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News

2019 Safety Star Winners

The Gribbins Safety STAR Program is a 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 winners.  The winner and the nominator will each receive 20 bonus safety points.

Click here for the nomination form.

Congratulations to the winners from the first half of 2019!

Ryan Howard:

Ryan informed project management and the safety department well in advance that upcoming duct work would involve operating an aerial lift closer than 10 feet to power lines. 

Matt McIntosh:

In the Evansville warehouse, FSK and ASJ tape is stored on skids to keep the tape off the floor and prevent it from getting wet.  Matt suggested installing something solid over the wooden skids to prevent someone from twisting or breaking an ankle.  He used a section of scrap metal and installed it over the skid so now there are no holes to step in or over.

Andy Ellis:

While working at a congested and fast paced commercial project with several other trades, Andy Ellis stayed on track with policies, while other trades were violating site and OSHA policies. 

Hunter McGuire:

Hunter exposed what he felt to be asbestos.  He notified the project manager immediately and discovered that it was in fact asbestos. The PM then subcontracted proper asbestos abatement, so we could continue with our insulation project.

Nate Schiff:

Nate noticed ice was falling of the roof of warehouse and took measures to barricade area around of the edge of the building off to keep people from walking underneath.

Heat Stress and Related Illnesses

ToolboxTalkWith the start of summer and increased temperatures, it is important to know what you can do to reduce the risk of a heat related illness and what to do if one occurs.  Heat related illnesses are progressive conditions caused by overexposure to heat.  If they are recognized in the early stages, they can usually be reversed.  If they are not caught early, they may progress to life threatening conditions.

Measures to Prevent Heat Stress

  • Engineering controls include general ventilation, personal cooling devices or protective clothing.
  • Work practice controls include drinking plenty of water.  It is recommended that you drink one glass of water (8 ounces) every 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the heat and humidity.
  • Alternating work and rest periods with more rest periods in cool areas can help workers avoid heat stress.  If possible heavy work should be scheduled during the cooler part of the day.
  • Acclimatization to the heat through short exposures followed by longer periods of work in the hot environment can reduce heat stress.
  • Read medication labels to know how they cause the body to react to the sun and heat.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs, as they can increase the effects of heat.
  • Employees shall be educated so they are aware of the need to replace fluids and salt lost through sweat and can recognize dehydration, exhaustion, fainting, heat cramps, salt deficiency, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Types of Heat Illness

Heat Cramps: Severe muscle spasms that often begin suddenly in the hands, calves or feet.  Painful and disabling.  The muscles become hard, tense and difficult to relax.  They are caused by salt depletion as sweat losses are replaced by water alone.  Heat cramps result from over exertion and heavy sweating.

Heat Exhaustion: Causes excessive fluid loss from heavy sweating, leading to increased fatigue, weakness, anxiety, drenching sweats, low blood pressure, faintness and sometimes collapse.  Heat exhaustion results from prolonged exposure to extreme heat for many hours.  The over heating is due to the electrolytic fluid loss that reduces blood volume, which lowers blood pressure and the pulse.

Heat Stroke: A life threatening condition caused by over exertion and over exposure to extreme heat environments.  Heat stroke is imminent when the core body temperature approaches 106 F.  Any higher may result in coma or even death.  The symptoms are dizziness, weakness, emotional instability, nausea/vomiting, confusion, delirium, blurred vision, convulsions, collapse and unconsciousness.  The skin is flushed, hot to the touch, and at first may be covered with sweat that soon dries.  Be aware of these warning signs.

First Aid Measures

Heat Cramps: Try eating salty foods such as cracker or peanuts.

Heat Stroke: Move the victim to a cool place.  Remove heavy clothing; light clothing can be left in place.

Immediately cool the victim by any available means.  This can be accomplished by placing ice packs at areas with abundant blood supply (neck, armpits, and groin).  Wet towels or sheets are also effective.  The cloths should be kept wet with cool water.  Continue to cool the victim until their temperature drops to 102 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent hyperthermia.  Keep the victim’s head and shoulders slightly elevated.  Seek medical attention immediately.  All heat stroke victims need hospitalization.  Care for seizures if they occur.  Do not use aspirin or acetaminophen.

Heat exhaustion:  Move the victim to a cool place.  Keep the victim lying down with legs straight and elevated 8 to 12 inches.  Cool the victim by applying cold packs or wet towels or cloths.  Fan the victim.  Give the victim cold water if he or she is fully conscious.  If no improvement is noted within 30 minutes, seek medical attention.

