This is where we add weekly safety topics

Communicable or Infectious Disease Control Policy

Sloan Security Group (or SSG) and subsidiaries will take proactive steps to protect the workplace in the event of an infectious disease outbreak. It is the goal of Sloan Security Group during any such time period to strive to operate effectively and ensure that all essential services are continuously provided and that employees are safe within the workplace.

Sloan Security Group (SSG) is committed to providing authoritative information about the nature and spread of infectious diseases, including symptoms and signs to watch for, as well as required steps to be taken in the event of an illness or outbreak in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines and the World Health Organization if applicable.

What is a Communicable or Infectious Disease?

A communicable or infectious disease is a disease that can be transmitted from one individual to another via: 1) direct physical contact, 2) the air (cough, sneeze or particle inhaled), 3) through a transmission vehicle (either ingested or injected) or 4) through a vector (animals or insects). Examples of some of the most common communicable or infectious diseases include: measles, influenza, viral hepatitis-A (infectious hepatitis), viral hepatitis-B (serum hepatitis), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), AIDS, AIDS-Related Complex (ARC), leprosy, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and tuberculosis (TB). This definition may be broadened in accordance with the recommendations and information provided from the CDC.

SSG will make decisions involving those with communicable or infectious diseases based on medical information concerning the disease in question, the risks of transmission to others, symptoms and any special circumstances of the individuals involved. The company will weigh potential risks and available alternatives before making any decisions.

Preventing the Spread of Infection in the Workplace

SSG will ensure a clean workplace, including the regular cleaning of objects and areas that are frequently used, such as bathrooms, break rooms, conference rooms, door handles and railings. A committee will be designated to monitor and coordinate events around an infectious disease outbreak, as well as to create work rules that could be implemented to promote safety through infection control.

We ask all employees to cooperate in taking steps to reduce the transmission of infectious disease in the workplace. The best strategy remains the most obvious—frequent hand washing with warm, soapy water; covering your mouth whenever you sneeze or cough; and discarding used tissues in wastebaskets. We will also provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers throughout the workplace and in common worksite areas.

Individuals who believe they may face particular challenges reporting to work during an infectious disease outbreak should take steps to develop any necessary contingency plans. For example, employees might want to arrange for alternative sources of childcare should schools close and/or speak with supervisors about the potential to work from home temporarily or on an alternative work schedule.

Limiting Travel

All nonessential travel should be avoided until further notice. Employees who travel as an essential part of their job should consult with management on appropriate actions. Business-related travel outside the United States will not be authorized until further notice.

Employees should avoid crowded public transportation when possible.

Telecommuting

Telework requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis. While not all positions will be eligible, all requests for temporary telecommuting should be submitted to your manager for consideration.

Staying Home When Ill 

Many times, with the best of intentions, employees report to work even though they feel ill. We provide paid sick time and other benefits to compensate employees who are unable to work due to illness. Please see the employee handbook; section 6.1 – 6.4 regarding these benefits.

During an infectious disease outbreak, it is critical that employees do not report to work while they are ill and/or experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with an infectious illness (such as the flu as an example) remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. Employees who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines.

Requests for Medical Information and/or Documentation 

If you are out sick or show symptoms of being ill, it may become necessary to request information from you and/or your health care provider. In general, we would request medical information to show whether and how an absence relates to the infection, and to know that it is appropriate for you to return to work. As always, we expect and appreciate your cooperation if and when medical information is sought.

Confidentiality of Medical Information 

Our policy is to treat any medical information as a confidential medical record. In furtherance of this policy, any disclosure of medical information is in limited circumstances with supervisors, managers, first aid and safety personnel, and government officials as required by law.

Social Distancing Guidelines for Workplace Infectious Disease Outbreaks

In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, SSG may implement these social distancing guidelines to minimize the spread of the disease among the staff.

During the workday, employees are requested to:

1. Avoid meeting people face-to-face. Employees are encouraged to use the telephone, online conferencing, e-mail or instant messaging to conduct business as much as possible, even when participants are in the same building.

2. If a face-to-face meeting is unavoidable, minimize the meeting time, choose a large meeting room and sit at least one yard or three feet from each other if possible; avoid person-to-person contact such as shaking hands.

