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3.0 GENERAL SAFETY

3.1 Introduction
The following sections provide general safety guidelines and procedures. This chapter covers the following topics:

TOPICS

  1. Accident Investigation and Reporting/Worker's Compensation
  2. Americans with Disabilities Act
  3. Asbestos
  4. Temperature Extremes
  5. Emergency Lighting
  6. Accident Prevention Signs and Tags
  7. Lifting
  8. Ladder Safety
  9. Medical Treatment
  10. Powered Industrial Trucks
  11. Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
  12. Smoking
  13. Visitor Safety

3.2 Accident Investigation and Reporting/Worker's Compensation
Most accidents are caused by the failure of people, equipment, materials, or environments to behave or react as expected. Accident investigations are an important part of the Institute's accident prevention program; they are performed to determine how and why these failures occurred and to prevent similar or more serious additional accidents.

It is the responsibility of supervisors to perform an accident investigation on all injuries or accidents. Accident investigations are to be conducted with prevention in mind and should not be done to place blame.

Most accidents can be prevented by eliminating one or more causes. Accidents are analyzed to determine not only what happened, but how and why. The investigator should examine each event as well as the sequence of events that led to the accident. The accident type is also important. The recurrence of accidents of a particular type, or those with common causes, indicates areas needing special accident prevention emphasis.

3.2.1 Employees/Students/Visitors
All accidents occurring at UTIA that result in injury must be investigated and reported. Untimely reports result in delayed claims. Incidents (accidents involving no medical treatment or time lost) must be reported on a Report of an Occurrence form. The employee is responsible for reporting work-related injuries/illnesses to the immediate supervisor as soon as possible. Accidents involving medical treatment or time lost must be reported on the State of Tennessee Division of Claims Administration form TR-0213 and the Supervisors Report of Accident Investigation. These forms are included as Appendix A of the Emergency Response Plan.

The supervisor must discuss the incident with the employee and any witnesses before completing the reports. The supervisor must also make any necessary changes in procedures or conditions to prevent similar accidents.

All injuries to students and visitors on UTIA property should be investigated and reported on the Report of an Occurrence form. The responsibility for reporting has been assigned to the instructor or department administrator who was in charge of the area, class, or function during which the student or visitor was injured.  It is important to include all pertinent information about the accident and the names of any witnesses.

All completed forms shall be forwarded as soon as possible to UT Human Resources, Office of Benefits and Retirement.

3.2.2 Worker's Compensation
The current Worker's Compensation Policy can be found in the UT Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual section 397. Please refer to this policy for further information or call the Worker's Compensation Administrator in the UT Office of Benefits and Retirement at 974-4341 for questions or comments about this program.

 

3.3 Americans With Disabilities Act
UTIA complies with the requirements and guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that new facilities and renovations to existing facilities are designed to provide accessibility for handicapped people. Handicapped parking and wheelchair ramps must remain accessible at all times. Do not block these areas or tamper with other accessibility equipment. In addition, do no remove Braille tabs on elevator buttons or other signs. Report accessibility violations such as blocked wheelchair ramps and blocked handicapped parking to the Safety Office, Parking Services (4-6031), or the UTIA Director of Services (4-7159).

 

3.4 Asbestos
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that causes cancer and various respiratory illnesses. Older buildings constructed prior to 1980 may contain asbestos. Asbestos is commonly found in older appliances, insulation, shingles, flooring materials, siding, putties, and caulking. Generally, it is not a problem unless the material that contains it crumbles or flakes. The Tennessee asbestos regulations do not require building owners to conduct inspections and identify all asbestos locations. Inspections, however, have been performed on all UT facilities. Important: Do not handle asbestos or suspect asbestos or try to remove it yourself. UTIA has an ongoing Asbestos Management Program that strives to eliminate the potential hazards associated with asbestos. The Physical Plant handles contracts for consultation and/or abatement. Direct any questions about asbestos to the Safety Office.

