Avoiding Struck-By Accidents

Every year, thousands of injuries and fatalities result from contact with heavy equipment and trucks. Struck-By is one of the OSHA Fatal Four – nearly all fatalities result from either Struck by, Caught Between, Falls or Electrocutions. Stuck by accidents account for 16% of OSHA recordable injuries.

A Struck-By hazard exists when the potential for damage to equipment or an injury to a worker can occur by being struck by an object, vehicle or equipment. When safety practices are not followed at a job site, workers run the risk of being crushed between a fixed object such as a building, being hit as they move out from between into the way of moving trucks, or being caught in the swing radius of a crane or backhoe.

Here are some work practices that will help ensure your safety when working around trucks and heavy equipment:

• Make sure the equipment operator or driver is experienced with the equipment that they are operating. Often, employees who are unfamiliar with the equipment they are assigned to operate are distracted learning the controls, narrowly focused to avoid a mistake making them less likely to notice you in the area.

• Always install, daily inspect, test, use, and maintain vehicle back-up alarms. Vehicle back-up alarms must be detectable above the ambient jobsite noise. Be aware that some alarms are mounted at the rear of a vehicle, and the sound may be blocked when the truck bed is raised or the alarm is obstructed by equipment parts. Ignoring the sound of a backup alarm can prove fatal. Pay attention always.

• Station one or more flaggers behind vehicles that have obstructed rear views. Never position yourself between moving and fixed objects. Stand and keep heavy equipment clear of trucks dumping loads at least two truck widths away.

• Keep non-essential workers and all unauthorized personnel away from vehicle use areas. Use barricade material, such as brightly colored snow fencing or flagged rope, so the zone perimeter is highly visible. Be sure to replace and check barricades EVERY day before leaving the jobsite.

• Do not walk about a jobsite, yard or parking lot with headphones on. You can step into the path of a moving vehicle.

• Keep unneeded materials, tools, fuel cans, fire extinguishers, trash barrels etc. out of the active equipment work radius, out from blind spots or where they can be struck. Clean up your site EVERY day.

• Always wear bright, highly visible clothing when working near equipment and vehicles. Keep your high-vis clothing clean so the color stays bright and always zip or button the front of the vest for more coverage area.

• Practice “20 or 2”. When on the ground, approaching equipment or trucks, stay 20 feet away in view of the operator until motioned to come forward and make eye contact to ensure you see each other. Struck by incidents can also occur from flying debris, falling or dropped objects and tools, dislodged poorly stacked materials, soil and rocks piled near a trench, and shifting cargo to mention a few. Be on the lookout for Struck By hazards. Discuss during your crew meetings. Always take the time to report and share your observations of near misses and hazards using your Fiore NM Hazard Recognition Cards.

(Topic suggested by Cesar Carmona, Hunter Hulsey, & Terry Bertram)

Coronavirus Reminder: If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people to reduce spreading the illness. Keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face. Cover your face when at work. Stay 6 feet apart during lunch & breaks.

Making Safe Driving Adjustments for Conditions

Too Fast for the Conditions

What is too fast? As defined by the FMCSA: “a speed that is greater than a reasonable standard for safe driving”. There are many conditions a driver will experience when traveling where the posted speed might be considered too fast. These conditions include: wet roadways (rain, snow, & ice) Fog, uneven roads, construction zones, curves, traffic, standing water, and pot holes. Whether driving a Fiore “big rig”, straight truck, light truck, office vehicle or family car; these tips apply.

Tip #1- Reducing your speed

Adjusting your speed to safely match weather conditions, road conditions, visibility and traffic. Reduce your speed by 1/3 on wet roads and 1⁄2 on snow and icy roads. Do not use “Jake Brakes” on wet or slippery roads, snow packed roads, the retarder can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Tap brakes or apply even pressure avoiding rapid braking.

Reducing speeds are essential in wet conditions. Roads become slippery and it’s more difficult to stop. Turn on your headlights whenever your windshield wipers are activated. This includes during the day. This is the best way to combat reduced visibility. And if you see water pooled across the roadway, don’t cross it. Flash flooding doesn’t always look as dangerous as it actually is.

