Cave-ins are perhaps the most feared trenching hazard. But other potentially fatal hazards exist, including asphyxiation due to lack of oxygen in a confined space, inhalation of toxic fumes, drowning, etc. Electrocution or explosions can occur when workers contact underground utilities.
OSHA requires that workers in trenches and excavations be protected, and that safety and health programs address the variety of hazards they face. The following hazards cause the most trenching and excavation injuries:
- No Protective System
- Failure to Inspect Trench and Protective Systems
- Unsafe Spoil-Pile Placement
- Unsafe Access/Egress
via OSHA Construction eTool: Trenching and Excavation.
An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document required by particular OSHA standards [29 CFR 1910.38(a)]. The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Well developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies. A poorly prepared plan, likely will lead to a disorganized evacuation or emergency response, resulting in confusion, injury, and property damage.
via Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool | What is an Emergency Action Plan?.
Studies show that the ratio of indirect costs to direct costs varies widely, from a high of 20:1 to a low of 1:1. OSHA has shown that the lower the direct costs of an accident, the higher the ratio of indirect to direct costs (ranging from 4.1/1.0 to 1.1/1.0). Examples of indirect costs include training replacement employees, accident investigation and implementation of corrective measures, lost productivity, repairs of damaged equipment and property, and costs associated with lower employee morale and absenteeism.
via Indirect Costs of Accidents.
The three major areas of change are in hazard classification, labels, and safety data sheets.
- Hazard classification: The definitions of hazard have been changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. These specific criteria will help to ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent across manufacturers, and that labels and safety data sheets are more accurate as a result.
- Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
- Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.
The GHS does not include harmonized training provisions, but recognizes that training is essential to an effective hazard communication approach. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that workers be re- trained within two years of the publication of the final rule to facilitate recognition and understanding of the new labels and safety data sheets.
via Hazard Communication.
Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of the serious accidents in many industries. Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) for general industry outlines measures for controlling different types of hazardous energy. The LOTO standard establishes the employer’s responsibility to protect workers from hazardous energy. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures:
- Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) for general industry, outlines specific action and procedures for addressing and controlling hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures. Workers must be trained in the purpose and function of the energy control program and have the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage and removal of the energy control devices.
- All employees who work in the area where the energy control procedure(s) are utilized need to be instructed in the purpose and use of the energy control procedure(s) and about the prohibition against attempting to restart or reenergize machines or equipment that is locked or tagged out.
- All employees who are authorized to lockout machines or equipment and perform the service and maintenance operations need to be trained in recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources in the workplace, the type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace, and the means and methods of isolating and/or controlling the energy.
- Specific procedures and limitations relating to tagout systems where they are allowed.
- Retraining of all employees to maintain proficiency or introduce new or changed control methods.
via Safety and Health Topics | Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout).
You must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria, and therefore to be recordable, if it results in any of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness. You must also consider a case to meet the general recording criteria if it involves a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
via General recording criteria. – 1904.7.
Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can be used to move, raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers.
The hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks vary depending on the vehicle type and the workplace where the truck is used. Each type of truck presents different operating hazards. For example, a sit-down, counterbalanced high lift rider truck is more likely than a motorized hand truck to be involved in a falling load accident, because the sit-down rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck. Workplace conditions also present different hazards. For example, retail establishments often face greater challenges than other worksites in maintaining pedestrian safety.
The best way to protect employees from injury also depends on the type of truck operated and worksite where it is being used.
via Powered Industrial Trucks eTool.
Exposures to blood and other body fluids occur across a wide variety of occupations. Health care workers, emergency response and public safety personnel, and other workers can be exposed to blood through needlestick and other sharps injuries, mucous membrane, and skin exposures. The pathogens of primary concern are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Workers and employers are urged to take advantage of available engineering controls and work practices to prevent exposure to blood and other body fluids.
via CDC – Bloodborne Infectious Diseases – HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B Virus, and Hepatitis C Virus – NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic.
Many serious accidents have happened when someone thought a machine or the power to it was safely off. “Lock-out tag-out” is a way to protect yourself and others by ensuring that machines remain completely, temporarily off. Without a lock-out tag-out system there is the possibility that a machine will unexpectedly start up, either because of stored energy which was not correctly released or through the actions of someone starting the process without realizing that it isn’t safe to do so.
The lock-out tag-out standard requires that hazardous energy sources be “isolated and rendered inoperative” before maintenance or servicing work can begin. These energy sources include electrical (either active current or stored as in a capacitor), pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical, thermal, chemical, and the force of gravity. It is important to remember all of the energy sources must be “isolated and rendered inoperative.” Overlooking an energy source has proved fatal on several occasions.
via Lock-out Tag-out.
Many people spend a lot of time at work. If work isn’t done safely, it can put a lot of wear and tear on your body. Back injuries are the most common type of workplace injury.
There are things you can do – both at work and at home – to lower your chances of getting hurt or sick.
To prevent injuries and stay healthy at work:
- Lift things safely.
- Arrange your equipment to fit your body.
- Take short breaks and stretch your muscles.
- Eat a healthy diet and stay active.
- Watch your weight.
- Get enough sleep.
- Manage stress.
- Look for health resources at work.
via Stay Safe at Work.