Do You Know Where Fall Hazards Are Present in Your Workplace?

Fall protection is a safety standard that applies to nearly every industry. According to OSHA, fall prevention safety standards were included in the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards, during fiscal year 2014 (From OSHA.gov).

OSHA created the annual campaign called the National Safety Stand-Down with its intent to raise awareness of preventing fall hazards in construction. Falls continue to be the leading cause of death for construction workers. It is critical that all employers and employees in all industries communicate directly about safety and learn to identify the conditions and behaviors that cause falls.

The following identify some specific conditions and behaviors that cause falls:

Stairways:
– Carrying objects that block the view of the steps
– Running
– Failure to use the handrail
– Working in areas cluttered by objects
– Inattention

Ladders:
– Use of ladders that do not suit the job
– Use of ladders that are in poor condition
– Improper ladder placement
– Improper ladder use
– Reaching/leaning too far
– Using a step ladder that is too short

Scaffolds:
– Using scaffolds without guard rails or toe boards
– Using poorly constructed scaffolds
– Using scaffolds without bracing to prevent sway
– Rushing your work

Floor Openings:
– Working around uncovered floor openings
– Working near floor openings that have been insufficiently covered
– Working around floor openings that have been insufficiently marked

Wall Openings:
– Failing to ensure that wall openings are barricaded
– Working near wall openings that may break easily
– Failing to tie-off when working near exposed wall openings

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a fall prevention training course describing the basic components of a fall protection program including identifying fall hazards, how to use fall arrest systems and equipment, ways to develop controls for safe work practice and maintaining fall protection equipment.

Use the Safety Pyramid to Encourage Accountability

fire extinguisher safety

Ignoring the root causes of incidents that occur within your workplace can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities, sooner if not later. Addressing the underlying issues within your organization is essential to preventing OSHA-recordable incidents and saving lives!

Although less severe incidents occur more often, they are the ones that typically go completely undocumented. According to the Safety Pyramid, for every ten thousand unsafe behaviors and hazards that are observed, there will likely be one serious injury or fatality.

The Safety Pyramid compares the frequency of different types of incidents, ranging in severity from generally unsafe behaviors and hazards, to incidents that end in serious injuries or fatalities. While you may not want to spend the time and effort to officially document minor incidents, it is these recurring near misses and unsafe behaviors that reveal the internal problems within the organization. If they go uncorrected, they will eventually lead to more serious incidents. Don’t neglect minor incidents or deem them as insignificant.

Make it a habit to observe, investigate, and document each incident thoroughly – no matter how minor. The Safety Pyramid is a reference tool that can help to encourage an effective safety culture within your organization and promote accountability throughout the workplace.

Watch a video on the safety pyramid:


Electrical Installations – Safety & Execution

fire extinguisher safety

For temporary and/or permanent electrical equipment used on the job site:

Lock out/tag out procedures must be followed:

  • If systems need to be energized for work, only properly trained, licensed and qualified persons may work on these systems and only with proper controls in place.
  • Qualified persons must don the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as specified in the specific procedure for that equipment.
  • Extension cords are not to be used in lieu of permanent wiring. Extension cords used with portable electrical tools and appliances shall be of three-wire types.
  • Grounds are never to be removed from equipment or extension cords.

Tool and equipment condition:

  • All wiring and electrical equipment, tools and machinery shall be in excellent repair and part of a sound Preventive Maintenance Program with frequent inspections and full documentation.

Temporary lights:

  • Temporary lights and lighting where exposed to breakage, shall be equipped with guards to prevent accidental contact with the bulb.
  • Temporary lights shall not be suspended by their electric cords unless cords and lights are designed for this means of suspension.
  • Splices are not permitted.

Electrical lines, extension cords, and cables:

  • Do not to lay them on floors or in walkways, etc.
  • Secure and place in doorways and work areas so they won’t be damaged.
  • Do not use flexible cords as a substitute for fixed wiring, run flexible cords through walls, ceilings, floors, doorways, windows, attach to building surfaces, or conceal behind building walls, ceilings, or floors.

Panel boards, access, and ground fault systems:

  • These must have dead fronts on them at all times, except when being serviced.
  • All electrical equipment should have at least a three foot clearance in front of the equipment.
  • The area needs to be controlled for unauthorized access.
  • A “ground fault system” is used to prevent shock hazards. This may include the use of “ground fault circuit interrupters” (GFCIs) or an “assured equipment grounding program”.

Fire Extinguisher Safety

fire extinguisher safety

Have you inspected your fire extinguishers lately?

Are they fully charged, strategically located, accessible, and ready for use? Or, are they covered with dust and hidden in a corner where they create a false sense of security?

Fire extinguishers are often purchased with enthusiasm and then forgotten because they are not needed. It is a good thing that they have not been needed, but they still need proper inspection and maintenance. Not only is this a legal requirement, but ensures they are ready to use if needed! Remember, fire extinguishers are a first line of defense against fire.

Fire extinguishers must be kept accessible and functional to eliminate lost time when they are needed. Inspect your extinguishers monthly to be certain they are charged and in ready to use condition. Annual maintenance inspections are required in accordance with NFPA 10. Other maintenance and inspection requirements are required based on the type of extinguisher. Check the manufacturer owner’s manual for these requirements.

Also, if staff will be expected to use fire extinguishers in an emergency, be sure that they have received training on how to use them correctly.

Do you have the proper Class of extinguisher for the kinds of materials that are most likely to burn in your operation?

The following is a list of the different classes of fires and the recommended fire extinguishers to be used for each. The correlation is very straightforward: Class A fires require Class A extinguishers; Class B fires require Class B extinguishers, etc. Some extinguishers have multiple ratings which makes them usable on different classes of fires. But remember, if you do not know what kind of materials are burning or if you do not have the proper class of extinguisher, do not try to fight the fire; evacuate immediately.

  • Class A Fires involve ordinary combustibles such as paper, plastic, rags, and wood. The recommended extinguishers are Class A.
  • Class B Fires involve flammable liquids such as oil, grease, gasoline, and paint. The recommended extinguishers are Class B.
  • Class C Fires involve electrical equipment such as motors, heaters, and office machines. The recommended extinguishers are Class C.
  • Class D Fires involve combustible metals such as magnesium, aluminum, sodium, and potassium. The recommended extinguishers are Class D.
  • Class K Fires involve combustible cooking fluids such as oils and fats. The recommended extinguishers are Class K.