I hope you’ve never seen this before: a zip lock used to lock down a trigger, either replacing a missing one or on a tool that was never meant to have a trigger lock.
Sure several hours of holding that trigger down while grinding away at a big job can be tiring, but this is not the answer for obvious reasons. Just lose your focus for a second on your grip and you have a dangerous power tool running without anybody controlling it. Or maybe you leave this tool plugged in when the power is out, and can come to life when power is supplied.
In short, only use trigger locks that are part of the power tool that are supposed to be there, and ensure they are used correctly. OSHA recommends constant control switches that have to be held down for the tool to operate, as the preferred device. OSHA is also specific about which tools can have an “on-off” control switch, a constant pressure switch or a “lock-on” control switch.
Tools may only be equipped with trigger locks if they can also be shut off in a single motion using the same finger or fingers. This zip lock clearly does not meet that requirement.
Also some hand-held power tools – circular saws, chain saws, and some percussion tools that don’t have actively locked accessories – can only have a constant pressure switch.
Noting the alarming statistics in a Feb. 14, 2014 open letter to Communication Tower Employers that 2013 saw 13 workers killed at communication towers (more than the previous two years combined), and four more deaths to start 2014, OSHA is backing safety standard compliance with heightened enforcement.
They’ve also created a web page dedicated to communication tower safety.
Letter to Communication Tower Employers
Because of the rapid increase in communication tower work from upgrades to the cell tower infrastructure, OSHA is concerned about a trajectory of even more deaths and is working with industry organizations like the National Association of Tower Erectors to reverse the recent trend. OSHA has also contacted relevant employers to remind them of their responsibilities, providing the following action points:
Prior to initial assignment, adequately train newly hired employees on safe work practices and monitor them to ensure they are followed.
Provide appropriate fall protection and training on its effective use, and consistently supervise and enforce their use.
Select contractors based on the use of safety criteria and subcontractor oversight. Actively evaluate the contractor’s ability to provide safety, beyond providing “check the box” contracts.
OSHA told employers that, in addition to falls, workers have been injured or killed by: falling objects, equipment failure and collapsing towers. These are hazards that employees need to be protected against.
The organization warned that during inspections, OSHA will pay particular attention to contract oversight and identify the company performing work on the tower, the tower owner, carrier and other responsible parties.
Increased Attention on Communication Tower Worksites
In a memo on Nov. 8, 2013, regional administrators were instructed to tell the compliance officers to inspect all communication tower worksites when they are aware of them to ensure the owners are taking responsibility for workers’ safety.
OSHA considers the fall hazards obvious, well known and potentially fatal, so when workers are not using fall protection they should cite the owners for applicable willful fall protection and general duty clause violations.
Inspectors will also identify as far as possible all relevant parties up the contracting chain, including the name of the company performing the tower work, the tower owner, and carrier including the entity whose signal was being worked on.
Inspectors will contact OSHA’s national office as soon as possible when a communication tower incident occurs.
To gather better tracking data the following information will be gathered at each incident.
Victim(s) age and sex
Type of tower involved (i.e., monopole, lattice, guyed, etc.)
Number of employees present at the time of the incident
Description of incident and known causes
Description of the use of fall protection (Was fall protection provided? Was it provided but not used? Was it used, but did it fail? What was the height of the fall?)
Contract chain information
Was a base mounted drum hoist in use for personnel?
Additional employee information (length of employment in industry, level of training, etc.)
Ambient Radio Frequency (Was ambient RF present? Were employees wearing any measuring or warning devices to protect against ambient RF?)
In an advisory PDF, OSHA described the following representative scenario of how workers are dying in communication tower incidents.
“A worker was climbing down a 400-foot telecommunications tower when he lost his footing. The ladder safety device or system (consisting of the carabineer, carrier rail, safety sleeve and body harness) he used failed to arrest his fall. The safety sleeve did not activate correctly to stop the worker’s fall, the chest D-ring ripped out of the body harness, and he plunged 90 feet to his death.”