3. Avoid any unnecessary travel and cancel or postpone nonessential meetings, gatherings, workshops and training sessions.

4. Do not congregate in work rooms, pantries, copier rooms or other areas where people socialize.

5. Bring lunch and eat at your desk or away from others (avoid lunchrooms and crowded restaurants).

6. Encourage members and others to request information and orders via phone and e-mail in order to minimize person-to-person contact. Have the orders, materials and information ready for fast pick-up or delivery.

Outside activities

Employees might be encouraged to the extent possible to:

1. Avoid public transportation (walk, cycle, drive a car) or go early or late to avoid rush-hour crowding on public transportation.

2. Avoid recreational or other leisure classes, meetings, activities, etc., where employees might come into contact with contagious people. 

Hiring and Employment During a Potential Threat or Spread of Infection in the Workplace

Sloan Security Group will not discriminate against job applicants or employees with a communicable disease. These individuals will not be denied access to the workplace or jobsite solely because they have a communicable disease, but may be excluded from company facilities, programs and functions if Sloan Security Group determines that restriction is necessary to protect the welfare of the infected individual or the welfare of others.

SSG will comply with all applicable statutes that protect the privacy of individuals with communicable diseases.

Abuse of this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. SSG reserve the right to revise this policy without notice during changing pandemic conditions.

ADDENDUM A INFECTIOUS DISEASE CONTROL POLICY- COVID-19

The COVID 19 Response Plan is a supplement to the Infectious Disease Control Policy and sets forth the expectations that Sloan Security Group (or SSG) and subsidiaries must adhere to during the COVID 19 pandemic. SSG will take proactive steps to protect the workplace, the safety of its employees and partners, especially those working on site. The CDC requirements and recommendations to prevent transmission have been incorporated as it relates to COVID 19 effective April 10, 2020.

Sloan Security Group (SSG) is committed to providing authoritative information regarding the transmission and spread of COVID 19, including symptoms and signs to watch for, and required governmental notices enlisting the required steps to be taken in accordance with CDC Guidelines and the World Health Organization.

Preventing the Spread of COVID 19 as recommended by CDC guidelines

Communication: Staying Home When Ill 

Sloan Security Group and its executive team is communicating information from the CDC to employees via weekly emails and weekly safety meetings through the use of virtual software. Many times, with the best of intentions, employees report to work even though they feel ill. Sloan Security Group and its subsidiaries actively encourage our employees to stay home if they are feeling ill.

During this COVID 19 outbreak, it is critical that employees do not report to work while they are ill and/or experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

To ensure adherence, all employees of SSG and subsidiaries will be asked to provide answers to these 4 questions before being allowed access to any office locations and or jobsites.

1. Do you or have you had a fever greater than 99 degrees within the last 24 hours?

2. Are you experiencing any shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing?

3. Have you come in contact with someone who has either experienced some of the symptoms above, or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID 19 within the last 14 days?

4. Have you traveled recently from an area with known local COVID 19 spread?

Depending on location, some employees may be required to pass a non-forehead thermometer check read that registers less than 99.6 degrees before proceeding with performing their essential job duties.

Those employees presenting symptoms of shortness of breath, or a cough will be sent home and will not be allowed to return to work until 7 days have passed and prove to be symptom free.

Human Resources and Safety must be notified immediately of any employee  answering “yes” to any of the questions listed above, those being sent home based on exhibiting symptoms or those that have called in sick because they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID 19, tested positive for COVID 19, or have come in contact with someone who has the virus.

These employees will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before being allowed to return back to work.

If it is determined an infected employee has spent time on a project site, or in the office, these sites and or locations will be secured and shut down for 72 hours where CDC cleaning guidelines will be implemented. Any employees who had contact with an infected employee will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Confidentiality 

Our policy is to treat any medical information as a confidential medical record. In furtherance of this policy, any disclosure of medical information is in limited circumstances with supervisors, managers, first aid and safety personnel, and government officials as required by law.

Owner representatives or contracting partners will be provided information of a possible infection, the steps taken by SSG to ensure a continued safe working environment including any stoppages in work that may occur from this notification.

