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The new President of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) said it will be “right behind its members and the businesses they work for” as they continue to adapt to new ways of working.James Quinn, who is a Senior Health and Safety Manager for leading international construction contractor Multiplex, said that with the Covid-19 pandemic causing uncertainty, businesses are turning to safety and health professionals as they seek to protect their people and their futures.

Speaking yesterday (Tuesday 27 October), as he was confirmed as President of IOSH, succeeding Dr Andrew Sharman, James added this made it “an important time” for the profession.

He said: “Organisations around the world are recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. Some are having to deal with resurgences and localised lockdowns. It has been a very difficult time for businesses across all sectors.

“One key focus for them is the need to ensure they keep their people safe – managing the risks of Covid transmission and all other safety and health risks. Safety and health professionals are front and centre of this, guiding their businesses through these difficult times.

“Business leaders are turning to safety and health professionals to ensure they can navigate their way through this turbulent time. They want to ensure that they can protect their people, which, in turn, protects their business.




“The Covid-19 pandemic is unpredictable and provides us with uncertainty over what is going to happen in the next year. But the one thing we can be certain of is that IOSH will be right behind its members and the businesses they work for.”

From the outset of the pandemic, IOSH has provided support for its members around the world, to help them guide their businesses on looking after their people. This has included an online resource hub, full of key information including how to reopen workplaces safely. The Institution has also run regular webinars.

James said to ensure the profession supports businesses into the future, it is crucial that it continues to recruit a high calibre of people, something he is keen to focus on in his Presidential year.

This, he said, can be done in two ways: through people seeking a career change moving into safety and health and through those starting their working life.

IOSH supports members new to the profession in a number of ways, including its Future Leaders Programme, competency framework, career hub, mentoring platform and Student Membership category.

James himself is an Army Veteran of two-and-a-half decades and said the support he received from IOSH and some of its members when he changed career was invaluable.

After leaving the Armed Forces, he joined Babcock International PLC as a Health, Safety and Environment Trainer, then Advisor, before becoming Health and Safety Manager for a large Middle East transport group.

James then became Area Occupational Health and Safety Manager for Multiplex in Abu Dhabi and is now Senior Health and Safety Manager for Multiplex in the UK. He is currently overseeing health and safety at Multiplex’s prestigious Broadway construction project in Westminster, London.

A Chartered Fellow of IOSH, James is also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and Vice-Chair of the IOSH Construction Group, the Institution’s largest specialist sector group.

“The guidance I received from IOSH helped me navigate the difficult transition into a new career. Without that support, I wouldn’t be speaking to you as President today, and I am grateful for that. I am keen that people who are starting out in the profession, whether it’s their first career or they’ve just made a career change, receive the same level of support as I did.”

James was confirmed as President for 2020-21 at the IOSH AGM. He succeeds Dr Andrew Sharman, who becomes Immediate Past President. Meanwhile Louise Hosking was confirmed as President-Elect and is due to become President in Autumn 2021. Three new Vice-Presidents were also confirmed: Ciarán Delaney, Lawrence Webb and Neil Catton.

SOURCE:

https://www.hsmemagazine.com/article/were-right-behind-you-new-iosh-president-pledges-to-members-and-businesses/
In the period 2019 to 2020, 111 people lost their lives in the workplace in the UK, 29 of these being killed in a fall from height. (https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htmI) In 2018/2019 these numbers were 147 and 40, respectively. The year before was 144 and 35. This amounts to 26%, 27% and 24% of all fatalities in the workplace. (Bear in mind the figures for 2019/2020 do not highlight the issues around Covid-19 and the sustained period of economic lockdown in the UK, so this number could well have been higher under normal circumstances).

So why have I started this article with some statistics? Well, as you can see, the numbers have remained relatively the same during those years. Why is this the case? That is the topic of today’s article. Why do working at height accidents keep happening over and over again? Why do we keep losing our colleagues, friends and family members to the same things, year after year after year?

Memories


As a health and safety professional I am always looking to learn and grow, by undertaking CPD (Continuous Professional Development). As part of this ongoing development, I started to learn about Process Safety. Yes, this article is about working at height, but there is a point to what I am talking about here. I came across a video created by the US CSB (United States Chemical Safety Board of America) of an accident at Texas City Oil Refinery, Texas, that occurred in March 2005. This video is called “Anatomy Of a Disaster” and is great as a Case Study for Process Safety, and safety generally. In parts of the video they interview a gentleman called Professor Trevor Kletz, a chemical safety expert.

“organisations have no memory, only people have memory. if the lessons from incidents are not shared, then the same incidents will continue to happen”




Professor Kletz said something in the video that really hit home with me: “Organisations have no memory, only people have memory.” In other words, if the lessons from incidents are not shared, then the same incidents will continue to happen. As human beings, we are often reluctant to acknowledge we have made mistakes and errors, or we do not want to be seen in a bad light. What if sharing the reason for the incident then saves the lives of others, however? This is where companies with good safety cultures will not only investigate the incident thoroughly, but will share the findings with their employees, contractors, and even other companies and parties interested in the information. This is also critical when key people in the organisation are moving on. A thorough handover is vital, so the newcomer is given an account of any historical incidents, so that they can understand what happened, and what the organisation has done since the incidents, to stop them happening again.

Hidden dangers


Working at height is often defined as a hazard, but it should actually be classified as a “Hazardous Activity”. This is because there is more than just the one hazard of height. If I showed you a picture of someone working on a sloping roof, when it was raining and windy, I am sure most people would be able to say “oh, they might get blown off the roof onto the floor below and hurt themselves”. What about the many other dangers potentially present when Working at height? These hidden dangers include falling objects, slip and trip hazards and environmental hazards (particularly weather related hazards such as high winds and rain). Many people see the height of the potential fall, and this certainly contributes to the consequences of a fall from height incident. The fall itself is not the trigger however. Falls can be caused by slipping or tripping on trailing cables or slippery surfaces, the sudden collapse of a structure or something load bearing (such as a scaffold or roofing) or even a dynamic change in environment, such as a sudden increase in wind speed. Falling objects also present a major threat, as they could land on people working below the workers, with enough force to cause serious injury or even fatalities (this could include a person falling from height not have their landing cushioned just because they landed on another person).