The web page where you can download this PDF provides the applicable regulations and information on OSHA’s communication tower incident investigations.
Construction Industry 1926 Subpart M Fall Protection
With many people struggling to cope with record high temperatures across the nation, the NHTSA is urging drivers to pay specific attention to tire pressure and tread-wear. The organization, which works to reduce/prevent accidents and injuries on America’s highway’s, recommends the following precautions:
Follow the recommended tire pressure in pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) for your vehicle. This information is found on the vehicle placard typically inside the car door and in the vehicle owner’s manual.
Purchase a tire pressure gauge to keep in your vehicle. Tires lose one PSI every month, so it is important to check your tires monthly to ensure proper inflation.
If your vehicle is equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), know where the TPMS warning is on your dashboard, and take action if you receive a warning.
Check your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations for tire replacement for your vehicle. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend six years, some tire manufacturers recommend 10 years as the maximum service life for tires, including spares.
Monitor the tread on all tires on your vehicle. Tires with tread worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less are not safe and should be replaced.
Look for treadwear indicators – raised sections spaced throughout the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear it is time to replace your tires.
Try the penny test. Place a penny in the tread of your tires with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire has less than 2/32 of an inches of tread and you are ready for new tires.
Remember that seat belts are your best defense in a crash.
We continue our series of top OSHA violations for small companies (1-19 employees) this week by looking at the transportation, communications, electric, gas and sanitary service industries.
In total in the 2010 fiscal year OSHA inspected 353 of these small companies and handed out 1,591 citations.
These citations cost employers more than $1.4 million or an average of about $933 a citation.
Here are the top 10 citations.
Number Inspected 19
Number of Citations 39
Average Cost of Citation $1,333
Lockout-Tagout (LOTO) or lock and tag is a safety procedure used to ensure dangerous machines are properly shut off during maintenance and not turned on again until the maintenance is completed.
The procedure requires the hazardous power sources be “isolated and rendered inoperative” before any repair procedure is started. This is typically done by placing either a lock or a tag on the device that makes it impossible to power on the device or warns employees against powering up the device.
If employees service or maintain machines where the unexpected startup, energization, or the release of stored energy could cause injury, the OSHA standard applies. The standard applies to all sources of energy, including, but not limited to: mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, and thermal energy.
9. Maintenance, Safeguards, and Operational Features for Exit Routes
Number Inspected 33
Number of Citations 42
Average Cost of Citation $512
This regulation has to deal with ensuring companies have safe and operational exit routes. The exit routes must be free and unobstructed. No materials or equipment may be placed, either permanently or temporarily, within the exit route. The exit access must not go through a room that can be locked, such as a bathroom, to reach an exit or exit discharge, nor may it lead into a dead-end corridor. Stairs or a ramp must be provided where the exit route is not substantially level. Safeguards designed to protect employees during an emergency (e.g., sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire doors, exit lighting) must be in proper working order at all times.
Number Inspected 21
Number of Citations 46
Average Cost of Citation $174
OSHA has a series of forms that are required. The most common of these form’s is the 300 log. The 300 log is used to document workplace injuries and illnesses.
7. Portable Fire Extinguishers
Number Inspected 34
Number of Citations 51
Average Cost of Citation $509
OSHA requirements state an employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers for use by employees on Class A fires so that the travel distance for employees to any extinguisher is 75 feet (22.9 m) or less.
6. General Requirements
Number Inspected 41
Number of Citations 61
Average Cost of Citation $622
OSHA’s general requirements state that companies must identify industry specific hazards and provide training on those hazards.
5. Permit Required Confined Spaces
Number Inspected 15
Number of Citations 81
Average Cost of Citation $1,719
Many workplaces contain spaces considered “confined” because their configurations hinder the activities of employees who must enter, work in and exit them.
A confined space by definition has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Examples of confined spaces include underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, process vessels, and pipelines.