 

3.5 Temperature Extremes 3.5.1 Heat Stress
People may suffer from heat stress during hot, humid conditions. Because the climate in Tennessee is conducive to heat stress, people must take preventative measures to reduce their risk. To prevent heat stress when working outside, employees should limit strenuous physical activity during the hottest portion of the day, wear a brimmed hat when in the sun, take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of fluids. Heat stress occurs in four forms: heat syncopy (fainting), heat rash, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

 

3.5.1.1 Heat Syncopy (Fainting)
Heat syncopy most often occurs when persons are standing still for long periods of time. This allows blood to pool in the feet and may cause the person to faint. While losing consciousness is a problem, the larger problem usually results when the person receives a concussion from hitting a stationary object. To prevent the onset of heat syncopy do not stand still for long periods. If you must stand in one place for long periods, raise up on your toes several times each minute, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy meals while in heat stress situations. Fainting due to heat usually occurs when one is standing still for long periods of time, causing blood to pool in the feet/legs. This can cause the person to lose consciousness and thus causing further injuries. To prevent heat syncopy, rock back and forth from heel to toe, drink plenty of fluids, and move about as much as possible.

 

3.5.1.2 Heat Rash
Heat rash (prickly heat) is caused by the body's inability to remove perspiration. Prickly heat most often occurs in the waist area where clothing rubs on the skin constantly. Heat rash can be alleviated by weary loose fitting clothing and by the use of baby powder or cornstarch in areas prone to the rash.

 

3.5.1.3 Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is usually caused by strenuous physical activity and hot, humid conditions. Because heat exhaustion is the body's response to insufficient water and salt, it should be treated as quickly as possible.

  • Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include the following:
  • Exhaustion and restlessness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Cold, clammy, moist skin
  • Pale skin
  • Cramps in abdomen and limbs
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse

Take the following steps to administer first aid for heat exhaustion:

  1. Have the victim lie down in cool or shaded place.
  2. If the victim is conscious, have him/her slowly sip cool water. Do not force the victim to drink.

If the victim is unconscious or is conscious but does not improve, seek medical aid as soon as possible.

 

3.5.1.4 Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is usually caused by exposure to extreme heat and humidity. Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature by sweating. Heat stroke is extremely dangerous and may be fatal if not treated immediately.

The signs and symptoms of heat stroke include the following:

  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • High temperature
  • Strong pulse
  • Noisy breathing
  • Unconsciousness

Immediately take the following steps to administer first aid for heat stroke:

  1. If possible, move the victim to a cool place. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Remove the victim's clothing. If the victim is conscious, place him in a half-sitting position and support the head and shoulders. If the victim is unconscious, place him/her on the side with head facing sideways.
  2. Fan the victim and place cool wet cloths on the body.

3.5.2 Cold Stress
Even though we live in the south, UTIA employees are still susceptible to cold stress. The first response to cold external conditions is shivering and constriction of blood vessels in the extremities (i.e., hands, feet). Injuries from the cold are generally classified as hypothermia or frostbite.

 

3.5.2.1 Hypothermia
Hypothermia can result from air temperatures as high as 50F. Other contributing factors are inadequate clothing, wetness, contact with metal, or high winds (wind chill factor.) Also, sedatives and alcohol increase the risk of hypothermia. Symptoms of hypothermia include: uncontrollable shivering, slowed heart rate, slurred speech, drowsiness. Affected persons will no longer care that they are cold.

 

3.5.2.2 Frostbite
Frostbite results from lack of circulation to extremities (fingers, toes, ears) and because of inadequate protection (mittens, socks, hats). Frostbite is the freezing of fluid around the cells leading to tissue damage. Tissue damage can be superficial or very deep (which may result in the loss of body parts). Symptoms of frostbite include: gray or white skin (progressing to reddish-purple and then to black), initial pain that subsides with time and potential blisters. Also the affected body part is cold and numb.

 

3.5.2.3 Prevention
Prevention of cold stress includes: adequate clothing, rest in warm areas, removal of wet, damp clothing, eating well-balanced meals, and drinking plenty of water.

