Danger – Eye Protection Required

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20,000 workplace eye injuries happen each year. These injuries range from simple eye strain to severe trauma that can cause permanent damage, partial vision loss or blindness. Many of these injuries could have been prevented if the worker had used proper protective eyewear and followed appropriate safety measures.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has identified five major dangers to your eyes. They include:

  • Impact – flying objects and particles;
  • Heat – anything that gives off dangerous heat;
  • Chemicals – flashes, fumes and vapors;
  • Dust – otherwise harmless particulates that can damage sensitive eyes; and
  • Optical radiation – everything from simple glare to intense light.

There are three things you can do to help prevent eye injury:

  1. Know the eye hazards at your worksite.
  2. When possible, eliminate the hazards before starting work. Use machine guarding, work screens or other engineering controls.
  3. Use the proper eye protection. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear.

Ensure your safety glasses fit properly. According to OSHA Standard 1926.102, your safety glasses should meet the following requirements:

  • Provide adequate protection against the particular hazards for which they are designed.
  • Be reasonably comfortable when worn under the designated conditions.
  • Fit snugly and not unduly interfere with your movements.
  • Be durable and capable of being disinfected.
  • Be easily cleaned.

Clean your safety glasses daily, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Store them in a case when they are not being worn. Replace glasses that are scratched, pitted, broken, bent or ill-fitting.

Use only safety glasses that are manufactured to meet the American National Standards Institute’s Z87.1 Eye and Face Protection Standard.

Download the recording form here.

New Season/New Jobsite – Keep it Safe

Safety is one of the key factors to consider as we begin planning for a new construction season. It’s important to have a plan to minimize the possibility of dangerous situations. Remember, it’s everyone’s responsibility to follow company rules and immediately report dangerous situations to the appropriate supervisor.

As we move into a new construction season, consider these sugestions to ensure jobsite safety:

  • Consider creating and using a jobsite inspection checklist.
  • Identify jobsite hazards such as overhead power lines, trenches, traffic bottlenecks, material and chemical storage areas.
  • Review the location of first aid kits, fire extinguishers and nearby medical facilities to use in case of an emergency.
  • Review the emergency contact plan, update it as necessary and identify the location of emergency telephone numbers.
  • Make sure everyone understands how internal traffic should flow through the jobsite, including those on foot.
  • Identify and communicate where employees, subcontractors and suppliers should park their vehicles.
  • Review the Hazard Communication Program, clearly identify the location of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and ensure containers are clearly marked.
  • Document that you have provided proper training to all employees prior to, or as they arrive, on the job.
  • Inform employees that the company will not tolerate safety infractions, and supervisors will follow the company’s safety policy, with progressive disciplinary action for safety violations.
  • Notify suppliers and subcontractors that the company will hold them accountable for safety infractions.

Planning ahead for safety will help avoid unnecessary delays and work stoppages. It’s more difficult to adjust or add safety guidelines once a job has begun.

Safety should be a vital component of each aspect of the construction process. A job is off to a good start when safety is a priority from the beginning.

Download a recording form here.

Clean Up Your Act

We often refer to site cleanup as housekeeping. People overlook this necessary job because they either don’t care, or they believe there are other, more important things to do. And sometimes, they add to an already untidy work area by littering.

One study revealed some of the typical reasons for littering, including:

  • The area is already messy;
  • The garbage can is too far away;
  • The garbage can is already overflowing;
  • The garbage can is marked for specific trash only;
  • I’m only throwing away a small piece of trash;
  • Everyone else litters;
  • There are no consequences for littering; and
  • I have more important things to think about.

The list could go on. People come up with countless excuses to throw their trash on the ground instead of taking the time to properly dispose of it. But the clean and orderly arrangement of your work area is vital to the safety of all workers.

Litter can cause severe accidents. Trash on the ground is a slip and trip hazard. Trash in the roadway is an accident waiting to happen. If you see a mess in your work area, take care of it. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Immediately clear scrap and debris from walkways, passageways, stairs, scaffolds and floor openings. Clean up spills of grease, oil or other liquids at once, or cover them with sand or other absorbent material until you can clean it up. If you’re driving, be sure your load is secure. An item in the roadway can damage someone’s vehicle or cause a wreck if someone swerves to miss it.

Litter looks terrible and sends an “I don’t care” message to others. This isn’t a positive reflection of ourselves or the project owner. A tidy workplace shows you take pride in your work and makes the work environment more pleasant.

Cleanliness is an expression of your attitude about yourself, your co-workers and your work environment, so do your part to keep your workplace neat and clean.

Mud Safety — Part 1

April is the month for rain showers — and mud. Mud is a major contributor to many safety issues that lead to severe work-site accidents and injuries. All mud is slippery; the higher the clay content of the soil, the slipperier the mud. It sticks to the bottom of boots and tires and transforms any surface it touches into a potential slip hazard. Every year, dozens of falls occur because workers slip off of ladder rungs, equipment and walk surfaces as they attempt to climb or walk while wearing muddy boots. Driving accidents occur when muddy boots slip off the brake or accelerator pedals, causing the driver to lose control.

Mud is impossible to eliminate; however, if you follow the guidelines below, your work environments will be cleaner and safer during the rainy season.

  • Lay down gravel or geo cloth to protect walkways and keep mud from forming.
  • Use boot brushes or other means to clean off your boots before walking on smooth surfaces where you might slip.
  • Maintain drainage on job sites and roads, so water doesn’t pool in low areas, forming mud puddles.
  • Always clean mud from your boots before you climb on anything.
  • Clean tool handles prior to storage.
  • Keep material staging areas well drained, and stack material using cribbage so that it is up off the ground.
  • Position portable toilets on higher, well-drained ground, so workers don’t have to walk through pools of mud to reach them.
  • Provide sufficient dunnage for cranes and other equipment, so they are working on stable surfaces.