Thursday, June 22, 2017

Access to Scaffolds - On the Job Tool Box Talks

Getting to the work level of a scaffold has always been a serious problem. Workers, when not provided with a proper stairway or ladder, might be tempted to use crossbraces to climb the scaffold. This is strictly forbidden in the new scaffold rule. The OSHA rules apply to all employees gaining access to a scaffold work surface. For your safety, you should observe the following OSHA and your company rules when getting on or off a scaffold work area. Access to and between scaffold platforms more than two feet above or below the point of access must be made by:
- Portable ladders, hook-on ladders, attachable ladders, scaffold stairways, stairway-type ladders (such as ladder stands), ramps, walkways, integral prefabricated scaffold access, or equivalent means; or
- by direct access from another scaffold, structure, personnel hoist, or similar surface.

Portable, hook-on, and attachable ladders — It is critical that portable, hook-on, and attachable ladders are
- Positioned so as not to tip the scaffold.
- Positioned so the bottom rung is not more than 24 inches above your starting point.
- Equipped with a rest platform at 35-foot maximum vertical intervals.

Stairway-type ladders must:
- Be provided with rest platforms at 12 foot intervals.
- Have slip-resistant treads on all steps and landings.

Stairtowers must:
- Be equipped with a stairrail consisting of a toprail (handrail) and a midrail on each side of each scaffold stairway.
- Have slip-resistant surfaces on treads and landings.
- Have guardrails on the open sides and ends of each landing.

Ramps and walkways six feet or more above lower levels must have guardrail systems in place.

Scaffold frames that are used as access ladders must:
- Be specifically designed and constructed for use as ladder rungs.
- Be uniformly spaced within each frame section.

As a user of scaffolds you are not allowed to erect or dismantle them — unless you are trained and designated to do so. However, you still must be able to recognize hazardous conditions when climbing up and down, to and from, a work surface. To totally ignore a problem is asking for trouble. Study the above OSHA rules and have a better understanding of when things do not look right. When they don’t, don’t climb.

Never use crossbraces to gain access to a scaffold working platform.

This information was provided by: Assurance Agency

Monday, June 19, 2017

Eye Protection - On the job tool box talks

The Importance of Eye Protection
The majority of work-related eye injuries are a result of flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye.

Other Common Potential Hazards Include the Following:
- Fumes
- Vapors
- Chemical splashes
- Extremely bright or hazardous light, such as from welding

Common Types of Eye Protection
A job hazard assessment performed prior to the start of a particular task will determine the type of eye protection required.
- Safety glasses are a common form of protection against low-to-moderate impacts and sparks from activities such as grinding and woodworking. Only use safety glasses with side shields.
- Goggles form a protective seal around the eye area to better protect from hazardous chemical vapors, splashes, or dust or other small particles that may enter the eye. Make sure that your goggles include ventilation mechanisms to prevent fogging.
- Face shields provide protection for the entire face against flying particles, sparks, splashes, harmful mists, and other hazards.
- Welding masks are specially designed to protect from radiant energy, sparks, and metal splatters from welding.

Proper Use
- Always wear proper eye protection where required, even if danger to your eyes seems remote.
- Before use, verify that your equipment is appropriate for the task.
- Inspect eye protection prior to each use.
- If you wear prescription eyewear, use eye protection that accommodates it. Prescription eyewear by itself is not a substitute for safety glasses or goggles.
- When welding or cutting, always wear safety glasses or goggles underneath face shields or welding helmets.
- When your work is complete, store eye protection properly and away from extreme temperatures or direct sunlight.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Recognize the Warning Signs-On the Job Tool Box Talks

In an effort to decrease the number of accidents and injuries in the workplace, OSHA developed two standards on safety color-coding and specifications for accident prevention signs and tags. A sign refers to a surface on prepared for the warning of, or safety instructions of, industrial workers or members of the public who may be exposed to hazards. The information is located in 29 CFR 1910.144 and 1910.145.

