While all falls are preventable, they continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in the workplace. As OSHA continues to put an emphasis on fall prevention, one of the best ways to prevent falls is a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS). Let’s take a look at the parts of a PFAS and some of the safety points of use.
OSHA defines a PFAS as a system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. A PFAS system includes an anchor, connector, body harness, and sometimes additional equipment such as lifelines and shock absorbers. Here is the purpose of each component:
Anchor points are where the PFAS begins and acts as the point to suspend the load during a fall. Anchor points are required to be independent from any other type of support. All anchors must be able to support 5,000lbs per employee, maintain a safety factor of two, or designed and installed by a professional.
Connectors link the anchor point to the body harness, usually in the form of a lanyard or self-retracting device. Connectors must be fitted with locking snap hooks or d-rings and need to be limited in length so an employee cannot fall to a lower level or more than 6ft.
A full body harness is the component that helps distribute the impact of the fall to the lower half of the body. Harnesses need to be fitted for each employee and inspected before each use. Any signs of wear, tears, or faulty clips must be reported and the harness removed from use.
Extra equipment such as lifelines can be helpful by increasing the area of work for employees allowing for more movement. Shock absorbers are a common addition to lanyards and lifelines as they reduce fall loads by up to 50%.
Safety Points for Use
Before using your PFAS, here are some safety tips to remember and follow:
When it comes to PFAS, inspecting equipment before use, limiting the fall distance, and having a plan in place to rescue a fallen worker are just as important to knowing your components and how to use them properly. To keep the conversation going, download the PFAS toolbox talk (TBT) or comment below.
While the New Year has officially begun, so does the cold weather for most of us. With dropping temperatures and freezing precipitation comes the risk of Cold Stress as you work outdoors. Let’s take a look at what Cold Stress is and some ways to keep you safe this winter season.
What is Cold Stress?
Cold Stress is a condition that occurs when your body is no longer able to maintain its’ normal temperature. As your body temperature begins to drop, symptoms such as shivering, rashes, muscle stiffness, drowsiness, and exhaustion can occur. If these symptoms are not treated quickly, the body will begin to shutdown as you lose consciousness and the situation can turn fatal. Here are some tips to keep your body warm as you work:
Acclimate Yourself to the Weather
Just like in the hot summer months, acclimating your body to cold weather helps prevent the initial shock of the cold. Build up your tolerance to the cold by slowly introducing yourself in short periods.
Wear Proper Clothing
The best way to stay warm is to wear layers of loose-fitting clothing. Tight fitting clothes can slow blood flow and reduce the ability to stay warm. Don’t forget to swap clothes as they get wet (especially socks).
Drink plenty of warm fluids such as water and electrolyte drinks to keep hydrated. Stay away from caffeinated drinks and steer clear of alcohol.
Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. When taking a break, try to move to a warm area and allow your body to warm itself up. Stay away from large meals as these can drain your energy.
As the cold weather moves in, take these tips and apply them to your workday. To keep the conversation going, download the Cold Stress Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.
While decking the halls for the holidays is fun and exciting, it can turn dangerous in an instant. With over 18,000 Americans taking visits to the ER for holiday related incidents, the most common come from decorating the outdoors with lights and décor. Today we will be reviewing some of the best ways to keep safe while working at heights with lights.
Check Lights and Décor Before Install
Make sure all light strings are in working order and replace any worn or frayed cords before climbing a ladder. Being able to use both hands for electrical inspections on the ground will prevent potential electrical hazards and distractions.
Inspect Working Area
Make sure ladders have proper footing and are free of any ice/snow. Inspect your roof/gutters to make sure there are no spots that cannot handle the weight of you or your decorations.
Use Three Points of Contact with Ladders
Always maintain three points of contact when moving up and down the ladder. Make sure your hands are free of tools/decorations as you move.
Know Your Surroundings When on the Roof
Be aware of any snow/ice accumulation along with your electrical cords. Trip and fall hazards are the number one injury at home and at work.
Wear Proper Clothing and Footwear
Make sure you are dressed for the weather and your footwear has plenty of traction. Fatigue due to the cold can lead to mistakes that can be costly.
Christmas lights are an exciting addition to the home and help ring in the holiday the right way. If you are installing your own lights, make sure you know these safety precautions to keep yourself out of the emergency room this year. To keep the conversation going, download NFPA’s Holiday Safety Tips or comment below.
OSHA estimates there are over 20,000 eye and face injuries in the workplace each year. While the number may be staggering, an overwhelming majority of these injuries could have been prevented if the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was used. Let’s take a look at the OSHA standard and the common types of eye and face protection.
Standard 1910.133 Eye and Face Protection
OSHA requires employers to provide protection “when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.”
Eye & Face Protection is governed by the ANSI Z87.1 Standard where protection must comply based on the different types of hazard ratings including impact, dust, splashes, small particles, and radiation. Each piece of PPE must be marked and easily identified based on the hazards it protects against. While there is no expressed type of PPE for specific tasks, let’s take a look at the most common types of PPE and where they can be used.
