Distributed by Minneapolis NECA
Week Number 42 (October 15 – 21) 2017 Edition
Temporary heating devices are essential equipment during the winter months of the year,
when working on construction sites can be very cold. You might use temporary heating
devices such as circulating and radiant room heaters, LP-Gas heaters, or others. However,
the use of temporary heating comes with several hazards, including the hazards of fire,
fumes from fuels, the consumption of oxygen, and burn/heat injury hazards.
OSHA has several regulations that should be observed when using temporary heating devices:
- Ensure that the area is well ventilated with enough fresh air.
- Make sure that chimney connectors have at least 18 inches of clearance around them. The sides and rear of circulating room heaters must have 12 inches of clearance, while the sides and rear of a radiant room heater must have 36 inches of clearance.
- Do not set heaters on wood floors. Rather, set them on insulating material or 1-inch concrete.
- Located heaters at least 10 feet from tarps, canvas, or other coverings to prevent combustion.
- Set heaters horizontally level when in use.
- In Minnesota, when portable toilets are not placed inside of heated buildings, provisions should be made for heating the portable toilet to a minimum of heat that can be emitted from the installation of a 1,300-watt heater or other type equivalent heater. At a minimum this is expected to be from November 1 to March 15.
- Do not use solid fuel salamanders in buildings or on scaffolds.
- Flammable liquid-fired heaters should be equipped with a primary safety control to stop the flow of fuel in the event of flame failure.
- How much space should be cleared around a temporary heater?
- How will you handle temporary heaters differently after reviewing these safety requirements?
Week Number 41 (October 8 – 14) 2017 Edition
Ladders are necessary to all construction trades, with most workers using at least one ladder every day. The misuse of ladders is the cause of many serious injuries each year.
The following rules for the use of ladders will help reduce the number and seriousness of ladder accidents.
- Inspect ladders before use. Make sure that the ladder is free from damage. All defective ladders should be put out of service.
- The base of each ladder should be set firmly and be level on the floor or ground. The use of blocking to level ladder feet is prohibited.
- Moveable ladders shall have safety shoes.
- Areas at the foot and top of the ladder should be kept clear of material and debris. Protect ladders used in locations such as doorways and passages so that they will not be bumped or knocked over.
- Ladder rungs should be kept clear of mud, ice, and other slippery substances.
- Ladders should be long enough so that workers can perform their jobs without climbing higher than the third rung or step from the top.
- Straight ladders should be placed so that the base is a distance from the vertical no greater than one-quarter of the length of the ladder (a pitch of 1 to 4).
- Straight ladders should be securely fastened to a stable support at the top to prevent movement. Long ladders shall be fastened at top and bottom and braced to prevent swaying, binding, or shaking.
- Straight ladders should project at least 36 inches above the platform or landing.
- Face the ladder and use both hands when climbing or descending.
- Tools, materials, and/or equipment must be raised by hand lines or other similar means.
- Do not use metal ladders near electrical lines.
- Job-built ladders with broken, worn, or spilt members shall be discarded.
- Step ladders should be used only in their fully opened position.
Week Number 40 (October 1 – 7) 2017 Edition
Falling objects such as materials, tools, debris or equipment can cause serious injuries or even death.
Let’s look first at the problem of materials. Materials are piled in the yard, in the truck, or at various places on the jobsite. All materials should be piled on a sound base, straight and steady, and at a reasonable height. It may be well to cross-tie and cover materials for protection and safety. Materials on a roof or elevation should be secured so the wind can’t blow it off and strike someone below.
Piling materials on scaffolds requires special care. You have to be sure not to overload, to allow ample space for work operations, and to make the piles stable. Be sure toe boards are placed on all scaffolding and open elevations to safeguard workers below from falling materials such as loose brick, tools, and equipment.
When you want to send material, tools, or equipment to higher elevations, use containers or buckets and hand lines. Never throw materials or tools. When you pull on a hand line, be sure to stand clear of the loaded materials and tools. Keep an eye on the load as it goes up. When you have to pull up materials that can’t be placed in a container, fasten the load securely to the hand line. If material like pipe, conduit, and rods aren’t properly fastened in bundles, a piece can be jarred loose and hit the worker pulling the hand tie.
Tools, equipment and materials often fall when workers attempt to carry them up ladders. Use hand lines so your hands will be free to hold onto the ladder when you go up. When you load hoists and platform skimps, be sure the materials and packages are stacked safely. A sloppy load is a load of trouble. Never leave a load suspended.
When you work beneath other operations, like riveting crews, wear your hard hat. It can be a lifesaver. When you strip forms, it’s important to use the necessary guards. Often, you’ll find workers working on makeshift scaffolds, attempting to strip panels on the floor slab. They don’t seem to know that the entire section might come loose and fall on them.
Coordinate with other trades to avoid or minimize working below each other. Never work underneath suspended loads.
Colds and Flu
Week Number 39 (September 24 – 30) 2017 Edition
Nearly everyone has had a cold or flu. While being sick is no fun, generally we get well quickly, and the illness is not a major disruption. Recently, however, the public has become increasingly aware of the seriousness of some strains of the flu, and everyone is interested in minimizing the risks posed by influenza.
When you get the sniffles, do you know whether you have a cold or the flu? A cold is a mild infection of the upper respiratory passages caused by any one of a variety of viruses. A cold may last a week, and symptoms include a stuffy/runny nose, cough, and sore throat. A person with a cold will not usually have a headache, fever, or muscle aches, while a person with the flu will have severe aches and fatigue. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea do not usually accompany a cold, but may accompany the flu. A person with the flu will likely also have a high fever.
The flu can be quite serious and can cause death. More often, however, it is simply unpleasant and an inconvenience. The seasonal flu is a disease caused by influenza virus and is contracted by breathing droplets that have been sneezed or coughed into the air by someone with the flu, or by having the droplets land on the sur- face of your eye, or even by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
There are a number of ways you can prevent the spread of the flu:
- Get an annual flu shot, and make sure your family members get them, too. There are very few risks associated with being vaccinated for influenza, and it greatly reduces your chances of catching the flu.
- Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. Twenty seconds of hand washing with warm water helps remove bacteria and viruses from your hands. Remember to wash before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after touching surfaces that may have been contaminated by other people.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. If possible, bury your face in the corner of your elbow.
- Keep shared surfaces clean. Doorknobs, light switches, telephones, keyboards, tools, and any other surface can become contaminated with all kinds of bacteria and viruses. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of these surfaces can help.
If you get sick, stay home. Don’t risk spreading your illness to coworkers. You’ll also get better faster if you are well rested. Wait to return to work for the recommended amount of time, or until you no longer have a fever and your cough is improving. You may be familiar with the term “pandemic.” If an influenza virus changes and becomes a new strain that people are generally not immune to, and the new strain is easily spread, many people around the world could become quite ill. This is referred to as an influenza pandemic. Influenza pandemics have occurred about three times per century.
- What are some differences between colds and the flu?
- How do you catch the flu? More importantly, how can you not catch the flu?
Week Number 38 (September 17 – 23) 2017 Edition
In 1990, the State of Minnesota amended its Occupational Safety and Health Act to require employers in certain industries to develop written, comprehensive workplace safety and health programs. This legislation is known as A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction (AWAIR) Act, and programs developed to comply with the act are known as AWAIR programs.
The AWAIR Act requires specific actions from employers, as described below:
Workplace Programs: A covered employer must establish a written workplace accident and injury reduction program that promotes safe and healthful working conditions and is based on clearly stated goals and objectives for meeting those goals. The program must describe:
- How managers, supervisors, and employees are responsible for implementing the program and how continued participation of management will be established, measured, and maintained.
- The methods used to identify, analyze, and control new or existing hazards, conditions, and operations.
- How the plan will be communicated to all affected employees so that they are informed of work-related hazards and controls
- How workplace accidents will be investigated, and corrective action implemented
- How safe work practices and rules will be enforced.
Employers must conduct and document a review of the workplace accident and injury reduction program at least annually and document how procedures set forth in the program are met.
There are some important reasons for creating a comprehensive safety and health program such as the AWAIR program. Organizations with effective safety and health programs have significantly lower injury and illness rates than those who do not. Employees can help their employers with these goals by openly discussing safety issues, bringing concerns to their employer’s attention, and by finding ways to do the job more safely for everyone involved.
1. What is AWAIR?
2. What are some things that the AWAIR act requires?
3. What are some reasons for the AWAIR program?