In addition to standard confined spaces OSHA uses the term “permit-required confined space” to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.
OSHA has a strict set of regulations designed to prevent injury within confined spaces.
4. Wiring Methods
Number Inspected 54
Number of Citations 95
Average Cost of Citation: $478
OSHA regulations 1910.305 defines the requirements of wiring. The standard states defines grounding regulations, voltage restrictions and more.
3. Respiratory Protection
Number Inspected 41
Number of Citations 101
Average Cost of Citation $294
An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States.These respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays.
If the employees in these conditions fail to wear the proper protection they open themselves to the possibility potentially life threatening conditions. More
To combat exposure to these hazards OSHA has instituted standard 1910.134, which requires all employers were there is potential exposure to air borne particles to develop a respiratory protection program.
This plan needs to include instruction on proper use of respiratory protection, hazard identification, ventilation methods and more.
2. Powered Industrial Trucks
Number Inspected 71
Number of Citations 121
Average Cost of Citation $708
Forklifts, also known as powered industrial trucks, are used in numerous work settings, primarily to move materials. Each year in the United States, nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift-related incidents
Forklift overturns are the leading cause of these fatalities representing about 25% of all forklift-related deaths
In order to reduce the potential for a forklift related accident OSHA requires employers to certify all their employees in the proper operation of forklifts, properly maintain the lifts and train those who may come into contact with lifts on hazards and best practices.
In terms of certification many believe this is something that has to be completed through private contractors. However, OSHA regulations allow you to certify your own employees through the creation of an OSHA verified program.
1. Hazard Com.
Number Inspected 67
Number of Citations 148
Average Cost of Citation $330
Chemicals are a part of everyone’s life. There are five to seven million different chemicals known in the world. At least 400 million new types of chemicals are produced worldwide each year including agricultural chemicals, food additives, pharmaceuticals, fuels for power production, chemical consumer products, etc.
The frightening reality is for the vast majority of these chemicals little or nothing is known about their possible immediate or long-term effects on the health of the workers who produce them or use them.
According to OSHA each year illnesses from exposure to these chemicals kill nearly 50,000 people.
To help protect these workers OSHA Requires employers to have in place a comprehensive hazard communications plan in addition to a training program addressing workplace specific chemicals.
These policies are proven to reduce the likely hood of injury and save employers billions.
A worksite accident last July 15 left one casualty at Appleton Paper in West Carrollton, Ohio. The worker, William Wilson, got his legs trapped under a beam that fell from a forklift. The heavy beam, a spreader bar, had to be crane-lifted off of the victim by the emergency crew that responded to the accident. Though Wilson was rushed to the Miami Valley Hospital, he later died due to complications. He was 39 years old.
Initial reports had stated that the accident involved a fallen crane, but was later on clarified as a spreader bar that fell from a forklift being used on the plant. OSHA has yet to do further investigations, as well as has stated that it could take more than two weeks before investigations finish and the real cause of the accident is determined. Due to this incident and the obvious need to do equipment checks and maintenance on the plant site, Appleton Paper was shut down.
Such accidents and casualties in the workplace can be prevented, given the implementation and observance of safe work practices such as regular equipment maintenance, proper lockout/tag-out procedures, safe and skillful operation of powered industrial equipment, secure rigging, and sufficient hazard communication in the area. The management and owners should be the first to assert such safety on the jobsite, with the safety and welfare of their workers in mind. Notwithstanding, the workers have to strive alongside the management as well in making sure that their safety is looked out for in the workplace. Together, further unfortunate incidents such as this can be avoided.
Initial investigations on the recent collapse of the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility in the city of Irving, Texas exposed some issues on legality related to planning, building and maintaining the facility. Reports revealed the lack of the building’s blueprints and other specifications as well as the lack of an engineer’s seal on the planning documents. These and some other lapses may seem menial at first, but they can prove to be very important – especially in case facilities collapse and lives of people are harmed.