Can a semi-truck and trailer hydroplane? Yes. A commercial truck is heavier than a passenger car but it still follows the rules of physics. Passenger cards and light trucks can hydroplane at slower speeds as well as high; depending on the amount of water on the roadway.

Tip # 2- Avoid pot holes and standing water as we, all know when the rain comes so do the pot holes

Look ahead. Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it’s important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to ensure this will not cause a collision

Beware of puddles. A puddle of water can be disguised a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.

Check alignment. Hitting a pothole can knock a vehicle’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If a vehicle pulls
to the left of right, have the wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician.

The steering wheel shakes. If your steering wheel is vibrating or shaking after hitting a pothole, you may have accidentally damaged a tire, rim, suspension or there is an issue with the wheel balance. Pull over and check it out.


Always make sure your vehicle is in proper working condition, be aware of changing weather, slow down and stay alert. Your
life, your family and the traveling public rely on your best judgment when conditions are poor. Use your training and inner
conscious to guide your safety.

(Topic suggested by Maury Hennard and Dennis Greer)

Coronavirus Reminder: If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people to reduce spreading the illness. Keep
your hands clean and avoid touching your face. Cover your face when at work. Stay 6 feet apart during lunch & breaks.

Rodents, Snakes and Insects

During the warmer months in Colorado, wildlife is most active and poses the greatest threat to all of us in the construction industry at home and at work. Here are a few tips and concerns to consider to manage interactions with rodents, snakes and insects. According to the CDC, approximately 7,500 persons receive venomous snake bites per year while 60 persons a year die from insect stings in the US. Nearly 80% of those bitten or stung are adult males. (Use restraint. No need to prove Darwin was right!)

Insects, Spiders and Ticks
• To protect yourself from biting and stinging insects, wear gloves, long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts.
• Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin.
• Treat bites and stings with over-the-counter products that relieve pain and prevent infection.
• Avoid fire ants; their bites are painful and cause blisters.
• Severe reactions to spider & ant bites can include chest pain, nausea, sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling or slurred speech which require immediate medical treatment.

Rodents and Wild or Stray Animals
• Dead and live animals can spread diseases such as Hunta Virus & Rabies.
• Avoid contact with wild or stray animals. Keep your distance.
• Avoid contact with rats or rat-contaminated buildings. If you can’t avoid contact, wear protective gloves and wash your hands regularly.
• Remove household and lunch trash from jobsites daily.
• Never feed or approach a wild animal. Check engine compartments and tire wheel wells before reaching in.
• Get rid of dead animals as soon as possible.
• If bitten/scratched, tell your supervisor &get medical help immediately.

• Watch where you place your hands and feet when removing debris. If possible, don’t place your fingers under debris you are moving. Wear heavy gloves. Move the object or pallet first with forklift or bucket.
• If you see a snake, step back and allow it to pass. Warn others nearby.
• Wear boots at least 10 inches high.
• Watch for snakes in trees, heavy equipment, and stored materials .
• A snake’s striking distance is about 1/2 the total length of the snake. Its further than you think!
• If bitten, note the color and shape of the snake’s head to help with treatment.
• Keep poisonous snake bite victims still to slow the spread of venom. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
• Do not cut the wound or attempt to suck out the venom. Apply first aid: lay the person down so that the bite is below the level of the heart, and cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.

(Topic suggested by Larry Gertson, Chris Walpole and Josh Amick)

Coronavirus Reminder: If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people to reduce spreading the illness. Keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face. Cover your face when at work. Stay 6 feet apart during lunch & breaks.

Prevention of Influenza – The Flu and You

Influenza or “The Flu” is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. In 2009-2010, a new and very different flu virus (called 2009 H1N1) spread worldwide causing the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. Flu is unpredictable, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects the 2009 H1N1 virus to spread this upcoming season along with other seasonal flu viruses. The CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza:

Take time to get a flu vaccine.

