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OSHA's Top 10 Violations for 2015 and Trends for 2016

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

OSHA recently announced this fiscal year's preliminary list of their "Top 10" most frequently cited workplace safety violations. Below, you will find the list as well some insight on OSHA's new approach to inspections and trends for 2016. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing blog articles written with the intent of showcasing these top violations, and how to avoid them.

The "Top 10" for FY 2015 are:Fall protection is still the most cited OSHA safety violation

  1. Fall Protection (Construction) 
    • Standard Cited: 1926.501 - 6,721 violations
    • Violations up (6,143 in FY 2014)
  2. Hazard Communication
    • Standard Cited: 1910.1200 - 5,192 violations
    • Violations up (5,161 in FY 2014)
  3. Scaffolding (Construction)
    • Standard Cited: 1926.451 - 4,295 violations
    • Violations up (4,029 in FY 2014)
  4. Respiratory Protection
    • Standard Cited: 1910.134 - 3,305 violations
    • Violations down (3,223 in FY 2014)
  5. Lockout/Tagout
    • Standard Cited: 1910.147 - 3,002 violations
    • Violations up (2,704 in FY 2014)
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks
    • Standard Cited: 1910.178 - 2,760 violations
    • Violations up (2,662 in FY 2014)
  7. Ladders (Construction)
    • Standard Cited: 1926.1053 - 2,489 violations
    • Violations up (2,448 in FY 2014)
  8. Electrical-Wiring Methods
    • Standard Cited: 1910.305 - 2,404 violations
    • Violations down (2,490 in FY 2014)
  9. Machine Guarding
    • Standard Cited: 1910.212 - 2,295 violations
    • Violations up (2,200 in FY 2014)
  10. Electrical-General Requirements
    • Standard Cited: 1910.303 - 1,973 violations
    • Violations down (2,056 in FY 2014)

Remember, these are what causes the majority of injuries and deaths as well as what a compliance officer would look for most often during inspections.

Also, OSHA had announced that it will change the way it approaches inspections. The plan was to (starting this month, October 2015) emphasize quality over quantity. The idea was that OSHA would then be able to tackle more complicated, time-consuming inspections and therefore more impactful inspections. There is a bit of pressure under the current system to make the numbers, and hopefully with a new system, more meaningful and effective inspections can occur and lead to improved worker safety.

The last piece to note is about enforcement trends. As the number of inspections may change going into 2016 due to the changes in their approach to inspections, the trend of paying higher fines per citation has been continued into 2015 and may very well continue into 2016 seeing as the new system of inspections will focus on these more impactful inspections. Also to note on that subject is OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) which saw an almost 25% increase from 2014 to 2015, and continues onwards to today. Lastly, many more OSHA inspections are brought about by employee complaints, as OSHA has reached out to employees directly and allows easier access for them to go online and reach out to OSHA. Unjustifed complaints come in, due to disgrunted employees or whatnot, but this can be reduced by creating good safety culture within their workplace. Expect this trend of more concerned employees reaching out to continue.

Tags: osha training, osha most cited, OSHA, osha compliance, osha top violations, osha safety, osha general industry training, osha safety topics, osha violations, osha safety training, osha violations 2015

(Too) Common Scissor & Forklift Sights, Made Right!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 @ 09:55 AM
      This blog article will be what is normally known as, "short but sweet." If you are unfamiliar with that term, ultimately what it means is that there is a small, digestable amount of content here but the effects of it are well received. I have, in recent memory, come across a few pictures and topics that I wanted to discuss with a community who values safety and believes that a good safety culture can prevent accidents, incidents, injuries, and fatalities.

      As an instructor of aerial work platforms (AWPs) & powered industrial trucks (PITs), I have the privilege of being able to visit many different workplaces. In doing this I see a lot of sites and because of this, I am able to fully understand how these lifts are being used in the field. In operator training we learn about how to safely operate the machine, however we couldn't hope to cover every instance of do's & don'ts that can come up. So I have decided to write this article as an extension of the training we provide in our forklift and scissor & boom lift training courses. All of these pictures/scenarios should be thought of as laterally applied to all makes/models of the specific lift (scissor or forklift, respectively).