What must I know?
There are a few different means of designating signs and tags. Color and shape work well for the purpose of communicating required information. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed the following color scheme:

Safety colors:
- Red - Fire, danger, or stop
- Orange - Warning
- Yellow - Caution
- Green - Safety
- Blue - Notice

- Triangle - Hazard alerts
- Circle - Mandatory actions
- Square/rectangle - Information
- Circle with slash - Prohibited activity

According to the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association/American National Standards Institute (NEMA/ANSI), the lettering must be in upper case block letter, and large enough that a person with normal vision can read it. The labels on piping also play a vital role in informing employees and emergency personnel what is contained in the pipes in your workplace. These labels are color-coded and include the substance name.

Labels on piping:
- Yellow - Flammable
- Green - Liquid, non-flammable
- Blue - Gaseous
- Red - Fire quenching material

Adequate lighting should be available for signs so that the message is readable. Your employer strives to maintain the safest workplace possible, and the communication of hazards plays an important role. Knowing the difference between red and green may sound simple, but it could save a life.

This information was provided by: Assurance Agency

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer Heat and Sun - Tool Box Talks

Hot  summer  months  pose  special  hazards  for  outdoor  workers  who  must  protect  themselves  against  heat, sun  exposure,  and  other  hazards.  Employers  and  employees  should  know  the  potential  hazards  in  their workplaces and how to manage them.


Sunlight  contains  ultraviolet  (UV)  radiation,  which  causes  premature  aging  of  the  skin,  wrinkles,  cataracts, and  skin  cancer.  There  are  no  safe  UV  rays  or  safe  suntans.  Be  especially  careful  in  the  sun  if  you  burn  easily, spend  a  lot  of  time  outdoors,  or  have  any  of  the  following  physical  features:  numerous,  irregular,  or  large moles; freckles; fair skin; or blond, red,  or  light  brown  hair.  Here’s  how  to  block  those  harmful  rays:

• Cover  up.  Wear  tightly  woven  clothing  that  you  can’t  see  through.

• Use  sunscreen.  A  sun  protection  factor  (SPF)  of  at  least  15  blocks  93  percent  of  UV  rays.  Be  sure  to  follow  application  directions  on  the  bottle  or  tube.

• Wear  a  hat.  A  wide  brim  hat,  not  a  baseball  cap,  works  best  because  it  protects  the  neck,  ears,  eyes,  forehead,  nose,  and  scalp.  

• Wear  UV-absorbent  shades.  Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent  of  UVA  and  UVB  radiation.  Before  you  buy,  read  the  product  tag  or  label.  

• Limit  exposure.  UV  rays  are  most  intense  between  10  a.m.  and  4  p.m.


The combination of heat and humidity  can  be  a  serious  health  threat  during  the  summer  months.  If  you work  at  a  beach  resort,  on  a  farm,  or  in  a  kitchen,  laundry,  or  bakery,  for  example,  you  may  be  at  risk  for heat-related  illness.  So,  take  precautions.  Here’s  how:

• Drink  plenty  of  water before  you  get  thirsty.  

• Wear  light,  loose-fitting, breathable clothing— cotton  is  good.

• Take  frequent  short  breaks  in  cool  shade.

• Eat  smaller  meals  before  work  activity.

• Avoid  caffeine  and  alcohol  or  large  amounts  of  sugar.

• Find out from your health-care provider  if  your  medications  and  heat  don’t  mix.

• Know  that  equipment  such  as  respirators  or  work  suits  can  increase  heat  stress.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency

Sunday, June 4, 2017

OSHA wants to hear how employers keep workers safe from the heat

As summer and higher temperatures approach, employers should plan how they will reduce the risks of heat exposure faced by their workers. Those steps include gradually increasing shift lengths so workers can adapt to hot environments, providing frequent water breaks, allowing ample time to rest, and providing shade. We want to hear how employers and safety professionals keep workers safe from extreme heat. 

