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Ergonomic Survival Guide for Carpenters and Framers
This SURVIVAL GUIDE is designed to promote awareness of safe work practices for CARPENTERS and FRAMERS. Please call 1-800-963-9424 for other trade-specific publications.
What will happen to your family and your lifestyle if you get injured and can’t work? What will you lose if you get injured?
• Your salary
|Most common injuries:
Back - 21%
Fingers/Hands - 15%
Knees - 7%
There are certain things in your job that can lead to fatigue, discomfort, or pain when you do them repeatedly or without breaks. These are:
Prepare Yourself for Work
Just as a runner prepares for an athletic event by warming up, you would be wise to prepare for your work day by stretching and doing exercises.
• Stretch a few minutes before and during your work day.
• Stretch S-L-O-W-L-Y and hold each stretch 3 -5 seconds.
Caution: If you have any pre-existing conditions, check with your doctor before exercising. If you feel discomfort while exercising, stop immediately!
Stretch the Lower Back and Hips
Stretch each Arm and Shoulders
Stretch each Leg
While you are off work, keep yourself physically ready for returning to work whether it’s the next day or later.
Do I Have a Problem?
You may, if you have any of these symptoms:
• Continual fatigue or lack of endurance
• Cold hands, particularly in the fingertips
• Changes in the skin color of your hands or fingers
• Loss of sensation
• Aching, burning, or shooting pain
If you experience symptoms, you must change the way you work or the tools you use. If you don’t change, your symptoms may get worse and keep you from working at all.
What Should I Do?
• Don’t ignore your symptoms. Bring them to your supervisor’s attention right away.
• Follow your company’s ergonomic program and Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
• Work with your foreman or supervisor to identify the cause of the problem.
• Always seek better ways to do your job.
SAFE WORK PRACTICES
THE WRONG WAY
THE SAFER WAY
Working in a bent or stooped posture for a long time may cause fatigue and strain your lower back, neck, and shoulders.
• Change positions (sit or kneel with knee pads) when working at or near ground level.
Lifting or carrying loads that are too heavy may cause a serious back injury.
• Use teamwork and plan lifts to coordinate movements.
Working overhead and reaching for long periods of time may lead to lower back, arm, shoulders, and neck injuries.
• Use a ladder, scaffold, or scissor lift.
Make It Easy on Yourself
LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD. Plan what you are going to do. Carry only the tools or equipment you will need. Wear a tool belt that fits and distribute the tools and materials evenly.
PROTECT YOURSELF. Avoid prolonged contact with hard surfaces and sharp edges. Wear knee pads, gloves, shoulder pads, or cushioned insoles in your shoes for comfort and protection.
SELECT THE RIGHT TOOL. Light weight tools, such as titanium hammers, can help reduce fatigue and increase productivity. Choose tools that fit your hand and the task.
KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Pay attention and watch for others working near you, behind and above you. Be aware of the tools they are using.
PRACTICE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING. Pick up debris and scrap wood to prevent trips, slips, and falls. Use gloves to protect your hands. Bend exposed nails to prevent puncture wounds. Good housekeeping allows you and your equipment to get closer to your work.
“Tool safety is important because you can hurt yourself permanently and never work again... or you will have to find another type of work that you don’t like doing”
KEEP THE LOAD CLOSE TO YOUR BODY
Carrying a 10 lb. object that is 10” from your spine is equal to 100 lbs. of force on your lower back.
LIFT SMART: Keep loads close to your body. The farther the load is from your spine, the greater the force on your lower back.
Carrying a 10 lb. object that is 25” from your spine is equal to 250 lbs. of force on your lower back.
AVOID HEAT ILLNESS:
• Start work early in the day. Avoid extreme heat.
• Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
• Take frequent breaks in the shade.
• Drink water frequently before, during, and even after work. Drink water even if you are not thirsty.
Heat illness can cause fatigue, dizziness and painful muscle cramps.
REMEMBER: HEAT ILLNESS CAN KILL IN LESS THAN ONE HOUR OF EXPOSURE TO EXTREME HEAT!
Cal/OSHA Consultation Service
Research and Education Unit
Writers and Editors
Page Layout and Design
We thank the following people for their support and assistance in the research and development of this guide:
Jim Albers - NIOSH
Joanette Alpert - Woodward, Alpert & Associates
Liz Arioto - Wentz Group
RJ Banks - State Compensation Insurance Fund
Bo Bradley - Harbison Mahony Higgins, Inc
Ed Calderon - Shea Homes
Leroy Cristopherson - Bolin Construction
Mario Feletto - Cal/OSHA Research and Education Unit
John Howard - NIOSH
Ira Janowitz - UC Berkeley/ San Francisco
Gene Kindy - KRC Builders
Stephen Grennan, Jeff Schobel - Body Response, Inc
Bill Hopkins - Sacramento Police/ Sheriff’s Memorial Park
Scott Schneider - Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of N. America
Laura Stock - LOHP, UC Berkeley
Corey Strack - Carpenters’ Local Union 152
Marti Stroup - AGC California
Susan Tingley - Ergonomics & Injury Prevention Services
Samantha Turner - Swinerton, Inc
Tom Waters - NIOSH
Cal/OSHA Consultation Programs
Toll Free - 1-800-963-9424
Internet - http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh
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