Winter Driving


  • Slow down. Drive the conditions, not the speed limit.
  • Avoid doing anything suddenly, such as lane changing or braking.
  • When slowing down or stopping, begin slowing well in advance of your normal slowing
    or stopping distance. Pump the brake pedal if you don’t have Antilock Brake System
    (ABS). If you do have ABS, maintain a steady pressure on the brake pedal – the car’s
    computer will automatically pump the brakes for you.
  • Familiarize yourself with your owner’s manual recommendations for braking and
    steering for skid recovery before the winter season begins.
  • Keep a good distance between you and the car in front of you.
  • Be extra careful approaching bridges and overpasses. They may have snow or ice on
    them even if the rest of the roadway is dry.


Snowplows conduct an important public service – providing the traveling public with the best possible winter driving conditions by plowing and sanding roads. Snowplow operators are concentration on their task and the road conditions in front of them. Please be patient and give the plows plenty of room if you meet one on the road.

Seven Common Accident Causes

Consider this statistic: 80 out of every 100 accidents are the fault of the person involved in the incident. Unsafe Acts cause four times as many accidents & injuries as unsafe conditions.

Accidents occur for many reasons. In most industries people tend to look for “things” to blame when an accident happens, because it’s easier than looking for “root causes,” such as those listed below. Consider the underlying accident causes described. Have you been guilty of any of these attitudes or behaviors? If so, you may have not been injured-but next time you may not be so lucky.

  • Taking Shortcuts: Every day we make decisions we hope will make the job faster and more efficient. But do time savers ever risk your own safety, or that of other crew members? Short cuts that reduce your safety on the job are not shortcuts, but an increased chance for injury.
  • Being Over Confident: Confidence is a good thing. Overconfidence is too much of a good thing. “It’ll never happen to me” is an attitude that can lead to improper procedures, tools, or methods in your work. Any of these can lead to an injury.
  • Starting a Task with Incomplete Instructions: To do the job safely and right the first time you need complete information. Have you ever seen a worker sent to do a job, having been given only a part of the job’s instructions? Don’t be shy about asking for explanations about work procedures and safety precautions. It isn’t dumb to ask questions; it’s dumb not to.
  • Poor Housekeeping: When clients, managers or safety professionals walk through your work site, housekeeping is an accurate indicator of everyone’s attitude about quality, production and safety. Poor housekeeping creates hazards of all types. A well maintained area sets a standard for others to follow. Good housekeeping involves both pride and safety.
  • Ignoring Safety Procedures: Purposely failing to observe safety procedures can endanger you and your co-workers. You are being paid to follow the company safety policies-not to make your own rules. Being “casual” about safety can lead to a casualty!
  • Mental Distractions from Work: Having a bad day at home and worrying about it at work is a hazardous combination. Dropping your ’mental’ guard can pull your focus away from safe work procedures. You can also be distracted when you’re busy working and a friend comes by to talk while you are trying to work. Don’t become a statistic because you took your eyes off the machine “just for a minute.”
  • Failure to Pre-Plan the Work: There is a lot of talk today about Job Hazard Analysis. JHA’s are an effective way to figure out the smartest ways to work safely and effectively. Being hasty in starting a task, or not thinking through the process can put you in harms way. Instead, Plan Your Work and then Work Your Plan!

“It is better to be careful 100 times than to get killed once.” (Mark Twain)

Preventing the Flu

According to CDC, the best way to avoid coming down with the flu is to get vaccinated. Beginning with that step, here the actions you can take to avoid the cold and flu bug and stay healthy this season:

  • Get the flu shot now. Don’t wait to get vaccinated until outbreaks hit. It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and offer protection. The shot, which contains an inactivated virus that cannot cause illness, is recommended for everyone six months old and older. People between 2 and 49 years old may be able to get the vaccination in a nasal spray that contains a weakened form of the virus. A flu shot is needed even by those who got one last year. While the vaccine’s protection will last throughout the entire flu season, it does not last from year to year. In addition, the 2012-2013 vaccination contains protection against some strains that were not part of last year’s version.
  • Wash up. Hands should be washed often and scrubbed with soap and water for 20 seconds. A handwashing survey from Bradley Corporation, maker of plumbing fixtures and washroom accessories, found that most people aren’t scrubbing long enough; 57 percent of respondents estimated they washed their hands for only 5 to 15 seconds. To make sure you’re washing long enough, sing “Happy Birthday” twice (to yourself) while washing and rinsing the germs away.
  • Keep sanitizer handy. Hand sanitizer won’t clean hands that have dirt on them, but an alcohol-based rub can be an option if your hands aren’t visibly dirty and soap and water aren’t available.
  • Keep hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth brings germs into the body.
  • Clean up. Frequently touched common surfaces, such as computer equipment and telephones, should be kept clean. If you need to use a co-worker’s equipment, consider cleaning it first with a disinfectant. Information about an office’s most offensive germ hotspots can be found through The Healthy Workplace Project website from K-C.
  • Avoid close contact with ill people. Avoid shaking hands or coming in close contact with co-workers and others who may have a cold or the flu.
  • Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, and eat nutritious food to be ready to fight infection if a virus invades your body.
  • Cover your cough. If you find yourself coming down with something, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to help keep germs from spreading to those around you. Used tissues should go in the wastebasket.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. Avoid compounding the flu with a case of “presenteeism” — showing up at work but being unproductive because of illness. Staying home will help keep others in your office healthy. CDC recommends that workers stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have respiratory symptoms and a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, or signs of a fever including chills, a flushed appearance, and sweating. Other indications that a person has the flu can include body aches, a runny nose, a headache, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Come-A-Longs & Chain Hoist Safety

Hand operated hoists have many applications in rigging work. Typical applications include hoisting pipe or duct into position for welding or bolting, moving machinery, and lifting engines or equipment during repairs. These devices are simple to operate but misuse can result in sudden failure, property damage, and serious injury. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Inspect the hoist to be sure it is in good condition. Do not use any hoist that appears to have been overloaded. Some things to look for include a bent handle, stretched chain links, broken ratchet teeth, stiff operation or bent hooks. Anything that is cracked, bent, distorted, deformed or broken probably indicates overloading. Don’t use it.
  • You must know the weight of the load you plan to lift. Never attach a load greater than the capacity of the hoist. Never use two hoists to lift a load that is heavier than the rated capacity of either. A shifting load may place the entire load on one hoist, causing failure. Also keep in mind that capacity ratings are based on a new hoist. Age, dirt, wear, and improper maintenance will reduce the lifting capacity.
  • Never put a “cheater bar” on the operating lever or use more than one person to pull the lever. It is a sure sign that the hoist is overloaded if the load can’t be moved by one person using a normal pull.
  • Make sure that the structure your hoist is hanging from is strong enough to support the load you are lifting as well as any possible shock load.
  • Use these devices only in locations that will not expose you to a hazard if you lose your grip or slip; the site of use must also permit you to stand clear of the load at all times.
  • Never operate a hoist in a manner that causes the load chain to bend or slide around objects, such as corners or sharp edges. Do not use load chains or cables as a substitute for a sling.
  • Apply the load evenly. Do not jerk, bounce, or allow the load to swing. Any violent motion or shock loads could easily exceed the capacity of your hoist.
  • Always be sure the load is centered on the hoist before lifting, to avoid a swinging load.
  • Never leave a suspended load unattended, and never work or walk under a suspended load or allow anyone else to do so.

By keeping these things in mind, hoists can be used safely think about it.

Seat Belts

Whether you are driving to work or driving a powered industrial truck at work, safety belt use is important each and every time you get behind the wheel.

Why Safety Belts?

To understand the value of safety belt use, it’s important to understand some of the dynamics of a crash. Every motor vehicle crash is actually comprised of three collisions.

The Car’s Collision

The first collision is known as the car’s collision, which causes the car to buckle and bend as it hits something and comes to an abrupt stop. This occurs in approximately one-tenth of a second. The crushing of the front end absorbs some of the force of the crash and cushions the rest of the car. As a result, the passenger compartment comes to a more gradual stop than the front of the car.

The Human Collision

The second collision occurs as the car’s occupants hit some part of the vehicle. At the moment of impact, unbelted occupants are still traveling at the vehicle’s original speed. Just after the vehicle comes to a complete stop, these unbelted occupants will slam into the steering wheel, the windshield, or some other part of the vehicle interior. This is the human collision.

Another form of human collision is the person-to-person impact. Many serious injuries are caused by unbelted occupants colliding with each other. In a crash, occupants tend to move toward the point of impact, not away from it. People in the front seat are often struck by unbelted rear-seat passengers who have become high-speed projectiles.

The Internal Collision

Even after the occupant’s body comes to a complete stop, the internal organs are still moving forward. Suddenly, these organs hit other organs or the skeletal system. This third collision is the internal collision and often causes serious or fatal injuries.

So, Why Safety Belts? During a crash, properly fastened safety belts distribute the forces of rapid deceleration over larger and stronger parts of the person’s body, such as the chest, hips and shoulders. The safety belt stretches slightly to slow your body down and to increase its stopping distance.

The difference between the belted person’s stopping distance and the unbelted person’s stopping distance is significant. It’s often the difference between life and death.

Courtesy of the National Safety Belt Coalition

Back Injury Prevention

Have you ever given much thought to your back? It s there when you need it, but only if you don’ t abuse it. The back is made up of four major parts. The spine, nerves, muscles, and the spinal cord. There are thirty-three bones in the spine and thirty-one pairs of nerves branching out from the spinal cord. All of them must work together. If they don t, you could end up with anything from a strain to a ruptured disk, fractured vertebrae, and a debilitating disease like arthritis.