Owners, building contractors, engineers and even the local authorities can learn from this incident. Here are some lessons from the Dallas experience. Take note of them and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.
Keep records and copies of all work-related documents such as blueprints and other building specifications. Submit required files to the proper authority. Apparently, the city of Irving lacked files of the facility, including a record of the engineer who signed off on the facility’s design.
Make sure that your planning documents have an engineer’s seal. Remember that those who violate this will be punished.
Check that your facility builder has a state license. They need this before they can build or even design your facility. The investigators of the states’ board of engineers found that the builder of Cowboys’ had no license when they designed and built the facility.
Follow the local building code. Have any re-covering or any improvement on your facility inspected. The Cowboys’ roof was reportedly replaced last year but no inspection on it was done.
Examine the reputation of your facility’s builder. Their years of experience should be matched by good records. The company that built the Cowboys facility has a record of a building that collapsed years ago, allegedly due to the company’s negligence in design and construction.
When your facility collapses, have it inspected (usually by the National Institute of Standards and Authority) for future recommendations. Don’t let others experience the same fate due to the familiar lapses in legality.
Other lessons that can be useful in preventing such accidents are:
Maintain your facility properly and regularly. Always eliminate hazards.
Provide safety measure for your facility’s occupants. Train your workers too on what to do and who to call in case of emergencies. Always be prepared.
Know and follow the law. Don’t wait for any accident to happen before you keep up with your local standards and policies.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reportedly set to release a report on the Cowboys’ incident in about six months. Hopefully, more valuable lessons will be learned from this and applied in the building and construction industry.
On Saturday, tragedy struck as 12 people were injured after the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility collapsed.The Occupational Safety and Health Administratioon (OSHA) is currently conducting an investigation on the cause of the accident.“We’re trying to determine if there were any violations, or determine the cause,” said Elizabeth Todd, spokeswoman for Region 6 of OSHA.She added that OSHA investigators will be looking for identifiable hazards, as well as interviewing witnesses.The agency has six months to finish its investigation.
During the incident, about 70 people were inside the Cowboys’ facility for a rookie mini-camp practice.This includes players and coaches, as well as staff and media.A line of heavy thunderstorms hit the dome, causing the lights on the dome’s ceiling to swing violently right before the ceiling crashed to the ground. This whole scene was caught on video.
Among those injured in the collapse was Rich Behm, a scouting assistant who suffered from a severed spinal cord and was paralyzed from the waist down because of the accident.
Forget dogs.Robots are humans’ best friends.They may not be fond of fetching twigs or licking your feet, but you can rely on them when it comes to accomplishing tasks half the time.
This is the very reason why they are ideal helpers in factories and other manufacturing facilities. Not only can an industrial robot be designed to finish jobs assigned to ten people, it can be very useful in eliminating hazards that human workers are exposed to in a workplace. This can be anything from heat stress to electrocution to amputation.
But just as robots or robotics systems help reduce or eliminate workplace hazards, they can bring in new ones with their presence.These hazards usually arise with lack of training for employees, as well as improper use of guards.
Here are some general guidelines in reducing or eliminating the hazards posed by robots or robotics systems:
Employer must insure that the company has a written robotics safety policy that all employees working with or near robots understand.
The written robotics safety policy must indicate the names of personnel who are authorized to work with robots.
All robot operators must receive adequate training in hazard recognition, control of robots, as well as the proper operating procedure of the robot and related equipment.
Employers or safety coordinators must make sure only programmers have access to the work envelope and full control of the robot when it is in teach mode.
Each robot must be installed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and applicable codes.
All robots must be compatible with environmental conditions.
Power used for the robot must follow the specifications of the manufacturer.
Each robot must be secured in such a way that it prevents vibration and tip over.
Each robot must be installed in such a way that hazards like pinch points with robot components and fixed objects are avoided.
