Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD’s) are strains that may result from long-term repetitive motion or from continually working in an awkward position. Strains commonly occur in the wrists, arms, shoulders or back, affecting the body’s joints and surrounding muscles and tendons.


CTD’s are said to be today’s fastest growing occupational problem, affecting all types of employees, from computer operators to construction workers.


Modern equipment, tools and machinery have increased production capabilities in many ways. But in some cases, they have also increased the potential for strain injuries in people.


These disorders not only cause great discomfort, they can also affect a person’s employability and personal lifestyle choices.




  • Do warm-up exercises before beginning physically demanding tasks (take a tip from athletes)


  • Plan ahead, if you will be doing a job that is awkward–think of ways to make it easier.


  • Rotate your work position, to change how muscles are used during your work shift.


  • Use the proper tool for the job to avoid awkward movements and the need for overexertion.


  • Take a rest break when fatigue sets in. Just a few minutes can make a difference.
    • Carefully stretch tired or overworked muscles to improve circulation and relieve tension.


    • When appropriate, use anti-shock or anti-vibration gloves, back supports, wrist supports, or other personal protective equipment that helps prevent cumulative trauma.


    • Always use proper lifting techniques. Back strain is one of the most common CTD’s.


    • When using hand tools keep your wrists in a “neutral” position, as opposed to repeatedly bending them up, down or sideways during work tasks.


    • Just because a co-worker is not affected by a physically demanding task, don’t ignore messages your body sends you. Although humans share many physical characteristics, people are often different in terms of their physical strengths and weaknesses.


    All muscle discomfort and fatigue is not a cumulative trauma disorder. Everyone experiences occasional aches and pains from both work and play-especially when you are not used to the activity. Nevertheless, awkward, repetitive work positions can result in long-term physical problems, so it’s up to you to avoid these in whatever ways you can. If the ache doesn’t go away within a day or two, follow the above suggestions.


    If you have early symptoms of chronic discomfort, report it immediately to your supervisor. The sooner a better tool or work position can be incorporated into your work activities, the sooner those symptoms can be controlled.


    Listen to what your body tells you and learn how to avoid CTD’s!


Punctures and Cuts

Punctures and cuts are common on-the-job injuries. Punctures occur when objects such as splinters, nails, glass, and sharp tools such as scissors and knives pierce the skin and cause a small hole.

Cuts occur when sharp objects, including knives, scissors, sharp metal edges, and glass slice through the skin superficially or into the deeper layers of fat, tendons,                         muscles, and even bone.

The best way to deal with cuts   and punctures is to avoid getting them in the first place. Wear appropriate clothing on the job such as sturdy shoes or work boots, long sleeve shirts, and long pants. Consider sturdy coveralls to protect your skin from sharp and flying objects. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to your job tasks such as gloves, safety glasses, work boots, gauntlets, and chaps.

Follow safe work practices and know how to use your tools properly. Inspect, maintain, and replace your tools when necessary. Always use the correct tool for the job. Ensure that blades on cutting tools are sharpened; dull cutting surfaces can cause accidents. When working with sharp tools, always know where both of your hands are at all times. Practice good housekeeping with your sharp and cutting tools by sheathing and storing them properly. Place tools far back on workbenches and shelves, not against the edge where someone walking by might get stuck.

If you have to pick up broken glass or metal shards, use a broom and a dustpan or pieces of cardboard. Never pick up broken glass with your bare hands. Dispose of sharp objects properly in rigid sided containers that will not get punctured and spill. Label these containers with the word “Sharp” to warn coworkers of the hazard. Never reach into a garbage can with your hands or try to “tamp” it down with your hands or booted feet in case someone has improperly disposed of a sharp object or even a syringe. To properly dispose of syringes, pick them up with tongs and place them into hard plastic medical waste containers.

If you receive a puncture or cut on the job, notify your supervisor immediately. If you can, gently wash the area with soap and water. To stop bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the wound with clean gauze, cotton, or other absorbent material. When bleeding has stopped, apply an antibacterial ointment and a clean dressing to the wound. If you cannot stop the bleeding, if the wound is very large, or if you are impaled with an object, seek medical attention. Watch your wounds for signs of infection including fever, severe pain, redness beyond the wound edge, swelling, warmth, or pus drainage. Get medical attention immediately if you suspect infection.

If your wound was caused by stepping on a nail or other sharp object in contact with the soil, you may be exposed to the bacteria that cause tetanus. Consider getting regular boosters for tetanus every five to ten years. If your wound was caused by a needlestick, seek medical testing and treatment due to a potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Consider a Hepatitis B vaccination if you are exposed to potential needlesticks.



What’s the best way to move something?

Ask someone else to do it for you!

What’s the next best way? Be sure you know the proper way to move materials yourself.

If you could transfer the risk of handling heavy, large and awkward items and not get hurt, wouldn’t you do it? However, for many people who must move heavy items on a regular basis at work or at home, this is not a reality. One of the best ways to avoid suffering a muscle strain or sprain is to use a hand truck. The use of this tool also increases productivity and lessens the chance of dropping and damaging merchandise.

Although hand trucks appear to be fairly simple devices, users must remember a few basic safety procedures:

  • Use a hand truck that is appropriate for the job and the load to be carried.
  • When stacking items on the truck, keep the heaviest load on the bottom to lower the center of gravity.
  • Balance the load forward on the axle of the hand truck, so the weight will not be carried by the handle.
  • Never stack items so high that you can’t see where you’re going.
  • When carrying multiple boxes side by side, attempt to stagger them to “lock in” the boxes.
  • Be sure the items to be transported on the hand truck are sturdy enough to be moved in this manner. Secure any bulky, awkward or delicate objects to the truck.
  • Plan your route. Be aware of potential hazards to be encountered during the path of travel.
  • As a rule, avoid walking backwards with a hand truck. Remember the back care rule: It is safer to push than to pull.
  • Hand truck injuries typically occur by getting your hand pinched between the handles and a nearby stationary object, so take care when working your way through tight spaces. The use of gloves can provide extra protection.
  • Always maintain a safe speed and keep the hand truck under control.
  • Always park the trucks in a designated area, never in aisles or other places where they may cause a trip hazard or traffic obstruction. Two wheeled trucks should be stored on the chisel with handles leaning against a wall.

When you use a hand truck properly, it does the job and reduces the chance you’ll strain a muscle or be injured. Let the truck do the work for you!

Use Care with Compressed Air

A mechanic with a small cut on his hand washed some machine parts in a solvent. To dry them, he held the parts in a compressed air stream. A few minutes later he told his supervisor he “felt like his body was going to explode!”

With such unusual symptoms, the injured worker was rushed to a hospital. Doctors decided that the compressed air had penetrated the cut on his hand and had forced air bubbles into his blood stream. Although the mechanic recovered from his self-inflicted injury, his mistake could have been fatal if an air bubble had reached his heart.

Injuries caused by the misuse of compressed air have occurred since this energy source was developed. In fact, compressed air is used so much that too many of us take it for granted, ignoring the hazards involved in its use.

In addition to the danger of air bubbles entering the bloodstream through a cut, a stream of  compressed air can damage an eardrum or eye or inflate a part of the body.

Many people blow dust and dirt from their clothing, body or hair with compressed air. Even if the pressure is as low as 20 to 25 psi, when directed toward openings in the skin or body, air can penetrate causing serious injuries.

  • 12psi can “Pop” an eyeball from its socket.
  • 4psi in the mouth can rupture the lungs & intestine.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.242(b)


If used for cleaning purposes pressure must be maintained less than 30psi.

Wear a Helmet


What do bicycling, horseback riding, baseball and in-line skating have in common? Helmets!


The trick is that different sports require a different type of helmet to help protect participants from the different types of head injuries common to that particular sport.


All helmets are not created equal; beyond picking the right helmet for the sport, buyers should look inside the helmet for information on standards the helmet complies with.


  • Bike helmets for example should carry a CPSC, Snell, ASTM, or ANSI sticker or label.


Fit is key


A loose helmet cannot protect the head as well as one that is properly fit.


The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute suggests buying a brand and size that fits well prior to adjustments, and then using the adjustable straps and / or sizing pads to ensure a snug fit.


Select a helmet that fits you or your child now, not a helmet to “grow into.”

Helmets save lives


  • According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head and brain injury by 85%.


  • More than 70,000 persons need hospital emergency room treatment each year for injuries related to skateboarding according to the CPSC.


  • Head injuries cause three-quarters of about 900 bicycle deaths each year, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a helmet advocacy program of the Washington, D.C.-area Bicyclist Association.


  • Another 82,000 people suffer brain injuries each year while playing sports such as baseball and football, etc., according to the Brain Injury Association in Alexandria,


  • Brain surgeons and doctors across the S. agree that wearing helmets can save lives.


Both children and adults should wear the appropriate helmet when participating in the following sports, or any recreational activity where head injuries are a risk:


  • ATV riding Baseball Bicycling Football


  • Horse-back riding In-line skating Rock climbing


  • Skateboarding


  • Softball


For handling sports-related injuries and other emergencies, everyone should be trained in first aid.



Good illumination is important to maximize production and maintain quality control.


Poor lighting on the job-site will lead to personal injury accidents — tripping, falling and injuries from tools and equipment.


OSHA requires that all construction areas,  stairs, ramps, corridors, storage areas, shops, offices, etc. be lighted by natural or artificial illumination.


Table D-3 in OSHA Standard 1926.56 indicates the intensities required for specific areas. For general construction areas illumination must be equal to 5 foot candles; a foot candle being a standard unit for measuring intensity of illumination.


Generally speaking, if you are able to read drawings and follow layout marks without difficulty and use cutting tools effectively and with ease, there is sufficient lighting on the site.


Plant and shop areas, first aid stations and offices require higher intensities of illumination.


All temporary wiring and lighting on the site must comply with the same codes as permanent wiring. Undersized wiring or overloaded circuits lead to work Stoppages, electrical shocks and even fires.


Be sure wiring is protected from damage in high traffic areas.

Flexible cords used for temporary or portable lights must be designed for hard or extra-hard .usage, all lamps for general illumination must be protected from accidental contact or breakage; metal case sockets must be grounded, and temporary lights must not be suspended by their cords unless specifically designed for this means of suspension.


120-volt, portable lighting may be used in wet or other conductive locations such as vessels, drums and tanks but only if protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter, otherwise the maximum permitted is 12 volts or less.





Talking to friends and relatives on the phone can be a very pleasant part of our day.  Depending on what we are discussing, it can also be very upsetting.  We could be discussing last nights football game and the winning or losing point, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, having a fight with a girlfriend, checking on a sick parent, thinking, planning, emotions running high all with one hand on the telephone.  This is okay if we are just sitting on the living room sofa; however, it is not okay if you are on a jobsite, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE WORKING ON A HIGHWAY.  While working out in the field, talking on the phone is not appropriate.  Make no mistake about it; IT IS DANGEROUS!

Working on or near streets and highways requires your constant awareness for the safety of motorists, pedestrians and workers.  Our full attention and all of our physical capabilities should be focused on what we are doing if we expect to perform our job in a safe manner.  An injury or loss of life is a high price to pay because we didn’t want to miss a phone call.

For this reason, personal cell phones are not allowed on the jobsite without permission from your supervisor or foreman.  They are to be kept with your other belongings, i.e., locked in a vehicle or left back at the motel or in your home.  You are never supposed to be making or receiving calls on personal (unauthorized) cell phones while you are working.

Because cell phones have been listed as a contributing factor in vehicle accidents, all drivers (even if authorized to use a cell phone on the job) are not allowed to talk on the phone while driving.  If you receive a call or it is necessary to make a call, pull off the road to a safe spot and park your vehicle.

Remember to be responsible and act SAFELY,
                                                Janice Grimaldi

SOURCE: http://www.toolboxtopics.com/Contributed/Cell%20Phones.htm

Work Vest Requirements

OSHA Standard Interpretation
08/23/2004 – Life jacket/buoyant work vest requirements for employees working over water <2 feet deep; requirements for lifesaving skiffs.


OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed.


Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov.


Question (1): Under §1926.106(a) would a life jacket or buoyant work vest be required where employees are working over water that is less than 2 feet deep where they could easily stand up?


29 CFR 1926.106(a) states:

Employees working over or near water, where the danger of drowning exists, shall be provided with U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket of buoyant work vests. [Emphasis added.]

Section 1926.106(a) does not specify a minimum depth of water where a danger of drowning would exist. However, several factors are relevant to determining whether a danger of drowning exists. These include the type (i.e., a pool, a river, a canal), depth, presence or absence of a current, height above the water surface, and the use of fall protection.

Depending on the factors present, there are some circumstances where a drowning hazard could exist where workers are near or over water that is less than 2 feet in depth. For example, where workers are not using fall protection and are 10 feet above a river, a worker may fall and be knocked unconscious. Without the use of a life jacket or buoyant work vest, a worker in such a scenario could drown.

Note, though, that in a September 28, 1999, letter to Mr. Douglas Walters we addressed the issue of providing life jackets to employees working over or near water who use fall protection. In that letter we stated that:

When continuous fall protection is used (without exception) to prevent employees from falling into the water, the employer has effectively removed the drowning hazard, and life jackets or buoyant work vests are not needed.

Therefore, in question # 1, if the workers were to use 100% fall protection (without exception) while over or near water, life jackets/vests would not be required under §1926.106(a) because you would have removed the drowning hazard.

Work Vest Example:

This Work Vest has a back slot to facilitate wearing over a fall restraint harness. This             feature allows the snap hook and lanyard to be worn outside the Vest.





Gasoline is an extremely flammable liquid fuel. It should always be handled and stored properly in order to reduce the likelihood of fires and explosions. Personal injuries ranging from first degree burns to fatalities can result from improper handling and storage practices.

Safety cans are designed to control the flammable vapors of gasoline and to provide a safe and convenient means for storage and transfer. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved safety cans should be  used to carry, dispense, and store gasoline in quantities up to five gallons.

Failure to use approved metal containers for flammable or combustible liquids has often been cited by compliance officers. OSHA revised the rule on safety cans (1926.152(a)(1), allowing D.O.T. approved plastic safety cans. It was further determined that these plastic containers need not be equipped with a spring closing lid, spout cover and flash arresting screen.

Nevertheless, many state safety codes and jurisdictions will allow only metal safety cans on the worksite, at least until local codes are changed. Plastic may not hold up as well under heavy use and handling. Whatever standards must be followed, it is important to understand the features and benefits of a safety container so that you and your co-workers can best guard against fire or explosion.

Approved safety cans have several basic design qualities:

  • They have a spring loaded cap that closes the spout automatically when released. Tension in the spring forces the cap closed and provides a leak proof seal.
  • The spring tension is also designed to lift the cap slightly in the event of excessive internal vapor pressure inside the can. This automatically vents off vapors at approximately five psi internal pressure, to prevent the can from rupturing or exploding if it is exposed to excessive outside heat.
  • The spout is also equipped with a flame arrester screen designed to prevent outside fire from reaching the gasoline inside the can. This is the same type of screen that is found in marine gasoline engine carburetors. With the screen in place, if the can is involved in a fire, the vapors will burn around the spout, but will not permit an internal fire or explosion. This screen must not be removed or damaged. Sometimes safety cans are also used to hold thick liquids such as lubrication oil, which is not recommended. Since the heavy liquid will not pass through the screen, the screen is often removed, defeating an important safety feature of the container.


Finally, it is extremely dangerous to carry gasoline–even in a safety can–in the trunk of a vehicle. If the trunk heats up from the sun, the contents of the can will expand and pressure will raise the springed cap. This permits vapors to accumulate in the trunk, and an explosion may result.


Do your part to prevent fires that can lead to serious burns, loss of life and significant property damage. Whether it is required or just good sense, always use approved safety cans when handling gasoline or other flammable liquids. Periodically inspect the cap, spring and flame arrester screen as well, to be sure it will provide the safety you expect.



Why take chances?

SOURCE: http://www.toolboxtopics.com/Gen%20Industry/Why%20Use%20a%20Safety%20Can%20for%20Gasoline.htm


There’s plenty of air, plenty of fuel, and plenty of ignition sources around construction sites–so everyone must be on the alert to prevent fire. Here are some ways to keep the job from going up in smoke. Did you know the probability of a building catching fire is greatest while it’s under construction?


Here are some good practices in fire prevention.


  • Keep the site clean.


  • Store combustible materials away from ignition sources.


  • Report any possible fire hazards that you notice: open flames, sparks, and electrical equipment that appears to need repairs.


  • On hot-work jobs or when open flame equipment is used., appoint a “fire watch” to keep an eye out during and at least a half hour after hot work is performed, be sure the fire watch can call for help in the event of an emergency, be sure combustibles are safe from ignition, have a fire extinguisher immediately available for welding, torch cutting and any work involving open flame or flammable liquids.


  • Help protect temporary electric wiring from possible damage. In case of a fire in or near live electrical equipment, use a dry chemical extinguisher, and not water.


  • Don’t smoke near flammables, in “No Smoking” areas, or while re-fueling equipment. Make sure cigarettes and matches are out.


  • Always use approved safety cans or the original manufacturer’s container to store flammable liquids.


Keep these containers closed when not in use, and never store them near exits or passageways.

  • Clean up any spills as soon as they occur. Put saturated rags into closed metal containers.


  • Watch to see that canvas tarps, plastic sheeting or other flammable/combustible items don’t get close to space heaters. Take care to see that heaters aren’t accidentally tipped over.


  • Know where the closest fire-protection equipment is located, and how to use it. Check to see that firefighting equipment is in the clear, in proper condition, and ready for instant use. If a fire does break out, call the fire department. If you are able to use a fire extinguisher, remember the PASS process: