Safety Tips Construction Injury prevention Materials handling

Steel strapping safety


Photo: Hiko Photos/iStockphoto

Is steel strapping used at your worksite? The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services calls the straps “a useful way to keep rolls of sheet metal from unwinding while it is being transported, and for binding or reinforcing wooden crates and other boxes that contain heavy objects.”

Still, when transported items reach their destination, the straps “can become dangerous weapons that will lash out when the bands are cut.”

DWS has tips for staying safe:

  • Wear personal protective equipment, including safety glasses, a hard hat, safety shoes, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and gloves.
  • Make sure other workers are well clear of the area.
  • Duck-billed shears with long handles are usually the best tool for this job. Make cuts squarely to avoid forming sharp pointed ends. Don’t use crowbars or claw hammers to break the straps.
  • Before cutting the straps, take a moment to decide the safest way to do it. If several straps have been used, cut the one farthest away from you first. Stay out of the danger zone created when the strap springs back after being cut.
  • Before you cut the strapping and open the box, consider what may be inside. For example, some manufacturers of springs and mattresses compress them in the shipping container and then band it to save space. These products could produce a violent recoil action when the straps are cut. Special training is required before opening containers of this nature.

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