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5 Things You Need to Know About Asbestos

Posted 3:36 PM by

 

5 Things You Need to Know About Asbestos

Even though you may not always see it, asbestos still exists in many old houses and buildings. It is important to be knowledgeable and take proper precautions against this deadly toxin. Read on for five important facts you need to know about asbestos.

 

1.     Many products still legally contain asbestos. These products are mostly used in the construction industry, and may exist in new structures. Asbestos is used to make products resistant to heat. Asbestos is commonly used as an acoustic insulator and a thermal insulator, as well as in fireproofing and building materials. It is also sprayed on structural steel beams, in crawlspaces, and between walls.  Today, products such as ceiling tiles, vinyl sheet flooring, roofing shingles, acoustical plaster, electrical wiring insulation, caulking, spackling, adhesives, chalkboards, fire blankets, elevator equipment panels, and thermal paper products all include asbestos.

 

2.     Asbestos becomes hazardous only when it is disturbed and the fibers become airborne. If an asbestos-containing substance is easily crumbled or pulverized with hand pressure, the material is called “friable.” Friable asbestos can become airborne and then enter your lungs when you breathe, leading to disease. Friable substances include the fibrous, fluffy, sprayed-on materials used in insulation, fireproofing, and soundproofing. Non-friable materials, such as floor tile and roofing felt, usually do not emit airborne fibers. The danger to you comes from drilling, cutting, sanding, or disturbing materials that contain asbestos. If you are renovating your home, make sure you have licensed professionals carry out the work according to certain specifications and safety protocols. Do not try to discard asbestos on your own.

 

 

SRI safety consultant Scott Powell takes proper procautions by wearing necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) during a recent asbestos awareness class. 

 

3.     It could take decades before you notice symptoms related to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a carcinogen, and may lead to one or more diseases in those who have inhaled its microscopic fibers. Some common asbestos-related diseases are asbestosis and mesothelioma. The longer you are exposed, the greater the risk becomes for you to develop an asbestos-related disease. Asbestosis is a noncancerous, but chronic, and often fatal respiratory disease that occurs after asbestos fibers cause scarring in the lungs. The scarring can cause pain, difficulty breathing, and heart problems. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is diagnosed in roughly 3,000 Americans each year. It causes a tumor that spreads across the tissue in and around the lungs. Asbestos exposure is accountable for virtually all cases of mesothelioma. These diseases may take up to 40 or 50 years to develop within the body, making many victims of these diseases unaware of their condition.

 

4.     Asbestos fibers remain in the human body once they are inhaled or ingested. Unlike many toxins, asbestos cannot be “flushed out.” Because asbestos fibers are microscopic, the fibers can slip through the lungs’ natural filtration system and penetrate outwardly through the membrane which covers the lungs and lines the chest cavity. The fibers can also be swallowed and penetrate the stomach. Unfortunately, nothing can remove the fibers from the body due to their sharp, needle-like nature. To protect yourself, wear the appropriate respiratory protection and necessary personal protective equipment when in contact with asbestos.

 

5.     Asbestos is still mined and exported in other countries. Despite its health hazards, asbestos is a commodity in countries such as Greece, Canada, Russia, Italy, China, and India. Many of these countries also continue to use and market asbestos widely. Due to asbestos being a low-cost substance, it has become common on construction sites in developing countries.

 

Source: Asbestos.net

 

 

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10 Ways You Can Prevent a Fire Today

Posted 3:54 PM by

 

As part of National Fire Prevention Week, we wanted to share 10 easy ways you can prevent a fire. According to the American Red Cross, 80% of Americans don’t realize that home fires are the single most common disaster across the nation. By following these 10 simple fire safety tips, you can prevent a disaster from occuring. 

 

 

 

10 Ways You Can Prevent a Fire Today 

 

1.  Blow out candles before leaving a room or going to bed.

2.  When cooking, keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames.  

3.  Keep matches, lighters and other ignitable substances in a secured location out of the reach of                   children, and only use lighters with child-resistant features.

4.  Hire a certified professional to inspect your chimney and heating equipment annually

5.  Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and                 rolling logs.

6.  Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned         once a year.

7.  Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn such as bedding, curtains or                   clothing.

8.  Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.

9.  Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and        small appliances are turned off.

10. Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from             space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.