Ensuring a clean and safe worksite

SSG will ensure a clean workplace, including the regular cleaning of objects (knobs, handles, railings, tabletops, and areas that are frequently used, such as bathrooms, break rooms, conference rooms etc. utilizing products or supplies that contain 60% or higher in alcohol content. These products are readily available at all office locations as well as our jobsites. For jobsite specific locations, the project superintendent is responsible for wiping down frequently touched surfaces and tools. Other surfaces to be cleaned and sanitized at least once per day on a regular basis include but are not limited to toolboxes, steering wheels, doorknobs, rental equipment such as forklifts.

We ask all employees to cooperate in taking steps to reduce the transmission of COVID 19. The best strategy remains the most obvious:

1. Frequent hand washing with warm, soapy water at a minimum of 20 seconds;

2. Covering your mouth whenever you sneeze or cough using a tissue or the inside of your elbow; and discarding used tissues in wastebasket. Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth or eyes specifically.

SSG will ensure alcohol-based hand sanitizers (60% or higher alcohol content) are provided throughout the workplace and in common worksite areas.

Social Distancing; During the workday, employees are required to:

1. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet apart from each other while performing essential job duties. Limit all physical contact including sharing tools, pens or mobile devices.

2.Avoid meeting people face-to-face. Employees are encouraged to use the telephone, online conferencing, e-mail or instant messaging to conduct business as much as possible, even when participants are in the same building, or jobsite.

3. If a face-to-face meeting is unavoidable, minimize the meeting time, choose a large meeting room and sit at least 6 feet apart from each other; avoid person-to-person contact such as shaking hands.

3. Avoid any unnecessary travel and cancel or postpone nonessential meetings, gatherings, workshops and training sessions.

4. Do not congregate in lunch areas, job trailers, or breakrooms or other areas where people socialize.

5. Encourage members and others to request information and orders via phone and e-mail in order to minimize person-to-person contact. Have the orders, materials and information ready for fast pick-up or delivery.

Face Coverings

Wearing of face coverings are recommended by the CDC. They must fit snug and yet comfortable against the side of your face so that it does not restrict your breathing. Cloth face coverings may be mandated by local governing agencies. Sloan employees and subsidiaries are expected to adhere to these requirements where applicable.

Limiting Travel

Employees who travel as an essential part of their job should consult with Project Management, Human Resources and or Safety on appropriate actions before traveling to assigned jobsites where guidelines or mandates have changed. Business-related travel outside the United States will not be authorized until further notice.

First Aid & Safety Events

In the event that first aid is needed in the workplace or jobsite, the safety manager and or project superintendent will determine the seriousness of the injury and whether or not it is necessary to break social distancing protocol. In accordance with OSHA guidelines and SSG’s Safety Handbook; disposable gloves must be worn when providing first aid, regardless of the injury. If assistance can be provided while maintaining 6 feet of distance, the social distancing protocol still stands. If the social distancing protocol is broken in order to help an employee or crew member who is injured, both parties will be monitored closely for COVID 19 symptoms in the two weeks that follow. This mandatory monitoring if applicable, includes daily temperature checks and daily surveying of cough, sore throat, shortness of breath. Safety is our number one priority to our employees and those we do business with.

Sloan Security Group is taking this pandemic seriously and doing everything we can to limit exposure of COVID 19. Please see our attached Safety Plan & Hazard Communication Plan for more information.

Project Specific Requirements

Every project has specific requirements that may differ from the standards expressed in this policy. Please supplement this policy as necessary to the project specific prevailing standard on your project. It is the responsibility of the project team including the Project Manager and the Project Superintendent to communicate to all employees, subcontractors and vendors the appropriate requirements to work safely on this project.

ADDENDUM B INFECTIOUS DISEASE CONTROL POLICY- COVID-19

Beginning Monday, April 27,2020 all jobsites and office personnel reporting for work will be required to sign in daily, answer the required questions and have their temperature taken before reporting for duty. You will find the electronic sign in sheet here: www.sloansg.com/updates/ – COVID-19 Daily Questionnaire- please follow the directions and if you have any questions call the office. HR will be checking for the completion of these sign in sheets daily and we appreciate your cooperation.