Not taking these things into account when conducting our risk assessments will mean incidents are doomed to repeat themselves, as not everything has been assessed and dealt with. The ideal thing to do with a task of working at height, is to use the hierarchy of control, and eliminate it. Through elimination, we get rid of the hazard altogether, which therefore means we also get rid of the associated risks. For example, we could use modern technology, such as a drone fitted with a camera, to inspect a tower or roof of a building, without having to physically send any people to the tower or roof. If there is nobody on the tower or roof, there is no potential for people to fall and suffer the consequences. Another example I can think of is to bring the problem to the workers, rather than the other way around. I know of one particular site that is able to lower streetlights to ground level, in order to change the lightbulbs, rather than sending people up to them using ladders or other types of access equipment. However, these are best case scenarios.

“one site is able to lower streetlights to ground level, in order to change the lightbulbs, rather than sending people up to them using ladders”

“Competence”and shortcuts


Everyone at work should be “Competent” to do their job. Competence can have many definitions, so to put it basically, workers should have the right mix and level of skills and knowledge, and be able to apply that to the task they are doing. This will come about mainly through formal training (remember in most countries’ Health and safety legislation, it is a legal requirement for workers to receive workplace training) and experience. Many Work at Height incidents happen as workers never receive this training, or it is of a very poor standard. It is also important to remember that sending workers on a generic “Work at Height” course may not be enough. They may need specific training, such as Scaffold Erection and Dismantling, MEWP Operator, or Rescue from Height.

Workers may also take shortcuts in order to get the job done. Again, this could be due to the training issue we just discussed. As they have not received the training, they do not realise the danger they are putting themselves and others in, by not following a procedure for example. It is important to know, however, that competent workers also take risks. A lack of supervision could tempt workers into taking actions/omissions they would not do under the normal circumstances of “being watched”. Workers may also be pressured into trying to get the job done quickly, whether that be by colleagues who want to go home early, or their employer has fallen behind in a project and is desperate to make up for lost time. A lot of these shortcuts are often seemingly small things, but usually have big consequences. For example, a worker may not have clipped their harness onto a scaffold. They have only gone up there to do a quick job, so they decide there is no need to “hook on” They lean on one of the guardrails of the scaffold, not realising another worker had loosened it at one end. The guardrail gives way under the worker’s weight. As they are not anchored to the scaffold, there is nothing to stop the worker falling off the scaffold to the floor 50ft below.

Perception of risk


Another reason work at height incidents continue to happen, is a lack of understanding of the consequences. For example, most people know if you fall from a very high place (such as a cliff or tall building) you are probably not going to survive. Did you know that a fall of just 6ft can also be fatal? Many Truck drivers and Equipment Operators around the world are hurt or killed when falling from their trailers, cabins and equipment platforms. Office workers are routinely hurt from falling, after trying to reach objects or materials stored above head height (usually by climbing on a chair or other unsuitable piece of equipment). Many people do not realise also, that it is not just the height of the fall that determines the consequences. Do the victims strike any objects on the way down? What is the object or surface they land on? Which part of their body do they land on? All of these factors, and more, can dictate the outcome of a fall from height. Indeed, a person may be left suspended, or hanging in the air, which brings challenges and dangers all on its own, particularly in terms of rescuing the victim.

Another main danger here is that with a fall from height incident, you do not often get a second chance. Over the course of their career, a carpenter may whack their hand several times with a hammer, but at worst suffer a broken thumb. An office worker might get a staple in a finger a few times, nothing too dramatic. A person working on open roofs may only ever have one fall from height… because it kills them. Unfortunately, some people will often not understand the seriousness of this until they experience it themselves, or witness it happen to a co-worker, friend or family member. So training and education is vital in this scenario, particularly with members of the workforce who have the “it will never happen to me” attitude. I like to call this “Invincibility Syndrome” and have seen people time and time again get themselves, and/or someone else, hurt as they think they are untouchable and nothing will ever go wrong for them.

“a person working on open roofs may only ever have one fall from height… because it kills them”

Having this attitude usually leads to negligence and violation of rules and procedures. Often, however, people will also put themselves at risk as they feel they have no other choice, as they are the breadwinner of the family. Again, it is important to educate them. Ask them, “if they are hurt or killed in a Work at Height incident, how will their family pay the bills? Put food on the table?” Making these points will often help the worker realise how important they really are, and they will do things the right way if not for themselves, then certainly for the sake of their loved ones.

What can be done?


So what can we do to stop these things from happening? Training and education are vital, as I said before, to ensure that persons working at height (and indeed those managing them) are competent for their roles. Knowledge is power, after all. Ensure all lessons of working at height related incidents are shared and discussed, not just “acknowledged” then tucked away in a drawer. Use historical incidents as case studies to remind people of what went on before, and how to stop it happening again. Certain jobs and tasks can become quite a specialist area where Working at Height is concerned, so use consultants and specialists to plan and execute the work accordingly, particularly so you do not miss any of the hidden hazards we mentioned earlier. When planning the work, think about how you can do it without having to leave the ground, rather than how to stop people falling and/or mitigate the consequences. Giving someone a harness and lanyard should not be our first choice. Consider the use of technology or totally designing out the need for work at height, in order to totally eliminate (or dramatically reduce) the working at height hazards and associated risks. As always, plan for the worst and hope for the best. Ensure you have a robust rescue plan (with associated equipment and personnel) in place, just in case something does go wrong. Find out why accidents happen, so that they don’t now, or in the future.


SOURCE:

https://www.hsimagazine.com/article/why-accidents-happen/
One of the first conversations I had when I started writing for COS was with Stephanie Benay, chairperson of the Women in Occupational Health and Safety Society (WOHSS) and one of the cover stars of our May/June issue. When I asked her about issues facing women in the OHS sector today, she mentioned PPE. At the time, she said that “having PPE that fits you properly and is comfortable is critical to being able to do your job.”

The issue struck me at the time as it is one that — I am ashamed to admit — I had never really thought about. And, indeed, this topic has arisen more and more in the last few months whenever speaking with female OHS professionals. The main issue is the fit of protective clothing, which for many still doesn’t take into account the fact that workers come in all shapes and sizes. This lack of proper consideration seems to strongly affect female workers.

What are the dangers?


An article published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in 2016 entitled “Access to properly fitting personal protective equipment for female construction workers” highlights the difficulties that notably female construction workers face with regards to access and fit of protective clothing, including gloves, harnesses, safety vests, work boots, outwear, etc. The authors of the article found that, generally, equipment provided to female workers was too large. The study also noted that female workers faced other issues, such as having to purchase their own PPE or being exposed to health and safety hazards stemming from ill-fitting protective clothing.