 

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OSHA's New Silica Rule: Don't Be Left in the Dust

Posted 6:25 PM by

OSHA’s New Silica Rule: Don’t Be Left in the Dust

By: Mark Williams, Safety Consultant 

Beginning September 23, 2017 the long awaited OSHA silica standard (29 CFR 1926.1153) update will go into effect. The new standard has been redesigned with the purpose of providing workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica with the maximum protection possible. The standard is set up to allow employers to use predetermined compliance solutions (outlined in Table 1) or to design their own for their particular workplaces and job functions. With the new standard, employers must make some key changes to their silica policies in order to maintain OSHA compliance and provide their workers a safer environment in regard to silica exposure.

The update reduces the permissible exposure limit of crystalline silica from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an 8-hour TWA to 50 micrograms over the same. OSHA has put together a chart “Table 1” on recommended control practices for a list of commonly performed tasks known to expose workers to silica. For employers following the control methods in OSHA Table 1, no further air quality testing is required unless it is noted the Table 1 control method is not effective and noticeable amounts of silica dust are still present. For employers that elect to utilize alternative control methods, industry-wide objective data must be available demonstrating exposure levels are below the levels mentioned in the standard. If such data is unavailable, exposure assessments must be conducted to prove exposure levels are below the action level. Exposure assessments must be conducted and reviewed to determine if the control method is effectively reducing workers’ exposure to below the action level of 25µg/m3 .   

Where results do not reveal exposure levels are below the action level, employers must conduct ongoing assessments to monitor workers’ exposure levels and compare results while instituting other effective control methods.

Regardless of the exposure control method of choice, all construction employers affected by this standard must complete the following core steps:

 

·Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks which expose employees to respirable crystalline silica and the methods the employee plans to use to protect workers.

·Designate a competent person who will implement the exposure control plan.

·Train employees on effective practices to limit exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

·Adjust housekeeping practices to minimize worker exposure to silica dust by eliminating dry    sweeping and compressed and using a HEPA-filtered vacuum system or wet method.

·Provide medical exams to employees that are exposed to silica dust to such an extent that they  must wear a respirator 30 or more days a year.

·File and maintain records of workers’ silica exposure and any related medical treatment.

 

For more information on what this new rule means for your industry or company or assistance with compliance, contact Safety Resources, Inc.  

 

References:

 

OSHA.gov. OSHA Fact Sheet “OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule: Construction.”

Slowey, Kim. “What contractors need to know about OSHA’s new silica rule.” constructiondive.com. 22 Aug. 2017.  

 

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Do you know where your utility installations are located? Knowing can save your life

Posted 4:26 PM by

The Importance of Utility Locates

By: Neil Spaeth, Safety Consultant

About Utilities

On a continual basis, utilities are involved in a vast majority of construction related activities including, but not limited to: excavation and trenching, the use of material handling equipment, crane lifts, and demolition. Per OSHA’s Excavation standard, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P, employers are required to:

- Determine the approximate location(s) of utility installations — including sewer, telephone, fuel, electric, and water lines. One common industry practice is to call 8-1-1, the “Call Before You Dig” number, to establish the location of any underground utility installations in the work area.

 

- Contact and notify the utility companies or owners involved to inform them of the proposed work within established or customary local response times.

 

- Ask the utility companies or owners to establish the location of underground installations prior to the start of excavation work. If they cannot respond within 24 hours (unless the period required by state or local law is longer) or cannot establish the exact location of the utility installations, employers may proceed with caution, which includes using detection equipment or other acceptable means to locate utility installations.

 

- Determine the exact location of underground installations by safe and acceptable means when excavation operations approach the approximate location of the installations.

 

- Ensure that while the excavation is open, underground installations are protected, supported, or removed as necessary in order to safeguard workers.

 

The Dangers of Not Knowing Utility Locations

Due to the continual efforts of improving or renovating existing properties, a number of hazards can present themselves if existing utility locations are not known prior to beginning work. This includes but is not limited to electrocution caused from underground electrical conduit and natural gas released into the atmosphere and surrounding work crews. In fact, if an operator or work crew is instructed to dig in an area in which utility locations are not known, the operator can subject themselves to an unexpected reaction leading to equipment failure or unstable soil.

 

In recent years, OSHA has stated that one of the leading causes of excavation or trenching related injuries is not providing a protective system. This includes pre-planning involving the location of nearby utilities. 