If any employee goes home due to what may be a heat related illness or is displaying symptoms of a heat related illness, notify the Safety Department immediately.

Pinch Points

A pinch point is any point at which it is possible for a person or part of a person’s body to be caught between a stationary object and moving object or between moving parts or objects. A pinch point not only can cause injury to a limb or body part, but can cause a person to become trapped or pinched between the two objects.  An example of a pinch point that everyone can probably relate to is shutting your finger or hand in a door.

Body parts can become caught between moving parts, moving or stationary machine parts, moving parts and materials, between materials or equipment when moving them, slamming fingers or hands in doors, pinching fingers or hand with equipment that has sliding parts or hinges, machines such as presses and rollers,  and tools.  Pinch points commonly impact the fingers or hands, but can include any area of the body.  Injuries resulting from pinch points can be minor, such as contusions or blisters, or more serious, such as amputation or even death.

Common causes of injuries from pinch points include:

  • Not keeping your eyes on the task at hand or not paying attention.
  • Working or walking in areas with mobile equipment and fixed structures.
  • Using tools for purposes other than their intended use.
  • Placing body parts into moving equipment or machinery.
  • Improper handling of materials or suspended loads.
  • Defective equipment or missing guards.
  • Loose clothing, hair or jewelry getting caught in rotating parts or equipment.

Protective Measures include:

  • Verify all guards are in place and effective.
  • Identify all potential pinch points before starting work.
  • Always make sure mobile equipment operators know you are in the area.  Make eye contact. Never put yourself in a position between mobile equipment and a stationary object.
  • When performing lockout tagout verify the equipment is deenergized before starting work.
  • Stay alert and keep your eyes on the task you are performing.  Always know where your body parts are.
  • Review operating manuals and work procedures before starting work, these may identify potential pinch points.
  • Heavy duty gloves may help protect against certain types of pinch points.

Hearing Protection

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk

Gribbins Insulation must institute a training program for all employees with noise exposures at or above the action level (85 decibels) and ensure participation.  This training must be repeated annually for each employee in the hearing conservation program.  Training must be updated to be consistent with changes in protective equipment and work processes.

Gribbins Insulation must ensure that each employee is informed of the following:  the effects of noise on hearing, the purpose of hearing protectors, the advantages, disadvantages and attenuation of various types and instructions of selection, fitting, use and care and the purpose of audiometric testing and an explanation of test procedures.

Physics of Sound

Sound is the physical phenomenon that stimulates our sense of hearing.  It is an acoustic wave that results when a vibrating source, such as machinery, disturbs an elastic medium, such as air.  In air, sound is usually described as variations of pressure above and below atmospheric pressure.  These fluctuations, commonly called sound pressure, develop when a vibrating surface forms areas of high and low pressure which transmit from the source as sound.

The ear is the organ that makes hearing possible.  It can be divided into three sections:  External outer ear, air filled middle ear and fluid filled inner ear.

The function of the ear is to gather, transmit and perceive sounds from the environment.  This involves three stages:

  1. Modification of the acoustic wave by the outer ear, which receives the wave and directs it to the eardrum.
  2. Conversion and amplification of the modified acoustic wave to a vibration of the eardrum (transmitted through the middle ear to the inner ear).
  3. Transformation of the mechanical movement of the wave into nerve impulses that will travel to the brain, which then perceives and interprets the impulse as sound.

 

Effects of Excessive Exposure

Although noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupation illnesses, it is often ignored because there are no visible effects.  Hearing loss usually develops over a long period of time, and, except in very rare cases, there is no pain.  What does occur is a progressive loss of communication, socialization and responsiveness to the environment.  In its early stages (when hearing loss is above 2,000 Hz) it affects the ability to understand or discriminate speech.  As it progresses to the lower frequencies, it begins to affect the ability to hear sounds in general.

The three main types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural or a combination of the two.

The effects of noise can be simplified into three general categories:

  • Primary Effects, which includes noise induced temporary threshold shift, noise induced permanent threshold shift, acoustic trauma and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Effects on Communication and Performance, which may include isolation, annoyance, difficulty concentrating, absenteeism and accidents.
  • Other Effects, which may include stress, muscle tension, ulcers, increased blood pressure and hypertension.  In some cases, the effects of hearing loss may be classified by cause.

Use of Foam Ear Plugs

The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is the rating of each type of hearing protection should be located on the packaging for that type of hearing protection.  If the NRR is 33 (dB) and the environmental noise level is 92 dBA then the noise entering the ear is approximately equal to 59 dBA, if hearing protection is worn correctly.

