Never remove a safety guard when a tool is being used. Hazardous moving parts of power tools and equipment need to be safeguarded. Some examples of parts that need to be guarded are:
It is also important to note protective clothing and equipment can create hazards. A protective glove can become caught between rotating parts, or a respirator face piece that hinders the wearer's vision, for example, requires alertness and continued attentiveness whenever they are used.
Other parts of the worker's clothing may present additional safety hazards. For example, loose-fitting shirts might become entangled in rotating spindles or other kinds of moving machinery. Jewelry, such as bracelets and rings, can catch on machine parts or stock and lead to serious injury by pulling a hand into the danger area.
OSHA standards require your employer to ensure hand-held power tools are fitted with guards and safety switches. The type of guard will be determined by the power source of the tool (electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, or powder-actuated). Exposed moving parts of power tools, such as belts, gears, shafts, pulleys, etc. must be guarded. Points-of-operation, where the work is actually performed on the materials, must also be guarded. Power saws are a primary type of equipment which requires a point-of-operation guard. In-running nip points, such as where the sanding belt runs onto a pulley in a belt sanding machine, must also be guarded.
Guards are also required on other equipment with moving parts, such as chain drives on cranes, to which workers may be exposed.
Make sure your equipment is de-energized and cannot be started accidentally. First, disconnect tools when not in use, before servicing, and when changing accessories such as blades, bits, and cutters. Turn off vehicles before you do maintenance or repair work. If possible, lockout the power source to the equipment. The type of power source may be electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, or powder-actuated. Lower or block the blades of bulldozers, scrapers, and similar equipment before you make repairs or when the equipment is not in use.
Your employer should provide a lock-out/tag-out program or equivalent system to ensure equipment is not accidentally energized during maintenance or repair. Lockout/tagout procedures are specifically required for equipment used in concrete and masonry operations. Bulldozer and scraper blades, end loader buckets, dump bodies, and similar equipment must be blocked or fully lowered when being repaired or not in use.
OSHA defines a “competent person” as:
“one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”
Your employer must designate a competent person for certain construction activities that may have caught-in or-between hazards:
The best way to prevent workers from being crushed by heavy equipment that tips over is to prevent the equipment from tipping over in the first place. For example, cranes can tip over if the load capacity is exceeded, or the ground is not level or too soft. OSHA requires your employer to designate a competent person to inspect crane operations to identify hazardous working conditions, including ensuring the support surface is firm and able to support the load. Your employer must also make sure the material handling equipment is equipped with rollover protective structures. OSHA standards require motor vehicles, forklifts, and earthmoving equipment to be equipped with seat belts. Your employer must require their use. The use of seat belts will prevent workers from being thrown from a vehicle or equipment and being crushed when the vehicle or equipment tips over.
During demolition, your employer must ensure any stand-alone wall more than one story must have lateral bracing unless the wall was designed to be stand-alone and is otherwise in a safe condition to be self-supporting.
Jacks must have a firm foundation. If necessary, the base of a jack must be blocked or cribbed. After a load has been raised, it must be cribbed, blocked, or otherwise secured at once.
To protect yourself from being pinned between equipment, materials, or objects you must:
Your employer is required to take measures to prevent workers from being pinned between equipment and a solid object, such as a wall or another piece of equipment; between materials being stacked or stored and a solid object, between shoring and construction materials in a trench.
Other example situations are:
The son of the owner of a commercial drywall construction company, an employee of the company, was preparing an aerial lift for a job and had replaced two battery terminals. He had raised the aerial boom and was reaching toward the battery compartment across the metal enclosure that houses the lift's toggle controls when the boom dropped and pinned him to the control panel. His father discovered him and summoned emergency responders, but he died at the site.
The accident resulted in the OSHA violations listed below:
To protect yourself on an excavation site you must:
OSHA standards on trenching and excavation require your employer to designate a competent person to inspect the trenching operations. The competent person must be trained in and knowledgeable about soils classification, the use of protective systems, and the requirements of the OSHA standard. The competent person must be capable of identifying hazards, and authorized to immediately eliminate hazards.
Your employer must make sure all excavations and trenches five feet deep or more, but less than 20 feet, are protected by sloping or benching, trench box or shield, or shoring. There must also be adequate means of access and egress from the excavation. If an excavation is more than 20 feet deep, a professional engineer must design the system to protect the workers.
You must be protected from equipment or materials that could fall or roll into excavations. This could include spoils that could fall into the trench and bury the workers. Mobile equipment used near or over an excavation presents a hazard. A warning system must be utilized (such as barricades, hand or mechanical signals, or stop logs), when mobile equipment is:
If a crane or earthmoving equipment is operating directly over the top of a trench, workers should not be working underneath.
Measures need to be taken by your employer to avoid the collapse of other structures, such as scaffolds, that could bury workers underneath them. Anytime there is inadequate support, improper construction, or a shift in the components of a scaffold (including the base upon which the structure is built); there is danger of collapse. Cinder blocks or other similar materials should not be used to support a scaffold because they could be crushed. OSHA standards require that scaffolds can only be erected, moved, dismantled or altered under the supervision of a competent person. The competent person selects and directs the workers who erect the scaffold. The selected workers must be trained by a competent person on correct procedures and hazards of scaffold erection.
Make sure you have the proper training on the equipment and hazards of your job so you can work safely. Specific and detailed training is a crucial part of any effort to safeguard employees from worksite hazards.
OSHA’s general training requirement for construction workers is:
The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.
Your employer must train you to perform your job and use the provided equipment safely. If working with scaffolding your employer should be aware of specific training requirements found in OSHA standards. These standards can be found in 29 CFR 1926.454 (Scaffolds – workers who are involved in erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, repairing, maintaining, or inspecting a scaffold).
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