      I have chosen four scenarios related to scissor lifts and forklifts that will showcase real applications (some not so safe) of these lifts to raise awareness both of the hazards of this type of usage but also why they are dangerous and what to do/use as an acceptable alternate.

Without further ado, here is the first scenario.

Scenario 1: Extension Deck Use

Scissor_Lift_Safety_Fail_-_Man_Incorrectly_Using_Extension_Deck_as_Hoisting_Device-Resize

      Taking a look at this picture, a few things come into mind. The chain & rope/webbing used could or could not be rated for the work load, the scissor lift isn't on the same horizontal platform as the trailer used for the wielding work, and of course, how can one be sure the trailer stays at an optimal horizontal level? One slip of the trailer forward and the beam is suspended and would most likely pull the lift over with it. That brings me to my most important point, using the extension deck as an overhead crane is not allowed by the manufacturer. The biggest hazard in a scissor lift is a tip over hazard and this type of use for a scissor lift creates a huge potential tip over hazard. As I said earlier, use the pictures here laterally across all makes and models. With that being said, I took the liberty to look up a few different scissor lift manuals and find out what their load limits are for the extension deck.

Genie GS-2032: Platform extended - Extension only 250 lbs or 113 kg
Genie GS-2632: Platform extended - Extension only 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 3215: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 3219: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 3220: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 3226: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg
Skyjack SJIII 4620: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 299 lbs or 136 kg
Skyjack SJIII 4626: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 299 lbs or 136 kg
Skyjack SJIII 4632: Manual Extension Platform Capacity - 250 lbs or 113 kg

And of course, the Condor 2633 shown in the picture: Rated Work Load on extension deck only - 250 lbs.


      So the real question is if that steel beam is over 250 lbs.? I'd venture a guess and say that's correct with an almost certainty. This, again, creates a tip over hazard and thus, should be avoided. As a last note, these capacities are rated for a person and/or tools ON the extension deck, not hanging or fixed items attached to the deck. In fact, it clearly states in every one of these manuals that no objects should be attached (fixed or hanging) to any part of the machine.

Now onto the second scenario.

Scenario 2: Top Rail Use

Scissor_Lift_Safety_Fail_-_Man_on_Ladder_on_Top_of_Top_Rail-Resize

       This one is a bit more straight-forward, as many people seem to know that you are not supposed to use the top rail, specifically (as shown here) setting up a ladder on top of the top rail is quite dangerous. The stability of the machine is rated to a specific load weight and by climbing on or adding a ladder to the top rail you are creating more of a tip over hazard. Not to mention, there is a maximum side load force on that rail and by adding additional weight (as in a human or a ladder with a human) you can actually cause that rail to collapse under the weight and of course then a fall occurs. Since there is no fall protection necessary for a scissor lift, falling is not going to be a pleasant situation for anyone. Again, this one should be known to many, but unfortunately we see this scenario too often when an employee is trying to create an extra few feet (sometime inches) to reach whatever it is that they are working on. Frankly, if you can't reach what you are trying to work on with the scissor lift in question, you have two choices: either get a new lift (bigger scissor, boom lift, etc.) or don't do the job. Unfortunately, sometimes bosses don't want to hear this so you are caught in a predicament. Well, to help your protest, here is the citeable OSHA standard used to regulate such behavior:

"Employees shall always stand firmly on the floor of the basket, and shall not sit or climb on the edge of the basket or use planks, ladders, or other devices for a work position." 

Now onto scenario three.

