Week of 2/28/2022 –
Shift Work Dangers Safety Talk
There are many occupations that require shift work in order to continue business operations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 15 million Americans work a job that requires some type of shift work. While some individuals choose to work different shifts such as the night shift, there are many people who do so because they need to. It is important for anyone who is working these shifts to understand the hazards associated with it.
Disruption of Circadian Rhythm
The main hazard of shift work is that it disrupts a person’s circadian rhythm. Psychology Today describes circadian rhythm as follows: “Often referred to the “body clock”, the circadian rhythm is a cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep, rise, eat–regulating many physiological processes.” This rhythm is important because it regulates many of our physiological processes and when it is disrupted there can be many negative health effects.
A study completed at Rockefeller University found that mice that had their circadian rhythm disrupted experienced weight gain, impulsivity, slower thinking, and other physiological and behavioral changes. So much research has been linked negative health effects to shift work that the International Agency on the Research of Cancer listed shift work as “probably carcinogen to humans” in 2007.
Hazards Created by Shift Work on the Job
Not only are there hazards to your health due to shift work, but there are also hazards in the workplace for individuals on these shifts. Some of the hazards created by shift work are:
- Inability to focus. Less focus can lead to mistakes and thus injuries occurring on the job.
- Fatigue. Fatigue is a major issue in the workplace for workers who work regular hours. Those working shift work are put at even higher risks for fatigue-related incidents.
- Workplace violence. In some industries, there can be an increased likelihood of workplace violence at night (i.e. robberies).
- Stress. Increased stress levels due to not seeing family or health issues can lead to decreased job performance.
We all have to make a living and provide for our families, but if you have to do shift work it is important to understand the hazards. There are steps you can take to combat some of the negative effects of shift work. One step is to try to keep on the same shift and maintain the same sleep/wake cycle. Another step is to eat right and drink plenty of water to aid your body in its physiological processes. Talk with a doctor or sleep specialist to discuss other options to limit the negative effects of shift work.
Week of 2/14/2022 –
A safety data sheet—or SDS—is a document prepared by chemical manufacturers for any chemical which presents a hazard to health and safety. A safety data sheet includes information about each chemical, covering the physical and environmental hazards, precautions for safe handling, storage, and transportation of the chemical, and more.
There are 16 sections in a safety data sheet. Let’s walk through each one:
- Section 1 identifies the chemical on the SDS as well as its intended use. It also provides the essential contact information of the supplier.
- Section 2 outlines the hazards of the chemical and appropriate warning information.
- Section 3 identifies the ingredient(s) of the chemical product identified on the SDS, including impurities and stabilizing additives.
- Section 4 of the safety data sheet describes the initial treatment protocol for untrained responders to incidents of chemical exposure.
- Section 5 provides recommendations for fighting a fire caused by the chemical.
- Section 6 details the appropriate response to chemical spills, leaks, or releases, including containment, and cleanup to prevent or minimize exposure to people, property, or the environment.
- Section 7 of the safety data sheet provides guidance on the safe handling practices and conditions for safe storage of chemicals.
- Section 8 list chemical exposure limits, engineering controls, and personal protective measures that can be used to minimize worker exposure.
- Section 9 identifies physical and chemical properties associated with the product.
- Section 10 describes the reactivity hazards of the chemical and chemical stability information. This section is broken into three parts: reactivity, chemical stability, and other.
- Section 11 identifies toxicological and health effects info, if applicable
- Section 12 explains the environmental impact of a chemical(s) if released to the environment.
- Section 13 covers proper disposal, recycling or reclamation of the chemical(s) or its container, and safe handling practices.
- Section 14 explains classification information for shipping and transporting of hazardous chemical(s) by road, air, rail, or sea.
- Section 15 of the safety data sheet identifies the safety, health, and environmental regulations specific to the product.
- Section 16 tells you when the SDS was originally prepared or the last known revision date. This section of the SDS may also state where changes have been made to the previous version.
Keep in mind that some Safety data sheets may be 15 pages or more! Depending on the complexity of the chemical or substances therein, each section may have multiple descriptive fields with additional detail, providing different levels of information.
