Are you working safely? While no one starts the day off thinking “Today I’ll ignore basic safety procedures and put myself – and my employer – at risk,” letting your guard down around equipment and heavy metallic objects (such as those in any engine building or machining facility) can result in an accident.
Timberland PRO, an industry leader in protective footwear, has developed a list of important safety tips for workers to consider while on the job. They are a helpful reminder that safe working conditions aren’t just an employer’s responsibility.
“As a safety footwear manufacturer, our first priority is to develop work boots that are safe, comfortable and durable,” said Bob McCarthy, senior product manager, Timberland PRO. “However, we are also concerned about the total safety and well-being of workers and about preventing all types of on-the-job injuries – both in our own workplaces and among the populations we serve.”
Overall, workers should be well-informed about their specific working environment and should be properly trained on all equipment before performing a job.
Timberland PRO advises workers to consider the following:
1. Proper Training. Take advantage of training programs provided by your employer, union, and safety society. It’s important to know your equipment, so make sure you have a full understanding of how to use all power tools and machines. To further protect yourself, inspect tools to ensure protective guards are in good condition.
2. Protect Your Head and Face. To prevent head injuries, workers should wear hard hats to protect against falling objects and/or contact with electrical hazards. Hard hats should be replaced after a heavy blow or electrical shock, and should be routinely inspected for dents, cracks or deterioration. And protective glasses or goggles are a must. Shop around for a pair you like and will wear.
3. Foot Protection. Your feet are the tool you use, uninterrupted, for the entire 8-10 hour workday, so it’s important to select the right work boot for the job. When looking at safety footwear, carefully consider the external environment in which you’ll be working and the specific tasks you’ll be performing. You want a style that is durable, comfortable and lightweight, but the specifics can vary. Consider elements like an appropriate traction pattern, a protective toe cap and a protective toe overlay of rubber or another abrasion-resistant material, like Ever-Guard™ leather used on Timberland PRO’s PowerWelt style. Ever-Guard™ leather is waterproof, 10 times more abrasion resistant than standard leather, and heat resistant up to 346°F.
4. Proper Lifting. Many injuries in construction (and other occupations) result from over-exertion due to improper lifting. To avoid back injuries, place your feet eight to 12 inches apart and bend your knees to grasp the load. When carrying a heavy object, plan your route in advance to minimize the risk of injury. And most importantly, if it’s too much to bear, stop and ask for help.
5. Falling Objects. You are at risk from falling objects whenever overhead work is being performed. Here, danger is especially high as activities like pushing, pulling, or prying, may cause objects to become airborne. To prevent injuries, use toe boards, screens or guardrails on scaffolds to stop falling objects. Use debris nets, catch platforms or canopies to deflect falling objects.
6. Ladders and Scaffolding. Each year, falls consistently account for the greatest number of fatalities in the construction industry. According to the National Safety Council, 17,700 fall-related deaths occurred in 2005 – many of them from ladders and scaffolds. Protect yourself by ensuring scaffolds and ladders are inspected before each shift – look for any defects, including structural damage, split/bent side rails, broken or missing rungs/steps/cleats and missing or damaged safety devices.
7. Don’t Shock Yourself. It may seem obvious, but before you start working on electric equipment, make sure the power is turned off. Reports from the Electronic Library of Construction say that people responsible for installing or maintaining electrical equipment often fail to turn off the power source before beginning to work on it. Here are a few other quick tips for power tools: Don’t carry a tool by the cord, never yank the cord to disconnect it from the receptacle, and always wear fitted gloves when using electric tools.
8. Avoiding Dangerous Toxins. Watch out for asbestos, lead, and other hazards in older homes and buildings. Ask your employer for tips on how to spot dangerous substances. If you think you may have come across one of these hazards on the job, ask that the material be sent to a lab for analysis. Take preventative measures – wear personal protective gear at all times.
9. Be Careful. Safety off the job site is just as important as it is on-site. In fact, motor vehicle crashes constitute 40 percent of unintentional injuries among workers, especially when workers are fatigued or unfamiliar with maintenance procedures for the vehicle. Wear seat belts at all times and only allow other workers to ride with you when seat belts are available for all parties. Drive vehicles or equipment only on roadways or grades that are safely constructed and maintained.
10. Be Informed. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) law requires employers to provide a work place that is safe and free from hazards – familiarize yourself with OSHA standards so you can easily spot unsafe conditions. Visit www.osha.gov for further information.
Disclaimer: These safety tips are provided for general informational purposes only. They are not meant to replace safety rules or measures applicable to specific individuals or situations.
About Timberland PRO
Building on the Timberland (NYSE: TBL) heritage of craftsmanship and quality, Timberland PRO is recognized as an industry leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and accessories for working professionals who require the best comfort and protection on the job. Timberland PRO embraces the company’s commitment of “doing well and doing good” – forging powerful partnerships among employees, consumers and service partners to transform the communities in which they live and work. To learn more about Timberland PRO please visit www.timberlandpro.com. To learn more about Timberland, please visit www.timberland.com.