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Section 6 - Department of Public Works Safety Guidelines
6.0     Department of Public Works Safety Guidelines

6.1     Traffic Control

·       Signs: Damaged, defaced or muddy signs should be cleaned, repaired, or replaced.
·       Barricades: Don't weigh temporary barricades with stones, chunks of concrete or other ballast material that may present a hazard if struck by a moving vehicle. Barricades should be marked with orange and white striped reflectors.
·       Cones and posts: Lane delineators are usually placed near moving traffic. Therefore, they must not be made of rigid material that could endanger a worker or pedestrian if struck by a moving vehicle. Delineators are always used together with other warning devices such as signs and high-level warnings. Remember that a sufficient number of delineators must be used to clearly define a pathway for motorists approaching the worksite.
·       Positioning of cones or other signal devices:  A good rule of thumb for traffic control in most traffic situations is - for every one foot of land blockage, the length of the control devices in feet is equal to the speed that traffic is moving in miles per hour. Therefore, if you plan to close 10 feet of land and traffic is moving at 30 mph, multiply 10 feet, times 30 to find that you must run the devices 300 feet along the roadway. If you won't be blocking too many driveways or parking stalls, or traversing an intersection, it's best to run the devices for longer distances.
·       Flashers:  Flashing lights are used as night warning signals. Steady burning lights are used to delineate traffic lanes.  Raised pavement markers and temporary tape are also used to delineate lanes.
·       High-level warning devices:  Flags and signs mounted on lightweight frames, either free standing on the pavement or set on trucks, are especially useful for short-term maintenance operations in congested, low speed situations. Their height facilitates advance warning to motorists.

6.2     Placement of Warning Devices

On city streets, warning signs must be at least seven feet above and four feet from the edge of the right side curb. On rural roads, warning signs should be at least one foot above and six feet from the edge of the right side of the roadway. On divided roadways, post signs in the median as well as the right side.

If buildings, parked vehicles, hills, or curves block a motorist's view of the work area, give the motorist early warning. Early warning is also a good idea in congested areas where the work in progress is likely to back up traffic. Early warnings help motorists avoid sudden lane changes and panic stops.

Cover warning signs until work begins and remove them from view when they are no longer needed.  Remember that the lesson learned from the story about the boy who cried "wolf" applies to traffic warnings, too.

6.3     Road Maintenance Operations

6.3.1   General Conditions

·       Make adjustments in driving techniques to accommodate the changing handling characteristics of machines such as sewer cleaning trucks and street sweepers that substantially increase or decrease their loads and change their centers of gravity depending on the quantity of load.
·       Use earplugs or earmuffs in environments that are noisy, such as where jackhammers or vacuums are being used, or where many pieces of equipment are running.
·       Wear the proper type of air mask or respirator in dusty environments, or use air conditioning when available. This will help prevent damage to the lungs.
·       Wear the proper clothing for the job when using chemicals such as sewer grouting material, plant sprays, or insecticides. Some chemicals may require the use of respirators, rubber gloves, or special clothing. Be sure to read the label and follow the instructions.
·       Make the operator aware of the dangers inherent in spraying any kind of material that vaporizes or is a fine dust. These materials include, but are not limited to, gasoline, heavy solvents, and methane gas.

6.3.2   Painting Operation

·       Always use the properly designed respirator to avoid breathing the paint and its solvents.
·       Many paint pigments and solvents are classified as hazardous materials. Read the label and avoid contact with the material. Be observant of dusts when sanding or grinding off lead-based paints.
·       Keep out of the direct spray area when spraying paint. Paint being sprayed at only 30 PSI can imbed itself into the skin.
·       Do not blow dust from clothes with high-pressure air. Air at 30 PSI can imbed dust and clothing fibers in the skin.
·       Never field-rig a high-pressure hose coupling. Always use a factory-made and tested coupling.
·       Do not use more pressure in the hose and coupling than that for which they are rated.
·       Keep paint closed and in a ventilated area. When not in use, keep paint in a designated and approved paint storage cabinet.

