CYLINDER STORAGE & SAFETY

Compressed gas cylinders that are not stored correctly or mishandled may rupture violently, releasing their hazardous contents or becoming dangerous projectiles. Special precautions are necessary when storing and handling compressed gas cylinders.

PROPER CYLINDER STORAGE

  • Always store and secure compressed gas cylinders in an upright position.
  • When not in use, valve protection caps must be secured in place.
  • Secure the cylinders individually using chains, nylon web straps, plastic coated wire cable or commercially available cylinder straps.
  • Separate oxygen cylinders in storage from fuel-gas cylinders or combustible materials at a minimum distance of 20 feet or by a noncombustible barrier at least five feet high, having a fire-resistance rating of at least one-half hour.
  • Keep cylinders far enough away from actual welding or cutting operations so that sparks, hot slag or flames will not reach them.
  • Segregate the cylinders in hazard classes for storage. At the minimum, oxidizers (such as oxygen) must be separated from flammable gases.
  • Do not store cylinders where heavy objects could fall on them.

TRANSPORTING CYLINDERS

  • When transporting cylinders, secure them in an upright position.
  • Before moving cylinders, remove the regulators and put valve protection caps in place.
  • Do not use the protective valve cap for moving or lifting the cylinder.
  • Move the cylinders by tilting and rolling them on their bottom edges. Do not drag, slide or roll cylinders.
  • Do not drop a cylinder, handle cylinders roughly or permit cylinders to violently strike each other.

OTHER PRECAUTIONS

  • Use only the regulator designed for the material in use.
  • Do not grease or oil the regulator or cylinder valves.
  • Open the valve slowly and only with the proper regulator in place. Open it all the way.
  • Do not leave the valve open when the equipment is not in use, even if the cylinder is empty.
  • Keep the cylinder clear of all sparks, flames and electrical circuits.
  • Don’t use oxygen in place of compressed air.
  • Don’t use copper fittings or tubing on acetylene tanks, as an explosion may result.
  • Wear appropriate PPE for the hazard potential of the material you are working with.

Most people think the cylinders on their worksite are safe. However, cylinders are safe only if you treat them properly. Make sure you know how to handle them.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

WORK ZONE SAFETY – NIGHT CONSTRUCTION WORK

Reduced visibility during night construction can increase the amount time it takes for a motorist to see and respond to work activity taking place on or near the roadway. Other factors that can affect a driver’s ability to respond effectively to night construction work activity include age, experience, mental condition, physical condition, weather and familiarity with the roadway.

Reduced visibility during night construction work can also affect an equipment operator’s ability to see and respond effectively to the activity taking place around them. It is important to follow the worker safety plan for night construction work activity which should include the following:

HIGH-VISIBILITY SAFETY APPAREL

  • ANSI Class 3 shirt or vest, as the outermost clothing. Replace these when faded, worn, dirty or defaced.
  • ANSI high-visibility gaiters or bands around the ankles.
  • Hard hat with reflective tape or work light attachment.

ANSI Class 3 apparel and high visibility gaiters place the reflective material on the arms and legs in a design that conveys biological motion (body movement). Road workers wearing biomotion clothing are recognized at significantly longer distances than the standard vest alone.

TEMPORARY WORK AREA LIGHTING

  • Light the work area and approaches to provide visibility for motorists to safely travel through the work zone.
  • Illuminate work activity areas where workers are present to make them visible.
  • Control glare so as not to interfere with the visibility of the work zone by drivers and workers.

VEHICLE LIGHTING

Ensure all lighting and supplemental lighting on construction vehicles and equipment is in good working order.

ACTIVITY WITHIN THE CONSTRUCTION SITE

Night construction activity can also create limited visibility for equipment operators and other construction vehicles.

  • Ensure back up alarms are working correctly.
  • Be aware than equipment blind spots/zones can increase during night work.
  • Use spotters when backing equipment to prevent run overs or back overs.
  • Don’t walk behind or between operating or moving equipment and vehicles.
  • Be aware of the greater chance for trips and falls while walking on the construction site.
  • Follow the temporary traffic control plan and the worker safety plan for night construction work activity.
  • Know the details of the project’s emergency action plan.

Download the printable PDF and recording form here.

NOISE EXPOSURE & HEARING PROTECTION

In the United States, hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition after high blood pressure and arthritis. Short-term exposure to loud noise can cause a temporary change in a person’s hearing (ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short-term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noise. But repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent ringing in the ears or hearing loss. For the construction industry, OSHA tells us our noise exposure cannot exceed an average of 90 decibels (dba) over an eight-hour period (OSHA 1926.52).

COMMON CAUSES OF NOISE IN CONSTRUCTION

  • Heavy equipment like milling machines and pavers.
  • Excavators and dozers.
  • Concrete saws.
  • Chipping hammers.
  • Air hammers.
  • Hydraulic hammers.

SIGNS OF NOISE OVEREXPOSURE

  • A person must raise their voice to be heard by another person three feet away – noise is about 85 decibels (dBA).
  • A person must shout to be heard by another person three feet away – noise is about 95 decibels (dBA).
  • A person hears ringing or humming in their ears at the end of the workday.
  • A person notices temporary hearing loss at any point when leaving work.

CHOOSING THE CORRECT HEARING PROTECTION

Hearing protection is labeled with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). When worn correctly, the NRR tell us the amount of noise or sound reduction we can expect when wearing hearing protection. Due to changing factors such as size, worn correctly, etc., OSHA suggests reducing the NRR by 50% for a true noise reduction in the field. If you combine two types of hearing protection together, ear plugs with earmuffs, you only add an NRR of five to the higher NRR form of hearing protection.

TYPES OF HEARING PROTECTION

  • Earplugs – when worn correctly can give you the highest NRR.
  • Earmuffs – form air‐tight seal over the ear, NRR up to 30 dB; less effective when using eyewear.
  • Canal Caps – lower NRR; use pressure from a headband to hold the earplugs in place.

IMPORTANT FACTS TO REMEMBER

  • Repeated exposure to high levels of noise over long periods of time will reduce your ability to hear.
  • You may not notice a loss of hearing until a substantial loss has occurred.
  • Hearing loss is typically gradual but is irreversible.

Download a printable PDF and recording sheet here.

UTILITY KNIFE SAFETY

Hand lacerations are the most common hand injury in the workplace (63%). They are the Number 2 leading cause of work-related injury and are the most preventable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports:

  • There are 110,000 lost-time hand injuries annually.
  • Hand injuries send more than one million workers to the emergency room each year.
  • 70% of workers who experienced hand injuries were not wearing gloves.

COMMON CAUSES OF HAND LACERATIONS WHEN USING A UTILITY KNIFE

  • Pulling the knife towards you instead of away from your body.
  • Using a dull blade. Dull blades require more pressure, increasing the potential for injury.
  • Cutting more than the knife can handle.
  • Incorrectly storing the knife with the blade extended.
  • Not wearing hand protection.
  • Not inspecting the knife before use.

CORRECT USE

  • Wear a cut-resistant glove for hand protection.
  • Draw the knife away from your body.
  • Ensure the knife is the correct tool for the task.
  • Inspect the blade to make sure it’s not damaged or dull.
  • Properly store and retract the blade.
  • Make your cut on a solid surface. Never hold an object in your lap or against any part of your body.

Some hand lacerations can be minor and only need first aid. Other hand lacerations can be severe, requiring medical attention and potentially causing nerve damage that limits hand dexterity for life

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.