$afety $aves - Bryan Lorengo

As you transition from winter logging into spring break, that means folks are spending time and money in the shop getting your equipment and trucks ready for next season. Just because breakup is upon us doesn’t mean you are off the hook for loss control and safety! The shop can be as hazardous as the woods, so don’t let your guard down!

With so much in the woods being mechanical these days, performing maintenance is one of your higher exposures for a work comp claim. Before you get started in the shop, take a few minutes and have a safety meeting with the crew. Remember, they have been in the woods all year, and even though we do maintenance every day, this steady diet of turning wrenches will be new. Touch on some key points of shop safety, and set some working rules for the shop.

The following is a typical example for shop rules in a mechanic shop.

1. Safety Glasses are required. Face shields and welding helmets should also be worn when welding and grinding. Each day about 2000 US workers sustain eye injuries while on the job, this is can easily be avoided by wearing the proper eye protection.

2. Durable quality work clothing required. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt are required when welding and grinding. Avoid synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester as they are too flammable. Wool is not recommended because the long fibers may get caught in moving machine tools. One may also wish to remove jewelry such as rings and watches before working.

3. Proper footwear is essential. High top leather shoes with good gripping rubber soles are recommended.

4. Gloves should be worn to handle materials with sharp edges and for welding. Gloves should not, however, be worn when operating equipment in which there is potential for the gloves to get caught in moving parts and pull in a person’s hand.

5. Use properly rated jack stands and ensure chains, slings and shackles are also properly rated for the job. Never put any part of your body under a vehicle that is supported only by a jack, and use a rated jack stand.

6. Do not operate any machine that has guards or shields removed. Be sure that equipment is in proper working order at all times.

7. Maintain a clean an orderly shop. Many injuries are caused by a messy workplace, so get in the habit of cleaning up or when you finish a job.

8. Cut off power to all tools when not in use. Never leave a machine running while not in use. This is also the time to make certain you’re following the proper lock out/tag out procedures.

9. Be sure visitors are a safe distance away from hazards. Pay attention to other people in the shop such as visitors or workers. They may not be aware of the hazards around them.

10. Pay attention to environmental hazards. Noise, fumes, temperature, ventilation and lighting all contribute to the quality of the workplace environment. Wear respirators, and hearing protection when needed. Both have long term consequences if not used.

11. Evaluate any operation for hazards. Seek assistance for any procedure you are not comfortable with. Think through any operation or procedure; learn to anticipate potential exposure to hazards.

12. Operate only equipment that you are trained to use. Just like the woods, the shop has many pieces of equipment that, if operated incorrectly, can cause serious injury or death.

By following these rules, or some variation of these, you increase the odds for an accident-free breakup while getting equipment and trucks ready for the next logging season. You may also want to read through the Safe Operating Procedure for Shop Mechanic—and have the crew read and sign it. This paper trail is not only for OSHA, but it will make the workers aware that they are still working in a potentially hazardous environment even though they aren’t in the woods.

Having a safe breakup is just another way that $afety $aves.

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