Generally speaking, we are not born with common sense, we acquire it throughout life. Actually, common sense is really common experience–we learn about life from others’ experiences as well as our own. Awareness of your environment, self-preservation and concern for your fellow workers are all factors in good common sense. Contrary to popular opinion, all workers can prevent themselves from getting hurt. The easy way to avoid pain is to observe how others have taken risks and been injured, rather than learning the hard way–from your own injury. That’s common sense! The experts say at least 80% of industrial accidents are caused by unsafe acts on the part of employees–and not by unsafe conditions. Although employers are required by law to provide a safe and healthful workplace, it is up to you to be aware of your work environment and follow safe work practices. By avoiding unsafe acts and practicing common sense, your work will go smoother, with less chance for accidents.

Statistically, most accidents are caused by unsafe acts, including:
Being In A Hurry – Sometimes there is more concern for completing a job quickly instead of safely. Take time to do a good job and a safe job.
Taking Chances – Daring behavior or blatant disregard for safe work practices can put the whole work team at risk.
Follow all company safety rules and watch out for your fellow employees. Horseplay is never appropriate on the job and can lead to disciplinary action.
Being Preoccupied – Daydreaming, drifting off at work, thinking about the weekend and not paying attention to your work can get you seriously hurt or even killed. Focus on the work you are paid to do. If your mind is troubled or distracted, you’re at risk for an accident.
Having A Negative Attitude – Being angry or in a bad mood can lead to severe accidents because anger nearly always rules over caution. Flying off the handle at work is potentially dangerous. Keep your bad moods in check, or more than one person may be hurt. Remember to stay cool and in charge of your emotions.
Failing To Look For Hidden Hazards – At many jobsites, work conditions are constantly changing. Sometimes new, unexpected hazards develop. Always be alert for changes in the environment. Hidden hazards include spilled liquids that could cause slips and falls; out-of-place objects that can be tripped over; unmarked floor openings one could step into; low overhead pipes that could mean a head injury; and other workers who don’t see you enter their hazardous work area.

Remember to stay alert for hazards, so you won’t become one more accident statistic: You can do a quality job without rushing. Maintain a positive attitude and keep your mind on your work. This is just common sense–something smart workers use

The best ideas for improving the work environment often come from the people who are most affected by what happens in that environment-the workers. But how can employees effectively create solutions to their workplace safety problems, communicate their ideas for improvement to management, and have those ideas be seriously considered? Two tools are needed-a structured approach to solving problems and a way to submit formal suggestions.

A Five Step Approach to Solving Problems:
1. Identify the Problem. Perhaps you already have a specific, perplexing safety problem in mind. It may be a piece of equipment or a process within your department that needs improvement. Define the problem as it now exists-the more specific the better. If excess costs are associated with this problem, knowing what these are will make it easier to explain the problem to management. This will also help you develop clear solutions.
2. Make a list of options. What possibilities exist to fix the problem? What are the results you are looking for? Brainstorm a multitude of ideas which could effectively and efficiently eliminate the problematic situation.
3. List the consequences. You can rarely do one thing without having it affect someone or something else. All ideas have pros and cons associated with them. Consider all sides of the issue and the effect each option may have on other departments or workers.
4. Compare the options. How much effort will be required? How much time and money will it take? You may need some help from your supervisor in calculating time and costs.
5. Choose the best option. Step 4 should help identify the proper choices. Again, discussing this with your supervisor or someone else higher up may help you see the bigger picture and aid you in making the best choice.

Submitting the Formal Suggestion
1. Describe the current safety problem in a brief, clear, and objective statement to decision makers. Explain the disadvantages of the present situation.
2. Outline your idea. Briefly detail your suggestion for improvement, avoiding negativity.
3. Show how much it will cost to execute your plan. Include the anticipated effect your idea will have on other workers or departments in your organization.
4. Estimate the cost savings. There must be some monetary benefit to what you are suggesting. If your plan improves safety, what are the expected cost savings associated with preventing an injury that old methods caused? Are there other benefits? Is it more efficient? Will it take less time? Try to state these benefits in terms of hard dollars which can be saved.
5. Finish with a more in-depth description of your idea. Break your idea down into its component parts. Use drawings and all other pertinent information to emphasize the importance of your idea. Get your plan across to the decision makers persuasively.

If you use this twofold method to address safety concerns in your workplace, you’ll be giving your management team all the information and tools they need to make an intelligent decision. By submitting your ideas in this format, you may also demonstrate to your organization that you are the person to be considered for that next promotion.

Unsafe fall arrest equipment contributed to the fatal 150 foot fall of an Oregon construction worker recently. Burn holes in the worker’s fall arrest straps and a faulty self-retracting lanyard were blamed for the failure. These could have been discovered if adequate equipment inspections had been conducted. Would you gamble with your life? A lot of people do just that when they fail to inspect their personal fall arrest equipment daily. They gamble that the equipment will save their life if they fall. Wearing fall arrest equipment without inspecting it, provides a false sense of security.

This equipment is subject to tremendous loads during a fall, so unless each component is thoroughly inspected and properly used, it may not save your life. Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations when inspecting your equipment. Here are several things to look for.

