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Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Sprains and Strains – Prevention and Stretching

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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.

Housekeeping

A clean jobsite with everything in its place is a safer job site. Good housekeeping improves every aspect of working including safety. It is easier to perform your work if you are not climbing over debris or always looking for misplaced materials or tools. Housekeeping completed once a week will not do the trick. Each individual has the responsibility to clean their work areas as they go.
Poor housekeeping can lead to many safety hazards including slips, trips and fall, punctures, falling debris, laceration, electric shock, rodents and chemical hazards just to name a few.

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox TalkA list of housekeeping requirements:

  • Clean your work area as you work. Don’t let trash accumulate.
  • Areas shall be kept in a sanitary condition.
  • Floors shall be kept clear and dry.
  • Areas shall be free of loose boards, hole, protruding nails and splinters.
  • All extension cords, hoses, equipment, materials, debris, etc. shall be place out of walkways and off stairs.
  • Waste, trash, oily and used rags and other refuse shall be separated in provided containers.
  • Waste containers holding garbage, oily, flammable or hazardous waste shall be covered.
  • Garbage and other waste shall be disposed of at frequent regular intervals.
  • Materials that could become airborne shall be secured. This includes aluminum sheets or rolled, aluminum scraps, boxes or plywood.
  • Always return tools and equipment to proper storage location once you are finished with them. This makes it easier to find them and reduces the risk of them being damaged.
  • Food packaging or food scraps shall be placed in waste containers. Not just thrown on the floor.
  • Never run or leave extension cord near heat or water.
  • Do not stack boxes or materials where they can become unstable and fall.
  • All containers must be label as to their contents.
  • When you see a hazard, correct it if possible. If you cannot correct it, report it to your supervisor. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

We have all seen or been on jobs where you must pay close attention to where you are stepping due to poor housekeeping. Make your job a safer job by performing good housekeeping.

Eye and Face Protection

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According to the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) approximately 2,000 eye injuries occur every day at work in the United States.  The construction industry has one of the highest rates.  OSHA requires eye and face protective equipment where there is a reasonable probability of preventing injury when such equipment is used.  Employers must provide a type of protector suitable for work to be performed, and employees must use the protectors.

Employees must make the necessary effort to keep their protective eyewear in good condition.  This includes cleaning and protecting your eyewear when not in use.  If your protective eyewear is inadequate to wear, turn it into your foreman for a new pair.

Employees will wear ANSI Z87.1 eye protection, at a minimum, at all times. Employees that require corrective spectacles will be required to wear approved side shields or goggles.

Foam lined safety glasses or goggles are types of eye protections that provides protection against dust and particles.  These are about the size and weight as normal safety glasses.  These fit tight to the face and have a foam gasket that presses against the employee’s face for seal.  This type of eye protection provides greater protection against dust and particles if worn correctly.

Foam lined safety glasses or goggles will be required whenever tearing off material, working in dust environments, working below other employee or with the following types of insulation and/or insulation that has the potential to enter the eye:

  • Cellular glass (foamglas)
  • Calcium silicate
  • Polyisocyanurate (urethane)
  • Perlite

A face shield and safety glasses are required when cutting or grinding with a Metabo or when shooting pins.

A welding hood with the proper filter lens is required when welding.

Report to your supervisor or the safety department immediately if you think something has entered your eye.  Usually the quicker the debris is removed from the eye, the better the outcome for the employee.  In the instance that debris does get into your eye the first thing to remember is not to rub your eye.  Rubbing your eye may cause further injury to your eye.  Try to let tears wash the debris out.  If tears do not get the debris out, try using eyewash.  If the debris is still in your eye, lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid.  If these techniques do not work keep your eye closed and report to your supervisor for further instruction.

Cold Related Illnesses & Injuries

Many construction jobs expose employees to cold temperatures during the winter months.  It important that employees know how to protect themselves, the signs and symptoms of cold related injuries or illnesses and what to do if they occur.  Cold related illnesses can slowly overcome a person who has been chilled.  The three factors to consider when determining if cold related injuries or illness could occur are low temperatures, wind speed and wetness.  The following are cold related illnesses and injuries and how workers can protect themselves.

Frostbite – Freezing in deep layers of the skin and tissue.   Skin becomes hard and numb and looks pale or waxy-white in color.  It usually affects the fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears and nose.

If frostbite occurs:  Move the person to a warm dry area, do not leave the person alone.  Remove any wet or tight clothing that may cut off blood flow to the affected area.  Do not rub the affected area (rubbing causes damage to the skin and tissue).  Gently place the affected area in warm water and monitoring the water temperature to slowly warm the tissue, do not pour warm water directly on the affect area (warming takes 25 to 40 minutes).  After the affected area has been warmed it may become puffy and blister, the affected area may have a burning feeling or numbness, when normal feeling, movement and skin color have returned, the affected area should be dried and wrapped to keep it warm.  If there is a chance the affected area may get cold again, do not warm the skin.  Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Hypothermia – The normal body temperature (98.6 degrees F) drops to or below 95 degrees F.  Signs and symptoms include fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, cool bluish skin, slurred speech, clumsy movements or irritable, irrational or confused behavior.  If hypothermia occurs:  Call for emergency help immediately.   Move the person to a warm, dry area.  Do not leave the person alone.  Remove any wet clothing and replace with warm, dry clothing or wrap the person in blankets.  Have the person drink warm, sweet drinks, like sugar water or sport drinks, if they are alert.  Avoid drinks with caffeine, like coffee, tea or hot chocolate, or alcohol.  Have the person move their arms and legs to create muscle heat.  If they are unable to do this, place warm bottles or hot packs in the arm pits, groin, neck and head areas.  Do not rub the person’s body or place them in a warm water bath, this could cause the heart to stop.

