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$afety $aves – Justin Doble

With April upon us, and our clocks moved forward I think it is safe to say spring has finally sprung.  The winter logging season was a tough one for everyone.  Cold and snow took forever to get here and then in the blink of an eye, it seemed to vanish.  February usually brings a nice blast of cold air to hopefully lengthen our working period but, this year just brought more warm and wet weather.  For many of you, February was an endless fight of mud and softening ground conditions.  Hopefully everyone was able to get their equipment out, and moved back to the shop for some spring time chores.

Now that spring break-up has begun it is time to start thinking about those equipment maintenance tasks that you may have put off through the winter months.  Hopefully, you have made a list of tasks, maybe even begun to order parts in preparation for break-up.  Before you and the crew begin the daunting task of turning wrenches and preparing equipment, and rigging for the upcoming logging season, take a moment to think about the tasks that will be performed.  Before conducting any maintenance, take a little time to review your Safe Operating Procedures for Shop Mechanic in your Loss Control Manual.  Though it may seem mundane, try to make it a priority, especially if crew members are working in the shop. When heavy maintenance isn’t part of your daily routine, important safety steps can easily be skipped over.

Also, don’t forget to do a thorough inspection of the work area and tools that will be used to ensure:

·         All guards are in place on stationary and hand tools.

·         There are no exposed electrical wires, cords, welding leads, or boxes.

·         All fire extinguishers are readily available and charged.

·         Work areas are clean and uncluttered.

·         Compressed air/gas cylinders are properly secured.

·         There are no leaks in Oxyacetylene or MIG/TIG gas regulators or hoses.

·          First Aid kits are readily available and fully stocked.

·         All Personal Protective Equipment is on hand and in serviceable condition.

·         All flammable materials are safely stored in areas of welding, cutting and grinding.

·         All lifting devices are in good working order and employees are trained in their use.

Ensuring these things are in place before maintenance begins will save time in the long run and may prevent and accident in the shop.  Once maintenance begins, here are a few more things to keep in mind while turning wrenches:

·        When working on a piece of equipment that requires jacking or lifting with a hoist, be sure proper blocking or jack stands are in place before crawling under the equipment.

·         If possible, use mechanical means to lift anything over 50 pounds- back injuries, sprains and strains are common in mechanic work.

·         Slips/falls are also common in shop work- keep the floor and surrounding area clean, uncluttered and free of oils and greases.

·         Concrete floors are very hard- wearing proper footwear will prevent sore ankles.  Steel toed boots may be necessary; don’t jump from machine, use hand holds and steps- the 3-points of contact method.

Wishing you a prosperous logging season to come and I look forward to seeing you at this year’s spring safety workshops and ALP training.  And please remember, safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless.  REMEMBER $afety $aves  

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