Belts & Body Harnesses:
● Thoroughly inspect all nylon webbing on belt/body harnesses for frayed edges, broken fibers, burn marks, deterioration or other visible signs of damage. Do the same if the belt or body harness is constructed of other materials. Stitching should be intact and not torn or loose. The belt or harness should be somewhat “soft” and flexible and not stiff from dirt or contaminants.
● Check to see that buckles and “D” rings are not distorted or damaged. Look closely at all components for stress cracks, deformity, gouging, corrosion and sharp edges. Inspect connection points where the buckle or “D” ring is attached  to the belt or body harness. Insure that no stitching is pulled and that the buckle or “D” ring is securely attached.
● Inspect all rivets and grommets to be certain they are not deformed, and are securely fastened to the belt or body harness and cannot be pulled loose.
● If you find any of these conditions during the inspection, do not use the equipment.

● Completely check the entire length of the lanyard. looking for cuts, fraying, deterioration, knots, kinks, burns or visible signs of damage. Stitching should be intact and not torn or loose. Spliced ends must also be carefully examined for damage or deterioration. Check to see that the lanyard is somewhat “soft” and not stiff from dirt or contaminants.
● If using a “shock absorber” type of lanyard, look for the “warning tag” which indicates that the lanyard has been exposed to a fall.
● Snap hooks and eyes should not be distorted or bent. Inspect them for cracks, sharp edges, gouges or corrosion. Check to be sure the locking mechanism is operating properly and that there is no binding of the mechanism.
● If using a self retracting lanyard (SRL), you must inspect the body of the mechanism for flaws to assure that all nuts, screws and rivets are installed and tight. Also check crimped ends or stitching for damage. Inspect the entire length of the SRL for any visible signs of defects.
● Test the locking mechanism by pulling sharply on the cable end to be sure it locks immediately and firmly.

If you like to gamble at the card table–okay. But don’t do it with your life!

Safety is everyone’s responsibility! As am employee, you should:
a. Learn to work safely and take all rules seriously.
b. Recognize hazards and avoid them.
c. Report all accidents, injuries and illness to your supervisor immediately.
d. Inspect tools before use to avoid injury.
e. Wear all assigned personal protective equipment.

On the other hand, it is management’s responsibility to:
a. Provide a safe and healthy workplace.
b. Train employees in safe procedures and in how to identify hazards.

Everyone must be aware of potential hazards on the job:
a. Poor housekeeping results in slips, trips and falls.
b. Electricity can cause shocks, burns or fire if not handled properly.
c. Poor material handling may cause back problems or other injuries.
d. Tools and equipment can cause injuries if guards or protective devices are disengaged.

Always use the protections that are provided on the job:

a. Guards on machines and tools keep body parts from contacting moving equipment.
b. Insulation on electrical equipment prevents burns, shock and fire.
c. Lockout/tagout assure equipment is de-energized before it is repaired.
d. Personal protective equipment shields your body from hazards you may face on the job.

In case of emergency:

a. Understand alarms and evacuation routes.
b. Know how to notify emergency response personnel.
c. Implement a procedure for leaving the scene safely so emergency personnel can do their job.
d. Wipe up spills promptly and correctly.

Safety benefits everyone! By incorporating safety rules, employees avoid injury as well as
illness from exposure to hazardous substances. With less injuries, a business can be more
productive and profitable. The welfare of the community is also enhanced by providing
cleaner air and water and less chance of dangerous accidents that can put lives and
property at risk.

We use extension cords almost every day both at work and at home. These are very useful devices, but they can present a fire or shock hazard when either worn out or used improperly.

Types of extension cords
Extension cords come in either two or three-wire types. Two-wire extension cords should only be used to operate one or two small appliances. Three-wire cords are used for outdoor appliances and electric power tools. The third wire on this cord is a ground and this type of cord should never be plugged into any ungrounded electrical outlet. Only grounded extension cords are to be used with power tools unless the tool is double insulated.

Construction sites require extension cords which are specified by the National Electric Code for hard usage or extra hard usage. Approved cords may be identified by the word “outdoor” or the letters “WA” on the jacket.

Care and inspection of extension cords
Extension cords must be treated with care and checked regularly for damage or deterioration. The cord itself should never be pulled to disconnect it from an electrical source; remove it by the plug. They should not be placed under rugs or furniture and should never be strung through doorways, windows, walls, ceilings, or floors. Damaged cords present a potential fire or shock hazard and should be destroyed and replaced immediately.

An extension cord should never be used as a substitute for permanent wiring. They should not be fastened to a building or structure, even though staples are sold for this purpose at many hardware stores. Avoid plugging two cords together to make a longer one. It’s best to use one cord in a continuous length from the receptacle to the appliance or tool. Extension cords which are either connected together or are too long will reduce operating voltage and operating efficiency of tools or appliances and may cause motor damage.

Extension cords are convenient devices which we often take for granted in our everyday activities, but which need proper care and attention. Use good housekeeping practices at home and at work, to keep extension cords from being a tripping hazards or becoming damaged. Inspect them regularly for wear and replace defective units.

Prevent potential electrical hazards that may lead to someone’s injury!

OSHA estimates forklifts cause about 85 fatal accidents per year; 34,900 accidents result in serious injury; and 61,800 are classified as non-serious. According to the Industrial Truck Association, there are about 855,900 forklifts in the U.S. Therefore, over 11% of all forklifts will be involved in some type of accident each year (assuming only one accident per forklift).

The ITA also reports that the useful life of a lift truck is about 8 years. This means that about 90% of all forklifts will be involved in some type of accident during their useful life–again assuming only one accident per forklift. If you operate this equipment, there is a possibility that you may have an accident at some point during your career. To help reduce the possibility of being injured, it’s important to understand where and how these accidents occur.

Fatal forklift accident causes and where they occur:

Fatal Accident Type % Where fatalities occur %
Crushed by vehicle tipping over 42% Mining 1.2
Crushed between vehicle and a surface 25% Construction 23.8
Crushed between two vehicles 11% Manufacturing 42.5
Struck or run over by a forklift 10% Transportation 11.0
Struck by falling material 8% Wholesale trades 12.5
Fall from platform on the forks 4% Retail trade 9.0

Preventing these accidents:

Studies show that many of these accidents could have been prevented by better training. No one starts out with the innate knowledge, skills, and abilities to safely operate a forklift. As OSHA requires, drivers must be properly trained to do so. The lesson to be learned is, operating a forklift without training is dangerous and can even be fatal to you or other employees working in the area..

Training can also prevent or reduce the severity of an accident related to the stability of a lift truck traveling with an elevated load. Keep the load as low as possible to increase vehicle stability and to help prevent tip-over accidents. Even if drivers ignore this rule, and the vehicle tips over, injuries are usually minor if they stay with the vehicle instead of jumping off. The normal tendency is for a person to jump downward, so the driver lands on the floor or ground–usually directly into the path of the overhead guard. The most common result is a crushing injury to the head, neck, or back where the overhead guard strikes the employee.

Forty-two percent of forklift fatalities are caused by the operator trying to jump from a tipping vehicle. To keep this from happening to you, always remember to keep the load as low as possible and stay with the vehicle if it tips over. Wearing your seat belt is the best safety measure!

Humans instinctively seek to avoid pain and death. And yet, we may behave in a manner that is a threat to our well-being. There are a couple of reasons why this occurs. The first is lack of knowledge. What you do not know, can hurt you! The second reason we may act in a risky manner is attitude. Now might be a good time to do a quick self-analysis. What is your attitude toward safety?

When asked, some may say they are all for it. Others may complain about any safety effort being made. The difference between the two is one of attitude. Your attitude affects almost all that you do and how you do it.

Have you ever noticed that people who are successful in life, or are just happy, tend to have a positive attitude? And so it is with safety. Look at it this way. . . safety rules and procedures are written to protect you from harm. They are not written to make your work life more uncomfortable or inconvenient. After all, safety equipment and training costs your employer additional upfront money.

If you cooperate in safety matters, not only is there a lesser likelihood of you getting hurt, you will not be doing battle with the boss who is just trying to do his job by enforcing the safety rules. In addition, you should feel more confident on the job knowing you have a better chance of making it through the day without injury. Less fear of injury and the boss no longer on your back has to brighten your day!

We are not perfect. Even the best of us can forget or make errors in judgment. To maximize our safety efforts, we must look out for one another. If someone tells you that you are not working in a safe manner, do not become angry or defensive. They are just looking out for your well-being. If you did not know you were doing something wrong, be thankful your errors were noted before someone got hurt. If you simply forgot or got a little careless, be grateful that someone cares enough to get you back on track. If you see someone doing something unsafe, speak up, but do so diplomatically. Treat others just as you would like to be treated in the same situation.

Remember, attitude affects behavior. If you have a positive attitude, odds are you will exhibit safe behavior. A negative attitude toward safety will only cause conflict, stress and, ultimately, an accident.

An effective Accident Prevention Program should include the defined responsibilities for management, supervisors, and employees. Management, by law, has responsibility for the safety and health of all employees as well as providing a safe workplace. Supervisors have responsibility for providing a safe workplace as well as managing the production issues. Now we need to address employee responsibilities and what those entail.

Employers and supervisors should expect the employees to be responsible. This starts with getting to work on time, working safely through the day, and addressing concerns to their supervisor.

Suggested Areas of Responsibility

Employees are responsible to:
● Listen and learn from any training. Be an active participant in learning a job skill or safety issue.
● Ask for assistance if the training or instruction is not clear or you don’t feel comfortable in performing the task correctly and safely.
● Report unsafe acts and near misses immediately. Especially if the unsafe act is ongoing. This will help keep the workplace safe for everyone.
● Address problems with the supervisor ASAP. BUT always try to give solutions to every problem. (You may understand more than the supervisor about the problem and how to fix it.)
● Re-address issues with the supervisor on un-resolved topics discussed in the past. (The supervisor may have forgotten about those topics.)
● Be an active member in the safety of the workplace. Participate in Safety Committee Meetings, Safety Meetings, and when trained on a safety issue.

