Surviving Safety Inspections

Safety Inspections can be time-consuming and it is often difficult to see the value in the minutia of the safety regulations for your industry. The exact distance that a machine guard has to be seperated from a nip point for example can seem arbitrary.

The problem with this is that although you may find small non serious violations, if an employee ever gets hurt on your premises, their lawyer may use your previous safety violation as evidence of your disregard for worker safety. The cleaner your record is, the more secure you are.

In South Africa safety inspections are becoming more routine.  This week I have heard of serveral construction and electrical companies that were ordered off-site in Zimbali because the crew did not have the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). An entire day was wasted because the crew did not have goggles and a first aid kit.

How to Choose Safety Shoes

Safety Shoes

There is a huge variety of shoes and boots. Choosing the correct one can be difficult.

There are so man variaties of safety shoes and boots that it is often difficult to decide which is right for you.

The most important factor is fit and comfort. Safety shoes should feel as comfortable as everyday shoes. Every persons feet are different, so what is comfortable for your collegue may not be right for you.

Keep in mind is that not all shoes are sized the same.  So many people are adamant that they will only wear one size and there is no possible way that any other size will fit their foot.  Different manufacturers size their boots and shoes to different specifications.  A size 9 by one manufacturer may not equal a size 9 made by another manufacturer. Safety shoes differ from regular shoes because they have a steel toe cap. The toe cap will never stretch or adapt to your foot, so if you try a shoes on and your toes are in contact with the steel toe cap you need to try a bigger size. On the otherhand, resist the urge to big, oversized shoes can cause injuries like sprains

Safety shoes have many different features and come in many different combinations – waterproof, insulated, 6-inch, 8-inch, steel toe, composite toe, aluminum toe, electrical hazard, electrostatic-dissipative, puncture resistant, and slip resistant.

Shoe or Boot?

Standard shoes have that comfortable feeling and suitable for any daily activities. Military style boots, on the other hand, are suitable for any rigorous activities or jobs that may require extra protection, maybe from a big fall or heavy materials. Boots are also useful for protecting against twisting and sprains of the ankle.

Special Requirements

If you work in an environment with conductive components boots should be selected to reduce the opportunity for electrocution.  If work with chemicals and corrosive materials shoes that are made of a resistant material should be choses to protect your feet.  If you work in areas with sharp objects for example you may select a shoe with a steel midsole which will protect your feet from puncture damage.



When PPE Equipment Is A Danger, Not A Solution

When PPE Equipment Is A Danger, Not A Solution

Author: Justin Arnold

We’re all very much aware of the fact that PPE equipment in almost any field of work or industry is an absolute essential, not just in order to comply with current health and safety at work legislation, but also because of the increased danger which is often involved in using more powerful equipment sharper, faster tools, or working in dangerous locations.

As more understanding of risks and how to protect against them is accumulated, so does the variety of ways in which we can protect against them. But the trouble is that whilst we have become more aware of the need to protect against the risks and dangers posed by working with dangerous tools or equipment, and the range of types of PPE equipment has grown massively, so has the challenge of trying to make the right choice every time. Often the right choice isn’t necessarily the most obvious one, and there are many factors which need to be considered in order to make the best choice in every situation.

For example, it may be that in many situation high visibility PPE clothing in fluorescent yellow is ideal, helping to make sure that the person is highly visible. But in some situations it may well prove to be the case that anyone wearing yellow is very much less visible than needed. Some environments or weathers make yellow a poor choice, and in these cases fluorescent orange or green may be a better choice. Just because something has the words ‘high visibility’ stamped on it, or ‘safety’ written in big, confidence inspiring letters doesn’t necessarily mean that it will provide the level of visibility required, or indeed that it will help keep the person safe.

Another potential issue is when combining multiple items of safety equipment at the same time. For example, it may be that if you are required to weld galvanised steel you will be required to wear eye protection, and because of the fact that the fumes resulting from welding galvanised steel are highly toxic, you will usually be required to wear some form of breathing apparatus or respirator. However, whilst each item of PPE equipment may on its own be ideal, highly recommended and provide a decent level of protection, you may find that once you fit the respirator the eye protection no longer fits, or that once you have fitted the eye protection, the breathing apparatus no longer fits snugly over your face.