 

3.6 Emergency Lighting
Emergency lighting is provided as exit signs and emergency lights. These devices are not to be tampered with! If you observe an emergency light that is not functioning, please call the Director of Services (4-7159) or the Safety Office.

 

3.7 Accident Prevention Signs and Tags
A 'sign' means that which is prepared for warning or safety instructions for employees or the public that may be exposed to these hazards. All signs at the UTIA are to be in accordance with the Occupational Health and Administration's regulation, 29CFR1910.145. Examples of each sign follow each description.

Danger Signs
All employees shall be informed that danger signs mean an immediate hazard is present and that special precautions are necessary. Danger signs shall be in the colors red, black, and white only.
     
Caution Signs
Caution signs shall be used to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices, and that proper precaution shall be taken. Caution signs shall be yellow and black only.
     
Safety Instruction Signs
These signs shall be used where there is a need for general instructions and suggestions relative to safety matters. These signs shall be green and white with black lettering.
     
Slow Moving Vehicle Signs
This sign is to be used only on vehicles which move 25 mph or less on public roads. This is not a clearance marker for wide loads, nor is it to replace required lighting on slow moving vehicles. Slow moving vehicle signs shall consist of a fluorescent yellow-orange triangle with a dark red reflective border.
     
Biological Hazard Signs
This biohazard warning sign shall be used to designate the actual or potential presence of a biological hazard in a room, equipment, container, etc.
     


 
 
 
 
3.8 Lifting
All employees must use proper lifting techniques to avoid injury when lifting heavy objects. In general, employees should seek assistance when lifting objects that weigh 25 pounds or more. Use your good judgement to determine if you need assistance, a dolly, or other tool to safely lift an object. The back supports the weight of the entire upper body. When you lift objects or move heavy loads, your back has to support even more weight. If you exceed your body's natural limits, your back cannot support both your body and the extra load. The excess, unsupported pressure is transferred to the lower back, where injury is imminent. By using the muscles in your arms and legs and exercising proper lifting techniques, you can move loads safely and protect your back from possible injury. Follow these guidelines to help avoid back injuries:            

  1. Avoid moving objects manually. Plan jobs and arrange work areas so that heavy items may be moved mechanically (i.e., a dolly).
               
  2. Keep in good physical condition. If you are not used to lifting and vigorous exercise, do not attempt difficult tasks.
          
  3. Think before you act. Use proper lifting techniques and lifting aides such as another person, dollies, etc. Get help if you need it.

 

3.9 Ladder Safety
Prior to use, all ladders must be checked for the following: cracked or broken wood, missing pieces, oils, or lubricants on the steps, etc. If a ladder is found to be in poor/damaged condition, remove it from service immediately!
Tips for safe use of ladders  

  1. Always ensure the locking mechanism on rolling ladders is functioning.
               
  2. Always fully extend step ladders.
               
  3. Straight ladders should be placed from the wall 1/4 the height up the wall. To ensure you are at the proper angle, stand at the base of the ladder and extend your arms toward the ladder. If your arms are fully extended (not bent) the ladder has been placed properly.
 
     

Guidelines for Portable Ladders           

  1. Portable stepladders longer than 20 feet may not be used.
  2. Portable stepladders must have a spreader or locking device to securely hold the front and back sections in the open position. Before use, be sure stepladders are open all the way and locked into safe position.
  3. All portable ladders should have insulating non-slip material supplied on the bottom of the rails.
  4. Portable single section rung ladders shall not be more than 30 feet long.
  5. Portable multiple section rung ladders shall not be more than 60 feet long.
  6. Rung ladders are to be placed to prevent slipping, or they must be lashed in position. Do not place ladders on boxes, barrels, or other unstable bases, or lean ladders against movable objects.
  7. Don't use ladders in front of doors that open towards the ladder unless the door is blocked, locked, or guarded.
  8. Ladders with broken or missing steps, rungs, cleats, rails, split wood, etc. will be taken out of service.
  9. Ladders used to gain access to a roof should extend at least 3 feet above the point of support at eave, gutter, or roof line.
  10. Never work from the top two rungs of a straight ladder. Never work from the top plate of a step ladder.
  11. Do not use a metal ladder when working on or near electrical circuits, power lines, or live electrical apparatus.
  12. Face the ladder when climbing up and down, grasping the side rails or rungs with both hands.
  13. Avoid carrying loads up or down ladders. Make use of hoisting equipment.
  14. Do no overreach; take time to move the ladder closer to the work. Do not straddle the space between the ladder and another object.
  15. Planks shall not be used on top of step ladders.