Fitting Instructions: Hands and plugs should be clean before fitting.

  • Step 1 – Roll plug slowly with thumb and fingers.  Gradually increase pressure to compress plug to a very thin crease free cylinder.
  • Step 2 – Insert compressed plug well into earcanal while pulling ear outward and upward with the opposite hand.
  • Step 3 – Check the fit after the plug expands in the ear.  You should feel only the end of the plug.  If you feel most of the plug outside the earcanal remove plug and repeat fitting.  Listen to steady noise with plugs in both ears.  Cover ears with tightly cupped hands.  The noise should sound about the same whether or not your ears are covered.

Ladders

100% Fall Protection Policy for ladder usage above 6 feet:

Anytime an employee is working from a ladder or climbing a ladder above 6 feet, 100% tie off will be required. If 100% tie off cannot be maintained above 6 feet, other options should be used such as aerial lifts or scaffolds. If 100% tie off cannot be used and the work cannot be accessed by aerial lifts or scaffolds, the foreman shall contact the safety manager to give written permission on how to proceed.
Ladders are a vital part of our work, but present a major safety hazard when used improperly. A poorly maintained or improperly used ladder may collapse under the load place on it and cause the employee to fall. Reasons for injuries while working from ladders include but are not limited to: user wasn’t instructed on how to inspect the ladder, ladder involved broke during use, non-self supporting ladder wasn’t secured at top or bottom, ladder didn’t extend 3 feet above landing level, the ladder involved had more than one defect or ladder was used incorrectly.

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk

Type of ladders include:

  • Stepladder – A self-supporting portable ladder that is non-adjustable in length. They shall not be longer than 20 feet, shall be equipped with spreaders of sufficient size and strength to securely hold the front and back sections open, shall not be used as straight ladders
  • Single Ladder – A non-self supporting portable ladder that is non-adjustable. They shall not be more than 30 feet
  • Extension Ladder – A non-self supporting portable ladder adjustable in length. They shall not be more than 60 feet

General Requirements:

  • Ladders shall be placed with a secure footing on an even surface when possible. If this is not possible they shall be secured at the top and bottom to prevent slipping.
  • Ladders shall not be used on slippery surfaces or when hands, shoes or rungs are slippery.
  • Ladders place in any location where they can be displaced by workplace activities or traffic, such as passageways, doorways or driveways, shall be secured to prevent accidental displacement and/or barricades shall be used to keep the activities or traffic away from the ladder.
  • Straight ladders must extend 3 feet above the landing level and be secured. This provides a secure point of support when stepping off the ladder or landing level.
  • The ladder shall be angled at a 4 to 1 ratio. 4 feet vertical to 1 foot horizontal.
  • Ladders shall not be used to extend the working height on a scaffold.
  • The top step or top of a ladder or cross bracing shall not be used as a step.
  • Three points of contact shall be maintained while climbing a ladder.
  • Always face the ladder and keep yourself in the center of ladder. Belt buckle between rails.
  • Make sure surfaces are dry and free of slippery substances.
  • Metal ladders shall never be used near electrical equipment.
  • The area around the top and bottom of the ladder or stairway shall be kept clear of materials, debris, tools, etc.
  • Ladders shall not be moved, shifted or extended while occupied.
  • Do not twist your body while working from a ladder, adjust your ladders location instead to gain access to work area.
  • Always use handrail when ascending or descending stairways. When carrying materials keep a clear view of the path of travel.
  • Do not carry objects, materials, tools or loads up a ladder.
  • If a ladder is placed in an area where a fall could propel you over a handrail, 100% fall protection is required. A rule of thumb 1 ft back from the guardrail for every step you are up on the ladder and then add 2 ft to the distance.

Inspections
Ladders shall be inspected before each use before each use for defects and at least quarterly by a competent person. If it is found to be defective it shall be tagged out and removed from service. The inspection should include: checking rungs, braces and top for bends, splits, cracks or other defects, checking locks and guides to insure they are fully functional, checking all hardware items to insure they are functional, checking all metal components for excessive rust or corrosion, checking rivets to insure head and crimp are intact, checking bolts and nuts to insure they are tight and threads are not stripped, checking crimps and swages for looseness, cracking or other conditions, checking welds for cracks or damage, checking safety shoes to insure shoes and treads are in good condition, checking rope and pulley for damage, checking leveling devices for condition and proper operation and checking hooks, grips and lashes for condition and proper operation.

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.

Read Full Article