I manage a lumberyard and am concerned about stacks of lumber collapsing
during the stacking process. What precautions should I be taking?
Stacking lumber and other materials can be dangerous
if workers do not follow safety guidelines. Falling material and collapsing
loads can crush or pin workers, causing serious injuries or death.
To help prevent injuries when stacking lumber, limit stacks to 16
feet if they are handled manually, and to 20 feet if using a forklift.
Remove all nails from used lumber before stacking, and stack and level
the lumber on solidly supported bracing. After stacking, check to
ensure that stacks are stable and self-supporting.
In addition to hazards associated with collapsing stacks, your workers
may also experience injuries from lifting heavy or bulky loads manually
or from using forklifts and other powered equipment improperly. A
recently revised OSHA publication, “Materials Handling and Storage,”
(OSHA 2236) provides detailed information about the safe handling
and storage of lumber and other materials. It is available at no cost
on the agency website at www.osha.gov
I know that I should be wearing a respirator
when I’m exposed to dangerous fumes and vapors in my work, but
I have no idea how to pick the right one. Where do I begin?
already taken the first step by recognizing the need to wear a respirator.
Breathing in harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, fumes, gases, vapors,
or sprays can cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases, or even death.
Choosing the appropriate respirator depends on several variables,
including what the hazard is and its concentration in the air you
are breathing. Respirators come in two major classes. Air-purifying
respirators remove contaminants from the air you breathe, and atmosphere-supplying
respirators provide clean, breathable air from an uncontaminated
source. As a general rule, atmosphere-supplying respirators are
used for more hazardous exposures. In addition, respirators can
be tight-fitting—that is, half masks that cover the mouth
and nose, or full facepieces that cover the face from the hairline
to below the chin; or loose-fitting, such as hoods or helmets that
cover your head completely.
Regardless of what type respirator you select, it is critical that
it be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety
and Health and that you use and maintain it properly. A newly revised
OSHA publication, “Respiratory Protection,” (OSHA 3079)
provides more indepth information about selecting, using, and maintaining
respirators. It is available at no cost on the agency website at
work in a noisy auto repair shop and have started to notice a ringing
in my ears. I’ve tried wearing earplugs but they hurt my ears.
What should I do?
to high noise levels causes temporary or permanent hearing loss. The
extent of the damage depends primarily on the intensity of the noise
and the duration of the exposure.
Your employer is required to monitor noise levels in your workplace.
If you are exposed to noise levels of 85 decibels or more, averaged
over eight working hours, your employer must provide you with hearing
protectors. However, no type of hearing protection will protect you
if you don’t use it. Because you have experienced discomfort
in the past wearing earplugs, perhaps a hearing muff will work better
for you. Your employer is required to offer you a selection of at
least one variety of hearing plug and one variety of hearing muff,
suitable for your work environment.
In addition, at noise levels of 85 decibels or more, averaged over
eight working hours, your employer must establish and maintain an
audiometric testing program. Talk to your employer about the ringing
in your ears. Request a hearing test to determine if you have experienced
hearing loss and initiate protective followup measures to protect
against future damage.
A newly revised OSHA publication, “Hearing Conservation,”
(OSHA 3074) provides more information about occupational noise exposure
and ways to protect yourself. It is available at no cost on the agency
website at www.osha.gov
under Publications. JSHQ