 

 

                                                  

 

Methods of Protection

        Locate Utilities

811 is an available resource with an office in each state. With proper pre-planning, 811 can provide services to locate the approximate location of each utility.

        Plan, Plan, Plan

Prior to beginning work, develop a site specific safety plan outlining each step including: locating each utility, digging methods, spotting and communication efforts. After this is developed, a good plan of action is to communicate this plan with the work crew prior to each day’s digging activities.

        Never Assume

A best practice to communicate to your work crews, particularly when dealing with utilities, is to ensure that the prior steps are being taken to protect each worker. This might include a company-specific practice involving Lockout / Tagout strategies, or the utilization of monitoring equipment while on the job site.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The importance of workers donning personnel protective equipment (PPE) takes on an added dimension with the threat from hidden utilities on the jobsite. Many manufacturing facility managers, owners, and employees are unaware of the fire hazards from combustible dust. These hazards are found in environments where workers can sustain life-threatening burns from natural gas explosions, flash fires, electrocution, and flying particle hazards related to pressurized equipment. PPE is a necessary precaution and strategy used as an added layer of protection. The most useful strategy in selecting the correct PPE is to conduct a workplace job hazard analysis of each job title to ensure each hazard is known, evaluated, and prevented.


 

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Firework Safety: The Safe Way to Have a Blast

Posted 7:21 PM by

Firework Safety

The Safe Way to Have a Blast

 

Did you know that the smallest and simplest of fireworks, such as sparklers can burn at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit? With the 4th of July quickly approaching, we know that many of you will be purchasing, lighting, or watching fireworks. It is important to know the dangers fireworks possess and ways to prevent an accident from occurring.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks cause 18,500 reported fires each year and cause an annual average of three deaths, 40 injuries, and $43 million in property damage. Most injuries are to the hand or finger and involve people between the ages of 25-44.

There is a safe way to have fun this Independence Day. See below for a list of tips to follow from the National Council on Fireworks Safety.    

  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area and away from buildings and vehicles.
  • If you are not familiar with the proper way to light fireworks, do not light fireworks at all. Leave this to the professionals.
  • Before igniting a firework, read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions on the box.
  • Never give fireworks to children. All firework activities should be supervised by an adult.
  • Alcohol and fireworks should not be mixed.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Never shoot fireworks of any kind near pets.
  • If you are bringing your pet to a public firework display, make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during the show.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • In case of a fire, always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
  • Remember, FAA regulations prohibit the possession and transportation of fireworks in checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
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It's a Hot One Out There! How to Avoid Heat-Related Illnesses

Posted 6:59 PM by

 

It’s a Hot One Out There! How to Avoid Heat-Related Illnesses

June 2017

 

 

As we enter the summer months, it is important that workers are aware of the risk of heat-related hazards and injuries. Those who are at the greatest risk of heart stress are generally over the age of 65, have a heart-related medical condition, are overweight and have high blood pressure. The summer months are the portion of the year that nearly everyone looks forward to most; however, with the increased temperature comes an increased risk for people experiencing heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses include a variety of conditions that arise from exposure to high-temperatures, direct sunlight, humidity and lack of hydration. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps and the most serious forms of heat-related illness. Each of these conditions is caused by exposure to heat and carries with it a variety of symptoms.

                                                                                                                                                    

Heat stroke occurs when the body loses the ability to properly maintain a normal core body temperature. During heat stroke, the body’s temperature can rise to levels as high as 106° F and may result in fatality or permanent disability without proper medical treatment. Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, dry skin, profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, headaches, confusion and slurred speech.

 

Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to large losses of water and salt from sweating. A worker experiencing heat exhaustion has similar symptoms as heat stroke. If a worker is suspected of having heat stroke or heat exhaustion, 911 should be called immediately to provide proper medical care.

 

Heat cramps, like heat exhaustion, are caused by losing large amounts of water quickly which results in painful muscular cramps. Although this condition is less severe than heat stroke and heat exhaustion, it is uncomfortable and still requires the employee to be removed from the hot environment and begin rehydrating with fluids. A worker experiencing heat cramps should not return to work for a few hours after the cramps subside.

 

Preventative measures to reduce and control the frequency of heat-related illness should be discussed and reviewed with your team at the beginning of the warm season. Preventative measures include:

 

1) Selecting appropriate clothing that will keep the body cool. Light colored, loose-fitting, cotton (or other breathable material) should be worn.

