- Don’t become a second victim. Assess the situation carefully, make sure it is safe to approach the scene.
- Look for the source of the injury (falling objects, chemical, vehicle, electrical, etc)
- Look for potential dangers, the scene may require stabilizing (trench cave in, collapsed structures).
- Wear medical exam gloves from first aid kit if blood or body fluids are anticipated. Regular work gloves will not provide proper protection.
- You are protected by the Good Samaritan Law if you stay within your training.
- If worker is conscious, ask if you can help them. If they refuse, call 911 and do not touch them.
- If unconscious, you are protected by implied consent and may treat them.
- Assist with first aid, and have trained individuals assist you or take over. Ask others to help you.
- Notify the supervisor on site immediately. They will notify safety and coordinate the scene.
- EMS/911 cannot determine your location by your cell phone, you must give them your address. Only landlines are traceable to your location. They are not allowed to triangulate your location by cell phone tower, they need a subpoena to do that.
- Ask workers how they would describe the entrance to the job. Do they know the address or nearest intersection. Go over this with the crew.
- If you are on a military base, call 911 and tell them which base you are on, they will forward your call to the base fire station. You may also need to contact base security to let the ambulance through.
- Call EMS 911 if the victim is or was unconscious, severely burned, has obvious trauma or broken bones, excessive bleeding, chest pain, seizures or if you think it requires EMS. Never try to transport them yourself.
- For lesser injuries, workers may be driven to the clinic. Under no circumstances can a worker drive themselves, or have a spouse or friend pick them up. Call the safety office first.
- Stay within your first aid training. Don’t try to reduce a dislocation, stitch wounds or perform some fancy procedure that you’ve seen on TV. You won’t be protected by the Good Samaritan law.
- Have workers wait at the main entrance to lead the responders to the scene, and back to the gate from the scene. They could get lost onsite and waste valuable time.
- Clean up any areas contaminated with blood. Contact safety for guidance.
- Document accident area with photographs from a safe location.
This week’s topics is about knowing how to response in an emergency situations. The first step is making the decision to help. You cannot be forced to help someone, but hopefully you would. Follow these guidelines.
These are pictograms, which will help you identify hazards without even reading the Safety Data Sheet or label. The 3 health hazards at the bottom from left to right
Poison – will kill or disable on short term exposure
Health hazard – may cause cancer, tumors, birth defects or sterility
Exclamation – causes lesser illnesses or injuries like irritating your lungs
Labels will be changing shortly and will look more like this. All 6 elements are required on a label.
What hazards are shown by #6?
Look for these new label elements. You should notice that there will be less writing on the labels, and easier to read information. This will help all workers to understand the hazards. As you get more comfortable with the labels, you will be able to read the hazards faster. The ones shown above are corrosive, flammable and irritant.
Almost all sites have unprotected sides and edges, trenches, or floor holes at some point during construction. If these sides and openings are not protected at your site, injuries from falls or falling objects may result, ranging from sprains and concussions to death. Falls are the number one cause of death in construction, and have been an OSHA focus for many years.
Whenever possible, we want to provide a passive protective system. What this means is that once it is put up, the workers to do not have to do anything to be safe. Passive systems involve guardrails, hole covers and enclosing the hazard. An active system is one where the worker must engage the system each time they are in the area. Active systems include wearing fall protection, hooking up to a tripod in confined spaces, etc. Wearing fall protection is never our first choice because it is possible for a worker to forget to tie off, or they may choose a bad anchor point. The passive system protects all workers in the area, without requiring additional personal protective equipment.
Once we have identified fall hazards on the jobsite, we determine the best system. If we can put a barrier around the hazard to keep people from entering, then that’s the best choice. Installing a snow fence around a trench and placing a sign indicating the hazard. We usually make signs reading “Danger, Open Trench” or “Danger, Water Filled Trench”. This serves the purpose of notifying all workers of the hazard, and also informing visitors, who do not possess the knowledge that our workers do. We also want to make our signs and barricades visible so that in low light or poor visibility, no one accidentally walks, rides or drives into the hazard.
Hole covers are another great way to protect hazards. These are usually placed over manholes, sidewalk vaults, and trenches. Before choosing the type of material for the cover, we need to identify what type of traffic we expect. Workers walking or standing on the cover, or is heavy equipment likely to travel over them. Each hole cover must be able to bear twice the intended load. If 5 workers could be on the cover at once, and each weighs 200 lbs, then the cover must be able to bear 2,000 pounds of weight. For pedestrian traffic, single or double plywood sheets may be sufficient. If vehicle traffic is needed, steel plates are more appropriate.
When installing hole covers, remember to finish the job right. Covers need to be secured in place. You can do this by nailing down the cover, or putting small blocks of wood on the back of the cover that will help prevent them from being kicked loose. Steel plates need to overlap the edges of the excavation or trench by a minimum of 6 inches on each side. If the plate is crossing a trench, both open sides need fall protection, such as guardrails. Cold patch should be added on roads where vehicular traffic may cause the plates to shift.
Finally, label it with the word “Hole” or “Cover”. OSHA probably won’t accept if you write “Puka”. Inspect your barricades regularly, and replace or repair them if damaged.