These are just a few areas employees should be responsible for. The list is endless. Try to develop other areas to assist in safety and production. Bring these areas to the supervisor’s attention and expect an answer. This input should be appreciated.

The name of this game is clear and open communication between management, supervisors and employees. The lack of communication is also one of the largest problems faced today in any workplace. Don’t let this happen to you and your company. Be responsible to see that it doesn’t.

A hazard is defined as a condition or changing set of circumstances that presents a potential for injury, illness, or property damage. The potential or inherent characteristics of an activity, condition, or circumstance which can produce adverse or harmful consequences.

An accident is defined as an unfortunate event often the result of carelessness or ignorance. An unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance usually resulting in an unfavorable outcome.

There are some key words in these definitions: Unplanned; Unforeseen; Unfortunate; Unfavorable and most importantly POTENTIAL!

I met a person the other day who had fallen from a height of 25 feet. He was fortunate to have escaped this accident with only a badly broken leg. A few weeks ago a worker fell just a couple of feet off a ladder and he passed away. Both of these situations have been discussed to the limit and on several occasions I heard people refer to luck, good and bad! Well, the last time I looked, luck was not an effective accident prevention or loss control technique.

For an unplanned or unforeseen event to take place, there has to be potential!. Complacency and taking things for granted are causes of a tremendous number of injuries each year. Recognizing hazards and doing something about them is everyone’s responsibility!

So as you begin work, ask yourself:
● Do I have the right tools/equipment for the job?
● Have I inspected my tools/equipment to make sure they are in good repair or am I trying to get by?
● Is the work laid out to provide safe completion of the job?
● Are the materials I am using safe, and do I need additional personal protective equipment such as: safety glasses, gloves, hard hat, respirator, etc.?
● Is there a safer way to accomplish the task?
● Are all necessary equipment guards in place?
● Are written procedures such as lockout/tagout being followed?

Is job safety important to you? Some people will say yes right away. Others may feel differently, at least when this question is first posed. But survival and avoidance of pain is a basic instinct for all. You may say that safety isn’t important to you, but just wait until you get hurt. At that time, I’ll bet you will think differently.

Safety does not just happen. Remember the old adage, if something can go wrong, it will. We must work to make things happen right; that is, in a safe manner. But one person cannot do this alone. It takes the cooperation of everyone. You cannot overlook a safety problem. If you do, the results could be disastrous.

Your company has a moral, legal, and financial interest in your well being. Supervisors should be receptive to your safety concerns. Have you ever brought a problem to your supervisor only to have it dismissed? It happens. This does not mean he or she isn’t interested and you should drop the subject. You can’t afford to. You may be the one getting hurt. Let us look at ways you can use to make your supervisor share your safety concerns.

● Don’t wait until the problem becomes critical. As soon as you see the adjustment slipping, guard loosening, or scheduling problems, speak up. This will give your supervisor the opportunity to deal with the problem in a planned manner. Planning is part of a supervisor’s job. Help him do it right.

● Don’t be overly emotional or accusatory. Maybe you were just involved in a “near miss.” Emotion is understandable. But it is a rare supervisor who will deliberately put someone in harms way. More likely than not, the supervisor was not aware of the problem.

● Be prepared to offer your assessment as to whether the problem is critical or not. Don’t overstate the seriousness, but don’t underestimate it either. If you don’t know whether the problem is critical or not, say so.

● Offer suggestions as to what needs to be done to correct the problem. This may clarify, in your supervisor’s mind, what needs to be done and helps facilitate understanding. Again, if you don’t know, say so.

● Finally, try to get commitment as to when the problem will be corrected. The idea is not to put anyone on the spot. But, when there is a firm commitment, people tend to pay more attention. If you don’t see any action by the completion date, follow-up or remind the supervisor of your concern.

Again, supervisors are human. They can get buried in things that may need more immediate attention and/or they could just forget. Supervisors, remember the employee who brings safety problems to your attention is just trying to do his job and help you with yours. Their concerns should never be dismissed without a review.

Once the initial orientation to the company is over and the basic requirements of the job and the safety program have been covered, it’s time to move the new employee into the workforce and introduce the people he or she will be working with. Co-workers play an important role in getting the new person off to a good start.

What is a veteran employee’s role when it comes to orienting a new employee? Remember that new people are nervous to begin with-just starting a new job. They probably don’t remember all the instructions they are given and aren’t familiar with the new surroundings. This is often a time for information overload. So how can an experienced hand help out?

∙Introduce yourself to this person, explain your job and offer assistance.

∙Encourage the new hire to ask questions if he or she is not quite sure. Remember how hard it was to admit you didn’t know everything when you started a new job?

∙Remember too, that the new person may be highly skilled and experienced in his or her trade, but not necessarily used to your company’s ways of doing things.

∙Point out locations of first aid kits, fire extinguishers, restrooms & break rooms.

∙Be sure your new coworker is wearing the right PPE, and is using it properly.

∙Volunteer to serve as a mentor to the new employee, to assure that safe work
procedures are understood and followed.

∙If you spot this person doing something wrong, tactfully explain the proper procedures. It’s easier to do this if a “coaching” role has been assigned or agreed-upon.

