Mississippi One Call, January, 2008 - Trench Safety

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Mississippi One Call, January, 2008 - Trench Safety

SPECIAL

Mississippi One-Call

First Quarter 2008

Governor Barbour makes it official

Strengthens damage

prevention law

Proclaims May as

Safe Digging Month


smartdecisions

SMART DECISIONS

By David V. Dow, Vice-President,

TrenchSafety and Supply, Inc.

Utility and construction sites can

be dangerous places to work. There

is a significantly greater chance of

being seriously injured or killed on

these sites, compared to working in an

office building, factory, or retail store.

On a daily basis, we are also making

decisions that can result in life or death.

As responsible individuals, we

must be concerned about our own safety.

We must also be concerned about the

safety of others. Moreover, if we are a

crew leader, supervisor, or manager, we

have direct responsibility for the safety

of other individuals. In many instances,

we serve as a role model for others.

There are many opportunities to

make “bad” decisions. We have all done

things that (in hindsight) were unsafe.

TrenchSafety rents and sells

trench shoring and shielding equipment

and related items. We also offer safety

training. About twelve

DANGER!

hundred people

a year go through our daylong safety

classes. Quite frequently, someone says

the “safety police” (OSHA, company

safety directors, insurance company loss

control personnel, etc) seldom visit their

job. As a result, they do not realize the

need to be concerned with safety.

The problem is that it only takes

one serious incident for someone’s life

to change, forever. In addition, that

incident could occur in a split-second,

without warning.

What are the consequences of a

“bad” decision

For our utility or construction

company, there is a significant

disruption in the workplace. There

is lost production, increased costs, and

problems getting new jobs. Moreover,

in more and more cases, the courts are

sending company owners and officers to

jail because of workers’ deaths.

There is significant emotional

stress for workers following a serious

injury or death of a co-worker.

by David V. Dow

Utility and construction sites can be dangerous

places to work. There is a significantly greater

chance of being seriously injured or killed on these sites,

compared to working in an office building, factory, or

retail store. On a daily basis, we are also making decisions

that can result in life or death.

As responsible individuals, we must be concerned

about our own safety. We must also be concerned about

the safety of others. Moreover, if we are a crew leader,

supervisor, or manager, we have direct responsibility for

the safety of other individuals. In many instances, we

serve as a role model for others.

There are many opportunities to make “bad”

decisions. We have all done things that (in hindsight) were

unsafe. Examples include:

• Riding the bucket of an excavator to enter/exit

an excavation

• Wearing/not wearing proper personal protective

equipment

• Buckling/not buckling our seat belt in our truck

The list goes on.

While we rent and sell trench shoring and shielding

equipment, we also understand the importance of safety

training. About twelve hundred people a year go through

our daylong safety classes. Quite frequently, someone

says the “safety police” (OSHA, company safety directors,

insurance company loss control personnel, etc) seldom

visit their job. As a result, they do not realize the need to

be concerned with safety.

The problem is that it only takes one serious

incident for someone’s life to change, forever. In addition,

that incident could occur in a split-second, without

warning.

What are the consequences of a “bad” decision

For our utility or construction company, there is

a significant disruption in the workplace. There is lost

production, increased costs, and problems getting new

jobs. Moreover, in more and more cases, the courts are

sending company owners and officers to jail because of

workers’ deaths.

There is significant emotional stress for workers

following a serious injury or death of a co-worker.

Sometimes workers have difficulty returning to the job

after such an incident.

Finally, as individuals, we may feel a sense of guilt

if we were responsible for that employee or could have

16 ACTS First Quarter


done something to prevent the incident.

That guilt may become a life-long

burden.

If we are the person seriously

injured or killed, we may have difficulty

providing, financially, for our family.

A serious injury might result in a

significant disability that changes our

life, or we may no longer be present to

serve as a spouse, parent of a child, or

grandparent

We work in a great industry. On a

daily basis, we build and maintain things

that affect thousands of people. We may

A few examples include:

• Are we going to wear our

hard hat, safety glasses,

safety vest, and the correct

shoes

• Are we going to check the

air quality before entering a

utility vault

• Are we going to properly

shore a trench

There are thousands (literally!)

of other examples. A serious injury or

death will result in significant losses for

our utility or construction company. But

Certification

Corner

Test your knowledge of Mississippi’s

damage prevention law.

1. The underground utility marks

shall be valid for a period of:

A. 10 days

B. Until markings are no longer visible

C. Two weeks

D. 10 working days

2. Each person responsible for

excavation that results in damage

to an underground facility shall

immediately notify:

A. Mississippi One-Call

B. The operator of the damaged facility

C. Both

D. None of the above

3. The new law requiring all owner/

operators of underground

facilities to become members of

Mississippi One-Call goes into

effect:

A. January 1, 2009

B. It’s already in effect

C. July 1, 2008

D. On my birthday

This is not a “smart decision.” The utility worker is working in an

unshored trench. Even though the trench is relatively shallow, protection is

still required. The bulk of the serious injuries and fatalities from cave-ins

occur in shallow trenches. In addition, loose material is around the perimeter

of the trench.

4. When an excavator, upon arriving

at an excavation site, sees evidence

of an unmarked underground

utility line, who must he

immediately contact

A. Mississippi One-Call

B. The operator of the unmarked faciltiy

C. Both

D. The locating company

be constructing things that will be in

use in fifty or a hundred years. Many of

us choose this industry because of the

opportunity to work outdoors. We may

like working around heavy machinery.

Some of us choose this industry because

of varied working conditions. Everyday

is a little bit different. The pay is good,

as well.

In the final analysis, each of

us has the opportunity to make daily

decisions that are “smart” or “not

smart.”

the biggest cost of a serious injury or

death will be to our family, friends, coworkers,

and us.

Make “smart” decisions. It is

well worth the effort.

David V. Dow is a co-founder

and Vice-President of TrenchSafety

and Supply, Inc., in Memphis. You

can learn more about his company at

www.trenchsafety.com.

5. All operators thus notified must

contact the excavator to inform

the excavator of any of their

known underground facilities

within what time frame

A. Two working days

B. ASAP

C. 4 hours

D. Next working day

E.

F.

“Experience teaches slowly, and at the cost of mistakes.” Fames A. Froude

Answers: 1.D, 2. C, 3. C, 4. A, 5. C

ACTS First Quarter

17

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