Table Saw Safety

I am buying a house. Taking advantage of the low prices and great interest rates I figure it’s now or never. I bring this up because one of the things I’m looking forward to in my new house is building my own custom woodshop. I love woodworking. I love working with wood and, like any guy, I love my tools.

As a safety professional, however, I need to practice what I preach and make sure that I am using these tools properly and safely so a new abstract that just came out from “The Journal of Trauma” and available online here, is a wake-up call to me and everyone else who uses a table saw.

According to the data collected 565,670 table saws related injuries occurred between 1990 and 2007 (I was going to say 565,670 people were treated for injuries but I imagine that this is incorrect. I’m guessing that some of these people probably came in more than once). That make your table saw the most dangerous tool you’ve got. It also means that, knowing this, you should approach your table with a newfound respect.

We’ve recently discussed tool and shop safety so I won’t go into it again but, I am going to provide you with a link to Fine Woodworking Magazines’ website where you can brush up on table saw safety because after all, it isn’t the table saw that’s dangerous, it’s the way you use it.

Read the “Safety Manual: Tablesaw” article.


The Basics of Eyewash (Part 4)

Understanding the standard

The ANSI standard concerning eyewash (Z358.1-2009) specifies that a “flushing fluid” should be used to flush out particles and contaminants. The fluid can be potable water, buffered water or saline solution, depending on the type of eyewash that is used.

The standard further specifies that it must provide a continuous, low-pressure stream for a minimum of 15 minutes. This time duration is important especially when chemicals are involved because the fluid doesn’t neutralize, it only dilutes. Plenty of fluid is needed to adequately dilute and flush away hazardous chemicals. If an eyewash station is going to service an area where extremely hazardous chemicals are going to be used, you might consider a longer flushing time and therefore more fluid.

Eyewash vs. Shower

Drench showers are not to be used in lieu of eyewash stations. Drench showers are high-pressure and are intended to flush the skin, not the eyes. There are combination eyewash/drench showers that can be used to handle both, but a shower should not be the primary eyewash station.

Specifications

If you are installing a plumbed eyewash station, it is important that you follow the ANSI standard. The standard specifies that the nozzles should be 33-45″ off the ground and at least 6″ away from the wall or from any other obstruction. Furthermore, the eyewash needs to be able to be activated in 1 second and run for 15 minutes at least without the user having to keep his or her hand on the lever or valve. Plumbed units need to be tested on a weekly basis in order to make sure that there are no obstructions as well as to flush out the water that has been sitting in the pipes so that bacteria doesn’t build up.

Temperature – The fluid should be tepid which means that it should be between 16-38°C (60-100°F). In order to maintain that temperature, a mixing valve may be required.

Conclusion:

Whichever eyewash you choose, it is important to make sure that you read all the information related to that particular eyewash station. It should tell you most of what you need to know in order to be compliant. If you are unsure about the type or need or location of eyewashes in your facility, call a safety professional. Many manufacturers or safety distributors will provide a rep who can do a walk-through and give you a detailed information about where you would need to install an eyewash station and which one would be best suited. Eyewash stations are a relatively simple and inexpensive investment that can pay off big when it saves someone their sight.


The Basics of Eyewash (Part 3)

Eye/Face Wash Equipment (Section 6)

  • Emergency eye/ face wash equipment must be constructed of materials resistant to corrosion (Section 6.1.5).
  • The flushing fluid it delivers must be at a flow that is will not injure the user (Section 6.1.1)
  • It should be protected from airborne contaminants (Section 6.1.3)

Critical Dimensions

  • 33″–45″ from the nozzles to the surface the user stands (Section 6.4.4)
  • Nozzles must also be at least 6″ away from a wall or any type of obstruction (Section 6.4.4)
  • An eyewash gauge should be utilized to assess the flow pattern. See Illustration 3c on page 21 of ANSI Z358.1-2004 for exact dimensions. (Section 6.1.7)

Performance and Maintenance Criteria

  • Minimum Flushing fluid of 3 GPM at 30 PSI for 15 minutes (Section 6.1.6)
  • Valve should easily activate in a second or less and remain open on its own until it is intentionally turned off (Section 6.2)
  • If the potential for freezing conditions, product specifically designed to avoid freezing should be utilized (Section 6.4.5)
  • Plumbed units should be activated long enough on a weekly basis to be sure flushing fluid is provided (Section 6.5.2)
  • Self-contained units do not require activation, but require a visual inspection to verify adequate flushing fluid is available (Section 6.5.3)

 

Combination Units (Section 7)

Showers, eyewashes, eye/face washes, and drench hoses all can be utilized in Combination Units. The requirements of each of these types of product categories must be met when utilized with other categories of emergency equipment (Section 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.1.3, 7.1.4). All the emergency equipment on a Combination Unit must be able to be used simultaneously by the same individual (7.4.4).

