Safety Tips for Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Now that Hurricane Sandy has finally passed, it has unfortunately left large amounts of recovery and planning for months ahead.

Whether you live in the area of the disaster or have been sent to work there, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has recently offered these tips for the aftermath:

  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off (Visit our Carbon Monoxide blog post for more info).
For more information on disaster recovery and federal assistance programs, visit http://www.ready.gov/.

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Safety Industry Salary Survey Results Show Improvement

A salary survey sent by Safety + Health to 13,410 of their subscribers on August 13 received positive results on their small response rate of 9.9%.

About 52% respondents expect or have received a bonus or raise this year.

Out of the 1,322 that responded, 14.8% have a salary of $100,000 to $125,000 and 28.4% are between 53-59 years old.

Almost half of the respondents also stated having a four-year degree. Finance and real estate industries were the most likely to receive a bonus this year, followed by utilities.

To view the survey visit, http://www.nsc.org/safetyhealth/Pages/Salary-Survey-2012_1012.aspx?utm_source=In+this+issue+–+Nov+2012&utm_campaign=inThisIssueNov12&utm_medium=email#.UJE0JMWHKSp.

 

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Stay Warm, But Safe from Carbon Monoxide Danger

Here in Florida, as the temperature quickly drops to levels we don’t like or are used to, make use that any space heaters you might be using aren’t causing harm. For weather hazards that we ARE more used to here and the upper east coast currently experiencing, like hurricanes, beware of gas-fueled portable generators. Because carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, it is extremely important to be aware of any exposure to it with any of these.

For more information on the dangers of CO and how you can prevent any danger, visit OSHA’s Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/carbonmonoxide-factsheet.pdf.

To view a Carbon Monoxide safety video, visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/blog/entry/carbon-monoxide-deaths-increase.

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In Florida, Halloween Safety Focus Is On Drivers

“Keep the party off the road” is the message that the Florida Highway Patrol is giving to the public for they Halloween festivities this year. From Oct. 25 through Nov. 4, the Patrol joins thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies to launch the crackdown on impaired drivers.

“The Patrol continues to make driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement a priority,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “In an effort to get impaired drivers off the road, troopers will be vigilant throughout the state with an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crack down.”

These are some of the tips recommended to stay safe this Halloween:

Plan a safe way to get home before the festivities begin.

Before drinking, designate a sober driver.

If you are impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation to get home safely.

Remember, friends don’t let friends drive drunk.

To view the news release, visit http://www.flhsmv.gov/news/pdfs/PR102412.pdf.

 

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Halloween Safety

Halloween Jack o Lanterns

With Halloween right around the corner, it is important to always consider these basic principles to help keep your children and everyone else safe when trick-or-treating or out and about:

Halloween Jack o Lanterns

  • Young children should always go trick-or-treating with an adult.
  • If your child goes with friends plan their entire route and make sure you know what it is.
  • Make sure that all costumes are flame retardant and stay clear of lit jack-o-lanterns.
  • Always check your child’s candy before they eat it.
  • Provide your child with a cellular phone if possible.

In addition you should instruct your children on the following rules:

  • Be cautious of strangers.
  • Accept treats only in the doorway. Never go inside a house.
  • Visit only houses where the lights are on.
  • Walk, Do not run.
  • Cross the street at the corner or in a crosswalk.

For more information visit http://www.halloween-safety.com.

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Bucket Truck Safety

Bucket Truck Image
Bucket trucks are complex and require specialized training to operate. In order to ensure your safety, and the safety of others working in the area, it is important that you know the risks you face.

By Trevor Reschny, CSP

Few pieces of equipment are as complex and create more dangers to the operator than a bucket truck. If you have bought one, or even rented one, you’ll know that the user guides and repair manuals are easy to locate. On the other hand there is no “training manual” for bucket truck operators.

Power tools, scaffolds and even ladders typically have free sources for self-study training, with much emphasis on safety. But for some reason nothing is available that addressed the safe usage of a bucket truck.

OSHA does provide a basic outline but it is short on specifics. In addition each work environment has its own issues regarding safe practices and fall protection but all require safety guidelines, training and periodic recertification.