  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
  • While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common. It takes two weeks after the shot to have the full protection in your body.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as the seasonal vaccine is available.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older. Vaccination of high-risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
  • Vaccination also is important for parents, office workers, and other people who live with, care for orcome in contact with high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
  • If you are deathly afraid of needles and still want protection; you can opt for the Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine.

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

✓ Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

✓Warn others you are ill.

Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. This is especially important after you go out in public and do things such as:

  • Touch shopping carts or shared hand tools
  • Touch staircase handrails and doorknobs
  • Shake hands or give close in hug (use the fist pump dude!)
  • Contact with surfaces in common areas in restrooms or lunchrooms

Wash your hands or utilize hand sanitizer before and after eating or smoking.

✓ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

What’s New in 2019 for the Flu Shot: This year, the CDC recommends that everyone get their flu shot by the end of October. A major improvement to the vaccine is the regular dose and recombinant flu vaccine (the only egg-free vaccine) will now protect against more strains than last year. The vaccines on the market this year are quadrivalent; meaning they protect against four strains of the flu, covering two Influenza A strains and two Influenza B strains to give you the best chance of immunization.

“The flu vaccination is effective more than 2/3 of the time. Those that benefited most were healthy adults ages 18 to 46 (+70%), and healthy children ages six to 24 months (66%)”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines” 2011

Watch the “The Truth About Seasonal Flu Shots” YouTube Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClU9QKFlv9I

Site Stormwater Management – Doing the right thing because we care

Working with care adjacent to rivers, lakes, and storm drains is needed to reduce potential pollution threat it poses. Contamination of watercourses has an immediate effect, often readily seen. It comes from several sources:

Pollution – Debris, oil & chemical spills Silting – Release of suspended solids Erosion – Loss of site soils by wind or water

General Precautions: All activities that may pollute water should be carried out away from storm drains and channels.

Maintenance & Fueling Precautions: When refueling by hand, use a funnel or a container with a spout to prevent spillage. Small spills add up over time which includes maintenance activities, refueling of gensets, and lubricating equipment. Repair and fluid changing near a water course must be avoided to prevent contamination.

Silt and Mud Precautions: When cleaning any concrete tools, tires, or tracks the dirty water should not be allowed to directly enter into drains or flow into any watercourse. It may be necessary to establish settling ponds to collect contaminated water. Silty water must not be directed into water course or drain. Mud is damaging to plant and animal life in streams.

Control Examples: If silty water is produced, the following examples are steps to take.

Sandbags or rock socks can be placed around drains, inlets, & ditches to prevent dirty water entering a water course.

Settling basins help settle out the silt particles. Clean water can then be discharged into grassy area before allowing runoff to enter a storm sewer.

Housekeeping is necessary to ensure all oily rags, empty containers, waste, and food wrappers are removed. Do not allow them to blow across the site, get offsite, or enter the storm sewer.

Surface Roughening disturbed areas slows the progress of runoff across a site and allows it to absorb instead of entering storm sewers. Revegetation of sites as soon as practicable is a great way to protect disturbed areas from erosion.

Diversion of clean rain water or surface water around the work area keeps it away from disturbed ground and avoids the creation of silty water. The direct discharge of silty waters to the roadside gutter, ditch of a storm sewer is NOT an acceptable way of dealing with runoff and will often result in violations issued by Local, State and Federal authorities.

Safe Storage of fuel, solvents, paints, additives, and chemical storage includes being secured and situated 100 feet away from the watercourse. Any fuel or chemical spills should be reported immediately to your supervisor. Leaking or empty drums or containers should be repaired, sealed or disposed of properly.

To Reduce Erosion; prevent runoff from collecting and running over exposed soil. If this is not possible, then deploy silt fence, berms, check dams, and roughening in a minimum of three controls in series. Never rely on only one control. If it fails a violation and a mess can quickly occur.

Groundwater Disposal through silt socks or settling basins reduces the load of suspended solids in the discharge.

