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How to keep workers safe in dirty, dusty worksites

How to keep workers safe in dirty, dusty worksites

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At Filter Blaster, we strive to provide an air filter cleaner that has been proven to deliver results for operators of construction heavy equipment and farm machinery. However, we know the value of crew members and workers.

These individuals are as critical to getting the job done as any piece of equipment. That’s why it is so important to maintain a focus on worksite safety, especially in industries that involve heavy machinery.

Here is an overview of how you can help ensure your crew members are kept safe on the same dusty, dirty job sites where they operate that equipment.

Train your employees and crews

The first step any construction site or farm operation manager needs to take in order to keep his workers safe while on the job is to make sure they are trained and brought up to speed on any updated best practices for where they work and what equipment they use.

Employees should not only know how to use the equipment and machinery they may be required to operate, but also should know how to communicate with each other using the right terminology. This helps everyone stay on the same page. Regular meetings before and after work days can also be useful.

Additionally, workers must be trained on how to properly clean up after themselves and their equipment. Instruct them on where to store or collect any debris or waste that is left over from their work. Remind employees where proper trash receptacles are located throughout the job site.

Signage is a great way to help crews remember necessary training tips. Well-placed signs can also serve as reminders of where they are on a site, which should inform how they operate their equipment in respect to the safety of others.

Provide personal protective equipment

Workers in the construction and agriculture industry will often find themselves in situations where personal protective equipment is not only appropriate, but it is required.

Construction workers should wear safety goggles or glasses that wrap around the face to protect eyes. Masks that allow for the filtration of dust particles will protect crew members’ sinuses, mouths and lungs.

Some dust particles may also contain metals and other chemicals, depending on the worksite. Employees that work in these areas should also wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts and pants - or even a full protective suit that completely prevents skin exposure and absorption.

Additional PPE standards may also need to be upheld. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has certain requirements that apply to construction and similar industries that state when head, eye, respiratory and other PPE equipment needs to be worn.

Review OSHA’s standards to see how they apply to your specific industry.

Keep the site clean

Construction sites and other messy job sites must be kept clean in order for employees to remain safe while at work. This should be set as the expectation and communicated as such to anyone who operates on-site.

By keeping the site clean and organized, you will not only make the job site safer for everyone, but it also helps your operation leave a positive impression with customers, neighbors and anybody visiting. Plus, you will decrease the risk of accidents and injuries occurring.

To ensure a construction or other heavy equipment work site is kept clean, take the following precautions:

  • Have dumpsters at the worksite. Instruct crews to dispose of debris, scraps and other trash in the dumpsters - never left out in the open. Trash cans should also be on hand for smaller amounts of garbage.
  • Include recycling containers on site. Some local agencies will require recyclable materials to be placed in these containers, not in the trash.
  • Store toxic waste in labeled containers placed in a safe area. Flammable materials must also be segregated.
  • Install signs to warn of hazardous conditions, such as unsteady structures, unsecured materials or exposed wiring.
  • Keep work areas walkable. Remove obstructions near stairs, halls and ladders.
  • Assign cleanup tasks to everyone on the team. Make sure all crew members know what they have been tasked with, especially during final cleanup when the project is complete.

When dealing with dusty worksites, it is best to clean up dust whenever it begins to accumulate, rather than letting it get too dirty. Instruct workers to wash their hands, fingernails and face before taking breaks or going home. A shower and change of clothes may also be necessary once they get back home. These steps will help protect them from dust inhalation.

Construction and coronavirus

Amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that it causes, the construction industry - and many of those that are related to it - have been deemed essential businesses by many mayors and governors entities across the country. Government officials have had to weigh how to keep economies functioning to some degree, while also preventing the spread of the virus.

At this time, it is even more important that construction and other essential employees who must work to follow proper worksite cleanliness and personal hygiene. Proper PPE is also a must-have.

In addition, the CDC has issued cleaning guidance for all employers, as well as guidance for all employers on how to prepare workplaces for COVID-19. All industries that must remain in operation at this time should consult the CDC’s guidance and understand how they may pertain to their business.

Keep equipment clean and operating efficiently

While the safety and cleanliness of employees takes top priority, dirt and dust can do a real number on heavy equipment and machinery that are used on farms and construction sites.

It is critical for owners and operators to take care of their equipment, too, including necessary maintenance and cleaning to protect them from grime. If this isn’t done, then equipment can break down and require expensive repairs.

One of the best ways to keep heavy equipment working as efficiently as possible to keep an eye on and clean diesel engine air filters when necessary. This can help with engine performance, fuel economy and overall efficiency of a machine while it is in operation.

Learn more about using our Filter Blaster product to clean air filters, which has been tested in the field to make sure it delivers real results for operators of heavy equipment.