By Bob Kenel (reprinted from the Fall 2006 newsletter)

Bob Kenel

Being a log builder has many responsibilities. One is the safety of your employees, property, equipment and surroundings. Most of us tend to overlook some of the responsibilities we have as employers.

OSHA requires safety training for your employees. I have developed a company Safety Manual I give to all employees. After they have had time to read it, I sit down and do a one on one personal review about the safety policy and actions I will take as an employer if guidelines and policy are not followed. At the end of this session, I ask to have a letter signed that they understand and will follow the guidelines in the manual. I provide them with safety glasses, ear plugs, and gloves. They are responsible for their personal safety clothes, boots, chaps, helmet, etc.

I have a tool box talk every month to discuss a safety issue topic. Sometimes it is over a breakfast that I provide. These talks are very important and signed attendance is a must. File and document all safety meetings. I developed areas of inspections that should be designated to all employees. Such as:
1. Project site
2. Cables, chains, slings
3. Tool inspection
4. Scaffolds, ladders, planks
5. First aid
6. Fire extinguishers
Each employee is trained and cross trained to do each inspection. I have a monthly safety report with each area of inspection. They write down what was found and how it was remedied. After that is complete they must sign the inspection sheet and return it to me at each tool box talk. At that time the jobs rotate, thus cross training occurs.

One major area I believe we all could improve on is Lift Crew Safety and Compliance (LCSC). Rigging: How we handle materials and tools we use to accomplish the task. As an employer, you should be aware of the regulations that must be adhered to. Some sources of information for selection, maintenance, inspection and rigging components are in accidental Prevention Manual for Industrial Operations Chapter 5 published by the National Safety Council of the United States, the Canadian Standards Association, Standard Z150, Construction Safety Association of Ontario, Rigging Manual and a web site Also available are seminars on Lift Crew Safety and Compliance Training, which I have attended and highly recommend. Always have one Supervisor Of The Lift (SOTL). The supervisor has overall responsibility for the lift. Responsibilities should be:
1. Determine proper equipment to do the task.
2. Supervise all personnel and procedures.
3. Determine the load and operating
clearances, distances and heights.
4. Use proper sized gear for the load.
5. Know the safe load rigging procedures and
abide by them.
The supervisor should know how to calculate capacities for a specific sling classification in approved con-figurations. The Working Load Limit (WLL) can be calculated from a table if the sling identification and the configuration of use are both known.

Some configurations are single vertical hitch, single choker hitch, single basket, two leg bridle hitch and single basket legs inclined (per degree of angle). In order to be in compliance of regulations and to calculate load, a tag must be attached to all chains, wire rope and slings. Also all hooks swivels, shanks, shackles must be stamped with Safe Working Load (SWL) or Working Load Limit (WLL). If any of the equipment you are using now does not have readable tags or is not marked at all, STOP using it immediately, you could be at risk of unsafe working conditions and serious injury. Every web sling identification tag shall bear the following legible identification information:
1. Name of Manufacturer
2. Serial or code #
3. Rated capacities for usable types of hitches
4. Type of Material
Chains should also have a tag. Remember only grade 8 alloy or Grade T may be used for overhead lifting. Grade 8 chain will have the digit 8 or the letter T embossed on the links at regular intervals or every six links. The digit 8 refers to the minimum tensile strength of the wire used to form the chain links (i.e. 8 strands for 800 mega pascals or 116,000 psi). The letter T designation is used by the International Standards Organization (ISO for grade 8 chains.

Remember inspections should be done at least monthly and a written report is to be kept in a log book. Failure to do so could mean big trouble especially if an accident occurs.

With the funds raised by the GLLCA, I would like to see a one or two day class by the LCS compliance as a pre-conference course and a certificate of training would be received after completion which our members could hang on the wall and train their employees for their ongoing education.
Join GLLCA for more support and tips from a network of experienced log builders!

About gllca

The Great Lakes Log Crafters Association is chartered as a non-profit organization in the State of Wisconsin, USA. The Board President, Board Members, and Officers are elected by the general membership and serve as stewards for running the association
This entry was posted in Log Building Tips, Robert Kenel, Safety and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Safe?

  1. Eric Latocki says:

    Great post. I was injured by a Dewalt 9.5 inch grinder (twice) and both by doing the same thing! Sanding down a hump on the shoulder of a flyway, too close to the overlapping log. THe edge touched the log, the disc cracked and dug in and KA-POW! The grinder hit me as hard as a baseball bat. This gave me a 2 inch deep gash that nearly cut off my pinky at the hand. The second time, it hit me right between the pinky and ring finger at equally hard. This time, I was wearing heavy gloves.

    The lesson I learned was to ensure that the rubber backer pad on all grinders be the same diameter as the sanding disc itself. Undersized backer pads create a situation where the sanding disc edge can crack and get driven into the wood, -sending the 3800 rpm tool flying right at the operator. Having the right sized backer pad hinders such a large area to dig in.

    Face shields are also essential for using grinders. I once insisted (three times) that a worker wear his face shield before he began grinding. He reluctantly put it on. 30 seconds into grinding, the disc exploded and lodged right into the face shield that saved his forehead a very bad injury. Can’t say enough about staying safe! Hope this helps someone else from getting injured.

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