As a young man, I tried on many hats when it came to working before becoming a Safety Professional. Granted all of these positions were entry level, but boy did I learn a lot. The old saying “hindsight is 20/20” is true, we learn from our experiences. Back then I was eager to jump in and get dirty. I was willing to try and learn something new, but many times this ended with an incident.
If you want to be safe at work, home, and play, you need to demonstrate certain characteristics that are visible by others. When someone claims that you are a safe person, they have observed something about you that resonates with being safe. Someone who is safe can be observed as committed to injury-free work, compliant with safety practices, and working with competency (skills and knowledge). People who achieve an accepted level of success in any of life’s endeavors usually demonstrate these characteristics.
Knowing what is safe or how to make a situation safe is a constant issue for those in leadership positions. Most safety manuals have a line on the front page that says, “This manual cannot cover all work situations. If you find a situation that the book does not cover, contact your supervisor.” The issue of not having a safety rule for a specific situation occurs many times because the book is incomplete or no one in the company has ever performed this type of job before. Whatever the reason for not having a safety rule, procedure, or process, someone has to come up with an answer. The question then becomes, “Who knows what is safe?”
The heat of summer is in full swing, which means the risk of heat illness is high for workers who spend long hours outdoors and on job sites. Every year, thousands of workers suffer from heat-related illnesses, some even resulting in death. These illnesses and deaths are preventable. As you plan your day, it is important to think about how you're going to stay hydrated, so that you don't become a victim of heat illness.
We are seeing the construction industry become more and more sophisticated with new construction techniques. The same tools that were used fifty years ago are used today although with some improvements. One way to get injured on the job is by using the wrong tool for the job. Two important points to remember when using hand tools is the selection of the tool for the job, and the use of the tool for the job.
Whomever is in charge of any crane or hoist operations (contractor, foreman, superintendent) he or she must ensure that a fully competent, qualified and experienced signal person is assigned to work with the crane for as long as it is working within their area of responsibility.
All construction sites are filled with various sounds and noises. Each sound we hear is the result of an action of a worker using a tool or a piece of equipment. Over time and with experience, we tend to get used to these sounds and ignore them. The problem is when there is a distressing sound or warning, we could dismiss it as normal operation of working equipment, people, etc. Your individual safety could easily be dependent on your ability to hear, and recognize approaching danger, or warnings. Listen for danger!
Heavy equipment has been designed to handle very large volumes or large loads.
This picture above shows when Bigge did a lifting project for the Texas Port Recycling facility in May of 2014. Bigge lifted a shredder drum located inside the Ferrous Recycling machine and conveyer, using a Kabelco CK275 crawler crane. The estimated weight was 10,000 lbs. Bigge was able to remove the old drum and install the new one in record time and without incident.
Heavy equipment as powerful machines can be dangerous to all around them if not operated correctly. It is important to remember the proper methods used to move them from one site to another, and how to work around them properly.