Three-Day Safety Seminar Scheduled

We wanted to let everyone know that we’ve scheduled a Three-Day Safety seminar for early August in Tifton. The cost is $300 per person and the sessions are targeted at front line supervisors that will be conducting training and not necessarily managers. If you know you’d like to sign up, here’s the link. If you’d like more detail read on.

SAFETY SEMINAR REGISTRATION

While cotton gins are considered Agriculture in the eyes of OSHA, warehouses are not. OSHA requires all lift truck drivers in cotton warehouses to be properly trained as part their safety program. Prior to the pandemic, the Safety and Insurance committee recommended that we hold Train-the-trainer programs for those members that wanted to have Trainers on staff. We had held a couple of them in 2019 with good success

We contacted the company we’ve been working with on these trainings and worked with them to expand the program. They developed a Three-Day Program that covers several general safety topics and includes the Train-the-Trainer for lift trucks and elevated work platforms.

Since this program was developed relatively recently, we will only hold one such program this year but plan on doing at least one and possibly 2 next year based on participation.

This program is targeted at the front-line supervisors and trainers that have the most influence on the crews. These are the ones conducting the training either formally or on-the-job as most of our ‘training’ tends to be. This is not a purely “rules and regs” but a practical ‘why’ kind of training on many general safety topics but it includes the Train-the-Trainer on lift trucks and powered elevated work platforms. Participants will leave with the knowledge and materials to train their own employees in accordance with OSHA’s regs.

Space is limited to 25 participants. Lunch will be provided for two days. The session will be at the Micro-Gin at the University of Georgia in Tifton August 9-11. The address is in the EventBrite sign-up. Please follow this link above for registration or click here for more details.

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Ladder Safety

I read an article earlier in the week that mentioned it was Ladder Safety Month. This got me to thinking about gins and safety training. Most gins tend to focus on a pre-season safety training once the full crew has arrived to begin the new gin season, but what about the year around employees. When you break it down most gins spend 3-4 months each year ginning cotton, and that tends to be the main focus of safety training. What about the other 8-9 months of the year when the tasks being performed are not directly related to the ginning of cotton, how are you training employees to perform these tasks safely? While this article will focus mainly on ladder safety there will be links provided that cover other topics related to off-season safety.

Statistics show there are around 130,000 injuries and 300 or so deaths each year related to ladders. Ladder usage seems like a simple thing and something we all do on a regular basis, but the question is do we do is correctly and safely. The main points that lead to injuries are improper ladder for the task, damaged ladders, and improper technique.

Ladder Selection:

  • Work environment; hazards like electricity, uneven surfaces, or obstructions can affect the choose of ladder to be used.
  • Work length required; never stand on the top cap on a step ladder or use the top 3 rungs on and extension ladder.
  • Duty rating; This is the total amount of weight the ladder will support. This includes the worker and any tools or materials that the ladder will be supporting.

Ladder Inspection:

  • Are all parts of the ladder in good working condition? Look for broken or damaged rungs, rails, feet, and/or braces.
  • Is the ladder clean? Look for grease, oil, or other debris that could make the rungs slippery.
  • Confirm the area the ladder will be placed is level, sturdy, and free from hazards.

Ladder Use:

  • Be aware of what you are doing and the area around you.
  • Maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder at all times. Use a towline, tool belt, or helper to convey tools and materials.
  • Climb slowly and deliberately while always facing the ladder.
  • Keep your body centered between the rails at all times. Never overreach or lean to the sides while working from a ladder.
  • Never attempt to move a ladder while standing on it.

I cannot cover all aspects of ladder safety in this article, but did cover some of the most important. Please take a look at some of the links provided to get additional information concerning ladder safety.

OSHA Fact Sheet for extension ladders:

OSHA Fact sheet for Step ladders:

Although this article focuses on ladder safety, take this opportunity of consider other tasks that are being performed in the off-season and make sure you are training your employees to perform these tasks safely. There are several short training lessons covering a wide range of topics provided in chapter 5 of your Safety Reference Manual. If you would like additional information or have questions please contact me at andy@southern-southeastern.org.

Safety Alerts from Texas

In the past week or two Texas has had some serious accidents. From what we understand they all could have been prevented by properly locking out the power. We’re in the middle of gin season for most of our area. This is when we tend to let our guard down. Please don’t let that happen in your gins. Take some time to review the SAFETY ALERT below and share with your employees. The ALERT is in English and Spanish. While we haven’t seen any of this sort of injury this year in the Southeast and we pray we don’t, we all need to pay attention to the little things. Lets all have a safe gin season. Click on the images to download the PDF.

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Georgia Safety Round Tables in the age of Covid

Josh White, AgriTrust of Georgia leads a discussion on tarp rollers.

The AgriTrust of Georgia and Southeastern Cotton Ginners have collaborated on “Safety Round Tables” since 2012. Normally, 200+ gin employees from around the state of Georgia come together to learn from each other. The point of the Round Tables has been to facilitate exchange of ideas on how they handle certain scenarios in a gin.

This year, we thought it would be not so good to get together in person so we brought a handful of ginners together to do something similar. Lots of hand sanitizer was dispersed and a social distancing was maintained where possible through most of a day’s worth of filming.

The final product will be distributed to the ginners of Georgia and affidavits will be sent back to AgriTrust for their credit. We will forward these names to the National Cotton Ginners Association for Continuing Education credits for Certified Ginners.

If you’re a Georgia gin, watch for these videos to show up in coming weeks. We are pleased to help the AgriTrust put this event on for the ninth time.

Georgia Gin Safety Round Tables Well Attended

The AgriTrust of Georgia and the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association again put on two Ginners Safety Round Tables. This year the sessions were held at the Heart of Georgia Gin in Hawkinsville and Sconyers Gin in Sycamore.

Topics covered in this year’s Round Tables included Fork Lift and Warehouse demonstrations by MacKinnon Equipment Services, Personal Protective Equipment by Josh White with the AgriTrust, Maintenance and Off-Season Repair safety led by Jackson Hammack (Early County Gin) at Hawkinsville and Lupe Alonzo (Mobley Gin) and Rick Riley (Sconyers Gin and Whse) at Sconyers, and two Lock-out Sessions with Kirby Bailey of Safe Workforce Development and Andy Knowlton of the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association. Additionally, the Continue reading

Is your OSHA 300 Form Posted?

OSHA has put a lot more emphasis on the tracking and recording of accidents and injuries. The obvious thought is that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. For years almost all employers have been required to keep track of their accidents and injuries via the OSHA 300 form. You should have 5 calendar years of OSHA 300 forms in your files. Additionally OSHA has now begun collecting the OSHA 300A information from nearly everyone that needs to keep a 300 form. The next electronic submission will be sometime this Summer.

The 300A summary of accidents and injuries are supposed to be posted each year beginning Continue reading