6.3.3   Pneumatic Tools

·       Wear hearing protection while operating air tools that operate above 85 decibels.
·       Give frequent breaks to air hammer operators to reduce the cumulative effects of vibration and noise on the worker.
·       Wear safety shoes with metatarsal protection while operating air hammers. Do not guide the air hammer tool with the feet to start a drill hole.
·       Be sure a dead man switch is standard equipment on the hammer in case the hammer is dropped.
·       Employ wet drilling over dry drilling whenever possible to reduce the amount of flying debris and dust.
·       Vent the air compressor tank prior to removal of the hoses or disconnect the hammer after completing an operation.
·       Use retainer clips on the air hammer to prevent premature tool ejection.
·       Do not allow the heads of cutting tools to mushroom. Grind the head to its original shape       upon deformation. This will prevent splinters from chipping off the tool when being struck.
·       Warm the cutting tool before use in very cold weather. This will prevent spilling during use.
·       Before using any tool, check the bolts for adequate tightness and the bushing for excessive wear.
·       Watch where the chips are being thrown when cleaning potholes with air pressure. They can travel up to 25 mph.

6.4     Trenching

·       Keep all tools, material, and spoil at least two feet from the edge of the trench.
·       Do not drive equipment up to the edge of the trench.
·       Inspect the trench for signs of failure after a rain and first thing in the morning.
·       Do not jump across a trench. Go around or use a temporary bridge.
·       Locate emergency exits from the trench no more than 25 feet apart. Ladders extending at least 3 feet past the top of the trench and tied securely are adequate.
·       Take care when working adjacent to sidewalks, buildings, utility poles, trees, or similar structures. In some cases, underpinning may be necessary.
·       Install shoring from the top down. Remove shoring from the bottom up. This will reduce the chances of ditch collapse during the installation/removal operation.
·       Install jacks or bracing perpendicular to the trench sides to prevent them from kicking out under pressure.
·       Do not support construction equipment on the shoring unless it was specifically designed for that function.
·       Backfill the trench immediately after the shoring is removed. The trench has a greater possibility of cave-in due to the construction activity at that time.
·       Keep workers out from under the excavating and backfilling equipment.
·       Use lifelines in excavations over 15 feet deep due to the danger of asphyxiates or poisonous gases collecting in the trench bottom.

BE ATTENTIVE TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS:  DON'T DIG YOUR OWN GRAVE!

6.5     Snow Removal Operations

1.      Pre-check assigned routes for the following hazards:

·       Low hanging cables
·       Deep side ditches
·       Steep shoulders
·       Raised manholes
·       Offset curb and pavement joints
·       Yield and merge intersections
·       Blind and left-turn intersections
·       Mailboxes
·       Signposts
·       Fire Hydrants
·       Guardrails
·       Fences
·       Special maneuvering areas, cul-de-sacs, steep grades, dead ends
·       Congested areas
·       Narrow roadways
2.      Avoid situations that require backing. If it is necessary, in such areas as cul-de-sacs, dead ends, and steep hills, exercise extreme caution.
3.      Keep the plow blades and sanders in working condition. Frostbite can be contracted rapidly as work is performed on the equipment outside.
4.      Be cautious of frostbite. Severe pain followed by a feeling of warmth is a sign of frostbite. Don't be fooled by the apparent return of warmth. Return to the shop and seek medical aid from a qualified individual.
5.      Watch for pedestrians when plowing. Do not exceed 25-30 mph. At speeds greater than this, the force of the thrown snow can knock down a person.
6.      Check the cab of the truck for exhaust seepage. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless. If the driver feels drowsy, check the cab.
7.      Stay with the truck if it is immobilized. It's easier to locate a truck than a body covered with snow.

6.6     Public Works Vehicles and Equipment

·       A circle check shall be completed before entering vehicle including air tank inspection.
·       Check behind and under the vehicle or machine before moving it.
·       Only qualified operators shall operate equipment. A person with a valid driver’s license must operate all equipment operated on roads. A licensed operator must accompany any other operator.
·       Vehicle shall not be overloaded. Loose materials must be covered.
·       No one is permitted to ride on the back (cargo area) of dump trucks or pick-ups.
·       The passenger in the truck shall get out and assist driver when the truck is being backed up.
·       Seat belts shall be worn at all times.
·       Machines and vehicles shall be entered and exited slowly and with caution.

6.7     Shop Work Rules

·       Bays are to be kept clean and free of parts, water, broken glass, etc.
·       Gasoline absolutely must not be used for cleaning parts, hands, or clothing.
·       No smoking in service area, around pumps or tanks.
·       Charge batteries only in well-vented areas, making sure to open battery caps to release hydrogen gas buildup.
·       Fire extinguishers must be kept charged and in good condition. They must be readily accessible at all times. Do not use them for hangers or shelves.
·       Do not use air hoses to clean clothes, as the air may blow dirt particles into eyes and air pressure can be injurious.
·       All electrical equipment must be kept charged and in good condition. They must be readily accessible at all times. Do not use them for hangers or shelves.
·       Floors must be kept free of spilled oil, antifreeze, grease, water, etc. If spills cannot be cleaned up immediately, then they must be covered with an oil absorbent material, such as Speedi-Dry.
·       The parking areas should be kept clean, and any potholes or cracks reported and repaired.
·       NEVER work under a lift that does not have the safety pin/leg in position. Few people survive a vehicle dropping on them.
·       Make sure that the vehicle is on the lift properly before raising it.
·       Personal protective equipment (goggles, masks, etc.) must be worn where provided.
·       All flammable (paints, thinners, etc.) must be stored in the flammable liquid storage area when not actually being used.
·       The door(s) to the flammable liquid storage room cabinet is (are) to be kept closed at all times.
·       Spray painting may be done in specified areas only.
·       Any injury, no matter how slight, must be reported to your supervisor.

6.8     Park and Tree Maintenance

·       Park crews on any job shall wear hard hats where work is going on overhead.
·       Moveable equipment on rear of trucks such as mowers should be tied down or otherwise secured.
·       Masks, respirators, rubber gloves, and facemasks shall be worn. When mixing spray materials with water or oil, rubber gloves and masks shall be worn.
·       Ear protectors shall be used when operating brush chippers and chain saws.
·       Proper clothing, such as long pants and work shoes or boots, is to be worn. Sneakers and shorts are prohibited.
·       Rotary mower's safety devices shall not be removed from mower. Employee shall operate rotary mower so that discharge from mower is not directed towards any person or vehicle. Employees getting off mowers to remove items from area to be mowed shall face machine at all times.

6.9     Cemetery Division

·       After graves are dug and before they are set up for service, they shall be covered with plywood, which shall be supported with planking.
·       When setting up a grave, plywood, solid planking, and headers shall be placed around opening and under lowering devices.
·       All openings for markers shall be covered until marker is set.
·       When placing grave markers, at least two workers should lift and place markers. No single employee shall remove stones or other material from cars or any vehicle delivering to cemetery.
·       Any employee working, mixing, or applying insecticide, pesticide, and herbicide, shall be licensed. All safety requirements shall be followed. The cemetery shall furnish protective clothing and equipment.
·       Each employee shall be instructed on proper and safe operation of each machine that they shall use. The town shall furnish safety equipment such as hearing protection, safety lenses and face shields, hard hats, rain gear, etc.
·       Rotary mower's safety devices shall not be removed from mower. Employee shall operate rotary mower so that discharge from mower is not directed towards any person or vehicle. Employees getting off mowers to remove items from area to be moved shall face machine at all times.
·       Hearing protection shall be used when operating chain saws and other noise producing equipment.

6.10    Back Hoe and Loader Operations

·       Always get on and off machines slowly and with caution.
·       Have machine at idle speed or shut off machine when getting off. When getting up on backhoe seat, have machine at idle speed and be careful not to hit levers (with rain gear on, you can get pant legs hung up on levers).
·       Always park machine in low range, low gear, lower all units and remove key when leaving machine.
·       When workers are in front of loader bucket hooking up filling bucket, have machine in reverse or neutral. All workers shall wear hard hats.
·       Lower front bucket at a slow, steady speed every time, so the worker will become aware of any loss of control.
·       Have supervisor assign only workers that are needed around machine. They should be in view of the operator at all times.
·       When traveling over the road, put flashers on and chain-up backhoe unit. When turning, do not cut off cars with backhoe bucket.
·       Always be in loader seat with brake set before putting up stabilizers.
·       Never carry a load with loader when bucket is more than two feet from ground.
·       Walk up to an operator in front of him where he can see you. Never walk from behind or from the side.
·       Only licensed operators shall run equipment, no passengers shall be carried.
·       Never put your back to any machine that is working.

6.11    Sewer and Water Department

·       Hard hats shall be worn on construction sites at all times whenever an overhead exposure exists.
·       Safety vests shall be worn when working in busy streets and when directing traffic.
·       Gloves shall be worn when working on sharp edges or at the discretion of the foremen in charge.
·       Safety cones and barricades are to be used around work areas.  “Men Working” signs or cones are to be set 200 feet in each direction from the work area.
·       Good housekeeping and safe work habits shall be in constant use. Good housekeeping means keeping your truck, job site, and yard neat, clean, and organized. Safe work habits include keeping your tools and equipment clean, well maintained, and properly stored when not in use.
·       Proper procedures before entering manholes are:
a)      Check atmosphere with appropriate testing device.
b)      Use proper ventilation - open one manhole in front and in back of the manhole being worked in.
c)      Safety harness should be worn upon entering.
d)      At least one employee must be above the manhole at all times.
·       Ladders shall be used when working in a manhole or trenches. They shall have 12-inch runners and shall extend 3 feet above the ground level.
·       Excavations and trenching shall comply with the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industry's Regulations on sheathing and shoring.
·       Jet rodding machines shall not be used without the rod guard.
·       Jet rodder hose guard shall be used at all times, going in and coming out.
·       When taking rodding machine out, safety chains must be in working order.
·       When changing nozzle on jet rodder the machine shall be shut off.
·       All sewer chemicals shall be locked up. Distribution of such chemicals shall be done by sewer division personnel only.
·       Safety harnesses must be used with a guideline when going into a manhole 6 feet or deeper.
·       All employees who are furnished with safety equipment and/or clothing shall be required to wear such safety equipment at all times while doing the work for which the equipment is furnished. The safety gloves, aprons, helmets, hardhats, goggles, face shields, dust masks, vest, ear protection, etc. provided are designed for the protection of all employees and must be used in designated areas. Safety shoes are highly recommended but will not be required until such time as they are provided.
·       All personnel working in the sewage system shall be provided with vaccines, inoculations and tests as provided by Massachusetts law. Required inoculations shall be kept current according to the most recent Department of Public Health requirements.
·       When cutting asbestos tiles or cement pipe, a face mask and appropriate breathing protection must be worn.

6.12    Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations

·       All employees who are furnished with safety equipment and/or clothing shall be required to wear such safety equipment at all times while doing the work for which the equipment is furnished. The safety gloves, aprons, helmets, hardhats, goggles, face shields, dust masks, vest, ear protection, etc. provided are designed for the protection of all employees and must be used in designated areas. Designated areas must have signs visible to all employees.
·       Damaged or worn out safety equipment will be replaced, provided the worn or damaged equipment is turned in when the new equipment is issued and provided there is no evidence of abuse. If the equipment shows evidence of abuse, the employee shall be responsible for replacing the equipment.
·       Safety drill on the operation of self-contained breathing equipment shall be conducted for all personnel once a month.
·       All valves and handrails shall be kept free of grease.
·       Chlorine tanks shall not be changed unless two workers are present.
·       All chlorine connections shall be checked with ammonia after a tank has been filled.
·       If a leak is detected in the chlorine room do not enter without calling the Fire/Police Department first. Under no circumstances should anyone enter the area alone or without self-contained breathing equipment and protective clothing.
·       “No Smoking” signs must be observed.
·       When working in wastewater, footwear must be cleaned off before entering any building.
·       There shall be no eating in laboratories.
·       Proper barricades or cones must be used when manhole covers or grates are removed.
·       Proper procedures before entering manholes, digesters, wet wells, etc. are:
a)      Check atmosphere
b)      Use proper ventilation - open one manhole in front and in back of the manhole being worked in.
c)      Safety Harness to be worn upon entering.
d)      Two employees above manhole, wet well, etc.
·       Housekeeping and safe work habits shall be in constant use. All spills shall be cleaned up immediately.
·       When working on a pump or any other equipment, all switches shall be tagged and power locked out. Tags and locks shall only be removed by the person who originally tagged them.
·       All employees who are furnished with safety equipment and/or clothing will be required to wear such safety equipment at all times while doing the work for which the equipment is furnished. The safety gloves, aprons, helmets, hardhats, goggles, face shields, dust masks, vest, ear protection, etc. provided are designed for the protection of all employees and must be used in designated areas. Safety shoes are highly recommended but will not be required until such time as they are provided.
·       Safety harness and line must be worn when cleaning clarifiers (inside) or any other situation that calls for this precaution.
·       Safety chains must be replaced at all walkways, tanks, etc.
·       Equipment safety guards and covers must be kept in place.
·       Electrical cabinet doors are to be kept closed.
·       Two persons (one above and one below) are to be present upon entering clarifiers and pumping stations.

6.13    Water Department

·       Hard hats are to be worn on construction sites at all times whenever an overhead exposure is present.
·       Safety vests shall be worn when working in a busy street and when directing traffic.
·       Safety cones and barricades are to be used around work areas.  “Men working” signs or cones are to be set 200 feet in each direction from the work area.
·       When working at night, flashers or flares shall be used to warn public of the work area. Trenches and work areas shall be well lit.
·       Hard toe boots or sturdy work boots shall be worn while working in water or mud. Rain gear shall be worn during inclement weather.
·       Safety goggles shall be worn while using air driven tools or power saws.
·       Ladders shall be used when working in trenches. They shall have 12-inch runners and shall extend 3 feet above the ground.  Ladders must be positioned no more than 25 feet apart.
·       Clothing must be suitable to the job. Shirts and long pants shall be worn at all
times. Suitable work shoes shall be worn.  Safety shoes are recommended. Sneakers, moccasins, sandals, and shorts or cut off pants shall not be worn.
·       While working in watershed areas, no hand power cutting tools such as chain saws and brush cutters shall be used without a means of transportation in the immediate area.
·       When machine cutting asbestos, tile or cement pipe, a facemask and breathing protection must be worn.
·       Excavations and trenches shall comply with the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industry Safety Rules.
·       Self-contained breathing equipment shall be provided for personnel working around chlorination equipment.
·       A safety drill on the operation of self-contained breathing equipment shall be conducted for such personnel once a month.


6.14    Electric Department

·       Due to the unique nature of electric power distribution and service operations, a safety manual for electrical utilities such as the one listed below should be made part of this manual.

"Safety Manual for an Electrical Utility"
American Public Power Association
2301 M. St. NW
Washington, DC. 20037


·       General sections of the town safety handbook manual should be retained for the Electric Department.

 
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