Scenario #3: Forklift Standing on Forks/Mast

Forklift_Safety_Fail_-_Man_Standing_on_Top_of_Mast-Resize 

      Once again, this is generally for the reason I spoke of earlier, which is an additional few feet or so to the task at hand. Having someone ride the forks like an elevator may also be used because a company/ the individual doesn't have access to a proper machine such as a scissor lift or even better in many cases, a boom lift. Either that or they are some ignorant operators enjoying what they think is a toy in which case, that calls into question whether they were properly trained in the first place. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss the former. Seeing this picture, I understand very well what they were attempting to do. It would be a good assumption to say that they didn't have a way to get to those stage lights and so the idea they settled on was to ride the forks to the top of the mast. This is a huge hazard, and the way to avoid is simply to have the correct tools for the job. Seeing as this is outside, a rented boom lift would solve this problem quite easily. Another option would be to purchase or rent an attachment for their forklift that would allow a person to "ride" on the forks. This is usually a cage or platform made for such purposes. Certainly, just about any other option than having a person try to balance themselves 20+ feet in the air on the mast of a forklift!

Onto our final scenario.

Scenario #4: Ladders on Forklift Forks

Forklift_Safety_Fail_-_Man_Standing_on_Ladder_on_Forks-Resize

      This last picture/scenario is another one that I have seen posted a few times before. Going along with the previous scenario, where we learned (or reaffirmed) that standing on the mast or the forks without the proper attachment is dangerous and a fineable offense from OSHA, propping a ladder up on the forks is more of the same with regards to hazards and "don't do's." First off, there is a stability issue. Wind is a factor, unlevel ground is a factor, the forklift that you no longer control is a factor. In fact, that is ultimately what I want to point out here. As I said, much of what I talked about in the third scenario applies here, however I am able to talk about one additional important factoid related to forklifts and aerial lifts in general, and that is the control of the machine via the operator. One of the biggest reasons scissor lifts were created to begin with is because they allowed for the operator to both drive and elevate themselves without needing a second person. If you had a ladder on top of a truck or van, even if it was 100% stable, you still have to come back down to ground level to move your working platform (the ladder), not to mention the additional hazard of someone else (even if accidentally) can come and move the vehicle while you are suspended in mid-air! These hazards were mitigated by the use of scissor lifts, where we can go up, for example, and fix a light bulb and then while still elevated, we can drive to the next bulb and finish a row in minutes instead of an hour of up, down, drive, up, down, drive, etc. This scenario is harking back to the "old, dangerous days" of having no way of controlling the working platform while elevated. If that ladder gives, you're hurting. If the forklift moves, you're hurting. If the wind picks up, you're hurting. And with no fall protection required on a ladder, you can imagine what the outcome would look like. Again, the use of an industrial scissor lift (industrial because this picture takes place outside) would a great option, or again, a boom lift would suffice. With a boom lift, you could be relatively far away from roads, trees, power lines, etc. and simply extend the boom platform right up to where you need to work, and you have all the control in the moving of both your cage/working platform, and the driving of the machine is also in your hands. 

      Now, I understand that some of these options may set one back more time and/or money. But I assure you the cost of training yourself or your employees properly to use of these machines, or the cost of renting/buying one of these pieces of equipment or an additional lift is leagues below the cost of a settlement, the cost of a life, the cost of a lawsuit, the cost of an OSHA fine, and/or the cost of the worker's compensation paid out to the affected party. There are direct and indirect costs to these, whether you know it or not, that make these the more expensive options! The cost of a rental boom is nothing compared to the millions or even billions (depending on your company) in just indirect costs alone! These are what you don't think of when in the moment and tell an employee or think to yourself, "It'll only take a moment." That moment is all that is needed for an incident to occur and a terrible fate to potentially follow. If you agree, share this article and help promote a good, solid safety culture at your workplace. If you disagree, tell me below why and I will be sure to take some time and discuss your thoughts with you. Thank you for reading!
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If you have a need for aerial lift or forklift training, or any other OSHA-related training, STS is ready to assist you in choosing the right training for your situation. We also offer PPE, air monitoring equipment, fall protection, first aid kits, AEDs, and many things in between! We are available to your company for consulting work, to assist you with any rescue team needs, as well as supplied air trailers available for rent! Contact us below to find out how our blended safety services can assist ANY company with safety or OSHA related needs.

