Protect workers from pre, post hurricane injuries
The Louisiana Workers' Compensation Commission is encouraging employers to look beyond some of the obvious items included in their storm prep materials.
The 2013 hurricane season is under way and continues through November. While stocking up on first aid kits, batteries, bottled water, and other supplies is important, the LWCC says employers would also be wise to include safety precautions as well.
The most common nonfatal workplace injuries -- soft tissue sprains and strains as well as slips and falls -- are also high-risk factors for workers preparing for or cleaning up after a major storm. The LWCC suggests employers:
- Reduce lifting hazards by using mechanical equipment to move items where possible. If the employee must manually move an item, he should first determine the weight of the object, then clear any obstructions from the intended path of travel.
- Increase ladder safety by maintaining three-point contact with it, meaning have two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder at all times. Also, A-frame and extension ladders should not be set up on bricks or other materials that can render the ladder unstable. Workers should also be told to avoid climbing ladders with tools or equipment in their hands.
- Use caution when using a chain saw by wearing personal protective equipment. Chain saws should be started on the ground with the brake engaged. The chain saw should be allowed to cool before it is refueled, and the worker should move at least 20 feet from the spot of fueling before starting the saw.
- Use small power tools properly to avoid injuries from debris striking the worker, foreign matter in the eyes, or electrocution. Ensure the case of an electric drill is not cracked before use since that could lead to exposure to an electrical current. The drill should not be used while the worker is standing in water.
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 9, 2013
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