 

2) Begin hydration before outdoor work and repeat often. Drink enough water so that thirst is not experienced. Drinking about 1-cup of water every 15-20 minutes will help prevent dehydration.

 

3) While working outdoors, take breaks often while the body adjusts to the heat.

 

4) Pay attention to weather reports and schedule work around cooler parts of the day.

 

 

5) Stick to the Buddy System. It’s essential to monitor your own physical condition as well as that    of your coworkers. Having a designated person check in with workers to monitor signs and symptoms of heat related illness and provide cool water will help to reduce the frequency and severity of heat related illness.

 

 

 

Sources:

 

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/default.html

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/prolonged-exposure-to-heat-cho/26887488

 

https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=26052

 

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/

 

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/heat_illnesses.html

 

 

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What is wrong with these two pictures? Common Safety Mistakes

Posted 3:12 PM by



Photo by Edge Protection Solutions 

Photo by: Suresh Gopal 

Can you spot the common safety mistakes in these two pictures? Safety mishaps in the areas of fall protection and scaffolding are prevalent in the construction industry. It is important that certain procautions are utilized to avoid injury and/or death on a jobsite. 

In the top photo you will notice that the workers aren't using any kind of fall protection. Safety harnesses, nets, and guard rails are essential in avoiding a fall. According to OSHA standards, fall protection is required when work is being performed more than six feet above the ground. It is important for everyone on the jobsite to understand the fall protection basics and to put them to practice when necessary.

In the bottom photo you will notice an example of poor scaffolding. A section of scaffolding is barely balancing on a small piece of wood instead of being secured. When setting up, scaffolding should be plumb, level and stable.OSHA requires that scaffolds be designed by a qualified person and be inspected at least once each work shift by a competent person. Stationary scaffolds over 125 feet in height and rolling scaffolds over 60 feet in height must be designed by a professional engineer.

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Short Read: Dog Days of Summer

Posted 3:14 PM by

The Dog Days of Summer: Heat Stress and You

By: Tim Foulks

September 2015

Preventative measures to reduce and control the frequency of heat-related illness should be discussed and reviewed with your team at the beginning of the warm season. Preventative measures include:

1) Selecting appropriate clothing that will wick away sweat and keep the body cool. Light colored, loose-fitting, cotton (or other breathable material) should be worn, while non-breathable synthetic clothing should be avoided. The right clothes will allow sweat to evaporate from the skin resulting in a cooling effect for the skins surface.

2) Begin hydration before outdoor work and repeat often. Drink enough water so that thirst is not experienced. Drinking about 1-cup of water every 15-20 minutes will help prevent dehydration. Additionally, drinks that contribute to dehydration should be avoided (alcohol, fluids with large amounts of caffeine and/or sugar).

3) Gradually increase the duration and intensity of outdoor work to properly allow the body to acclimate to high temperatures. Complete heat acclimatization can require up to 14 days of exposure, and can vary from person to person. Slowly integrate workers into the warmer environments and introduce breaks often at first while the body is adjusting to the warmer climate.

4) Pay attention to weather reports and schedule work around cooler parts of the day. Attempt to limit work activities during the hottest part of the day, particularly during humid days that may increase sweating and decrease time to dehydration. If work must be performed during the warmest part of the day, try to provide shade and offer frequent hydration and rest breaks.

And

5) Stick to the Buddy System. It’s essential to monitor your own physical condition as well as that of your coworkers. Having a designated person check in with workers to monitor signs and symptoms of heat related illness and provide cool water will help to reduce the frequency and severity of heat related illness. The designated person should be responsible for and allowed to have workers take breaks when heat related illness is a potential concern.


This is a condensed article; Read the full article here.

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Short Read: Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Posted 4:38 PM by

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Thanksgiving time means increased traveling, family gatherings and typically an abundance of cooking.  Don’t let the hustle of the holiday distract you from these easy-to-follow safety tips. The biggest keys to a safe Thanksgiving are planning ahead, taking your time and awareness of your surroundings.

Buckle up while driving, make sure someone is watching the kids while you prepare the food, check the turkey with a meat thermometer, don’t let the dog get turkey bones from the trash, etc.  The holidays can be overwhelming, but plan ahead, take your time and be aware of your surroundings for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Here are some great resources for keeping you, your family, your car, your house and even your pets safe.