Offsite Tracking during alternating periods of dry and wet weather can release considerable quantities of dirt and soils onto roadways. Frequently call for the sweeper and “fluff” up the VTC to remove offsite tracking and capture soils onsite.

Summary: By taking precautions we minimize the chance of pollution from our work. By doing the “right thing” we ensure our efforts are sustainable and decrease the likelihood of environmental degradation. Should a question arise contact your supervisor.

“The EPA has cited urban stormwater as the largest contributor of pollutants to our waterways.”

Charles Moore, Univ of Tenn , “Urban Storm Water Preliminary Data Summary”


Safely Performing Overlot Excavations and Earth Moving

Earthmoving is a dangerous profession. In 2017 alone there were 28 fatalities in the U.S. related to mass earthmoving and mining. Most serious incidents in our industry involve heavy equipment, trucks, and machinery. Experienced operators are just as likely to be killed as new hires because these hazards don’t discriminate based on experience— earthmoving and overlot grading doesn’t get safer with time. It can be more dangerous as workers gain experience if they become complacent. Lack of focus makes us more prone to short cuts or ignoring rules like not wearing seat belts, using cell phones while driving, jumping off machines to the ground, and performing poor daily inspections of trucks & equipment. We should always follow the rules to counter the influence of complacency. This is what is expected of professionals.

Safety Inspections & Checks: Over time, pre-operational checks can end up being performed in a perfunctory manner, sometimes they’re just “pencil whipped.” A majority of inspections result in ticked boxes only to confirm equipment is safe to use. Inspections and checks exist for those cases when something is out of order and catching it in time can prevent injury or incident. Make an effort to check brake systems, lights, fire extinguisher, seat belts and operational checks of cylinders and attachments. Know and understand the terms and names of the differing type of equipment specific to your machine.

Inspections include checking the worksite also. Make it a habit of getting out of trucks & machines to check the work area before starting a task. The sheer size of power equipment makes it impossible for workers to notice every single detail around them while working. Practice “See Something-Say Something” and “Speak Up-Listen Up” to alert others of dangers.

Traffic Rules: Speed limits and traffic rules that apply to sites, offices, yards, and parking areas are to be observed. There is no job so important that its completion overrides safety. Excessive speed on jobsites often results in employee injury and equipment damage.

Seat Belts: The use of seat belts is mandatory 100% of the time. No seatbelt then no ride. Check belts and seats every day for issues. Everyone should understand that improperly worn seat belts won’t provide the restraint necessary to protect them. Constant vigilance and positive reinforcement help develop the right attitude and build safe habits regarding seat belt use.

Ground Control Methods: Adequate berms should be provided on solid ground and maintained at an appropriate height. Add signage to direct traffic, warn of hazards, and remind drivers of safety rules. It’s important to remember that the berm’s solid base is just as crucial as its height. Sometimes the material is simply dumped over the edge of the work area until it is able to hold a berm of the proper height. But if a berm isn’t built properly it will collapse as soon as a tire hits it. Berms need to have the strength to direct the driver back on the road. Ensure that there are grades at the top of high walls that slope down and away from the edge. The same applies to the dump area, which should also be sloped so that trucks can dump without cross grade. Truck drivers are to always maintain the truck perpendicular to the edge when backing up at a dumpsite. Only dump parallel to power lines to avoid contact. Additionally, back in so there is a safe distance between trucks and back from the drop-off. Plan the work to avoid vertical cuts in excess of 3 feet & provide awarning when cut area are near roads.

Spills and Accidents: Pay attention and contribute to your team when emergency planning is discussed. Without your input we are all vulnerable to avoidable injuries and fatalities. Spill kits fire extinguishers and having a plan in place is critical when accidents occur and a crisis is occurring.

Speak Up-Listen Up: Encourage workers to look out for each other. Most people never think that an incident is going to happen to them but they understand that one might very well happen to others. Keeping an eye out for each other’s safety will help with worker morale and develop a stronger team spirit.