Contact STS Today!

Tags: OSHA, awp training, forklift safety, aerial lift operator training, scissor lift safety, boom lift training, osha safety topics, osha violations

Machine Guarding: 5 Most Common Ways to Keep You Safe

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

"Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled."

--OSHA on "Machine Guarding"

5 Most Common Ways of Machine Guarding

  1. Barrier Guards
  2. Presence Sensing Devices (PSD)
  3. Pullbacks/Restraints
  4. Two-hand Controls/Two-hand Trip
  5. “A” and “B” Gates


Barrier Guards

machine guarding, barrier guard, osha 10, construction safetyThese are designed to keep the operator’s hands and arms from entering the “danger zone” as prescribed by the particular machine. They are appropriate safeguards for full revolution and part revolution mechanical power presses. They are usually the first point-of-operation safeguard considered for machines.

Regulation: 29 CFR 1910.217

  • Barrier guards on power presses must prevent the entry of hands or fingers into the point of operation by reaching through, over, under or around the guard.
  • The barrier guards must conform to maximum permissible openings tables.
  • The barrier guard itself must not create pinch points between the guard and moving machine parts.
  • The guard must not be easily removable.
  • The guard must not interfere with machine inspection.
  • The barrier guard must offer maximum visibility of the point of operation consistent with the other requirements.


Presence Sensing Devices

These are designed to automatically stop the machine stroke if sensing field is interrupted.machine guarding, psd, osha 10, construction safety Proper use provides protection not only for operators but also for other employees in the area. They are one of the most common safeguards for automatic feed part revolution clutch presses, and have many requirements that must be met before they can be installed as point-of-operation safeguards.

Regulation: 29 CFR 1910.217

  • Presence sensing devices (PSD) cannot be used on machines using full revolution clutches.
  • A PSD must protect the operator by preventing or stopping normal stroking of the press if the operator’s hands are inadvertently placed in the point of operation. The PSD must also be interlocked into the control circuit so that the slide motion will stop the downstroke from continuing if any part of the operator's body is within the sensing field at that time.
  • Guards must be used to protect all areas of entry to the point of operation not protected by the PSD.
  • PSDs cannot be used as a tripping means to initiate slide motion.
  • Should a failure occur within the system, the PSD must be constructed so that the normal stopping action is still applied when required, but prevents the start of the next stroke until the failure is corrected. The failure must be indicated by the system.
  • “Muting” or bypassing of the PSD during the upstroke of the press slide is permitted for parts ejection, circuit checking, and feeding.
  • The safety distance from the sensing field to the point of operation must be greater than the distance determined by the safety distance formula.


Pullbacks/Restraints


Pullbacks

These are safeguarding devices on both full and part revolution power presses. They are similar to restraints, but are designed to pull the operator’s hands away from the area of the closing dies (point of operation) during each stroke of the power press.

Regulation: 29 CFR 1910.217

  • machine guarding, pullbacks, osha 10, construction safetyAttachments must be connected to and operated by the press slide or upper die.
  • Attachments must be adjusted to prevent the operator from reaching into the point of operation or to withdraw the operator’s hands from the point of operation before the dies close.
  • A separate pullout device must be provided for each operator if more than one operator is used on the press.
  • Each pullout device in use must be inspected and checked for proper adjustment at the start of each operator shift, following a new die set-up, and when operators are changed. Necessary maintenance or repair on both must be performed and completed before the press is operated.
  • Inspection and Maintenance Records. It is the responsibility of the employer to make periodic and regular safety inspections and keep accurate records of them.