Employees can protect themselves by:

  • Recognizing the environmental and workplace conditions that lead to potential cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms or cold-induced illness/injuries and what to do to help the worker.
  • Select proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions.  Layer clothing to adjust to changing environmental temperatures.  Wear a hat and gloves, in addition to underwear that will keep water away from the skin.
  • Take frequent short breaks in warm dry shelters to allow the body to warm up.
  • Perform work during the warmest part of the day, if possible.
  • Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
  • Use the buddy system.
  • Drink warm, sweet beverages, like sugar water or sport drinks.  Avoid drinks with caffeine, like coffee, tea or hot chocolate, or alcohol.
  • Eat warm, high calorie foods like hot pasta dishes.

Employees are at an increased risk when:

  • They have predisposing health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.
  • They take certain medication.  Check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacy and ask if any medicines you are taking affect you while working in cold environments.
  • They are in poor physical condition, have a poor diet, or are older.

Lockout – Tagout (LOTO) Training

Purpose

The purpose of the Lockout/Tagout procedure is to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machines or equipment or release of stored energy that could cause injury to employees.   According to OSHA failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10% of serious accidents.

Hazardous Energy

Hazardous energy can be found during the maintenance and repairGribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk of electrical equipment, vehicles and other equipment, routine lubrication of moving machine parts, sanitation or cleaning of machinery, clearing jammed equipment or machinery, removing existing insulation on line with heat tracing and maintenance of high-pressure, high temperature hazardous pipelines just to name a few.  There are many different types of hazardous energy including, but not limited to, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical, chemical and thermal.  Potential hazards that exist if equipment is not properly locked and tagged out include:  electric shock, fire and explosions, asphyxiation, amputations, caught in, chemical exposure or even death.

Procedures

Gribbins Insulation LOTO procedures are:  1. A person shall be designated to oversee and assure compliance with the LOTO procedures.  2. Before the procedure begins, a member of the safety department or designee will perform a final evaluation.  3. Turn off the point of operation controls.  4. Turn off the main power controls.  5. The designated person shall lock the equipment out and a danger tag shall be filled out and placed on the lock.  The tag and tie shall be securely attached and able to endure the environmental conditions at the worksite.  6. Test the switch or valve to make sure it cannot be turned “ON”.  7. Test the machine controls to make sure the main controls are really “OFF”.  8. When work is completed, the designated person shall remove the lock and danger tag and notify the proper person that the work is finished and equipment is operational.  The Gribbins Insulation Company LOTO procedure shall only be used if the jobsite does not already have a procedure in effect.  On many of these jobsite the owner will lock out the designated points and then the foreman will lock on to a group lockbox and place his key in a satellite lock box for other employees to lock on to.  In these cases, employees should walk down the lock out points to verify that everything has been locked out and the equipment is not operational.

General Rules

  • Locks and danger tags are to be used for all LOTO procedures
  • Make sure all energy sources are locked and tagged out, many machines have more than on power supply.
  • Never attempt to restart or reenergize any equipment or machinery without the consent of the designated person.
  • Danger tags shall be legible, understandable and include: the employees doing the job, the equipment locked out and the date of initiation and removal.
  • Tags are never to be removed without the authorization of the designated person. They are never to be bypassed, ignored, or otherwise defeated.
  • Employees may receive a false sense of security form tags. Tags warn and provide information to the employees.  They do not stop hazardous energy, the locks do.
  • If you feel as though a piece of equipment or machinery is not properly locked and tagged, stop work and inform the designated person immediately.

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

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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.

Spotter

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A spotter is an employee trained to look.  The purpose of a spotter is to assist the operator in maneuvering equipment into position to prevent injury to the operator, spotter or other personnel or prevent property damage.  A spotter may be necessary if required by the jobsite, in busy or congested areas, when the operator does not have a full view of the intended path of travel, when backing up, maneuvering into or inside of buildings or other structures, potential for damage to facility systems or structures, in close proximity to other personnel.

Spotters shall be trained on their assigned responsibilities, understand basic operating procedures of equipment they are spotting for, hazards of the equipment and working environment and lower controls and overriding capability of the upper controls of aerial work platforms.

The roles and responsibilities of a spotter include, but are not limited to:

  • According to OSHA the spotter should be positioned to have a clear view of the areas the operator cannot see and to not be in harms way.  Usually behind the equipment or vehicle in view of the driver.
  • The spotter shall allow for sufficient stopping distance and clearance.
  • The spotter and operator shall decide on appropriate hand signals or communications before operations begin.
  • The spotter must always be visible to the operator.  If you can’t see the operator, the operator can’t see you.
  • If the spotter must pass through the operator’s blind spot, make sure the operator understands your actions.
  • The spotter shall stay focused and avoid distractions.
  • The spotter shall make eye contact with the operator before communicating signals.
  • The spotter shall conduct frequent hazard assessment of area for potential hazards and notify the operator if hazards are discovered.  Hazards that should be monitored for include, but are not limited to, drop offs or holes, bumps and floor obstruction, debris, overhead obstructions and high voltage conductors, hazardous locations, inadequate or inappropriate surfaces and support to withstand all load forces imposed by equipment, presence of unauthorized person, poorly lit areas, slippery surfaces or spills.

 

Other Employees

Employees shall maintain a safe distance for operating equipment, generally 6 feet is recommended.  If you must get within 6 feet, make eye contact with the operator and only mover after you get a signal from the operator that is it safe.

 

 

President’s Message

2019 Safety Star Winners

Posted: 07/02/19 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Safety STAR winners from the first half of 2019!

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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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Toolbox Talk

2019 Safety Star Winners

Posted: 07/02/19 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Safety STAR winners from the first half of 2019!

Read Full Article

Heat Stress and Related Illnesses

Posted: 05/27/19 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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