SAFETY in the work area is a broad topic because of the

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1 A Safe Place to Work SAFETY in the work area is a broad topic because of the many components of agricultural mechanics. Safety is protection from injury or loss. Injury can result from improper use of equipment or failure to take safety precautions. It can cause long-term disability or even death. Loss can result from physical damage to equipment and other property or from unproductive time spent recovering from injury or repairing or replacing damaged items. Most accidents can be prevented. The mental portion of safety includes attitude and commitment. The physical portion includes work habits, the work environment, equipment and facilities, and other people in the work area. Objectives: 1. Describe the mental components of safety. 2. Describe the physical components of safety. Key Terms: decibels personal protective equipment safety The Mental Components of Safety A very important step to creating a safe workplace is the attitude people display toward safety. We sometimes focus so strongly on the importance of completing a task or job that we allow ourselves to take risks. Risks may cause injury or property damage and must be avoided. Most accidents are caused by thoughtlessness. No amount of production can justify injuries sustained or damage incurred because of poor decisions. A commitment to safety is essential to creating a safe work area. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can prevent an injury or accident only if it is used. Always think safety. Page 1 AgEdLibrary.com

2 The Physical Components of Safety Safety must become a natural part of work. Each individual in agriculture should develop safety habits that become everyday and routine. Failing to follow safe working practices can cause injury to you, others in the work area, and animals. Poor safety habits can also cause losses to property and equipment. Safety can be overwhelming because of the volume of data, the diverse topic area, the severity of failure, and detailed requirements. To facilitate learning, the topic can be divided into general categories, all with some overlap. The general categories of safety for this E-unit are personal safety, property safety, and mechanical safety. These may be studied from safety material provided by manufacturers, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), your school, and your employer. PERSONAL SAFETY Lost productivity due to an accident is always costly to a business or individual. An important part of personal safety is the equipment we wear to prevent injury. This equipment is often very specialized. The list of safety equipment can be long, but these types are common: Eye protection Hearing protection Masks and respirators Protective clothing Eye Protection Eye protection prevents foreign objects or intense light from injuring your eyes. Eye injury can cause partial or total loss of sight, which may be permanent. Always wear eye protection in a work area, whether you or someone else is working there. Select comfortable eye protection. If the protection fits well, getting into the habit of wearing it will be easier. Personal protective equipment for the eyes should protect the area directly in front of your eyes as well as the area at each side of your head. A primary function of eye protection is to keep flying objects from entering your eyes. Eye protection comes in different forms: safety glasses, helmets, goggles, face shields, and even sunglasses. Safety glasses keep flying objects from striking your eyes but cannot protect the eyes from intense light, such as the light produced by welding. The specialized protection for welding is provided by helmets with dark lenses to protect your eyes from the intense light. Typical oxy-acetylene welding is accomplished with a No. 5 shade lens. General arc welding typically requires a lens shade between No. 10 and No. 14. Several factors determine which shade is required to protect your eyes while welding, including the amperage and length of exposure. A No. 14 lens provides more protection than a lens with a lower shade number. Page 2 AgEdLibrary.com

3 Goggles and face shields can be used in areas that generate less light intensity. They are available with clear lenses. Sunglasses are useful for protecting your eyes from the light of the sun but may not provide the protection required from flying objects. Always wear approved eye protection. Hearing Protection The noise created in agriculture can be dangerous. Over time, noise causes hearing loss. Since hearing loss is very gradual, many people do not recognize their injury until much of their hearing is gone. Hearing loss occurs more rapidly as the noise intensity increases. Noise intensity is measured in decibels. Another factor that causes hearing loss is the length of time you are exposed to the noise. The longer the exposure, the greater the hearing injury that occurs. To prevent hearing loss, wear hearing protection. Hearing protection can be either earplugs or earmuffs. People typically hear sound within a range of frequencies. Sound outside that range can also cause hearing injury. This means you can have hearing injury and never be aware of the sound that caused it. Hearing protection prevents hearing loss by reducing the damaging sound that enters the inner ear. Masks and Respirators FIGURE 1. Always wear proper eye protection when using an oxyacetylene torch. FIGURE 2. Hearing protection should be worn when using noisy equipment. Working in a dusty or smoky environment can cause you to breathe particulate material into your lungs. Some of the particles become stuck to the inside of your lungs. If you accumulate enough particulate material on the inside of your lungs, the rate of oxygen exchange between the air you breathe and your blood is decreased. Another consequence of breathing particulate material is the development of diseases in the lungs. Both situations are bad and can cause pain or loss of work time. Page 3 AgEdLibrary.com

