At the urging of its members, the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association has developed a CSDA Safety Manual for contractors, manufacturers and specifiers in the industry who need to know the best practices to ensure a safe working environment in the concrete cutting industry. This safety manual has been developed to assist concrete cutting contractors in establishing safety and health programs that will benefit both employees and company. It is intended to provide a starting point for developing company-specific safety programs.
The CSDA Safety Manual was written specifically for concrete sawing and drilling operations and is divided into a Field Safety Manual and a Reference Section. The CSDA Safety Committee worked with CSDA contractors and manufacturers to compile the information that can be found in the new safety manual.
“It has really been a hands-on project for CSDA members,” said Susan Hollingsworth, chairperson of the CSDA Safety Committee. “We had CSDA members contribute to the content, help proof the manual and they were involved every step of the way,” she said.
Operators in the field can use the Field Safety Manual section to identify company specific safety policies related to key issues of operation. This section includes a sample policy statement, safety program responsibilities and sections on electrical safety, vehicle safety policies, accident reporting, roadway safety policies and employee safety orientation. The Field Safety Manual section also contains general safety rules and safe work practices for flat sawing, wall sawing, core drilling, hand sawing, chain sawing and wire sawing.
“We hope contractors will recognize that the CSDA Safety Manual would be a good addition to their companies to promote a safe work environment and best practices on the job,” Hollingsworth said.
The Reference Section is designed to serve as a guide to additional topics that may affect the overall company safety program. This section contains reference sections with information on scaffolding, fall protection, trenching, silicosis prevention, respirator programs, hearing conservation programs, bloodborne pathogen programs and confined space entry programs. The Reference Section also contains the CSDA Specifications for the concrete cutting industry.
“Companies that follow a formalized safety program benefit from safer job sites, fewer injuries and ultimately more profitable jobs,” said John Schumacher of Assurance Agency, Ltd., who CSDA contracted to write the manual. “If your company does not have a safety program, or if you are using a generic one, the CSDA Safety Manual will help you start improving your safety program,” he said.
The new CSDA Safety Manual is available for $125.00 for CSDA members and $500.00 for non-members. It compliments the CSDA Safety Handbook, introduced by CSDA in 2000. If you would like to order the new CSDA Safety Manual or the CSDA Safety Handbook, contact the CSDA office via phone at 727-577-5004, via fax at 727-577-5012, or order online at www.csda.org.
CSDA Announces New Toolbox Safety Tips
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The CSDA Safety Committee recently introduced Toolbox Safety Tips (TST's), the newest resource for CSDA members. These colorful handouts are designed to be an important part of safety programs for concrete cutting companies. The TST's offer information on specific job site hazards and provide instructions on safety topics required by many government organizations such as OSHA. They are a professional way for companies to communicate to employees that health and safety are important issues.
At the start of a shift or at safety meetings, supervisors can distribute the TST’s and review them with their operators. The first four TST’s addressed back injuries, defensive driving, mobilizing procedures, and craning and rigging procedures. The most recent set of TST’s, issued in March, addressed scaffold safety, layouts and locates, electrical safety and pinch points. Additional TST's will be issued periodically throughout the year.
Although TST's are not a substitute for formal training, they can be used when preparing more in-depth employee training. They can also help document a company’s good faith effort for a safety program in the event of an OSHA inspection and can help provide a record of training in case of an injury or lawsuit. CSDA provides a Toolbox Safety Meeting Report sign-off sheet to assist in collecting such documentation.
The Toolbox Safety Tips project is one of many CSDA initiatives designed to promote safety and training in the concrete sawing and drilling industry. For more information, call CSDA at 727-577-5004.
Personal Protective Equipment
By John Schumacher, Assurance Agency
Safety conscious concrete sawing and drilling companies readily use personal protective equipment (PPE). Use of PPE is generally low-cost and can prevent thousands of dollars of injuries and may prevent a fatal injury.
OSHA standard 1926.95- requires that all employees utilize PPE as needed, depending on their exposures. The employer is responsible to ensure that employees have the proper equipment and are trained how to use it correctly. Each employer should conduct a Personal Protective Equipment Hazard Assessment. This is a formal review of the operations of the company and the PPE that is required to provide the necessary protection for employees.
A key area some employers overlook is training. Employees must receive training on the proper selection, inspection, use and limitations of the PPE that is used. This may seem too basic when you consider hard hats and safety glasses, but it is vital to employee safety with other PPE including respirators and fall protection equipment.
The following is a summary of some of the more common pieces of personal protective equipment that are used during concrete sawing and drilling operations.
OSHA Standard 1926.102-
Safety glasses are the most basic form of personal protective equipment. If eye injuries are possible, approved safety glasses are a must. Approved safety glasses have an imprint of Z-87.1. This indicates that American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approves them.
Safety glasses should be a required piece of equipment at all times. Companies that have adopted an “upon exposure” policy often find their employees working without safety glasses because they “forgot” to put them on when they began a cut or other at-risk operations.
OSHA Standard 1926.100-
Hard hats are another key piece of safety equipment. Approved hard hats meet ANSI Z89.1 standards and should be labeled as such. The two key safety elements of hard hats are the shell and the suspension.
The shell of the hard hat will provide protection from falling objects and serve as a barrier. The suspension of the hard hat will absorb and distribute the impact force across the crown of the skull. In doing so, the impact force is substantially lessened.
Hard hats must be maintained in good condition. Hard hats with cracked shells or damaged suspensions need to be removed from use. Holes should never be drilled into hard hats to provide “ventilation.” Drilling holes in the shell will reduce the strength and the protection factor of the shell.
OSHA Standard 1926.96-
Protective footwear may vary based on operations. Solid over-the-ankle, leather work boots should always be worn and will provide protection from abrasions and twisted ankles. If removal of concrete sections is required, safety toe or metatarsal-protective footwear is needed.
In general, safety toe shoes are recommended for use by employees engaging in concrete sawing and drilling operations. Depending on the degree of hazard, metatarsal covers would be best. Metatarsals provide protective covering from the tip of the boot and the top of the foot. Metatarsal-protective footwear is recommended for demolition operations.
OSHA Standard 1926.134-
Respirators provide protection from airborne particles that cause lung damage or that may be toxic. The proper type of respirator will vary on the exposure. During concrete cutting operations, respirator protection is usually used to provide protection from dusts and mists. Employees who wear respirators must be trained according to a safety program that provides for respirator fit testing, medical evaluations, and training in use and limitations of the respirators.
All respirators are not the same. When using a (paper) dust mask respirator, use only those that are recognized by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Single-strap paper dust masks do not provide protection from dangerous dusts or mists. You should consult the safety supply company your company utilizes to ensure you are providing the proper respirators for your employees.
Silica dust may be a primary exposure during concrete sawing and drilling operations. The first line of defense against exposure to silica dust is to utilize wet cutting methods. The use of respirators is a secondary protection method to be used only after wet methods of cutting or other engineering controls are considered.
Fall Protection Equipment
OSHA Standard 1926.104-
Fatalities from falls represent over 30 percent of fatalities in construction. Use of personal fall arrest equipment is one way to reduce the statistics. Employees exposed to falls of six feet or more are required to be protected. Use of a safety harness is generally the choice when safety railings, floor hole covers or nets are not available. A harness is one of several pieces of equipment that is considered part of a personal fall arrest equipment kit. The kit would include the harness, anchor attachment, rope, lanyard and possibly a retractable lifeline.
Employees must be trained on the proper use, inspection and limitations of their personal fall arrest equipment. Quite often, the supplier of the equipment will provide no-cost training for your employees. The training should include proper inspection and fit of the harness as well as identifying safe anchor points and proper use of anchor attachment equipment.
OSHA Standard 1926.101-
Use of hearing protection is a matter of common sense when engaged in concrete sawing and drilling operations. The noise level reduction values may vary somewhat between earplugs and earmuffs. When using earplugs, they should be changed often to limit the potential for ear infection from inserting dirty plugs into the ear. Employee training should include proper insertion of the earplug into the ear canal. For the best fit and protection, the employee should pull up slightly on the top of the ear with one hand to straighten the ear canal while inserting the earplug. This method will provide a better fit and overall noise reduction.
Earmuffs can be very effective. However, their effectiveness may be reduced when employees are wearing safety glasses because it may affect the fit over the ear. It is important to note that safety glasses are recommended at all times.
If employees are exposed to noise levels averaging greater than 90 dBA over eight hours, administrative or engineering controls must be utilized. Administrative controls may include job rotation as well as implementing a hearing conservation program. Engineering controls may include methods to actually reduce the noise levels.
Working Over Water:
OSHA Standard 1926.106-
Employees working over or near water, where the danger of drowning exists, must be protected by an approved life jacket. In addition, ring buoys with at least 90 feet of rope must be available. Distance between ring buoys may not exceed 200 feet. At least one life-saving skiff (boat) must be available for rescue when working over or near water.
High Visibility Clothing:
Employees working in or near the roadway must wear high-visibility clothing or a vest. The purpose is to identify location of workers to motorists. The requirements for specific color of the clothing may vary depending on operation. For example, high-visibility orange for workers and high-visibility lime green for flaggers. Local jurisdictions may have additional requirements for total square inches of high-visibility clothing and reflective qualities.
This article was submitted by John E. Schumacher, CSP with Assurance Agency, LTD., Rolling Meadows, Ill. For more information, call 847-951-7539.