Archive for July 31, 2008

Lead in Construction – How to Avoid Exposure

Lead Exposure Protection EquipmentLead is a common hazardous element found at many construction sites. Lead exposure comes from inhaling fumes and dust, and lead can be ingested when hands are contaminated by lead dust. Lead can be taken home on workers’ clothes, skin, hair, tools and in vehicles.

Lead exposure may take place in demolition, salvage, removal, encapsulation, renovation and cleanup activities.

Avoid Exposure

  • Use proper personal protective equipment (e.g., work gloves, clothing and approved respirators).
  • Wash hands and face after work and before eating.
  • Never enter eating areas wearing protective equipment.
  • Never wear clothes and shoes that were worn during lead exposure away from work.
  • Launder clothing daily; use proper cleaning methods.
  • Be alert to symptoms of lead exposure (e.g., severe abdominal pain, headaches, loss of motor coordination).

Use Respirators – Health effects vary with how long, and at what level, you are exposed. Asthmatics may be at greater risk.

Prevent Further Exposure

  • Ensure adequate ventilation. When outdoors, stand upwind of any plume.
  • Use dust collecting equipment, when possible.
  • Use lead-free materials and chemicals.
  • Use wet methods to decrease dust.
  • Use local exhaust ventilation for enclosed work areas.

ANSI/ISEA 107 Standards

ANSI Approved ClothingAbout the standard:

ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 is the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel established by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.

This standard provides guidelines for the use of high-visibility safety apparel (shirts, rainwear, outerwear and safety vests) for construction, utility, police, emergency medical services, fire fighters and airport ramp ramp workers. ANSI/ISEA 107 is intended to improve workers visibility during the day, in low-light conditions and at night. It also provides guidelines to help purchasers select the appropriate garment based on assessment of worker hazards and tasks, complexity of the work environments or background, and vehicular traffic and speed.

Not sure about the differences between all classes? See which class is required for your job.

Class 1 – For workers in occupations that permit full and undivided attention to approaching traffic. When work backgrounds are not complex. When Pedestrian workers are separated from traffic. Examples, parking lot attendants, shopping cart retrievers, warehouse workers, and delivery vehicle drivers.

Minimum requirements for Class 1:

■Background Fabric – 217 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 155 square inches

Class 2 – For workers who require greater visibility under inclement weather conditions. When work backgrounds are complex. When tasks divert attention from approaching vehicle traffic. Examples, roadway construction workers, utility workers, survey crews, railroad workers, school crossing guards, airport baggage handlers, law enforcement personnel, accident site personnel, emergency response personnel, high volume parking and toll-gate personnel.

Minimum requirements for Class 2:

■Background Fabric – 775 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 201 square inches

Class 3 – For workers and vehicle operations whose high task loads place them in danger. When wearer must be conspicuous through the full range of body motions at minimum 1,280 feet. When wearer must be identifiable as a person. Examples, roadway construction workers, utility workers, survey crews and emergency service personnel.

Minimum requirements for Class 3:

■Background Fabric – 1240 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 310 square inches

Wear It Right – Putting On Your Filtering Facepiece Respirator

Filtering Facepiece RespiratorsCheck the seal of your filtering facepiece respirator each time you use the respirator:

For non-valved respirators:

1.Place both hands completely
over the respirator and exhale.
The respirator should bulge slightly.
If air leaks between the face and
faceseal of the respirator, reposition
it and readjust the nose clip for a more
secure seal. If you cannot achieve a
proper seal, do not enter the
contaminated area. See your supervisor.

For valved respirators:

1.Place both hands over the
respirator and inhale sharply.
The respirator should collapse
slightly. If air leaks between the
face and faceseal of the respirator,
reposition it and readjust the nose
clip for a more secure seal. If you
cannot achieve a proper seal, do not
enter the contaminated area.
See your supervisor.

Wearing your filtering facepiece respirator:

Proper Respirator Placement

1. Place the respirator over your
nose and mouth. Be sure the
metal nose clip is on top. With
models 8210 or 07048, pre-stretch
the straps before wearing.

2. Pull the top strap over your
head until it rests on the
crown of your head above
your ears.

3. Pull the bottom strap over
your head until it rests just
below your ears.

4. Using both hands starting at
the top, mold the metal nose
clip around your nose to
achieve a secure seal

Fall Protection Tips

Fall Protection TipsThe US Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma. Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction. However, regardless of the fall distance, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery.