Field personnel must check in with their Superintendent. Office personnel must check in at the front desk. [1]Those designated to take temperatures will be required to wear gloves and a mask when doing so and wipe down the thermometer before and after each use with sanitizing wipes containing a minimum of 60% alcohol. Our infectious disease policy guidelines and addendums are posted in the office in the break room and shop areas. It can also be found online at www.sloansg.com/updates/


UPDATE MEMO INFECTIOUS DISEASE CONTROL POLICY

Tuesday, June 2,2020: As this disease continues to evolve the COVID Task Force remains diligent in assessing current conditions ensuring safety takes priority overall. Please be advised: Addendums A and B have been updated to reflect revisions for the following:

  • Outlined safety protocols to be followed by personnel performing temperature checks for those wishing to gain access to jobsites and or the office.
  • Amended requirements if contact is made with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
  • Notification protocols when such incidents listed above occurs.

Please continue to follow the guidelines provided in Addendums A & B in addition to the following provided in this memo:

  • Until June 15th or further notice is provided, if you are able to telecommute please continue to do so.
  • Those of you currently maintaining access to the office; masks are required to be worn in common areas (i.e.: the hallway when mobile from designated office space to other areas of the building) where 6’ of social distancing is not viable.

We ask all employees to review the policy in full for periodic changes and or updates that may occur. This policy can be found on our webpage at: www.sloansg.com/updates/ as well as in the office and shop breakroom areas.

[1] Revised June 2, 2020

You can click on the image of our questionnaire to be directed to our form. Or click here.

For further guidance please visit: https://www.cdc.gov

A PDF version of this information is available for your reference Communicable or Infectious Disease Control Policy

Stay in shape post-it stock photo

Staying in Shape

Keeping in Shape

Staying in shape is one subject that is rarely discussed when safety is the topic. However, a person who stays in good physical condition is less likely to be involved in an accident. They are usually more alert, less subject to the adverse effects of weather and generally able to react more quickly to changing conditions on the job. That is why this is an important subject.

Staying in Shape Reduces Injuries by:
• Reducing the effect that adverse weather has on your body.
• Reducing the effect of minor injuries. A body in good condition will usually repair itself much faster.
• Substantially reducing exposure to minor sprains, strains and muscle pulls. Most people in good shape
rarely strain or pull muscles.
• Cutting down the exposure to normal illnesses. The percentages of those people who are in good
shape getting colds and the flu are lower. A person in good shape can better fight the germs causing
the illnesses.
• Being more alert to job site conditions.
How To Stay In Shape:
• Exercise regularly.
• Eat right.
• Get plenty of rest.
• Avoid overindulging in sweets, alcohol or food.
• Diet when needed to maintain recommended body weight.
• Avoid smoking. Smoking cuts down circulation making cold colder, hot hotter, and injury recovery
longer.
• The importance of eating breakfast;
• Having a snack around mid-morning to be alert.

Remember: Few people will dispute the fact that when you physically feel good, your attitude is also good. You are able to avoid illness and can react quicker to dangerous situations. It is far better on your body to stay in shape since it places less strain on your muscles and your heart. Keeping in good shape makes good sense, and good sense is the cornerstone to safety.

Attributed by: http://www.lni.wa.gov/safety/topics/atoz/toolboxtalks/PDFs/KeepingInShape.pdf

Plastic covers placed on free-standing rebar to prevent impailment

Rebar/Impalement Protection

Rebar/Impalement Protection

Steel reinforcing bars, or rebar, are a common hazard on construction sites. The thin steel bars can stick out from construction projects and pose a hazard to workers who can cut or scratch themselves on the sharp ends. Workers that stumble or fall onto the exposed steel bars can be pierced or impaled on them, resulting in serious internal injuries and death.

To protect workers from this hazard, it is required that rebar and other projections on the worksite “be guarded to eliminate the hazard of impalement.” Guarding from rebar impalement hazards must be done when workers will be working around or at any height above exposed rebar. This also includes work situations where rebar is below grade or in a basement.