Restraints

Sometimes referred as “holdouts,” restraints are similar to pullbacks and are appropriate safeguards for both full and part revolution mechanical power presses. When properly anchored, restraints are adjusted so that the operator can never reach the point of operation. The size and type of restraint depends on the size and type of press.

Regulation: 29 CFR 1910.217

  • A holdout or a restraint device must protect the operator by preventing the operator from inadvertently reaching into the point of operation at all times and must include attachments for each of the operator’s hands.
  • Attachments must be securely anchored and adjusted and separate set of restraints must be provided for each operator if more than one is required on a press.


Two-hand Controls/Two-hand Trip


Two-hand Controls

These are safeguarding devices in the single stroke mode of operation on part revolution clutch presses. It is similar to the two-hand trip; this device keeps the operators hands away from the point of operation during the entire machine stroke.

Regulation: 29 CFR 1910.217

  • Press operations requiring more than one operator must provide eachmachine guarding, two-hand control, osha 10, construction safety operator with separate two-hand controls where each set must be engaged to complete a machine stroke. The removal of a hand from any control button will stop the slide.
  • Each two-hand control must meet the construction requirements of paragraph 29 CFR 1910.217(b)(7)(v).
  • The safety distance between each hand control device and the point of operation must be greater than the distance determined by the safety distance formula.
  • Two-hand controls’ position must be fixed so that only a supervisor of safety engineer is capable of relocating them.


Two-hand Trip

These are safeguarding devices used on a full revolution clutch power press only. It requires the joint operation of two trigger buttons located away from the “danger zone” of the press. It is similar to two-hand controls in that it requires the operator’s hands to be away from the point of operation to activate the machine stroke, but differs in that activation of the machine stroke requires only a "trip" of the controls whereas a two-hand control requires continued pressure.

Regulation: 29 CFR 1910.217

  • When used in press operations requiring more than one operator, separate two hand trips must be provided for each operator, and must be designed to require concurrent application of both operators to activate the slide.
  • A two-hand trip shall have the individual operator's hand controls protected against unintentional operation and have the individual operator's hand controls arranged by design and construction and/or separation to require the use of both hands to trip the press and use a control arrangement requiring concurrent operation of the individual operator's hand controls.
  • The safety distance between the two-hand trip and the point of operation must be greater than the distance determined by the safety distance formula. 
  • Like two-hand control devices, two-hand trips’ position must be fixed so that only a supervisor or safety engineer is capable of relocating the controls.


“A” Gates/”B” Gates

Type "A" and "B" Gates are both recognized methods for power press safeguarding. The "A" gate is used in both full and part revolution clutch presses while the "B" gate is for part revolution presses only.


machine guarding, osha 10, construction safetyType “A” Gates

These protect the operator during the entire machine stroke. This means the gate will not open until after the crankshaft rotation is complete (360°) and the machine is stopped at top dead center. Although Type "A" Gates can be used on either part or full revolution clutch presses, best safety practice is the "A" gate should be used only on full revolution clutch presses.


Type “B” Gates

These protect the operator during the downstroke only. The gate starts to open before the crankshaft rotation is complete (generally after 180° crankshaft rotation). The gates must open on the upstroke of the machine cycle before the crankshaft rotation is complete.

Regulation: 29 CFR 1910.217, 29 CFR 1910.212

  • In both cases (“A” & “B” Gates), operators must be prevented from placing their hands or any other body parts in the point of operation during the die-closing portion of the press stroke.
  • The guard itself must comply with applicable standards.
 
Remember, machine guarding is a OSHA safety topic available for any OSHA-10 or OSHA-30 safety course. If you have interest in an OSHA course through Safety Training Services, Inc. click the button below for more information!
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Tags: construction safety, osha safety topics, machine guarding, osha 10

Ergonomics: Office Biotechnology and Improving Your Quality of Work!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

History

Since the beginning of mankind, humans have adapted a sense of using the right tool for theErgonomics, Office Safety job. In ancient times, it was tying rocks or bones to sticks for use as a hammer or sharpened to make hunting easier. Essentially, they established that using crude items could be used to make life easier. Ergonomics is just that, an applied science (not just a buzzword for marketers!) of work. That is, it’s intended to maximize productivity of workers by reducing/eliminating fatigue or discomfort. The literal definition of ergonomics, as Dictionary.com states, is “the study of the relationship between workers and their environment.” Also known as “biotechnology,” and first coined by Wojciech Jastrzebowski in 1857.

However, these early adoptions were merely used to optimize tasks. Ergonomics has since evolved into learning how to include worker safety and health by addressing muscle force, cardiovascular activity, maximum weight, etc. This is seen by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 19th century in which he used his “Scientific Method” (AKA ergonomics) to assist coal workers in tripling their productivity by designing shovels that were lighter and smaller. Also in the 1900s Frank and Lillian Gilbreth further expanded Taylor’s methods by coming up with the “Time and Motion Studies.” This was meant to reduce the amount of unnecessary motions required to perform a task. With this approach, they reduced the number of motions bricklayers used (from 18 to 4.5) and allowed them to increase productivity from 120 bricks per hour to 350.

“Formal” ergonomics is generally credited to the development of more complicated machinery in WWI and WWII. As aircrafts, tanks and other complex machines were being developed; human errors were piling up, resulting in catastrophes. Non-combat casualties were an outcome of bad engineering and design. This begged the necessity of better results through better designing, and the most “modern” form of ergonomics (how we know it today) is now becoming the norm.

Office Ergonomics, Office Safety

Engineers and psychologists are working together in collaboration to improve our daily lives through better design. A multi-disciplinary approach has been taken to include anthropologists, industrial engineers, cognitive scientists and physiologists in order to understand the human operators and to design systems and machines to fit said user.

Today, most of us know ergonomics in a workplace context. As the average worker in America works for about 8 hours a day, the need for ergonomic office furniture and practices is of the upmost importance. The idea is to be sure that as technology and design make our homes safer and more comfortable, and in the case of the workplace, to increase productivity, increase comfort and prevent injuries and fatigue.

Hazards Associated with Ergonomics

Back injuries - Common back injuries include sprains, herniated disks and fractured vertebrae. Lower back pain is often the result of incorrect lifting methods/habits and poor posture.

  • Tips include:

    • Properly train employees on appropriate lifting techniquesBack injuries, office safety

    • Utilize material handling equipment (carts, dollies, hand trucks)

    • Encourage stretching for employees to reduce muscle strain

Carpal tunnel syndrome - A nervous system disorder causing parethesia (limbs falling sleep), pain and numbness. Carpal tunnel can be caused by environmental factors such as heavy manual work or work with vibrating tools. There is even a small amount of clinical data to suggest that lighter, repetitive tasks can cause it. This includes activities when frequent/constant wrist flexion is needed or when there is pressure against the underside of the wrist.

  • Tips include:

    • Use of ergonomics equipment (includes ergo chairs, mouse pads, wrist rests, etc.)

    • Taking proper breaks and stretches

    • Use keyboard alternatives (voice recognition, digital pens)

Industrial/occupational noise - A hazard generally associated with heavy industries, in which sustained exposure can cause permanent hearing damage. However, it should be noted that OSHA identifies noise as "hazardous to worker safety and health" in many different places of employment (office work included) and by a variety of causes. Noise not only can cause hearing loss/impairment, but can be a factor in raising stress levels or even raising blood pressure. Lastly, it can impede concentration and be a factor in work accidents (office or otherwise).

  • Tips include:

    • Use earplugs or earmuffs

    • Be mindful of noise control strategies (architectural design, sound insulation/absorption, vibration damping, etc.)

    • If lighting *noise* is the issue, reduce light or retrofit fixtures

Repetitive strain injury - RSIs are as OSHA states them, "injuries to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations,Ergonomics, office safety mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions."