The zones of movement of the robot must be posted on signs and markings displayed conspicuously on floors, walls and the robot itself.
Stops must be placed on the robot system’s axes. This way, its motions are limited when under rated load or maximum speed conditions.
Proper lockout procedures must be established and followed for preventive maintenance or repair operations.
Ensure that robot manufacturer’s preventive maintenance schedule is followed rigorously.
Before servicing the robot, workers must neutralize first the stored energy devices like springs and accumulators.
Employees must conduct a periodic check of all safety-critical equipment and connections.
Among various jobs in the maintenance industry, gardening is probably the most fun. Not only can you work outdoors, you also get the chance to be in touch with nature. If you think about it, gardening can be one relaxing job.
But you can barely relax when you’re faced with hazards like heat stress, blindness, amputation and falls. That’s right. Apparently, the most fun maintenance job can be the most threatening too That is, unless you learn to protect yourself from the hazards you’re exposed to.
One basic way to do this is to wear proper gardening PPE (personal protective equipment).Whether you’re clipping hedges, manicuring lawns or trimming trees, you might want to wear the following protective clothing/equipment for they can actually save your life:
1. Face shields or safety goggles/safety glasses
indispensable when using high-powered tools and equipment like chain saws and lawn mowers to protect you from flying debris
Bonus gardening tip:Face shields also act as additional protection against the harsh rays of the sun.
2. Long-sleeved clothing
useful as protection against UV rays and flying debris
Bonus gardening tip:Long-sleeved shirt and pants should always be snug to prevent entanglement with hedges, bushes and power equipment
3. Safety gloves
must be worn when operating a walk-behind mower, hedge clippers and other garden tools or equipment that expose you to finger or hand injuries like scratches, blisters and cuts.
Bonus gardening tip:Safety gloves help you get a firmer grip of tools and equipment
4. Hat or cap
helps protect you from direct sunlight
5. Helmet or hard hat
required when using a ride-on mower, trimming branches of trees or going to great heights
6. Steel-toed boots and shin guards
necessary when operating a push mower, chain saw and other power equipment that may injure your toes or feet
Bonus gardening tip:Whatever gardening tasks you have, always wear non-slip boots/shoes with no lace to prevent entanglement with equipment, bushes and hedges.
7. Hearing protection like earmuffs and earplugs
necessary when operating high-powered tools and equipment
8. Chainsaw jackets
may only be worn after assessing the risk of developing heat stress
9. Fall protection
required when you have to work aloft in a tree or other high areas
usually consists of safety belt, safety strap, saddle belt and rope saddle
1. Vehicle Safety During Winter: Safe Use of Snow Chains
The holidays have come and gone yet we’re still left with the torturing cold of winter.For many of us, going on the road does not just mean shoveling up snow and getting rid of ice.It also means driving with double caution.
2. Winter Safety at the Workplace: What to Do Before a Blizzard and Other Winter Storms
If I were to become one of the X-Men, Storm would definitely be my choice.Who else has the power to control all weather conditions in the whole universe? Okay, it might also be because of her gorgeous body, flawless skin, elegant tresses and her unrivaled ability to pick locks. But hey, even without those traits, she’s one of the most powerful mutants in their weird bunch. When I was a little girl, she was the only X-men mutant who never ceased to scare me whenever her white eyes and raging storms flashed on the TV screen. …(read the whole article)
3. Winter Storm Survival Measures Part 2: What to Do during a Winter Storm
After raving about Storm yesterday, I’m back with a sequel to blizzard or winter storm preparations. Today, I’ll be serving you with a list of safety measures when facing a winter storm while on the job. No mutants in outlandish costumes this time, but just some things to remember and apply in case you get stuck at work while…(read the whole article)
4. Outdoor Safety at the Workplace: 9 Winter Safety Tips You Didn’t Know
Working during winter feels more like survival of the fittest than an everyday challenge. The risks are even tenfold for employees who have to work and drive outdoors.Here are nine tips that should keep you safe during this…(read the whole article)
5. General Maintenance and Winter Safety: Repairing Damaged or Downed Power Lines and Trees
Among employees most at risk during winter are electrical utility workers. Not only do they have to brave the bitter cold outdoors, they are also in charge of servicing damaged or downed power lines, as well as clearing fallen trees. Such tasks are already highly dangerous so you can just imagine the risks involved when workers have to…(read the whole article)
6. Mining Safety: Rising Hazards in Mining Sites during Winter
Every year, mining fatalities rise during the winter season. The risk of getting ill, injured or killed is doubled, if not tripled, with the combination of low humidity, low barometric pressures and seasonal drying of some areas in coal mines.