On the topic of PPE for women in construction, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) states: “All workers have a right to a safe workplace. PPE designed for the dimensions of an average male worker means that female workers may be forced to rely on gear that is too large or disproportioned. From headwear to footwear, ill-fitting PPE can cause safety hazards, reduced dexterity from oversized gloves, hard hats that fall off, baggy coveralls catching on equipment, and trips and falls because footwear or shoe covers are too large.”

And “by recognizing the physical differences between genders, employers can show support for female workers in construction by treating them fairly. This can also support the changing construction workplace culture as more women enter the industry,” according to the CCOHS.

Some revealing statistics


In April, British trade union Prospect revealed the results of a study it conducted on PPE. The study highlighted that the most glaring issues arose with regards to protective clothing such as overalls, jackets and trousers. For example, the study found that for trousers, 16.6 per cent of male respondents said that their trousers didn’t fit well, while 48.5 per cent of women surveyed said that they didn’t fit well. The study raised similar numbers for overalls: 15.3 per cent of males surveyed said that their overalls didn’t fit well, while 44.7 per cent of female participants said that they didn’t fit well.

In addition, Prospect asked whether the PPE respondents wear is designed for men or women. Of the male respondents, 54.4 per cent said that PPE was made for men, 0.4 per cent responded that it was designed for women and 45.1 per cent said that they didn’t know. Meanwhile, 64.7 per cent of female respondents said that their PPE was designed for men, 15.9 per cent said that it was made for women and 19.5 per cent said that they didn’t know.

In 2016, a survey conducted by, among others, Prospect and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), found that 57 per cent of women who took part said that their PPE sometimes or significantly hampered their work. The survey also found that only 29 per cent of female respondents said that the PPE they use is specifically designed for women.

At an event hosted by WOHSS in November 2019, COS spoke with Lee-Anne Lyon-Bartley, director at large of WOHSS, who said, “As women, we do wear bras, and this is not something men are going to think about and that underwire could become a risk and a hazard. So, you need to make sure that you’re not wearing undergarments that have underwires because it does add an additional risk if you have to wear fire-rated clothing.”

She continued, “It’s called personal protective equipment — the first word is personal — and we’ve got to remember it’s got to fit the person. For example, women have hips and we want clothing that is going to fit us and not be so vertical. We want clothing that is going to be able to conform to our shape.”

Manufacturers play a large part


In 2006, the Ontario Women’s Directorate (OWD) and the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) published a report entitled “Personal Protective Equipment for Women — Addressing the Need.” The report raised a number of questions on the availability and use of PPE for women.

The report details the crucial role manufacturers play in providing adequate protective clothing to workers, and notably female workers.

One of the report’s conclusions is that there is still very little communication around product availability. “While several manufacturers have begun to address the PPE needs of women, few have marketed their products in an aggressive way. And yet, there is a market out there: In the manufacturer’s survey results, those who advertised their products in women’s sizes realized outstanding sales revenues. However, this fact seems little known,” says the report.

Nevertheless, the report does indicate that around 75 per cent of manufacturers and suppliers surveyed had seen an increase in the previous three years for requests for PPE in women’s sizes or size ranges that would be suitable for women.

One common mistake manufacturers and sellers make with regards to protective clothing for women is thinking that appropriate clothing for female workers means simply providing an option in the colour pink — or in colourways that are regarded as being more traditionally “feminine.” Nevertheless, this way of thinking seems to be on its way out, with a number of PPE and protective clothing manufacturers branching out into apparel for female workers. Furthermore, there are a host of vendors and manufacturers who specialize entirely in clothing for women workers such as Safety Girl, Charm and Hammer, Covergalls or See Her Work.

There is also a need to focus on providing apparel for women who are pregnant, women with disabilities and women of different ethnicities or faiths who may need certain accommodations. However, there are brands looking to counter these deficiencies by providing a more inclusive range of protective clothing. For example, U.S.-based PPE brand AmorSui has started selling the the Rufaida Al-Aslamia hijab, a model that is specifically designed for women in STEM and health care who wear hijabs or headscarves. The hijab is fire-resistant and anti-microbial.

A closer look at women in health care


According to Statistics Canada, women make up a large part of the health-care profession. In 2016, Statistics Canada reported that women in the health-care sector made up 52 per cent of general practitioners and family physicians, 72 per cent of psychologists, 61 per cent of pharmacists, 87 per cent of social workers, 79 per cent of physiotherapists, 89 per cent of licensed practical nurses and 90 per cent of registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses.

This is important to note, as health care as a profession is largely dominated by women — especially in long-term care, which has been hit particularly hard by the ongoing pandemic. Around 17 per cent of health-care workers in Canada have contracted the virus; the percentage has been relatively steady since the start of the outbreak.

Professor Jim Brophy of the University of Windsor says there are certain industries in which women are not seen, “and because they’re not visible, and because of the nature and stratification of our workforce — which is reinforced by gender — their voices are lacking in power or just simply ignored.”

Brophy co-authored a chapter in Sick of the System: Why the COVID-19 recovery must be revolutionary alongside Jane E. McArthur and Margaret M. Keith entitled “Novel Virus, Old Story,” which discusses the impact of the current pandemic on those working in the health-care sector.

“Firefighters wouldn't be expected to go into a fire with the kinds of protections that health-care workers were expected to go into COVID units with,” says Brophy.

Much has been made in recent months of shortages of PPE, notably N95 respirators, among health-care workers. COVID-19 has brought to light many uncomfortable truths, one of those being the lack of PPE for health-care workers and the fact that, even if available, limited models may not be suitable for different face shapes, notably women’s faces.

“My understanding is that they actually do have a smaller size [of N95 masks]. I think there's two sizes, which are supposed to account for the different sizes of people's faces, including the difference between a male face and a female face,” says Brophy. “But I don't think I have heard of any health-care workers in Ontario being given different choices on face size. And I don't think that there's been any such thing about the N95 being specifically constructed for women in the first instance or accounted for differences in women's faces. And that's in an industry where the vast majority of frontline workers are women.”

Aside from health care, Brophy says, in other industries that are female dominated such as food production or teaching, what level of protection will be provided to those workers? “Where women predominate and make up a substantial portion of the workforce, their levels of protection will be many times less than what would be comparable in areas where men are a majority,” he says.

Conversely, in industries that are traditionally male dominated such as construction, Brophy says that women seem to be expected to be exactly like their male counterparts with regards to their protective equipment and clothing needs. Many hazardous or high-risk sectors are male-dominated. Statistic Canada’s Labour Force report indicates that, in 2019, there were a total of 182,000 women in the construction sector out of a total workforce of 1.463 million.

Conscious or unconscious bias?


Ill-fitting protective clothing is dangerous for any worker, so why is this only recently becoming a concern for women? In her 2019 book, Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, author and feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez says data exists that proves women may have smaller hands than men. She writes:

“There is plenty of data showing that women have, on average, smaller hands than men, and yet we continue to design equipment around the average male hand as if one-size-fits-men is the same size as one-size-fits-all. This one-size-fits-men approach to supposedly gender-neutral products is disadvantaging women.”

The examples are broadly about pianists and tech objects such as smartphones or tablets, but one could potentially apply this to PPE — notably gloves in this case. And this is just one small example of gender bias in design. Whether you agree with Criado Perez or not, sexism and gender biases could be a potential explanation behind why protective clothing for women continues to be ill-fitting, and this is certainly an uncomfortable idea with which to wrestle.

Brophy says that lack of properly fitting protective clothing could be because of the patriarchal structure of our society and the level of power men have to wield their influence in the decision-making process in the workplace and within society as a whole.

Speaking specifically about the health-care sector, Brophy says, “You can’t disconnect the violence in health care, which is an epidemic, to the disconnect between the violence against women in society, which is an epidemic. It’s really connected how both those things happen. Why is it that women … are most likely to be victimized both in the work environment and in society? And why can’t they get proper levels of protection? Why would their level of protection be lesser?”

More innocently, the dearth of properly fitting clothing for female workers could simply be employers and manufacturers trying to catch up to a rapidly-evolving workplace, one in which female workers are increasingly entering less “traditional” work environments.

In any case, be it a conscious or unconscious bias, women need to be afforded access to properly fitting protective clothing.


SOURCE:

https://www.thesafetymag.com/ca/topics/safety-and-ppe/female-workers-face-struggles-with-access-to-well-fitting-ppe/236594
Industrial worksites — like factories, power plants and warehouses — are often dangerous environments for workers. Large equipment and heavy objects, among other threats, pose severe safety risks.

While managers can take various steps to improve warehouse safety, accidents still happen — especially when supervisors overlook specific elements that can contribute to an unsafe working environment.

Electrical maintenance is an ideal way to reduce accidents and prevent injuries from electrocution and incidents like electrical fires.

How Electrical Maintenance Can Help — or Hinder — Industrial Safety.


Electrical tools and equipment are essential to the functioning of any industrial site. If not properly maintained, they can pose serious safety threats to all workers on location. Contact with an electrical current can cause severe injuries on its own, and may also lead to other accidents — like falls and struck-by incidents.




According to data from the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there were 160 electrical fatalities in 2018 — an 18% increase over the year before and 3% of all labor fatalities across the economy that year. 2018 also saw the most electrical fatalities since 2011. Despite improved technology and increased interest in worksite safety, electricity and electrical equipment still pose safety issues for industrial workers.

Failing electrical equipment can quickly become dangerous. Faulty wires can cause fires. Damaged and punctured wire insulation can cause electrical conductors to contact tools, other equipment and workers' bodies.

If maintenance isn't a priority, natural wear and tear can easily lead to unsafe working conditions.

Improving a Worksites Electrical Maintenance Strategy.


Identifying and preventing common risks is the best way to improve a site's electrical safety. Moving electrical equipment from place to place, for example, can pose significant safety risks. Both the process of relocating the equipment and the new location for the item can create severe problems without the right approach. Taking steps to ensure safety during the generator move, and that its target destination is suitable for safe operations, will help improve electrical safety and potentially reduce electrical maintenance needs. For example, it's good practice to move a generator using a truck that can safely transport and center the load.

Adequate maintenance safety practices can also help. Regular and as-needed maintenance checks will help ensure equipment is in good working condition — and help technicians catch early signs of wear or failure. It can help you avoid both accidents and electrical issues that can lead to severe damage to other equipment, or even a fire.

Providing employees with the right safety gear for working with and maintaining electrical equipment — typically personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of rubber gloves, rubber boots and safety visors or glasses — will also help prevent accidents. Insulating protective equipment, like rubber hoods, hoses and insulated blankets, can provide some additional safety, and may be especially useful in certain situations.

It's also possible to improve your worksites approach to electrical maintenance with new technology. Wireless sensors and IoT devices, which can send back real-time information on equipment operations, can help site staff track machine performance. Over time, this information can help them quickly identify signs that may indicate damage or potential machine failure.

As a result, they'll be able to respond to issues the second they become apparent. It can help your maintenance technicians repair equipment before it fails or becomes dangerous, even without a scheduled maintenance check.

Electrical Maintenance Can Keep Workers Safe


Electricity is necessary for an industrial worksite, but poses major safety risks if workers don't take maintenance seriously. Correct electrical safety practices — like PPE, new maintenance strategies and safe movement of equipment — can all help keep workers safe around electricity.


SOURCE:

https://www.ishn.com/articles/112715-the-link-between-electrical-maintenance-and-safety
Balancing, standing, running, walking, jumping, kicking. All of these would be very difficult without two key parts of our body… our feet.

In the workplace they can often be overlooked, as most of our workplace tasks are accomplished with our hands. So a large proportion of workplace injuries happen to that part of our body. However, ignoring the importance of our feet can lead to incidents which are just as serious as with the hands, causing crippling injuries, and even permanent life-changing disabilities. Whilst we can employ plenty of control measures, having the right workplace footwear can play a significant part in preventing these incidents from happening, or at least limiting their severity.

A lot of you reading this article today will immediately think of issuing the workforce with the good old steel toe-cap boots. Go down the road to our Safety Equipment supplier, pickup several pairs of boots, job done. Well, like any safety issue, the solutions are not as always easy as they seem. Indeed, in certain situations, steel toe-cap boots may make the problem worse, not better. SCUBA Divers for example, would find movement difficult, if not impossible, if we decided to give them these boots instead of their fins (although they may appreciate the extra weight provided). So, in order to solve the problem, we must first understand the problem. Why do a person’s feet get injured in the workplace?




