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Archive for January, 2018

Incident Reporting and Record Keeping

It is Gribbins policy that you report all incidents, accidents and near misses immediately.

All near misses, first aids, property damage incidents and injuries should be reported immediately to your foreman.  Once the foreman is aware of the incident they should contact one of the following within 30 minutes:

  • Trevor Atherton at 812-483-8049
  • Rick Jordan at 812-305-1801
  • Kent Kafka at 317-480-6252
  • Connor McCoy at 618-554-7348

Once the safety department is notified, the Area Manager should also be notified.

It is to the employee’s benefit to report these incidents immediately.   The employee can receive the medical care that is required to prevent increased severity of the injury and decrease pain and suffering.  One example of this is an eye injury:  if an employee feels like they have gotten something in their eye it needs to be reported immediately so they can get the appropriate first aid care to remove the debris.  This is an incident that if not taken care of immediately can cause more damage to the eye by the employee rubbing their eye or the debris becoming imbedded in the eye.  Another example would be lacerations that could become infected.  It is imperative that the laceration be cleaned out and antibiotics applied to prevent infection.  Another reason to report is that worker’s compensation requires the employee report the incident within the work shift that the injury occurs.  Also, when incidents and near misses are reported procedures or policies can be put in place to keep employees from being injured in the future from the same types of incidents.  If incidents are not reported immediately disciplinary action will be taken.

OSHA requires each contractor to use the OSHA 300 log to record each injury or illness during the year that meet the OSHA’s determination of a recordable, restricted duty or lost time accident.  At the end of the year the employer is required to fill out the OSHA 300A log and post it on each jobsite from February 1st thru April 30th of each year.  If OSHA conducts an inspection on your site during this time frame and the log is not onsite it results in an OSHA violation and a fine.  As long as you have this log in the back of your safety manual, you will be covered.  The log is also available here.  The password is required to access the page.  Contact the safety department for the password.

Report all incidents to your foreman or the safety department immediately!

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong smelling gas often found in water based solutions.  Commonly used as a preservative in medical laboratories and mortuaries, formaldehyde is also found in many products such as chemicals, particle board, household products, glues, permanent press fabrics, paper product coatings, fiberboard and plywood.  It is also widely used as an industrial fungicide, germicide and disinfectant.  Mineral wool insulation contains 1% to 4% formaldehyde used as a binder.

Although the term formaldehyde describes various mixtures of formaldehyde, water and alcohol, the term “formalin” is used to describe a saturated solution of formaldehyde dissolved in water, typically with another agent, most commonly methanol, added to stabilize the solution.  Formalin is typically 37% formaldehyde by weight and 6 to 13% methanol by volume of water.  The formaldehyde component provides the disinfectant effects of formalin.

The OSHA Formaldehyde standard (29 CFR 1910.1048) and equivalent regulations in states with OSHA approved state plans protects workers exposed to formaldehyde and apply to all occupational exposures to formaldehyde from formaldehyde gas, its solutions and materials that release formaldehyde.  The permissible exposure limit (PEL) for formaldehyde in the workplace is 0.75 parts formaldehyde per million parts of air (0.75 ppm) measured over an 8 hour time weighted average (TWA).  The standard includes a second PEL in the form of a short term exposure limit (STEL) of 2 ppm which is the maximum exposure allowed during a 15 minute period.  The action level, which is the standard’s trigger for increased industrial hygiene monitoring and initiation of worker medical surveillance is 0.5 ppm when calculated as an 8 hour TWA.  Gribbins Insulation Company has conducted industrial hygiene sampling on employees working with formaldehyde with results ranging from less than 0.01 ppm to 0.05 ppm.

Formaldehyde is a sensitizing agent that can cause an immune system response upon initial exposure.  It is also a cancer hazard.  Acute exposure is highly irritating to the eyes, nose and throat and can make anyone exposed cough and wheeze.  Subsequent exposure may cause severe allergic reactions to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.  Ingestion of formaldehyde can be fatal and long term exposure to low levels in the air or on the skin can cause asthma like respiratory problems and skin irritation such as dermatitis and itching.  Concentrations of 100 ppm are immediately dangerous to life and health. Workers can inhale formaldehyde as a gas or vapor or absorb it through the skin as a liquid.  They can be exposed during the treatment of textiles and the production of resins.  Airborne concentrations of formaldehyde above 0.1 ppm can cause irritation to the respiratory tract.  The severity of irritation intensifies as concentrations increase.

