Safety Photo October 2012

Exits and doorways: we all understand the need to keep exits and doorways free of obstacles in the event of an emergency. However, I wanted to bring this photo to attention given that I have started to see snow in my state. When the snow and ice build up on walkways and stairs what do we do to control the slip/trip/fall hazards? Often times companies will salt or put sand down to help, but are we just trading one problem for another? What is the process to clean up the sand or salt once the snow is gone or melts? Once the walkways or stairs are dry and free of ice/snow the debris left from the salt/sand can cause a slip/trip/fall just as easily. Keep this in mind when you are looking to correct a hazard; will the solution cause another hazard once the immediate one is corrected?


Safety Photo for June 2012

Although they used a grounded wire, OSHA still says the cord has to be rated for hard or extra hard usage (1926.405(a)(2)(ii)(J)). Flat cords are not rated for this use and therefore are not allowable for extension cords in construction.

Reference Materials on electrical cords and safety:

OSHA Construction Electrical Safety & Health Page
OSHA General Industry Electrical Safety & Health Page
OSHA Letter of Interpretation: electrical tape on an extension cord
OSHA Letter of Interpretation: repair and use of extension cords
OSHA Letter of Interpretation: job made extension cords

Safety Photo for April 2012

Fall Protection; always one of the most common violated standards and yet one of the most likely to cause serious harm. I took these photos as I was in line to get some food at a drive through establishment. I would consider this a high profile job in a busy shopping complex area. Makes you wonder sometimes what the project superintendent is doing.

OK, so in one of these photos the employee is tied off, but the supervisor is not and is walking all over the roof.

One of the other photos has an employee that is tied off but the rope grab is set at the end of the rope not doing him much good if he falls.

The other photo depicts an employee who was tied off but was getting ready for lunch so he disconnected at the peak of the roof to go have his food.

This illustrates a common problem in construction today; employees and supervisors know they need to have the equipment and wear it while on the job, but fail to do it properly because of laziness, lack of caring, or any other such excuse.

Safety Photo for December 2011

This is not one of those “WOW that’s really bad” moments, but it does warrant some discussion. The following are just a few questions to get the safety/compliance juices flowing.

Questions to ask:

  • How does a competent person perform a quality inspection of the scaffolding when the feet and other parts of the structure are covered in snow?
  • Is my housekeeping really that good if I see lumps in the snow?
  • How do I know what hazards may/may not exist if they are buried under the fluffy white stuff?
  • How am I heating the building and do I now need to worry about noxious gases building up? Air monitoring?
  • Are we now operating gas-powered equipment inside since it is too cold to go outside?
  • What does my access/egress look like? Do I have clear means of entry and exit that are free of ice and snow?
  • What condition are my extension cords in now that they are covered in snow/ice and buried under all that stuff?
  • Are my employees still staying hydrated? Even though it is snowy and cold does not mean that they will not get dehydrated.
  • Are we going to allow employees to work off of the scaffold if all of the planking is icy and covered with snow?

You get the point. I’m sure you can come up with a bunch more questions to ask yourself with regards  to these types of conditions. Feel free to post your comments if you have some you would like to share.

5 Commonly Overlooked Warehouse Safety Hazards – Part 5

5 Commonly Overlooked Warehouse Safety Hazards

–Philip J Reed, on behalf of HP Spartacote

Make sure all employees are trained in the proper use of their equipment. Require all forklift drivers and other users of heavy equipment to take regular refresher courses to make sure their techniques aren’t slipping, and also observe them periodically to ensure that they are not cutting corners.  Poor safety practices become habits over time, so catch them while they are developing, and don’t let them become “the way things are done around here.”  Of course, regular and proper maintenance is also needed to keep equipment safe; even the safest operator in the world is in serious danger if his machine fails. Encourage employees to report any malfunctions immediately, and see to it that these reports are taken seriously and correctly followed up on.

By taking precautions to reduce the dangers posed by these and other risks, you can greatly reduce the number and severity of accidents in your warehouse. Start implementing procedures immediately to make the area safer, and to keep everything running smoothly.

5 Commonly Overlooked Warehouse Safety Hazards – Part 4

5 Commonly Overlooked Warehouse Safety Hazards

–Philip J Reed, on behalf of HP Spartacote


On television and in films, slips and falls are almost always portrayed humorously.  In reality, however, they are anything but.  From serious stumbling hazards to common overnight icing, slips and falls constitute a serious safety issue, and just like occurrences of improper lifting, it only takes one incident to change a life, and it won’t be for the better.  In order to reduce slips and trips, consider the floor itself.  If it’s cracked, pitted, damaged or otherwise in obvious decay, consider having it repaved, refinished, or replaced.  You should also consider a slip resistant garage floor coating to seal the floor and provide flush, blemish-free surface to walk on.  Make sure employees mark and clean up spilled liquids quickly. Also, make sure all cords, small tools, miscellaneous stock and other such hazards are kept out of walking areas.

5 Commonly Overlooked Warehouse Safety Hazards – Part 3

5 Commonly Overlooked Warehouse Safety Hazards

–Philip J Reed, on behalf of HP Spartacote

Loose clothing, long hair and jewelry can all get very easily caught in machinery, or even into the boxes or items that are being carried and stored. In a fast-moving warehouse, this is extremely dangerous. Require everyone in the warehouse to wear clothing that won’t drape in unexpected places, and ban jewelry as well. It can easily fall into machines and pull a person – or part of a person – in along with it. Even simple wedding bands can become stuck in devices or can otherwise compromise an employee’s safety and mobility.  Long hair carries the same risks, so require caps or hard hats that will hold it tightly to the head.  Enforce a zero-tolerance policy on offenders; their safety and your liability is never worth the risk.