4 To prevent the inhalation of particulate material, appropriate PPE should be worn. The kind of PPE depends upon the types of particles in the air. A dust mask is satisfactory for sawing wood, but a respirator mask would be appropriate when painting or working with products that produce hazardous fumes. Protective Clothing Protective clothing helps keep hazardous substances from contacting the skin. Welding can cause injury, resembling sunburn, to exposed skin. Leather gloves and protective clothing will protect the skin from exposure to welding and to the hot sparks that fly during the welding process. Many solvents and fluids are toxic and can be absorbed through the skin. Latex gloves protect exposed hands and fit tight enough to permit good use of your fingers. Steel-toed boots are manufactured with steel reinforcements in their toes. These reinforcements protect the worker s toes from falling objects. Some boots have steel inserts in the soles to protect the feet from puncture. Bump caps and hard hats are worn to protect the head from bumps and falling objects. Hard hats are typically required for heavy equipment operation and in construction sites. They are made of rigid plastic and metal. Some hard hats have accessories, like visors, welding visors, ear protection, and headlamps. A bump cap or hard hat should fit the head firmly, like a comfortable cap. The hard hat should be adjusted according to the manufacturer s suggestions. Avoid loose-fitting clothing that can get caught in moving machinery. Protect your arms and legs with long sleeves and long slacks. PROPERTY SAFETY To protect property, pay attention to the following: Always focus on the task being performed; avoid daydreaming or thinking about other topics. Do not use equipment without adequate training from an approved source. Do not use equipment in faulty mechanical condition or with faulty or damaged safety devices. Always report and mark a damaged machine as out of service. Always follow approved safety practices. The safe operating guidelines are available from the equipment manufacturer. MECHANICAL SAFETY To help reduce the many hazards common to agricultural mechanics, follow these guidelines: Learn how to operate equipment and understand the safety features. The operator s manual is a good source of safety information. Page 4 AgEdLibrary.com

5 Be alert to the laws of physical science as they apply to the operation of machines and equipment. Mechanical safety is a function of science. Therefore, knowing the science can help reduce accidents and promote safety. Always use safety devices. Be alert to new technology that will promote better safety. Keep equipment in good repair, and always report or repair damaged equipment. Hard Hat and Respirator Earmuffs (Hearing Muffs) Particle Mask Corded and Uncorded Earplugs Face Shield Respirator Safety Glasses with sideshields and brow guard Goggles Leather Gloves Protective Clothing Welding Shield FIGURE 3. A wide variety of personal protective equipment (PPE). Page 5 AgEdLibrary.com

6 Summary: The mental portion of safety includes attitude and commitment. The physical portion includes work habits, the work environment, equipment and facilities, and other people in the work area. The topic of safety can be divided into general categories, all with some overlap. The general categories are personal safety, property safety, and mechanical safety. Checking Your Knowledge: 1. Define safety. 2. List four categories of PPE common in agricultural mechanics. 3. Name three factors often responsible for hearing loss. 4. What should you do if you discover a piece of equipment in faulty mechanical condition or with faulty or damaged safety devices? 5. Describe how science plays a role in mechanical safety. Expanding Your Knowledge: Create a table listing tools and equipment used in agricultural mechanics. Next to each tool or piece of equipment, list the safety practices that should be followed when using it. Web Links: NASD: Shop Safety National Safety Council Page 6 AgEdLibrary.com

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