Summary: Identifying and controlling all hazards associated with earth moving is expected to be performed daily by everyone on site. We should never forget that no matter how safe a piece of equipment is, it can easily become dangerous when operated by someone who is complacent or feels under pressure to rush. Creating a safety culture and encouraging safe habits improves compliance and keeps people safer, which is priceless in hazardous industries such as earthmoving and overlot grading.

“During 2018, 22 persons were killed in excavation and grading operations in the US. All were avoidable and unnecessary.”

Noel Borck, Chairman, Laborers Health and Safety Fund of NA, Newsletter MAR 2019

Distracted Driving

Every year distracted driving claims thousands of lives. NHTSA estimates that in 2017 distracted driving attributed to 391,000 injury crashes. From 2012 – 2015 distracted driving accidents rose 16 % with over 15,300 accidents. Distracted driving is a serious problem in the united states among young adults to seasoned drivers. The trend is increasing for fatalities attributed to distracted driving:









What is Distracted Driving: 

Distracted driving is the practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity. This includes eating, grooming, talking to someone in the same car, texting, making a phone call, dropping something and trying to retrieve it, GPS devices, music surfing and even reading. Have the passenger handle the cargo and kids.

What are the Risks:

Can kill or injure someone, legal fees, possible jail time, lose your job, your home. In Colorado, distracted driving falls under careless driving. Fines for careless driving range from $250 up to $1000 and punishable up to a year in jail. If an accident occurs while distracted driving, it falls under reckless driving and punishable by $500 to $5000 fine and 18 months in jail.

Cognitive Distractions:

Mental or Cognitive distractions are the most common type. We have a lot on our minds and tend to focus on problems, vacation, sports, family, kids, bills, even the grocery list. We become distracted by our thoughts instead of focusing on driving. In some cases, drivers report not remembering the entire drive home. Has it happened to you? Focus on driving when behind the wheel.

Manual Distractions:

Many drivers try to occupy themselves with other physical activities while driving; taking one or both hands off the wheel. Examples include eating, drinking, fixing your hair or make-up, changing the radio station, and sending text. 6% of all crashes are related to manual distractions. Keep your hands on the wheel.

Visual Distractions:

Taking your eyes off the road, reading that text or email, look for something in your purse or briefcase, changing the radio station. Visual distractions are common and play a big part in crashes, 10% of all crashes are related to visual distractions. A car moving at 60 mph travels 88 feet during a simple 1 second glance.

The Law: Hand Held Devices & Texting While Driving:

Handheld devices may be used for making or receiving calls with hands-free devices. The state prohibits the act of reading, writing, and sending text/email messages while operating a motor vehicle. If involved in an accident where death or bodily injury happens you can be fined a $1000 and can spend up to 1 year in jail. CDL drivers can face $2750 in fines, DQ for 120 days, and 10 points on their license for the first offense. If it’s important, pull over to a safe place. No Call, No Text, No Ticket, No Problem!

“Nine lives are taken daily due to Distracted Driving,”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2016 Distracted Driving Report

Basic Safety Rules

Some rules are never made to be broken. Much like the Ten Commandments the Fiore Basic Safety Rules are important enough we expect you to follow them at all times Compliance ensures the safety and well-being of FSI employees and assets. The list supplements detailed company policies highlighting actions not tolerated. Violation is subject to disciplinary review and action up to and including termination.

Most Important Rules to know and follow:

Drugs & Alcohol – Possession or being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances on Company property, at Company work sites, or anywhere else while on Company business is forbidden. Doses of prescribed and over the counter items in excess of the written warning label causing an incapacity to drive or operate safely is included in this prohibition.

Personal Protective Equipment – PPE deemed appropriate for the work must be used at all times. Basic site

required PPE includes hardhat, gloves, hi-vis safety vest, safety glasses and safety toe boots. Other equipment may be required for specific activities.

Fighting – Physical conflict (fighting) and violence against anyone while on the job is strictly forbidden.