  • To help prevent a back injury you should exercise, practice good posture, eat the right foods and watch your weight. Check with your doctor for m uscle strengthening exercises for the back.
  • Other things your can do to prevent back injuries include using work- saving devices – hand trucks, forklifts, wheelbarrows and dollies can assist you. When you have an object to lift that is too heavy or bulky, get help! Ask a co-worker for assistance. Remember, two backs are stronger than one.
  • Now, what can you do when you have to do some lifting? Check out the object to be lifted. Think about how you are going to grasp the load and make sure there is a clear path of travel so you won’ t stumble. Before you lift stand close to the object, bend down at the knees and straddle it, get a good grip, and lift with your legs while keeping your back straight. The secret is to let your legs do the work.
  • It doesn’ t have to be a heavy load – even a small, very light object lifted incorrectly can trigger a back injury.
  • Back injuries can be painful, disabling, paralyzing, and sometimes even fatal. Protect your back by following the guidelines.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Injury due to falls is a major problem in industry today. You always hear about the incidents where an employee fell from a great height and lost his or her life. But there are more common fall injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures, cuts/lacerations, punctures, etc. that can require a trip to the doctor’s office. The pain and suffering from a knee or back injury is very real, and a very realistic concern. Falls from one level to another are certainly pose the highest risk physically, but there are a couple of other types of falls that need to be looked at as well.

How many of you have ever fallen down? What were you doing at the time?
(So, falling from one level to another/from an elevated height is not the only fall hazard.)

Let’s look at the four main categories of falls.

Slipping (same level)

  • Ice on the sidewalks
  • Oil or grease on the floor
  • Loose rugs on waxed (slick) floors
  • Food on the floor after breaks and lunch
  • Pipe, welding rod stubs, or other rolling stock on the floor
  • Trash, debris (ex. sawdust) on the floor

Tripping (same level)

  • Irregular surfaces
  • Lines, cords, hoses in walkways
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Rug edges not flat
  • Work shoes worn/in poor condition

Collisions (same level)

  • Blind corners in hallways and warehouses
  • Equipment, such as forklifts, which swing wide
  • Low clearances

Elevations (different levels)

  • Misjudging a step or handhold
  • Over-reaching on ladders, scaffolds, and man-lifts
  • Unstable ladders (top not secured, feet not prevented from slipping)
  • Food on the floor after breaks and lunch
  • Unguarded edges
  • Not using fall arrest equipment properly/not hooked off

Common Gases-Hazards

Toolbox Safety Talks for Mechanical Construction Workers – Volume VI

TOPIC: Confined Spaces – Common Gases/Hazards #9




  • Entry into pipelines, ductwork, equipment housings, boilers, manholes, sewers, vaults, tunnels, shafts, vessels, pits, tanks, etc. that have limited or restricted means for entry or exit and are not designed for continuous human occupancy.
  • Hot work inside a confined space that could change what would otherwise be acceptable atmospheric conditions to hazardous atmospheric conditions.


  • Oxygen – Levels in confined spaces must be between 19.5% and 23.5%. Levels below 19.5% can lead to immediate organ damage and ultimately death. Also, since oxygen accelerates the rate of combustion, levels that are too high can make the space more susceptible to fires and explosions.
  • Methane – Is highly flammable (it is the main constituent of natural gas). Methane is not considered to be toxic. However, it can displace oxygen in the lungs leading to asphyxiation and suffocation.
  • Carbon Monoxide – Prevents efficient exchange of oxygen in the circulatory system and can be fatal.
  • Hydrogen Sulfide – Is highly flammable, and is considered a toxic substance. It is an irritant that can cause respiratory failure over time if it goes undetected.


  • Continuously monitor the atmosphere inside the space for hazardous gases.
  • Use an appropriate, properly calibrated monitoring instrument with a built-in hazard detection alarm. If the alarm system(s) activates, evacuate the space immediately.

Fire Extinguishers Use

Equipment Control

Equipment/ Control

(vii) Handheld and stand-mounted drills (including impact and rotary hammer drills)
CONTROL: ventilation (local exhaust ventilation or LEV)


Hammer drill, Rotohammer, Roto-hammer

Best Practice Tips

OSHA1 requires the employer to ensure that:

  • The equipment is equipped with a commercially available shroud or cowling with a dust collection system that provides at least the minimum air flow required by the manufacturer
  • The shroud or cowling is intact and installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • The hose connecting the tool to the vacuum is intact and without kinks or tight bends
  • The filter(s) on the vacuum are cleaned or changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • The dust collection bags are emptied to avoid overfilling
  • A HEPA-filtered vacuum is used when cleaning holes; compressed air can be used in conjunction with a HEPA-filtered vacuum or hole cleaning kit designed for use with compressed air
  • Additional exhaust is provided as needed to minimize the accumulation of visible airborne dust when operating indoors or in an enclosed space (area where airborne dust can build up)

Other tips:

  • Check the air flow rate to ensure it is equal to or greater than recommended by the manufacturer
  • Visually inspect the drill, hood (shroud or cowl) and the dust collection system to ensure they are properly connected
  • Visually inspect the drill, hood (shroud or cowl) and the dust collection system for missing or damaged parts
  • Check the drill, hood (shroud or cowl), and dust collection system regularly to ensure the system is operating so that no visible dust2 is emitted from the process once the drill has entered the substrate (material)
  • Check and replace the filter and empty the dust collection unit, and use filters and collection bags for collecting silica dust
  • If applicable, regularly check the automatic filter cleaning system to ensure it is operating properly to maintain maximum air flow and suction power and can be used in conjunction with the HEPA filter