RUSHING HAZARDS

When you take a chance by doing something you know isn’t safe, just to save a minute or two, you can end up with a time pressure injury.

Being rushed or in a hurry can:

  • Distract your attention from hazards you would normally recognize.
  • Create stress which releases the hormone, cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol can cause you to make impulsive decisions.
  • Lead you to take shortcuts in a process or procedure that was intended to prevent injuries.
  • Cause you to try to do too much.
  • Make you forget to ask for help to complete a task or find the correct tool or equipment to complete the work activity.
  • Lead to errors that cause you to redo the work, erasing any of the time you saved by rushing in the first place.
  • Prompt you to take shortcuts like walking between pieces of equipment instead of around them.
  • Cause you to strike objects with greater force and less accuracy, resulting in an injury – or a more severe injury.
  • Reduce your reaction time to changing conditions.

PREVENTION STRATEGIES

  • Take a minute to plan.
  • Use the right tools and equipment for the job.
  • Wear the correct PPE, even if it means taking more time to finish the task.
  • Replace the guards on equipment after completing maintenance or blade replacement.
  • Ask for help lifting or moving material or equipment.

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POISONOUS PLANTS

OSHA 1926.21(b)(4) states: In job site areas where harmful plants or animals are present, employees who may be exposed shall be instructed regarding the potential hazards, and how to avoid injury and the first aid procedures to be used in the event of injury.

PLANTS

Poison ivy has poisonous sap called urushiol (u-ROO-she-ol) in its roots, stems and leaves that causes skin irritation and blisters. Poison ivy has slightly shiny, dark green leaves that are found in groups of three. They can be smooth or notched. The plant most commonly grows as a vine, but you can also find it as a low-growing shrub. Exposure can cause a rash that can take up to 48 hours to appear and may last two-three weeks. The fluid from blisters cannot cause additional skin reaction.

Contrary to common belief, poison oak is not found in Indiana.

While not as abundant as the poison ivies and poison oaks, poison sumac is typically found in wet or swampy areas as it likes to grow in or near water. Poison sumac grows as a bush or tree with some maturing to heights of twenty feet. If the sumac plant does not have flowers or waxy, white berries, you can identify it by the red stems and feather-shaped leaves.

PREVENTION

Keep exposed skin covered when you are working in areas where contact is possible. Avoid burning poisonous plants or being in the area where brush and poisonous plants are being burned, as the poisonous sap can spread as a fume. Airborne sap can be inhaled, absorbed through the eyes or unprotected skin. The effects can be extremely hazardous.

TREATMENT

If you are exposed:

  • Wash the exposed areas of skin immediately with mild soap and running water.
  • Launder exposed clothing several times before you wear it again.
  • Avoid scratching affected areas. This can lead to infection.
  • Use corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone cream, to relieve symptoms.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people who have had severe reactions in the past to any of these plants, contact a dermatologist as soon as possible after a new exposure.

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CAUGHT-IN/BETWEEN PART II

Caught-in or caught-between accidents happen when someone is caught, crushed, squeezed or pinched between two or more objects. Examples include getting trapped between a barrier wall and a piece of heavy equipment, getting your hand caught in an unguarded piece of equipment or being buried by a trench cave-in. Caught- in/between and struck-by accidents account for 27% of all nonfatal injuries involving days away from work for contractors in the highway, street and bridge construction classification (NAICS 237300).

CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT AND VEHICLES

  • Ensure that backup alarms/signals are working on all equipment.
  • Use a spotter when you back equipment or vehicles in areas with obstructed views or congestion.
  • Walk around, NOT between, equipment or vehicles during work activity.
  • Make visual or verbal contact with the operator before you approach equipment or vehicles.
  • When you approach equipment or vehicles, maintain at least three feet of distance from it to avoid contact.
  • Erect barricades, warning lines or other recognized procedures to prevent others from entering an excavator or crane swing radius.

EXCAVATIONS

  • OSHA requires trench protection (slope, bench, trench box, shoring) for all excavations five feet or greater in depth.
  • You must maintain all dirt and equipment at least two feet from the edge of the excavation.
  • Ladders need to be accessible within 25 feet.
  • You must remove water accumulation within the excavation, as it can undermine the sides and increase the potential of a collapse.

POWERED TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

  • All guards must be in place and in good condition on all power tools and equipment.
  • Never place your hands inside equipment to clean it while it’s operating.
  • Release any stored energy before performing maintenance.
  • Be aware of loose clothing, jewelry, hair or other items that could be potentially caught in rotating equipment.

