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UW Oshkosh Risk and Safety

risk.safety@uwosh.edu

Mailing Address:
UW Oshkosh Risk and Safety
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Physical Address:
214 Dempsey Hall
M–F 7:45 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Phone:  920-424-3215

Occupational Safety at UW Oshkosh

This page contains information on occupational safety topics that pertain to a broad spectrum of occupations. Please contact the Campus Safety Coordinator if you would like more safety information on these topics.

Accident Prevention: Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips, trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents.

Second only to motor vehicle accidents, slips, trips and falls are the most frequent accidents leading to personal injury. Slips, trips and falls can result in head injuries, back injuries, broken bones, cuts and lacerations, sprained joints or strained muscles. The Bureau of State Risk Management has identified “slips, trips and falls” as one of the top five causes of workers’ compensation claims over the last six years.

Slip

“slip” occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and walking surface.

Trip

“trip” occurs when a person’s foot contacts an object in their way or drops to a lower level unexpectedly, causing them to be thrown off-balance. A trip most often results in a person falling forward, while a slip most often results in the person falling backward.

Fall

“fall” occurs when you are too far off-balance.

There are many situations that may cause slips, trips, and falls, such as ice, wet spots, grease, polished floors, loose flooring or carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, clutter, electrical cords, and open desk drawers and filing cabinets. Loose, irregular surfaces such as gravel, shifting floor tiles, and uneven sidewalks can make it difficult to maintain your footing. Most slip, trip and fall incidents are preventable with general precautions and safety measures.

Injuries from falls may be caused by a variety of sources. Many of these sources, like curbs, flaws in parking lots and uneven lawns, are not of significant height, but have the potential to cause significant injuries. The best way to prevent injuries such as these is to be aware of where you are going and pay attention to your walking surface.

Report even a minor fall. It could prevent someone from experiencing a more serious injury down the line.

Some of the Factors Contributing to Slips, Trips and Falls Include:

Wet or Slippery Surfaces

Wet or slippery surfaces are a major cause of slips. Highly polished floors such as marble, terrazzo, or ceramic tile can be extremely slippery even when dry and definitely increase the potential for a slip when moisture (spills, rain, snow and mud) is present. Food preparation areas and residential dorm bathrooms and kitchens are also  high risk slippery surfaces.

The following are some simple ways to reduce the likelihood of a slip and/or fall on wet or slippery floors:

  • Use anti-skid adhesive tape in high traffic areas
  • Use absorbent mats in entrance ways during inclement weather. (Caution: Unanchored mats may cause slip hazards themselves. Make sure that mats lie flat and that the backing material will not slide on the floor.)
  • Display wet floor signs when appropriate. Note that signs are a great awareness tool but should not be the only means of control. Clean up spills and wet floors as soon as practical.
  • Have a procedure to deal with spills and ensure spills are reported and cleaned up immediately.
  • Use proper mats in areas that tend to be “spill prone” (bathing facilities, food preparation areas)
  • When wet processes are used, maintain proper drainage or use platform mats

 

If you must walk on a slippery surface:

  • Wear proper footwear for better traction on slippery surfaces
  • Point your feet slightly outward, keeping your center of balance under you
  • Take slow, small steps
  • Use your feet as probes to detect possible slip, trip and fall hazards
  • Get your feet underneath your body quickly to maintain your balance after an initial step
  • Use rails or other stable objects that you can hold onto
  • Protect the more vulnerable parts of your body like your head, neck and spine if you do fall
  • When moving from carpet to tile or dry tile to wet tile, etc., the friction (grip) between the sole of the shoe and the floor surface lessens. Alter your stride to take shorter, slower steps.

 

Environmental Conditions

No matter how well the snow and ice are removed from campus sidewalks, parking lots and the surrounding streets, people will invariably encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. Many cold-weather injuries are the result of falls on ice-covered streets and sidewalks. Walking on snow or ice is especially treacherous.

Getting around on campus in icy conditions calls for planning, caution, and a little common sense:

  • Dress warmly and wear boots with non-skid soles (avoid plastic and leather soles).
  • Keep warm, but make sure you can hear what’s going on around you. Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you, and whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic.
  • A heavy backpack or other load can challenge your sense of balance. Try not to carry too much—you need to leave your hands and arms free to better balance yourself.
  • During the daytime, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards. At night, wear bright clothing or reflective gear. Dark clothing will make it difficult for motorists to see you–especially if they aren’t expecting you.
  • When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as possible. Take notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slippery. Walk carefully.
  • Be prepared to fall and try to avoid using your arms to break your fall. If you fall backward, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head doesn’t strike the ground with full force.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles–use the vehicle for support.
  • Streets and sidewalks that have been cleared of snow and ice should still be approached with caution. Look out for “black ice.” Dew, fog or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces and form an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement. It often shows up early in the morning or in areas that are shaded from the sun.

Insufficient or Inadequate Lighting

Insufficient light can make it difficult to see obstacles and notice changes in the walking surface and is associated with an increase in accidents.

Move slowly where light is dim and pay increased attention to your path of travel. Moving too fast increases the likelihood you will misjudge a step or encounter a hazard before you have a chance to notice it. Moving from light to dark areas, or vice versa, can cause temporary vision problems that might be just enough to cause a person to slip on an oil spill or trip over a misplaced object.

Changes in Elevation

Changes in elevation are a major source of trip accidents. Even a change in walking surface of ¼ – ½” will be sufficient to cause a trip. Curbs, cracks in the sidewalk, ramps and single steps are all examples of these hazards.

Another type of working and walking surface fall is the “step and fall.” This occurs when the front foot lands on a surface lower than expected, such as when unexpectedly stepping off a curb in the dark. A second type of step and fall occurs when one steps forward or down, and either the inside or outside of the foot lands on an object higher than the other side. The ankle turns, and one tends to fall forward and sideways.

Changes in elevation may be unavoidable, but there are some simple ways to reduce accidents caused by these hazards:

  • Watch for bumps, potholes, sidewalk cracks or changes in elevation
  • If you identify a problem area on campus, report it to the Department of Facility Services
  • Climbing or Descending Stairways
  • Nearly half of all falls occur on stairs. Keeping stairs in good repair is essential to preventing accidents. Make sure that stairways have secure handrails and guardrails, even surfaces, even tread heights and are free of deteriorating coverings such as frayed carpet.
  • To prevent an accident, awareness and prevention is key. Here are some simple ways to prevent a fall incident on stairways:
  • Whether going up or down stairs, always use the handrail
  • Make sure stairways are well lit, with on/off switches at the top and bottom
  • Make sure stairways are clear of any obstacles
  • If you are wearing footwear such as high heels or sandals, use extra caution while going up and down
  • If throw rugs are positioned at the top or bottom of stairways, make sure they are secured with a skid-resistant backing
  • Routinely check stairs for loose or worn carpeting
  • Report outdoor stairways if you notice ice, snow or water accumulation
  • When carrying objects up and down steps, be sure you are able to see where you are stepping and hold onto the handrail if possible
  • The chance of fall accidents in stairways increases with inattention, illness, fatigue and haste. Take care when ascending and descending stairways.

Housekeeping Issues in Working and Walking Areas

Proper housekeeping in work and walking areas can contribute to safety and the prevention of falls. Not only is it important to maintain a safe working environment and walking surface, these areas must also be kept free of obstacles which can cause slips and trips. Obstacles could include clutter, obstructions across hallways and material stacked or dumped in passageways, etc.

