Thursday, December 31, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Storms and Employee Safety

Within the next few months we will be faced with the threat of severe winter storms hitting the New York area. We at Lovell Safety Management Co., LLC saw an increase in the number of employee injuries due to last year’s severe winter weather. Now is the perfect time to spend a few minutes with your employees discussing their safety during these storms. Winter storms create a variety of hazards and can have lingering impacts on everyday tasks and work activities.

Learning about how to prepare for a winter storm and avoid hazards when they occur will help keep you safe during the winter season.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that causes freezing in the deep layers of skin and tissue. Frostbite can cause permanent damage. It is recognizable by a loss of feeling and a waxy-white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, nose, or ear lobes.

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion.

To avoid frostbite and hypothermia, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids (avoiding ones with caffeine or alcohol).

Dressing Properly for the Cold
Wear at least three layers of loose fitting clothing. Layering provides better insulation.
o   An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic material to keep moisture away from the body.
o   A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation even when wet.
o   An outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.
Use a knit mask to cover your face and mouth. A hat that covers your ears will help keep your whole body warmer. Also, insulated and water proof boots gloves.

Walking safely on snow and ice
Whenever possible, clear walking surfaces of snow and ice and use salt or its equivalent. In addition, the following precautions will help reduce the likelihood of any injuries:

  • A pair of well-insulated boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm.
  • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction.
  • Be on the lookout for vehicles that may have lost traction and are slipping toward you. Be aware that approaching vehicles may not be able to stop at crosswalks or traffic signals.
  • At night, wear bright clothing or reflective gear, as dark clothing will make it difficult for motorists to see you.

Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow can be a strenuous activity and can create the potential for exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, or heart attacks. Wearing the proper footwear, adequate layers of clothing, and sunglasses (during the day) is a must.

Workers should warm up, scoop small amounts of snow at a time, push the snow instead of lifting where possible, and use the proper form if lifting is necessary. Use power blowers whenever possible.

Stranded in a vehicle during a winter storm

Stay in the vehicle. You may become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow. Display a trouble sign by hanging a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and raising the hood.

Turn on the vehicle's engine for about 10 minutes each hour and run the heat to keep warm. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Do minor exercises to keep up circulation. Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation until help arrives.

Work Zone Traffic Safety
Workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment lead to many work zone fatalities or injuries annually. Drivers may skid, or lose control of their vehicles more easily when driving on snow and/or ice covered roads. It is therefore, important to properly set up work zones with the traffic controls identified by signs, cones, barrels, and barriers, to protect workers. Workers exposed to vehicular traffic should wear the appropriate high visibility vest at all times, so that they can be visible to motorists
Removal of Downed Trees

Clearing downed trees is a critical job during a winter storm. When winter storms occur, downed trees can block public roads and damage power lines. Emergency crews are often sent out to clear downed trees during a winter storm. Potential hazards include:

  •       Electrocution by contacting downed energized lines or contacting broken tree limbs in contact with fallen lines.
  •       Falls from trees.
  •       Being struck or crushed by falling tree limbs or ice.
  •       Being injured by equipment such as chain saws and chippers.

Proper protective equipment should be worn by workers using chainsaws and chippers. Only appropriate power equipment that is built to be used outdoors and in wet conditions should be used. It is important that all equipment is well-maintained and functioning correctly in order for use. In addition, all equipment should have proper guarding, working controls, and other safety features as installed by the manufacturer.

Clearing Snow from Roofs and Working at Heights
There have been16 fatalities in the past 10 years due to employees clearing snow from roofs. Following a winter storm, workers should employ standard protections when working at heights and should also be aware of the potential for unexpected hazards due to the weather. Employers should provide and ensure the use of fall protection and provide and maintain ladders. In addition, workers should use caution around surfaces that have been weighed down by snow, as they may collapse.

Company owners, supervisors and employees all play a key role in preventing employee injuries. Owners are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace, the needed tools, protective equipment and training. Supervisors must be empowered to discipline employees for at risk behavior and employees must do their job safely.

We all need to take responsibility for safety and the prevention of work site injuries. Safety, especially during winter storms, must be an integral part of the way we work. That is the only way to create a truly safe and healthy workplace.

For further information on winter storm safety:

Friday, December 11, 2015

OSHA 10 Hour Construction in Long Island

To aid in your compliance with the various Federal, State and City regulations requiring this training, the LSM safety department is once again offering the OSHA 10 Hour Course.  The course is provided by our OSHA certified instructors. Each employee who successfully completes the program will receive a certification card from OSHA.

Pre registration is required. Please see attached brochure for details.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lovell Training Seminar

Please join us for this informative seminar concerning workplace safety and Worker Compensation! Your local Safety and Claims representatives will be presenting important information and answering your questions.