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Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips

Follow These Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips

We all know that the contracting industry is a dangerous place to work. From slips and falls to debris and dangerous working conditions, there are a lot of risks. One area that most contractors take for granted and fail to recognize as dangerous is your personal toolbox.

There are a lot of dangers present in your toolbox, and it’s important to recognize proper safety procedures. Here’s an overview of hand and power tool safety and how you can defend against liability issues.

Basic Hand and Power Tools

Almost 10 percent of all workplace accidents are caused by basic hand and power tools. From hitting your thumb with a hammer to slipping with a saw, these nigh invisible liability issues are real and costly. Workers can suffer nerve damage, repetitive motion injuries and even the loss of limbs from hand and power tools.

Physical Injury

Many different kinds of physical injuries can result from the contents of your toolbox. These can include punctures, abrasions, bumps, bruises, cuts and even the loss of limbs. Your toolbox includes implements that are designed to cut, burn and melt wood, metal and concrete. They can do a world of damage to skin and bone. In addition, flying debris from the use of hand and power tools can cause injury to eyes and body parts.

The most common physical injuries from power and hand tools include bumps, bruises and cuts, but serious injuries are all too common as well. Workers should strictly observe safety procedures and care including use of proper protective equipment, and keep their toolbox well organized to avoid protruding blades and sharp objects.

Hand and Power Tool Safety

Repetitive Motion

Using tools requires repetitive motion — that’s no surprise. This can create serious, ongoing and chronic injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome from turning wrenches, ratchets and screws, banging nails, drilling or even welding all day. These activities put a lot of strain on tendons, muscles and ligaments, and injury can result over time. The best way to prevent these injuries is to take frequent breaks and mix up different kinds of activity throughout the day as much as possible.

Hand and Power Tool Safety Practices

It is vital to practice proper safety policies and procedures to minimize the risk of accidents, injury and liability at work. These can create all manner of problems for the business, from loss of manpower to financial hits and personal loss. Never take shortcuts or ignore safety policies. Make sure tools are always sharp, in good repair and in working order.

Always use thorough and proper personal protective equipment such as heavy gloves, steel-toed boots, hardhats and eye protection. Cut away from your body and make sure you are on solid footing. Take regular breaks and vary your motion and activity throughout the day. These simple hand and power tool safety tips can save a lot of money and heartache.

Finally, as a contractor, make sure you have proper and complete liability insurance. Accidents will happen, and you need to be covered against the cost of liability.



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Focus on Safety During National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month

“Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”

Lacking the traditional exclamation point urgency of most Public Service Announcement posters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) National Preparedness Month campaign mirrors the attitude it wants to invoke. Calm, rational preparation is the only way to keep people safe during an unexpected emergency or disaster situation.

Waiting until the last minute only invites stress and split-second decisions that gamble the lives and well-being of anyone involved. Yet, FEMA and associated participants like the CDC and OSHA do not shout or elicit fear. Instead, they coolly advocate: “Do the right thing, and do it soon.”

Workplaces should take this recommendation to heart and use the remaining days of September to spread awareness and discussion over emergency and disaster preparedness. Being organized and prepared saves lives and brings order even to the midst of chaos.

How Businesses Can Prepare During Preparedness Month

On an individual level, FEMA and the CDC recommend the natural steps to prepare for a disaster:

  • Build an emergency supply kit
  • Create an evacuation or rescue plan for emergencies, such as a hurricane
  • Research different likely emergency scenarios

National Preparedness Month

Families and households can take these steps to ensure that their lives are not interrupted in the event of an emergency, but what about businesses? FEMA and OSHA jointly recommend that businesses take additional steps beyond ensuring the immediate safety of their employees in order to prepare for moving ahead following a disaster.

  1. Create a preparedness program with a dedicated team and objective measurement criteria
  2. Gather information about potential hazards and assess risks
  3. Use your research to determine a Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
  4. Explore methods for preventing additional hazards and reducing risks
  5. Create a plan that allows for your business to continue as soon as possible following a disaster
  6. Invest in methods to soften the blow disasters inflict upon your business with preparedness funds and the right type of insurance to protect against excess risk
  7. Rigorously train employees on the emergency plan and the methods used to reduce further risk
  8. Test your plan with various drills and exercises
  9. Periodically re-evaluate your plan to identify potential improvements

Creating a BIA

As you can see, the biggest difference between preparedness for the individual household and businesses is that businesses must determine how a disaster could affect their day-to-day operations. A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is a comprehensive approach to determining what conditions would force closure or hinder operations on an extended basis.

Businesses that perform and create a BIA will have a more full understanding of what happens after an emergency and how it will affect their typical operations. For the construction industry, a BIA will take into account how job work will be halted. Additionally, materials and in-progress tasks may have been destroyed during the disaster. Contracting businesses must prepare procedures in advance for calculating losses, replacing damaged goods and adjusting the schedule based on the BIA.

These steps are invaluable for contracting businesses because they help teams move forward with less questions left in the air following a disaster. The comprehensive nature of a BIA also helps spread the definition of a “disaster” beyond something that affects the general public. For instance, a structural collapse on the job could cost many thousands of dollars in lost materials and ruined labor in addition to the immediate safety risks. Contracting businesses must anticipate these scenarios and craft a robust plan to reduce risks while avoiding further hazards.

Work with a professional risk assessment program such as those available from commercial contracting insurers to gain 360° insight and preparedness for nearly any setback. The National Preparedness Month of September is a great time to start, but keep the efforts going all year to persevere even when conditions are at their worst.



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Being Prepared for Emergencies Saves Lives

Having an emergency response plan is the single most important way to help prevent avoidable injury or death in the event of a disaster. Emergencies that occur in the workplace can happen at any time, often with little warning. Whether they are internally-caused at the site like a structural collapse or externally-caused like a tornado striking, emergency factors must be handled in a timely, controlled and calculated manner to minimize the potential risk to human life and company property.

An emergency response plan can significantly reduce the unknowns during such a catastrophic scenario and also help decipher how to handle new unknowns as they arise. Here are some guidelines for your own emergency response plan and disaster preparedness policies. Read more

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The 3 Essential Workplace Safety Tips for Painters

Being a painter might not sound like the most dangerous profession but that would be a bit like saying that a great white shark isn’t nearly as dangerous as a Megalodon (which is essentially a whale sized version of a great white shark). The statements true, but you wouldn’t want to encounter either of them in the ocean. And, while painters may not be experiencing the same high risk environment that a carpenter might be facing there are still some dangers that could have a serious impact on someone’s life if they were not paying attention. For that reason, we have put together this list of workplace safety tips that should help you and your fellow painters stay safe on the job.

Workplace Safety Tips – Common Causes of Injury

Before we address our workplace safety tips, we thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the most common causes of accidents and injuries for painters today. That way, you are aware of the problem (and the potential consequences) and can find additional solutions to pair with the ones that are provided below. Here are the high risk situations that painters face fairly routinely.

  • Heights (ladders, platforms, scaffolds)
  • Toxic Substances (mold, fungi, bird droppings, paint products)
  • Repetitive Action in Awkward Positions
  • Electrical hazards
  • Long work days

Between falls from platforms and ladders, exposure to mold and long work days that are sure to make you less aware of your environment being a painter is no easy job. Still, there are ways to mitigate risks and take a little bit of the risk out of your work environment.

What can I do to mitigate risk onsite?

To reduce your onsite risks you can follow these workplace safety tips. Tips that will help keep you and your employees safe.

1.       Use Proper Equipment

Using the right ladder or the right brush will keep you out of awkward situations that can lead to injury, will be less taxing than your body and will ensure that you have a long and fruitful career as a painter.

2.       Keep Your Workplace Clean

This might be the most overlooked tip out of all of our workplace safety tips. A disorganized workplace can increase the chances of someone slipping or falling onsite. If it happens in close quarters that fall could take down a ladder or result in some other traumatic injury. So, keep your station clean and you won’t have to worry about workers compensation insurance or disability insurance.

3.       Breathe Clean Air

Paint fumes can, and will, seriously affect both your physical health and mental health (especially if you’re around them all day). So be sure to make sure that your worksite has proper ventilation and that your crew is wearing masks to reduce their exposure to noxious fumes.

If you follow these workplace safety tips you will be able to lower your potential risk (which could lead to lower insurance premiums) and you’ll be able to spend more time with your buddies and less time worrying about claims. If you have any further questions please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-649-9094. We look forward to hearing from you!



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OSHA Releases Bulletin in Response to Underreporting Epidemic

The sound of circular saws tearing through splintering beams reverberates across the fenced-in concrete lot that serves as the enclosure for a group of men clad in yellow hardhats. With the sun setting, some men begin to pack up, but two of the temporary workers remain in the building, setting drywall into the ceiling. With an enormous effort and a grunt, one of the men thrusts the drywall sheet skyward as the other scrambles to fix the heavy panel in its place. With the first few nails in place, the man supporting the drywall collapses. The panel falls from the ceiling and crashes into the man below, while the other dives for safety. Luckily, the man under the drywall sheet appears to be uninjured.

“Are you okay?” asks his friend, noticing the bruises on the fallen man’s chest, “You could report that.”

“Nah, it’s just a bruise,” mutters the worker on the floor, clearly embarrassed for dropping the sheet.

Black and blue patches have already begun to form across the man’s chest, and his breaths come in ragged bursts. His friend looks at him with his brows raised. But respectful of his friend’s wishes, they pack up their things and exit the building as the light of day begins to fade away.

How a Complicated Reporting Process Could Harm Both You and Your Workers

Stories such as this are not uncommon for temporary workers. There are a variety of reasons that workers tend to underreport their injuries, chief among them are that reporting an injury could result in them being unable to work, or the process of reporting is too complicated to bother with. A recent educational bulletin from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) addresses the complicated process in an effort to clarify the requirements for injury recording of temporary worker injuries and illnesses.

A lack of reporting can result in fines and legal action against your business, while workers can suffer serious or fatal injuries. Here are a few steps your company can take to ensure the safety of temporary workers, as well as the financial future of your business.

Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Requirements

Q: Temporary workers often come from a staffing agency, resulting in confusion when a worker comes to report an injury. Do you cover them or does the staffing agency?

A: The answer: both (but in most cases, the host employer is responsible for recording injuries).

 

Q: Should both employers’ record the injury just to be safe?

A: No, injuries and illnesses should be recorded on only one employer’s injury and illness log.

 

Q: Okay, so say my company is responsible for recording the injury; who puts it in the books?

A: Those recording the injury should be supervising the workers on a day-to-day basis. Day-to-day basis meaning those employers who direct the worker and control potential hazards

 

Q: So the staffing agency has no role to play in worker safety and health; true or false?

A: False, the staffing agency (or non-supervising employer) should be in constant communication with their workers to ensure injuries and illnesses are reported and recorded.