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Archive for July, 2017

Excavation, Trenching, and Shoring

An excavation is any man made cut, cavity, trench or depression in the earth’s surface.  A trench is a narrow excavation made below the surface of the ground with a width not greater than 15 feet.

Excavations and trenches are areas where our work is normally not performed.  However, when we do perform in these areas, employees must be trained, a competent person must be onsite, and inspections must be completed.  Excavations and trenches are one of OSHA’s national emphasis program and continue to cause fatalities every year.  It is imperative that employees are trained and follow all rules and regulations while enter a trench or excavation.  The following are a list of safety precautions while working in or around trenches or excavations:

  • The area must be cleared, approved and a site specific safety plan must be completed by the Gribbins Insulation representative prior to the start of an excavation.  An excavation may be considered a confined space, therefore atmospheric testing may be required.
  • All excavations must have safe access ways, be properly barricaded and shall have a flashing light barricade at night.  Spoil dirt may be used to barricade one side of a ditch or similar excavation.  All dirt must be piled at least three feet back from the edge of an excavation and must be at least three feet high when used as a barricade.
  • All excavations four feet or deeper into which personnel may be allowed to enter, no matter how brief, shall be shored, benched and/or sloped to comply with OSHA requirements.
  • Access and egress ladders are required in any excavation at a minimum of every 25 feet of lateral travel per OSHA regulation.
  • Gribbins Insulation will have a competent person, as defined by OSHA, supervising all excavation work.  The competent person shall inspect the excavation daily before work begins and after significant amount of rain or other conditions that may increase hazards.  The competent person shall complete annual refresher training.
  • All soils are to be considered Class “C” unless a soil laboratory determines and documents otherwise.
  • All excavations shall be inspected daily using the Gribbins Insulation Excavation Inspection form.
  • All walkways over a trench/excavation shall have guardrails, if they are 6 feet or more above the bottom of the trench/exaction.
  • All adjacent structures shall be supported to prevent a collapse.
  • Check all excavation walls before entering and after a heavy rain or thaw.  Inspect shoring daily or more often in extremely wet weather.
  • Nobody is permitted in an excavation while equipment is being used next to the edge.
  • All excavations within three feet of a known active underground pipeline, conduit, or cable shall be hand probed and dug using insulated tools.  If the underground utility cannot be found, all work shall stop at this location and the Gribbins Insulation field representative shall be notified.
  • No employee is permitted to enter a trench or excavation without being properly trained.

Body Mechanics

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk

Body mechanics describes the way you move during daily work activities.  The positions that you put your body in on a jobsite can greatly increase your chance of incidents or injuries.  Body mechanics play an important role in keeping you safe on a day to day basis.

The following are a list of frequent body movements and ways you can reduce your risk of injury:

  • Bending
    • Place your feet apart with one foot advanced, lower your body by flexing hip and knee joints and keeping your upright position, shift your body weight forward so that is rest on the advanced foot and on the ball of the rear foot, raise your body to standing position by extending the hip and knee joints while keeping your body aligned and balanced.
    • If possible move work area to a more suitable location.
    • Make sure you have the right equipment before moving material.
  • Twisting
    • Try to keep your work area in the middle of your body.
    • Have the right equipment for the job.
    • If you need to change position from a ladder move the ladder instead of twisting.
    • Move your whole body instead of just twisting your upper torso.
  • Standing
    • Wear the proper foot protection with adequate grip for the task.
    • Keep your feet flat on the floor and separated about 12 inches
    • Keep your back straight.
  • Walking
    • Keep your back straight.
    • Keep your eyes on the walking path and things going on around you.
  • When Lifting
    • Keep our back straight.
    • Bend from your hips and knees.  Don’t bend at the waist.
    • Keep objects close to your body.
    • Use mechanical lifting devices when possible.  If objects weigh over 50 lbs, two people are required.
  • Reaching
    • Try to move to a more accessible, better location before beginning work if you can.
    • Use smooth, coordinated movements.
    • Do not reach to use tools or move heavy materials.
    • Avoid twisting, move your whole body.
  • Pushing or Pulling
    • Use your body weight to help push or pull objects.
    • Keep your back straight.
    • Lower your body to the height of the object.  Do not bend at the waist.
  • Other
    • When working around existing equipment or situations, take time to look at the best place to perform your work.  Always look for the position that will put the least strain on your body.

Be sure to practice correct body mechanics during each work day. They allow you to reduce your risk of injury, to look more professional and to feel less fatigued.

Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens may not be a hazard that we face every day on jobsites, but it is important that employees are aware of these hazards and know what to do if they are faced with them.  Bloodborne pathogens are not visible, so employees should take necessary precautions whenever these situations occur.

Bloodborne pathogens are microscopic organisms that are carried in the blood and other bodily fluids that can cause disease to humans.  The types of diseases caused by bloodborne pathogens include hepatitis B and C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  Bloodborne pathogens are usually transmitted when disease organisms enter the body through mucus membranes or breaks in the skin.  It is imperative that employees take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from possible infectious material.

Gribbins Insulation has established an exposure control plan.  This plan is in place to eliminate or minimize employee exposure.  This plan must be updated annually to reflect technological changes that will help eliminate or reduce exposure to blood borne pathogens.  A copy of this program can be found in the Gribbins Insulation Safety Manual.

Always protect yourself by presuming blood and other bodily fluids contain blood borne pathogens.  Using the idea of “Universal Precautions” will reduce your risk of infection.  These precautions include the use of barriers such as, surgical rubber gloves, mouthpieces for CPR, aprons and protective eyewear, which should all be located in First Aid Kits.  These barriers can reduce the risk of exposure to potentially infection materials.  Employees trained in First Aid and CPR should receive training annually on how to protect themselves from possible infectious materials.

If you are exposed to blood or other bodily fluids, immediately wash the area with soap and water and report the exposure to the Safety Department.  If an employee has an occupational exposure, the Hepatitis B vaccine, post exposure evaluation and follow up visit is available to the employee, with no cost to the employee.

Medical records will be kept on all occupational exposures in accordance with CFR 1910.1020.  These records are available to the employee upon request and the transfer of records will only be done with the written consent of the employee.

If you come across blood or any other bodily fluids inform the Owner, General Contractor or Safety Department immediately.  All areas or equipment that have had contact with blood or other bodily fluids shall be cleaned and decontaminated.  All blood or bodily fluid contaminated items shall be placed in closable containers constructed to prevent leakage, red in color and affixed with a red-orange “Biohazard” label.  These containers shall then be disposed of properly.

President’s Message

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Announcing our final safety star winners from 2017!

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Posted: 06/25/18 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Higher temperatures can lead to heat-related illnesses. Learn to recognize the symptoms and catch them early.

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Posted: 06/18/18 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Although noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupation illnesses, it is often ignored because there are no visible effects.

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