A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is designed to provide you with the proper procedures for handling and working with hazardous materials. An MSDS provides information you need to protect yourself, your co-workers, and the environment. Before you work with a new chemical or product, review the necessary MSDSs and make sure you understand them. Employers are required to label hazardous chemicals and make an MSDS available to you for each chemical you may be exposed to at your workplace.
It is important that you know where the MSDSs are located at each jobsite. MSDSs must be readily available to you at your work area in case of an emergency. They may be kept in a binder, in a file, on CD-ROM, on microfiche, or they may be obtained through the Internet. Ask your supervisor if you are not sure where and how to find them. It's also important that you learn how to read MSDSs. They won't be of any help to you if you don't understand what they are telling you. Again, your supervisor is the best person to talk to about training programs and tutorials.
Material Safety Data Sheets are the most comprehensive sources of information about each chemical. MSDSs give the chemical name of the substance, as well as the manufacturer's name, address, and emergency phone number. They provide specific information about each material including exposure limits, required personal protective equipment (PPE), health effects, and fire and explosion hazards. MSDSs also instruct you regarding specific procedures such as proper storage and disposal, first aid measures, and how to deal with spills and leaks.
MSDSs are often presented in different formats, but you can rely on them to:
- Be written in English (although they may also be available in other languages).
- Identify the chemical product and manufacturing/importing company.
- Describe the chemical's composition, ingredients, physical properties, stability, and reactivity.
- List potential hazards, toxicity, required PPE, and ecological considerations.
- List first-aid measures and fire-fighting measures.
- List instructions on handling, storage, disposal, and transport.
- Describe possible routes of entry, such as inhalation, ingestion, and skin absorption.
Cell phone use increases by the millions each year, as they do they become a serious safety concern. Some employers have cell phone policies that restrict use while at work. The reason being employers want you to concentrate on where you're going and what your doing. The distraction cause by cell phone usage has resulted in slips, trips, falls, and collisions.
There are advantages to having a cell phone especially on the road; to report accidents, unsafe drivers and call for help in case of an emergency. However, if your taking a personal call while driving understand the responsibility you have at hand. Studies show that cell phone users have slower reaction times and are mentally distracted even when their eyes are on the road.
Follow these safety tips anytime you drive with your cell phone in the car:
- Make driving your priority.
- Turn your phone off to keep from being distracted.
- Avoid unnecessary calls.
- If you must use your phone, pull over to make the call.
- Familiarize yourself with the phone's features before you try to operate while driving.
- Keep both hands on the wheel by using a hands free headset.
- Don't attempt to take notes or look up phone numbers.
Due to the increase in cell phone related accidents on roadways, many states and cities have enacted legislation prohibiting the use of cell phones in vehicles.
The eye is a very sensitive organ and an injury to this organ can cause loss of sight. As with other injuries, it's easier to prevent them than to treat them. The key to preventing eye injuries is to always wear the right form of eye protection. Any first aid treatment should be given with the utmost caution to prevent infection or impaired vision, and to avoid further damage to delicate eye tissues. First aid techniques for some of the most common eye injuries encountered in construction :
Chemical burns - The longer a chemical remains in the eye, the more severe the burn will be. The eye must be flushed immediately and thoroughly with clean water. Hold the eye open, pour water into the inner corner of the eye and allow it to spread over the eyeball and under eyelids. The best solution is to use an eyewash station. Flush for 15 minutes and call a doctor.
Flash burns - Apply cold compress for temporary relief and see a doctor.
Blunt impact injuries - A blow to the eye area may cause a black eye. Immediately apply an ice pack or cold compress. If there is any swelling, bleeding, loss of vision or loss of consciousness seek medical assistance.
Eye irritants - Getting something in your eye can be merely irritating or quite painful. Dust or dirt may not injure the eye, but a sliver of glass or metal can damage the cornea. Gently flush with clean water or sterile eyewash. As you wash, lift the upper eyelid and roll the eyeball. Seek medical attention if irritation persists or vision problems occur.
Penetration injuries - DO NOT attempt to remove the object from eye. Protect the injured area (a paper cup works well) to prevent the object from being driven further into the eye. Cover the undamaged eye with a patch to prevent it from causing sympathetic movement of the damaged eye. Seek medical attention immediately.
SAFETY REMINDER: WEAR EYE PROTECTION!
First aid is the initial treatment an injury receives. Depending on the severity of the injury, additional medical attention may be needed. Injuries requiring first aid happen frequently in construction. Bruises, skinned knuckles, sunburn, and foreign objects in the eyes are common throughout our industry. Cuts and scrapes are two of the most common kinds of injuries incurred while doing construction work. They may seem minor, but left untreated they can become infected.
OSHA regulations require that there be a certified first-aider at the jobsite if the jobsite is not close proximity to office medical treatment. It's a good idea to find out who this person is in case you need assistance fro yourself or for a coworker. Always know where the first aid is located and that it is fully stocked.
A good first aid kit contains the essential items to treat minor injuries: bandages, tape, sterile pads, and especially protective gloves and a one way mask. If the first aid kit is low on any of the items be sure to ask your supervisor to refill.
Please note, you should only provide first aid if you have been properly trained and certified. When treating minor cuts and scrapes, be sure to follow proper first aid techniques. Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Bandage the injured spot with a clean, non sticking dressing. Bruises and bumps to the head need to be checked. A bruise can develop a blood clot and create additional problems.
It is up to you to work safely, wear your PPE, and do you rpart to not get injured. However if you or a coworker is injured, make sure the injury is treated properly.