E Light Safety, Training and Leadership Blog
Excavations and trenches need not be deep or large to create a life threatening hazard. Soil is heavy, and failures take place with little or no notice. You can be trapped before there is time to react. So it is important that every excavation be prepared correctly, allowing you to complete your job safely and efficiently. Remember that every trench is different. Soil type, moisture content, depth, configuration, proximity to existing structures, and location of spoil piles all work together to make every excavation unique. Keep these points in mind when working:
Follow the recommendations of your Competent Person carefully. Their job is to ensure that the excavation is adequately protected so you can complete your task safely.
ALL trenches and excavations over 5 feet in depth must be protected from cave-ins unless they are made entirely of stable rock. Protection can be provided by adequately sloping back the sides of the cut or by benching the excavation. Trenches are also reinforced by installing shoring or using trench boxes. If shoring or boxes are used be sure the top of the box extends at least 18 inches above the hole. And remember, if the hole is deeper than 6 feet, fall protection should be installed around the perimeter to protect those working on the surface.
Spoil piles must stay at least 2 feet back from the edge of the hole. This is measured from the point where the slough of the pile ends. Placing the spoil any closer exerts excessive pressure on the walls of the excavation and thus increases the chance of a wall failure.
Install ladders, so that no matter which way you travel in the trench a ladder can be accessed within at least 25 feet.
You are the one that is going into the hole. So check the methods being used to protect the excavation, including the shoring equipment’s condition and the ladder out of the hole. Prior to climbing down the ladder, check the spoil pile location and equipment that is near the excavation. Do you feel comfortable with the excavation, its protection, and the nearby surroundings?
Don’t take chances, if you see something that needs attention, speak to your supervisor BEFORE going down in the hole to start your job. Excavations are serious business. Let’s keep them a safe place to work.
Also please keep in mind that every E Light Employee is empowered to stop work if something is not safe and with that empowerment comes the responsibility to stop work if something is not safe.
The skin is the single largest organ of the body. The skin, when healthy, protects us from chemical, physical, and biological hazards. Skin weighs about 10% of our total body weight and is approximately one eighth of an inch thick. The skin is made up of two layers, the epidermis (outer layer) and the dermis (inner layer). The outer layer of skin is only 1/250th of an inch thick, and is the part of our skin that forms the protective barrier.
There are many skin irritants that employees may be exposed to in the workplace. One out of every four workers may be exposed to something that will irritate the skin. Many different things may cause skin damage. When something penetrates through the outer layer, the inner layer of skin reacts to it. Strong, or regularly repeated irritations of the skin may lead to skin diseases.
The skin contains oil glands, hair follicles, and sweat glands. These are like tiny holes. So the skin can be like a sponge when it contacts something. Skin also contains blood vessels, and some chemicals can penetrate the outer layer and enter the blood stream.
The type of environment you are in can cause skin problems directly or they can work with other factors to increase skin problems. These factors include:
Heat – causes sweating. Sweating may dissolve chemicals and bring them into closer contact with the skin. Heat increases the blood flow at the skin surface and may increase the absorption of substances into the body.
Cold – dries the skin and causes microscopic cracking. This cracking allows substances to cross the outer layer of the skin, thus entering the body.
Sun – burns and damages the skin. Sun can increase absorption of chemicals. Sun reacts with some chemicals to enhance their negative affects on the body.
How to Protect Your Skin
Wear long sleeve shirts and pants, to minimize the amount of skin exposed.
When working outdoors, wear a hat with a brim.
Use a high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen.
Wash your hands regularly during and after work.
Wear gloves when handling chemicals.
Where possible, use tools to handle hazardous substances instead of your hands.
When using gloves or clothing to protect yourself and your skin, you should be careful when removing contaminated clothing, so as not to contaminate yourself.
If a worker is exposed, or thinks he/she may have been exposed to a hazardous substance, the area should be rinsed for at least 15 minutes. If a worker is accidentally contaminated, he or she should get under a shower immediately and remove the clothing while showering. Certain substances can be absorbed quickly across the skin. Time is critical. Medical help should be obtained immediately.
An effective Accident Prevention Program should include the defined responsibilities for management, supervisors, and employees. Management, by law, has responsibility for the safety and health of all employees as well as providing a safe workplace. Supervisors have responsibility for providing a safe work place as well as managing the production issues. Now we need to address employee responsibilities and what those entail.
Employers and supervisors should expect the employees to be responsible. This starts with getting to work on time, working safely through the day, and addressing concerns to their supervisor.
Suggested Areas of Responsibility
Employees are responsible to:
Listen and learn from any training. Be an active participant in learning a job skill or safety issue.
Ask for assistance if the training or instruction is not clear or you don’t feel comfortable in performing the task correctly and safely. You should have a written instalation plan and a JHA. If you do not, ask for one.
Report unsafe acts and near misses immediately. Especially if the unsafe act is on going. This will help keep the workplace safe for everyone. You should also record additional hazards or near misses on your pretask card. If a supervisor does not follow up with you concerning a hazard or near miss you recorded on your pretask card, call the Director of Education and Loss Prevention, (Ted Smith) or the Regional Safety Manger ( Marshal Redlin).
Address problems with the supervisor ASAP. BUT always try to give solutions to every problem. (You may understand more than the supervisor about the problem and how to fix it.)
Re-address issues with the supervisor on un-resolved topics discussed in the past. (The supervisor may have forgotten about those topics.)
Be an active member in the safety of the workplace. Participate in Safety Meetings, post comments, questions and ideas on the E Light Idea Radiator and talk about safety. Help keep your fellow employees safe and if they are doing something that is unsafe, don't hesitate to point it out.
Every E Light employee has a the power to stop work in an unsafe situation. Every E Light employee also has the duty to stop work in an unsafe situation.
These are just a few areas employees should be responsible for. The list is endless. Try to develop other areas to assist in safety and production. Bring these areas to the supervisor’s attention and expect an answer. This input should be appreciated.
The name of this game is clear and open communication between management, supervisors and employees. The lack of communication is also one of the largest problems faced today in any workplace. Don’t let this happen to you and your company. Be responsible to see that it doesn’t.
SUNGLASSES VS. SAFETY GLASSES
Now is the time many people working outdoors break out the sunglasses. While conventional sunglasses may protect the eyes from glare, they do a poor job of protecting your eyes from the industrial hazards of splashes, flying objects, and dust. In fact, conventional glasses can present their own hazards in the workplace.
It is a fact that the frame and lenses used in safety glasses are stronger than the frame and lenses used in conventional glasses. When an object strikes the lens of safety glasses it is very unlikely that the lens would dislodge. This is not true of conventional eye wear, especially those types with wire frames. When an object strikes the lens of conventional glasses, the lens can shatter, showering the wearer’s eye with shards of glass. This can happen, and it has happened. But, with a pair of approved safety glasses, the lens may break, but it will not shatter back into the eye.
Safety glasses also have shields to reduce the risk of foreign objects reaching the eye from the sides, top or bottom. Sunglasses do not. In some parts of the country, glasses with leather side shields are popular among skiers and have found their way into general use. These types of sunglasses are never recommended for general or industrial use because they almost completely eliminate peripheral vision. In fact, in some parts of the country these glasses are illegal to wear while driving.
Because sunglasses have a darkened lens, some people mistakenly believe these glasses will provide the needed protection when welding, brazing, or cutting. This is far from the truth. A darkened lens will not protect your eyes from the infrared (IR) and ultra-violet (UV) radiation. Wearing glasses with darkened lenses which are not made for industrial applications, can actually be more dangerous than wearing no glasses at all. This is because the eye attempts to compensate for less light by opening the pupil wider. In turn, this allows more of the damaging radiation in. For adequate protection from the visible light produced by welding, the lens must be of a specified shade. Sunglasses are not welding/cutting goggles.
What should you look for when selecting safety sunglasses? First, be sure the glasses are indeed safety eye wear, by checking to see if they comply with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, the organization which sets the criteria for safety eyewear. This will be stated on the packaging and on the frame of the glasses. Look for “Z87.1.” This is the ANSI designation identifying the glasses as approved safety eyewear.
Although not a necessity, consider glasses providing IR and UV protection. Look for glasses that are lightweight and adjustable. If the glasses don’t fit properly, they won’t be comfortable and thus they many not be worn. Try them on and adjust them before starting work. A good pair of safety sunglasses can be purchased for less than $10. This is certainly a deal when you consider you are protecting your priceless eyes.
E Light provides safety glasses to our crews. We also provide washing stations. Please keep you glasses clean and take care of both them and your eyes.
In construction and solar field we install a large amount of fiber optic cables. When sizing pull or junction boxes for Fiber Optics we need to keep in mind that they same rules that apply to electrical conductors, apply to fiber optic cables. This means that a pull box for example would need to comply with the rules of 314.28. For example, If it is a straight pull, then it must be at least 8 times in length as the largest raceway entering the box .
This is because article 770 is in Chapter 7 of the NEC. According to Article 90.5 the NEC is divided like this:
Chapters 1-4 are the National Electrical Code and the items there apply to all installations.
Chapters 5-7 amend and modify chapters 1-4. They add rules or make special rules for special installations, but unless specifically amended, the rules of Chapters 1-4 apply.
Chapter 8 Communications is a stand alone code and nothing in Chapters 1-4 applys to the items in Chapter 8, unless Chapter specifically references a requirement in Chapters 1-4
Chapter 9 Contains Tables that are referenced by 2 or more Articles.