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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Thousands of employers and workers across the country stand-down to prevent falls

From May 8 to12, employers, workers and safety professionals from across the country joined OSHA and partners in the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls. The weeklong event encouraged construction industry employers to emphasize the importance of preventing dangerous on-the-job falls – not just for one week, but throughout the year. This is the fourth year OSHA has hosted the national stand-down.
  • Turner Construction Co. stopped work on more than 1,000 projects around the world to engage trade contractors on safety.
  • Developer Skanska USA held a "Ballpark Grand Slam for Safety" at the fairgrounds at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. that featured demonstrations on fall prevention, displays of fall protection equipment, and awards for top-performing supervisors.
  • Werner Ladder sent 30 safety demonstration trucks to jobsites across the country, reaching 25,000 workers.

Thousands of other employers have shared photos of their stand-down events on Twitter using #StandDown4Safety. We are retweeting some of our favorites and encourage the continued submission of photos using this hashtag. For more information on the stand-down and preventing falls in construction, visit the National Safety Stand-Down webpage.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Seven Common Causes of Incidents - On the Job Safety Talks

Consider this statistic: 80 out of every 100 incidents are the fault of the person involved in the incident. Unsafe Acts cause four times as many incidents & injuries as unsafe conditions.  

Incidents occur for many reasons. In most industries people tend to look for "things" to blame when an incident happens, because it's easier than looking for "root causes," such as those listed below. Consider the
underlying incident causes described. Have you been guilty of any of these attitudes or behaviors? If so, you may have not been injured-but next time you may not be so lucky.

Taking Shortcuts: Every day we make decisions we hope will make the job faster and more efficient. But do time savers ever risk your own safety, or that of other crew members? Short cuts that reduce your safety on the job are not shortcuts, but an increased chance for injury.

Being Over Confident: Confidence is a good thing. Overconfidence is too much of a good thing. "It'll never happen to me" is an attitude that can lead to improper procedures, tools, or methods in your work. Any of these can lead to an injury. 

Starting a Task with Incomplete Instructions: To do the job safely and right the first time you need complete information. Have you ever seen a worker sent to do a job, having been given only a part of the job's instructions? Don't be shy about asking for explanations about work procedures and safety precautions. It isn't dumb to ask questions; it's dumb not to. 

Poor Housekeeping: When clients, managers or safety professionals walk through your work site, housekeeping is an accurate indicator of everyone's attitude about quality, production and safety. Poor housekeeping creates hazards of all types. A well maintained area sets a standard for others to follow. Good housekeeping involves both pride and safety

Ignoring Safety Procedures: Purposely failing to observe safety procedures can endanger you and your co-workers. You are being paid to follow the company safety policies-not to make your own rules. Being "casual" about safety can lead to a casualty!

Mental Distractions from Work: Having a bad day at home and worrying about it at work is a hazardous combination. Dropping your 'mental' guard can pull your focus away from safe work procedures. You can also be distracted when you're busy working and a friend comes by to talk while you are trying to work. Don't become a statistic because you took your eyes off the machine "just for
a minute." 

Failure to Pre-Plan the Work: There is a lot of talk today about Job Hazard Analysis. JHA's are an effective way to figure out the smartest ways to work safely and effectively. Being hasty in starting a task, or not thinking through the process can put you in harm’s way. Instead, Plan Your Work and then Work Your Plan! 

"It is better to be careful 100 times than to get killed once." (Mark Twain) 

This information was provided by: Assurance Agency 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Emergency Action Plan

There is always the potential for emergencies to occur at your facility. To reduce your exposure to potential emergencies, your employer has developed an emergency action plan.
Emergency actions plans are developed to provide guidelines on what actions to take if an emergency should occur at your facility.

What is an emergency action plan?
In 29 CFR 1910.38(c), OSHA lists the minimum elements which should be included in an emergency action plan. These elements include:
1. Evacuation procedures and exit route assignments. Your employer will also point out the location of internal shelter areas, and exterior safe areas for evacuation.
2. Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate. Some critical plant operations include gas, electrical, power, and water. Chemical manufacturing processes could also be included.
3. Headcount procedures to account for you and your coworkers after emergency evacuation has been completed.
4. Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them.
5. Procedures for reporting fires and other emergencies.
6. Names or regular job titles of persons or departments who can be contacted for further information or an explanation of duties under the plan.

Additional information
Your employer will also explain:
• How to report fires, hazardous chemical spills, and other emergencies.
• Procedures for sounding emergency alarms on-site.
• Who to notify in the event of an emergency.
• What phones to use and numbers to call.
• Location and use of emergency fire alarms.
• Critical plant operations and those responsible for their operation/shut down.
• Accounting for all employees after emergency evacuation.
• Personnel designated to perform rescue and medical duties.
• Alarm system.
• Recognition of different alarms, such as audio and visual.
• Who is to be contacted for more information on the emergency action plan.
• Where a written copy of the plan can be obtained.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency

Monday, April 17, 2017

Windy Conditions and Construction

Windy conditions are a fact of life in this area during many times of the year. The goal is to maintain safety and production while dealing with this issue. Sometimes it is just too windy to work. A collapsed wall, employee injury or other related incident will cost far more than any production gains that can be made in high-wind conditions.