∙During lunch and breaks include him/her in the group so everyone can get better acquainted.

∙Resist any temptation to complain about aspects of your job that you don’t like-get the new person started out on a positive note by passing on what’s good about the company.

● Perhaps most importantly, lead by example with correct work habits.

Getting a new employee started off on the right foot is very important. Statistics indicate that up to 60% of all job injuries occur to new employees with less than six months experience on the job. Repeated, friendly reminders of safety procedures and work rules by a mentor can greatly reduce the chance of an accident with the new employee. Many times new employees will not think of questions until after they have worked a few days and begin to understand the job requirements more thoroughly. As a co-worker, if you make yourself available to answer questions, it shows your willingness to provide a safe workplace for everyone involved.

Remember, getting new people started on the right path can help prevent an accident or injury to everyone on the crew. Don’t think that helping to develop a productive co-worker is a burden. Think of it as an investment in the future of your work group and your company. Besides-it’s the way you’d like to be treated yourself!

Hammers, wrenches, chisels, pliers, screwdrivers, and other hand tools are often underrated as sources of potential danger. Hand tools may look harmless, but they are the cause of many injuries. In fact, an estimated 8 percent of all workplace compensable injuries are caused by incidents associated with hand tools. These injuries can be serious, including loss of fingers or eyesight.

Hand tools can cause many types of injuries:

1. Cuts, abrasions, amputations, and punctures. If hand tools are designed to cut or move metal and wood, remember what a single slip can do to fragile human flesh.
2. Repetitive motion injuries. Using the same tool in the same way all day long, day after day, can stress human muscles and ligaments. Carpal tunnel syndrome (inflammation of the nerve sheath in the wrist) and injuries to muscles, joints and ligaments are increasingly common if the wrong tool is used, or the right tool is used improperly. Injury from continuous vibration can also cause numbness or poor circulation in hands and arms.
3. Eye injuries. Flying chips of wood or metal are a common hazard, often causing needless and permanent blindness.
4. Broken bones and bruises. Tools can slip, fall from heights, or even be thrown by careless employees, causing severe injuries. A hammer that falls from a ladder is a lethal weapon.

To avoid such injuries, remember the following safety procedures:
1. Use the right tool for the job. Don’t use your wrench as a hammer. Don’t use a screwdriver as a chisel, etc. Go back to the tool house and get the right tool in the right size for the job.
2. Don’t use broken or damaged tools, dull cutting tools, or screwdrivers with worn tips.
3. Cut in a direction away from your body.
4. Make sure your grip and footing are secure when using large tools.
5. Carry tools securely in a tool belt or box. Don’t carry tools up ladders. Use a hoist or rope.
6. Keep close track of tools when working at heights. A falling tool can kill a co-worker.
7. Pass a tool to another person by the handle; never toss it to them.
8. Use the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job. Follow company instructions for selecting
and using safety eyewear, steel toed shoes, gloves, hard hats, etc.
9. Never carry sharp or pointed tools such as a screwdriver in your pocket.
10.Select ergonomic tools for your work task when movements are repetitive and forceful.
11.Be on the lookout for signs of repetitive stress. Early detection might prevent a serious injury.
12.Always keep your tools in top condition. A dull blade or blunt point can lead to injury.
13.Store tools properly when you stop work.

By following these precautions, you can help prevent injuries and provide a better workplace for everyone. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Fall injuries may cause abrasions, fractures and dislocations. However, the one of the most serious results of a fall, other than death, can be a head injury. How this will affect you depends upon which part of your brain has been injured as a result of a fall or impact. Broken bones usually heal, but head injuries can result in lifelong serious problems, such as:
● Changes in personality, such as increased anxiety, depression or anger.
● Difficulties with eye and hand coordination, and inability to handle tools or play sports well.
● Defects in vision and visual illusions.
● Short-term memory loss or interference with long term memory.
● Increased aggressive behavior.
● Difficulty in distinguishing left from right.
● Changes in social behavior

How You Fall Often Determines Your Specific Injury.

From the time a worker loses a secure grip, footing or balance, until impact, several factors influence what part of the body will be injured and how severe the damage will be. They are:

● Distance of the fall – momentum and velocity effect the impact on your body.
● The angle of the body at impact – we’re not like cats landing on all fours.
● The obstacles the body strikes – what if you fall on railings, steps, or vehicles?
● The surface eventually landed on – will it be a pile of hay, or broken concrete & re-bar?

What You Can Do: THINK!

● Help remind your co-workers to play it safe and avoid taking risks.
● Report unsafe conditions to the nearest supervisor.
● Make it a habit to work safely, regardless of time pressures and productivity goals.
● Practice caution at home – accidents and head injuries from falls happen more often off the job than at work.
● Know how to use fall protection and fall restraint equipment. Never say, “I don’t need to fool around with that stuff-I’ll only be up there a minute.”

Stay Alert! Head injuries can have devastating consequences that may impact your life forever.

Noise is an unwanted sound that can affect job performance, safety, and your health. Psychological effects of noise include annoyance and disruption of concentration. Physical effects include loss of hearing, pain, nausea, and interference with communications when the exposure is severe.

