safety newsletter

April Safety Newsletter by Neil Savage

Towersource’s Safety Newsletter welcomes spring with an issue dedicated to one of humanity’s greatest achievements: the crane. Don’t miss the trivia question—you could snag some sweet prizes. [UPDATE: trivia contest is closed!]

No Crane, No Gain

If you don’t get into the field too often, then you may be surprised to know that many towers and rooftops require cranes. Yeah, no joke, it’s true; cranes make construction jobs much easier. Why are you looking confused like that? Oh, okay. No, not those birds with the goofy long legs. The construction equipment capable of lifting and lowering heavy materials. You know, the machines that have been around since Ancient Greece? See, the confusion comes because they both have the same name.

While cranes make the impossible possible, their hazards cause severe injuries and fatalities every year. Preventing these disasters requires operators and workers to maintain focus and follow safety protocol as they would around any heavy machinery.

The three common concerns most frequently associated with crane accidents are: overloading, electrical hazards, and materials falling from overhead hoists. One overlap between all three hazards is the qualifications of the crane operator. No variable is as important as assuring the crane operator/job supervisor is competent and qualified: no dummies allowed.

Overloading Can’t Be Overstated

Swinging or a sudden dropping of the load, using defective components, and hoisting a load beyond capacity can all cause overloading. According to OSHA (who knows these things well), 80 percent of all crane upsets and structural failures can be attributed to exceeding the crane’s operational capacity.

One overloading accident occurs for every 10,000 hours of crane use, and nearly all of these upsets can be attributed to human error. Overloading most often occurs when poorly trained personnel are allowed to operate cranes. For example, operators may mistakenly believe they are able to rely on their instinct or experience to determine whether a load is too heavy: no cowboys allowed.

Because cranes have become more and more sophisticated, today’s operators must be well trained and have a clear understanding of load dynamics, lifting capacity configurations, and the conditions under which such lifting capacities are valid.

It’s Electric

Nearly 50 percent of crane accidents are the result of machinery coming into contact with a power source during operation, which most often occurs when the crane is operating nearby or under energized power lines. Usually, the person who is electrocuted is physically touching the crane when it comes into contact with the power line, but the danger extends to all personnel in the vicinity, not just the operator.

Okay, here’s the trivia question, for a chance to win some Towersource apparel and a gift card: during what war does Stephen Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage” take place? Send your answer to nsavage@towersourceinc.com.

The Sky is Falling

Nobody wants an antenna tumbling down inside a compound. If materials are not properly secured, a crane’s load can land on workers or cause major equipment damage. One way to reduce the risk of runaway materials is to perform regular maintenance, but aside from preventative care, if the load isn’t properly secured, objects can tip, slip out, and eventually crash to the ground below.

Employees working around cranes should always wear proper head, foot, hand, and eye protection. While the crane operator should always be accountable, anyone on the ground should also be aware of his/her surroundings and never walk under a lift. Likewise, suspended loads should never be moved over employees, even if it seems hilarious at the time: no pranksters allowed. 

Towersource’s Safety Newsletter: You Won’t Believe These Seven Celebrities Whose Backs are Failing… by Neil Savage

Clickbait apparently works, so we’re trying to increase the views of our Safety Newsletter with that headline. Did it work? Are you here to find out whether or not Chris Pratt’s lower back is overly stressed? His back is fine, as far as we know, and while you may not get celebrity gossip here, in issue #4 of our newsletter, you will learn about the ergonomics of safe lifting. And don’t forget about the hidden contest!

How Much Do You Know About: Lifting Ergonomics?

We can admit it; we didn’t even know the definition of “ergonomics” at first. So we had to look it up. For our purposes, ergonomics refers to the study of human capabilities in relationship to their work demands. Boring snoozefest. Translation: if you slouch while staring at your computer or your back hurts from sitting in your cubicle all day, ergonomics should interest you.

But we’re not here to focus on the coddled 9-to-5 desk jockeys. We’re here to focus on the diligent field crews who lift more than just a doughnut all day. Working on-site requires heavy lifting, which can cause strains or hernias or other types of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). These MSDs are injuries that affect muscles, nerves and tendons, and include injuries to the neck, shoulders and lower back. According to OHSA, MSDs are one of the leading causes of lost workday injury and illness.

No matter your position or work environment, lifting is unavoidable. Seriously, think about it: when was the last time you went an entire day without lifting anything? It was never, you liar, unless you spent the whole day in bed and didn’t even move your pillow. And though lifting is unavoidable, lifting in an incorrect manner isn’t. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid injury due to poor lifting ergonomics:

Tips for Safe Lifting:

·Good foot position allows you to keep your balance and to use the full power of your legs, which are more powerful and more durable than your back. Footwork is also important to avoid twisting your upper body. Twisting compounds the stress of the lift and affects your balance, so use your feet to change direction; don’t twist your body.

·Whenever you lift an object, the load becomes a part of your body. You support and propel the object while it is attached to you. This attachment should be firm and secure—get a good grip.

·Use the right tools! Man invented forklifts and dollies for a reason; they separate us from the apes. So when really heavy items need to be lifted, use your tools! Even simple mechanisms like back belts or wrist braces prevent injury.

·Lifting isn’t always a hardship. Some people even do it for fun. Mariusz Pudzianowski competed in the World’s Strongest Man competition nine times—and won five of those competitions. Here’s your trivia question: plus or minus 50 pounds, what was Mariusz’s highest bench press? Send your guess to nsavage@towersourceinc.com, for your chance to win a gift card and a Towersource polo!

·When you have someone help you lift an object, teamwork becomes important. If you're going to be carrying a load from one point to another, both of you should decide how to handle the load in advance. Check the route and clearance. One person should be the leader. Lifting and lowering should be done in unison. Don't let the load drop suddenly without warning your partner.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due. Sources:

http://www.ergonomics.org/

http://safetytoolboxtopics.com/Ergonomics/safe-lifting-techniques.html

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/identifyprobs.html

April Safety Newsletter by Neil Savage

We publish a bi-monthly safety newsletter. (That's once every two months, not twice a month, for the record.) We realize that we're five weeks late putting this up for everyone to see, but please don't tell our boss; he's a bear in the mornings before he has his coffee. If you'd like to get the newsletters in a timely fashion, you should sign up here. And don't try to answer the trivia question properly, because it's done already been answered.

Top of the Morning, Extended Towersource Family!

Welcome to issue #3 of the award winning* Towersource Safety Newsletter. Our goal is to communicate safety and proper protocol to our clients, vendors, and team members. And since we ain’t no April Fools, we’re dedicating this edition to a very serious topic in the telecom industry: fall safety. While you’re learning, don’t forget the contest hidden somewhere in this issue!

How Much Do You Know About: Fall Safety?

unnamed.jpg

No, we’re not talking about safety in autumn. We’re talking about the best practices to avoid injuries—or worse—caused by heights. In the U.S. construction industry, falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities. On average each year, between 150 and 200 workers are killed and more than 100,000 are injured as a result of falls.
 
The OHSA standard for fall protection states: “Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal or vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems.” If we drill down further into the OHSA rules, we learn there are two broad types of fall protection: fall restraints and fall arrests. Fall restraints include items like guardrails and parapet walls, while fall arrests stop workers should they actually fall.
 
A personal fall arrest system must be capable of withstanding the tremendous impact forces involved in a fall. Thanks to Newton and his laws of gravity, a person without protection will free fall 4 feet in half of a second and 16 feet in just one second! Hitting a solid surface at that speed can cause dire injury or death. A personal fall arrest system will minimize the distance a person can fall and includes a full body harness, a shock absorbing lanyard or a rope grab—all attached to a sound anchorage point. The anchor placement is key, and should be able to support a load of 5,000 pounds.  Or about three rhinoceroses. Or about 1/3rd of an African elephant.
 
Speaking of Isaac Newton, what famous British academy of sciences did Newton head from 1703-1727? The first person to email wins a gift card and a Towersource polo! Woohoo!

Some DOs and DO NOTs for Using Personal Fall Arrest Safety Equipment:

•Do tie off above your head. A six-foot tall person who ties off at the feet could free-fall as much as 12 feet.
•Do place your anchorage directly above/behind your work area to avoid potential swing fall hazards.
•Do use the shortest lanyard possible. The shorter the tie-off, the shorter the fall.
•Do have anchorage points selected by a competent person.
•Do not tie a knot in the lanyard. This will reduce its strength.
•Do not allow more than one worker to tie-off to the same anchorage unless it is designed and approved by an engineer.
•Do not allow someone else to rig your equipment unless you verify that it has been done correctly.