Fall prevention methods such as guardrails and personal fall protection systems are the first level of protection for workers. These should be used any time workers are exposed to potential falls of ten feet or greater; a fall from any height can seriously injure a worker.

The next level of impalement protection is to use protective guard systems to cover the protruding ends. Steel reinforced rebar caps provide the strongest and best impalement protection for workers. Proper protective rebar caps should be at least 4” square or, if they are round, they should have a 4.5 inch diameter.

Some rebar caps are too narrow or not steel-reinforced. If a worker falls on a standard plastic cap, the impact pressure can push the rebar through the cap and impale the worker, or impale the worker cap and all. Standard mushroom rebar caps and/or covers are only appropriate to prevent cuts, abrasions or other minor injuries when workers are working at grade with rebar and when there is no impalement hazard.

Long 2 x 4 wood caps or other manufactured troughs can be used to effectively protect exposed rebar. Protective rebar caps and troughs must have passed a drop test of 250 pounds from 10 feet above to prove that they can protect against impalement. If you construct protective wood troughs on the job site, they should be built according to a registered engineer’s drawings (keep the plans on site).

Workers should be vigilant around exposed rebar ends. Fall prevention is the first defense and covered rebar ends are extra insurance against impalement in case of a fall. With the focus on safety and protected rebar ends, this is one safety point workers will be glad to miss.

Sloan Security Group prides themselves on best safety practices. Check out other safety topics here!

Safety helmet, glasses, gloves, and earmuffs

PPE

PPE

PPE stands for personal protective equipment which we use in our daily work activities. OSHA gives employers responsibility for ensuring that employees wear appropriate PPE to reduce exposure to hazardous conditions such as falling objects, noise exposure, toxic atmospheres, etc. Personal protection is the main objective and each of us must follow our employer’s safety requirements.

The first form of PPE is a hard hat. This safety device provides us with an impact resistant covering that protects the head. We know that all of our body functions are controlled by ‘that gray matter’ inside our head, so don’t take chances — protect your brain — wear your hard hat at all times!

Many other forms of PPE are available to you. Hearing protection in the form of ear plugs or muffs reduces the amount of noise reaching your ear drums, thereby preserving your hearing. Respirators provide protection against toxic substances that might enter our bodies through our respiratory systems. Safety belts with lanyards and full body harnesses are types of personal fall protection, but they are effective only if we use them. Knee pads necessary when kneeling during work.

The eyes and face are another area that needs to be protected. There are many types and sizes of spectacles and goggles to protect the eyes and each has a special application. Be sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before wearing them and choose the right type. Face shields should be worn if potential danger exists from physical, chemical or radiation agents.

Personal Protective Equipment can be cumbersome, uncomfortable, hot, etc. and employees occasionally don’t wear it even though they know they may be risking injury. Any worker who fails to wear required PPE should be disciplined.

Evaluate your work operations and define the hazards. Check with your supervisor for necessary PPE requirements and resolve to wear them. An ounce of protection is worth a pound or cure.

KEEP YOUR PPE CLEAN AND IN GOOD WORKING ORDER. REPLACE ANY DEFECTIVE GEAR IMMEDIATELY

Backs

Backs

Have you ever given much thought to your back? It’s there when you need it, but only if you don’t abuse it. The back is made up of four major parts. The spine, nerves, muscles, and the spinal cord. There are thirty- three bones in the spine and thirty-one pairs of nerves branching out from the spinal cord. All of them must work together. If they don’t, you could end up with anything from a strain to a ruptured disk, fractured vertebrae, and/or a debilitating disease like arthritis.

To help prevent a back injury you should exercise, practice good posture, eat the right foods, and watch your weight. Check with your doctor for muscle strengthening exercises for the back.

Other things you can do to prevent back injuries include using work-saving devices — hand trucks, forklifts, wheelbarrows, and dollies can assist you. When you have an object to lift that is too heavy or bulky get help! Ask a co-worker for their assistance. Remember, two backs are stronger than one.’

Now, what can you do when you have to do some lifting? Check out the object to be lifted. Think about how you are going to grasp the load and make sure there is a clear path of travel so you won’t stumble. Before you lift, stand close to the object, bend down at the knees and straddle it, get a good grip, and lift with your legs while keeping your back straight. The secret is to let your legs do the work.

It doesn’t have to be a heavy load — even a small, very light object lifted incorrectly can trigger a back injury.

Back injuries can be painful, disabling, paralyzing, and sometimes even fatal. Protect your back by following the guidelines above. You’re here today — we want you BACK tomorrow.

AVOID THE MISERY OF A SORE BACK THINK BEFORE YOU LIFT – THEN DO IT CORRECTLY.

Workmen in heavy rain

Working Safely in the Rain

Working Safely in the Rain

Employees working in the rain face additional hazards, such as poor visibility and wet, slippery surfaces. Here are work practices that will help prevent accidents and injuries when working in the rain.

  • Move more slowly and carefully. When working in the rain, a natural reaction is to try to work more quickly to get back inside as soon as possible. However, because rain makes everything more slippery, you should do the exact opposite—work more slowly and deliberately to prevent slipping and falling, especially when climbing ladders.
  • Use the correct equipment. Do not use electrical tools and equipment that are not specifically rated for outdoor use when working in the rain. When using hand tools, use tools with textured, nonslip grip handles.
  • Wear appropriate rain gear. If you are cold and wet, you are likely concentrating more on how miserable you are than the work at hand. Rain gear which includes both a coat and pants or overalls and is ventilated should be worn for prolonged wet-weather work. If it’s cold and rainy, wool or synthetic fibers specifically designed for cold weather use are the best for wear under rain gear because it will keep you warm even if it gets wet. Also, wear rain gear that is the proper size; if it’s too large it may interfere with movement.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. Footwear for use in inclement weather should have deep treads to help prevent slipping. Footwear that is in poor condition (treads are worn down or worn smooth or footwear with holes) should not be worn. To keep water out of shoes or boots, make sure the top of the shoe or boot extends above the ankle and rain gear extends to the ankles. Also, the top of the boot or shoe should be inside the pant leg (as opposed to tucking the pant leg into the footwear).
  • Use proper hand protection. When doing work requiring a sure grip (using hand tools, for example), wear gloves that fit snugly and provide a nonslip grip. To prevent water from entering gloves, make sure that the sleeve of the glove is either tight fitting or is long enough that it fits under the cuff of your raincoat.
  • Ensure that you can see. If wearing goggles or eyeglasses, use antifogging sprays or wipes on them before going outside. Be sure that the area you are working in is well lit; if needed, light the area using lights rated for outdoor use. Wear hoods or hats to keep rain out of your eyes. Also, since hoods on rain gear narrow your range of vision, make it a point to turn your head to look both ways and above and below you when wearing a hood in the rain.
  • Make sure that you can be seen. If working in an area where there is vehicular traffic (trucks, cars, forklifts, etc.), always wear bright-colored, reflective vests or rain gear, even during the day. Do not wear rain gear or vests that have become worn and are dull and/or no longer reflective.
Worker inside a freshly-excavated trench- DO NOT DO THIS.

Protecting Against Trench Cave-Ins & Collapses

Protecting Against Trench Cave-Ins & Collapses 

Why Does a Trench Collapse Occur?

Soil is normally kept in place by the pressure generated from the horizontal and vertical forces of the surrounding soil. During a conventional excavation operation, when the soil is being removed or dug-out in bulk form, the surrounding support is removed; the remaining soil becomes a vertical wall without lateral support. Because of that lack of surrounding pressure, most soil types will eventually collapse into the open excavation. This often happens suddenly, and usually without warning.

Protective methods and systems for excavated soils

OSHA regulations governing the protection of employees working in trenches state that workers must be protected from trench collapse/cave-ins by an adequately designed protective system; unless the proposed excavation depth is less than five (5) feet, and the examination of the soil by the competent person reveals no indication of a potential cave-in. OSHA also requires that all workers be properly trained in understanding the importance and functionality of protective system(s) proposed for use. For excavations five (5) feet or more in depth, the following protective systems are commonly used:

1. Sloping or Benching of the Soil – The simplest method of protecting workers is to slope or bench the walls of the excavation. The maximum angle of the soil slope will vary depending on the soil type. If the excavated walls are composed of stable rock, then the trench can be dug with a vertical slope. As the soil type or stability reduces, so too does the slope angle. OSHA requires that excavations over four (4) feet in depth have some form of access/exit, such as a ladder or ramp; and that access/exit points be located within 25 feet of employee(s).

When the location and/or depth of the proposed excavation makes sloping or benching of the soil impractical, a protective system of either shoring or shielding must be used.

2. Shoring – Shoring systems provide lateral support against the walls of a trench to prevent a collapse. Shoring systems can utilize metal or timber uprights, driven sheet piling, or other recognized methods. Shoring is used to protect large areas so that a crew can work inside, or adjacent to an excavation without danger of collapse.

3. Shielding – Unlike shoring, shielding is not designed to prevent a collapse of the trench walls. Instead, shielding protects workers from cave-ins in a specific area of the trench where they are working. Shielding, also commonly referred to as a trench box, is usually designed to be portable and can be moved along a trench.

If the excavation is using a shielding or shoring system, there must be a copy of the manufacturer’s information and technical data on site; as well as a copy of equipment inspection(s) performed by the competent person. Regardless of the method used to guard against the collapse of excavated soils, workers must be protected from objects, debris, soil, etc. from falling into the trench and/or area of excavation. OSHA requires that all equipment, excavated spoil piles, etc. be positioned at least two (2) feet away from the edge of the trench.

HAVING A HEALTHY MIND IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS A HEALTHY BODY

Why is Health Important?

Why is Health Important?

When we are talking of health, it is not just about a healthy body but also about sound mental health. Good health can be described as the condition where both our body as well as our mind are functioning properly. The main causes behind poor health conditions are diseases, improper diet, injury, mental stress, lack of hygiene, unhealthy lifestyle, etc. Over the past few years, our lifestyle has changed and we often tend to ignore the importance of healthy living in one way or the other.

Why is Health Important to Us?

There are several benefits of a healthy life. Your body becomes free from various forms of disorders and thus, you get a longer life. You can live a life without suffering from any aches, pain, or discomfort. In every sphere of your life, you will be able to perform to the best of your ability. Doing excellent work helps you to be a valuable member of a healthy society. Besides, when you are physically fit, it gets reflected on your face. So, you look attractive and start feeling good about yourself! If you have a fit body, then you can lead a physically active life even after growing old. This is because, the body can heal the regular wear and tear associated with aging faster. In short, health and wellness brings about a drastic improvement in the overall quality of your life.

Why is Health Important in the Workplace?

As an employee, you should take good care of your health, both in the workplace as well as at home. This will make you feel more energetic and you will be able to carry out both simple as well as strenuous tasks without pushing yourself too hard. As your mind and body is free from work pressure and mental stress, you can handle the daily chores at workplace with a positive attitude. You feel motivated to finish off the task at hand and will be interested to work on more number of things. Your mind develops a natural tendency to focus upon the positives and is not bothered much about the negatives. Most importantly, at the end of the day, you can sleep well and you do not have to start the next day with a body ache or joint pain or stomach upset. As a result, you do not need a medical leave too often and you will get your salary at the end of the month without any deductions!

Good health has a positive effect on the productivity of the employees. Therefore, an organization should also give the prior importance to the health care of its employees through its policies. When the organization is showing interests in the well-being of its employees, they in turn will also feel more responsible and loyal towards the organization. It improves employee retention, reduces absenteeism and cuts down on company’s health care costs.

Man working with proper fall arrest equipment

Guide to Personal Fall Arrest

Guide to Personal Fall Arrest

Falls are among the most common causes of injuries and deaths in the workplace, totaling an estimated 100,000 each
year. They are, in fact, the reason for more than half of all the on-the-job deaths among construction workers — and 15
percent of all occupational deaths.

But despite the increasing sales of fall protection products, the number of fall-related injuries continues to grow. Why?
The lack of proper training is one reason. Others are the selection of the wrong equipment for a particular application,
and the failure of a user to wear the equipment properly.
A Personal Fall Arrest System is comprised of three (3) key components – anchorage connector; body wear; and a connecting device.
While a lot of focus has been given to anchorage connectors and body wear (full-body harnesses), when discussing fall
protection, the connecting device (a shock-absorbing lanyard or self-retracting lifeline) between these two component
actually bears the greatest fall forces during a fall.

Anchorage/Anchorage Connector
Anchorage: Commonly referred to as a tie-off point (Ex: I-beam, rebar, scaffolding, lifeline, etc.)
Anchorage Connector: Used to join the connecting device to the anchorage (Ex: cross-arm strap, beam anchor, D-bolt,
hook anchor, etc.)
- Anchorages must be capable of supporting 5,000 pounds of force per worker.
- Must be high enough for a worker to avoid contact with a lower level should a fall occur.
- The anchorage connector should be positioned to avoid a “swing fall.”

Body Wear
Body Wear: The personal protective equipment worn by the worker (Ex: full-body harness)
- Only form of body wear acceptable for fall arrest is the full-body harness.
- Should be selected based on work to be performed and the work environment.
-Side and front D-rings are for positioning only.

Connecting Device

Connecting Device: The critical link which joins the body wear to the anchorage/anchorage connector (Ex: shock-
absorbing lanyard, fall limiter, self-retracting lifeline, rope grab, etc.)
- Potential fall distance must be calculated to determine type of connecting device to be used – typically, under 18-
1/2 ft. (5.6m), always use a self-retracting lifeline/fall limiter; over 18-1/2 ft. (5.6m), use a shock-absorbing lanyard
or self-retracting lifeline/fall limiter.
- Should also be selected based on work to be performed and the work environment.
- Shock-absorbing lanyards can expand up to 3-1/2 ft. (1.1m) when arresting a fall; attach lanyards to the harness
back D-ring only; never tie a knot in any web lanyard – it reduces the strength by 50%.

Cartoon of a man with railroad tie almost hitting a man behind him through carelessness.l

Common Sense and Accident Prevention

Common Sense and Accident Prevention

Generally speaking, we are not born with common sense, we acquire it throughout life. Actually, common sense is really common experience–we learn about life from others’ experiences as well as our own. Awareness of your environment, self-preservation and concern for your fellow workers are all factors in good common sense. Contrary to popular opinion, all workers can prevent themselves from getting hurt. The easy way to avoid pain is to observe how others have taken risks and been injured, rather than learning the hard way–from your own injury. That’s common sense!

The experts say at least 80% of industrial accidents are caused by unsafe acts on the part of employees–and not by unsafe conditions. Although employers are required by law to provide a safe and healthful workplace, it is up to you to be aware of your work environment and follow safe work practices. By avoiding unsafe acts and practicing common sense, your work will go smoother, with less chance for accidents.

Statistically, most accidents are caused by unsafe acts, including:
Being In A Hurry – Sometimes there is more concern for completing a job quickly instead of safely. Take time to do a good job and a safe job.

Taking Chances – Daring behavior or blatant disregard for safe work practices can put the whole work team at risk. Follow all company safety rules and watch out for your fellow employees. Horseplay is never appropriate on the job and can lead to disciplinary action.

Being Preoccupied – Daydreaming, drifting off at work, thinking about the weekend and not paying attention to your work can get you seriously hurt or even killed. Focus on the work you are paid to do. If your mind is troubled or distracted, you’re at risk for an accident.

Having A Negative Attitude – Being angry or in a bad mood can lead to severe accidents because anger nearly always rules over caution. Flying off the handle at work is potentially dangerous. Keep your bad moods in check, or more than one person may be hurt. Remember to stay cool and in charge of your emotions.

Failing To Look For Hidden Hazards – At many jobsites, work conditions are constantly changing. Sometimes new, unexpected hazards develop. Always be alert for changes in the environment. Hidden hazards include spilled liquids that could cause slips and falls; out-of-place objects that can be tripped over; unmarked floor openings one could step into; low overhead pipes that could mean a head injury; and other workers who don’t see you enter their hazardous work area.

Remember to stay alert for hazards, so you won’t become one more accident statistic: You can do a quality job without rushing. Maintain a positive attitude and keep your mind on your work. This is just common sense–something smart workers use!