  • Avoid stringing cords or lines across hallways or in any walkway. If it is necessary to do so, it should be on a temporary basis (i.e., power cords, telephone lines, etc.) and, then the item should be taped down, run overhead or a ramp should run over any cords and hoses.
  • Regular frequent inspections of working and walking areas should be conducted to identify environmental and equipment hazards which could cause slips, trips and falls.
Asbestos

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals (amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and the fibrous varieties of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite) that occur naturally in the environment. Asbestos minerals have separable long fibers that are strong and flexible enough to be spun and woven and are heat resistant.

Because of its mechanical and thermal characteristics, asbestos has been used for a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Some vermiculite or talc products may contain asbestos.

Where is the hazard?

The primary route of exposure to asbestos is through inhalation, however, it can also be ingested. The inhalation of asbestos fibers (which cannot be seen by the naked eye) puts workers at an increased risk for developing the following the following illnesses:

  • Asbestosis — a serious, progressive disease associated with long-term exposure to asbestos that causes damage (called ‘scarring’) to lung tissue. The symptoms of the disease (like shortness of breath) can be managed under the care of a doctor.
  • Lung cancer — Asbestos can result in the development of lung cancer and is one of the leading causes of all types of lung cancers among nonsmokers. Asbestos-exposed smokers have dramatically high rates of lung cancer.
  • Malignant mesothelioma — a rare progressive cancer of the tissue lining the chest or abdomen for which asbestos and similar fibers is the only known cause.
  • Gastrointestinal cancers — have been linked to ingestion of asbestos fibers.

How much asbestos causes illness?

Asbestosis has been associated with chronic exposure to high levels of asbestos. Asbestos workers (i.e., working 40 hours/week for 48 weeks/year) who are smokers, and who are not properly protected, have increased risk of developing lung cancers compared to non-exposed nonsmokers.

Most people do not become ill from the asbestos they are exposed to. Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of asbestos fibers are inhaled over a long time period.  There are no known acute effects associated with asbestos exposure.  Symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, or tearing are more likely the result of allergies to dust or other airborne irritants.

People who become ill from asbestos are almost always those who are exposed on a day-to-day basis in a job where they work directly with the material. As a person’s exposure to fibers increases, either by breathing more fibers or by breathing fibers for a longer time, that person’s risk of disease also increases. It can take anywhere from 10 to 40 years for someone to develop an asbestos-related illness after their exposure. Disease is very unlikely to result from a single, high-level exposure or from a short period of exposure to lower levels.

How could I be exposed to asbestos, and how can I avoid it?

For the general public, the best way to avoid exposure is to avoid breathing in dust from friable asbestos containing materials (ACMs). As stated earlier, many building materials manufactured over a number of decades contain asbestos.  At this time there is no comprehensive list of building materials that have been assessed for the presence of asbestos.

Therefore, many products found in campus buildings are presumed to contain asbestos.

  • Floor tiles, floor tile mastics, plasters, roofing asphalts, drywall and other miscellaneous materials are presumed asbestos-containing materials (PACMs).
  • If these PACMs are in good condition there is no risk of exposure to fibers even if the material actually contains asbestos.
  • The university maintains a record of the locations of PACMs.  When renovations are performed in these locations the PACMs are tested before work begins to determine if asbestos abatement is needed.
  • If the material is “friable,” that is to say crumbling, or disintegrating to form a dust, there is potential for exposure.  If building materials are found in a friable condition they should be tested for the presence of asbestos.  If the test confirms the presence of asbestos, the material must be removed by qualified personnel.

What can I expect to see when asbestos is removed from my workplace?

When asbestos removal work begins the preparation of the job site and the protective equipment worn by contractors can be frightening to behold.  Asbestos workers face chronic exposure over the span of their career.  As such the procedures they follow ensure their long term health and safety as well as the health and safety of their clients.

To protect your health and safety the contractor will take the following precautions at the job site:

  • The work site will be clearly marked as a hazard area. Do enter the area until work is completed.
  • The building’s heating and air conditioning system will be closed off from the work area if it contains supply or return air.
  • The work area will be sealed from the rest of the building using plastic sheeting and duct tape to create a physical barrier that contains dust.  For some repairs, such as pipe insulation removal, plastic glove bags may be adequate.
  • A wetting agent (water) will be applied to the asbestos material with a hand sprayer that creates a fine mist before removal. Wet fibers do not float in the air as easily as dry fibers and will be easier to clean up.
  • The material to be removed will not be broken into small pieces. This could release asbestos fibers into the air.
  • All ACMs, disposable equipment and clothing used in the job will be placed in sealed, leak-proof, and labeled heavy-duty plastic bags. The work site should be visually free of dust and debris.
  • Workers will avoid spreading or tracking asbestos dust into other areas.
  • Upon completion, the entire area will be thoroughly cleaned with wet mops, wet rags, sponges, or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaners.

 

The following guidelines from OSHA detail the precautions taken by asbestos removal professionals to protect their health.

  • Workers involved in demolition and removal of ACMs wear respiratory protection (a NIOSH-approved respirator such as an N-95 or more protective respirator).
  • Workers will wear the respirator while working inside established work zones.
  • The respirators are not required outside of the established work zones as the containment methods make this unnecessary.

 

You can find more information about asbestos from the Environmental Protection Agency at www2.epa.gov/asbestos.

Bloodbourne Pathogens Exposure Control

Exposures to blood and other body fluids occur across a wide variety of occupations. Health care workers, emergency response and public safety personnel, and other workers can be exposed to blood through needle stick and other sharps injuries, mucous membrane, and skin exposures. The pathogens of primary concern are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Compliance with the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard requires that occupationally exposed employees be given training at the time of their initial assignment and at least annually thereafter.

What are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne Pathogens are microorganisms (such as viruses) transmitted through blood, or other potentially infectious material such as certain bodily fluids (semen, breast milk, etc.) or tissues. A virus is a germ that causes sickness. (For example, the flu is caused by a virus.) People can pass viruses to each other.

Bloodborne Pathogens can result in severe and deadly disease in healthcare or research personnel. While Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are of specific importance in the occupational setting, other bloodborne disease include malaria, syphilis, brucellosis, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, cytomegalovirus infection, and viral hemorrhagic fever.

 

How Might I be Exposed to Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bodily fluids, especially those visibly contaminated with blood, are capable of causing disease.

  • Bloodborne pathogens can enter your body through a cut in the skin, through your eyes or mouth. Generally intact skin provides a good barrier to germs and viruses, however if you have a cut or opening in the skin, viruses are able to pass through to your bloodstream.
  • Bloodborne pathogens may also be spread sexually

 

The main diseases of concern in the occupational setting are the Hepatitis B and C virus, and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

 

How Might I be Exposed at Work?

There are several ways in which bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted. The most efficient and common means of exposure in the workplace is percutaneous (through the skin), or the direct inoculation of infectious material by piercing through the skin barrier.

  • Most commonly this would be through an accidental needle stick
  • You could be exposed through a cut from other contaminated sharps (scalpels, broken glass, etc.)
  • You may also be exposed if you touch a surface contaminated with blood and then touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or open wounds or inflamed skin.

 

How Does the University Protect You?

The Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan describes how the university will take steps to minimize or eliminate your potential risks of exposure by:

  • Using “engineering” and “work practice” controls to eliminate or minimize your workplace exposure.
    • “Engineering Controls” are devices that isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogen hazard from the workplace.
    • “Work Practice Controls” include procedures for hand washing, sharps disposal and contaminated material cleaning.
  • When the possibility of exposure remains after engineering and work practice controls have been implemented, personal protective equipment will also be used.
  • Providing training to “at-risk” employees. “At risk employees include:
    • Health staff, plumbers, athletic coaches and trainers, custodial staff, laundry workers, or any job in which the administration of First Aid is part of their job duties. Although your normal work routine involves no exposure to blood, body fluids or tissues, you may be required to clean up a blood spill.
    • Resident Assistants and Security Staff: may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens while responding to a medical emergency situation where blood or other body fluids may be present.

 

  • Providing Hepatitis B vaccinations free of charge to all employees with occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. There will be more information about this vaccination in the training.
  • Using signs and labels to communicate appropriate warnings

 

Standard Precautions

“Standard Precautions” are safety measures that help keep employees protected and healthy when there may be the potential to come into contact with blood or other body fluids.

These precautions help to prevent the spread of infection. You must assume that all blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions except sweat, non-intact skin, and mucous membranes may contain infectious agents. You must treat all blood and body fluids as if they may contain HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.

Some of the practices that reduce the chance of infection include hand hygiene and the use of gloves, gown, mask, eye protection or face shield depending on the anticipated exposure.

If you are involved in any activity involving a possible exposure to blood or other potentially infected materials, make sure to follow all precautions to avoid getting another person’s blood or body wastes on your skin or mucous membranes. Specific information on how to protect yourself will be discussed in the Bloodborne Pathogen Training Program.

 

Engineering and Work Practice Controls

Engineering and work practice controls are the primary methods used to control the transmission of HBV and HIV. This includes providing readily accessible hand washing facilities and hand sanitizers. Even though thorough hand washing is extremely important, soap and water alone have not been shown to kill the Hepatitis B virus. This is why it is necessary to wear disposable, water-impervious vinyl or latex gloves whenever there is a potential for exposure to blood or other bodily fluids visibly tinged with blood and any object contaminated with these fluids.

When hand washing facilities or hand sanitizers are not readily available, either an appropriate antiseptic hand cleanser in conjunction with clean cloth/paper towels or antiseptic towelettes should be used. When you use antiseptic hand cleansers or towelettes, be sure to wash your hands with soap and running water as soon as possible.

Your hands should also be washed as soon as possible after removing gloves or any other personal protective equipment.

When the possibility for a workplace exposure remains after engineering and work practice controls are put in place, personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used.

 

How to Protect Yourself from Infection

If you find a discarded syringe, you must assume that the syringe may have been used by a person infected with a bloodborne disease. Therefore you must be sure not to bend, shear, break or recap the needle. You can use your dustpan and a broom or brush to sweep the needle in the dustpan. The needle should then be placed into a “Sharps” container.

When emptying trash containers, do not use your hands to compress the trash in the bag. If a needle or syringe has been disposed of in the trash and you use your hands to press down on the trash bag there is a possibility that you could be stuck with the needle.

When carrying the trash bag to your cart, make sure to carry it away from your body so that there is no possibility of having a needle break through and pierce your skin.

If you need to clean-up an area that has been contaminated with blood, you must assume that the possibility exists that the blood may contain bloodborne pathogens. Therefore you will need to use the “Personal Protective Equipment” (PPE) available to you before you begin.

This PPE will include: 

  • Disposable gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Protective mask (if the possibility exists that blood may splash on your face during cleanup)
  • If the possibility exists that blood may splash onto your work clothes during cleanup, you should wear some kind of protective clothing (such as a disposable gown or coveralls) to cover your clothes

 

To clean up any blood spills (including dried blood, which can still be infectious):

  • If the blood spill is in a public area, use signs or caution tape to set up a barrier to keep the public away from the area
  • Remove as much visible material as possible with absorbent towels
  • After removing visual remainders of the spill, clean the area with disinfectant/detergent active against BBP (Disinfectant Solution: 1 (one) part household bleach to 10 (ten) parts of water)
  • Apply disinfectant/detergent a final time, allowing agent to set for 10 minutes or to air dry.
  • Remove your gloves being careful not to touch your skin with the contaminated gloves. Refer to Glove Removal Technique for step-by-step instructions
  • Place gloves and all disinfected clean-up materials in a plastic bag and dispose in the regular trash
  • Wash your hands well using liquid, bar or powder soap. Rub hands together vigorously to make a lather and scrub all surfaces. Continue for 20 seconds! It takes that long for the soap and scrubbing action to dislodge and remove stubborn germs. Rinse hands well under running water.

 

Additional Information

Confined Space Program

Confined Space Program

The purpose of the Confined Space program is to protect the health and safety of employees who enter confined spaces and/or are assigned to serve as attendants or rescue personnel.

This program applies to all employees who are authorized to enter a confined space, all employees assigned to serve as attendants and/or provide assistance during a CS emergency rescue and to employees who serve as CS Entry Supervisors and/or CS Entry Program Administrators.

Prevention

The best way to survive an emergency involving a confined space is to avoid having the emergency.

These procedures assume that workers entering a confined space will follow procedures established for routine entry into confined spaces. While some of the requirements may seem unusual or cumbersome, the procedures are necessary to prevent emergencies or to help workers survive a confined space emergency.

Workers must complete the “Confined Space Entry Permit,” follow the precautions listed on the permit and any other specific procedures established.

 

CONFINED SPACE — a space that meets all the following criteria:

  • is large enough to bodily enter and perform work;
  • has limited means of entry and egress;
  • is not designed for continuous employee occupancy; and
  • has one of four hazardous characteristics (e.g., hazardous atmosphere, engulfment, entrapment, or other safety/health hazard).

Examples may include tanks, silos, boilers, pits, bins, manholes, electrical vaults, grease traps, and hoppers.

Additional information: 

 

Ergonomics at UW Oshkosh

Our goal is to help to provide a safe environment that minimizes potential injuries, decreases cumulative trauma disorders and workers’ compensation expenses, increases productivity, and ensures a healthier work environment.

Ergonomics tips:

  • Be alert for and avoid situations that can cause repeated strains to the arms, hands, back, and neck.
  • Try to maintain a neutral hand or arm position while doing any task.
  • Report to your supervisor any situations that may cause a repeated strain or stress to your body.
  • Avoid situations that may create strains or muscle pulls due to force or position required to complete the task.
  • In order to reduce the possibility of strains, prepare your body by stretching or participating in simple warm-up activities early in your shift.

 

Lifting Guidelines                                       

  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Keep the load close to your body.
  • Move your feet to turn and never twist your body while lifting.
  • Think about your foot position when lifting an object to ensure your feet are safe if the load falls.
  • Get help with heavy or bulky loads.
  • Be alert for pinch points and watch your hand position.
  • Maintain communication with anyone helping you lift.
  • Be alert when carrying long objects that may strike a person or equipment.

UWO Campus and State of Wisconsin Resources:

For additional information contact your supervisor, or Campus Safety Office at (920) 424-4484.

