Volume 50, Issue 6 - June 2015


Recent Accidents Increase
Awareness about Workplace Safety

You can’t underestimate the importance of workplace safety. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website, 4,585 workers died on the job in 2013. Recent accidents at industry plants stand as reminders of how important safety is for everyone’s well-being.

In one recent case, more than 1,000 pounds of glass fell onto worker Igor Molea at Pioneer Cladding & Glazing Systems in Mason, Ohio. According to a police report, he was airlifted to a local hospital after being treated at the scene of the incident by Mason EMS.

Fortunately, Molea was released from the hospital within days, according to the company, and he was expected to return to work prior to press time.

Police officer Bradley Walker reported that Molea “was opening a storage crate which contained very large thick panes of glass,” according to the police report. “When he opened the crate, the contents fell forward and struck Molea, knocking him to the ground and landing on top of him.”

Molea was conscious and breathing at the scene, according to the report, though “it was obvious the subject had sustained a significant head injury as a result of the incident.”

In another tragic accident, Tim Harris, technical service manager for Quanex Building Products, died after a rack of vinyl window framing, estimated to weigh more than 3,000 pounds, fell off a forklift and struck him during a customer site visit at the Avanti Industries plant in Glendale, Ariz., according to a police report about the incident obtained by USGlass magazine. (See page 69 of this issue for a remembrance of Tim Harris.)

Based on interviews with witnesses, Det. Roger Geisler of the Glendale Police Department reported that the forklift operator was unloading the vinyl window framing from a semi-trailer at the Avanti plant when the incident occurred. The driver had been certified to operate a forklift for just over a month and had five months of on-the-job experience with the vehicle, according to Geisler’s investigation.

TOP 10
OSHA Citations in Building Materials Industry
Failures of hazard communications
Fire extinguishers
Source: OSHA

Rachel Brockway, a spokesperson for the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH), told USGNN.comTM that the state agency is looking into what happened at Avanti, but she said it might be six months before it issues a ruling.

When it comes to securing glazing products, safety experts say that adhering to strict standard operating procedures is important. According to Rick Taylor, safety manager for Metropolitan Glass Inc., a Denver-based contract glazier, this involves planning the transport to the storage location and planning the storage methods. It begins, he says, when a formal task analysis document is employed for large quantities of glass.

“Good housekeeping and sufficient storage space are essential to the process,” says Taylor.

He explains glass corners are always matched and squared to provide additional strength.  

“When the corners cannot be matched and squared on both sides, the unmatched and non-squared corners are turned in the direction of the least amount of shop traffic,” says Taylor. 

Taylor adds that in his company’s shop, the glass is always secured with two of the available securing methods. 

“The two securing methods is a requirement independent if the glass is stored in crates, or on mobile glass carts or stored on glass racks,” he says. “Protective coverings are employed in virtually every situation.”

The securing method options include:  

• A 5-degree lean;

• Rope or straps to carts or racks;

• Protective blocks in crates; and

• Strapping or banding.  

“Employees are trained to industry glass handling procedures. Reviews and constructive feedback and continual informal training are part of the glass handling training process,” says Taylor. “Formal training is available through union programs, and through formal consulting programs supporting glass industry protocols. Informal training pamphlets are available online,” He adds, “Every glass transporting and glass storage situation requires the employees to analyze the situation and plan their techniques.”    

Cody Tran, plant manager at Dillmeier Glass in Van Buren, Ark., says when moving glass in his company’s facility, proper handling, along with the right equipment and personal protective equipment, is a must.

“It is critical that the glass is stacked properly on racks or A-frames, with the largest glass in the back and decreasing in size as it is stacked,” he says. “We make sure that the glass has no air gaps at the bottom as this can cause the glass to become unstable. We always secure glass to racks or A-frames with a nylon rope or strap in good condition that is tight enough to prevent it from moving or leaning, even to an upright position.”

Tran adds that his company offers incentives and rewards for an accident free workplace.

“We hold safety meetings monthly and our safety coordinator walks the floor regularly reminding workers that everything from good housekeeping to proper equipment contributes to safety,” he says.

OSHA statistics from January 2011 to March 2014 show that forklifts accounted for the most safety citations in the building materials industry with 71.

OSHA has also called out ten of the most common citations in the building materials industry, with forklifts at the top (see list, page 30).

Regina McMichael of the Learning Factory hosted a series of online courses recently that highlighted the most common OSHA violations.

“All of the chances for citations are truly under your control if you go out there and take a look with the mind-set that keeping everyone safe and working is the best way to run a business,” she said.

OSHA’s 2014 Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Violations
1. Fall protection (C) 6. Lockout/tagout
2. Hazard communication 7. Ladders (C)
3. Scaffolding (C) 8. Electrical: wiring
4. Respiratory protection 9. Machine guarding
5. Powered industrial trucks 10. Electrical: systems design
(C) = Construction standard
Source: OSHA

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