REGULAR EQUIPMENT INSPECTIONS

In World War II, aviation was still in its infancy. From 1939 to 1945, 21,583 aircrew members lost their lives due to non-combat accidents in the continental U.S., and another 20,633 died in aircraft non-combat accidents overseas.

Today, aircraft and air travel are safer due, in part, to technology, training and daily pre-flight inspections.

EQUIPMENT INSPECTIONS

  • Every day, equipment users or operators should focus on making sure their equipment is operable and safe before each use.
  • Every operator’s manual and owner’s manual from power tools, ladders and fall protection to powered/motorized equipment routinely includes specific instructions on how to inspect the equipment.
  • In the event of a failure resulting in an accident, the first document inspectors request and review is the equipment inspection form. Following any type of incident, they ask, “Did the user or operator inspect the equipment prior to use?”

WHY DO WE PERFORM INSPECTIONS? AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE.

  • OSHA standards mandate frequent and regular inspections.
  • Pre-shift inspections give you the opportunity to observe and report maintenance and safety concerns for any piece of equipment.
  • Other contractors may use or damage the equipment without your knowledge.
  • Inspections can prevent failure that leaves the operator or occupants immobile or stranded.
  • Inspections can prevent failure during a critical period while the equipment is in use.
  • Inspections can prevent failure resulting in a serious injury.
  • Inspections can prevent failure causing a work delay.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

STRUCK-BY HAZARDS

Struck-by injuries are produced by forceful contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment. In comparison, a caught-in or between incident occurs when an injury is a result of the crushing force between two objects. For example, if a person’s hand is pulled into a conveyor and suffers an injury due to being pulled in and caught between the rollers.

Sources of struck-by accidents include:

  • Equipment or vehicles moving in the work zone.
  • Falling tools, equipment or materials.
  • Operating tools or equipment.
  • Moving or lifting unsecured loads.

Vehicle and equipment traffic operating within the project including dump trucks, paving equipment, rollers, and other heavy equipment create a struck-by hazard for contractors working within the project. The equipment’s large size and height creates blind spots for the operator that can extend greater than 10 feet outside the perimeter of the vehicle or equipment.

Important safety measures include:

  • Don’t walk in front, along the side or behind vehicles or equipment when they are moving.
  • Maintain a three-foot perimeter around all equipment. Equipment could move suddenly.
  • Don’t allow work activity to overlap. No work activity should take place within the swing radius of excavation equipment.
  • When one piece of equipment is lifting or putting materials or tools in place, do not place your hands on, or manually guide, the load. Use a tag line.
  • Secure tools, equipment and material to prevent them from falling from heights.
  • Inspect saws, grinders and other tools before use to make sure the guards are in place, the blades aren’t chipped or cracked and are in overall good condition.
  • When you are using saws, grinders and other powered hand tools, always wear safety glasses and a face shield.
  • Coordinate work activity to minimize the possibility for people to be near overhead work activity or moving equipment.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

STRUCK-BY – AVOIDING EQUIPMENT KICKBACK

A type of struck-by injury experienced too frequently in construction is a person being struck by a saw or a grinder which has kicked back and struck their head, neck or upper body.

Struck-by injuries are caused by a powerful impact between the person and the piece of equipment they are operating or are working near.

A kickback is a sudden reaction to a pinched, jammed or bound-up saw blade or grinding disk. The pinching, binding or snagging causes a rapid stalling of the rotating blade or disk, which causes the tool to be forced in the opposite direction of the blade or disk’s rotation.

PRIMARY CAUSE OF EQUIPMENT KICKBACK

Avoid cutting with the upper quadrant of the blade or wheel. Be especially careful of pinching or binding of the wheel in this area, which can cause severe reactive forces in a rotational kickback motion.

CAUSES OF EQUIPMENT KICKBACK

  • Material being cut or ground is not secured.
  • The material collapses inward, and the blade is pinched.
  • Working in an unstable position causing the blade to bind.
  • Worn flanges can result in the blade being improperly supported.

AVOIDING KICKBACK

  • Inspect the blade and the guard to make sure they are in good condition.
  • Check the blade to ensure it has been installed correctly, and the blade rotates in the right direction.
  • Support the material being cut to avoid pinching or binding the blade.
  • Position the equipment so that your body is clear of the cutting attachment.
  • Avoid positioning the equipment above your shoulders.
  • Cut with the bottom quadrant of the blade or wheel.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

ROADWAY & ASPHALT PAVING SAFETY

Potential hazards during roadway construction and asphalt paving include:

  • Getting struck by heavy equipment and vehicles.
  • Radiant heat from hot mix asphalt.
  • Strains and sprains.

STRUCK BY

Struck-by accidents account for 11% of construction fatalities.1 Vehicle and equipment traffic including dump trucks, paving equipment, rollers and other heavy equipment, creates a struck-by hazard for contractors working within the project.

The size and height of equipment create blind spots for the operator that can extend greater than 10 feet outside the perimeter of the vehicle or equipment.2

  • Before an employee goes to a location in the hazard area that is out of view of the operator, the employee must ensure that the operator is aware of/informed they are going to that area.3
  • Never walk in front, along the side or behind moving vehicles or equipment.
  • Maintain a three-foot perimeter around all operating vehicles and equipment.
  • No work activity should take place within the swing radius of excavation equipment.

HOT MIX ASPHALT TEMPERATURES

The temperature of regular hot mix asphalt will average between 275 – 300F. The radiant heat of the hot mix asphalt combined with excessive summer temperatures can increase the possibility of heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Hydrate early, and hydrate often. For every pound of lost body weight, you should consume16 ounces of water or electrolyte beverage. Tell your supervisor or foreman immediately if you begin to feel dizzy, fatigued or nauseated; experience muscle cramps; or if you develop a headache.

STRAINS AND SPRAINS

Stepping on and off vehicles and equipment creates the possibility for an injury.

  • Maintain three points of contact when getting on or off equipment.
  • Be aware of the surface you are stepping on to.

Lifting materials and equipment

  • Put yourself in a good position.
  • Keep the object close to your waist (center of mass). The farther your shoulders are past your waist, the greater the chance of injury.
  • Don’t act foolishly. Know your limits. Ask for help when you need it.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018
2. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/highwayworkzones/bad/imagelookup.html
3. 1926.1424(a)(3)(i)

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

Blind Spot Safety

Originally published 05/22/2018

Definition: A blind spot is the area around a vehicle or piece of construction equipment that is not visible to the operators, either by direct line-of-sight or indirectly by use of internal and external mirrors.

Many people know that virtually all vehicles have blind spots, however most people don’t realize how big they are!

Here are some tips that can keep us all safe around vehicles and equipment:

  • If you’re the driver, ensure you don’t do things to distract you from your surroundings while operating the machinery.
  • Cordon off the area with temporary fencing or hazard tape where possible.
  • A spotter should be used when you cannot practically isolate your equipment from other workers.
  • All pedestrians onsite should be aware of a vehicle’s blind spots and know how to signal the driver if required.
  • The machinery should be stopped if someone needs to approach.
  • If possible, do the bulk of the work with machinery with minimal people onsite.
  • Tools/Attachments on vehicles can create greater blind spots. They can also reduce visibility, or swing which can increase the risk to workers being struck or pinned.
  • Watch out for heavy equipment moving with raised buckets and be ready for possible sudden movements of booms or changes in direction of equipment movement.
  • Do not cross directly in front of or immediately behind large, heavy equipment or trucks where the operator sits higher in the vehicle.
  • Properly adjusting vehicle mirrors can substantially reduce blind spots. Video cameras are also a good source to use to reduce blind spots.
  • Technology such as proximity detectors are very useful, but technology doesn’t replace the need for situational awareness.
  • Radars and sensors can also be helpful to warn workers and drivers.
  • Consider GPS installed on equipment as well as wearable GPS tracking worn by workers.
  • Develop an Internal Traffic Control Plan- Strategies to control the flow of construction workers, vehicles, and equipment inside the work zone.
  • Reduce hazards for equipment operators such as: reducing the need to back up, limiting access points to work zones, establishing pedestrian-free areas where possible, and establishing work zone layouts to accommodate the type of equipment.
  • Provide signs within the work zone to give guidance to pedestrians, equipment, and trucks.

Download a recording form here.

Carbon Monoxide Hazards

Originally published 11/3/2016

Small gasoline-powered engines and tools used in construction can produce high concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a poisonous gas that can cause illness, permanent neurological damage and death. Because it is tasteless, colorless, odorless and non-irritating, CO can overcome exposed persons without warning. There is often little time before they experience symptoms that inhibit their ability to seek safety.

Common signs of overexposure to CO include headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, visual disturbances, changes in personality and loss of consciousness. Any of these symptoms can occur within minutes.

Prior use of equipment without incident has sometimes given users a false sense of safety. Recommendations for preventing CO poisoning include:

  • Educate workers about the sources and conditions that could result in CO poisoning, as well as the symptoms and control of CO exposure.
  • Conduct a workplace survey to identify all potential sources of CO exposure.
  • Use personal CO monitors where potential sources of CO exist. These monitors should be equipped with audible alarms to warn workers when CO concentrations are too high.
  • Consider the use of tools powered by electricity or compressed air if they are available and can be used safely.
  • When using gasoline-powered engines or tools outside of a building, never place them near air intakes so that engine exhaust is not drawn indoors.
  • Always place the pump and power unit of high-pressure washers outdoors. Run only the high-pressure wash line inside.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is often misdiagnosed as the flu. If you suspect that a worker has symptoms associated with carbon monoxide poisoning, take the following steps:

  • Open the doors and windows.
  • Turn off combustion appliances and have everyone leave the area immediately.
  • Since CO can cause long-term, and even permanent injury and illness, seek medical attention.

A CO detector can be a viable solution to preventing CO-related mishaps. It is a small, easy-to-install gadget that is available at most hardware stores. CO detectors usually cost less than $100, and some even combine the safety features of a smoke alarm with carbon monoxide detection.

Like other jobsite hazards, CO mishaps are preventable. We must all recognize where the hazards exist and put appropriate controls in place to avoid unintentional injuries.

Download the recording form here.