Other Resources:

NIOSH and OSHA Resources:

 

Other Resources:

Fall Protection Information

Fall Protection Information

Falls remain a killer of workers in the construction industry and workers in private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 12 percent of fatal work injuries involved falls.

Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of falls. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how best to protect workers is the first step in reducing or eliminating fall hazards.

Studies have shown that the use of guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers and travel restriction systems can prevent many deaths and injuries from falls. (Source: OSHA.)

Identifying Fall Risks

All fall hazards should be identified at work sites with the potential for elevated work.

Once an elevated fall hazard has been recognized, an appropriate control measure must be selected. Priority should be given to elimination of the fall hazard over the use of fall protection equipment.

The first line of defense in addressing a fall hazard is to identify and eliminate the hazard. If a fall hazard cannot be eliminated, the second consideration would be to assess the workplace and process and implement an effective permanent means of providing fall protection. If a fall hazard cannot be eliminated and changes to the workplace cannot adequately ensure the prevention of falls, the last line of defense should be to control the fall.

Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction. However, regardless of the fall distance, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery. Fall protection must be provided on roofs without 42″ high parapet walls or railings. Workers must use fall protection where required. Supervisors are jointly responsible for ensuring worker’s safety.

Types of Fall Protection Systems

There are two types of fall protection systems: “active” and passive”.

Passive Fall Protection Systems Include:

Active Fall Protection Systems Include:

  • Aerial Lifts and Platforms
  • Guardrails
  • Safety Nets
  • Safety Monitors
  • Barricades
  • Life lines
  • Work positioning
  • Personal Fall Arrest Equipment

Components of a “Personal Fall Arrest System”

A personal fall arrest systems consists of the following:

  • Full-body harness
  • Lanyard
  • Lifeline
  • Snaphooks

A full-body harness consists of nylon and/or polyester straps that encompass the chest, chest and waist or full body. In the event of a fall, a full body harness distributes the fall arrest force over the pelvis, thighs, waist and shoulders.

The attachment of the body harness must be located in the center of the wearer’s back, near the shoulder level, or above the head.

* OSHA Standard: 1926.502(d)(17)

Fall Safety—Theatre

Guardrail Systems in Theatre Catwalks

Many theatre catwalks, like we have at UWO, do not have a standard railing system (e.g., toeboard, midrail, standard rail); rather, many just have a top rail and perhaps a toeboard.

The new 2002 Wisconsin Enrolled Commercial Building Code, Chapter 10 (Means of Egress) addresses the issue. Section 1003.2.12 does offer exceptions to the standard rail system for theatre occupancies:

Specifically, 1003.2.12:

Exception: Guards are not required for the following locations: #5: At elevated walking surfaces appurtenant to stages and platforms for access to and utilization of special lighting or equipment.

Although the building code provides an exception, from a safety perspective, fall protection methods must still be utilized.

Students and workers must follow good work practices including:

  • Ensuring the catwalk is structurally sound and capable of supporting its design loading.
  • Inspecting the catwalk routinely including all welds and bracing members.
  • Being aware of the hazards of catwalks, especially in the presence of corrosive materials.
  • Observing catwalk conditions and reporting any defects immediately.

Contact Information About Fall Protection at UWO:

Campus Safety Coordinator: Lori Welch, welchl@uwosh.edu or (920) 424-0985.

Fall Protection Resources:

  • Sample Fall Protection Program

 

Hearing Conservation and Noise Control

General Information

The purpose is the prevention of occupational hearing loss to employees and compliance with applicable occupational noise control regulations. Where feasible, exposure to noise will be reduced to acceptable limits by using engineering controls such as enclosure or isolation.

Use of personal hearing protection devices will be required while effective engineering controls are being installed or upgraded, or are not feasible.

  • Proper Insertion of Protective Foam Earplugs

 

Other Resources:

Ladder Safety

Select the Appropriate Ladder

The most common cause of ladder accidents involves not selecting the right ladder for the job.

When working indoors, a step stool or stepladder, platform or multi-purpose ladder is usually recommended. For outdoors, a taller step, multi-purpose or extension ladder is often more appropriate.

Always check the duty rating of the ladder you will be using and verify the maximum load. The “duty rating” is the maximum load capacity of the ladder. Do not assume that a longer ladder has a higher duty rating. There is no relationship between length and duty rating. Be sure to select a ladder designed to hold the necessary load, including the worker and equipment.

Duty Ratings:

  • Type IAA: Special-duty rating — 375 lbs.
  • Type IA: Extra heavy-duty rating — 300 lbs.
  • Type I: Heavy-duty rating — 250 lbs.
  • Type II: Medium-duty rating — 225 lbs. (not recommended at UWO)
  • Type III: Light-duty rating — 200 lbs. (not recommended at UWO)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requires that a duty rating sticker be placed on the side of every ladder so users can determine if they have the correct type ladder for each task/job.

Use a fiberglass ladder if there is a possibility of working near electricity or overhead power lines. Fiberglass is electrically non-conducive. Fiberglass ladders are also strong and lightweight, but they are not impervious to the elements. Users should check fiberglass ladders for signs of damage such as discoloration or cracks before using.

Inspect Ladder Prior to Use

Always check for damage prior to using any ladder:

  1. Make sure feet are not broken or malfunctioning and that the slip-resistant pads are secure.
  2. Inspect the ladder for cracks, bends and splits on the side rails, rungs and steps.
  3. Make sure both rung locks are working properly.
  4. Test the rope and pulley. Examine the rope for any signs of fraying. Make sure the pulley is operating smoothly.
  5. Ensure all bolts and rivets are secure.
  6. Make sure the ladder is free of foreign materials such as oil and grease.
  7. If using a stepladder, make sure the spreader braces are secure and working properly.
  8. Aluminum or steel ladders should be inspected for rough burrs and sharp edges.

Proper Use of Ladder

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper use of the ladder. Before starting work, check that the safety feet are positioned properly to prevent slipping. Always place the ladder on a stable surface, clearing debris if necessary.

Make sure the ladder steps are clean and dry and that there are no damaged steps. Check the ladder spreaders and make sure they are locked in place. Wear shoes with slip-resistant soles.

Set–up carefully:

  1. Use a barricade or guard if you will be working in an area with pedestrian traffic to avoid collisions
  2. Lock or block any nearby door that opens toward you
  3. Keep area around base of ladder clutter-free
  4. Make sure the base of the ladder rests on a solid surface
  5. Position a straight ladder at a 4 to 1 ratio (base of ladder should be 1’ away from the vertical surface for every 4 feet of the ladder’s length to support you)
  6. Avoid shifting by tying your ladder down as close to the support point as possible
  7. Always raise extension ladders so that the upper section overlaps and rests on the bottom section. The upper section must always overlap on the climbing side of the extension ladder.

 

Make sure the ladder is long enough for the job.

Climb only as high as the 2nd tread from the top on a step ladder and the 3rd rung from the top on a straight ladder. When working on a roof, the ladder should extend 3’ beyond the support point. When using an extension ladder, place the ladder top so that both rails are fully supported. The support area should be at least 12″ wide on both sides of the ladder.

Hold onto the ladder carefully, ensuring that you don’t reach out too far to either side. Don’t try to move a ladder while you’re on it. If the ladder is not positioned properly, climb down and reposition the ladder closer to your work.

