We at Tioga prioritize safety in any workplace. Protocols should be in place to protect employees, not just to respond if and when injuries, or worse, occur. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s annual Safe + Sound Week is Aug. 15-21. The week is a reminder of how employers, project managers and site supervisors can proactively implement safety and health programs that identify and manage workplace hazards throughout the year.
In the long-term, workplace safety and health programs can help businesses improve their sustainability and competitiveness. We discussed extensively about practicing heat safety during the summer months, but here are other conditions to evaluate on your worksite or facility before sending workers on the job.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls are the leading cause of death in the construction field. Before workers come onto a site, employers must plan projects ahead of time with safety remaining a priority. Decide how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task, such as the appropriate types of ladders, scaffolds and harnesses. Additionally, employers must train all workers on properly setting up and safely using all equipment they’ll use on the job.
Hazardous materials and toxins
Injuries and illnesses at manufacturing facilities, chemical plants and similar worksites may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical and mechanical exposure. Personal protective equipment is designed to help minimize exposure to such hazardous materials. Equipment includes items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats and respirators. Coveralls, vests and full body suits may also be required.
Employers should guide workers to ensure their equipment properly fits them (learn how to conduct a fit test for respirators). Training workers on how to properly wear and maintain the equipment is equally important.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 22 million workers annually are exposed to potentially damaging noise. This can result from constant sound exposure on a construction site with heavy machinery, an airport tarmac or even an entertainment venue.
How do you know if a site is too loud? OSHA says if you need to raise your voice to speak to someone standing just three feet away, then noise levels might be over 85 decibels. You can also invest in a sound-measuring instrument or download the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Sound Level Meter app on your smartphone to detect noise levels in a workspace.
Work sites with noise exposure at or above 85 decibels for an average of eight working hours are required to implement a hearing conservation program, which is designed to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve and protect remaining hearing. These programs equip workers with the knowledge and hearing protection devices, or HDPs, necessary to safeguard themselves.
Safety is one of the nine values we emphasize within Tioga’s culture, and we encourage all businesses to prioritize safety throughout their teams. Our team can develop OSHA-compliant safety programs, provide training and even audit existing programs to determine whether you are meeting all current safety requirements. To get started, contact us today.