Hearing protection is essential when noise exposures can’t be controlled at their source. Both earplugs and earmuffs provide a physical barrier that reduces inner ear noise levels inner ear and prevents hearing loss from occurring. However, people often resist wearing these or use them incorrectly.

Employees resist wearing hearing protection more than any other type of personal protective equipment. One reason is, they don’t think they really need it. But hearing loss occurs so gradually (even in intense exposures) that by the time you notice it, irreversible damage has already occurred. Another reason for not wearing hearing protection is that it can feel uncomfortable. Sometimes workers “spring” the muffs so they don’t seal properly against the head, or snip off the inner portion of ear plugs leaving only the outer end to fool their supervisor. If you feel the need to do this, see your supervisor about obtaining a different type or style that fits you correctly and comfortably.

Slight initial discomfort may be expected when a good seal between the surface of the skin and the surface of the ear protector is made. The amount of protection you obtain depends on obtaining a good seal and even a small leak can substantially reduce the effectiveness of the protector. Remember to check the seal several times each day. Protectors – especially ear plugs – have a tendency to work loose as a result of talking or chewing, and must be resealed occasionally.

Properly designed, fitted, and clean ear protectors will cause no more discomfort to most workers than wearing a pair of safety glasses. Earplugs are made of soft material such as neoprene to prevent injury to the ear canal. Skin irritations, injured eardrums, or other adverse reactions from using ear plugs are very rare if they are kept reasonably clean.

There are many different styles, types, and brands of ear protectors available, but when correctly fitted, they all provide similar levels of protection. The best hearing protector for you is one that fits correctly so that you can wear it properly.

Some signs that you should be wearing hearing protection include:
1. If it is necessary for you to speak in a very loud voice, or shout directly into the ear of a person to be understood, it is likely that the noise level is high enough to require hearing protection.
2. If you have roaring or ringing noises in your ears at the end of the workday, you are probably being exposed to too much noise.
3. If speech or music sounds muffled to you after you leave work, but it sounds fairly clear in the morning when you return to work, you are being exposed to noise levels that are causing a temporary hearing loss. In time, this can become permanent if you do not take care.

Housekeeping is a very important part of your job. Not only does it improve the overall appearance of your shop or work area, it shows that you take pride in where you work. The best way that you can help keep your work place clean is to pick up after yourself! Don’t leave it for the next shift or another craft to worry about.

Here are some reasons to keep your work area clean:

1. You reduce trip and fall hazards.
2. Increased production. You won’t have to waste time looking for a misplaced tool. You will always know
where your tools are when you put them where they belong after you use them.
3. You reduce a potential fire hazard by removing unneeded combustibles from the work area.

Here are some tips to maintain a clean work area:
● Plan the job. Make a list of the needed tools/materials. This will help to minimize unnecessary clutter around your work area.
● Develop a routine for cleaning up at the end of the shift or periodically during the shift.
● Do not allow employees to eat, drink or smoke in the work area, not only because of litter problems, but also because of hygiene concerns.
● This is not, by all means, all inclusive. The point I am trying to make is to take responsibility for yourself and your work area! Remember, a clean work area is a productive work area and also enhances safety!

It is important for you to understand the difference between a fall arrest system and fall restraint system. These are most commonly used in the construction industry, but may apply to many other situations where employees must work at heights.

FALL RESTRAINT: A fall restraint system consists of the equipment used to keep an employee from reaching a fall point, such as the edge of a roof or the edge of an elevated working surface. The most commonly utilized fall restraint system is a standard guardrail. A tie off system that “restrains” the employee from falling off an elevated working surface is another type of fall restraint.

FALL ARREST: According to the definition in the Federal OSHA standard, a personal fall arrest system means a system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchor point, connectors, a body belt or body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these. The entire system must be capable of withstanding the tremendous impact forces involved in stopping or arresting the fall. The forces increase with the fall distance due to acceleration (a person without protection will free fall 4 feet in 1/2 second and 16 feet in 1 second!).

Let’s review 5 key requirements for fall arrest systems:

1) Body belts may not be used after 12/31/97. In the meantime, body belts can only be used if the system limits the maximum arresting force on an employee to 900 pounds. A maximum arresting force of 1800 pounds is allowed when a body harness is utilized. In some jurisdictions, such as Washington State, belts are currently not allowed for fall arrest purposes.

2) The system must be rigged so that an employee can neither free-fall more than 6 feet nor contact a lower level. After the free-fall distance, the deceleration or shock absorbing component of the system must bring an employee to a complete stop within 3.5 additional feet.

3) The anchorage point must be capable of supporting at least 5000 pounds per employee. Most standard guardrail systems are not adequate anchorage points because they are not built to withstand the impact forces generated by a fall.

4) The system’s D-ring attachment point for body harnesses shall be in the center of the employee’s back near the shoulder level.

5) The system components must be inspected for damage and deterioration prior to each use. All components subjected to the impact loading forces of a free-fall must be immediately removed from service.

Wearing the proper clothing and personal protective equipment in the working environment is critical. Appropriate clothing is your first and often only line of defense against many safety and health hazards.

Proper clothing is key. Simple as it may sound, you must dress for the occasion. Wearing stylish clothing can create a bigger hazard or may not provide protection from hazards while you work. Proper clothing that protects is the key. It is not uncommon to hear about tragedies that have taken place when a worker who was wearing loose clothing got too close to an operating machine and was drawn into the machine. Machines are powerful and unforgiving! Loose clothing is never appropriate in an industrial workplace.

Protect your feet. Standard footwear for most industries, should be sturdy leather footwear. Preferably, boots equipped with safety toes. Tennis shoes offer little or no protection against worksite hazards.

Hand Protection. Gloves are inexpensive and easily available protection which guards against many hazards. They can protect hands from exposures ranging from chemical spills and cuts, to heat and cold. Hand protection comes in a huge assortment of styles, materials and sizes. All of them are made to protect your hands from specific hazards. It is important to select the proper kind and style of glove to effectively protect hands from the hazards that may be
encountered. How often has a nearby worker cleaned parts or washed the grease from their hands with gasoline or a solvent of some kind. Don’t take the unnecessary risk! Select and use the proper hand protection.

Jewelry in the workplace can also be a hazard that is often overlooked. Rings, bracelets, and chains can be the cause of a much more severe hand related accident. Common sense should be considered when wearing your jewelry. The best choice is to keep your jewelry at home.

Head Protection and Eye Protection. Hard hats and safety glasses should be worn at the work site whenever there is an overhead hazard or potential for an object to enter the eyes. A hard hat can not only protect you from the rain, it can save your life! The benefits received from eye protection are significant. Safety glasses are a sure way to help save your eyesight!

Dressing for the workplace, by wearing the right kind of clothing helps protect you from injury. It is your first line of defense against worksite hazards. Carefully choose your work clothing and the personal protective equipment which will best protect you for your job. Improper clothing is an invitation for an accident to occur.

Think Safety by choosing your work clothing with the workplace in mind

One thousand eye injuries occur in American workplaces every day!

Why are these injuries occurring?

● Three out of five injuries occur because the worker was not wearing any eye protection at the time of the accident.
● About 40% of the injured workers were wearing some type of eye protection, but it was the wrong kind and failed to protect adequately. The leading cause in this category is the lack of side shields.
● Accident studies reveal flying or falling objects and sparks as the cause in 70% of eye injuries. Nearly 60% of the objects causing eye injury are smaller than a pinhead.
● Nearly 20% of all eye injuries are caused by contact with chemicals. This includes splashing or chemicals being sprayed directly into the eye.
● 40% of eye injuries occurred among craft workers, such as mechanics, repairers, carpenters, and plumbers. 30% of eye injuries occurred among operatives, such as assemblers, sanders, and grinding machine operators.
● 50% of the injured workers were employed in manufacturing. 20% were employed in construction.

What can we do to prevent these injuries?

First of all make sure you select the proper eye protection for the task. 94% of the eye injuries that occurred to workers wearing eye protection resulted from objects or chemicals going around or under the protector.

Second, make sure the eye protection you have selected fits properly and is clean. One of the leading reasons for workers removing or not wearing eye protection is the lens became dirty and they could not see what they were doing.

Nearly 20% of eye injuries happened to workers wearing face shields or welding helmets while grinding. Only 6% of the workers injured while wearing eye protection were wearing goggles.



One serious blow to the head can leave an otherwise strong and health person permanently brain-damaged or disabled for life. At best, a blow on the head can give you a whopper of a headache. Therefore, it is crucial to protect it from the impact of falling objects, painful bumps and in some cases, from high-voltage electric shock. ANSI approved head protection is generally required when there is “a potential for head injury from falling or moving objects” and where employees’ heads are exposed to electricity.

Hard Hats: The American National Standards Institute has established guidelines for helmets, the latest of which is ANSI Z89.1-1986. The standard indicates that the manufacturer’s name must be listed inside the helmet, and it must have one of the following ANSI designations:
● Class A: These protect the head from the impact of falling objects and from electric shock during contact with exposed low voltage conductors.
● Class B: These have the same function as class A except that they prevent electric shock when exposed to high voltage conductors.
● Class C: These protect the head from falling objects, but offer no electrical protection.
Hard hats primarily protect from impacts to the top of the head, limit penetration of sharp objects which hit the top of the shell and provide some lateral protection. To be effective, however, helmets must be properly worn. Some workers wear their hard hats backwards, which lessens the protection. If it is worn tilted back on the head, it offers virtually no protection at all.

Hard Hat Care:
● Inspect helmets daily for cracks, signs of wear and deterioration to insure that they provide the amount of protection originally intended.
● Helmets that exhibit chalking, cracking, or lose all their surface gloss should be discarded.
● If helmets must be marked for identification, use adhesive decals or tape. They should not be painted, cut or engraved.
● Do not keep helmets on the window shelf of a vehicle since extreme heat can affect the degree of protection. The hat can also become a projectile in the
event of a vehicle accident.
● Replace internal suspension systems once a year or if the system detaches from the shell. Hair oils and dirt can weaken the shock-absorbing suspension system.
● At least every 30 days, protective helmets and their sweatbands and cradles should be washed in warm, soapy water and rinsed thoroughly.