Critical Dimensions

Refer to the shower, eyewash, eye/face wash, and drench hose sections of this document or the ANSI standard for applicable dimensions.

Performance and Maintenance Criteria

  • Refer to Sections 4, 5, 6, and 8.2.2 for valve information (Section 7.2)
  • If the potential for freezing conditions, product specifically designed to avoid freezing should be utilized (Section 7.4.4)
  • Plumbed units should be activated long enough on a weekly basis to ensure flushing fluid is provided (Section 7.5.2)
  • Self-contained units do not require activation, but require a visual inspection to verify the adequate flushing fluid is available (Section 7.5.3)

 

(Taken from “A Guide to the ANSI Z358.1-2004 Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Shower Equipment” available from the Bradley website


The Basics of Eyewash (Part 2)

Requirements by Emergency Equipment Product Category

 

Plumbed and Self-Contained Eyewash Equipment (Section 5)

  • Emergency eyewash equipment must be constructed of materials resistant to corrosion (Section 5.1.5).
  • The flushing fluid it delivers must be at a flow that is non-injurious to the user (Section 5.1.1)
  • It should be protected from airborne contaminants (Section 5.1.3).

 

Critical Dimensions:

  • 33″–45″ from the nozzles to the surface the user stands (Section 5.4.4)
  • Nozzles must also be at least 6″ away from a wall or any type of obstruction (Section 5.4.4)
  • An eyewash gauge should be utilized to assess the flow pattern. See Illustration 3c on page 21 of ANSI Z358.1-2004 for exact dimensions. (Section 4.1.5)

 

Performance and Maintenance Criteria

  • Minimum Flushing fluid of .4 GPM at 30 PSI for 15 minutes (Section 5.1.6)
  • Valve should easily activate in a second or less and remain open on its own until it is intentionally turned off (Section 5.2)
  • If the potential for freezing conditions, product specifically designed to avoid freezing should be utilized (Section 5.4.5)
  • Plumbed units should be activated on a weekly basis long enough to be sure flushing fluid is provided (Section 5.5.2)
  • Self-contained units do not require activation, but require a visual inspection to verify adequate flushing fluid is available (Section 5.5.3)

 

(Taken from “A Guide to the ANSI Z358.1-2004 Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Shower Equipment” available from the Bradley website


Ergonomic Tip of the Week # 8

Proper lifting technique consists of the following:

  1. Keep the object as close to the body as possible when lifting it.
  2. Bend using the legs rather than the back (squat, don’t stoop).
  3. Always test the weight of the object before lifting it.
  4. Pivot using the feet instead of twisting at the waist.

The ergonomic tip of the day is provided by Ken Oswald at SafetyCommunity.com

 


The Basics of Eye Wash (Part 1)

“More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20 % will cause temporary or permanent vision loss. Experts believe that the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of eye injuries in accidents.

This quote, taken from the Prevent Blindness America website, is sobering, especially the second part of the quote that tells us that 90% of eye injuries are preventable. We have already discussed the basics of eye safety in a previous document (See “The Basics of Eye Protection“) but eye protection is a two-part process. The first part is prevention which involves safety glasses, goggles and face shields. The second part involves eyewash in order to treat eye injuries.

When an eye injury occurs, the first 10 to 15 seconds are critical; any longer than that and serious injury may occur. What this means is that eye wash stations must be within easy access in all critical locations. It is therefore important to identify your critical areas and make sure that you have what is needed to properly treat eye injuries in those locations.

Critical Areas:

  • Any area where harmful chemicals are being used, dispensed or stored.
  • Any area where there is debris flying around.

Three types of eyewashes:

  1. Plumbed
    This type of eyewash station relies on the plants’ water supply. It is connected to the facility’s water main. There are several different types of plumbed eyewashes as well:
    1. Faucet Mounted Eyewashes which connect directly to the tap or are connected next to the tap (see examples here)
    2. Free standing eyewashes that tap into the water supply by stand independently of any existing fixture or wall. These are most often combined with a drench shower (see examples here)
    3. Wall mounted eyewashes that are plumbed into the water supply but are mounted on the wall. (see examples here)
  2. Self-Contained
    This type of eyewash is not plumbed into the existing water supply but contains within the unit itself, enough water to properly flush the eyes. These can be free standing or wall mounted (See examples here)
  3. Personal
    This type is one or more bottles of saline solution designed for field work where conditions change constantly (see examples here).

Tool Safety

Whether at home or at work, tools are an essential element of our work. Tools, however, can be dangerous. Understanding the risks and hazards involved is essential in order to prevent accidents.