 

3.10 Medical Treatment In the event of a life threatening emergency:

  1. Immediately dial 911 from any campus phone or push to red button on the emergency phones.Give the Emergency 911 operator all necessary information -- let them hang up first. Send someone to direct EMS units.
  2. Stay with the injured/ill person until medical assistance arrives.

Non-life Threatening Emergency
Medical attention for employees should be sought at the UT Medical Center, St. Mary's Hospital or Baptist Hospital. Proper paperwork shall be completed as in section 3.2. Medical assistance for students should be sought at Student Health Services or at one of the previously mentioned hospitals.

First Aid Kits
First aid kits should be located in a conspicuous location in high hazard areas. These are to be used for the immediate response to minor injuries such as cuts or burns. All injury victims have the option of obtaining medical treatment. All injuries should be reported to a supervisor and to appropriate paperwork completed, according to section 3.2.

The Poison Control Center number, (800) 288-9999, should be posted near the phone.

  • Inspections designated person should be responsible for monitoring and the maintaining first aid kits. A log should be attached to the kit indicating the inspection date and inspector.
  • Contents A first aid kit should contain such items as: band-aids, gauze, bandages, scissors, latex gloves, and a first aid card. Pocket masks for CPR are also recommended (provided personnel are trained in their use).

Areas using materials for which the immediate administration of an antidote or neutralizing agent may be necessary (i.e., hydrofluoric acid) should be considered. These procedures should also be in each lab-specific Chemical/Hygiene Plan as Special Handling Procedures.

 

3.11 Powered Industrial Trucks
All personnel required to operate a forklift must be trained. This training is provided by the Safety Office. If training was received at another location, proper documentation must be provided.


3.12 Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
It is easy to prevent slips, trips, and fall accidents. In general employees should always follow good housekeeping practices and pay attention to their environment to avoid slips, trips, and falls. In addition, employees should follow these guidelines:

  1. Turn on office lights. Ensure that passageways are adequately lighted.
  2. Avoid horseplay.
  3. Avoid unnecessary haste. Do not run in work areas. 
  4. Use ladders or step-stools to reach high places. Never climb onto a chair, drawer, or shelves.
  5. Keep hallways and stairwells neat and free of obstacles.
  6. Remove items that may pose a potential slipping hazard.
  7. Clean up spills as soon as they occur.
  8. Never obstruct your view when walking.
  9. Do not wear clothing that is too long or shoes that have slippery heels or soles.
  10. Hold the handrail when using stairs.
  11. Be careful when walking on wet surfaces or when entering a building while wearing wet shoes.
  12. Report uneven surfaces, such as loose or missing floor tiles, to the UTIA Director of Services (865/974-7159).

3.13 Smoking
All buildings on the UT Agriculture Campus are non-smoking. Designated smoking areas have been determined for each building. If you have a question regarding the smoking areas for your building, please speak with your department head. In addition, lit candles are not permitted at any time on University property.

 

3.14 Visitor Safety
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture realizes that visitors are a large part of the University function and as such has made provisions for their safety. Employees and students must take special care to ensure visitor safety. Visitors, especially children, shall not be allowed unescorted in high hazard areas such as animal handling facilities, laboratories, and shops.

Should a visitor become injured, be sure to report the occurrence to your supervisor or the UTIA Business Office (865/974-4706) after attending to the injury.

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