There are a number of ways to protect workers from falls including conventional systems such as guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall protection systems (fall arrest systems, positioning systems and travel restraint systems) as well as through the use of safe work practices and training. The use of warning lines, designated areas, control zones and similar systems are permitted by OSHA in some situations and can provide protection by limiting the number of workers exposed and instituting safe work methods and procedures. These alternative systems may be more appropriate than conventional fall protection systems when performing certain activities. Whether conducting a hazard assessment or developing a comprehensive fall protection plan, thinking about fall hazards before the work begins will help to manage fall hazards and focus attention on prevention efforts. If personal fall protection systems are used, particular attention should be given to identifying attachment points and to ensuring that employees know how to properly don and inspect the equipment. Follow these simple fall protection tips to ensure a safe workplace.

1.Identify all potential tripping and fall hazards before work starts.
2.Look for fall hazards such as unprotected floor openings/edges, shafts, skylights,  stairwells, and roof openings/edges.
3.Inspect fall protection equipment for defects before use.
4.Select, wear, and use fall protection equipment appropriate for the task.
5.Secure and stabilize all ladders before climbing them.
6.Never stand on the top rung/step of a ladder.
7.Use handrails when you go up or down stairs.
8.Practice good housekeeping. Keep cords, welding leads and air hoses out of walkways or adjacent work areas.

Hearing Protection: Which One Is Right for you?

What type of hearing protection should I choose?“Decisions, decisions. Foam earplugs, reusable earplugs, earmuffs, hearing bands; which one do I choose?”

The choice of hearing protectors is a very personal one and depends on a number of factors including level of noise, comfort, and the suitability of the hearing protector for both the worker and his environment. Most importantly, the hearing protector should provide the desired noise reduction. If the noise exposure is intermittent, ear muffs are more desirable, since it may be inconvenient to remove and reinsert earplugs.

Earplugs are inserted to block the ear canal. They may be premolded (preformed) or moldable (foam ear plugs). Ear plugs are sold as disposable products or reusable plugs. Custom molded ear plugs are also available. Earplugs are a popular choice in the workplace Proper Earplug Placementbecause they are simple th use, less expensive, and are more comfortable in hot or damp work ares. However, earplugs must be properly inserted to provide adequate protection and should not be used in areas having noise levels over 105dB.

Earmuffs consist of sound-attenuating material and soft ear cushions that fit around the ear and hard outer cups. They are held together by a headband. Ear muffs can vary with respect to the material and depth of the dome, and the force of the headband. The deeper and heavier the dome, the greater the low-frequency attenuation provided by the protector. The headband must fit tightly enough to maintain a proper seal, yet not be too tight for comfort. Ear muffs can usually provide greater protection than plugs, although this is not always true. They are easier to fit, generally more durable than plugs, and they have replaceable parts.

Hearing protectors have a noise reduction rating (NRR) printed on the package. Noise is measured in decibels (dB); each 10 dB jump reflects a doubling of the noise level. The idea is to get the noise reduced to a safe and comfortable level; for a two-hour stint in your workshop, that should be less than 90 dB. Foam plugs offer an NRR of about 30 dB; earmuffs about 25 dB; molded plugs slightly less than 25 dB. For extremely loud operations, wear both plugs and muffs to attain an NRR of 35 db or more.

Did you know?

The 30,000 tiny hair cells arranged in our inner ear’s snail-shaped cochlea are responsible for transmitting sound. The hairs nearest the opening are responsible for transmitting high-frequency noises and are the first ones damaged by loud noise. That’s why people with hearing damage can hear a low-pitched male voice with better clarity than a higher-pitched female voice.

The human aspects of hearing protection are particularly important since the only useful kind of protection is the protection that is actually worn. Some people do not accept particular kinds of protectors; every human being is different, and the anatomy of the ear and ear canal can vary significantly from person to person. The bottom line on hearing protection is worker preference. If the workers do not like the type of protection (for example, if it is uncomfortable, does not fit well, or is impractical), they will not wear it.

3M Heat Stress Monitor

3M WIBGET RSS-214Occupational heat stress exposure is a serious concern, especially in extreme summer heat. It can result in costly down time and potentially life-threatening situations. 3M WIBGET RSS-214 Heat Stress Monitor provides you with readings of key environmental factors that contribute to heat stress. The 3M WIBGET Heat stress monitor is the perfect monitor to help you establish a heat stress prevention and management program. Monitor is easy to use, and provides a fast response that is reliable and accurate.