Bucket Truck Image

Common Hazards

Strains and injuries caused by improper lifting and climbingInjuries common while using a bucket truck include:

  • Falls from as little as five feet, which can result in broken bones
  • Tip-overs and collapses, endanger personnel in the bucket and on the ground
  • Being struck by falling objects (mostly endangers workers on the ground)
  • Getting caught between equipment and fixed structures (especially fingers)
  • Being knocked out of a bucket when the truck is struck by another vehicle
  • Electrocution or physical injury due to electric shock

Damage and injuries occur when:

  • Inspections are not performed according to the manufacturers recommendations
  • The truck is not properly positioned and secured for use
  • The operator is not fully aware of objects around, above and below the bucket
  • Tools and parts are not secured in their proper place
  • The manufacturers limits are exceeded

Driving and Locating the Truck

  • A bucket truck is one of the most complex forms of aerial lift devices. Driving a bucket truck to the site and positioning it correctly requires special skill and knowledge. Even a small truck weighs over four tons and cannot stop on a dime. The first time you have to stop your truck suddenly you’ll realize why bucket trucks are notorious for rear-impact collisions.
  • A three ton lift places the center of gravity of the truck very high; observe tip-over signs on curves and exit ramps. Heavy trucks easily get stuck off-road, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Bucket trucks have poor rear visibility and should not be backed up unless you finds it absolutely necessary and have a spotter. You should also want to install a backup-alarm to warn anyone in the vicinity that a dangerous operation is being performed. Placing the truck in the ideal location takes knowledge of the boom length, manufacturer’s limits, and surface conditions.

Training Requirements

  • OSHA establishes mandatory requirements for training and certification by employers. OSHA defines training requirements in 29 CFR 1910.268.
  • The regulation says: Employers shall provide training in the various precautions and safe practices described in this section and shall ensure that employees do not engage in the activities to which this section applies until such employees have received proper training in the various precautions and safe practices required by this section.”
  • If you are not trained and qualified on a piece of equipment you should not use it. Using unqualified operators carries the risk of higher costs, lost time and increased liability.

A practical bucket truck safety course should:

  • Place emphasis on factors that may seem trivial but are not
  • Provide specific examples of dangers unique to the equipment
  • Supply you with handouts, checklists and references to use at your work

Fall Protection

  • While it is rare for an employee to fall out of a bucket, it is more common that one will bounce out when another vehicle hits the aerial lift truck.
  • OSHA regulations for fall protection are not clear when it comes to bucket trucks. Once you get more than six feet off the ground, personal fall protection is mandated by OSHA’s construction industry standard (1926.501).
  • The question is do we put someone in a body belt or a full body harness? As long as the person cannot fall farther than two feet, the belt is acceptable. If they could fall farther than two feet, a full body harness and lanyard are required. In a practical sense if you restrict the employees fall to two feet, then their lanyard cannot be more than two feet long. This would seriously restrict movement in the bucket, which is not always feasible. As a consequence, most people use a full body harnesses with a six-foot lanyards or a small self-retracting lanyard (SRL).
  • Oh yea…never belt off to an adjacent pole, structure or other equipment, except in an emergency.

Pre-Use Safety Check. Check the following each day before using a bucket truck:

  • Maintenance records that are up to date, or your knowledge of same
  • Wheels and tires. Check tire pressure
  • Fuel, engine oil levels and hydraulic fluid level
  • Hydraulic fluid, oil, fuel and cooling system leaks; listen for air leaks
  • Look for loose or missing parts, rust and deteriorating welds
  • Test ground level controls first, then all bucket controls before you go up
  • Safety devices such as railings, bucket door catches and redundant catches
  • Personal protection equipment: snaps that don’t stick; age of your hard hat
  • Any other items specified by the manufacturer

Check the Work Area

  • Never work on a slope that exceeds the limits specified by the manufacturer.
  • Check the area for soft spots, holes, drop-offs, bumps, and debris.
  • Check for overhead power lines, trees, building overhangs, etc.
  • Before moving the truck be sure that the boom is cradled and tied down and that all other equipment is secure.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

You should wear the following personal protective equipment:

  • Hard hat
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves appropriate for the work being done
  • Personal Fall Arrest
  • Other equipment based on your tasks (i.e. Chain saw= Chaps, eye and face Protection)

Operating a Bucket Truck

  • Set outriggers, brakes, and use wheel chocks, even if you are working on a level slope. Automatic transmissions should be placed in park; manual transmissions in low gear.
  • If working near traffic, set up work zone warnings with cones, ropes and signs. (Refer to MOT requirements) (Link to https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/mot-traffic-control)
  • Close and latch the bucket or platform door and attach the safety chain.
  • Stand on the floor of the bucket or lift platform. Never climb on anything inside the bucket to extend your reach.
  • Do not climb on tool brackets in the bucket or lean over the railing.
  • Never exceed the manufacturer’s load capacity limit. This includes the combined weight of the worker(s), tools and material.
  • Establish and clearly mark a danger zone around the bucket truck.
  • Never move the truck with workers in the elevated platform unless the equipment has been specifically designed and certified for this type of operation.
  • Use particular care when positioning the basket between overhead hazards, such as joists or under an overhang. If the basket moves, the worker in the bucket could become crushed between the rails and the fixed structure.