Face the ladder when ascending or descending, keeping your body centered between the rails. Both hands should be placed on ladder rails, not on rungs, maintaining a firm grip when ascending and descending. Maintain 3-point contact at all times. This means that both feet and one hand or one foot and both hands must be in contact with the ladder at all times. If you’re using tools, raise and lower them with a hand line or use a tool belt.

Do not sit on the ladder and never sit or stand on the top cap of a step ladder — it is not designed to carry your weight. Make sure that you transport the ladder properly. Ladders should be carried parallel to the ground.

Extension ladders should have proper overlap, depending on their length:

  • Three foot overlap for 32-foot ladder
  • Four foot overlap for 32- to 36-foot ladder
  • Five foot overlap for 36- to 48-foot ladder
  • Six foot overlap for 48-foot ladder

 

When using an extension ladder, always lower the ladder before carrying or moving it. Because long ladders can be unwieldy, whenever possible have someone help carry and set up the ladder.

Never push or pull anything sideways while on a ladder. This puts a side load on the ladder and can cause it to tip out from under you.

Other Resources:

 

Leadership's Safety Information

The responsibility for the health and safety of assigned employees is primarily vested in the leader. Leaders play a critical role in ensuring understanding of safety practices, and providing incentive to do things right.

Every Wisconsin State Agency has a legal obligation to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace for its employees according to Wisconsin State Statute 101.055.

In addition, each agency is required by Executive Order #194 to develop and implement a written comprehensive health and safety program to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries and illness. State of WI Executive Order #194 – Safety & Loss Prevention

Safety Programs

Leaders have an affirmative responsibility to set up and maintain a safety program.

The key principles include:

  • personal protection
  • the work environment
  • proper equipment maintenance
  • safety education
  • departmental supervision and control
  • records
  • inspections
  • investigations
  • analysis

 

The UW Oshkosh Campus Safety Office (x4484) is available for consultation in any of these areas.

In addition, two valuable resources to assist you in developing your written safety program are A Guide to Developing Your Written Health and Safety Program, and Safety Fundamentals for Supervisors. These are published by the Wisconsin Bureau of State Risk Management.

The leader must continually review safety measures for their relationship to the physical wellbeing of every student, visitor, and employee on the campus. The following is a list of some of the principle responsibilities that leaders have in the area of health and safety for all employees under his or her supervision.

Development of Proper Attitudes

  • The leader is responsible for the development of the proper attitude toward health and safety in all workers under his/her leadership. There is no single way to develop such an attitude. However, the following two activities will help promote the development of a positive attitude:

i.     Personal Example — the leader must set the proper example by his/her personal behavior. When a work area or situation requires personal protective apparel, the leader must also use the necessary apparel. In addition, the leader must never act unsafely or violate a safety rule or an established safe work practice.

ii.     Acceptance of Responsibilities — the leader can best convince other employees of the importance of health and safety issues by carrying out his/her safety responsibilities conscientiously and with conviction.

Knowledge of Safe Work Procedures

  • The leader is responsible for knowing the safe work procedures that must be used to perform each job task. It is also his/her responsibility to know what personal protective equipment is needed for each task and how this equipment must be properly used and maintained.

Orientation and Training of Employees

  • It is the leader’s responsibility to train and instruct employees so they can perform their work safely. This includes the proper use of machinery, hand tools, and the use of chemicals and other hazardous materials. The leader should also stress the importance of proper body mechanics and lifting techniques to prevent back and other related injuries. Special attention and instruction should be given to new employees or employees who have been recently assigned to a new job or different job duties. All training provided by the leader should be documented.

Detection of Employee Personal Difficulties

  • The leader should make every reasonable effort to observe each worker under his/her supervision some time during each workday. It is the leader’s responsibility (within reasonable limits) to detect personal difficulties such as illness or disability among his/her workers. When such conditions are detected, proper action should be taken.

Enforcement of Safe Practices and Regulations

  • It is the leader’s responsibility to enforce safe work practices and procedures. Failure to do so invites an increase in unsafe acts and conditions.

Conducting Planned Observations

  • The leader should conduct planned observations of his/her employees for the purpose of insuring compliance with safe work practices. Whenever unsafe acts are observed, the leader should inform the worker immediately and explain why the act was unsafe. Depending upon the circumstance, disciplinary action may be warranted.

Prevention of Unsafe Conditions

  • Many unsafe conditions are the result of what employees do or fail to do properly. It is the leader’s responsibility to train and periodically remind employees of what conditions to look for, and how to correct or report these conditions.

Conducting Planned Safety Inspections

  • The leader should conduct periodic inspections of tools, vehicles, machinery and assigned work areas. Planned inspections are an effective and systematic method of discovering physical conditions that could contribute to a work injury.

Conducting Safety Meetings

  • The leader should periodically conduct safety meetings to help increase safety awareness and keep employees informed about their organizations health and safety programs. Safety meetings should be kept short and cover relevant topics such as recent job accidents or specific job hazards.

Correcting Unsafe Conditions

  • The leader should take immediate steps to correct unsafe conditions within his/her authority and ability. When an unsafe condition cannot be immediately corrected, the leader should take temporary precautionary measures. A follow-up system should also be used to ensure that corrective measures are completed in a timely fashion.

Investigating Unsafe Conditions

  • The leader is responsible for conducting accident investigations as soon after the accident as possible. All the facts and opinions regarding the causes of the accident should be compiled and documented.

Employee Injury and/or Illness

The leader is also responsible for becoming familiar with Worker’s Compensation so they can advise employees regarding their rights.

Contact the Worker’s Compensation office at 424-2070 for additional information.

Leaders should also become familiar with campus procedures regarding accident reporting, payment of claims, and form completion.

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Information

“Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)” refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

This requires that a designated individual turns off and disconnects the machinery or equipment from its energy source(s) before performing service or maintenance and that the authorized employee(s) either lock or tag the energy-isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy and take steps to verify that the energy has been isolated effectively.

UWO employees and students involved in the LOTO program must be given training.

Periodic inspections of the use of the procedures must be conducted to ensure continued effectiveness of the program:

  • Add the lockout procedure
  • Add the written program

 

Other Resources:

Machine Safeguarding

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries. Crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness can be prevented through machine safeguards. Simply put, any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.

Where Mechanical Hazards Occur

Dangerous moving parts in these three basic areas need safeguarding:

  • Point of Operation: is the area where work is being done on a material, such as cutting, shaping, boring, or forming of material.
  • Power Transmission Apparatus: is the area of the mechanical system that transmits energy to the parts of the machine performing the work. These components include flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks, and gears.
  • Other Moving Parts: include all parts of a machine that move while the machine is operating. These parts can be rotating, reciprocating, or transversing. Feed mechanisms and auxiliary parts of the machine are considered other moving parts as well.

Hazardous Mechanical Motions and Actions

Many mechanical motions and actions present hazards to the worker.

The following types of motions and actions are common to nearly all machines and recognizing them and their danger is essential to worker protection.

Motions Include:

  • Rotating: Rotating parts are dangerous because they can grip clothing or skin, forcing an arm or hand into a dangerous area.
  • Reciprocating: Reciprocating motions are dangerous because a worker may be struck or pinned during the back and forth or up and down motion.
  • Transverse: Transverse motion is movement in a straight continuous line. The danger in transverse motion lies in the possibility of a worker getting caught in a pinch point or dragged by the part itself.

