Safety Blog

#5 Electrical  - Part of the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for Fiscal 2013 Series

Whether you are working as an electrician or in the food industry, electrical hazards have been causing serious injury and fatalities. Electricity is a serious workplace hazard that can cause electrical burns and electrocution. The general industry regulation, 1910.305, was responsible for 3,452 violations in 2013, making this regulation the fifth most likely one for employers to get cited on. The citations for this regulation have double since 2012 (1,744).

If you do not know these wiring regulations please familiarize yourself with it to ensure your business and employees are wiring correctly.

Wiring Methods

Grounding conductors need to be effectively bonded where necessary to ensure electrical continuity and the capacity to conduct safely. Any nonconductive paint, enamel, or similar coating needs to be removed at the threads, contact points, and contact surfaces or be connected by means of fittings designed to make such removal unnecessary. Never install wiring systems of any type where ducts are used to transport dust, loose stock, or flammable vapors. No wiring systems should be installed in a duct that is used for vapor removal or the ventilation of commercial-type cooking equipment.

Temporary Wiring

Temporary electrical installations of more than 600 volts are only feasible to use during periods of tests, experiments, emergencies, or other construction-like activities. Temporary electrical power and lighting installations of 600 volts or less may be used only as the following:

  • During and for remodeling, maintenance, or the repair of buildings, structures, or equipment
  • For Christmas decorative lighting, carnivals, and similar purposes for a period of time that doesn’t exceed 90 days
  • For experimental or development work, and during emergencies

Temporary wiring needs to be removed immediately when the project or purpose of the wiring is completed.

Cabinets, boxes and fittings

It is important to protect conductors that enter cutout boxes, cabinets, or fittings from abrasion. Make sure to keep openings where conductors enter and are unused, closed. Secure the cables to the cabinet, cutout box, or meter socket.

Where entirely nonmetallic, sheathed cables enters the top of a surface-mounted enclosure through one or more nonflexible raceways at least 18 in. or more than 10 ft. long, the cable doesn’t have to be secured as long as it meets the following conditions:

  • Cables fastened within 12 in. of the outer end of the raceway
  • The raceway extends directly above the enclosure and doesn’t penetrate a structural ceiling
  • A fitting is provided at each end of the raceway to protect the cable from abrasion
  • The fittings remain accessible
  • The raceway is sealed or plugged at the outer end, preventing access to the enclosure
  • The cable sheath is continuous through the raceway and goes into the enclose at least 0.25 in. beyond the fitting
  • The raceway is fastened at its outer end and at other points where needed

Electrical

Conductors for General Wiring

All conductors used for general wiring must be insulated, unless it is otherwise permitted. Insulated conductors approved for the voltage, operating temperature and location is the default requirement for conductors in general wiring. They also need to be distinguishable as grounded, ungrounded or equipment grounding conductors.

These are just little parts of this regulation. There is much more to wiring and electrical that can be found at www.osha.gov.

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.workplace distractions

Poor Housekeeping

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.

Long/Unkempt Hair

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.

powered industrial truckOperating 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

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