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Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace, 3rd Edition by Peter H. Wald, Gregg M. Stave

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Chapter 5MECHANICAL ENERGY

James Kubalik*

OCCUPATIONAL SETTING

Mechanical energy impacting on the human body is the most frequent cause of direct physical injuries (Table 5.1). Our workplaces and individual workspaces are dynamic and have both direct and indirect exposure potential. The management of these interactions will determine whether the outcome is efficient production and productivity or a failure resulting in an employee injury and costs to a company.

TABLE 5.1 Types of direct injuries and their causes.

Injury type Causes/locations Safeguard
Traffic accidents Roadways Bridges over crossings
  Rail spurs Signals
    Seat belts
Falls from heights Platforms Railings
  Walkways Enclosures
  Aerial baskets Fall protection systems
  Open structures  
  Ladders  
Slips, trips, and falls Slippery surfaces Abrasive surfaces
  Cluttered work site Good housekeeping
Major crush injuries Forklifts Restraints
  Cranes Rollover protection
    Overhead guards
    Audible travel alarms
    Inspection
    Crane director
    Audible travel alarms
Explosions Flammables/combustibles Fire protection program and systems
  High-pressure steam/air/product systems Grounding
    No smoking
    Hydrotesting
Burns Steam Insulate process
  Hot surfaces Insulating clothing
  Cryogens Energy isolation (during maintenance)
  Open flame
  Electrical Electrical safety program (see also explosions above)
Electrocutions Any electrical processes ...

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