Here’s How to Protect Your Eyes from Injury

Although eye injuries can happen anywhere, even at home, the construction site is a high risk work environment and may present an increased risk to our eyes due to the construction processes, tools, dust etc.

One of the ways to protect your eyes is with personal protective equipment such as safety goggles or safety glasses. On the construction site, this should always be the last resort, when removing the hazard completely is not possible. If the risk cannot be completely removed, it should be minimised and employers must provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for employees to prevent eye damage.

Workers also need to receive the necessary training to ensure they know how to utilise PPE correctly and general construction safety training to ensure they know how to work safely on a construction site. Find out more at https://www.whitecardonline.com.au

Learn How to Choose a Welding Helmet

welding helmet
Source: www.topbestweldinghelmet.com

Protecting your face and eyes is of paramount importance when welding, which is why choosing the right helmet for the job is of such importance.

With all the options on the market these days choosing the right helmet for you can be a daunting task but putting safety first and prioritizing comfort are 2 keys to remember.

The third most important aspect is technological advancements.

Click to read more about choosing the right helmet here.

Personal Protective Equipment not Optional on Work Sites

plastic-bag-shield_thumb
Source: SafetyRisk.net

What do you think of this guy’s PPE?

Although this isn’t what personal protective equipment is, no work on a construction site should go on without the necessary PPE.

The very basic PPE for construction work include hard hats and safety boots but when work such as welding, crane operation, excavation etc. is taking place, there are additional PPE that are necessary. A site’s Safe Work Method Statement should provide more information about the PPE required.

Employers should ensure workers are provided with the necessary PPE and given the training on this equipment.

For more fun safety fail pics visit SafetyRisk.net

Protecting your Eyes on a Building Site

A seldom addressed risk on construction sites is the harm that can be done to one’s eyes, despite the fact that the eyes are one of the most important and central body parts which enable us to continue working on a construction site and remain safe while doing so, in other words reduced visibility can actually affect our ability to correctly judge and remain safe on construction sites. That is one of the reasons why we need to protect these important organs.

There are so many hazards on construction sites that may affect our eyes and our ability to see, such as flying particles that may be ejected as a by-product of operations such as grinding, sawing, hammering and welding as well as dust and other particles from wood, metal, plastic etc. becoming airborne and entering our eyes.

Fumes and splashes from molten material or chemicals and harmful light rays from operations such as arc welding or oxyacetylene cutting can also present a serious risk to worker’s eyes.

One of the most effective and common ways of protecting your eyes is by utilising personal protective equipment but this should never be the first choice when addressing hazards. Firstly the hazards that may affect the eyes needs to be identified and the risks associated need to be addressed, thereafter the hazard should be eliminated. It is not always possible to eliminate the hazard or replace the hazard with something less hazardous, and in this instance these hazards need to be minimised by implementing control measures. The last option should be the implementation of personal protective equipment (PPE).

PPE used to protect your eyes include:

  • Safety glasses
  • Safety goggles
  • Face shields and Helmets

Safety glasses look like ordinary glasses but are actually designed to protect workers from the impact of flying particles. The lenses of these glasses are designed to provide the wearer with more impact protection against flying particles than ordinary glasses do.

Safety goggles are not the same as safety glasses although they are often confused. Goggles provide workers with another form of protection and come in many different forms. Your choice of goggles will depend on the hazards present on the site, for example on sites where dust is a particular concern, dust goggles are especially helpful because they provide a tight seal around the eyes compared to safety glasses.

Face Shields and Helmets are aform of PPE used to protect the eyes in conjunction with other PPE. They shouldn’t be the only form of PPE used. They mostly provide protection for the face against flying particles, heat, chemical or molten materials. When engaging in activities like welding or metal cutting, face shields are recommended because they provide increased facial protection.

Be alert to the eye hazards present at your worksite and remember your White card training as well as training provided by your employer regarding eye protection and PPE.

Wear the PPE that is provided for you according to your employer’s instruction and training, failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Make sure that the eye protection you use fits appropriately to be effective, if it is too big, small or loose the level of protection can be significantly reduced.

If you do suffer an eye injury, report the incident to your supervisor and get medical attention immediately.

 

Help for Those Affected by floods and fires

According to an article on the website SafetyCulture.com.au ,WorkCover NSW is reminding the community to take extreme care during the clean-up and renovation of properties following floods and fires to avoid the potential exposure to asbestos.

WorkCover has joined forces with other government agencies to assist people affected by the flooding to get back on their feet with minimal disruption to services for NSW businesses and individuals.

Additional resources have been allocated by WorkCover to help residents, businesses, workers and other organisations to protect people’s health and safety when cleaning up in bushfire and flooding affected areas.

The post goes on to list a number of issues to take into consideration during the clean-up:

If you are cleaning up after a flood or fire you should consider the following.

Electricity

Check that an electricity clearance has been given before attempting to use it.

NSW Fair Trading has issued a warning to flood victims about solar panels.

Asbestos

Identify any likely asbestos containing materials or dangerous chemicals.

This website has additional detailed health and safety information and publications on high risk areas such as asbestos and electrical safety.

Assess the what work needs to be done

Work out the order of the work to be done so that new risks are not introduced. For example:

think about how you will get access to the areas where the work is to be done, or the possibility of creating instability from removing things in the wrong order

consider what could go wrong during the clean up and repair work

work out what tools and equipment will be needed to do the work safely

check the correct equipment is available and is in good working order

check that the people required to operate the equipment have the right skills and competencies and ensure supervision of less skilled workers is available

check that people allocated to perform work are not fatigued.

Source: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/

Another issue that people need to consider according to the article is first aid. It is vital that the appropriate first aid facilities are in place and people have clean drinking water and facilities to maintain hand hygiene and use the toilet. If there is an injury, there should be access to medical treatment.

Personal protective equipment is also important to protect the body and workers should have the necessary PPE for the jobs they are undertaking. These PPE must be correctly worn, workers should be educated on this.

WorkCover has also placed particular attention on counselling services. If there are any in place staff should be encouraged to use it and WorkCover will continue to offer advice and provide extra information so people who carry out work are fully aware of the safety requirements during recovery, repair or rebuilding operations.

Workers that are injured by the floods or fires and cannot get medical attention immediately can work together with WorkCover to meet their requirements so that their claims and compensation payouts are not affected.

WorkCover has also agreed to assist businesses that are financially affected by these disasters and are not able to pay their premiums to the Worker’s Compensation Scheme. This help can include waiving late payment fees, reinstating statutory instalments, and offering extended payments arrangements if needed.

 

Appropriate PPE for Machinery Work

Machinery work can be extremely hazardous and in addition to safe work methods being established and implemented workers need to be provided with the adequate personal protective equipment to minimise the harm done by accidental contact with dangerous machinery parts.

These PPE include gloves, long sleeve clothing etc. that are designed to reduce the risk from certain hazards in a workplace, such as contact with sharp edges, hot surfaces or limiting exposure to dangerous chemicals or atmospheres.

Workers need to remember that PPE can also increase risks in some operations, in particular the risk of entanglement with rotating components. Workers should also be aware that PPE should not be the only safety measure employed, but should actually be the last control measure.

Where PPE is used at a workplace, it should be appropriate for all tasks being performed. Where different tasks require different PPE, the safe work procedures should specify this, and there should be measures in place to reduce the risk of workers accidentally using incorrect PPE. Workers should be trained on the correct PPE for every situation and how to utilise it effectively. An example of the types of issues the training should cover includes not wearing gloves when operating rotating machinery.

 

 

Importance of Eye Safety in Construction

Picture: http://toolboxes.flexiblelearning.net.au/demosites/series8/802/content/lo/lo_ohs/images/ppe_eyes.jpg

While construction work presents a variety of hazards and each site is different, the need for eye protection cannot be argued.

Personal protective equipment required on a site will depend on the types of hazards that a site presents and a site assessment will identify the need for PPE and which PPE are needed. However most sites do present hazards such as welding, concrete blasting, grinding etc. which present a hazard to construction worker’s eyes. That is why eye protection is a pre-requisite to protect workers from serious injury and loss of eye sight.

Employers should instruct workers on the right PPE to use for the job and train them in its use. They also need to provide the necessary PPE free of charge. Workers have a responsibility to utilise the appropriate PPE according to the instructions given by their employer in order to minimise the risk of injury for example when engaging in dangerous activities such as tunnelling. Eye protection will protect workers against dust, flying objects and sunlight.

Examples of eye protection include safety goggles, masks and glasses. These need to properly maintained and stored when not in use to ensure they stay in good condition and remain effective for eye protection.

 

 

Red Card Victoria: How to Avoid Safety Hazards on Building Sites

(Photo: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The Red Card Victoria has now been replaced with a more convenient, national “White Card” which is essential for acceptance on any construction site in Oz. The “Work Safely in the Construction Industry “course is aimed at equipping all workers in the building industry with the knowledge and skill to overcome potentially life threatening situations on site.

While the easy to follow course provides a detailed teaching on the many dangers that may present themselves on site, there are a few basic hazards that are common to a lot of construction sites that are worth a special mention.

Before proceeding with any work on a construction site the contractor or employer should investigate the potential hazards in order to know what they must overcome. Some of these hazards may include overhead power lines, unstable ground, hazardous material, work from heights etc. These hazards may be common to all construction sites or unique to the site.

For example some sites where renovation is being undertaken, there may be a contamination of asbestos or there may be a need to work with cranes and over-head power lines may present a hazard. Whatever the safety issue may be, construction safety training will teach workers how to react in these situations in order to avoid tragedy.

Another way to remain safe is to continuously assess tools and equipment and evaluate whether they may present a hazard from day to day. Wear and tear on equipment can make them less effective and even dangerous. For example electric tools and cords should be examined for exposed wires and they should not emit any sparks when in operation. Do not use a tool or equipment that feels unsafe or does not seem to be working properly. If tools or equipment are not working properly it should be reported immediately.  Workers should be properly trained on equipment and tool use before they are given these objects to work with.

Another requirement on a construction site is the use of Personal Protective Equipment. Not only do employers have to provide PPE to workers and train them on its use, they also need to ensure PPE are in good order. The white card induction training incorporates PPE and its effective use in various threatening construction situations.  Some of the PPE that are general to construction sites are hard hats, safety glasses, dust masks, gloves, ear plugs and the proper clothing like thick-soled construction boots. For night work or work in the dark, the correct luminous clothing should be worn. Workers have the responsibility to stick to safety procedures as outlined by their employer’s health and safety policies, including when, where and how to use PPE effectively.

Another common hazard on construction sites are working from heights. Work from ladders, roofs, scaffolds all present a risk which needs to be managed for example by using the proper fall protection. The white card course will outline all you need to know about falling on site in general and the site specific training you receive from your employer will explain the exact hazards you will be exposed to on the site. Workers have a responsibility to adhere to both the lessons taught by the general white card course (which replaced the Red card) as well as the site specific lessons learned.

The most important requirement on all building sites is that all workers are sufficiently trained. Both site specific and general construction induction training is required for every worker. The good news is that workers can now obtain their general construction site training online, which makes it both easy and convenient. It can be done from the privacy of your home or office and is valid nationally. This is a pre requisite to entrance as a worker on any construction site in Australia and has replaced the old Red Card Victoria for this purpose.

 

White Card Update: Concrete Drilling and Cutting Safety in Construction

The proper manner of concrete drilling and cutting is an issue not often discussed on the construction safety sites. That is why we have decided to spread some light on the issue here for those workers that may be unsure.  Research into the topic suggests that the main thing construction workers should remember is to use the Right Tools.  

Use of the correct bit or blade is important to ensure a safe and accurate cut when drilling, hammering and cutting concrete.  A wood bit or a metal saw blade is not recommended as it is probably not going to do the job properly and will most likely cause undue stress and tension on the equipment and concrete.

The use of incorrect materials can also cause the bit to snap off which will damage the equipment and has often been the cause of injury to people nearby.  Workers attempting to cut concrete should know the depth and width of the cut or hole they require and utilise the correct tools to make the hole cleanly and safely.

Importance of Personal Protective Equipment

No construction worker should ever go without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), which employers have a duty to provide and train workers in the correct use of. Workers who are tasked with cutting or drilling concrete should be provided with the appropriate PPE to perform this task, in line with Australian standards. Workers should be trained on the appropriate PPE to use and how to utilise it correctly.  In controlling the risk of the hazards involved in cutting concrete, PPE should always be worn, however PPE should not be the only control measure but in fact the last step in controlling the risks. The law allocates the bulk of responsibility of workplace health and safety on the employer, who must ensure they have taken the appropriate action to eliminate or minimise the hazard as far as reasonably possible.

Covering your eyes and ears is vitally important in concrete cutting and drilling as these 2 features are most likely to be affected in an accident situation. The reason for this is because drilling and cutting concrete causes dust and particles to be expelled into the air making the person doing the job vulnerable.  These particles can hit into the sensitive eye area. This can cause a variety of injuries from mild irritation, swelling to serious lacerations. These consequences can be avoided by simply wearing the appropriate eye protection. Workers should never attempt to use regular sunglasses because these do not meet the necessary safety standards and can in fact worsen the extent of the injury of they break and pieces splinter into the eye.

The ears also need to be protected because drilling concrete or hammering creates loud, constant noise that can cause damage to the ear. Ear protection such as plugs or headsets will reduce the risk of inner ear injury, which can be extremely painful.

These small particles emitted by the cutting or drilling process combine with the dust that forms from the concrete cutting. These small particles can enter the lungs and affect breathing through the noise or mouth. It can also enter the throat and cause irritation or internal injuries.

Because concrete contains chemical compounds known as crystalline silica that are dangerous and can cause scarring in the lungs, water should be used around the cut to cool the bit and minimise the dust emitted into the air. Otherwise serious infections or diseases can result , that is why breathing protection is also a necessity when working with concrete cutting or drilling.

Another important tip is to have someone standing by in case of an emergency. If your equipment does not automatically spray water, a person can stand by who sprays using a spray bottle. They can wet the area around the cut to keep bits and blades cool and minimize the dangerous dust that is released into the air.

Also part of the PPE requirement is that you wear proper safety boots,that can protect your feet should a piece of concrete fall on them. Thick padded gloves will help to minimise the risk of cutting your hands or crushing your fingers.

Construction workers who follow advice, remember their safety training and adhere to the sites safety rules are a valuable asset to any construction site and will be highly regarded by management. Safety on site is not just the responsibility of employers, workers too can do their part to keep the site safe and incident free.

Posted by Steven Asnicar