Wall Bracing:
How much bracing is needed? Watching the weather report is a good plan to take. A sunny day can turn into near-tornado conditions by the next day. There is no formula for proper bracing. However, experience is the primary method. Be conservative and brace assuming strong overnight wind.
- The future weather should always be a concern that is monitored.
- Some crews have made California Corner braces to increase the breaking strength of the brace.
- The point of brace contact on the floor needs to be strong. A brace nailed into the flooring needs to be nailed through a floor joist as well.
- The point of brace contact on the wall should not be damaged or split wood. Damaged lumber will not likely hold a substantial wind load without failure.

Standing Walls:
A plan needs to be established when placing walls with regard to wind. (The goal is to take precautionary measures to avoid an incident rather than reacting to a wall tip-over.)
- Make certain the appropriate man-power is available.
- Wall braces may need to be placed prior to standing the wall during windy conditions.
- The bottom of the wall may need to be strapped even on 8 foot 2x4 walls if the winds dictate.
- Determine if it is too windy to lift the walls. This may be your best decision of the day.

Bracing Roof Trusses:
Proper bracing is usually left to the discretion of the roof crew. Keep in mind that a gable truss recently broke a 2 x 4 support causing an injury. The supporting brace may subject to loads that will break a standard 2 x 4 during windy conditions. If it is becoming windy, additional bracing and sway bracing will be needed. When monitoring this on the job, ask the roof crew to support the trusses for substantial wind. Be willing to stop the work.

Roof Sheathing:
Sometimes the best protection is to suspend work. If the work will continue based on the best judgement of the foreman, the following items should be considered:
- Nail down what you place the same day.
- Always walk on the wind-side of the plywood sheet. This way, you can let go of the sheet rather than being blown off the roof. (If it is this windy, you should probably suspend roof work.)
- Storing material on the roof: The top several sheets of plywood need to be secured to prevent them from blowing off the roof. The entire plywood bunk may need to be secured based on wind or anticipated wind.

Other Operations:
- Suspend top plate work if the wind creates an unacceptable hazard.
- Unsecured material stored in a vertical position are at risk at being blown over and should be taken down or secured.
- Ladders should not be stored in a leaning position.
- Caution needs to be paid to cutting operations. Always stand up wind of the cut so the saw dust will not blow in your eyes.

This information was provided by: Assurance Agency

Monday, April 10, 2017

OSHA to delay enforcing crystalline silica standard in the construction industry

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.
The agency has determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin Sept. 23, 2017.
OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Sunday, April 2, 2017

MSDS for Construction

OSHA requires that construction workers who come into contact with hazardous chemicals be provided with thorough and accurate information on each hazardous chemical present at their worksite. The material safety data sheet, or MSDS, is the means used to provide the required information on worksite chemicals and hazards.

MSDSs are easily stored and can be readily accessible to employees. Your safety director should tell you where those MSDSs are located at your site. If you don’t know where they are, find out.

MSDSs come in all kinds of formats. As long as all the prescribed information is presented on the MSDS in English, requirements have been met. Most MSDSs come on paper sheets; however, technology has led some companies to computerize MSDSs. OSHA approves of this method, but only if the information is in English and readily available to workers. Here are the MSDS sections you will find and what information they contain:

Chemical identity — The identity used on the label, except trade secrets.

Physical and chemical characteristics — Vapor pressure, flash point, and other characteristics.

Physical hazards — Including the potential for fire, explosion, and reactivity.

Health hazards — Including signs and symptoms of exposure, and any medical conditions which are generally recognized as being aggravated by exposure to the chemical.

Primary route(s) of entry — Including skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion.

Exposure limits — Exposure limits used or recommended by the chemical manufacturer, importer, or employer preparing the MSDS, where available.

Carcinogenic properties — Whether the hazardous chemical is listed in the official lists of carcinogens and potential carcinogens.

Precautions for safe handling and use — Any generally applicable precautions for safe handling and use, including hygienic practices, personal protective measures, and procedures for cleanup of spills and leaks.

Control measures — Any generally applicable control measures, such as appropriate engineering controls, work practices, or PPE.

Emergency and first aid measures — How to treat workers who are exposed.

Date of preparation — The date of preparation of the MSDS or the last change to it.

Manufacturer, importer, or responsible party — The name, address, and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, employer, or other responsible party preparing or distributing the MSDS, who can provide additional information on the hazardous chemical and appropriate emergency procedures, if necessary.

This information is provided by: Assurance Agency