It is essential therefore not to see each item of personal protective equipment by itself, but as part of a combination of solutions, and within the context of a whole range of situations and environments. This can necessarily inflate the overall cost of having safety equipment, but this is still far less than the cost of providing compensation in the event of an accident, injury or death, or the loss of revenue which the bad publicity is likely to cause.

Another potential problem is in providing safety clothing to people which fits correctly. The safest work gloves in the world may be next to useless if they don’t fit properly, and they may even represent an added danger themselves. Loose fitting safety clothing which is too big can easily get caught in machinery, and can reduce a person’s dexterity. This may result in an accident which would never otherwise have happened.

So it is true to say that unless PPE equipment and clothing is purchased with these factors in mind, the potential risk or danger may in fact be exacerbated, which is of course the last thing to strive for. If in any doubt then it is important to seek professional and experienced help and advice pertinent to your specific requirements, rather than take a chance and trust too much in the word ‘safety’ stamped on your PPE equipment.

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About the Author

For further advice and information about PPE equipment visit Intersafety, one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of safety equipment, including a wide selection of work gloves.

Health & Safety Plan for Construction

What should be covered in the Safety Plan?

In a Health and Safety Plan, the following aspects are looked at and proof of is kept in the Safety File:

  1. Notification to the Provincial Director (Annexure A document) which is a requirement under Section 3 of the Construction Regulation.
  2. Appointments under the Construction Regulations:
    1. Appointment of contractors [Section 5(3)(b)]
    2. Appointment of construction supervisors [Section 6(1)]
    3. Appointment of assistant construction supervisors [Section 6(2)]
    4. Appointment of construction Safety officers [Section 6(6)]
    5. Appointment of Risk Assessor [Section 7(1)]
    6. Appointment of formwork and support work supervisor [Section 10(a)]
    7. Appointment of excavation work supervisor [Section 11(1)]
    8. Appointment of demolition work supervisor [Section 12(1)]
    9. Appointment of scaffolding supervisor [Section 14(2)]
    10. Appointment of stacking and storage supervisor[Section 26(a)]
    11. Appointments of internal auditors and external auditors [Section 5(3)(c)]
    12. And also all other appointments required according to the Safety Specification of the client.
  3. Registers of Skills Training and Safety Induction and the course outlines.
  4. Assessment records of Personal Protective Equipment required for construction.
  5. Register of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and weekly inspection records of Personal Protective Equipment.
  6. Public and Environmental issues in connection with the workplace:
    • Traffic Management Plan
    • Emergency Plan
    • Pedestrian and Vehicle Traffic Accommodation Plan
    • Environmental Scoping document for construction
    • Environmental Impact Assessment records for construction
    • Environmental Management Plan for construction
    • Protocols to minimise dust nuisance
    • Protocols to minimise noise nuisance
    • Records of decisions for construction work
    • Records of decisions for storage of diesel on site
    • Records of decisions for storage of chemicals on-site
  7. Registers of Plant and Equipment used for construction.
  8. Registers of Approved Operators and copies of certificates of training for all operators.
  9. Records of the daily inspections for Plant and Equipment for construction.
  10. Letter of Good Standing with the Compensation Fund.
  11. Copies of Method Statements necessary in terms of the Construction Regulations:
    • Overall Method Statement
    • Trench excavations
    • Trench backfilling
    • Bulk excavations
    • Bulk backfilling
    • Pipe, duct or cable laying
    • Testing of pressure pipelines
    • Electrical work
    • Structural concrete
    • Concrete paving
    • Block paving
    • Formwork
    • Demolitions
    • Scaffold work
    • Suspended scaffold and boatswain chairs
    • Structural brickwork
    • Site housekeeping
  12. Register of Risk Assessments conducted on the site and copies of the Risk Assessment conducted.
  13. Register of Incidents, First Aid Injuries and Reportable Injuries that occur on the site.
  14. Register of warnings issued for unsafe working practices (Not complying to Personal Protective Equipment, negligence, drunkenness, etc)
  15. Copies of Incident Investigation reports conducted on the construction site.
  16. Copies of reports to the Provincial Director for reportable injuries occurring on the Construction Site.
  17. Register of Daily Safety Reports and copies of the safety reports conducted on the construction site.
  18. Register of Safety Audits and copies of the safety audits conducted on the construction site.