General Safety Recommendations:

  • Use the right tool for the job. The right tool is designed to work safely; the wrong tool isn’t. A knife blade, used as a screwdriver may snap because it wasn’t built with the necessary strength. Conversely, the wrong tool may damage the part that you are working on making it even more dangerous to work on. Understand what the right tool is that you need to use in order to get the job done and use it.
  • Repair or replace damaged tools. Damaged tools can break, splinter and fragment while in use. Do not simply try to jimmy-rig something or tell yourself you’ll just use it like it is this one last time and then fix it. Accidents don’t wait for you to get around to getting the tool fixed.
  • Make sure that you are in the right mental state when working. There’s a reason why those medications tell you not to operate machinery while taking the drug. There are reasons why it isn’t safe to work when you are excessively tired. There are reasons why alcohol and tools don’t mix.
  • Do not remove safety features like fences and covers; they are there for a reason!
  • Read and understand how to safely use the tools before you use them; there may be safety features that you are not aware of.
  • Stabilize your work properly before you start working, many accidents occur when a piece slides or slips while the worker is working on it.
  • Always unplug a power tool before you do any repair or maintenance work on it.
  • Always use the appropriate PPE when working with tools. Even if nothing breaks or works wrong flying debris, slips, etc… can cause injury. Wear gloves when recommended, always wear safety glasses, wear hearing protection when necessary and wear hard hats if required.
  • Make sure that you have proper footing and balance before you begin work.
  • Make sure that you have no loose clothing or jewelry that might get tangled or caught in the tool.

 


The Art of Washing Hands

H1N1 flu season may slowly be dying out but that doesn’t mean that cold and flu season is over. Nor does it mean that we should stop washing our hands in order to stop the spread of germs.

The challenge, of course, is getting your kids to do it properly so Georgia-Pacific has designed a website specifically for you.

Here’s a sample of what you will find at www.theartofwashinghands.com

  • A song sung to the tune of “London bridge is falling down” that goes like this: “Soap and water, paper towel, paper towel, paper towel. Soap and water, paper towel, Bye bye germy.”
  • “You are my Bubbles” song (sung to the tune of “You are my Sunshine”)
  • Scrubby Scrubby that’s the way (sung to the tune of “Twinkle twinkle little star”)
  • Scrubby Dubby Dubby song

Each of the above songs also include a link where you can watch a chorus of children singing the song (kids love to watch other kids) as well as a pdf of the songs that you can use with you kids, especially good for a classroom setting.

  • There’s also a Color the Germs page where you can either print out the page to color or color the page directly online
  • A “proper hand washing and drying mastery” page that shows how and when to wash hands properly
  • Other games and activities

By the time they’re done exploring the website they should have gotten the message.

The only problem might be keeping your sanity after hearing the “Scrubby scrubby that’s the way” song sung by your toddler for the 745th time in a row.


The Basics of Forklift Safety (Part 6)

Establishing a basic traffic management safety plan

Pedestrians and forklifts don’t mix. Management needs to understand this basic principle and plan accordingly. It’s the reason that we have streets with sidewalks, stop lights and crosswalks.

The way that a warehouse is set up should be as clear as the rules governing street traffic are. Forklift drivers should no more drive in pedestrian lanes than a truck driver would drive on the sidewalk.

Rights of way, stop signs, yield signs, etc… also need to be instituted in order to avoid accidents, not only between pedestrians and forklifts but also between forklifts.

Here are some basic principles:

  • Clearly outline and delineate pedestrian paths for pedestrians only. Forklifts are not allowed in pedestrian zones.
  • Put up barriers to separate the pedestrians from the forklifts.
  • Clearly mark crosswalks where pedestrian paths will have to cross forklift areas
  • Clearly define who has the right of way in each area where pedestrians and forklifts are forced to interact.
  • Post signs to make clear what the speed limit is, who has the right of way, where blind spots are, etc…
  • Hang mirrors in areas where visibility is limited. There are all kinds of mirrors to cover all kinds of situations (see our the Se-Kure Mirror section of our website for more details on the different types of mirrors available)
  • Make sure that safety lights, back-up alarms and warning devices (horns, lights, etc…) are in working order
  • If pedestrians are not simply passing through (office personnel coming and going for example) but actually have to work in the same environment as the forklifts for most of the work day, make sure that pedestrians are wearing reflective safety vests.
  • Make sure that forklifts have high-visibility markings on them as well (conspicuity tape, for example).

Conclusion

The bottom line is that forklifts have the potential to do a lot of damage, both to equipment and to people. Because they have that potential however, doesn’t mean that they are necessarily dangerous. If precautions and safety measures are taken, pedestrians and forklifts can both well together without harm.

This can only happen with proper study and analysis that results in actions taken to make sure that both are well protected. Do it today, don’t wait until someone has been hurt or worse before the safety measures are put in place.