Emergency Escape

  • If you have a fleet of bucket trucks you can extract a stranded worker by dispatching another truck when the manufacturer’s provided backup systems fail.
  • You should be concerned with escaping from a bucket when working alone and the lift fails. There are several methods used when stranded in the bucket:
  • Auxiliary Power or Backup Pump
  • Emergency Lowering Valve or Holding Valve Bleeding
  • Escape Ladder or a Controlled Decent Rope
  • Lower Controls (with and without an incapacitated worker)

One last thing…You Must Know

  • How to drive the truck safely on the highway
  • How to locate and prepare the truck for aerial lift use
  • How to inspect the equipment before using it
  • Hydraulic equipment function and hazards
  • Insulating factors of the truck, if any
  • How to put on personal fall arrest equipment (PFAS)
  • How to operate the boom from the bucket and from the ground
  • Clearance above, below and alongside the bucket while using it
  • Emergency procedures for equipment failure and accidents

Remember bucket trucks are complex and require specialized training to operate. In order to ensure your safety and the safety of others working around you, it is important that you know the risks you face.

For more information or to take our bucket truck operator course, visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/equipment-operation/bucket-truck.

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OSHA’s Variances Page Is Enhanced

Are you familiar with OSHA’s variance approval process? If you are not, OSHA has recently updated their Variances page with two sections: Variance Program and Types of Variances.

According to OSHA, a variance is a regulatory action that permits an employer to deviate from the requirements of an OSHA standard under specified conditions. A variance does not provide an outright exemption from a standard, except in cases involving national defense as described in their page.

The different types of variances described in their page are:

1. Permanent

2. Temporary

3. Experimental

4. National Defense

5. Interim Order

6. Recordkeeping Variance

For more information or to view OSHA’s Variances page, visit http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/variances/index.html.

For safety consulting or OSHA training, call us at 407-353-8165 or email us at info@safetylinks.net.

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Incidents To Learn From – Eye Protection

eye protection image
Did you know?

eye protection image

Every day around 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces.

Not wearing eye protection, wearing the wrong type of protection, and removing machine guards are common problems in industry. On the bright side, the types of eye hazards we deal with are very easy to control.

How can eye injuries be prevented?

The solution is easy; don’t modify your equipment and always wear eye protection when using power tools and chemicals!

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Floridians: Are You Familiar With Pedestrian Laws?

Most people in the state don’t realize that as a driver, you are required to yield to pedestrian in all instances. This is an interesting read that talks about different pedestrian laws in the state of Florida:

To read the article, visit http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-pedestrian-safety-myword-092712-20120926,0,1815246.story.

 

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Hiring Your Next Safety Professional

Here is a great article titled “EHS Recruitment: It’s Not Just About Filling the Seat” from EHS Today.  It lists and explains some of the best key hiring practices used by big corporations such as BP, Shell, and Johnson & Johnson to recruit the best environmental and Health Safety professional for their company. If you are in the recruiting process for your next safety professional, here are four important points to consider:

  1. Tap the Small Pool of A-Player Talent – This explains how providing a reliable internal team of employees to their manager with an external liaison can improve a hiring decision that they may overlook.
  2. Include Culture Alignment in Your Search Process – A new employee’s sense of belonging in a new environmental can sometimes be the key factor on whether he or she will be successful in their new position, despite how great their abilities and qualifications may be. Never underestimate the process of a candidate’s character evaluation to make sure they fit your culture.
  3. Develop High-Potential Talent – According to the Harvard Business Review, a small number of early-leadership-level workers will represent the new generation with 15 years of experience five years from now. Meaning, it is wise to invest in your lower-level talent as it can help align their career development and opportunities with your company.
  4. Succession Planning – Establishing a written succession plan is highly important in case of an emergency or simply for future use.

To view the original article, visit http://ehstoday.com/safety/ehs-recruitment-it-s-not-just-about-filling-seat?page=1.

 

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