 

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Short Read: Hazardous Waste

Posted 2:26 PM by

Hazardous Waste

By: Safety Resources, Inc.

According to federal and Indiana statutes the term "hazardous waste" means a solid waste, or combination of solid waste that, because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics may:

  • cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness; or
  • pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed.

Hazardous wastes come in many forms. They can be liquid, solids, semisolid, or contained gases. They can be manufacturing process byproducts, sludges or spent materials or simply discarded products. Whatever their form, proper management is essential to protect human health and the environment. In 1976 congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Subtitle C of this act directed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to develop comprehensive, cradle to grave management standards for hazardous waste.

Under the broad statutory definition, the universe of potential hazardous waste is extremely large and diverse. As a result, Congress directed the U.S. EPA to develop regulations to specifically define the universe of hazardous waste for regulatory purposes under RCRA. The U.S. EPA developed four defining characteristics of hazardous waste and four lists of specific hazardous wastes. If a waste meets the definition of solid waste, and has not been excluded by rule from the definition of hazardous waste, it is considered a hazardous waste if:

  • It is included on one of the four lists of hazardous waste found in the regulations (i.e., listed waste), or;
  • It exhibits one of the four defined hazardous waste characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity (i.e., characteristic waste).

These lists and definitions are found in the federal regulations at 40 CFR Part 261. These definitions and lists are also adopted by reference in Indiana's hazardous waste rules at 329 IAC 3.1-6.

 

This is a condensed article; Read the full article here.

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Short Read: Communicable Diseases

Posted 2:33 PM by

Communicable Diseases

With the cold and flu season approaching, this is the perfect time to learn more about the things that can make you sick. So, what is it exactly that makes us sick? A communicable disease such as a cold is a disease that spreads from person to person. Communicable diseases are diseases that you can "catch" from someone or something else. Some people may use the words contagious or infectious when talking about communicable diseases. They can also be transmitted through shared liquids, food, bodily fluids, contaminated objects, through the air, and to a lesser degree, passed on from insects. 

When a person becomes sick with a communicable disease, it means a germ has invaded their body. Germs fear soap and water. Washing your hands well and often is the best way to beat these tiny warriors. Since the most common way to contract a communicable disease is through person to person contact, the best way to prevent spreading your germs to someone else is to manage your symptoms so you do not pass the infection on to others.  If you have symptoms that include fever, chills and achiness, you should stay home. In this case you are most likely contagious and are unlikely to work effectively anyhow. 

Some examples of communicable diseases are (but not limited to):

  • Head Lice
  • Chicken Pox
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
  • Mononucleosis (Mono)
  • Measles
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Mumps
  • Ringworm
  • Scabies
  • Shingles
  • Tuberculosis (TB)

If you are diagnosed with any communicable disease, the best thing to do is to isolate yourself from others and stay home- especially if your doctor advises this.  Another way to prevent disease in the workplace is to use “universal precautions.” This goes under the thinking that you would treat everyone else like they have an infection and always use your gloves, change them often, and wash your hands when changing job areas or tasks. Remember always to wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating, using the restroom, or when coughing or sneezing. Following these guidelines will ensure a happy, healthy workplace.

 

Reference:
Communicable Diseases - Hillendale Elementary School. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://hes.ucfsd.org/gclaypo/commdise/commdise.html
 

 

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Short Read: Halloween Safety

Posted 6:21 PM by

Halloween Safety Tips according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx

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Short Read: The Training Dilemma

Posted 2:26 PM by

The Training Dilemma

By: Chris Hall, CHST

Ask anyone in the construction industry: What is the most challenging aspect of maintaining a successful health and safety program?  Most likely the answer received is employee training.

Adequate employee training not only reduces workplace accidents, but it also promotes an effective health and safety program, increases workplace morale, lowers insurance costs, and demonstrates a good faith effort on behalf of an employer. If an employer takes the time and resources to educate employees about jobsite hazards with the intent of preventing dangerous conditions, employees are more likely to feel a greater sense of ownership in the work they are conducting.

In many cases, where serious or fatal accidents have occurred, OSHA has found that inadequate training was one of the root causes.  When investigating any accident, this is typically one of the first questions asked.  Even in cases where training documentation is provided, the nature of the accident and lack of individual employee knowledge may indicate the training was insufficient and retraining should be required. 

For every construction company, there are many barriers to having an effective safety training program.  Scheduling conflicts with a dynamic workforce, adult education and language barriers, finding qualified and knowledgeable trainers, and completing training (or retraining) when required, are all substantial hurdles that must be overcome to provide employees with the necessary information needed to perform their jobs.

  • Scheduling conflicts with a dynamic workforce
  • Adult education and language barriers
  • Finding knowledgeable and qualified trainers
  • Completing training with frequency guidelines

So, as we ask ourselves, what is the most challenging aspect of maintaining an effective health and safety training program?  We are able to answer that employee training can be difficult, but there are ways to bridge the gaps.  Addressing logistical problems, language and education barriers, trainer qualifications, and frequency issues are all challenges that every employer must find their own unique solutions for.  Even though training employees may be time consuming and could require additional resources, it is always money well spent. 

This is a condensed article; read the full article here.

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Short Read: Workplace Violence

Posted 4:10 PM by

Workplace Violence

By: Kristin VanSoest
 
Workplace violence can be any act of physical violence, threats of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. Workplace violence can affect or involve employees, visitors, contractors, and other non-employees. A number of different actions in the work environment can trigger or cause workplace violence. It may even be the result of no-work related situations such as domestic violence or “road rage”. Workplace violence can be inflicted by an abusive employee, manager, or even a stranger. Whatever the cause or whoever the perpetrator, workplace violence is not to be accepted or tolerated.

The following are warning indicators of potential workplace violence:

• Intimidating, harassing, bullying, belligerent, or other inappropriate and aggressive behavior.
• Numerous conflicts with customers, co-workers, or supervisors.
• Brining a weapon to the workplace (unless necessary for the job), making inappropriate references to guns, or making idle threats about using a weapon to harm someone.
• Statements showing fascination with incidents of workplace violence, statements indicating approval of the use of violence to resolve a problem, or statements indicating identification with perpetrators of workplace homicides.
• Statements indicating desperation (over family, financial, and other personal problems) to the point of contemplating suicide.
• Direct or veiled threats of harm.
• Substance abuse.
• Extreme changes in normal behaviors.

Once you have noticed a subordinate, co-worker, or customer showing any signs of the above indicators, you should take the following steps:

• If you are a co-worker, you should notify the employee’s supervisor immediately of your observations.
• If it is a customer, notify your supervisor immediately.
• If it is your subordinate, then you should evaluate the situation by taking into consideration what may be causing the employees problems.
• If it is your supervisor, notify that person’s manager.

It is very important to respond appropriately, i.e., not to overreact but also not to ignore a situation. Sometimes that may be difficult to determine. Managers should discuss the situation with expert resource staff to get help in determining how best to handle the situation.

This is a condensed article; read the full article here.

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Short Read: Lockout/Tagout

Posted 4:33 PM by

LOCKOUT…don’t get TAGGED out.

By: Aaron Wissen

Lockout/Tagout simply refers to the series of procedures or specific practices designed to safeguard employees from unexpected startup of the equipment or the release of residual/stored energy within the device.

Controlling hazardous energy sources is vitally important for those responsible for servicing or maintaining machines or equipment. It should be obvious that certain industrial equipment can be dangerous when used, but it can also present hazards when not in operation. Serious physical harm or death could occur if the hazardous energy is not properly controlled. As long as energy sources such as electricity, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, chemical, thermal, etc. are attached to a piece of equipment or a machine a potential hazard exists.

When developing a lockout/tagout program, it is critical to be as specific as possible, because vague language could lead to a potentially dangerous situation. The primary aspect should focus on equipment isolating instructions. Spell out exactly what to do for shutting down and restarting the equipment. Involve the operators and craftsmen as well since they will have to most knowledge of the equipment’s features.

Once all proper procedures have been determined, all individuals need to be trained, made aware of the hazards and the steps that have been taken to protect them. An effective lockout/tagout program will have a set of instructions that will commonly include:

  • Preparation for Lockout/Tagout
  • Lockout/Tagout Sequence
  • Lockout/Tagout Authorized Release Sequence

Conduct periodic audits of the program from time to time to ensure that the procedures up-to-date, as your program/procedures need to reflect any changes to the system. A well visualized and monitored lockout/tagout program will help keep both the employees safe and ensure proper shutdowns and restarts that will protect the equipment.

Want to read more about Lockout/Tagout? Click here!
 

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