Tweet your photos or links to @OSHA_DOL with the hashtags #WaterRestShade #ProTips or email your stories to for possible inclusion in a future issue of QuickTakes.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fall Protection for Construction On the job Tool Box Talks

Construction workers continue to fall to their deaths in record numbers. In 1996, 292 construction workers lost their lives because of a fall. Your company has a duty to anticipate your need for fall protection. Careful planning and preparation lay the groundwork for an accident-free worksite. However, your employer is not perfect; you need to be involved in the process. Before you go to work at heights six feet or higher, your employer needs to look at a few issues. They need to: (1) understand the duty to provide fall protection, (2) assess the worksite for fall hazards, and (3) select the correct protection system.

You are a valuable source for locating hazards. Your company should involve you in the process, and teach you how to do worksite assessments, recognize fall hazards, and select the proper fall equipment.

A duty to provide fall protection
When you are working six feet or more above lower levels, OSHA points out specific areas and operations where fall protection is required. They are: ramps, runways, walkways, excavations, hoist areas, holes, form and reinforcing steel work, leading edge work, unprotected sides and edges, overhand bricklaying and related work, roofing work, precast concrete erection, wall openings, and residential construction.

The OSHA rules point out the protection options you have to satisfy the requirement. If the situation is not “listed” in the OSHA rules then 1926.501(b)(15) (walking/working surfaces not otherwise addressed), is appropriate. This reference says that if none of the other situations fit, you must still be protected when working six feet or more above lower levels by a guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest equipment.

Worksite assessment
Before going to work, a worksite survey must be done to determine if the walking/working surface on which you are going to work has the strength and structural integrity to safely support you, your fellow workers, and all equipment. Once it is determined that the surface is safe, one of the fall protection options for the particular work operation must be selected if the walking/working surface is six feet or more above a lower level.

As you can see, going to work at heights above six feet is more than just going to work. Much effort is involved in ensuring your safety. Your supervisor, safety guru, or other workers can’t do it alone; you must be involved in the process. Don’t go to work in unsafe conditions; bring them to the attention of your supervisor.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Effects of Alcohol - Tool Box Safety Talks

This document provides general information about a safety and health topic and is only intended for use in facilitating discussions with employees in safety meetings. It does not address all hazards, OSHA or local requirements related to the topic or accompanying photograph.

Effects of Alcohol: The purpose of this toolbox talk is to provide some basic information and to increase the level of awareness to focus on this as a potential safety issue on the job. This will primarily address issues of “the morning after” affect.

The above information briefly summarizes some of the some of the effects of a person that is hung over. Direct effects of alcohol vary with the individuals. In general, a person will excrete approximately one alcohol drink per hour.

Consider the following:
An employee is out until 1:00 a.m. and has consumed 12 or more beers. They show up to work at 7:00 a.m. This employee is likely to have at least six alcohol drinks in his system at the time of starting the work. At this rate, the employee will start work intoxicated, eventually drift into a hangover and will probably be working in a very dangerous state during most of the workday.

All employees should be aware of the condition their co-workers report to work in. Specifically, employees that start work and are hung over from use of alcohol or drugs from the night before should be watched very closely. The following are some points to consider:
• A person with a hangover may have lower levels of alcohol in their system and may be “legally sober”.
• Any levels of alcohol in the system can affect the central nervous system, which will affect 
JUDGMENT and MOTOR SKILLS. (Judgment and Motor Skills are critical components of working safely on a construction site.

Employees that are hung over are impaired from low sugar levels, dehydration and may still be legally intoxicated.
Symptoms / Effects:
• Impaired judgment
• Decreased motor skills
• Potential for dizzy spells, etc.

Employees no longer under the influence of alcohol but still feeling hung over still have an effect:
Symptoms / Effects:
• Impaired judgment
• Decreased motor skills
• Dizziness
• Increased potential to lose consciousness

Bottom Line:
Employees that come to work with a hangover may become injured or injure others and should be asked to stop work and possibly sent home. Keep a close eye on your co-workers.
Production is important, but employees that are under the effect of alcohol or hangovers are a serious safety issue that may wind up a tragedy.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency