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  • #16
    I have worked for numerous plumbing contractors over the years and for myself. I can tell you without compunction very few, if any at all, ever follow or make or even SUGGEST their employees follow most of Plumbdog's excellent advice. Simply because they are too much in a hurry to get jobs done to care, and governemnt oversight like OSHA is non-existent. Yes, non-existent. I believe OSHA exists primarily only for their own job justification and longevity, because I don't ever see them anywhere and I really do wonder exactly what it is they even do anymore.

    AS for wearing safety goggles/glasses, noone ever does it. I have seen countless rough-in crews drilling into joists all day long with none, or drilling into metal to hang uni-strut for example with none, ever. I have seen plumbers many times (yes, myself included stupidly) sweat or thread pipe overhead, say, in a ceiling or upper wall, with NO goggles. How many times I myself even almost got a nice big glob of solder drip off the joint and right into my eyeball I can't recall, but the last time it happened I vowed to never do it again without goggles on. I have hardly ever seen them use "proper" scaffolding, etc as well, usually it's only a ladder and a cheap one at that. One thing I am vehemently against is the continued use of "stilts", such as many drywallers use. They were outlawed in California for a time but I believe they've been legalized again. I view them as just about absolutely the single most dangerous workplace practise there is. All somebody has to do is walk into the jobsite unaware and bump into one of these guys, or have a cluttered floor, or water/ice on it, on and on. I have seen so many guys fall off these things it's not funny. They are just flat out hazardous not only to the person wearing and using them but to anybody even around them. But many contractors refuse to do away with them because they view them as necessary to getting the job done. Hurry hurry. I have had some try and make me wear them myself and I flat out refuse and tell bosses to go and get on them themselves and take a chance they will break an arm or crack their heads, and that's after I tell them to go screw themselves. I hardly ever see anybody use shoring except genuine excavation companies. Gloves are'nt used much either, especially when soldering or even brazing, and alot of companies won't supply them, the employees have to buy them on their own, and you can imagine how many actually do. I believe ALL plumbing contractors who employ people to work for them should supply gloves, hard hats and safety glasses, and PRESCRIPTION safety glasses to boot if needed, at COMPANY EXPENSE. It is only in the best interest of the company and everyone involved to supply these, and any company who claims they can't or won't because of expense should'nt be in business in the first place.

    The fact of the matter is, it is a rare animal in this industry when a company actually places the safety of it's employees over production. It's just the way it is, and it really boils down to the individual worker to put her/his foot down and demand and insist these guidelines be followed and their employers respect them. And just like the "plumber Rick rule" about gloves, I have one as well....and that is, there is NO job and NO company and NO client so important and so much in a hurry that your own personal safety should be set aside, for even an instant, EVER.

    Comment


    • #17
      safety safety safety safety safety!!

      Comment


      • #18
        AZPlumber,

        Yes there are alot of places, particularly tract home construction, where saftey is almost non existant and its a SHAME. But you might be surprised to find out that there are many areas in the construction industry where unsafe work habits will result in termination. And in many industrial complexes and particularly in most refineries, unsafe practices can get you escorted off of the site by an armed guard.

        If your contractor will not supply saftey equipment then I strongly advise you to spend a small amount for your own.

        It only takes 2 seconds to slip on saftey glasses and 5 seconds to put in ear plugs. Carry a 15 dollar box fan to set over a crawl space entrance to allow fresh air in and to remove solvent fumes. You can buy saftey gloves in bulk and they are quite cheap that way. If your boss won't demand it its up to you to protect yourself.

        If you lose an eye no one is going to come up and say, gee thanks for sacrificing so much and losing half of your sight so I could make up for failing to bid my work correctly, here take half my company. And once your hearing starts failing you can't ask your baby daughter or grandaughter to repeat the first word she ever said. Once these things are gone, they are gone.

        [ 11-15-2005, 06:22 PM: Message edited by: plumber ]
        Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

        Comment


        • #19
          The code (US Law) that drives OSHA can be found here;

          http://www.washingtonwatchdog.org/do...h15/index.html

          United State Code
          TITLE 29 - LABOR
          CHAPTER 15 - OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          U.S. Code as of: 01/26/1998
          Sec. 654. Duties of employers and employees

          (a) Each employer -
          (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a
          place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that
          are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm
          to his employees;
          (2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards
          promulgated under this chapter.
          (b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and
          health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued
          pursuant to this chapter which are applicable to his own actions
          and conduct.
          Source
          (Pub. L. 91-596, Sec. 5, Dec. 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 1593.)


          Any time you want to look up something from 29CFR Part 1926, which is the section that covers construction, here's the link it on OSHA's web site;

          http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owas...rt_number=1926


          And so there is no mistake, SHALL means YOU WILL, not maybe but DEFINATELY. That means both the employer and the employee. If they have to provide the equipment then YOU must use it in the manner intended. If you do not use PPE that was provided any claim you might make or fine OSHA could levy might be invalidated, but even worse than that is you could die or cause someone else's death or them to suffer an injury.


          As far as employers suppling safety training and PPE, here's what the Regs say;

          1926.95(a)

          "Application." Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.

          1926.21(b)(2)

          The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.

          1926.21(b)(3)

          Employees required to handle or use poisons, caustics, and other harmful substances shall be instructed regarding the safe handling and use, and be made aware of the potential hazards, personal hygiene, and personal protective measures required.

          1926.21(b)(6)
          1926.21(b)(6)(i)

          All employees required to enter into confined or enclosed spaces shall be instructed as to the nature of the hazards involved, the necessary precautions to be taken, and in the use of protective and emergency equipment required. The employer shall comply with any specific regulations that apply to work in dangerous or potentially dangerous areas.

          1926.21(b)(6)(ii)

          For purposes of paragraph (b)(6)(i) of this section, "confined or enclosed space" means any space having a limited means of egress, which is subject to the accumulation of toxic or flammable contaminants or has an oxygen deficient atmosphere. Confined or enclosed spaces include, but are not limited to, storage tanks, process vessels, bins, boilers, ventilation or exhaust ducts, sewers, underground utility vaults, tunnels, pipelines, and open top spaces more than 4 feet in depth such as pits, tubs, vaults, and vessels.

          [ 11-15-2005, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: Bob D. ]

          Comment


          • #20
            Bob, AWESOME post, and great information and links, thanks!

            Plumber, I work for myself now, and I'm just a one man operation. But if I ever did decide to take on another guy, I would provide him as an employee everything safety-wise he would need. If he wanted gloves he'd get them. If he wanted steel toe boots I'd at least go half on the price if not just buy them outright. If he needed prescription safety glasses I would send him to the optometrist with a check.

            Of course an employee who works for a outfit should buy his own and use them if the company won't. But that's what I'm saying, I think every company should supply these things free of charge to their workers, within reason, constant abuse, loss or theft notwithstanding. I just think it's the right thing to do unless you're paying your guys 50$ an hour or they're contract workers responsible for their own equipment.

            Far as places that won't tolerate non-compliance with safety, I just had to laugh at a few posts made by another person in a different thread here about how stuff happens and you sometimes gotta do what you gotta do. I worked here in Alaska for instance on the oil pipeline terminal. If you're caught just once violating ANY of their safety rules, you're banned for a year, if not outright blackballed. They make you sit for 3 hours of safety videos and take a comprehension test before they even issue you a badge and let you step foot on the terminal. They have safety personnel whose only job it is is to drive around the terminal and observe different contractors working. Once, when I was inside an empty crude storage tank for refurbishment, we were welding some steel plate to the floor when a safety guy came in and shut us down and made us get out. The reason? He took an exhaust test of our welding generator and determined it was emitting too much carbon dioxide. And it was OUTSIDE. You can't even be higher than 6 feet unless you are tied off, not even on a ladder! (lol this last one I thought was actually a little overboard along with some others but all in all not arguable) The oil companies give generous bonuses to contractors for good safety records, so it's drilled into everybody's head to be safe safe safe. Of course, this has the actual effect of working against worker safety at times, since I had witnessed several guys cut or bang themselves up pretty good but not report it for fear of ruining the record, which is another issue and post all on it's own, but all in all it's a very safe place to work despite the fact it's one of the most industrial and potentially dangerous places to be, and I applaud them for that.

            Comment


            • #21
              AZPlumber, you raise some good points and I have witnessed many of those too over the years. I wouldn't expect a small contractor to provide work boots (safety toes or otherwise), but if your company offers that it is great. One utility I have worked for many times gives teir employees a once a year $100 allowance for safety shoes, and the show mobiles even shows up once a week at the site. Granted this is a large facility with about 3000 employees and contractors on site on any given day, but its is nice. they do the same with RX safety glasses.

              For contract employees such as myself, well we are left out of this, but that's OK. I deduct my PPE that I have purchased on my taxes which is allowed. Anything other than boots and RX eyewear is provided by my employer, and we are responsible for maintaining it in good working order and securing replacements when damaged or worn out.