During winter, coal dust is suspended in the atmosphere what with the air being dryer than usual.This increases the hazard of explosion.Winter also brings about low…(read the whole article)
7. Winter Safety: 7 Tips for Winter Slip and Fall Prevention
If only winter fairy godmothers existed in real life, we could ask for this protective bubble around every worker so that they’d forever be spared the doom of slipping on slippery surfaces.Okay, maybe not forever but only in winter when walkways and steps are more slippery and…(read the whole article)
8. Winter Safety: 9 Tips on Driving on Icy Slopes or Hills
Driving in snow means facing a multitude of tests. First, there is the test in humility.No matter how good a driver you are, winter driving requires you to slow down.Second is the test in patience.You want so bad to get to where you have to go.But you have no choice but to keep a longer following distance from the vehicle in front of you.Third is the test in colors.If you don’t know the color of …(read the whole article)
9. Chemical Safety: Guidelines in Pouring and Molding Plastic
If plastic weren’t invented, we would be stuck with buying wooden furniture, stone figurines, glass mugs and all other heavier and more expensive materials on the market. While being useful and indispensable in many areas of our lives, plastic is one of the most hazardous materials in the manufacturing industry.To prevent illnesses and…(read the whole article)
10. 5 Safety Tips for Construction Workers on Avoiding Stress and Injury
Working as a construction worker is much like being a superhero.Every day, you’re tasked with bearing heavy loads and using ultra cool equipment and tools.Riding in cranes and squatting on scaffolds put you so high in the sky that you almost feel like flying.But the same things that make construction job extraordinary could put…(read the whole article)
11. Vehicle Safety Tips: All You Need to Know about Night Driving
I remember how as a child I always loved going on joy rides at night. For me, the cool breeze and bright lights at night are unmatched by the sights and sounds offered by day. Being a passenger on night rides came with this magical feeling I couldn’t explain then.When I learned how to drive my own car, I found that all…(read the whole article)
12. Manufacturing Safety: OSHA Requests Comments Related to Diacetyl and Other Food Flavoring Compounds
Food flavoring manufacturers, listen up! The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) needs your help in implementing standards related to exposure to diacetyl and food flavorings containing it and other compounds like acetoin, acetic acid, acetaldehyde and furfural.
This is a response to the petition submitted to OSHA by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.The petition stated evidence from NIOSH Hazard Evaluations that some employees who …(read the whole article)
13. Ergonomics and Vehicle Safety: Beating the Unhealthy Effects of Frequent Driving
Caution:Driving is dangerous to your health. If you find a car door with a sign saying this, you’d probably laugh and shrug it off.After all, while driving can cause injuries, it seems absurd that it can cause illnesses.
But think about it. Whenever you go for a long drive, do you feel exhausted right after the trip?Does your body feel stiff?Do your neck and shoulders feel sore?Does your back…(read the whole article)
14. Warehouse Safety: General Guidelines and OSHA Citations
In the U.S., there are about 7,000 warehouses employing more than 140,000 workers. Unfortunately, hundreds of fatalities also come from…According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), warehousing establishments are usually cited for the following 10 OSHA standards…(read the whole article)
The On-site Implementation and Audit Team were a great help building a robust safety program, walking us through implementation and facilitating the audit.