How to Avoid Cuts, Burns & Abrasions on the Job

How to Avoid Cuts, Burns & Abrasions on the Job

Posted by Andrew Greess on May 24, 2018

There are things we can do to avoid injuries and on the job accidents. Take a look at the back of your rig – Is there any glaring "accidents waiting to happen?" Or can you think of any small steps that could be taken to help avoid injury? Where is your pump motor exhaust blowing on – the edge of your truck where you might then lay your hands?

Placement of  things like your motor should be thought out because the exhaust will heat the surface it blows out on. We install things like exhaust shields to avoid accidental burns. Take another look around for sharp and jagged edges, things rusting away. We know total replacement isn't always an option but, bolting on a sheet of metal to cover rusted out areas is a step in the right direction for tech safety. 

acute injuries cuts burns abrasions poster

Speaking of placement of equipment – how close together are your tools. Do you bang your hands turning your hose reel? Will you smash your fingers between two pieces accidentally if you forget for a split second your toolbox is wedged in next to your tailgate? We see examples of equipment being crammed into the back of trucks all the time. Is there anything you can do to clean up your truck?

Cuts and abrasions are some of the most common injuries in our industry. When we have things that overhang our vehicles that is when the unexpected happens. Because you don't always remember that your reel hangs over and you need to step out for 4 extra inches of clearance. 

Best case scenario you get a tear in your shirt. Anything beyond could be a cut, small bruise or could be full on puncture on the body. It happens to all of us, I had a tow hitch on the back of my truck for months, walked clear into it almost weekly! It took me months to realize I didn't use the hitch daily so why keep banging my shins into it when I could pull it off and add it only when I needed it, saving my shins a weekly beating! Remove what you can that doesn't clearly fit into the truck bed or is needed sporadically and can be stowed elsewhere.

The next video in the  Injury Prevention section deals with Preventing Slipping:

Andrew Greess: Acute injuries, these are the most common things people think about when they're talking about safety. Cuts, and burns, and bangs, and bruises, and abrasions, that sort of thing. These are just more obvious things, so clearly, anything that's hot needs to be shielded.

For example, on a Honda engine, the muffler always comes with a cover. On Briggs and Stratton, it's an extra part. They're not always covered.

We go an extra step and we put an exhaust deflector because normally, the exhaust on power sprayer in a pickup truck is pointed usually towards the side of the truck or the tail gate.

We always worry about a tech putting their hand down to check something, putting their hand on the side rail and getting burned from that exhaust, so we always put a deflector on it. It costs almost no money, and it's a little extra step of safety. Why wouldn't you do it?

If it's moving, you've got to shield it. Here's an example of one that's not shielded. If it's rough, or rusted, or sharp, do something about it. This is a termite trailer that came in for service. We saw this and I look at that and think, not only is it rusted and sharp and jagged, but it's got 20 years of termiticide on it.

If you rip your skin on that, you're not just ripping your skin, you're getting termiticide on yourself. I know that you can't go out and just repair or replace every piece of equipment, but it wouldn't take much to bolt a new piece of...

A new fender is the way to do it, but if you can't afford a new fender, you could bolt a piece of metal on this and cover that. That's just easy stuff that you need to take care of it.

Tight. This is another one we see, especially when folks are doing their own sprayers. Stuff is too tight, and so this is an example where the toolbox is really close to the tailgate and if you were to put your hand on the tailgate and slam it, you're going to break your fingers between your fingers and the toolbox.

Another place we see it is when folks install their hose reel, and they put the hose reel too close to one side of the vehicle, and now the tech is banging his hand every time he's turning the hose reel. We see that pretty often.

Overhang, when you're trying to cram a lot of material or products in a vehicle, sometimes things overhang, and again, that's the kind of thing you get your rib cage caught on that, it's going to hurt. The best case scenario is you tear your shirt, the worst case scenario is you rip something or you bang your chest pretty good. That would hurt.

Here's one more familiar, the trailer hitch, and I can speak from personal experience on this one. I had a trailer hitch on my truck, and about once a week, I kicked the darn thing.

I finally realized, after a month of kicking this thing, I'm only towing something once every three or four months but I'm kicking it every week, so I just took it out and put it in the back seat.

Has anyone ever kicked one of these things? Man, it hurts. If you're not towing something, put it away. It took me a couple of months to figure that one out. A couple of bruised shins, I finally figured it out.

If you missed the first 9 videos in the series, please check out those blog posts here:

Spray Equipment Safety Training Seminar Introduction

Rules for Spray Equipment Safety Seminar Discussion

What are the Safety Risk Seminar Topics?

Vehicle Equipment Security: Protecting Your Driver and Others

Vehicle Equipment Security Securing Your Backpack, Gas Can, Hose Reel

Learn Which Vehicle Equipment Areas to Inspect Carefully

A Quick Check Can Keep You Out of Hall of Shame

The Importance of Checking Your Rig and Proper Equipment

Importance of Proper Vehicle Load Stability

You can also check out the slides from the Spray Equipment Safety Seminar here:

For more information on Andrew Greess, visit