A man working for a termite company in Daytona Beach suffered from third-degree burns after being shocked by a power line last week. He was the second man in the company that day to be exposed to the dangerous power lines while on the job. While neither men died, they did sustain injuries that underscore the importance of elaborate workplace safety measures.
The workers were setting up a tent to fumigate the business when the second man backed into the power line suffered “an entrance wound to his arm and an exit wound to his foot,” that caused the third-degree burns, the fire department told WFTV.
The incident could leave workers wondering what can be done to better protect them while they’re on the job. Here, we’re presenting a work site safety checklist that might be helpful for Daytona Beach employees on construction sites.
Personal Protective Equipment
Before stepping into and analyzing your surroundings, it is always important to protect yourself from head to toe.
While a worksite can be dangerous, something as simple as a hard hat and proper construction boots could go a long way. These materials, known as PPE, are often supplied by the employer free, as are hearing, eye, and respiratory protection when necessary.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that all employers train their employees on proper usage of such protection equipment in language and vocabulary they can understand. Also, employers must know when protective equipment is needed on the job.
Working a few feet off the ground? Employees must be provided with proper fall protection at a worksite, according to OSHA. Open-sided floors or platforms, such as a roof, that is six feet or higher must be guarded with things like rails or a safety net. Holes greater than two inches in dimension, for example, must be protected by covers or guardrails, while open sides of stairs and stair landings must be protected by a guard and handrail.
If you are working above ground, a personal fall arrest system, or PFAS, is necessary. Any harnesses worn by the worker must be worn and adjusted correctly, with PFAS components being compatible and used according to manufacturer’s instructions, according to OSHA.
Also, PFAS like lifelines and lanyards should be protected against abrasion and cutting and anchorages must be independent of any platform anchorage and capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds per worker, OSHA says. Also make sure that a thorough inspection of any scaffolding is conducted by a competent person at the beginning of a shift.
Protection from electrical equipment and areas is a huge safety concern on any job. Power tools, for example, must be in good condition, while cords and plugs must be heavy duty and not damaged.
The nonprofit organization Center for Construction Research and Training believes that work on electrical circuits or energized equipment should only commence after all power sources have been identified, de-energized, and locked or tagged out. All overhead and underground electrical power lines must be located, identified, and avoided.
Also, ladders, scaffolds, equipment, or any other materials must remain 10 feet away from any electrical power line. Look around to make sure your surroundings comply to such safety measures before you start working.
It’s been a brutally hot summer across the country, and Florida is no exception to the heat. Employees working outdoors must be extremely cautious when temperatures rise above normal. Unfortunately, OSHA does not require employers to provide air-conditioning in the summer, or even heat during the winter months.
But the organization does require that employers provide a safe working environment that allows for adequate breaks and hydration to all employees. This includes providing workers with water, rest and shade, and modifying work schedules to allow for enough breaks should the temperatures rise.
OSHA also recommends that employers establish a complete heat illness prevention program. This means training employees to recognize and prevent heat-related illnesses.
Workers are often exposed to hazardous materials and substances, sometimes without even knowing it. Many OSHA standards require employers to run tests in the work environment to find if employees are being exposed to harmful levels of hazardous substances, such as lead or asbestos. Even high levels of noise and radiation are considered dangerous.
First and foremost, employers are required to have an abatement plan in place that is on file at the worksite. An abatement plan is a report that breaks down ways in which an employer or company fixes the problem, certifies that it has been fixed, and notify its employees that the issue has been resolved.
Furthermore, employees who are handling hazardous materials must be properly trained and certified to handle such substances, and containment systems and proper storage and disposal must be in place.
These are only some of multiple safety measures that you and your employers should keep in mind when entering and working on site. Under the OSH Act, all workers have the right to report their employers, without retaliation, if they feel that they are being exposed to a potential workplace hazard or violation.
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to an unsafe workplace in the Daytona Beach area, you may be able to take legal action. Read more to learn about how our attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can help you after a workplace accident. If you’re ready to pursue a claim, fill out our free, no-risk, case evaluation form today.