  • Tips include:

    • Use ergonomics tools for specific tasks (clipboards for lots of writing, pliers for example, for electricians, ergo mouse for office workers, scissors for retail workers)

Tendonitis - Is a hazard in which a tendon becomes inflamed generally due to overuse of affected limb. This is common in upper and lower limbs and is less common in hips and torso.

  • Tips include:

    • Find the cause

    • Stop the stress

    • Maintain a healthy body

    • Introduce variety

How STS Can Help

Safety Training Services, Inc. can help you in many ways with regards to providing you assistance with any office safety advice. Our toll-free number (877) 724-2744 is a free service to utilize if you have a quick question regarding ergonomics or any office safety topic. If you would like to take a step further in educating yourself or your workers on office safety, STS offers courses related to general industry OSHA topics (including ergonomics and office safety). This is a great way to help your employees to understand the importance of safety in the workplace. Click the button below for more information on our OSHA-related courses.

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Tags: general safety tips, office safety, general office safety, ergonomics, workplace safety, osha general industry training, osha safety topics

Electrical Safety: 10 Tips for Overhead Power Lines

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, May 29, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

With May (Electrical Safety Month) coming to a close, Safety Training Services, Inc. would like to offer 10 tips to remember for those who work near overhead power lines (when working outside):

1. Survey your surroundings. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long tools (e.g. ladders). Don’t assume…assess.

2. Obey the 10 foot rule. As in, do not work or use equipment within 10 feet of overhead lines. You may feel lucky and think “I won’t come in contact with the power line.” However, the electricity can arc to nearby objects and people and assuming you have enough time to think before being barbequed better than my dad’s grilled chicken, you’ll remember these words.

Fall safety, fall protection

 

3. Be careful when working on your roof. That includes cleaning gutters, installing antennas and satellite dishes or any repair work. Oh….and during winter, those holiday lights, be especially careful putting those 250 strands up, thank you Mr. Griswold.




4. Never climb trees near power lines. Limbs & branches can bend or break off and obviously, you can fall off. Didn’t you learn this as a child?

Electrical safety, power line safety

5. Never trim trees near power lines. Leave that to a professional.





6. Always follow safety procedures, no matter how boring and mundane they seem. Just remember, “Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.”

Electric fire, electrical safety


7. Assume all power lines are energized. Do not use metal ladders near them; instead use appropriate American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved ladders for work near energized power lines. With respect to electricity, one wrong move could be your last.

 

 

 

8. Train yourself/your workers. You/they should be versed in emergency communication and proper techniques for providing aid to someone after an electrical accident.

Buddy system, safety watch

9. Use Safety Watches or Spotters. Their only duties should be observing the work and communicating with the operator to ensure the equipment never gets closer than 10 feet to a power line. Were you in boy/girl scouts as a kid? Remember the “buddy system!”

 

 

Osha electrical safety, electricity safety

10. Don’t be a hero! Keep a safe distance from any victim who is/was in direct contact with electricity. Call 911 immediately! Do not try to touch victim because you may be electrocuted. 

 

 

 

The best way to avoid injury from power lines is to make the choice to stay committed to safety. All rules & regulations are useless unless they’re observed. Safe work habits should be consistent and ongoing.

Remember, as OSHA states it, “no building, equipment, deadline or profit is worth a human life.”

Safety Training Services, Inc. provides appropriate training for several safety topics, including but not limited to: OSHA General Industry, OSHA Construction Industry, NFPA 70E Arc Flash Training, HAZWOPER, Confined Space Entry and Rescue. Call or contact us for a free quote on safety training! Consulting Services, Rescue Services and Equipment sales & rentals also available. Or schedule a visit to come by (or us to you) and see what we can offer your company today!

 

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Tags: electrical safety tips, nfpa 70e training, osha electrical safety, electrical safety training, osha safety topics