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Published with Business Publishing Group for client Qual-Craft Industries

Where is your safety net?

Aw, c’mon, how many legs do you really need? You can spare that eye, can’t you? What do you need two hands for? Are your knees really that important? Strange questions? Yes, but even stranger is how careless people are when it comes to protecting themselves, particularly at work. Even stranger yet is the question - why is safety always assumed to be boring and irrelevant?

“Safety on the Job.” You hear it often, but what does it mean? In fact, you may hear it so often you just plain ignore it. But, what it can mean is the difference - literally - between life and death, and that means your life and death. Sound scary? It should. By ignoring safety you’re messing with your life, it’s as simple as that.

“Working safely is not boring and certainly not irrelevant.”

Working safely is not boring and certainly not irrelevant. Qual-Craft Industries is dedicated to creating safe work environments. It is one of the company’s highest priorities because lives are at stake. We state upfront that “the most important feature about any type of construction equipment is that it is specifically designed to make the job easier, safer, and more productive.” Working safely ensures you more years with your family, more years of golf, gardening, dancing, listening to music, or just breathing easily. No spouse wants to receive that phone call from the hospital. No child wants to be told “Daddy’s hurt himself and won’t be able to work,” or “Mommy can’t pick you up from school today.” To make sure those phone calls never happen can depend upon how safely you work. Educate yourself about safety, what to expect and what to look for at a job site. Safety is a matter of common sense and education.

Safety is definitely a two-way street: the employer must implement a solid safety program for the work place, but the employee must do his or her part and adhere to that program. Eliminating danger and working safely really is basic common sense. Add to that good sound rules for working safely on a job site and you will ensure that everyone on the job site is working safely. Knowing that your employer has created a safe work environment ensures a day full of satisfying work, not worry. Knowing that your work mates are working safely alongside you will give you peace of mind. You won’t spend your days looking over your shoulder wondering what’s going to fall on you, spill on you, blow up in your face.

““Safety on the job.” You hear it often, but what does it mean?”

How many times have you heard - “that’s an accident waiting to happen!” Well, how about never having to hear that again? Let’s throw a statistic out here - in 1999 there were 5.7 million occupational injuries and illnesses among workers in this country. Approximately 6 out of every 100 workers experienced a job-related injury or illness, and over 6,000 workers lost their lives on the job. So, you can see, “safety on the job” is pretty darned important. In fact, it’s even more important than getting the job done quickly. Often speed creates danger. But getting the job done safely and quickly is the best outcome for everyone.

Ease, safety and productivity all work seamlessly together to create the best finished product. If you’re not worried about the safety of the equipment you’re working with or the place you’re working at you’ll get more done - it’s as easy as that.

Safety is no joke!

Look at these incidents - Chris and Bob were roofing on a pump jack scaffold when the scaffold became overloaded and broke. Both fell 12 feet to the ground - Bob died.

Sean and Phil were erecting an aluminum pump jack scaffold. As they were raising the second aluminum pole it contacted an overhead power line. Sean died and Phil suffered severe burns over his entire body.

Ray climbed up the frame of a 45-foot high tubular welded frame scaffold to check on Jeff who was sandblasting inside a stack at a steam plant. The scaffold was not equipped with guardrails and there was no access ladder. After talking with Jeff Ray tripped, fell and died.

Of the 510,500 injuries and illnesses that occur in the construction industry annually 9,750 are related to scaffolds and many of these result in death.

Job sites are jam-packed with potential hazards - there’s equipment, chemicals, fire, materials, noxious fumes... There are any number of ways you can hurt yourself - you can cut yourself, fall and break a limb, spill chemicals on your skin, get chemicals in your eyes, burn yourself, breathe in dangerous fumes, you can lose your hearing, lose your sense of smell, get electrocuted - the list goes on. Safety on the job is an ongoing collaboration between the employer and the employee. It is the employer’s responsibility to create a safe work environment, but it is the employee’s responsibility to abide by the safety rules set by the employer. How many times have you seen painters or even tree workers spraying chemicals with no face masks on? When asked the employer will say “I give them masks, they don’t wear them.” It cannot be stressed enough that both have to work together. If this happens then you have a place that’s safe to work in.

“Safety is no joke!”

Education begins with knowledge of what constitutes a hazard. A clean tidy site is usually an indication that it’s going to be a safe, or safer, site. But don’t assume it’s safe take responsibility and make sure. Look around - are there electrical cords lying around unattended? Are their piles of debris containing who-knows-what? Are their nails sticking out of boards? Are their containers of chemicals sitting around open or unlabeled? Is the equipment in good working order? Is it the right equipment for the job? Are the ladders secure? Are there wash places close by in case of spills? Is there protective clothing available? Are there first-aid kits available? These are questions we at Qual-Craft believe are extremely important.

But you’re not on your own when it comes to figuring out how to handle safety at a work place. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, was created in 1971 to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. Once of the nicest statistics you’ll read is that since the agency was created these have declined by 40 percent. OSHA provides extensive information on how to make a work site safe, and what to do in the case of an emergency. The agency has created industry-specific safety standards that must be adhered to at a work site, and there are substantial penalties for failing to do so. Employers can get help from OSHA through their Consultation Program for free on-site assistance in identifying and correcting hazards, or setting up safety and health programs. OSHA also offers training in workplace safety.

OSHA has very specific requirements for every aspect of a work place and for solving any emergencies that may occur. Employers are mandated to implement safety and health programs, and must make their employees aware of them through on-the-job training and education. For instance, all equipment in use at a site must have instructions fully accessible to the operator, the equipment must be in good working order, and it must be the correct equipment for the task. All equipment and tools should be maintained on a regular schedule, and inspected on a regular schedule.

If a job calls for protective clothing such as harnesses, hard hats, goggles, viers, breathing apparatus, chemical suits, this must be available. Signs should be posted at the areas that require protective clothing.

Sites must have up-to-date Material Safety Data Sheets, MSDS, for any chemical materials in use. The MSDS must list all the ingredients, physical data, health hazards, spill and leak procedures, fire and explosion hazards, reactivity data, special protection and precautions, and the description, name, and hazard class of the material. Furthermore, all containers must be clearly labeled and chemicals must be in their correct containers.

Specifically designed wash areas must be accessible and in good, clean working order. This in the event that a worker either spills chemicals on themselves, gets something in their eye, cuts themselves, or just needs to clean up.

Doorways and passage ways must be kept clear of an obstructions and if it is an exit from the site it must not be barred in any way.

Electrical cords must not be frayed, must not be left lying around, must not be exposed to moisture, and should be coiled neatly when not in use. If the job calls for them to be stretched across a pathway they must be fixed down in such a way as to prevent tripping.

Spills should be cleaned up immediately and in the approrpiate way depending on what was spilled. This will prevent contamination and slipping.

If a worker gets in the eye it must be washed out for a specific amount of time under running water.

Safety instructions and warning signs must be posted and clearly visible.

There should be somebody on site at all times who is trained in emergency procedures such as CPR. But workers should also take responsibility for their own safety and health.

If a job specifies a partner there’s a reason for that - make sure you have a partner - don’t try to do a job alone.

Instructions are written for a reason. Pay attention to them. Don’t leave anything to chance. OSHA is very specific about its standards - nothing is left to guesswork.

“How many times have you heard - “that’s an accident waiting to happen!””

Qual-Craft is committed to solving the construction industry’s problems through excellence in engineering, service, and quality. This attention to the quality of engineering ensures safe secure equipment on site. All our products are designed with safety uppermost. Ray would not have fallen from the scaffold at the tank stack if the site had been using Qual-Craft roof brackets. These are designed to hold workers and materials in place with a platform retainer and our unique locking mechanism.

The reusable Qual-Craft roof anchors are constructed of heavy, welded steel designed to be used with our personal Fall Arrest System, that incorporates one anchor for each person at any one time. The Fall Arrest Harnesses are full body harnesses with adjustable waist, leg, and shoulder straps. A large forged D-ring on the back provides secure anchorage for lanyard. Furthermore, durable, all-metal rope grab with a spring-loaded cam can be placed on the safety line at any point.

Qual-Craft Ladder Hooks are all steel construction for strength, safety, and durability for security in ladder placement. And the Corner Buddy is our corner ladder stabilizer designed to provide safe secure use on corners, flat, round, and multi-dimensional surfaces.

The Staging Brackets we have designed are sturdy steel construction bolts which pass through walls for security. We also provide a platform up to 36” wide with guard rails for a large, safe work area.

Employers and employees should expect the same from each other. Both need to do their part to ensure the safety and health of everyone on a job. At Qual-Craft our dedication to excellence is recognized industry-wide by the performance of our state-of-the-art Ultra-Jack system and scaffolding equipment.

Our products provide the construction industry with safe alternatives.