The most common type of eye protection that can be used in most construction and manufacturing situations. Safety glasses protect against small hazards from entering the eye and can come with additional side shields to help against flying objects and dust particles.
Providing additional protection to completely cover the eyes, eye sockets, and skin around the eye. Safety goggles are used when additional airborne or liquid hazards are present that may be able to move above or below typical safety glasses.
Getting the most protection for both the eyes and face. Face shields cover the entire face from forehead to chin, minimizing the potential impact from any types of hazards. Most face shields are impact or chemical rated for protection against large flying objects or acidic/caustic chemicals and gases.
A safety feature designed specifically for protection against radiation. Weld hoods are used with interchangeable filtered lenses to protect against all types of radiant energy from welding and soldering. Before using a weld hood, check the corresponding shade number located on the lens to make sure it is rated for the task at hand.
While most people don’t think of Eye and Face Protection as life or death, it can be life threatening as over 1 million workers have lost some degree of sight due to these injuries. Making sure you select the right type of eye and face protection and wearing it properly can significantly reduce your risk of injury. To keep the conversation going, download our Eye & Face Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.
OSHA estimates there are 200 workplace fires each day. With over $2 billion annually in property damage from these fires, it is important that work involving sparks and flammable materials be conducted under close supervision. Let’s look at Hot Work Permits and what your responsibilities are during these activities.
Hot Work is defined as operations that can create a spark or flame. In most cases this involves welding, cutting, brazing, and soldering. Permits for this type of work is required by OSHA and should contain the following:
Hot Work Precautions
Depending on the location and type of work, additional rules should be followed when performing hot work activities. Some of these rules include:
Fire Watch Duties
When tasked as the designated Fire Watch, the employee will be required to focus solely on watch duties. These duties include:
Hot Work is an everyday task that can go from safe to serious very quickly. Understanding the precautions and duties during these permits will ensure employees and the jobsite will be safe from fires. To keep the conversation going, download the Hot Work Permits Toolbox Talk (TBT).
Nearly 40 workers died in cave-ins last year marking an alarming rise in excavation accidents. When it comes to trenching and excavations, knowing your surroundings can be the difference between life and death. Here are 5 rules to live by when working in and around open trenches and excavations:
1. All trench and excavation projects need a competent person
OSHA defines a competent person as someone who is capable of identifying/predicting hazards with the authorization to eliminate them. The competent person should inspect each excavation every day before work begins to confirm it is safe to work in/around. If conditions change, be sure to inspect again.
2. Keep soils at least 2ft from edge of excavation
Spoil piles should be greater than two feet from the edge to prevent equipment and spoils from falling in. If there is not enough clearance for a spoil pile, they should then be hauled away from the jobsite.
3. Extend all egress ladders and walkways 3ft above trench
For ingress/egress means, extend your ladder above the trench to allow for proper footing while using the ladder. Falls are the greatest risk to every construction project.
4. Excavations greater than 4ft require ladder for egress
Every trench/excavation deeper than 4ft is required to have an egress ladder. When working in trenches and large scale excavations, make sure you have a ladder accessible every 50ft.
5. Protection systems are required for excavations greater than 5ft
Remember the four types of protection systems: sloping, shoring, shielding, benching. Determine which type of protection will work best for your jobsite and its surroundings. When the excavation becomes greater than 20ft in depth, make sure the protection is designed by a professional.
Trenches and excavations are constantly changing and require every worker to be aware of their surroundings. If conditions change for the worse, remember all workers have the right to stop work. To keep the conversation going, download the Trenching and Excavation Toolbox Talk (TBT).
An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is your way to ensure a safe evacuation in the event of an emergency. A successful plan will be able to highlight all the potential and likely threats you may experience in your workplace while identifying the steps employees need to take to safely leave the workplace. Today we will look at the OSHA requirements of EAPs and some other helpful tips that will ensure you won’t fail when an emergency arises.
Reporting an Emergency
There are many ways to report emergencies. From dialing 911, activating an alarm system, or providing an intercom announcement, all reporting features are critical to beginning an evacuation. Every second counts, and all employees must know how/where your systems are in place to trigger an emergency response. Make sure these alarms are distinct and recognizable by all who hear them.
Evacuation Procedures and Critical Operations
Once an alarm is triggered, employees need to know where to go and how to get there. Escape routes should be posted so that pathways are clear and visible to reach a designated location (usually deemed as Rally Point). Multiple escape routes will be needed in case one is blocked by a fire, disaster, etc.
If critical operations need to be completed prior to evacuation, make sure designated employees know these operations and how to complete them prior to finding their escape route. Some critical operations can include shutting down machinery, closing fire doors, or sweeping areas to make sure all employees have reached the Rally Point. Having a chain-of-command for employees and their duties will help this process reach each employee and allow them to know who to report to.
Rescue and Medical Operations
As employees reach the Rally Point, ensuring all employees have safely evacuated will assist in rescue operations. Once employees are accounted for, notify rescuers if there are any left in the building and where they may be based on their workstation or last known location.
Since most organizations will rely on public resources, having them know your facility will aid in emergency situations. Workplace walkthroughs will help first responders be prepared before entering an emergency situation while open communication with hospitals or local clinics can help them prepare to handle first-aid.
In the event employees become injured or your workplace is damaged, having proper recordkeeping and backup accounts will help you tackle the aftermath of an emergency. Emergency contacts for injured employees will be important in notifying their loved ones while documented training will help you know who has been properly trained for their emergency roles. Knowing important information such as accounting, human resources, and other essential records will help your company be able to continue running while the damage is repaired.
At STAC, our Training Management System can assist you with employee records including emergency contacts, training, certifications, and important HR information to provide peace of mind over your records regardless of the situation.
Preparing your EAP takes lots of effort from all employees to ensure that you are prepared in case of an emergency. Creating your plan, sharing it with employees, practicing drills/evacuations, and updating as changes arise will help make sure you are prepared for any emergency situation. To keep the conversation going, download the Emergency Action Plan Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.
With Summer now in full swing, higher temperatures, higher humidity, and longer exposure to the sun are all major factors of Heat Illnesses. With nearly 75% of heat-related fatalities happening during the first week of exposure, knowing the major symptoms and the ways to mitigate their effects are the keys to keeping workers safe while outdoors. Let's take a look at two major heat-related factors and the best ways to combat their effects.
When your body begins losing more fluid than you are taking in is when dehydration starts to affect your body. The biggest factors for dehydration include fluid intake, climate, and direct sun exposure. The safe practices to follow for combating dehydration include:
As the first stages of Heat Illness, Heat Stressors are when your body begins to overheat leading to rashes, muscle cramps, and nausea. Since these are the first signs that your body is beginning to overheat, spotting the symptoms right away can be critical. Some ways to alleviate Heat Stressors include:
Making sure you stay hydrated while easing into working conditions will be some of the best ways to combat Heat Illness and its harmful effects on the body. To keep the conversation going, download the Heat Stress Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.
Each year there are over 2.5 million workplace injuries across the nation. Ensuring safe and healthy workplace conditions is the main purpose of OSHA as it sets and enforces workplace standards. Last year the Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standard violations were:
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,260
2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 2,424
3. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,185
4. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,143
5. Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,058
6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,977
7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,749
8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,556
9. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,401
10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,370
Studies have shown that for every serious workplace injury, there are 300-500 near miss incidents that by chance, aren’t accidents. This is why Hazard Recognition and Risk Assessments are vital in determining the hazards associated within your workplace. When determining hazards in your workplace, some helpful processes include:
Prior to beginning a project, Risk Assessments are a great way to identify and rate the hazards that are present in the workplace. Once the hazards have been identified and assigned a risk level, controls can then be implemented to help reduce or eliminate risks entirely.
Workplace Safety Inspections
Weekly safety inspections can help identify hazards as the workplace changes. When new hazards become present, additional controls and PPE requirements can be implemented to reduce the risk of injury.
Job Hazard Analysis
A Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is completed by workers as they begin new tasks on a daily or weekly basis. When workers can take time before each task to identify and assign hazards, they will be the frontline of hazard recognition.
Identifying and eliminating hazards in the workplace is the responsibility of everyone. Providing the tools and methods to recognize hazards will be the best way to eliminate injuries and OSHA citations. To keep the conversation going, download the Risk Assessment Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatal injuries in the workplace accounting for over 35% of all workplace deaths. While these injuries are the most common, the important thing to remember is that all falls are preventable. One of the most commonly used systems to prevent falls is the Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS). A PFAS is a system that is used to stop an employee during a fall from a working level. The system consists of three components: Anchor, Body Harness, and a Connector. This system must be able to:
The anchor of a PFAS is the component that attaches the connector to a fixed point and is meant to support the employee in case of a fall. Anchors are required to be completely independent of other support structures and be capable of supporting 5,000lbs per employee or maintain a safety factor of two. Anchors should always be installed per the manufacturer’s recommendation and by a qualified employee.
The full body harness is the component that wraps the employee and distributes the impact through the thighs and buttocks. The body harness is meant to be custom to each employee as the fit should be snug while still allowing movement. Body harnesses should be free of damage such as frayed edges/fibers and pulled stitching while buckles and d-rings should be free of distortion. Make sure your employees are trained properly on inspecting and wearing their harnesses prior to tying off.
Connectors in a PFAS are the components that connect the harness to the anchor and restrict the fall. Connectors can consist of:
When it comes to PFAS, each component can vary based on the height from the ground, type of job, and number of workers. Make sure you know which system will be best for you and your employees know how to inspect and properly use each system. In case of a fall, be sure to have a Rescue Plan in place to be able to assist and remove an employee quickly and safely from the fall height. To keep the conversation going, download the PFAS Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.