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Chapter 7

Building and Facilities

Hazards and applicable safety standards should be considered during building design stage. Safety standards for building are usually called codes. Building codes apply to the construction of new building or to their modification. Building codes change constantly, and most buildings in existence do not meet the latest codes. Some standards are vague and generally worded. Industries have undertaken a large number of retrofit programs to update their buildings and facilities to satisfy standards. Most frequent categories of workers injuries and fatality arise from improper building design, lack of guardrails, and problems with exist.

Introduction (cont.)
Examples of deficiencies:
Equipment is designed and built without sufficient thought about access to clean, maintain, repair, or replace light bulbs. Some workers work in locations where they could be unable to escape in event of fire. Aisle widths are often set up without clearance between moving machinery and personnel.

Walking and Working Surfaces

Many accidents occur on floors (slips and falls). Walking and working surfaces include: floors, mezzanines, balconies, platforms, catwalks, scaffolds, ramps, docks, stairways and ladders.

Guarding Open Floors and Platforms

Every open-sided floor or platform 4 ft or more above adjacent floor or ground level shall be guarded by a standard railings on all open sides (except for entrances to a ramp, stairway, of fixed ladder). Reasons behinds this, railings are used to protect against falling, not jumping, in case of unexpected events (3rd leading cause of work-related fatalities according to the National Safety Council). The railing should be provided with a toeboord whenever beneath the open sides:
Persons can pass, There is a moving machinery, or Falling materials could create a hazards to an equipment.

A surpassing number of fatalities result from falls at height of only 8 feet.

Standard railings

Floor and Aisles

Maintenance of floor and aisles is an important matter Floor and aisles must be kept clean, orderly, and in a sanitary condition Some OSHA citations:
Piles of debars presented tripping hazards to workers. Accumulation of grain dust in grain elevator represented hazard to cleanup personnel as well as serious exposure to hazard. Piles of sawdust in woodworking shop. Leaking oil on the floor of a work area.

Excessive materials in excessive quantities or scrap materials in excess of days accumulation. Water on the floor ( slopes and floor drainage systems to alleviate the problem of wet process) Floor should be kept clean and dry

Clean and orderly aisles (courtesy: Pratt & Whitney).

Organized tool trays (courtesy: Pratt & Whitney).

Floor and Aisles (Cont.)

Floor may represent trip hazards (protruding nails, splinters, holes, or loose boards) Uneven floors can result in serious injuries Aisles must be kept clear of hazardous obstructions and appropriately masked. Sufficient safe clearance shall be allowed (sufficient width to permit the free movement of employers). Marking plates for floor loads and adherence to floorload limits ( Data base for weights and locations and computerized system for monitoring and reporting violation) The use of mechanical handling equipment (forklifts) magnifies floor problems.

Safety codes necessitate that if the stairways have 4 or more risers, standard railing or handrail must be used, and they must be kept clear of obstructions. Standard railing is a vertical barrier erected along the exposed side of stairways to prevent falls. Standard handrail is a single bar or pipe supported on brackets from a wall to furnish a handhold in case of tripping. Long flights of strain should be avoided by the use of landings or platforms. Main purpose of the stairway landing is to shorten the distance of falls, not to give the climber a chance to rest (supplement purpose). To be effective landings must be no less than the width of the stairway and a min of 30 inches in length measured in the direction of travel.

Ladders should be neither too strong nor too weak. How the ladders are used and maintained is an important issue. Defective ladders should be marked Dangerous, do not use, and they should be either repaired or destroyed (saw in half). Metal ladders conduct electricity (electrocution). Rubber feet are good precaution. It is unsafe to ascend or descend a ladder with the climber facing away from the ladder. Portable ladders are not designed to be used as platforms or scaffolds (very weak). When accessing a roof, the ladder needs to extend at least 3 ft above the upper point of support. Never place a ladder on box, barrel, or unstable base to obtain additional height. Never splice short ladders together to make longer ones. Proper slant for a ladder is 4 feet vertical to 1 foot horizontal. To prevent ladder slipping or tipping:
Tie its top. Use the structure of wall/building to limit its movement. Use nonslip bases (sometimes does not work on oily, metallic, or concrete slippery surfaces ).

Fixed ladders
For fixed ladders, the emphasis is design and construction. Designer should follow the detailed standard specifications. Long unbroken lengths of fixed ladders are dangerous and should be interrupted every 30 feet.

Example of ladder safety device system (a rail and a trolley attached to the climbers belt)

A dockboard (bridge plate) provides a temporary surface over which loads can be transported during the loading or unloading of a cargo vehicle. Main safety hazards with the use of dockboards is that they may shift while in use or the surfaces connected by the dockboard can shift (movement of the cargo vehicle itself). Dockboard should be strong enough to carry the load.

Exits (doors to outside/means of scrape)

Exits (means of egress) should include the following:
The ways of exit access: Every point in the building should have a continuous and unobstructed way to a public way. The exit itself: Exit must be kept unlocked (automatic-alarmsounding emergency exit doors) and clear (obstruction-free). The way the exist discharge.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The law mandated that employers make reasonable accommodation for handicapped employees rather than deny them employment. This means mandatory changes to walking and working surfaces, exits, drinking water fountain levels, rest rooms, and other facilities. Typically, the safety and health manager is in charge for checking compliance with ADA standards. Recently, handicapped personal (working as expert consultants) visit facilities in their wheelchairs and tour the building to check compliance for handicapped access.

Lighting or lack of it, can be a safety hazard. Every exit sign should be suitably illuminated by reliable light source (internally, extremely, or naturally) Recommended illumination for all workplaces can be found in Tables 7.1 and 7.2.

Miscellaneous Facilities
Maintenance Platforms:
Rather than working from suspended scaffolds, Many modern buildings have builtin, safe suspension systems (powered platforms) for exterior window cleaning and other exterior maintenance. Attention should be directed to how these platforms are being used and maintained, not how they are made. Typical problems are missing guardrails, missing toeboards, missing side mesh, and inadequate inspections or record of inspections. The equipment should have load-rating plates on the platforms, max breaking strength for wire rope used. Worker need to wear safety belts attached to lifelines attached to the building structure or to the working platform. Public utilities workers often use platforms that are vehicle mounted. Hazards associated with this type are; contact with high-voltage power lines (safety distance must be maintained: 10-foot distance for 40-kilovolt line and/or proximity warning devices), the possibility of unexpected contact with an object that might strike and sweep the worker off the platform, and sitting on the edge of the basket. Majority of accidents arise from improper use of the equipment rather than from equipment failure or design.

Miscellaneous Facilities (cont.)

New elevators should be inspected and periodically thereafter. Construction permits and operating permits (from authorized agency). Licensing procedures for elevator inspections. Manlifts are much cheaper and efficient but more hazardous (getting in and getting off)
Manlift: a continuously moving belt on which workers may ride both up and down.