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Site Safety – Working Near Power Lines

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MAKE ELECTRICAL SAFETY A PRIORITY OF YOUR PLAN!
Before any work begins, be sure everyone working with you or who will be in the area knows where overhead and underground lines are located.

Power lines are not insulated, so if you touch one with your body, your equipment, or your tools, you or someone else in the immediate area  could become seriously injured or killed.  Electrical accidents can happen even without direct contact.

Nominal Voltage Phase-to-Phase –  Minimum Working Distance in Feet

0 to 50,000  –  10 ft

Over 50,000 to 200,000  –  15 ft

Over 200,000 to 345,000  –  20 ft

For assistance with determining voltage and safe working distances please contact Eversource.

Connecticut: 888-544-4826

Eastern Massachusetts: 888-633-3797

Western Massachusetts: 800-880-2433

New Hampshire: 800-362-7764

Whether you operate heavy equipment or use ladders and handheld tools on the jobsite, it’s critical that you keep a safe distance from all power lines and electrical equipment while you work—at least 10 feet, and possibly more depending on voltage.

Before beginning work:

  • Call Eversource to determine voltage and safe working distances (see OSHA Minimum Safe Working Distances chart for phone numbers in your state).
  • Assess and document your surroundings, searching carefully for overhead power lines, poles, and guy wires, as well as lines that may be obscured from view by trees or buildings.
  • Always assume that all nearby overhead, underground, and building service lines are energized.
  • If you will be digging, ensure safe excavations by first calling 81 l—the toll—free underground hazards hotline.

Avoiding Crane, Ladder, and Overhead Hazards  

  • Before beginning any overhead work involving cranes, derricks, aerial lifts, loaders, scaffolding or ladders, call Eversource in your state to verify voltage ratings at your location and safe working distances from power lines and equipment (see OSHA Minimum Safe Working Distances chart). In addition:
  • Be sure to comply with all OSHA requirements and applicable state and federal safety regulations, including OSHA’s crane standard (For complete details, visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/cranehoistsafety/standards.html).
  • Be sure to use tape, signs, or barricades to keep workers and equipment the required distance away from power lines and equipment.

When working with cranes or derricks:  

  • Keep all parts of the crane (cab, boom, load line, etc.) load at least 20 feet away from the line, and always assume the line is energized.
  • Partner with a dedicated spotter on the ground to help you stay clear of overhead lines, and make sure it’s your spotter’s only responsibility until your work is complete.
  • Keep vehicles clear of the work area, especially high-rise equipment like long—bed dump trucks and concrete mixers that can come in contact with overhead power lines.

When working on ladders or using long tools:  

  • Call Eversource to determine voltage and safe working distances.
  • Maintain a safe distance of at least 1 0 feet from overhead power lines carrying up to 50 kV. If you are unsure of the voltage, contact Eversource in your state.
  • Carry ladders, paint rollers, rain gutters, and other long objects so that they are parallel to the ground.
  • As voltage increases, clearance distances also increase, so before adjusting ladders or other long tools, add your own height and make sure the total height will remain a safe distance of at least 10 feet away from overhead lines of 50 kV or less.

Avoiding Underground and Digging Hazards  

  • Ensure safe excavations, and avoid being held liable for damages—dial 811 before you dig. You’ll learn whether underground cables and other utilities are in your work area, and where they’re located.
  • If an underground power line is exposed or damaged, secure the site and maintain a safe distance.
  • Once safety precautions have been taken, call Eversource at the appropriate number listed on the back, and be sure to press “5” for Construction Services.
  • Never attempt to open underground equipment. Call Eversource in your state.

Staying Safe Around Downed  Power Lines  

Downed power lines are most common after storms and high winds, but can also occur while on the job. For safety’s sake, treat every  downed power line as though it’s energized.

If you are around downed power lines:  

  • Call 91 1 and Eversource to report the downed line.
  • Stay away—even if they don’t hum or spark. Downed power lines can be live and dangerous.
  • Shuffle…don’t run! Carefully move away from the line and anything it is touching, and instruct others in the area to do the same. The correct technique for moving away from a downed line  is to shuffle with your feet together and on the ground. Fight the urge to run—ifyou run or  take large steps, you increase the chance that electricity could come up one leg and go out the other, and you could be seriously injured.

If equipment you are operating comes in contact  with a power line:  

  • Have a co-worker immediately call 91 1 and Eversource.
  • If there is no immediate danger and you can do so safely, move the equipment away from the line.
  • Warn others to stay away. When equipment hits a line, workers standing on the ground are in the greatest danger.
  • To ensure everyone’s safety, do not attempt to rescue your co-worker.
  • Stay away until rescue workers assure you the power has been turned off—if you touch someone who is in contact with electricity, or their vehicle or a tool they’re holding, you could be shocked as well.
  • Stay on the equipment until rescue workers say it is safe to get off.
  • If you must get off the equipment due to fire or other danger, land far enough away from the equipment so that you don’t touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and shuffle away, keeping your feet together and on the ground.

Site Safety – Propane Safety Information

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What is propane?  Propane (also called LPG—liquefied petroleum gas—or LP gas) is a liquid fuel stored under pressure. in most systems, propane is vaporized to a gas before it leaves the tank. Propane is flammable when mixed with air (oxygen) and can be ignited by many sources, including open flames, smoking materials. electrical sparks, and static electricity. Severe freeze burn or frostbite can result it propane liquid comes in contact with your skin.

 

IF YOU SMELL GAS…

  1. NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately ‘  put out all smoking materials and other  open flames. Do not operate lights,  appliances, telephones, or cell phones.  Flames or sparks from these sources  can trigger an explosion or a fire.
  2. LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
  3. SHUT OFF THE GAS. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
  4. REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor’s  home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
  5. DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
  6. GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak—free.

CAN YOU SMELL IT?…

Propane smells like rotten eggs, 3 skunks spray, or a dead animal. Some people ma have difficulty smelling propane due to the‘ age (older people may have a less sensitivg sense of smell); a medical condition; or the effects of medication, alcohol, tobacco,  or drugs.

ODOR LOSS. On rare occasions, propane can lose its odor. Several things can cause  this including:

  1. The presence of air, water, or rust in a propane tank or cylinder
  2. The passage of leaking propane through the soil
  3. Since there is a possibility of odor loss or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.

PROPANE GAS DETECTORS…

Under some circumstances, you may not  smell a propane leak. Propane gas detectors sound an alarm if they sense propane in the air. They can provide an additional measure of security. You should consider the purchase  of one r.-r more detectors for your home.

GUIDELINES regarding propane gas detectors:

  • Buy only units that are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation and maintenance
  • Never ignore the smell of pr0pane, even if no detector is sounding an alarm.

CARBON MONOXIDE AND YOUR SAFETY…

WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)?

You can’t taste or smell CO, but it is a very dangerous gas, produced when any fuel burns. High levels of CO can come from appliances that are not operating correctly, or from a venting system or chimney that  becomes blocked.

CO CAN BE DEADLY! High levels of CO can make you dizzy or sick (see below). In extreme cases, CO can cause brain damage or death.

SYMPTOMS of CO poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

If you suspect C0 is present, act immediately!

  1. If you or a family member shows physical symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the building and call 911 or your local fire department.
  2. If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow entry of fresh air, and turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
  3. If no one has symptoms, but you suspect that CO is present, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician to check CO levels and your propane equipment.

TO HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF CO POISONING:  

  • Have a qualified service technician check your propane appliances and related venting  systems annually, preferably before the  heating season begins.
  • Install UL-listed CO detectors on every level of your home.
  • Never use a gas oven or range—top burners to provide space heating.
  • Never use portable heaters indoors unless they are designed and approved for indoor use.
  • Never use a barbecue grill (propane or  charcoal) indoors for cooking or heating.
  • Regularly check your appliance exhaust vents for blockage.

SIGNS OF IMPROPER APPLIANCE OPERATION THAT CAN GENERATE HIGH CO LEVELS:  

  • Sooting, especially on appliances and vents
  • Unfamiliar or burning odor
  • Increased moisture inside of windows

LIGHTING PILOT LIGHTS…

  • IF A PILOT LIGHT REPEATEDLY GOES OUT or is very difficult to light, there may be a safety problem. DO NOT try to fix the problem yourself. It is strongly recom- mended that only a QUALIFIED SERVICE TECHNICIAN light any pilot light that has gone out.
  • YOU ARE TAKING THE RISK of starting a fire or an explosion if you light a pilot light yourself. Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings concerning the appliance before attempting to light the pilot.

APPLIANCE MAINTENANCE…

  • LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS. Only a qualified service technician has the training to install, inspect, service, maintain, and repair your appliances. Have your appliances and propane system inspected just before the start of each heating season.
  • HELP YOUR APPLIANCES “BREATHE.” Check the vents of your appliances to be sure that flue gases can flow easily to the outdoors; clear away any insect or bird nests or other debris. Also, clear the area around your appliances so plenty of air can reach the burner for proper combustion.
  • DO NOT TRY TO MODIFY OR REPAIR valves, regulators, connectors, controls, or other appliance and cylinder/tank parts. Doing so creates the risk of a gas leak that can result in property damage, serious injury, or death.
  • HAVE OLDER APPLIANCE CONNECTORS INSPECTED. Certain older appliance con- nectors may crack or break, causing a gas leak. If you have an appliance that is more than 20 years old, have a qualified service technician inspect the connector. Do not  do this yourself, as movement of the ap- pliance might damage the connector and cause a leak.

FLAMMABLE VAPORS ARE A SAFETY HAZARD. The pilot light on your pr0pane appliance can ignite vapors from gasoline, paint thinners, and other flammable liquids. Be sure to store and use flammable liquids outdoors or in an area of the building containing no propane appliances.

DON’T RISK IT! If you cannot operate any part of your propane system, or if you think an appliance or other device is not working properly, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician for assistance.

RUNNING OUT OF GAS…

DON’T RUN OUT OF GAS. SERIOUS SAFETY HAZARDS, INCLUDING FIRE OR EXPLOSION, CAN RESULT.

  • If an appliance valve or a gas line is left open, a leak could occur when the system is recharged with propane.
  • If your propane tank runs out of gas, any  pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous.
  • A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED. In many states, a propane retailer or a qualified service technician must perform a leak  check of your propane system before turning on the gas.

Site Safety – Back to School Traffic Safety

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FIVE WAYS TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE TO AND FROM SCHOOL:

Now that children are returning to school we all have a responsibility to be more watchful on the roads and near school zones. This is particularly important at times of day when children are more likely to be outside of the school — including when school begins, lunchtime and after school.

Studies report that pedestrian injury is the third highest cause of injury related death among children. Driving defensively and observing the rules helps keep everyone safe and sound.

1. Always stop for a school bus when the lights are flashing.  Children have a limited sense of danger and are often excited and energetic when getting on or off a school bus. Watch out for children who may dart out from between stopped school buses or parked cars. Don’t obstruct a school bus loading zones and be patient as children get on and off the bus. Motorists travelling in both directions are required to stop for a school bus when its lights are flashing and the stop arm is out. Failing to stop for a school bus is a violation of state law and a serious traffic violation with substantial fines and penalties.

2. Observe the posted speed limits. it’s important to slow down as you approach a school zone and watch for children who may run out into harm’s way. Posted  speed limits in school zones are typically reduced and travelling at a slower speed gives drivers time to stop safely in case there are children crossing the road unexpectedly. Playground zones have the same speed limits and are in effect from dawn until dusk each day. Children may be out and about at various times throughout the day for recess, lunch time or field trips so you need to be careful when driving in school zones. Respect your school’s posted pick up and drop off areas to avoid creating unnecessary traffic congestion and unsafe conditions. This includes respecting “No Parking” and “No Stopping” zones.

3. Obey the crossing guard at all times. Whether you think they are right or not, obey crossing guards at all times. Children expect that crossing guards will only allow them to cross if the situation is safe, so disregarding a crossing guard’s instructions can have serious consequences.

4. Do not pass other vehicles in a school zone. This is a dangerous practice that is prohibited in school zones. When passing other vehicles, you may be travelling quickly and your overall visibility is reduced. Children crossing the street won’t expect you to be passing and won’t be prepared for your car being in a different lane than usual. Similarly, you should not perform a U—turn or 3 point turn, or even driving in reverse in a school zone if you can avoid it. Any sort of unpredictable driving manoeuvre may catch children off guard and cause or contribute to an accident.

5. Expect the unexpected.  Children are unpredictable and can run out into traffic at any time. Watch carefully as you approach a school zone and be prepared for children to step on to the road unexpectedly. Although there has been a steady decrease in the number of tragedies each year, it’ s important to remember that “one death is one too many.”

HELP KEEP KIDS SAFE!

Site Safety – Electrical Power Cord Safety

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW…  

Electric shock can cause burns, shocks, falls and electrocution resulting is serious injury or  death — The Bureau of Labor Statistics state that for the last decade, electrical injury has been responsible for an average of 320 workplace deaths and over 4,000 injuries involving days away from work annually in the United States. Personnel Safety and safe operation of machines and tools should be of uppermost importance in all considerations of using  electricity on the jobsite. Electrical violations are among the most commonly cited OSHA violations. There are many specific standards that address electrical safety. Refer to the OSHA  regulations for specific applications.

General Safety Precautions for avoiding electrical shocks include, but not limited to the following:  

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters  The GFCI is a fast acting device that senses a small current leakage to ground. Within 1/40 of a second it shuts off the electricity and “interrupts” the current flow. It provides effective protection against shocks and electrocution. OSHA requires GCFls or equipment grounding conductor program on all construction sites.

Extension Cords: Extension cords are necessary on any job providing power to portable equipment or lighting, however, they are often misused resulting in injuries. Most importantly extension cords are for temporary use only. Inspect extension cords for physical damage before use. Check wattage rating on the tool being used with the extension cord and make sure that the extension cord does not have a lower rating than the tool being used. Don’t use extension cords marked for indoor use outdoors. Don’t plug one extension cord into another.

Electrical Fires: On construction sites, an electrical fire may occur when portable tools overload a power source. If possible to safely disconnect the tool or power cord from the power source, do so immediately. A Class C or multi- purpose fire extinguisher may also be used to ensure the fire is extinguished. Call 911 if necessary.

To Avoid Electrical Hazards:

  • Inspect all electrical equipment daily prior to use, tag as needed and report damaged tools to your supervisor.
  • Survey the work site for overhead power lines and other electrical hazards when using ladders or working on platforms. Maintain the required distance from electrical equipment and conductors. When in doubt stop work and ask your supervisor.
  • Provide adequate overload & short-circuit protection for safe operation. The interrupting capacity of all breakers & fuses must be sufficient to clear the fault current rapidly & without damage to itself.
  • Provide cord protection for flexible cords and cables passing through doorways, travel ways or other pinch points.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on site at ALL times. The standard procedure for fighting electrical fires is to open the circuit and then apply an approved extinguishing agent. Call 911 if necessary.
  • Avoid mixing water and electricity. Keep electrical equipment, hands, feet, and work surface dry.
  • Check all electrical equipment and notify all others connected to the power source before resetting GFCI or breaker.
  • Use only GFCI sources of electricity on all construction sites.

What NOT to do:

  • Do NOT Use a length or size (wire gauge) extension cord that exceeds the max recommended by tool manufacturer.
  • Do NOT splice extension cords with electrical tape. Splices should be approved permanent splices.
  • Do NOT leave extension cords in walk ways or work areas causing a trip hazard.
  • Do NOT use worn frayed or damaged cords or homemade receptacle box.
  • Do NOT fasten extension cords with staples, hang from nails, or suspend from wire.
  • Do NOT exit your vehicle if it comes in contact with electricity. Drive away until the electricity is no longer in contact with you vehicle. If the engine stops running, Call 911 for assistance.

BE SAFE – ALWAYS USE THE PROPER ELECTRICAL CORDS FOR THE JOB!

Site Safety – Power Saws

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Careless or improper use of any power saw may cause a serious or fatal injury.  Keep in mind the following precautions to help reduce the risk of injury when working with a power saw:

  • Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Eye protection, gloves, sturdy boots and protective clothing should be worn. You must wear goggles or properly fitted safety glasses with adequate top and side protection. Always wear heavy duty work gloves (e.g., made of leather or other wear resistant material) when handling the saw. Heavy-duty, nonslip gloves improve your grip and help to protect your hands. Wear sturdy boots with nonslip soles. Steel-toed safety boots are recommended. Clothing must be sturdy and snug- fitting, but allow complete freedom of movement. Avoid |oose—fitting jackets, scarf’s, neckties, jewelry, flared or cuffed pants, unconfined long hair or anything i ‘ that could become caught on any obstacles or moving parts of the unit or the material you are cutting.
  • Power table saws must have an upper guard that covers the entire blade of the saw; don’t remove the manufacturer’s installed guard and get them fixed if they do not work properly.
  • When using chain, brush, cut-off or any hand held saws, keep both hands on the saw to help prevent from being cut and have more control place your second hand on the auxiliary handle or motor housing. Keep your body positioned either side of the saw blade. Secure what you are cutting and never hold the material that you’re cutting.
  • After a cut, be aware of the necessary time it takes for the blade to come to a complete stop; be aware of the moving blade until it stops moving. Don’t run the saw while carrying it at your side.
  • Use your power saw within its limits. Know the type of blade and its uses; only use a blade that’s approved for the saw and material to be cut. Using an improper blade may cause it to shatter or crack in use causing it to be shot out at you or anyone in the area. Don’t use dull or damaged blades which can cause excessive friction, blade binding and kickback.

BE SAFE – Before you use any power saw be sure that you have the proper protective gear and are trained to operate the saw!

Site Safety – Scaffold Safety

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Scaffold systems are an efficient and safe way of  providing a temporary elevated work platform. However, it is important to erect and use scaffolds properly as accidents can occur. The primary causes of scaffold accidents include failure of attachment points; footing, parts failure; inadequate fall protection; and adverse climate conditions (such as high winds). Falls are 80% of all scaffold injuries; of those injured, 60% involve skilled trades and 24% are laborers. Employees can prevent many of these accidents with good old common sense. Here are some things to keep in mind before using a scaffold:

General Guidelines for Using Scaffolds

  • Erect all scaffolds under proper supervision
  • lnsure that scaffolds and ladders are filmiy supported on dry, solid footings, plumb and properly secured
  • Do not install scaffolding on frozen, wet or un-compacted earth or with methods not recommended by the manufacturer
  • Inspect scaffold prior to use. Assign this task to a competent person.
  • Free all scaffolds of defective or damaged parts
  • Tie all scaffolds securely and safely into the structure
  • Ensure all structural members are adequate for use in proposed work
  • Check all connections and pins
  • Provide cross bracing
  • Have and use access ladders properly
  • Fall protection is required for workers on platforms 6 feet or higher.
  • Eliminate debris, ice, mud, from all ladders and working surfaces
  • Plank all working areas and service all planks
  • Inspect all scaffolds frequently. Overlap all planks by 12 inches
  • Train all employees adequately in use of scaffold and ladders.

When installing all guardrails, mid-rails, and toe-boards in work areas, make sure they meet the following strength requirements:

  • Guard-rails — height is 42″ (+/-3″) and at least 200 lbs. in strength
  • Mid-rails — set midway between guardrail & walking surface and 150 lbs. in strength
  • Toe-boards — typically 1″ x 4” construction
  • Working platforms/decks must be planked close to the guardrails
  • Planks – overlap on a support at by 12 inches.

BE SAFE — Before you use a scaffold, take the time to think it out. Use good judgment and common sense.