Actions Include:

  • Cutting: The cutting action may involve all three motions and is dangerous at the point of operation. While the cutting action can be dangerous to fingers, limbs, torso and head, flying chips or debris pose a serious danger to the eyes and face.
  • Punching: The punching action results when pressure is applied to the ram for the purpose of stamping metal or other materials. The danger occurs at the point of operation when the material is inserted, held and withdrawn by hand.
  • Shearing: Shearing action involves applying power to a slide or knife to trim or shear metal or other materials. Like the punching actions, the hazard occurs at the point of operation.
  • Bending: The bending action occurs when power is applied to a slide to draw or stamp metal or other material. The hazard occurs at the point of operation, similar to punching and shearing.

 

Safeguard Requirements

In order to protect the machine operator, safeguards must meet minimum general requirements.

  • Prevent contact: The safeguard must prevent hands, arms, and any other part of an operator’s body from making contact with dangerous moving parts. A good safeguarding system eliminates the possibility of the operator or another worker placing parts of their bodies near hazardous moving parts.
  • Secure: Operators should not be able to easily remove or tamper with the safeguard because a safeguard that can easily be made ineffective is no safeguard at all. Guards and safety devices should be made of durable material that will withstand the conditions of normal use. They must be firmly secured to the machine.
  • Protect from falling objects: The safeguard should ensure that no objects can fall into moving parts. A small tool dropped into a cycling machine could easily become a projectile that could strike and injure someone.
  • Create no new hazards: A safeguard defeats its own purpose if it creates a hazard such as a shear point, a jagged edge, or an unfinished surface that could cause a laceration. The edges of guards, for instance, should be rolled or bolted in such a way to eliminate sharp edges.
  • Create no interference: Any safeguard that impedes an operator from performing the job quickly and comfortably might soon be overridden or disregarded. Proper safeguarding may actually enhance efficiency since it relieves the operator’s apprehensions about injury.
  • Allow safe lubrication: If possible, workers should be able to lubricate the machine without removing the safeguards. Locating oil reservoirs outside the guard, with a line leading to the lubrication point, will reduce the need for the operator or maintenance operator to enter the hazardous area.

 

View Methods of Machine Safeguarding (PDF)

 

Additional Resources:

Mechanical Lifts/Powered Platforms

Use of mechanical lifts and powered platforms is routine at UWO.

Staff and students using forklifts, mechanical lifts or powered platforms must receive basic operational and safety training prior to use. Personal protective equipment (PPE) may also be required.

Each operator shall be instructed in the safe and proper operation of the specific aerial device according to the manufacturer’s operator’s manual, and any other appropriate standards and safe work practices.

Please contact the Campus Safety Coordinator (x4484) for additional information.

Some Safety Rules for Operating an Aerial Lift:

  • Ensure that workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
  • Maintain and operate elevating work platforms in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Know the capacity of the lift you will be using and do not overload. Allow for the combined weight of the worker, tools and materials.
  • Inspect the lift before each use.
  • Check the area of travel for trip hazards and hazards from above and below.
  • Maintain a safe distance from power lines (minimum clearance of at least 10 feet).
  • Always treat powerlines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.
  • Ensure that others are at a safe distance from the lift.
  • Never modify the equipment without the manufacturer’s approval.
  • If the lift is unattended, lower the platform, shut off the engine, engage the parking brake and remove the key.
  • Never override hydraulic, mechanical, or electrical safety devices.
  • Never move the equipment with workers in an elevated platform unless this is permitted by the manufacturer.
  • Do not allow workers to position themselves between overhead hazards, such as joists and beams, and the rails of the basket. Movement of the lift could crush the worker(s).
  • Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to prevent the worker(s) from being ejected or pulled from the basket.
  • Set the brakes and use wheel chocks when on an incline.
  • Use outriggers, if provided.
Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is intended to protect you from workplace hazards you may be exposed to if the exposure cannot be eliminated or controlled by other means.

PPE is selected based on an assessment of your job tasks and the potential hazards associated with your work. It may include protection for eye, face, head, hands, body, feet, ears/hearing and your respiratory system.

Training is required to ensure the proper use and care of PPE.  The training may be provided by your supervisor, a vendor or by Environmental Health & Safety.

Head Protection

General requirements: the employer shall ensure that each affected employee wears a protective helmet when working in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling objects. 1910.135(a)(1)

The employer shall ensure that a protective helmet designed to reduce electrical shock hazard is worn by each such affected employee when near exposed electrical conductors which could contact the head. 1910.135(a)(2)

  • Head and Foot Protection Chart

Eye Protection

The UWO policy on eye protection is the same as the State of Wisconsin policy on eye protection as defined by Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services regulations.

Specifically, SPS 332.15 adopts the OSHA standard for eye protection. The standard is entitled: Eye and Face Protection, 29 CFR 1910.133, and is a subpart of the regulations entitled Personal Protective Equipment. The standard itself is very brief. It is the interpretation of the standard that is most difficult.

Synopsis of OSHA Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1910.133):

General Requirements

  1. The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.
  1. The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (e.g. clip-on or slide-on side shields) meeting the pertinent requirements of this section are acceptable.
  2. The employer shall ensure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.
  3. Eye and face PPE shall be distinctly marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer.
  4. The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses equipment with filter lenses that have a shade number appropriate for the work being performed for protection from injurious light radiation.

 

Protective Footwear

Determining if Foot Protection is Necessary or Required

The initial step for assessing the need of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a hazard assessment. The assessment is an important element of a PPE program because it produces the information needed to select the appropriate PPE for any hazards present or likely to be present at particular workplaces.

For example, protective footwear must be worn when there is the hazard of:

  • Falling or rolling objects
  • Punctures
  • Stubbing or banging
  • Chemical or corrosive contact
  • Electrical shock
  • Burns
  • Slips and falls

Determining Type of Footwear

Select protective footwear based on the hazard assessment.

For example:

  • Steel-toed shoes to resist impact
  • Metatarsal guards to resist impact above the toes
  • Reinforced flexible metal soles or inner shoes to protect against punctures (assuming there’s no risk of electrical contact)
  • Sandals and open-toed shoes are prohibited in laboratories (including art studios), and food service areas (for safety and hygienic reasons)
  • For falling objects, use footwear with steel toes
  • Wear chemical resistant footwear (e.g., rubber, neoprene) in areas with potential chemical or corrosive splashes. Check the MSDS to match footwear with individual chemicals.
  • Replace worn footwear

Even if protective footwear is not deemed necessary, employees should still wear sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. Sandals, sneakers or dress shoes may not be appropriate for many physical activities.

Gloves

General Information

Some of the hazards that threaten hand safety are skin absorption of harmful substances; chemical hazards, such as caustic material, solvents or cutting oils; cuts or lacerations; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; harmful temperature extremes; bacteriological, blood or other infectious materials; and musculoskeletal disorders.

Preventing Hand Injuries

When substitution of less hazardous materials and work practice controls fails to eliminate the risk of injury to hands, protective gloves are the primary means of protection.

Protective equipment includes gloves, hand pads, tapes and mitts. There are many types of gloves available and the challenge is to find the right glove for the job.

