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How to Play It safe while working in the field Presented at: Harris County Comprehensive Onsite Wastewater Review Seminar October 25, 2011 Presented by : Cheryl Burton Fentress Harris County HHW Program Manager. Why discuss safety?.

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How to Play It safe while working in the fieldPresented at:Harris County Comprehensive Onsite Wastewater Review SeminarOctober 25, 2011Presented by :Cheryl Burton FentressHarris County HHW Program Manager

why discuss safety
Why discuss safety?
  • You encounter situations on your job where you need to be informed of possible hazards.
  • Having knowledge of safety related issues is important for you and your employer.
  • Safety is mostly common sense. The only problem is that we become complacent about it.
  • It is YOUR responsibility to put the training into action.
heat stress
Heat Stress
  • How does your body cool itself?
  • What happens if it can no longer do this?
  • If your body overheats & dehydration occurs, what happens next?
  • What are the degrees of heat stress?
  • How can you prevent heat related illnesses?
heat rash
Heat Rash….
  • Is also known as “prickly heat”
  • is a red rash most visible on your face and neck
  • has prickling/burning sensations or small blisters
  • is not life-threatening
  • means stop what you are doing and treat it
heat cramps
Heat Cramps….
  • are painful muscle spasms which usually affect the arms,

legs or abdomen

  • usually occur when you sweat heavily and do not replace minerals and fluids
  • affect muscles and may not attack until you have stopped working for the day
  • can be prevented by drinking water, electrolyte replacing beverages (even pickle juice) and eating fruits (bananas)
  • means stop and treat – if you do not stop working and tend to this you may go into heat exhaustion or cause further damage
heat exhaustion
Heat Exhaustion….
  • is more serious than heat cramps and occurs when the body’s cooling system is overworked but has not shut down.
  • symptoms include: headache, extreme thirst, dehydration, fatigue, weakness, loss of coordination, nausea, hyperventilation, anxiety, weak and rapid pulse, impaired judgment, low to normal blood pressure, loss of appetite
  • can be prevented by drinking electrolyte replacing fluids throughout the day
  • means move the person to a cool location and have them lie down with their feet elevated. Loosen clothing and apply cool, wet towels or fan them.
  • Stop work immediately and seek medical attention – go to a medical facility!



heat stroke
Heat Stroke….
  • is life threatening and has a high death rate. Call 911 immediately.
  • occurs when your body is no longer capable of cooling itself because it is depleted of its supply of water and salt.
  • means your body temperature can rise so high that brain damage or death can occur unless you receive immediate medical attention
  • symptoms include: any symptoms of heat exhaustion
    • Early symptoms include: body temp of 103° F, absence of sweating, hot flushed dry skin, rapid pulse, constricted pupils.
    • Advanced symptoms are a body temp of 106° F or above, convulsions, collapse, loss of consciousness.
  • means move them to an area away from any source of heat and place moist cool towels on their skin
cold stress
Cold Stress

Low temperatures cause the body to conserve body heat by reducing the flow of blood, diverting blood flow to the core of your body. Then the wind moves the air across the skin increasing the rate of convection of heat across the body.

Frostbite: Damage to the skin that is manifested in 2 ways.

  • Superficial frostbite – where the outer layer of the skin is frozen.
    • Affected tissue must be protected from further exposure.
    • Slowly warm up the tissue without rubbing it.
  • Deep Frostbite – involves freezing of the tissue underneath the outer skin
    • More severe than superficial
    • Requires medical assistance for treatment
    • Protect from further exposure and DO NOT ATTEMPT TO THAW AFFECTED TISSUE!

Hypothermia: The body’s core temperature drops and reduces circulation to the extremities in an attempt to conserve heat.

  • Signs:
    • Confusion and slurred difficult speech
    • Sleepiness and an intoxicated appearance
    • Loss of manual dexterity
ways to prevent heat cold related injuries and illnesses
Ways to prevent heat/cold related injuries and illnesses
  • Acclimate yourself to your environment
  • Replenish your fluids but do not shock your system
  • Make sure you take breaks and give your body a rest
  • Eat light, non-greasy meals and drink wisely
  • Wear light colored / moisture-wicking clothing in the summer and dress in layers during colder months
  • Ask your doctor if the medications you take can have side effects if you work in high heat areas
  • Perform heavy labor activities in the early morning or evening

Go to or for additional information

proper lifting techniques
Proper lifting techniques

There are proper and improper ways to lift items

you can prevent lifting injuries by
You can prevent lifting injuries by……
  • Keeping the load close and securing your footing
  • Not twisting while lifting
  • Lifting slowly and not using a jerking motion
  • Avoiding lifting from the ground or above the shoulders
  • Trying to avoid carrying the load more than 10 feet
  • Using mechanical assistance if necessary
  • Not lifting objects that are too heavy
  • Asking for assistance – don’t try to be Superman!
slips trips and falls
Slips, Trips and Falls
  • There can be many ways you can slip, trip and fall in the field
    • Wet / oily surfaces
    • Uneven/rough terrain
    • Obstructed view
    • Spills that are not cleaned up
    • High/wet grass
    • Improper weight distribution when carrying items
    • Office dangers – cords, clutter, etc.
you can prevent these by
You can prevent these by…..
  • Immediately clean up any spill
    • Use the correct spill clean up materials
    • Do not leave a residue where the spill occurred
    • Use the spill signs in the area where the spill occurred
  • Make sure your area is free of trip hazards
    • Scope out your worksite before beginning work
    • Do not leave materials on the floor around your desk or in your vehicle
    • Tape down all wires on the floor and do not string them from one place to the other.
    • Wear your clothing / PPE properly
the most common materials you will see in the field
The most common materials you will see in the field
  • Paint & PRM
  • Aerosols
  • Yard & Auto products
  • Household cleaners
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Batteries
  • Propane /cylinders
  • Tires

If it has not rained recently and the ground is wet….

other items you need to avoid
Other items you need to avoid
  • Propane and other cylinders
  • Coolers
  • Medicines / sharps
  • Mystery bags
  • Water bottles
if you become contaminated
If you become contaminated…
  • Proceed to an area for decon and immediately remove your contaminated clothing
  • Wash any affected area with water (unless chemical is water reactive)
  • Dispose of all contaminated items properly
  • Request an MSDS or get information regarding the material(s)
  • Seek medical assistance if necessary
poison control
Poison Control
  • This is the best emergency number you can remember besides 911
  • This number is a must not only for work but also at home
  • Remember 1-800-222-1222
driving tips1
Driving Tips
  • Although vehicle fatalities have gone down in recent years because newer cars have better safety features - the number of traffic deaths caused by distracted driving has increased because of the increased use of electronic gadgets.
  • What is distracted driving?
    • Visual – taking your eyes off of the road
    • Manual – taking your hands off of the wheel
    • Cognitive – taking your mind off of driving
avoid distracted driving by
Avoid distracted driving by……
  • Only make emergency phone calls while driving and pull off the road for routine calls
  • Have a hands-free phone and use speed dialing
  • Do not text while driving
  • Put on make up and shave before you get in the car
  • Keep your eyes on the road and not on the persons in the back seat
  • Leave your problems and emotions outside your vehicle
other driving tips
Other driving tips
  • Look twice before leaving an intersection
  • Wait and look to the left, right, and forward before going through a green light
  • Check your mirrors and adjust your seat every time someone else has driven your car
  • Make sure your feet comfortably reach the pedals
  • Lock your doors and hide your computer and other valuables
  • Be aware of your surroundings when you stop at a traffic light
fire safety1
Fire Safety
  • You see a fire or smoke in the office or in the field……
  • Do you know the location of the fire extinguishers?
  • Do you call 911 immediately?
  • Do you try to put it out?






what should you do
What should you do?

Call 911 first….

Know what is burning….

Is the fire spreading rapidly….

  • Do not try to fight the fire if…..
  • The fire is not incipient.
  • You do not have the correct fire extinguisher.
  • You might inhale toxic smoke.
  • Your instincts tell you not to.
  • The final rule is to always position yourself with an exit or means of escape at your back before you attempt to fight a fire!

Cheryl Burton Fentress6900 Hahl Road @ N. GessnerHouston TX 77040Phone: 281.560.6230Cell: 713.591.6779Fax:

My information -