Seat Belts – Must be worn at all times when operating or riding in Company vehicles, when operating a personal vehicle on company business, and when operating any trucks, heavy equipment including loaders, forklift, excavators, water trucks, scrapers, dozers, etc. If it moves you must be buckled up.

Equipment – Employees are never allowed to ride in or on the bucket of an excavator or loader. Persons shall not be permitted to ride in the cab, on catwalks or rails, or on implements, booms, or attachments of equipment unless specifically equipped to accommodate personnel during operation. A seat and seatbelt for every person.

Trenches & Excavations – No one shall enter a trench over five feet deep unless the trench is properly sloped or otherwise protected by shoring or shielding. NO one is to enter a trench that is 4 feet or more without proper access. Never dig without locates and never enter a trench without first performing a trench inspection.

Injury and Vehicle Accident Reports – All injuries and collisions must be reported immediately to the employee’s supervisor.

Heavy Equipment – No one shall operate heavy equipment for which they are not authorized and qualified unless done as part of a training program under the direct supervision of a qualified operator. Never operate equipment or vehicles are under LOTO.

Firearms – Possession of firearms in Company vehicles or on Company property or work sites is prohibited.

Radios and Phones – Cell phones are not to be used when operating equipment that is in motion. Radios/music used in equipment only when the volume is adjusted to allow for verbal communication with the crew. Ear and headphones prohibited in equipment or while on foot.


The following is from Section 37 of the FSI Best Practices Manual. Each violation is evaluated on its own merit. Some infractions may be so serious that progressive discipline is bypassed. These actions are considered safety violations by the company:

  • Repeated safety rule violation;
  • Failure to report incidents, including injuries, equipment damage, fire, spill, vehicle incident, etc.;
  • Failure to control or mitigate unsafe conditions, work practices or other hazards;
  • Failure to maintain good housekeeping and site cleanliness
  • Failure to wear required personal protective equipment;
  • Violating drug & alcohol policies in any way.

A three-step process is used to document and carry out employee discipline:

1. Formal Verbal Warning from supervisor for observed repeat observation.

2. Written Warning prepared by a supervisor, signed by the employee to include action to take to correct behavior.

3. Suspension without pay and potentially Termination for third-time offenders.

“Safety rules are written in blood. Someone, somewhere paid the price so you don’t have to.”

Ask Safety Geek, Tweet Slogan

Sprains and Strains Prevention

Sprains and strains account for about a third of injuries in construction. A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones. Sprain injuries involve a stretching or a tearing of this tissue. Ankle, knee and wrist injuries account for the majority of sprains. A strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon, the

tissue that connects muscles to bones. Back injuries are the most prevalent in regard to strains. Depending on the severity of the injury, a strain may be a simple overstretch of the muscle or tendon, or it can result in a partial or complete tear.

These soft tissue injuries occur frequently, and are painful, disabling and often accompanied by lengthy recovery periods. Maintaining good physical fitness is essential in avoiding sprains and strains. Overweight and out of shape leads to more frequent and severe strain and sprain injuries.


To minimize the chances of sprains, observe the following practices:

  • Practice safe housekeeping to keep work areas clear of clutter to help prevent falls
  • Stop all strenuous activity on the job when tired or in pain. Notify your supervisors immediately.
  • Use caution when working on slippery and wet surfaces. LOOK WHERE YOU ARE WALKING.
  • Always wear appropriate and properly fitting footwear for your job. Wear lace-up boots and tie them properly. Replace worn and damaged footwear at least annually.
  • Use extra caution when walking across uneven surfaces. You can easily twist an ankle or knee.
  • When stepping off ladders and dismounting equipment and trucks, always look where you are placing your feet, before you put your full weight on them. Lookout before you park to check to see if its the best location.

