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If you are a parent, uncle or aunt, brother or sister, you have, most likely, encountered moments to teach safety to young children. For example, looking both ways when crossing the street or enforcing the use of a bike helmet when out riding a bike, scooter, or roller blades. Then, as our children mature, those safety opportunities turn into teaching the correct way to use a knife, power tools, or even a ladder. Finally, our children will some day enter the work force, and like any newcomer to the job,  will benefit from our willingness to lead safety through example.

So what exactly is leading safety through example? It's simply placing safety as the priority when working at home or on the
job. When we all work safely, new employees benefit by seeing operations conducted the safe way and will pass this knowledge along to other employees. 

New employees who have never held a job before or were employed by a firm that had a weak safety program probably will need considerable safety instruction. Here at Donley's, our Safe-D program gives our employees the tools and skills to work safely; the shared mind set that safety is everyone's responsibility is reinforced through the observation of fellow co-workers.  There is no doubt that early impressions are lasting impressions.  

So remember, the next time you find your safety glasses resting on your forehead rather than in place over your eyes, someone is watching you lead. When an empty water bottle is just kicked around the site rather than being placed in a trash can, someone is observing your commitment to safety. Let your actions say, "I believe in wearing eye protection so that I can see the sun rise tomorrow. I know trash can cause a tripping accident, and I care about my co-workers safety."

Accidents are a reality. Become the kind of leader that teaches safety through example and set in motion a safer future for all.

Todd Jenkins is the Regional Safety Manager for Donley's, LLC. 
Learn more about Donley's safety program.
Setting a good example is not a put-on.  It’s simply working safety into your daily routine at home and on the job.  In fact, new employees benefit by seeing operations conducted the safe way. Through observation and via interaction with fellow workers, working safe becomes learned behavior and will eventually become routine.  

Actions will always speak louder than words.  When we let our safety glasses resting on our foreheads rather than in place over our eyes, or when we kick an empty water bottle under a bench rather than pick it up, we’re sending the message that safety doesn't really matter.      

There’s another angle to setting good examples.  Too often people dress to impress others rather than with a focus on safety.  Always dress for the job as it will give way to the more important and more beneficial images of safety.  Wearing rings, bracelets, and other ornaments is dangerous on a joist as it could get caught by the moving parts of machinery.  Long sleeves, floppy pant legs, and long hair can be hazardous on some jobs as well.  
Accidents are a reality so make personal safety a priority and set an example for others to follow. 

In construction, portable power tools are used every day and can present their own set of dangers. Minimize potential safety issues by making it a habit to start with a tool inspection before you plug in. 

  • Does the tool have a damaged or cracked housing, power source, or bits/accessories?
  • Does the tool have a dull blade? Dull blades are often more dangerous than sharp blades.
  • Are there missing guards or protective devices?
  • Is the unit leaking gasoline, oil, or other fluids?
  • Does the tool appear to be in poor condition?
  • Does the tool have a 3 wire cord, if not is it double insulated?
  • Are there any potential tripping hazards in the work area?
  • Is the work area clean?
Follow the inspection with these twelve best safety practices to ensure you stay safe during tool operation:
  1. Ensure you are wearing the correct PPE
  2. You should always wear eye protection
  3. Use the proper tool for the job
  4. Use tools with a three wire plug and make sure connections are tight
  5. Disconnect tool before making adjustments or repairs.
  6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions
  7. If unsure about use, ask a supervisor or coworker
  8. Insure tools are not pointed at or operated in close proximity to other individuals
  9. Use spark resistant tools when working near a fuel source
  10. Do not use excessive force to cut/drill through hard materials
  11. Never place your hand behind the material you are working on when the tool could push through
  12. Gasoline/Mixed Fuedl powered tools must be off and cool when re-fueled, use only in well ventilated areas

With the approach of warmer weather, the opportunity for dehydration leading to heat disorders in construction workers also increases. Below are symptoms of some of the most common heat disorders to be aware of the temperatures climb. 

Heat Stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder and occurs when the body's temperature regulation fails and body temperature rises to critical levels. It is a medical emergency that can result in death. Be aware of the signs:
  • confusion
  • irrational behavior
  • loss of consciousness
  • convulsions
  • a lack of sweating
  • hot, dry skin
  • abnormally high body temperature
If a worker shows signs of possible heat stroke, professional medical treatment should be obtained immediately. Until professional medical treatment is available, the worker should be placed in a shady, cool area and the outer clothing should be removed. Douse the worker with cool water and circulate air to improve evaporative cooling. Provide the worker fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible.

Heat Exhaustion, another common heat disorder, is only partly due to exhaustion; it is a result of the combination of excessive heat and dehydration. Signs and symptoms include:
  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • thirst
  • giddiness
Fainting or heat collapse is often associated with heat exhaustion. Workers suffering from heat exhaustion should be removed from the hot environment and given fluid replacement. They should also be encouraged to get adequate
rest, and when possible, ice packs should be applied.

Heat Cramps are usually caused by performing hard physical labor in a hot environment. 

Heat cramps have been attributed to an electrolyte imbalance caused by sweating and are normally caused by the lack of water replenishment. It is imperative that workers in hot environments drink water every 15 to 20 minutes and also drink carbohydrate-electrolyte replacement liquids (e.g., sports drinks) to help minimize physiological disturbances during recovery.

To avoid a heat disorder while performing construction activities, stay hydrated and be alert to the signs of a problem. 

To Minimize Heat-Related Illness
  • Acclimatize workers
  • Have water available to replenish lost fluids
  • Provide cooler, recovery areas should an illness occur
  • Reschedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day
  • Monitor workers

Personal Protective Equipment Plays a Role Too
Reflective clothing, worn as loosely as possible, can minimize heat stress hazards. Wetted clothing, such as terry cloth coveralls or two-piece, whole-body cotton suits are another simple and inexpensive personal cooling technique. It is effective when reflective or other impermeable protective clothing is worn.

Manufacturers even offer a range of water-cooled garments, such as a hood (which cools only the head) to vests and long johns (partial or complete body cooling). Use of this equipment requires a battery-driven circulating pump, liquid-ice coolant, and a container.

Having a fire extinguisher, but not knowing how to use it doesn't do any good, so we are sharing these tips to properly use and inspect your extinguisher.

To Use The Extinguisher
  1. Pull the pin. This will allow you to discharge the extinguisher.
  2. Aim at the base of the fire. If you aim at the flames (which is frequently the temptation), the extinguishing agent will fly right through the fire and will not extinguish it. You want to hit the source of fuel.
  3. Squeeze the top handle or lever. This depresses a button that releases the pressurized extinguishing agent in the canister.
  4. Sweep from side to side. Start using the extinguisher from a safe distance away, then move forward until the fire is completely out. Once the fire is out, keep an eye on the area in case it re-ignites.
How to Inspect
Fire extinguishers should be inspected at least once a month.
  1. Is each extinguisher in its designated place, clearly visible, and not blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that could interfere with access during an emergency?
  2. Is the nameplate with operating instructions legible and facing outward?
  3. Is the pressure gauge showing that the extinguisher is fully charged (the needle should be in the green zone)?
  4. Is the pin and tamper seal intact?
  5. Is the extinguisher in good condition and showing no signs of physical damage, corrosion, or leakage?
  6. Have all dry powder extinguishers been gently rocked top to bottom to make sure the powder is not packing?
There are several types of fire extinguishers and each is specific to types of materials:

Need a last minute gift idea for family or friends? Nothing could be more special than to say happy holidays by giving a gift of safety that just might save their life. 

  1. Smoke detectors and batteries.
  2. A quality fire extinguisher.
  3. A flashlight and batteries or light sticks.
  4. A first-aid kit, for home or car.
  5. An automobile safety kit including jumper cables, flares, fix-a-flat, reflectors.
  6. A carbon monoxide detector.
  7. A mobile phone.
  8. A second floor escape ladder.
  9. An "Emergency kit"- energy bars, water, battery radio, flashlight/light sticks and a first-aid kit packed in a small travel bag.
  10. A kinetic flashlight that doesn’t need batteries.
  11. A weather alert radio.
  12. A radio that runs by cranking rather than batteries.
  13. A talking smoke detector if they have small children.
  14. A bicycle helmet.
  15. A GFCI extension cord.
Many of these items we don't think about until we NEED them or it's too late. Consider giving the gift of safety this holiday season.