              Some of you might want to check out this link too:

              http://www.cdc.gov/elcosh/index.html

              or this one:

              http://www.cpwr.com/

              Comment


              • #22
                you guys may think I'm a premadonna about safety. That's fine, whatever. I'm just telling you I represent probably 75% of the construction work force in my attitude about safety on the job. I'm here to tell you that nobody is more worried about me falling off a roof ledge or a ladder and plummeting to my death than I am. I don't like pain. and when I'm home healing, whose going to feed my kids. State Idustrial( Labor and Industries in Wa sate) doesn't replace 100% of my wage. While I may do things on occasion that aren't 100% safe, I feel comfortable doing it. I got talked to on my last job for using a 4" grinder w/o a guard. The thing is almost useless w/ a guard on it. Every trade on the job was using grinders w/o guards. The biggest user was the tin knockers cutting the square duct. Also got talked to about leaning a step ladder up against a wall. The point I'm trying to make is a lot of the little rules are broken every day. If all the houses built today were done following OSHA and WISHA rules to the letter, you couldn't afford to buy the one you're living in. The guy that drives around the site and makes sure your safe to the letter make a salary too, and we all pay for it. I have a name for them and all the other beauracrats. I call them non-producers. They don't really do anything or make anything or install anything. Someone has to pay their wages.
                I don't think most accidents happen from one thing. I firmly believe it usually two or more broken rules that lead to an accident. The guy that kicks a no-hub fitting off a scissor lift won't hurt anyine if the guy below isn't working directly underneath him. I'm always mindful of what's going on around me. When I walk underneath a scoffolding I look up to see what's happening. If someone's up there unloading bricks off a forklift, I find another way to get where I'm going. I don't see why I have to where a hard hat on a plumbing groundwork when no one is working above me. When they start swinging bar joists above me or when ironworkers are in the area-no problem. Apprentices and newbies on a sie are a hazard because they haven't been in that environment long. Weekly safety meetings on a big job are paramount. Real safety concerns are brought up by trades and make everyone one the site aware of whats transpiring.
                I was the foreman on a 4 story office building in 2000 . Before the stairwells were installed, there was q-deck on all 4 floors. the only way up to the top floors was a series of extension ladders and landings. At the top odf a floor i had to step through a cable fence. I didnt feel totally safe carrying tools and cords. My boss ended up renting an all terrain scissor lift to tram tools and material to the upper floors. Our lift became real popular with everyone untill the stairs went in.
                One safety issue I never really thought of and it has really affected me the most is hearing protection. My wife has been telling me for several years that my hearing is not up to par. I'm not quite 40 and I can't hear high pitched noises too well. I would attribute most of the hearing loss to my screaming acetlyene turbotorch.
                That dude is loud. I find myself having to really pay attention to someone when they are talking to me or I'll miss part of a sentence. I have started wearing ear plugs during extended soldering sessions.

                Comment


                • #23
                  "you guys may think I'm a premadonna about safety."

                  No, a primadonna about safety would be anal about it. On the contrary, I just don't think you place that much importance on it. Which is fine. It's your a**, not mine.

                  "While I may do things on occasion that aren't 100% safe, I feel comfortable doing it."

                  Well if you are comfy doing it then go right ahead. Just don't do it around me. I really dislike people who are "comfy" doing dangerous things when I'm on the jobsite with them. It tends to make me walk off of them and ask the contractors if they approve of such practices.

                  "got talked to on my last job for using a 4" grinder w/o a guard. The thing is almost useless w/ a guard on it. Every trade on the job was using grinders w/o guards."

                  If I jump off the ledge of a 20' open sewer manhole, will you too?

                  "If all the houses built today were done following OSHA and WISHA rules to the letter, you couldn't afford to buy the one you're living in."

                  I disagree. Not working safely many times can get the job done quicker. And then on the job injuries sure are spendy too. So spendy in fact that worker's comp insurance is the single highest expense for many contractors in a variety of fields. And worker's comp claims reach into the billions every year. Medical costs are'nt going down that's for sure. Pretty spendy, would'nt you say? Jobs can be completed in timely manners and within reasonable budgets if good planning, equipment and supervision are used. And if it costs slightly more to buy my house or car because nobody got hurt in the process of producing it, then so be it, I prefer it that way.

                  "The guy that drives around the site and makes sure your safe to the letter make a salary too, and we all pay for it. I have a name for them and all the other beauracrats."

                  I would call the guy who shut down our generator that day a potential lifesaver. We were in a confined space, welding and torching and with the related fumes, and on top of it the generator was spewing bad exhaust and creeping into the interior of the tank from outside. Our detectors did'nt pick it up because they were only meant for benzene, Co2 and other gasses. But that's a small example. Many times those guys have literally been responsible for preventing major accidents and injuries. I would say their salary is well justified. And I never once had any ill feelings towards them when they would shut us down. It was for our own damn good. Does it increase the costs of products we may buy? Sure. But in your world, we should all revert back to Victorian times when things were cheap but life expectancy was atrocious, right?

                  "I don't think most accidents happen from one thing. "

                  Sure they can. Remember that grinder example of yours? What if that grinder wheel shattered and without the guard a nice little piece decided to lodge itself right in your face. That's just ONE thing, the fact you thought you were too cool to use a guard.

                  "The guy that kicks a no-hub fitting off a scissor lift won't hurt anyine if the guy below isn't working directly underneath him."

                  No. He'll just hurt the next guy who walks along and trips over it.

                  " I don't see why I have to where a hard hat on a plumbing groundwork when no one is working above me."

                  I suppose you've never heard of people walking into girters, beams, falling and hitting their heads, material and equipment being moved and possibly slammed upside your haed by someone not paying attention.....construction sites are veritable menageries of hazards, of all kinds, and protecting one's head from injury entails much more than things falling from above. In alot of situations though I will agree, hard hats are overkill, especially in the plumbing trades, but in many others including steelworkers, foundries, oil rigs, etc, they are needed and required for good reason.

                  The rest of your post I agree with.

                  I just can't agree with anybody who thinks it's ever acceptable to set aside safety for increased production or convenience. It makes you sloppy and careless after awhile. It gives you a TOO comfortable feeling. After too long, you start neglecting other safety issues too, and one day you find you are staring at a hand without a finger, or you notice you have a chunk of metal in your eyeball, or your arm has bone sticking out of it. That's if you're lucky.

                  If I can't do a job safely, it's not worth doing.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by carverelli:
                    you guys may think I'm a premadonna about safety. That's fine, whatever. I'm just telling you I represent probably 75% of the construction work force in my attitude about safety on the job. I'm here to tell you that nobody is more worried about me falling off a roof ledge or a ladder and plummeting to my death than I am. I don't like pain. and when I'm home healing, whose going to feed my kids. State Idustrial( Labor and Industries in Wa sate) doesn't replace 100% of my wage. While I may do things on occasion that aren't 100% safe, I feel comfortable doing it. I got talked to on my last job for using a 4" grinder w/o a guard. The thing is almost useless w/ a guard on it. Every trade on the job was using grinders w/o guards. The biggest user was the tin knockers cutting the square duct. Also got talked to about leaning a step ladder up against a wall. The point I'm trying to make is a lot of the little rules are broken every day. If all the houses built today were done following OSHA and WISHA rules to the letter, you couldn't afford to buy the one you're living in. The guy that drives around the site and makes sure your safe to the letter make a salary too, and we all pay for it. I have a name for them and all the other beauracrats. I call them non-producers. They don't really do anything or make anything or install anything. Someone has to pay their wages.
                    I don't think most accidents happen from one thing. I firmly believe it usually two or more broken rules that lead to an accident. The guy that kicks a no-hub fitting off a scissor lift won't hurt anyine if the guy below isn't working directly underneath him. I'm always mindful of what's going on around me. When I walk underneath a scoffolding I look up to see what's happening. If someone's up there unloading bricks off a forklift, I find another way to get where I'm going. I don't see why I have to where a hard hat on a plumbing groundwork when no one is working above me. When they start swinging bar joists above me or when ironworkers are in the area-no problem. Apprentices and newbies on a sie are a hazard because they haven't been in that environment long. Weekly safety meetings on a big job are paramount. Real safety concerns are brought up by trades and make everyone one the site aware of whats transpiring.
                    I was the foreman on a 4 story office building in 2000 . Before the stairwells were installed, there was q-deck on all 4 floors. the only way up to the top floors was a series of extension ladders and landings. At the top odf a floor i had to step through a cable fence. I didnt feel totally safe carrying tools and cords. My boss ended up renting an all terrain scissor lift to tram tools and material to the upper floors. Our lift became real popular with everyone untill the stairs went in.
                    One safety issue I never really thought of and it has really affected me the most is hearing protection. My wife has been telling me for several years that my hearing is not up to par. I'm not quite 40 and I can't hear high pitched noises too well. I would attribute most of the hearing loss to my screaming acetlyene turbotorch.
                    That dude is loud. I find myself having to really pay attention to someone when they are talking to me or I'll miss part of a sentence. I have started wearing ear plugs during extended soldering sessions.
                    Well I've got to agree with you about the wife thing, but I like to call that selective hearing. As far as safety goes I have to disagree, I think everybody can work safe, if they want to. I've never fired a guy who called and said (after a weekly safety metting and learned something he didn't know before)"The ladder we have isn't tall enough", or "Should we ask the super why everone else don't have to wear saftey glasses?" These people are becoming aware in those meetings how to work safe and that's the point. Remember this, a lot of your older plumbers grew up without OSHA, and if they didn't work with what they had or without saftey gear THEY WENT HOME. Now people have the right to work safe, and if they won't work in unsafe conditions and the employer won't comply, they got a buisiness to worry about. Tell you what anybody calls me on one of my jobs and asks for saftey equiptment to properly do there job, they have it, and without the weekly saftey meeting they may have never knew. So when OSHA walks on the job, and everybody stops working or runs away, my guys keep on working. Oh and about the comment that a job can't be done safetly and still be affordable, that to me sounds like a personal issue, and employes who probably don't know enough to work safe cause you told them "the safety meeting is B.S." or perhaps you can't hear them since you missed the one on hearing protection.
                    christopher

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      carverelli,
                      A saftey premadonna is someone who wears his fall protection into the porta potty so he doesnt fall in. Although sometimes a resperator there is not a bad idea.

                      You really do not represent 75% of the construction industry workforce. Maybe in the immediate place where you live but not in the country.

                      We like and want a safe envirnoment to work in. When we have folks such as yourself who are willing to gamble with his life or the safety of others then it becomes harder for us as a whole to keep the saftey standards our ancestors fought for with their lives.

                      I do not want to return to the early 1900s where a mans life was not worth the cost of a simple pulley cover. I watched some of my uncles and great uncles die slowly and horribly from black lung disease because proper ventilation was considered to costly to the coal companies.

                      One of my best friends is spending his life in a wheelchair due to improper shoring practices and he was the lucky one. You will never convince me that jobsite saftey is an issue we cannot afford.

                      Even very safe worksites can have terrible injuries and death. So taking silly chances is just silly. I am sorry caverelli but I can not condone what you write here at all.
                      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        I will have to admit my hardhat saved my bacon one day. I bent down underneath a metal stud that was hanging vertical from the deck above. I grabbed the pipe I needed and was standing up when the end of the sharp stud hit the top of my hat. I would have had several stiches to sew my scalp back together. Usually it just causes me to hit my hat on everything because it sets up several inches higher and I'm not used to being six feet tall.
                        I've only worked in two states. Southern Cal(Palmdale in the late 80's and Washington since 1989. The only time safety was an issue was on high profile jobs for the government using public money and most of the subs were union. Once I was filling a test stack on a groundwork from a bachhoe bucket. Was very comfortable -had a steady platform to stand on. The dirt directly around the stack was unstable so a ladder was out of the question. The sup didn't say a thing when I grabbed a ladder and was precariously perched trying to lean over w/ a 1 1/4 hose trying to fill the pipes. I felt much safer on the backhoe bucket but whatever - we got our inspection and moved on. My point on my previous post was there is the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. Between blatent disregard for your safety and everyone else and living, breathing safety laws to the letter has got to be a middle ground where you can be safe and still do your job. I mean tying off when your on an 8 foot ladder. Come on -you'll trip over your lanyard on the way up. The most hazardous thing about using an extension ladder is climbing the damn thing. What about taking you tools up the ladder. How do you hold the drill and the ladder rung?
                        I'll say it again, no one cares more about MY safety than me. My biggest downfall is I get so absorbed in my work sometimes I'll leave copper tube around my workspace. I know where the pipe is so I don't trip or step on top of it. The problem is when someone invades my workspace they may not know its there. I try to keep it somewhat clean but I'm not anal about it.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Our SeaBee Battalion Safety Chief had a favorite saying:

                          "You can walk on a wooden leg, you can chew with false teeth, but you can't see with a glass eye.... Wear Your Safety Glasses!"
                          ---------------
                          Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                          ---------------
                          “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                          ---------
                          "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                          ---------
                          sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

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