These are all the posts that mention “Safety Blog”
There is plenty of potential for hazards from bad assumptions. Therefore, it’s important to have processes built into our daily routine that avoid assumptions. And to take extra steps to verify conditions, particularly when the consequences are extreme.
Here’s a short list of our processes that enhance safety and eliminate bad assumptions.
- Digsafe call and verification of locations and depth of underground utilities (“But the gas is usually 36 inches deep!”)
- Proper labeling of containers so everyone knows the contents (“That wasn’t water?”)
- Pre-trip motor vehicle inspections (“But Officer, it was just in the shop last week.”)
- Tag broken equipment as “Out-of-Service; Do Not Operate”
- Lock-Out; Tag-Out”
- Confined space entry with a blower and monitoring
Remember, assumptions should be verified anytime there is a potential hazard if the assumption is unchecked.
The essence of a safe job site is to assess and eliminate hazards. Our daily jobsite hazard assessment (JHA) serves as a hazard risk assessment form for the work to be performed for the day.
The process involved in performing the hazard risk assessment with the Daily JHA Form includes:
- Describe the project and work conditions
- Identify potential hazards
- Eliminate or reduce hazards.
- Select PPE
- Select measures to protect the workers, the public, and private property.
- Identify the emergency contact numbers, local hospitals, and health care providers.
JHA Form: ECI Document Library
Of particular concern is the potential for the process to become too mundane, particularly on an on-going project with similar daily activities. To address this potential, the following measures can be taken:
- Mix it up. Start the list from the bottom.
- Focus on a particular hazard each day. Make that item the Focus of the Day.
- Pass it Around. Assign the duty to fill out and present the Tailboard to others.
- Ask for Help. Ask for Matt to come to the morning safety meeting and have them prepare the Tailboard for a new perspective.
- Revisit the JHA throughout the day to see if the crew is compliant with the plan.
Our newly revised Safety Program Manual contains a section on Incident Response:
ECI is formally rolling out its new Corporate Safety Program Manual. A key part is a description of the obligations of the Employee and the Employer relative to safety.
Obligations of the Employer
Providing a safe workplace which is managed and controlled in accordance with all applicable regulations and standards is an essential obligation of all Employers. ECI achieves this by providing:
- Education and training specific to an employee’s role and assigned work tasks
- Supervision and council from experienced and trained working professionals
- Perform risk assessment
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Hazardous condition measuring instruments
- Fit for purpose safety systems and equipment
- Compliance monitoring by dedicated Health and Safety staff
- Executive leadership
- Developing and maintaining a company-wide safety culture that includes an appreciation of:
- Engineering and science associated with our work and the safety practices.
- Use of risk assessment to identify and mitigate hazards.
- Sense of pride for quality work and safe work practices.
- The Code of Conduct items, particularly regarding safe driving, respectful behavior, and environmental conscientious work practices.
In addition to worker safety, ECI has a duty to protect the public near and around the work. This is particularly important as many of ECI’s projects and tasks take place within public rights-of-way.
Obligations of the Employee
All ECI employees are provided with the following responsibilities with respect to the Safety Program:
- Acknowledge and understand the content within the Safety Program Manual
- Understand and follow all applicable health and safety policies and procedures
- Adhere to fit-for-duty physical and mental requirements
- Maintain licensure for operating motor vehicles and other equipment as required
- Proper use and maintenance of assigned equipment and personal protective gear
- Recognize hazards and implement adequate measures to control hazards
- Ask for assistance if uncertain about a specific hazard or potentially hazardous situation
- Look out for fellow workers and the public traveling through ECI jobsites
- Acknowledge and appreciate general engineering principals as they relate to personal safety
- Attend and participate in Jobsite Hazard Assessment discussions and Weekly Safety Meetings
- Report safety incidences in accordance with reporting procedures
- Comply with the ECI Substance Abuse Policy
- Follow the ECI Code of Conduct
All employees have the authority to stop work under the following conditions:
- If you see an unsafe act taking place or about to take place
- If you believe conditions are unsafe and not fit for the task(s) at hand
- If there is confusion with regards to the work plan
Employees are encouraged to speak up if they have a suggestion to make the jobsite or activity safer. When we share the responsibility in the workplace, everyone wins.
As indicated previously, ECI has been in the process of revising its corporate Safety Program Manual to reflect the evolution of our safety program.
Two main aspects of ECI’s program include:
Behavioral Based Safety – The effect of a worker’s behavior on safety. Behavioral issues may include complacency, distractions, exhaustion, and overconfidence. ECI’s focus to address the behavior effect on safety is primarily:
a) the management of these conditions (recognize, contain, and respond to behavioral issues), and
b) to develop and maintain a corporate culture focused on safety and appreciation of practical engineering principles related to safety.
Compliance Based Safety – Working within Safety Regulations specific to the type of work. On ECI jobsites, these regulations typically include OSHA, FRA, MSHA, and FMCSA. ECI’s focus for achieving compliance based safety is to provide the workers with appropriate training and resources to perform a risk assessment to be safe and compliant.
We look forward to the rollout of the new ECI Safety Program Manual which will be available on our website.
ECI is updating its corporate health and safety program which will contain the following sections:
Many of our projects involve drilling fluids, grouts, or additives. Some of these products can be hazardous in certain conditions. For example, nearly every dry powered product has some kind of inhalation risk.
However, the hazards are very broad and might include:
- Specific chemical hazards (reference the SDS Sheets)
- General Dust Exposure (inhalation hazard)
- Heavy Containers/Bags/etc. (lifting and back hazards)
- Slick surfaces (slip/trip/fall hazards)
- Splash (eye or skin exposure hazards)
- High-pressure fluid lines (potential energy hazards)
The following links are for SDS Sheets fro some of our common drilling fluid materials and additives:
This week we are re-visiting the topic of Cargo Securement, which is extremely important in protecting the traveling public.
CDL drivers moving heavy equipment and other cargo have very specific and detailed requirements which requires very specialized training.
For the rest of us, the rules can be simplified by keeping our loads simple and remembering the following:
- For each item under 1,000 lbs. should be secured by 2 ratchet straps
- 2″ wide with corner protectors
- Dump truck loads are to be covered whenever transporting fill materials on the interstate
Please coordinate with a trained professional driver if you have any questions.
The regulations are complicated, so if you don’t know the rules pertaining to securement of your load, refer to one of the following references:
- Ask the safety department, Scott, Luc, or other qualified driver, or
- Refer to the DOT Cargo Securement Regulations reference on the ECI Document Library (www.eci.pantherrack.com/employee-portal/document-library)
Hand-held electronic devices are the most common driver distractions. The statistics are very concerning:
- 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014.
- Approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving at any given daylight moment across America.
- The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014.
It has been over 2 years since Vermont passed the ban on the use of portable hand-held devices.
Violations of the Vermont law involve minimum fines of $100 for the first offense. Additionally, 2 points are assessed against a driver if the offense occurs in a construction work zone.
Hand held devices are also regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the US Department of Transportation.
The FMSCA regulation applies to commercial motor vehicles (any combined gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 lbs). This CGVWR applies to a large part of our fleet. The penalty for violating this rule is up to $2750 to the driver and up to $11,000 for the employer, which is much higher than the Vermont law.