  • Chemical Resistant Gloves:
  • Butyl: High resistance to gas or water vapors. Also resists common acids and alcohols.
  • Hot-Mill or Aluminized Gloves: Offer reflective and insulating protection. Generally used for welding, furnace and foundry work.
  • Latex: Provide protection from most aqueous solutions of acids, alkalis, salts and ketones. They resist abrasions during grinding, sandblasting and polishing. These general-purpose gloves are pliable and comfortable. Used for common industrial applications, food processing, maintenance, construction and lab work.
  • Natural Rubber: Liquid proof protection against acids, caustics and dye stuffs.
  • Neoprene: Provides protection against hydraulic fluids, gasoline, alcohols, organic acids and alkalis. They offer good pliability and finger dexterity, high density, tensive strength plus high tear resistance.
  • Neoprene Latex: Protection against detergents, salts, acids and caustic solutions.
  • Nitrile/Natural Rubber: Provide protection from chlorinated solvents and are intended for jobs requiring dexterity and sensitivity. Nitrile/Rubber blend resists abrasions, cuts, tears and punctures.
  • N-DEX Gloves: This nitrile glove provides splash and spill protection against a wide variety of chemicals, although it is not intended for extended immersion activities. It is available in low-powder and powder-free options.
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) Gloves: Resist strong solvents such as chlorinated and aromatic solvents. This material is water soluble (polyvinyl alcohol) and cannot be used in water or water-based solutions.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Gloves: Good for handling materials coated or immersed in grease, oil, acids or caustics. Resists abrasion. Can be purchased lined or unlined depending on dexterity requirements.
  • Silver Shield Gloves: Protection against a wide range of solvents, acids and bases. This lightweight laminate is flexible, but not form-fitting, which affects user dexterity.
  • Vinyl: Provides resistance to a variety of irritants.
  • Viton: Provides resistance to PCBs, chlorinated and aromatic solvents, gas and water vapors. This glove material can be used in water-based solutions.
  • Cotton or Canvas Gloves: General work gloves for parts handling, general maintenance. Provide abrasion resistance.
  • Leather Gloves: Mild heat resistance and good abrasion resistance.
  • Metal-Mesh, Kevlar, or Other Cut-Resistant Gloves: Protect against cuts and abrasions. Used for glass handling, metal fabrication, food processing applications, and handling other sharp tools or objects.
  • Shock-Absorbing Gloves: Protect against repetitive pushing and pounding or extended contact and help lessen the effects of constant vibration.

When ordering gloves, be sure to order the proper size.

Tight-fitting gloves can cause fatigue and be more vulnerable to tears. They can also cause increase perspiration. Loose-fitting gloves impair dexterity and are cumbersome and even hazardous around laboratory equipment. Rings with prongs and long fingernails can tear gloves made of thinner materials.

Hazard Assessments for Personal Protective Equipment

A critical first step in developing a comprehensive safety and health program is to identify physical and health hazards in the workplace. This process is known as a “hazard assessment.” Potential hazards may be physical or health-related and a comprehensive hazard assessment should identify hazards in both categories.

The hazard assessment involves obtaining information on the types of hazards present, the toxicity of the materials involved, and what other options are available to control exposure. General information about chemicals may be found in Safety Data Sheets. The chronic and acute effect of chemicals, biological and radiological materials should also be assessed.

Examples of physical hazards include moving objects, fluctuating temperatures, high intensity lighting, rolling or pinching objects, electrical connections and sharp edges.

Examples of health hazards include overexposure to harmful dusts, chemicals or radiation.

Serious consideration should be given to reducing these hazards by the use of engineering controls and/or administrative controls. Personal protective equipment should be used in conjunction with engineering and administrative controls.

The hazard assessment should begin with a walk-through survey of work areas to develop a list of potential hazards in the following basic hazard categories:

  • Impact: Examples: Working with or around powered tools or machinery. Use of powered liquid sprayers, air hammers, compressed air, or working in areas with high air turbulence where particles, fragments or chips are present. Working in areas where overhead hazards, falling hazards or moving hazards are present.
  • Penetration: Examples: Working with or around powered tools or equipment. Working with glass, wire, metal, sharp objects or other materials that can cut or pierce when broken or fragmented.
  • Compression — Pinching/Crushing/Roll-Over: Examples: Working with or around moving equipment, or parts. Exposure to falling objects. Use of heavy equipment or tools that could cause compression injuries, etc.
  • Chemical: This is a broad category which may include chemicals ranging from slightly irritating (such as cleaning products) to highly corrosive or toxic substances used in laboratories or industrial settings. Working with carcinogens, mutagens or teratogens.
  • Thermal — Heat/Cold: Examples: Operating furnaces, pouring and casting hot metal, welding. Working on steam, refrigerant, high temperature systems, etc. Working with cryogenic materials. Working in temperature extremes (e.g., steam tunnels, freezers, extended work outdoors in winter, etc.).
  • Harmful Dust Examples: asbestos, fiberglass, silica, animal dander. Woodworking, buffing, and general dusty conditions. High levels of airborne contaminants that cannot be eliminated by engineering controls.
  • Light (Optical) Radiation: Examples: Electric arc or gas welding, cutting, or torch brazing or soldering. Working with or around lasers. Working around sources of UV radiation.
  • Biologic: Examples: Working with human pathogens or materials that may be contaminated with infectious human pathogens.

Each of the basic hazards should be reviewed and a determination made as to the type, level of risk, and seriousness of potential injury. Consideration should be given to the possibility of exposure to several hazards at once.

The workplace should be periodically reassessed for any changes in conditions, equipment or operating procedures that could affect occupational hazards. This periodic reassessment should also include a review of injury and illness records to spot any trends or areas of concern and taking appropriate corrective action.

The suitability of existing PPE, including an evaluation of its condition and age, should be included in the reassessment.

Other Resources:

Respiratory Protection Information

Respiratory protection may be necessary when engineering controls cannot control airborne exposures. Information on this Web page and Web pages listed on the left are intended to provide you with information to better understand respirator use, the respiratory protection program and the requirements associated with their use.

Medical Evaluations

Using a respirator may place a physiological burden on employees that varies with the type of respirator worn, the job and workplace conditions in which the respirator is used, and the medical status of the employee. In those situations where the use of a respirator is required, you must have a medical evaluation to determine your ability to use a respirator prior to use.

UWO uses Affinity Occupational Health Clinic or Theda Care at Work to perform these medical evaluations. The physician will review your medical evaluation questionnaire and will provide a written recommendation regarding your ability to use a respirator. The physician must know specific parameters of respirator use, such as the length of time that a person will use the respirator, the frequency of use, and any additional stresses that may be experienced during use.

Additionally, some employees are required to undergo a “periodic medical examination” under the medical surveillance provisions of the respiratory protection standard. If you are required to participate in the periodic evaluation, you will need to complete the Medical Questionnaire form.

Safety and Health Policy for Students

The University of Wisconsin System will provide and maintain adequate facilities for a safe and healthy learning environment.

It is the University’s responsibility to work with faculty and staff so that they are equipped to educate students on practices and procedures that enhance safety for all members of the University.

Employees with instructional responsibilities are expected to comply with state and federal safety laws and regulations in their institutional areas.

Certain courses and research projects require that the student work with hazardous materials while engaging in academic studies. Instructors of these courses and research projects shall inform and train students on procedures that will maintain the students’ personal health and safety and provide them with information on the hazards of specific chemicals that will be used during their course of study. Furthermore, instructors will enforce and follow safety policies.

Prior to use of hazardous materials and equipment, the student shall review the procedures and information and discuss any associated concerns with the instructor.

Working Alone Safely

Because of the nature of the university environment, it is often necessary for students to be alone in campus buildings after the regularly scheduled closure times for either special projects or ongoing work. Working alone in certain circumstances or environments requires special arrangements to minimize potential risks of injury.

The University of Wisconsin System Office of Safety and Loss Prevention have developed guidelines to address these issues. The guidelines focus on unpaid students who are not covered by worker’s compensation and are meant to promote safety for students working on academic or service-oriented projects associated with the University on and off campus.

Scaffold Safety Information

On Aug. 30, 1996, OSHA issued revised standards for scaffolds.

The revised standard, known as “Safety Standards for Scaffolds Used in the Construction Industry,” is found in Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1926, Subpart L.

The final rule updates the existing construction scaffold standards in Subpart L. The new standards set performance-based criteria to protect employees from scaffold-related hazards such as falls, falling objects, structural instability, electrocution, or overloading.

The rule also addresses training and various types of scaffolds, as well as falling object protection, ladders, weather conditions, aerial lifts, stilts, and other matters that were not previously covered by the OSHA scaffold standards. In addition, it allows employers more flexibility when using protective systems for workers on scaffolding. This rule took effect on November 29, 1996.

Listed below are some of the key provisions of the regulation:

  • The standard requires fall protection at a 10 foot height above a lower level for employees. [1926.451(g)(1)]
  • Guardrail Height — The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service before January 1, 2000 can be between 36 inches (0.9 m) and 45 inches (1.2 m). The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service after January 1, 2000 must be between 38 inches (0.97 m) and 45 inches (1.2 m). [1926.451(g)(4)(ii)] When the cross point of cross bracing is used as a top rail, it must be between 38 inches (0.97 m) and 48 inches (1.3 m) above the work platform. [1926.451(g)(4)(xv)] Midrails must be installed approximately halfway between the top rail and the platform surface. [1926.451(g)(4)(iv)] When a cross point of cross bracing is used as a midrail, it must be between 20 inches (0.5 m) and 30 inches (0.8 m) above the work platform. [1926.451(g)(4)(xv)]
  • Erecting and Dismantling — When erecting and dismantling supported scaffolds, a competent person must determine the feasibility of providing a safe means of access and fall protection for these operations. [1926.451(e)(9) & 1926.451(g)(2)
  • Training — Employers must train each employee who works on a scaffold on the procedures to control or minimize the hazards. [1926.454]

 

Employees must be trained in (partial list):

  • Access
  • Electrical hazards
  • Fall protection and prevention of being struck by falling objects
  • Maximum safe load of the scaffold
  • Proper handling of materials on the scaffold
  • Proper scaffold construction
  • Proper use of the scaffold
  • Site safety
  • Inspections — Before each work shift and after any occurrence that could affect the structural integrity, a competent person must inspect the scaffold and scaffold components for visible defects. [1926.451(f)(3)]

Other Resources

Safety Rules for Powered Equipment

Safety Rules for Powered Equipment

In order to maintain the highest level of safety and efficiency in the work area, it is necessary to conform to standard work practice behavior. When working with equipment of any kind you must be aware of the potential for injury and observe behaviors that will eliminate risk. Organization and planning are fundamental aspects of safety.

Work Behavior

Please observe the following in the work area. You are using a shared space, so sensible and considerate behavior will enhance the community experience.

  • Do not rush. Be organized and plan in advance what equipment you will use.
  • Plan the type of work activities you will be engaged in.
  • Respect others’ space and working time. Distractions cause accidents.
  • Keep your working area tidy and organized.
  • Ask questions about equipment and technique. If you are unsure, request individual help.
  • Do not run or move quickly in the space.
  • Be aware of who is using what, and the location of others in the room.
  • Concentrate when using hand tools and larger equipment.
  • Wear sensible clothing.
  • Use the right tool for the right job.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke in the work area.
  • Wash your hands when you have finished.
  • Do not work in inappropriate areas.

All pieces of powered equipment are potentially very dangerous if mishandled. You must comply with all safety regulations when using the equipment.

The following are general safety guidelines for use of some of the powered equipment typically found in studios and shops.

General Shop Safety Guidelines

  • Wear suitable eye protection when engaged in any activity where eye hazards may exist.
  • Be sure your clothes are safe and suitable for shop work. Remove or fasten any loose clothing. Roll loose sleeves up above your elbows. Keep your hair away from equipment while it is in operation.
  • Use a brush or piece of wood to clear away dry chips and use a rag to clean oily areas.
  • It is mandatory that you keep all machine safety guards on the machines in their correct position.
  • Keep-the floor clear of scraps and litter.
  • Exercise care in your handling of large, heavy and long pieces of material.
  • Make sure that everyone is clear of the machines before turning the power on to the machines.
  • Wait to clear scrap stock from the machines until it has come to a complete stop.
  • Do not engage in any form of “horse play” while in the shop.
  • Keep fingers clear of the point of operation of machines by using special tools or devices such as push sticks, hooks, pliers, etc. Do not operate any item of equipment unless you are familiar with its operation and have been authorized to operate it. If you have any questions regarding the use of equipment, ask the area supervisor.
  • Avoid excessive use of compressed air to blow dirt or chips from machinery to avoid scattering chips. Never use compressed air guns to clean clothing, hair, or aim at another person.
  • A brush, hook, or special tool is preferred for removal of chips, shavings, etc. from the work area. Never use the hands.
  • Check the power cords and plugs on portable tools for damage or fray before using them.

Additional resources:

Welding, Torching and Brazing Safety

Welding, flame cutting and brazing are common activities in UWO maintenance, shop and instructional areas.

Supervisors and instructors must ensure all equipment is code-compliant, in safe working order and that users are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.

Please direct any questions regarding safety procedures to your supervisor or instructor or the University Safety Office.

General Rules for Welding at UWO Include:

  • Know the hazards of the material(s) you are working with. Contact your supervisor or instructor for Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Please contact the Campus Safety Office (x4484) for air monitoring / exposure evaluation to welding fumes.
  • There are specific fire safety requirements for welding, flame cutting and other “hot work” at UWO. Please see the following links or call Campus Safety Office (x4484) for additional information.
  • Precautions such as isolating welding and cutting, removing fire hazards and combustibles and providing a fire watch for fire prevention shall be taken in areas where welding or other “hot work” is performed.
  • A “fire watch” shall be provided during the work and maintained for at least 1 hour after welding, flame cutting or other “hot work” has been completed. The “fire watch” is responsible for monitoring the entire operation to ensure that a fire has not started and to quickly extinguish any small fires that may ignite.
  • A fire extinguisher must be located adjacent to the activity and should be immediately available to the fire watch. The individual assigned to fire watch duties should not have other functions to perform and should maintain a constant watchfulness over the operation.
  • Eye protection shall be worn. Other persons adjacent to the welding area shall be protected by noncombustible or flameproof screens or shields and shall wear appropriate eye protection.
  • In shops, studios and laboratories use the exhaust ventilation such as snorkel hoods and capture hoods to minimize your exposure to welding fumes. Contact your supervisor or instructor for instructions on the proper use and limitations of this safety equipment.

 

Other Resources: