because they contain gas under pressure.
Regardless of the properties of the gas, any gas under pressure can explode if the cylinder is improperly stored or handled.Making a balloon fly around by suddenly releasing the air is amusing, but a flying cylinder is not so funny. The principle is the same for both a balloon and a compressed gas cylinder. Improperly releasing the gas from a compressed gas cylinder is extremely dangerous. Cylinders are definitely not balloons--they are hard and heavy. A sudden release of the gas can cause a cylinder to become a missile-like projectile, destroying everything in its path. Cylinders have been known to penetrate concrete-block walls. To prevent such a dangerous situation, there are several general procedures to follow for safe storage and handling of a compressed gas cylinder:
Store cylinders in an area specifically designated for that purpose. This area must protect the cylinders from being struck by another object. The area must be well-ventilated and away from sources of heat. It must be at least 20 feet away from highly combustible materials. Oxidizers must be stored at least 20 feet away from flammable gases.
Cylinders must not be dropped or allowed to fall. Chain and rack them in an upright position during use and storage. When transporting cylinders, they must be secured from falling.
When moving a cylinder, even for a short distance, all the valves must be closed, the regulator removed, and the valve cap installed. Never use the valve cap to lift a cylinder. If you are using a crane or some other lifting device to move a cylinder, use a cradle or boat designed for that purpose. Never use a sling or a magnet to move a cylinder.
Never permit cylinders to contact live electrical equipment or grounding cables.
Cylinders must be protected from the sun's direct rays, especially in high-temperature climates. Cylinders must also be protected from ice and snow accumulation.
Before the gas is used, install the proper pressure-reducing regulator on the valve. After installation, verify the regulator is working, that all gauges are operating correctly and that all connections are tight to ensure that there are no leaks. When you are ready to use the gas, open the valve with your hands. Never use a wrench or other tool. If you cannot open it with your hands, do not use it.
Following these procedures will help prevent accidents. Remember, your safety when using compressed gas cylinders depends on you.
People have probably been laughing at each other's falls since the dawn of history. Slips, trips and falls have been a sure way to get a laugh in many cultures over the years.
The design of the human body, with its high center of gravity, makes it difficult to stay vertical. Human beings have been slipping on banana peels and falling over their own feet ever since they first began to walk upright.
Except in slapstick comedy, falls are simply not funny. In fact, the subject of falls is extremely serious. Did you know that falls are the second leading cause of accidental deaths? Motor vehicle accidents, a relatively new development in human history, are now the first.
In case you are thinking that falls are only a danger to people who work on scaffolds and steel girders up in the sky, think again. Most falls actually occur on the same level and are caused by just tripping over an obstacle or slipping on something.
Here are some ways to prevent falls:
It is important to stay alert to slipping and tripping hazards in your work area and the routes which you travel in the course of your shift. Watch out for hazards which might put you in danger of a fall. Think of the other person too. You might know that the corner of the rug is loose or that the floor around that leak is always wet. But some other unsuspecting person might fall victim to these hazards.
The difference between a good thinker and a poor one isn't necessarily the amount of brains that each one possesses. It simply may be that the first one tries to think for himself, and the second one doesn't.
In the Physical Plant, it pays to be a thinker. Thinking seems to help to keep people more active. For example, you can show a non-thinker how to do a job, and he'll forever do it just that way regardless of whether he understands what he is doing or why.
In contrast, the person who likes to think for themself will ask a dozen questions about why it has to be done and why you think it ought to be done in that particular manner. Give him two days, and chances are he'll show you a better way to do it.
During these winter days, we are in need of a lot of thinkers who will come up with ideas on how to cope with the bad weather, which always produces an assortment of injuries from back strain to bumps and scratches caused by slips and falls.
Machines, tools, and whatever one might be walking on become hazardous when coated with sleet, snow, or ice. Too often, a person gets to slip only once.
Do some thinking on this. Think about the work you do....its hazards and what can happen if you should slip and fall.
Thinking doesn't come from the amount of education a person has. Knowledge doesn't come just from books; it comes from human observations and deductions. That's how it got into books in the first place.
Every company is on the lookout for employees who aren't afraid to think, who know how to solve problems, and who come up with useful ideas. It pays better, and it's not nearly as painful
Failing to properly use and maintain electric-powered tools causes thousands of cuts, punctures, pinches, amputations, and electrocutions each year. Tools can seriously injure or kill the user if not properly maintained or used. Everyone who uses tools must learn to recognize the hazards associated with the different types of tools and the safety precautions necessary to prevent those hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has specific rules for using electric-powered tools. Following these guidelines, along with using your own good judgment will help keep you safe.
Before you use a tool:
When using the tool:
Servicing and storing tools: