27 Mar 2014
It is shown that one of the most threatening factors on a job site is distractions. There are many different forms of distractions that can play a major part in workplace injuries and fatalities. These distractions can be fixed and will make your workplace safe. Below you will find the five top distractions at work.
Mental Distractions and Inattention
It can be very difficult to function properly at work when you have so much going on in your personal life. This is one of the biggest distractions that employees seem to have in any workplace. It may be difficult for employees to walk through the work doors and just be able to eliminate all the anger or concerns they have going on in their personal lives. These worries can make it very difficult for employees to focus completely at work.
People can have a lot of things on their mind; whether it is about their exciting weekend ahead of them, or the argument they had with their spouses. At the time the worker believes these thoughts are harmless and its fine to carry with them to work, but what they don’t know is one little distraction can cause a major injury or fatality at work. A job site can be a very busy, fast paced area and it can also quickly lead to an injury if you are not focused on your work and the others around you.
A proven way to improve your mood is to improve your surroundings. Visual clutter can easily be translated into mental clutter. If your desk or work area is a mess this means you’re always looking for something or overlooking important things. On a job site safety tends to suffer when clutter accumulates, and can be a sign that safety is not the top priority. Clutter can create major distractions for workers to deal with, and at times can slow their job down.
Cell Phone Use
There is a study that shows workers are 36 times more likely to have an accident while using a cellphone. It is important that if you are on a job that requires constant attention to what you’re doing it is best to not even have your phone on you. If you’re using your phone at work it takes your attention away from your workers and could lead to structural failure or damage years later due to poor workmanship.
If you do have a very important phone call to take while on the job make sure you have your workers stop what they are doing and take a break. This should not be an occurring problem.
MP3 Players and similar devices
Listening to music can be a very relaxing, mood boosting tool but it also can be very dangerous if listened to in the wrong environment. On a job site hearing allows you to sense possible dangers, but it is never good to listen to music that blocks your hearing from what is going on around you. If you’re an employee that is just using ear buds to block out noise distractions on the job then you need to use appropriate earplugs to protect yourself and be able to stay attentive on the job.
Most people don’t believe it but many accidents in the past have actually happened because a worker was fixing their hair in the middle of a task. Long, loose hair can block your vision or get tangled in power tools and machinery. It is very important that if you have long hair to keep it pulled back and be sure to keep it out of the way from your work area.
While factors in the workplace play a role in causing distractions, the fact remains that more occupational hazards rise from unsafe acts than from unsafe conditions. Safety of employees now lies in their own hands. If an employee is following safe procedures and not letting any of these distractions get in their way during work then you will not have to worry about hurting yourself before each work day ends.
#6 Powered Industrial Trucks - Part of the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for Fiscal 2013 Series
With powered industrial trucks there are so many points to look at and inspect; some of the important points are often overlooked by employers. These are some questions an employer should ask themselves.
- Are your people trained?
- Are only trained personnel operating?
- Is all equipment adequately equipped with needed safety equipment?
- Is that equipment operable or has it been disconnected (back-up horns and strobes?)
What exactly are powered industrial trucks?
Powered industrial trucks are any mobile power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier materials. Powered industrial trucks can be ridden or controlled by a walking operator, earth moving and over the road haulage trucks are not included in the definition. Equipment that was designed to move earth but has been modified to accept forks are also not included.
The most recent OSHA data indicates 95,000 workers are injured, and approximately 100 are killed each year in powered industrial truck related incidents. Most powered industrial truck injuries are caused by tip over accidents. The primary causes of tip overs are excessive speed while turning and having raised, unbalanced loads. The best way to avoid tip overs is to properly counter-balance your load. All loads should be placed as close to the back of the forks as possible.
Operating a powered industrial truck requests detailed training to help employees understand how to use the powered industrial truck and understand the risk associated with using this particular equipment. Powered industrial trucks are a very important part of material handling in many industries, and are also a source of serious accidents. All personnel who operate powered industrial trucks must be trained and certified in their safe operation every three years. The training includes both classroom and vehicle operation. The training covers:
- Features of the specific powered industrial truck to be operated
- Operating procedures of the specific powered industrial truck to be operated
- Safety concerns of specific powered industrial truck to be operated
- Workplace conditions and safety concerns of areas where powered industrial trucks will be operated.
- Learn and practice actual operation of specific powered industrial truck to be operated.
- Demonstrate proficiency performing the powered industrial trucks operator duties specific to the workplace and to be evaluated on the use of that equipment.
Evaluation of an operator’s performance can be determined by a number of ways, such as:
- a discussion with the employee
- an observation of the employee operating the powered industrial truck
- written documentation of previous training
- a performance test
Operating a powered industrial truck takes skill and knowledge. The operator and those around the operator must treat the powered industrial truck with respect. Using proper operating procedures will minimize the potential for accidents and injuries.
Forklifts must be removed from service when they are not in safe operating condition. They are required to be inspected before use (at least once per shift) and should include, but not be limited to; brakes, steering, forks, mast chain components, data plate, tires, counterweight, overhead guard, control levers, horn, lights, etc. Using an inspection checklist makes this task easier and thorough.
A powered industrial truck is not a car, and is tall and narrow and tip over easily, so operators must drive cautiously. Stopping a powered industrial truck is also not the same as stopping a car. The two small wheels are the braking wheels, so they do not stop quickly.
General Safety Rules
- Keep the load low
- Never carry riders
- Plan your route
- Follow safe speed limits
- Park safely
- Watch for pedestrians
- Avoid sharp turns
- Watch for chuckholes
- Leave aisle room
- Maintain safe visibility
- Watch the slope
- Use your horn when approaching
13 Mar 2014
#7 Ladders - Part of the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for Fiscal 2013 Series
Workers who use ladders in construction risk permanent injury or death from falls and electrocutions. Ladders are one of the most commonly used and abused tools in the field and every year hundreds of people are hurt at work while using ladders. These hazards can be eliminated or substantially reduced by following good safety practices. This fact sheet examines some of the hazards workers may encounter while working on ladders and explains what employers and workers can do to reduce injuries and prevent possible citations for ladders.
Typically injuries occur when ladders are used for purposes other than those designated by the manufacturer—when the top step of a stepladder is used as a step, when ladders are not used on stable and level surfaces or when defective ladders are not withdrawn from service. Most employee injuries can be attributed to insufficient or inadequate training and a disregard for safe operating procedures.
Employers must train each worker to recognize and minimize ladder-related hazards. The most common ladder hazards in the field are:
- Using damaged ladders
- Placing ladders on slippery or unstable surface
- Not engaging the ladder spreaders in the full locked position
- Standing on the top step or top cap
- Loading ladder beyond rated load
- Ladders in high-traffic location
- Reaching outside ladder side rails
- Ladders in close proximity to electrical wiring/equipment
- Reaching or learning too far rather than moving the ladder.
- Placing the ladder on boxes or pallets to make it taller.
- Climbing the ladder while carrying items.
- Using the wrong ladder for the job, such as using a step ladder as a straight ladder.
Inspecting your ladder before each use can help detect hazards with the ladder itself. OSHA states that a ladder must be inspected regularly for visible defects by a competent person and after any incident that could affect its safe use. Check your ladder for damage before each use. If a ladder is damaged, label it, do not use, and take it away until it is fixed. Destroy it if it can’t be fixed.
Training is a key element to the safe use of ladders. Employers must ensure that employees are provided with training and information in relation to safe ladder use. Ladder users must be competent in their use. They must know how to check it, carry it, erect it, use it, and move it all in a safe manner.
With training you have to consider supervision, a lack of adequate supervision can lead to deterioration or misuse of equipment. Supervisors should ensure that inspection and maintenance regimes are implemented and recorded. Supervisors should ensure that misuse of ladders is not taking place and that all users have received the appropriate training in relation to safe use of ladders.