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SAFE RIGGING

Improper rigging, rigging failure and shifting loads can be a contributing cause to struck-by and caught-between injuries (part of OSHA’s Focus Four). To prevent rigging and lifting-related injuries; below are OSHA standards and safe work practices associated with rigging for material handling detailed in 1926 Subpart H: Materials Handling, Storage, Use, and Disposal: 1926.251.

INSPECTIONS

  • A designated competent person must inspect a sling and all its fastenings and attachments for damage or defects each day before you use it.
  • Inspect rigging equipment before each shift and as necessary while you’re using it to ensure it’s safe.
  • Record each inspection.
  • Remove damaged or defective rigging equipment (web slings, alloy steel chains, wire rope) from service.
  • Don’t shorten slings with knots or bolts or other makeshift devices.
  • Don’t place your hands or fingers between the sling and its load while you’re tightening the sling.
  • When the load is resting on a sling, don’t pull the sling from under it.
  • Always connect two slings with a shackle; never tie two or more web slings together.
  • Never attach a sling directly to a lifting lug.
  • Do not use a shackle-to-shackle connection.
  • Don’t stand, walk or work under suspended loads.
  • Don’t place your hands on a suspended load to control it. Use a tagline.
  • Inspect the area for overhead utilities, trees and other overhead safety hazards.
  • Store rigging equipment so that it won’t be damaged by environmental or other conditions.

IDENTIFICATION MARKINGS

  • Rigging must have permanent, legible identification markings.
  • Don’t use rigging without permanent, legible identification markings.
  • Don’t load rigging beyond its recommended safe working load.

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FALLS AND EQUIPMENT

Falls are the No. 1 cause of construction worker fatalities. This OSHA statistic includes falls from equipment and large vehicles.

WHEN YOU ARE ENTERING OR EXITING CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT AND LARGE VEHICLES

  • Face the equipment.
  • Maintain three points of contact.
  • Be aware of loose clothing, shoelaces, jewelry or other items that can potentially get caught on steps or handholds.
  • Don’t jump off the equipment.
  • Ensure the handholds and steps are clean and undamaged.
  • Pay attention to the surrounding ground conditions.
  • Turn off the engine and engage the brakes before leaving.
  • Avoid carrying materials and tools when climbing.

MAINTENANCE CONSIDERATIONS

  • Falls can happen when you’re performing daily inspections and routine maintenance checks.
  • Use a stepladder to check the engine and other service locations.
  • Avoid climbing on equipment areas that are not intended to be used as walking surfaces.

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CONCRETE SAFETY – CONCRETE BURNS

HEALTH HAZARDS

Along with quartz (crystalline silica), dry concrete contains calcium oxide. When it’s dry, calcium oxide can potentially cause respiratory irritation. The more serious hazard is when you add water to the concrete mix. When water mixes with calcium oxide, it forms calcium hydroxide, which is extremely alkaline (caustic) with a pH of 12 to 13.

Skin contact with calcium hydroxide can result in red, irritated or blistered skin. Calcium hydroxide contact can cause second- or third-degree burns that can form slowly over hours or days. Wet concrete is also hygroscopic, drawing water away from anything that holds moisture, including wet clothing or skin.

If your skin or eyes have been exposed to wet concrete, you need to take immediate action to reduce the severity of the injury:

  • Immediately wash the exposed area with clean water for approximately 20 minutes. Add vinegar to the water to help neutralize the alkalinity. Never use a water/vinegar solution to rinse the eyes.
  • Flush eyes with clean water and get immediate medical attention.
  • Remove and replace any wet PPE or clothing.
  • Wash all exposed skin areas, even if you are not aware of contact. Concrete burns can take hours to form.
  • Seek professional medical attention immediately and provide the medical personnel with the product Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

You must wear PPE to protect the skin and eyes from contact with concrete containing calcium hydroxide.

  • Safety glasses –create a barrier between your eyes and wet concrete with appropriate eye protection.
  • Chemical-resistant gloves – protect the hands with PVC, nitrile or neoprene gloves.
  • Rubber boots – prevent contact with the feet, ankles and calves. Take additional measures to prevent concrete from entering over the top of the boots.
  • Knee pads or boards – knees and lower extremities are susceptible to concrete exposure during finishing activities. Wear knee pads or use knee boards to prevent contact.

DO NOT DELAY in getting medical treatment if your skin is exposed to wet concrete. Delaying treatment can mean the difference between a mild burn and a severe injury.

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