Bump Caps: Made of light-weight plastic, bump caps do not protect against serious blows to the head or falling objects and should never be worn in place of hard hats. They are useful, however, when working in cramped spaces where painful bumps, scrapes or cuts to the head are a potential.

Use your head to absorb knowledge–not blows to the head!

● I was in a shipyard when I observed a worker perched precariously high and above the ground on a structural member. The Safety Manager signed time out and said, “Let’s talk about this.” The worker replied angrily, “Are we here to play safety or to build ships?” Fortunately for everyone, including himself, this employee was soon gone. Think about this man’s attitude toward safety. We probably agree that his outlook was negative. Negative attitudes toward safety lead to negative results — accidents. Experience has shown us that all the safety training and equipment in the world cannot ensure safety without the proper safety attitude also being present. Is your attitude toward safety positive, or negative? Is safety part of your job or is it an obstacle someone has put in your way to make your job more difficult?

● Hopefully, you will accept the fact that safety is part of your job. If you can accept that fact, not only will you increase your chances of going home uninjured at the end of the day, you may also find that your life at work becomes a bit more pleasant. How so?

● Enforcing safety rules is part of your supervisor’s job. If you violate safety rules, the supervisor must correct you. This can lead to resentment. You have to understand that giving someone a break when they ignore safety rules actually encourages further breaking of the rules and can set up a situation leading to an accident and injury. If you do not have a safe attitude, then it becomes the supervisor’s job to change your behavior. Generally, this involves some sort of discipline, something no one likes to do or to receive. You can avoid this unpleasantness by simply following the rules and changing your attitude yourself. Remember, although your employer may have a legal obligation to make and enforce the rules, they are made to protect you.

You are the primary beneficiary.

Forklifts are a very important part of material handling in many industries. They are also a source of serious accidents. All personnel who operate forklifts must be trained and certified in safe operation at least once a year. The training includes both classroom and vehicle operation. Written and driving tests are administered by the instructor. Here are some basic safety rules to remember when operating a forklift.


1. The operator is in charge of his/her own vehicle. As such they are responsible for their own safety, vehicle, load, company property and equipment and other employees or pedestrians.
2. Only qualified drivers may operate forklifts. This will be determined by their supervisor and be based upon experience and training.
3. Wear hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection and safety shoes as required.
4. Horseplay is prohibited.
5. Report all accidents immediately.
6. No riders are allowed.


In general, observe the usual traffic rules and regulations whenever possible. These include:
1. Keep to the right on roadways and wide aisles.
2. Drive at a reasonable speed depending on location and condition of surface.
3. Slow down at intersections, corners, ramps and other danger points.
4. Leave plenty of space between forklifts when moving.
5. Use your horn in blind spots, but don’t overdo it.
6. Watch in turning so that you don’t cut too short.
7. Be alert for wet and slippery surfaces while driving.
8. Give pedestrians the right of way. Assume they are not aware of forklift traffic..
9. When parking, do not block traffic

-Park with the forks lowered to the floor

In most everything we do, we find a “trick” to make the process easier and faster. After we develop these tricks, they become work habits in our everyday activities. Developing everyday safety habits can keep you injury free through the year. Here are ten safety habits to live by:

1. Set Your Own Standards. Don’t be influenced by others around you who are negative. If you fail to wear safety glasses because others don’t, remember the blindness you may suffer will be yours alone to live with.
2. Operate Equipment Only if Qualified. Your supervisor may not realize you have never done the job before. You have the responsibility to let your supervisor know, so the necessary training can be provided.
3. Respect Machinery. If you put something in a machine’s way, it will crush it, pinch it or cut it. Make sure all guards are in place. Never hurry beyond your ability to think and act safely. Remember to de-energize the power first before placing your hands in a point of operation.
4. Use Your Own Initiative for Safety Protection. You are in the best position to see problems when they arise. Ask for the personal protective equipment or additional guidance you need.
5. Ask Questions. If you are uncertain, ask. Do not accept answers that contain, “I think, I assume, I guess.” Be sure.
6. Use Care and Caution When Lifting. Most muscle and spinal injuries are from overstrain. Know your limits. Do not attempt to exceed them. The few minutes it takes to get help will prevent weeks of being off work and in pain.
7. Practice Good Housekeeping. Disorganized work areas are the breeding grounds for accidents. You may not be the only victim. Don’t be a cause.
8. Wear Proper and Sensible Work Clothes. Wear sturdy and appropriate footwear. These should enclose the foot fully. Avoid 1oose clothing, dangling jewelry, and be sure that long hair is tied back and cannot become entangled in the machinery.
9. Practice Good Personal Cleanliness. Avoid touching eyes, face, and mouth with gloves or hands that are dirty. Wash well and use barrier creams when necessary. Most industrial rashes are the result of poor hygiene practices.
10. Be a Positive Part of the Safety Team. Willingly accept and follow safety rules. Encourage others to do so. Your attitude can play a major role in the prevention of accidents and injuries.

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