To minimize the possibility of incurring strains, observe the following practices:

  • Do not attempt to lift over 40 lbs by yourself. Use the buddy system. Help someone when they ask you to help them.
  • Whenever possible, arrange your work areas to minimize the amount of heavy lifting required.
  • Before any heavy lifting activity, always warm-up, perform Stretch & Flex exercises.
  • Always plan the lift. Know the weight; how far you must carry it and plan your route. When you approach an object on the floor, try to get an idea of how heavy it may be. If the object is too heavy, seek additional help or use a mechanical lifting device such as a forklift, loader, wheelbarrow, dolly or the shop overhead crane
  • Lift objects in the “power zone”. This is the area between mid-thigh and mid-chest height. Avoid lifting objects outside this zone. Use your best judgment when lifting heavy objects. Do not attempt to lift an object that exceeds your strength, and do not try to lift objects over 40 lbs by yourself.
  • Carry objects close to your body. Lift with your legs and not your back. Lift slowly and smoothly.
  • Avoid twisting. Always turn the whole body as one unit when changing direction while carrying a heavy object.
  • Move heavy objects by pushing or pulling, whenever possible. Pushing is always preferable.
  • Always stand close to the object that you are lifting and be certain that fingers and toes are clear when setting it down.

Follow these helpful rules and you will greatly reduce the chance that you will experience a painful sprain or strain.

“Sprains and strains were the most frequently occurring injuries resulting in lost worktime accidents in 2017.”

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Annual Report 2017

Filtering Face Mask – N95 Dust Mask

Dust masks (particulate respirators) are to be used in the workplace where airborne particulates such as housekeeping dust, earthwork dust, dirt & grit, outdoor demolition, and equipment cleaning, are generated or are present as part of the environment. Dust masks protect the worker’s lungs and airway from damage due to the inhalation of airborne particulate matter. Dust masks may be worn even when a ventilation system is in place and operational. Dust masks are not approved for asbestos exposure or any other airborne hazardous material. Long term exposure to airborne particulates can cause extreme respiratory problems. The best dust mask removed 68% of the airborne contaminant.

Following are guidelines for the use of dust masks:

Always review product labels and safety data sheets (SDS) on the chemicals and material that you are working with. Many chemicals and materials will not be filtered by a dust mask and the use of a respirator is required.

Dust masks are to be used for airborne particulates and are not suitable for hazardous levels of vapors and extremely fine particulates. Dust masks do not clean the air of solvents or chemicals

Change your dust mask frequently and whenever you note any discoloration from the accumulation of particulates.

Since your airflow will be slightly reduced, it is important to take frequent breaks while wearing a dust mask. A dust mask with an exhalation valve may assist breathing. Take your breaks in fresh air and remove the mask.

If you feel faint or develop a headache, stop work immediately and get some fresh air. Locate the source of your symptoms, and correct the problem before returning to work. Dust masks are not appropriate for oxygen deficient environments.

Ensure that your dust mask fits you snugly. Pull the top strap across the crown of your head. If you feel air leaking around the edges of the mask adjust the mask or switch to a different mask.

Dust masks should also be designed to fit over the bridge of the nose. Many dust masks have a nose clip which when adjusted properly helps to seal that area of the mask to the face. It is important that the nose is covered snugly to ensure that airborne particulates do not enter the lungs through the nose. Pinch the nose piece to fit the bridge of your nose and get a good fit.

Beards may interfere with the proper fit of dust masks. Beards, or any facial hair which interferes with proper fitting, should not be worn when respiratory protection is necessary.

Dust masks are to be used only by one person. Never share or re-use dust masks.

Dust masks (particulate respirators) are designed for many different uses from roadwork, hauling, sweeping, sawing, and grinding to nuisance level odor control, and substance specific contaminant filtering. Choosing the right design for your task will increase the usefulness of these devices.


Restricting the total time workers are exposed to an air contaminant is an important method of respiratory protection. Properly used, dust masks protect workers from hazards but a dust mask does not eliminate the hazards. A dust mask is a form of personal protective equipment; however, if a dust mask is inappropriate for a particular airborne hazard, the user risks exposure. Appropriate protection depends upon selecting, wearing, and using the correct personal protective equipment properly.

“Clean air is a basic right. The responsibility to ensure that falls to us.”

Tom Carper, US House of Representatives

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