Causes of injuries


A lot of foot-related injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls (here I am talking about falls on the same level, not falls from height, which is a totally different issue). A slip occurs when a person’s foot loses friction with the surface they are walking on. They could be walking on a smooth or wet surface for example, and as they try to plant their foot, it continues to slide away from them, causing them to lose their balance. A trip occurs when someone’s foot strikes against, or is struck by, a fixed or moving object, and the person’s momentum causes them to fall over. Even if they do not fall over, the collision between their foot and the object can cause injury to the person. I am sure every one of you reading this has at some point in their lives “stubbed” a toe (ouch, that hurts me just thinking about it!). Often these slip, trip and fall incidents repeat themselves time and time again, as workers “get away with it” and have a near miss (an unplanned, unwanted event that does not result in harm, or a loss of some kind). As no harm has occurred, they think nothing of it, and they do not report the problem. These problems could include almost tripping over trailing cables in walkways, kicking a damaged step on some stairs, and so on. As the problem is unknown and therefore not dealt with, another worker encounters the same hazard, but this time has an incident (an unplanned, unwanted event that results in an injury to themselves, and /or some other form of harm, such as harm to someone else, damaging equipment they were carrying by dropping it on the floor).

Another common cause of injuries to worker’s feet are dropped objects falling onto their feet. As mentioned in the paragraph above, this is quite common during any manual handing activity. This can also occur in situations where objects are not stacked/stored properly, left close to edges, or are unbalanced. These objects then fall after being knocked by over by something else (e.g. a forklift hits a stack of potato sacks stored on pallets), a strong enough flow of air (wind outside, use of fans etc. inside) pushes them over, or they collapse/fall due to the inevitable pull of gravity.

Equipment and machinery are another significant danger when it comes to foot injuries. Feet being run over by vehicles, such as cars and forklift trucks, is commonplace. However, other equipment can do the same thing. Many workplaces have heavy trolleys, pallet jacks and other manual handling aids that can easily cause injury if coming into contact with workers’ feet. Quite a large amount of machinery and equipment also has moving and rotating parts, other than wheels. Think of conveyor belt systems, escalators and travelators for example. Feet being caught in these mechanisms can lead to horrific incidents. Some equipment and machinery also have sharp-edged blades, cutting edges and other parts. This can be part of their design due to the task they are undertaking, but again, they would make short work of a person’s foot if they were to be in the line of fire. Imagine a worker is struggling to start a chainsaw. They keep pulling and pulling on the start-cord but the chainsaw refuses to start. The worker resorts to placing their foot on the chainsaw in order to gain more leverage. Success! The extra leverage started up the chainsaw, but now their left foot is mincemeat, as it was resting on the chainsaw blade when it started up.

Workers can also cause or make a large contribution to their own problems, by not wearing the correct type of footwear. Sandals and flip-flops are perfect by the pool or on the beach, but you are just asking for trouble wearing them on a construction site. Even with the correct footwear, workers will often be lazy and not wear them correctly, just slipping their foot into them loosely, or not tying up laces properly (if at all). Workers can also be issued the incorrect size of footwear (too small or too big for that individual), but they do not complain as they feel they will get into trouble, or be forced to buy their own (a breach of most countries Health & Safety Law, whereby an employer must provide workers PPE free of charge).

Scale of the problem


So how big of a problem are foot-related incidents? Well, according to the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), workplace injuries cost the economy 5.2 Billion GBP in the period of 2017/2018. There were an estimated 581,000 non-fatal injuries. Of these, 29% (168,490) came from slips, trips and falls on the same level; 20% (116,200) from handling, lifting or carrying loads; and 10% (58,100) as a result of being struck by a moving object (This is all relevant as these are three hazards which I have already discussed earlier in the article). https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1819.pdf. These injuries can include cuts and bruises, soft tissue damage, sprains and strains, fractures or even partial and total loss of toes and/or whole feet. The HSE mentions the monetary cost, but what other costs are there? These workers will have had to take time off from work, forcing employers in having to bring in and train temporary replacements in order to sustain productivity. Morale in these workforces will have dropped, with workers traumatised by seeing friends and co-workers suffer, and wondering if they are next. There are of course medical costs to consider. Particularly if someone has suffered from a permanent injury, do they now need wheelchairs or other access equipment to move around? What about the lost income from the fact they may not be able to do their particular job anymore (or indeed, may not be able to be part of the workforce at all)? If that person was the only worker in a family, how will that family now keep food on the table, and a roof over their heads? The companies involved could also suffer through damage to their reputations, loss of contracts, and even jail terms for those accountable for safety. Remember, it is not just fatal incidents that have massive consequences.

So, what can be done about foot-related injuries and incidents?

As always, a thorough risk assessment, employing the hierarchy of control, will greatly assist us. If we can eliminate the hazard, we have no risk, and therefore have no problem. You could substitute something harmful, for something less harmful, or use engineering controls. Examples in this instance might be to use slip-resistant floor surfaces and have sensors on equipment that would immediately shut down if it detected someone’s foot too close to a dangerous area. Administration could be employed, with training workers about the various hazards and how to avoid them, and putting policies and procedures in place to ensure worker’s feet are kept out of harm’s way. Finally, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) can be employed, in this case, Foot Protection. In this next section of the article, this is what I will discuss. Remember though, as with any safety problem, PPE should be the last thing to consider. Ideally, the most effective approach we should use is a multi-layered mixture of the hierarchy of control.



SOURCE:

https://www.hsmemagazine.com/article/footing-the-bill/
Working at height has been a leading cause of serious and fatal accidents for many years. It is essentially impossible to eliminate the need to work at height, so focus and emphasis needs to be placed on managing this risk.

Let’s clear up some common misconceptions first.

Working at height does not mean you have to be above the ground. The definition of what constitutes working at height was changed to include scenarios where someone is working at ground level but next to an excavation or a drop in level. So you can fall from the ground to a lower level, this is also considered to be working at height.

The notion that working at less than 1.8 meters (or 6 feet) is safe and does not require any special precautions is not correct. This was a historical detail that used to be enshrined in some former legislation. It was based on the idea that if a person fell less than 6 feet then the consequences were less likely to be fatal or serious. So even if statistically this is true, it begs the question of how many serious or fatal accidents are acceptable? The answer of course has to be “none”. I can recall investigating a fatal accident to an electrician who was working on a doorstep, so no more than 20 to 30 cm above ground level, he tripped and fell, struck his head and unfortunately passed away. The point of this case is not to say that I would have expected to see edge protection when working on a doorstep, it is rather to dispel the notion that there is such a thing as a safe height to work at. The truth is working at any height carries a risk and therefore detailed risk assessment is a critical part when planning to work at height.




There can be a further complicating factor in identifying risk and that is that the person may not appreciate that they are working at height. I can recall several investigations where people went to conduct a short task on a roof, they were not near the edge of the roof and did not perceive that they were in any danger. However, as we all know, there can be hidden dangers with fragile rooves. The classic case is the asbestos cement roof, very popular and common on industrial buildings. These roofs were often painted or coated especially as they got older and so it was not always possible to tell that they were asbestos cement. The biggest problem with these roofs is that the material becomes very brittle when exposed to sunlight and the constant cycle of weather. Unfortunately, many workers would step on the roof surface thinking it was strong and weight bearing and then fall through as the brittle material fractured. I also came across other cases where the workers were concerned about the roof but thought it would be okay as long as they walked along the bolt line (which usually had a structural beam underneath), but of course if someone stumbled or strayed off the line, again they would come crashing through.

“working at any height carries a risk and therefore detailed risk assessment is a critical part when planning to work at height”

Questions of Safety


Clearly there are many things to consider when planning to work at height; at what height will you be working; how long is the job likely to last (expected duration), will you need to handle materials while you are at height, will you need to use hand tools or power tools; how many people will work at height, just you or colleagues?

These questions form the basis of the information that you need to develop your risk assessment. There are a multitude of different solutions to working at height; ladder, step ladder, scaffold, tower scaffold, cherry picker, elevated mobile working platform, scissors lift, work basket (forklift or crane supported). Then of course there are scenarios where you don’t need a platform, but you might need PPE to keep you from falling; harnesses, lifelines, reel belts, running lines. In recent years, there has also been an increase in the use of abseiling to safely work at height. All of these solutions have merit, the key though is to select the most effective solution for the work at hand.

You may find that the decision has been made for you, as your first consideration must always be what does the local national and/or regional legislation demand that I do? Some countries have very prescriptive legislation that tells you exactly which solution you must use. But this is less and less common these days with most countries adopting a risk-based approach and it is this approach that we will now focus on.

Let’s go back to our questions and see how they influence our decision making. First we consider at what height are we going to be working, or looking at it the other way, how far might we fall? We will consider that the higher we are the greater the risk of serious injury, and therefore the increase in protection we may need.

Safety, illustrated


Let’s take a simple example to illustrate this, suppose we have to change one light bulb, we would be approximately 75cm above the ground. You might decide to use a stepladder or you could use a simple tower scaffold platform. Potentially it might be quicker and easier to use the stepladder, so what other factors might influence your decision? One might be duration, if you only need to replace one single bulb and the job is only going to take 1 or 2 minutes, then the stepladder is a perfectly satisfactory solution. However, if you have hundreds of bulbs to replace and some of the bulbs are fluorescent tubes then the stepladder probably would not be so good and then the small tower scaffold (work platform) would be much more effective.

If you had one bulb to replace but it was 5m above the ground, then a ladder solution would likely not work and at that height a work platform; be it a tower scaffold, cherry picker or MEWP would be much more effective.

So the height at which you are working and the duration of the job are key considerations, but you also need to consider what you are going to do when you get there. If the job details using a small hand tool like a screwdriver and it is a short duration job, and less than 2 metres above the ground, then a ladder solution may be considered satisfactory. There are no definitive rules about what types of hand tools can be safely used of a ladder, but suffice to say that the heavier the tools (hammer, saw, etc) then the more significant the risk and the likelihood that you would have to consider a platform solution instead. If you have to use both hands for the task that would negate the use of a ladder. So if you need a hammer and chisel or if you need to hold an item in one hand and saw it with the other that would be a task for a safe work platform and not a ladder. As soon as you start to use power tools, you should use a work platform and not a ladder.


SOURCE:

https://www.hsmemagazine.com/article/working-at-height-2/

Proper overlap and fit


You must make sure that there is adequate overlap between the jacket and the trousers, including the outer shell, the heat barrier and the moisture barrier, before using the garments.

To check overlap, the following tests should be performed while wearing your complete protective ensemble, but without wearing SCBA

POSITION A


While standing, reach over head as high as possible with your hands overhead.
There should be no gap between jacket and trousers.
The jacket must overlap the top of the trousers.

POSITION B


While standing with your hands overhead and reaching overhead as far as possible, bend forward to the left or right, and backward.
The jacket must overlap the top of the trousers.

POSITION C


While crawling on the knees and elbows jacket must overlap the top of the trousers.




CHECKING THE SIZE


Jacket: The chest size for a jacket should NEVER be smaller than the circumference of your own chest, measured under your arms. Jackets are designed at least 20cm overage for better fit over clothing. The end of the sleeve should reach beyond your wrist when arms are at rest.

Trousers: The waist size for a pair of trousers should NEVER be smaller than the circumference of your own waist, measured at your navel. The actual waist dimension of the trousers should be approximately 5-7, 5cm larger than the waist size ordered and labelled on the trousers.

Make sure the lower edge of your trousers overlap the tops of your boots by 10-15cm.

CHECKING PROPER FIT


All garments must have adequate looseness in the torso, arms and legs to ensure that insulated air spaces are maintained.

Garments also should not be too loose, as this could hinder mobility or dexterity and place stress at the wrong places in the garments.

Upon receiving new or replacement garments, make sure that there is at least a small amount of loose material around the arms and shoulder area.

Then test the mobility by climbing stairs and crawling or duck walking.


SOURCE:

https://www.hsmemagazine.com/press-release/protective-garments-for-firefighters/
OSHA requires that in any workplace where respirators are necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever respirators are required by the employer, a written respiratory protection program must be established and implemented.

The program includes procedures specific to each worksite and is intended to prevent employees from inhaling harmful contaminants. Specifically, each employer must provide respirators to protect workers from workplace hazards to prevent inhalation of hazardous materials that cannot be controlled by other measures (i.e., engineering or administrative controls).

Respirators must also be provided to ensure that employees do not breathe air that contains dangerously low levels of oxygen or that is otherwise immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH).




Keep in mind that these respiratory hazards are something that employees could be exposed to during:

● Normal operating conditions, and
● Reasonably foreseeable emergencies.
● Follow these steps to set up an effective and compliant respiratory protection program.

Step one — Designate a respiratory protection program administrator


Employers must designate a respiratory program administrator to run their program. This is typically a safety officer and in the best of cases, an industrial hygienist. Whoever you appoint, this person must be:

Trained to identify, assess, and control types of potential inhalation hazards in your work area.
Familiar with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134) and the use and application of the respirators at the workplace.
Responsible for ensuring employees are provided with an appropriate and suitable respirator at no cost to them.

Designating the program administrator first allows that person to help develop the written respiratory protection plan.

Step two — Develop a written respiratory protection plan


OSHA requires that each respiratory protection program include a written plan detailing how the program will be administered. OSHA requires the respiratory program be in writing because health and safety programs are almost always more effectively implemented and evaluated when the procedures are in a written form. In addition, putting it in writing ensures employers will thoroughly assess and document information pertaining to respiratory hazards.

Make sure the written plan includes:

● Procedures for selecting respirators
● Medical evaluation of employees required to wear respirators
● Fit testing procedures for tight fitting respirators
● Procedures for proper use of respirators in routine and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations
● Procedures and schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, and discarding and otherwise maintaining respirators
● Procedure to ensure adequate quality, quantity, and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying air respirators
● Training of employees in the proper use of respirators, including putting on and removing them, and any limitations on their use and their maintenance
● Procedures for regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the program
● Procedures for ensuring that workers who voluntarily wear respirators (excluding filtering facepieces) comply with the medical evaluation, and cleaning, storing, and maintenance requirements of the standard

Step three — Ensure the program is enforced


In addition to having a written plan, the employer must demonstrate that it’s enforced. It may be rare that an employee doesn’t follow their company’s respiratory protection requirements, but it can happen.

Ensure the employee has received proper training in the need for, and use of, respiratory protective equipment. Talk with the employee to verify understanding of the training and provide refresher training as needed.

If the employee continues to not follow the company policy, then implement graduated disciplinary procedures. These could include:

● Verbal warning for first offense
● Written warning for the second offense
● Termination of employment for the third offense

Step four — Review and update the program


Once the respiratory protection program been implemented the employer will want to determine how effective it is. Ask these questions:
● Are affected employees following the program?
● Have there been any respiratory injuries or illnesses since the program was implemented or last reviewed?
● Have there been employee suggestions for engineering controls that would no longer necessitate the need for respiratory protection?

Review and update the program as necessary to reflect changes in respiratory hazards in the workplace. For example, if new processes or chemicals are introduced into the workplace that could impact respirator use, revise the applicable parts of the written program. Another reason to update the program is if there were changes in the types of respirators used. Finally, make sure these revisions are communicated and implemented.

Setting up a respiratory protection program can be a daunting task. But, by following these four steps, employers can catch their breath and not worry if OSHA stops by for a visit.


SOURCE:

https://www.ishn.com/articles/112722-steps-to-an-effective-respiratory-protection-program
Gloves are one of the most common forms of protection that is provided where the work involves the use of chemicals. In this context everything is either a chemical element or a combination of these and, as will be shown, there is virtually no chemical that cannot, under certain circumstance, cause damage to health should contact with the skin occur.

In most developed industrial environments, regulations on the use of gloves as protection consider gloves as a last resort, with other means (technical and organisation) taking priority. With certain limited exceptions gloves should only be used as protection against the residual chemical hazard.

There are several reasons for this: ● Personal protective equipment only protects the person wearing it, others may still be affected
● Achieving an adequate level of protection can be difficult, sometimes impracticable
● The performance of personal protective equipment against chemical hazards can be difficult to establish
● The performance is also dependent upon the correct use by the wearer, so compliance becomes a major concern
● Personal protective equipment can risk introducing other risks, e.g. due to loss of dexterity, hyperhydration of the skin causing dermatitis, etc.
● Personal protective equipment is always fail-to-danger





The latter aspect is something that experience suggests is not always adequately recognised. Effectively, we need to include in any risk assessment that involves gloves as protection against chemicals the risk that the gloves may fail – for one or more of several conditions – and the consequences of such failure. Where this would be acute and life changing, or even fatal, can we justify relying on gloves for the final protection?

“it is common to find gloves being worn for far longer than their real performance limits”

How gloves work and how they fail


The way in which gloves work – and fail – is far more complex than many realise. The following is just a short overview, sufficient that when we consider the need for a structured approach to this the reader will recognise the reasons for caution and, perhaps, a more in-depth approach that is often common. Those who feel a need for a more in-depth explanation will find information on further reading at the end of this article.

There are four main reasons why gloves fail to protect the wearer: These are misuse, physical damage, degradation, permeation.

Misuse


Misuse includes using the wrong glove for the chemical, using the correct glove but beyond its performance limits, and incorrect donning and removal techniques.

There is no glove that is what might be considered ‘universal’. Unfortunately, we find it common that a glove is selected according to the inadequate information on the safety data sheet or from a glove supplier’s catalogue. One common mistake is to assume that a woven glove, e.g. cotton or synthetic material, that has been coated with, say, polyurethane, is a chemical protective glove. The problem is that fibres from the coating may penetrate into the coating and act as pathways for the chemical to reach the skin.

No glove will provide infinitely long protection against any chemical. In fact, in most countries where regulations on gloves exist, the test requirement is for a maximum of eight hours. In reality, even with the optimum glove for the chemical selected the performance time may be hours, or even only a few minutes. As the failure due to the molecular transfer of the chemical through the glove is not readily detectable it is common to find gloves being worn for far longer than their real performance limits. There is more on this later in this article.

Misuse also encapsulates incorrect donning and doffing.

If unclean hands are inserted into a chemical protective glove this can exacerbate the damage that the soiling will do to the skin of the hands. Also, unless properly trained, most people will remove gloves in such a manner that the hands are contaminated with what is on the outside of the gloves, thus negating the protection that the gloves may have provided.

Forty-three hairdressers and apprentices were asked to remove gloves after washing hair. UV tracer was used to identify hand contamination before and after a training session on glove removal. All the participants (100%) had their hands contaminated during the first round.

In the second round 55.8% were contaminated. There were no significant differences between hairdressers and apprentices.” – Glove use among hairdressers: difficulties in the correct use of gloves among hairdressers and the effect of education, Oreskov KW, Søsted H, Johansen JD, Contact Dermatitis, 2015

When training on the use of gloves, it is common to find an over 50% failure rate even after the initial training.

Physical damage


Any physical damage to the glove as a result of working conditions will seriously affect the level of performance. The damage may be due to abrasion, cuts, splits and punctures, some so small that they are not readily detected by the naked eye. Should an assessment of the situation show the gloves are potentially subjected to physical damage, appropriate action is needed to protect them, possibly by the wearing of a glove offering the necessary physical protection over the chemical protective glove.

Degradation


This is where the chemical reacts with and damages or destroys the chemical protective glove. Even where the damage is relatively minor it can have a significant effect on the duration over which the chemical protection will be achieved.

As there is no properly validated standard method for determining degradation, manufacturers use their own method. The result is that compatibility when evaluating different gloves can be difficult.

Degradation usually results in a physical change in the glove’s properties that is easily detected by a visible or sensory change in the gloves appearance or feel.

Permeation


This is the most complex of the reasons for glove failure and the most difficult to determine with any accuracy. This is where the chemical in contact with the glove migrates through at a molecular level, emerging on the inside as a vapour. There is no visible or sensory change in the glove so the permeation is undetectable by the wearer. What is essential for the person deciding which glove to select and for how long it can be used for a particular chemical is to know how long it will take for permeation to occur. In the USA and Europe there are standard tests for permeation required by glove regulations. In the EU (and for the time being the UK) this is EN16523-1:2015. In the USA the equivalent standard is ASTM F 739. The test protocols are similar.

Unfortunately, the tests are laboratory based static tests. The permeation breakthrough test is conducted at what is described as room temperature, in the EU defined as 230C ±0C. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily match the operating temperature, particularly when relatively tight fitting gloves are worn. Table 1 shows how glove temperature can increase when a glove is donned. Table 2 shows the effect on permeation breakthrough time when a particular glove was tested with different chemicals at two different temperatures.

As can be seen, there is no consistent relationship between temperature and permeation breakthrough time. Indeed, as a result of a study testing real glove in-use performance conducted by the author in collaboration with Sunderland University our conclusion was that performance could vary enormously primarily due to differences in the nature of the task being carried out when the gloves were worn. An example of this was the factory where xylene was being used for several different tasks. The same glove type was being worn as protection. On checking, the manufacturer’s permeation breakthrough time according to the official test at the time was 37 minutes. In one task in-use testing showed no permeation breakthrough for two hours, in another permeation breakthrough in just five minutes! So, any decision as to which glove to use and how to use it must be primarily based on the task, i.e. what happens during the task and how does this affect hazard and exposure.




SOURCE:

https://www.hsmemagazine.com/article/dermatalogical-engineering/
What makes dust so harmful for construction workers is that it’s a combination of particles from various materials used on project sites. These fine grains could be heavy metals, asbestos, pollen, silica and much more.

If inhaled, this dust can induce a number of health issues, such as heart strain, reduced lung capacity and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Silica, a small crystalline substance that’s more than 100 times smaller than ordinary sand, can also cause lung cancer, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and silicosis, an incurable lung illness that can be fatal.

In the U.S., around 2.3 million people get exposed to silica at work. When construction workers breathe in this material, along with any type of dust, they may feel like they’re experiencing allergies or a mild cold. However, as the irritants settle into the lungs, they can damage the surrounding tissue. Some diseases come on quickly, but most take a long time to develop. If workers don’t detect the issue early, it becomes harder to treat.

Mitigating dust on the worksite is something that organizations must do, as it’s a matter that affects the health of the people working in and living near construction areas. Discover some of the top dust mitigation strategies that project managers can incorporate into their plans.




Personal protective equipment


All employees should have personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper training on how to use it to limit exposure to dust. Filtering respirators and dust masks can offer extra protection against breathing in harmful particles. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends half-face particulate respirators with N95 filters or better to limit exposure to silica, as these models offer improved efficiency over earlier dust and mist filters.

Workers should also wear safety goggles when irritants are present, as they’re the only type of protection that creates a seal around the eyes. These goggles can incorporate prescription lenses mounted behind the protective material for those requiring vision correction. While this PPE should have adequate ventilation, it must protect against dust entry.

Restricted site access


Excessive vehicle movement can lead to dust generation on construction sites. To keep the debris to a minimum, site managers should restrict access points. They should also create paved parking areas to limit the spots where vehicles can create dust. Beyond vehicular access, construction companies can limit activity during high winds, as continuing tasks will only accelerate particulate problems.

Water applications via trucks


Another standard method for dust control during construction is to water down the site. While project managers can always hope for rain, they should also opt for water trucks to spray down the area and keep dust suppressed. Depending on the scope of the project, workers should apply water at least three times a day.

Water is an extremely effective and economical technique compared to many others. Plus, it offers excellent insurance for those that work in fire-prone areas. Most truck models offer two water tank capacities — 2,000 and 4,000 gallons. Be sure to track water usage, however, as excess can lead to potential environmental erosion.

Chemical suppression products


Project managers can find certain chemical dust suppressants, though the performance of these products will depend on the application method, surface moisture content, site precipitation, drainage and more. Most of these suppressants are designed for areas with medium traffic and surfaced with gravel.

Calcium chloride, for example, is a salt that can absorb moisture from the air without becoming a liquid. The result is a binding effect on particles, preventing dust. This chemical works best during the spring season when the road still has moisture from rains. During times of low humidity, a water truck may need to soak the area for the calcium chloride to be effective.

Pre-work preparation materials


Site managers can offer protection against dust with the right preparation materials. For example, plastic sheeting on the floors and ceilings of the workspace can contain particles. Sticky plastic sheeting is another option, viable for hard surfaces and carpets. Accessory kits with zipper closures are also useful, as they keep the particles contained to one area.

When outside, workers can apply mulch and vegetation to the soil to prevent dust, a method that's considered eco-friendly. Another way to control harmful inhalants is to properly store and cover materials, especially when carried on trucks.

Natural and block barriers


Another technique that can help with dust control is to use barriers on construction sites, such as board or snow fences, crate walls or bales of hay. These barriers play a significant role in controlling airflow, preventing gusts from blowing soil particulates off the ground. They can also stop erosion.

How to reduce dust and protect construction workers


Experts believe that more than 500 construction workers die from exposure to silica dust each year. Other irritants, too, such as those from wood, gypsum, limestone and marble, can lead to serious illness. To keep workers safe, construction companies must utilize dust mitigation methods, such as the ones above, on every project site.


SOURCE:

https://www.ishn.com/articles/112716-how-to-reduce-dust-exposure-for-highway-construction-workers
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