What does PPE stand for? In the context of health and safety at work, PPE stands for personal protective equipment. It’s equipment that’s designed to protect employees from workplace hazards, such as chemicals, radiation, physical injuries or loud noises. It’s vitally important for employers to supply workers with suitable PPE to keep them safe and avoid lawsuits. Here are some useful guidelines for general contractor administrators regarding the use of PPE. Read more
Learn How to Avoid Fatal Accidents
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous professions in which a person can work. Every year, thousands of contractors are injured or killed in serious accidents at the workplace. Read more
The Importance of Safety Boots
There’s a lot of information out there on the use of the right personal protective equipment, or PPE, on construction and contracting jobs. The right PPE can mean the difference between a good day at work and losing a limb. Most people think of protective equipment as gloves, goggles, hard hats or bio-suits. Not enough contractors consider footwear as important protective clothing. Learn why choosing the right safety boots is so important for your liability and safety concerns.
OSHA requires that protective footwear be worn by any employee who will be affected by adverse conditions that pose a risk of foot injury from piercing, falling objects, electrical hazards or other safety concerns.
The standards set by OSHA for protective boots and shoes include detailed criteria on what qualifies. Protective footwear must pass standard test methods for foot protection, specifications for performance requirements and national standards for personal protection. This footwear must be constructed to be in compliance with federal standards in order to qualify. Footwear that does not comply can land you with an OSHA violation should an accident or injury occur.
Finding the right footwear requires you to assess the potential hazards on an individual job site. In many cases this might include steel-toed boots, but different jobs have different requirements. Traction may be an issue, as may arch support, depending on the nature of the job and the job site. Almost every job site in the construction industry will require steel-toed boots, since heavy equipment and materials are always used. Other concerns, however, may also come into play.
What risks will your workers face? Are falling objects a danger? How about slipping? Is there a danger of puncturing the foot on sharp objects? Are loose laces going to be a problem? How about cutting hazards from machinery with moving blades? If your workers are going to be dealing with electricity, insulated shoes may be necessary for the job.
There are concerns for safety footwear that many might not consider. Workers who stand all day can eventually develop injuries from fatigue, but shoes with the proper support can help to mitigate this problem.
Weather and environmental conditions are also an all-too-often overlooked concern when selecting footwear. If extreme cold weather is going to be encountered, the right shoes with an insulated lining can keep feet warm and prevent frostbite. Likewise, fireproof shoes may be needed for situations where direct flame or extreme heat will be encountered. In fact, burns can occur when there is no flame nearby at all. Certain chemicals can be dangerous, and even exposure materials like Portland cement can in some cases cause burns.
In addition to safety boots, carrying the right contractors insurance will help to protect you from accidents and injury that occur on the work site. Carrying the right insurance coverage is vital to the success of your business. If you would like more information on contractors insurance or a review of your current policy, we are here to help. Give us a call today!
Dangerous Construction Site Safety 101
Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places there are. In 2012 there were more than 760 fatal incidents surrounding the industry, with falls, electrocution, falling debris and “caught-in” accidents being the most common causes. Here are some ways you can improve dangerous construction site safety.
You should ensure that all of your staff, supervisors and subcontractors are well-educated and trained in all OSHA safety regulations and why these are in place. The organization offers Construction Industry Outreach Training, which encompasses everything workers need to know to recognize, avoid and prevent hazards. The program includes 30 hours of training and is excellent for workers, subcontractors and supervisors.
Personal Protective Equipment
Using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) is a vital aspect of construction safety. Hardhats, safety goggles, face protection, slip- and puncture-resistant work boots, the right kinds of gloves to protect hands while allowing necessary dexterity and the like should all be applied without exception and wherever needed.
Scaffolding and Heights
Scaffolding accidents are some of the most common accidents in the industry. They are some of the most frequent citations issued by OSHA for dangerous construction site safety violations. Ensure that scaffolds are always on solid footing, securely planed together and anchored, in good working condition, and never overloaded or moved within 10 feet of power lines.
Whenever possible, any worker on scaffolding or at height should be tethered and anchored so that if the unthinkable happens, they do not fall a great distance and suffer injury or death. Guard rails should always be applied as additional safety, and entrances and egress should have handrails and be permanently available.
Electrocution is a major risk for workers. Work should never be performed on or near live wires or circuits. Power should always be completely cut before work begins. Effective tag and lockout systems must always be in place, and all cords should be properly grounded. Know where all power lines are and keep any ladders, scaffolding and equipment away. Finally, never use damaged, worn or frayed electrical cables.
Communication is your first line of defense against accidents. This does not just apply to alerts issued when incidents occur. It also means using the proper signage and warnings wherever needed. It means offering and ensuring that all of your workers have the proper training and education.
Having a solid plan of action when dealing with heavy equipment is vital. Make sure that no one not rated to use the equipment is anywhere in the vicinity. For moving equipment or vehicles, establish zones where no one is permitted to walk past, and specific procedures for equipment movement.
Of course, accidents can happen no matter how strong your dangerous construction site safety may be. Carrying proper liability insurance is vital to make sure that you and your workers are covered in case the unthinkable happens.
Hydrogen sulfide is commonly known as sewer gas or swamp gas. This colorless gas carries with it a thick stench of sulfur, or a smell similar to rotten eggs. It carries with it a number of serious and imminent health and environmental dangers. Knowing about this toxic substance, where it is found and how it is produced can save you from liability and protect both you and your workers. Here is an overview.
Where Is Hydrogen Sulfide Found?
Sewer gas can be found or produced in a number of areas. The oil and gas refining industries produces the substance, as do mining facilities. It is often found in tanning, pulp and paper processing facilities and in rayon manufacturing.
Besides industrial areas, hydrogen sulfide is also found naturally in many places. Sewers and swamps, obviously, are common areas where the gas is produced. It also forms around manure pits, stagnant water, in wells (water, oil and gas) and in volcanoes. Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air so it collects in manholes, sewers and underground vaults.
The Hazards of Sour Damp
Since it tends to collect in enclosed spaces underground, those workers whose jobs take them in these areas are at the highest risk. It can carry risks ranging from mild headaches and sore eyes to serious respiratory problems, unconsciousness, and even death. As it builds up in confined spaces, the smell becomes less noticeable, which means it’s harder to recognize its presence and thus, easier to overlook the danger.
Sewer gas is a leading cause of workplace death from gas inhalation in the United States. The speed at which workers can succumb to this gas is astounding. In the decade between 2001 and 2010, there were 60 deaths attributed to hydrogen sulfide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A Volatile Mix
Worse, the gas is highly flammable, so even a spark in an area where a great deal of the gas has collected can create an exceptionally volatile mixture. Such conditions can result in tragedy and disaster if the gas ignites or explodes.
It is vital if you work in an industry where exposure is a possibility, to evaluate and control this danger. Make sure that you are aware of the presence of hydrogen sulfide, and at what levels and saturation the gas sits. If possible, eliminate the gas from the location. Otherwise, develop engineering and administrative controls including proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect your workers against exposure.
Exhaust and ventilation systems are vital to reduce levels and control exposure. Ensure that your workers use no systems which produce sparks. Make sure your equipment is grounded and resistant to corrosion, as well as being separate from other exhaust systems. In general, you want as explosion-proof a system as possible.
This is just a brief overview of the dangers of hydrogen sulfide. OSHA publishes detailed policies and procedures for dealing with this deadly hazard. If you need more information on insurance liability and coverage for this sort of thing, take a look at our services today.