Provision of the OSHA standard requires employers to do the following:

  • Indentify all workers who may be exposed to formaldehyde at or above the action level or STEL through initial monitoring and determine their exposure.
  • Reassign workers who suffer significant adverse effects from exposure to jobs with significantly less or no exposure until their condition improves.  Reassignment may continue for up to 6 months until the worker is determined to be able to return to the original job or to be unable to return to work, whichever comes first.
  • Implement feasible engineering and work practice controls to reduce and maintain worker exposure to formaldehyde at or below the 8 hour TWA and the STEL.  If these controls cannot reduce exposure to or below the PELs, employers must provide workers with respirators.
  • Label all mixtures or solutions composed of greater than 0.1% formaldehyde and materials capable of releasing formaldehyde into the air at concentrations reaching or exceeding 0.1 ppm.  For all materials capable of releasing formaldehyde at levels above 0.5 ppm during normal use, the label must contain the words “potential cancer hazard.”
  • Train all workers exposed to formaldehyde concentrations of 0.1 ppm or greater at the time of initial job assignment and whenever a new exposure to formaldehyde is introduced into the work area.  Repeat training annually.
  • Select, provide and maintain appropriate personal protective equipment.  Ensure that workers use PPE such as impervious clothing, gloves, aprons and chemical splash goggles to prevent skin and eye contact.
  • Provide showers and eyewash stations if splashing is likely.
  • Provide medical surveillance for all workers exposed to formaldehyde at concentrations at or above the action level or exceeding the STEL, for those who develop signs and symptoms of overexposure, and for all workers exposed to formaldehyde in emergencies.

Safety STARS!

The Gribbins Safety STAR Program is a new positive recognition program for all of our employees.  Any employee can nominate any other employee!  Each quarter, the safety department, area managers, and field coordinators will review all nominations and select up to 5 winners.  The winner and the nominator will each receive 20 bonus safety points.

Click here for the online nomination form.

Congratulations to the winners from the 3rd quarter of 2017!

DEREK BECK
“Employee called scaffold company to build hard barricade around grating removal and contacted owner to ensure we were in compliance with their program.”

DAN FRYER
“Employee contacted safety to discuss how to proceed on a line that was difficult to access and had a plug missing.”

ROB HAYNES
“Employee had secured pick boards with wire and danger-taped around them so no other employees could access without their permission.”

MARK LAUBSCHER
“Employee was working out of a 125′ aerial lift and noticed the area barricaded below didn’t entirely cover the area below.  He came down and extended the barricade before continuing work.”

BRAD NEWTON
“Employee ensured all Gribbins employees were wearing proper PPE on the jobsite even though other contractors were not.”

4th quarter winners will be announced soon!

Knife Safety

Knives are a tool we use every day.  When used correctly they are very valuable, but when used incorrectly they become a very serious hazard.  Up to one-third of all hand tool injuries occur while using utility knives, and it only takes a second of inattention to become severely Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talkinjured.  The following are a list of safety rules to prevent injuries when using a utility knife:

  • Before beginning a task with a utility knife determine the correct blade for the task at hand by asking the following questions:  Is this the appropriate blade for the task?  What is the best type of blade edge for the task?  Is the handle of the knife large enough to have a secure grip?  Is the knife designed to reduce bending your wrist?
  • Always cut away from you body if possible.  To prevent laceration to yourself or others.
  • Be aware of where the knife will go if it accidentally slips.  Keep your other hand and fingers above the blade when cutting.  That way if the blade slips it will not lacerate your hand.
  • When not in use, store the knife with the blade retracted.  Do not leave a knife with the blade exposed on work surface, tool pouch or anywhere else.
  • Stay focused on the task at hand.  Do not be distracted by others working or talking around you.
  • Always use a sharp knife.  Sharper blades require less force and give you better control.  Some people think that a dull blade may be safer, but this is false.
  • Always secure material on a solid surface before cutting.  Do not try to cut materials while you are holding them.
  • Only use knives for their intended purpose, cutting.
  • Extend the blade only as far as need to cut through the material.  This will reduce the risk of breaking the blade.
  • If you drop your knife do not try to catch it.  Let it come to a complete stop before picking up.
  • Keep knives oiled and clean.
  • Only hold the knife by the handle.
  • Hand knives to others handle first, with the cutting edge away from you palm with the blade retracted.  Never throw knives to other employees.
  • Do not distract or startle someone who is using a knife.
  • Never point a knife at another employee.
  • Never chop or strike objects to try and cut them with a knife.
  • Clean your knife regularly and periodically lubricate.
  • Cut resistant or Kevlar gloves and safety glasses are required at all times while using utility knives.
  • A safety straight edge should be used whenever possible to reduce the risk of lacerations while using a utility knife.

Sprains and Strains – Prevention and Stretching

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are over 440,000 sprain and strain injuries each year.  With cooler temperatures, the muscles take longer to warm up, so it is imperative that employees take time each morning to stretch.  Proper lifting techniques and body mechanics also reduce the risk of these injuries from occurring.

Always use proper lifting techniques:

  •  Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Size up the load before you lift.
  • Have a secure grip before lifting.
  • Do not twist you body when lifting.
  • Do not exceed your lifting capabilities.
  • Stop lifting immediately if you feel pain.
  • Do not lift heavy object above or away from you body.
  • Use mechanical lifting devices when possible.

Stretching lengthens muscles and tendons and allows muscles to generate more force around the joints, contract more efficiently and perform better.  The following are a list of recommended stretches to perform before beginning work.  Each stretch should be done for 20 to 30 seconds, it should be comfortable enough to hold for 10 seconds.

Back:

  • Bend slowly side to side
  • Place your hands on your lower back, bend your neck back and arch your back.
  • Place your legs together, slowly bend down and try to touch your toes.
  • Slowly twist your upper body side to side.

Legs/Knees:

  • Stand on one leg and reach behind your back and pull you foot up.
  • Spread your legs, bend down and try to touch the ground.

Shoulders:

  • Extend your arms and make a large, slow circular motion with your arms.  Forward then backwards.
  • Grab the opposite elbow and pull the elbow across your body.

Neck:

  • Make a slow circular motion by rotating your head clockwise and then counter clockwise.
  • Place your hand on one side of your head and use your neck muscle to push against your hand.  Then switch and push from the other direction.

 

Fall Protection Training

Duty to Have Fall Protection

Each employee on a walking/working surface 6 feet or more above a lower level where leading edges are under construction, but is not engaged in the leading edge work, shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.  Areas that require fall protection include, but are not limited to aerial lifts, scaffolds, ladders, leading edge work, pipe racks, working from ladders close to guardrails and roofs.  Gribbins Insulation adheres to a 100% fall protection rule.

Guardrails – must have vertical post spaced no more than 8 feet apart, top rails should be 42” above the walking/working surface plus or minus 3” and capable of withstanding 200 lbs, mid rails shall be installed half way between the top rail and platform and capable of withstanding 150 lbs of side force and toe boards shall be placed at floor level with no more than 1/2” opening and capable of withstand 50 lbs of side force.

Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) – consist of anchorage, connectors, lanyard, deceleration device, a life line and full body harness, all must have a tensile strength of at least 5000 lbs, you must comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper use and design, fall protection equipment shall only be used for employee protection, any equipment subject to impact loading shall be immediately removed from service, all components of the PFAS should be compatible.  Full Body Harness – back d-ring shall be located in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades and leg straps shall be securely attached, harnesses are good for 5 years.  Shock Absorbing Lanyard – shock absorbing end shall be attached to the harness, shall not be connected to a retractable lanyard and unused legs of the lanyard shall not be attached back to the harness unless a specifically designed lanyard retainer is provided,  shall not be tied in knots, are good for 3 years.  Connectors – double locking snap hooks are required, only one snap hook shall be connected to a d-ring, never connect to snap hooks together, never connect the snap hook back to the lanyard unless specifically designed for that purpose and never connect a snap hook in which the snap hook will not fully close and lock.

Planning – Plan your fall protection system and how it will be used before starting your work.  Consider all factors that will affect your safety before, during and after a fall.  Anchorage Points – shall be capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs, shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms, guard rails are not an adequate anchorage point.  Free Fall – OSHA requires the maximum arresting force to be placed on an employee not to exceed 1,800 lbs to achieve this PFAS must be rigged so the potential free fall is never great than 6 ft, always tie off above you head.  Swing Falls – occur when the anchorage point is not directly above the point where a fall occurs, the force of strike an object may cause serious injury, review the specific requirement for your retractable, but work directly below the anchorage point as possible.  Fall Clearance – ensure adequate clearance exist in your path to prevent striking objects below, when using a 6 ft shock absorbing lanyard it is recommend you give yourself at least 18 ½ ft clearance below that is the distance it will take you to come to a complete stop, if you do not have that amount of clearance a self retracting lanyard must be used.  Sharp Edges – provide protection if lifelines or lanyards will come into contact with sharp edges.  Rescue – a rescue plan must be in place before a PFAS is used in case there is a fall rescue must occur within 15 minutes.

Inspection – PFAS shall be inspected prior to each use by the person using the equipment.  It should be inspected for tears, cuts, burns, abrasion, chemicals, date it is manufactured, discoloration or any other types of damage.  Tags shall also be inspected to ensure the date it is manufactured and serial number are legible.  If found to be defective on tags are not legible, it shall be immediately tagged and removed from service.  PFAS shall be inspected by a competent person at least quarterly.

President’s Message

2018 Q1 Safety Stars!

Posted: 04/19/18 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Working at heights, training, possible asbestos, and even icicles!

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Q4 2017 Safety Star Winners

Posted: 02/02/18 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Announcing our final safety star winners from 2017!

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Toolbox Talk

Heat Stress and Related Illnesses

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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Hearing Protection

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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