Quit raining wrenches on your co-workers: An objects-at-heights webinar

From Ergodyne:

Event Date: 07/24/2013 12:00 PM Central Daylight Time

Aerial safety goes beyond standard fall protection. When you have a “butterfinger” type of day (and we’ve all had ’em), the tools and equipment you rely on can quickly turn into plummeting little (or big) bombs of destruction. In the past, objects-at-heights hazard-planning has been an afterthought – or not even a thought. Today, regulators and professionals acknowledge the serious, life-threatening risks of falling objects and are instilling rules to ensure proper precautions are followed in the workplace. This webinar will address:

  • Objects-at-heights safety and how it is part of safety-at-heights planning
  • Costs of dropped objects and other objects-at-heights hazards
  • Best practice for objects at heights within the Hierarchy of Controls

Register for the Quit Raining Wrenches on Your Co-workers: An Objects at Heights Webinar

Unsafe Conditions – The Deadly Dozen # 9

9. Hazardous tools, equipment or materials

It is said that knowledge is power. It is also life when it comes to hazardous tools, equipment or materials. Knowing where danger exists, knowing why a particular tools or piece of equipment is potentially hazardous is the first step in protecting against it. You wouldn’t give a baby a chainsaw to play with; no more should you start using equipment and tools without knowing how to use them safely.

Today’s condition is, of course, extremely general and generic and there is no way to specify all the dangers and hazards involved in all the tools, equipment or materials that you might use in the course of your job; nor, in fact, is there a need to.

The Fix

As I mentioned at the start, the answer to the problem is knowledge. Learn, train and refresh. Understand the dangers, learn the potential issues and take the necessary precautions. It’s really that simple. You wouldn’t climb in the cockpit of a 747 and try to take off without a pilot’s license because you understand that what you don’t know will kill you. Every new tools, every new piece of equipment and every new material should be treated with the same caution. Read and make sure you understand all the safety precautions. Periodic refresher courses can help keep current with changes and technological advances.

If it means feeling silly asking a question, if it means feeling a little less macho, so be it. After all, no one looks macho in a pine box.

Unsafe Actions – The Deadly Dozen # 7

7. Improperly using tools or equipment.

The above photo is a perfect illustration of the deadly dozen # 7 of today. Bobcats are not intended to be the base for a scaffold. There’s a big accident just waiting to happen here! One can only hope that someone had the sense to lockout the bobcat but again, the kind of people who would do or allow this kind of thing probably aren’t known for their smarts or concern for safety.

While this photo is maybe somewhat extreme, you’d be surprised how often, when making sales calls, I’ve witnessed forklifts and other equipment being used in ways that they were never intended to be used. Everyone of us could probably give several examples of workplace instances where tools and equipment were used for purposes other than what they were designed for.

The Fix

Not rocket science here, just don’t do it. If you don’t have the right tool, go get it; simply don’t do that particular job until you have the right tool for the job. It’s that simple!

Using the wrong tool not only puts everyone in danger but it can also damage the tool which means that the next time a worker picks it up he or she is now dealing with unsafe action # 5.

Unsafe Actions – The Deadly Dozen # 5

Today’s deadly dozen unsafe actions is…

5. Using defective tools or equipment.

One of my hobbies, one I haven’t done in a couple years now, used to be rock climbing. Contrary to what a lot of people think, rock climbing, if done properly, is extremely safe. One of the basic rules of rock climbing is that any metallic piece of equipment that takes a fall of over 4 feet onto a hard surface, is retired immediately. Why? Because a visual inspection is not enough. The carabiner might look perfectly fine but that impact on that rock might have causes a hairline crack in the metal that your eyes couldn’t be able to pick up. When you take a fall, however, that carabiner might be all that’s keeping you from falling to your death. I’d rather throw away a carabiner that looks new than find out that it isn’t when my life depends on it.

The same principle should apply to all the tools and equipment used in the workplace. You don’t want that screwdriver to splinter and pierce your hand just because you thought that the crack in the handle didn’t look serious enough to throw the tool out. Defective tools and equipment should immediately be repaired (and I don’t mean with duct tape, sorry Mr. Red Green!) or thrown out.

The Fix

The fix, as we have already mentioned, is simple. Repair the defective tool properly or replace them if they can’t be properly repaired. A regular quality inspection should also be implemented to identify defective tools and equipment before it becomes a problem.

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.