So that’s how to read a Safety Data Sheet.
Week of 2/7/2022 –
Certain occupations are more at-risk of exposure to violence; it’s a fact.
For example, employees working alone, working late at night, or working in high-crime areas, are all more likely to be subjected to an act of violence; that’s according to OSHA.
Seems like common sense, right?
And if you have workers who routinely deal with angry customers, you know how things can get out of control, and that workers need a strategy for resolving those situations.
That’s where conflict de-escalation safety training techniques come in handy.
Anticipating potential conflict is important for preparedness, and there are many verbal and non-verbal cues to be mindful of as situations unfold.
For recognition, here are some signs of conflict escalation:
- A person clenching his or her fists or tightening and untightening their jaw.
- A sudden change in body language or tone used during a conversation.
- The person starts pacing or fidgeting.
- A change in type of eye contact.
- The “Rooster Stance” – chest protruding out more and arms more away from the body.
- Disruptive behaviors – Such as yelling, bullying, actively defying or refusing to comply with rules.
So what can you do in order to help de-escalate a conflict situation? Here are some tips, and remember, this isn’t a step by step list, but rather a menu of options that may prove useful…
And remember, without specialized training; never consider the use of physical force as your first response.
- First, calm yourself before interacting with the person.
- If you’re upset, it’s only going to escalate the situation. Calm down and then begin to look at the situation and how you can intervene safely.
- Take a deep breath.
- Use a low, dull tone of voice and don’t get defensive even if the insults are directed at you.
- Becoming aware of your situation is also critically important. This can include:
- Other people in the room,
- Objects; such as chairs, tables, items on a table,
- and the space around you, like exits or openings, and if you are blocking the person so that they are made to feel trapped.
- Try to look as non-threatening as possible.
- Appear calm and self-assured even if you don’t feel it.
- Maintain limited eye contact and be at the same eye level. Encourage the customer to be seated, but if he/she needs to stand, stand up also.
- Maintain a neutral facial expression.
- Place your hands in front of your body in an open and relaxed position.
- Don’t shrug your shoulders.
- Don’t point your fingers at the person.
- Avoid excessive gesturing, pacing, fidgeting, or weight shifting.
- Maintain a public space distance, which is 12 feet or more.
- Make a personal connection. Something as simple as asking, “What’s your name?” can diffuse a situation quickly.
- People respond positively to their own name and can make the dialogue more personal.
- Listening to the persons concerns. – Acknowledge the other person’s feelings without passing judgment on them.
- Empathy needs to be shown during conflict situations. Even if you do not agree with the person’s position, expressing an understanding why that person feels a particular way will help resolve the conflict.
- Clarifying, paraphrasing and open-ended questions all help to ensure that the person is aware you have understood their frustrations completely.
- Ask to take notes.
- Ask for their ideas or solutions.
- Help them talk out angry feelings rather than act on them.
- Shift the conversation to the future, create hope, and you make yourself less threatening.
- Using “what” and “we” helps include the person in those future plans.
- Get them to say yes.
- It is very hard for someone to stay angry towards you if they are agreeing with you.
No person, group, or set of conditions can guarantee that a conflict will proceed constructively.
If de-escalation is not working, stop!
If the situation feels unsafe, leave and call for help.
Remember to be patient, calm and aware of the situational surroundings should a conflict arise in your workplace.
Most importantly, have a plan to protect yourself if the worst case scenario unfolds; how do you escape, defend your life, or protect other colleagues.
Week of 2/2/2022 –
When the driveway and walkways are coated in a thick blanket of snow, it is time to get a shovel out for what some consider to be a dreaded chore. But before you tackle the first snowfall of the season, take some time to read these safety snow shoveling tips to help avoid any potential injuries.
Snow shoveling can lead to a number of health risks for many people, from back injuries to heart attacks. The mix of cold temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart,¹ which may increase the risk of a heart attack for some. According to the American Heart Association, even walking through heavy, wet snow can place strain on your heart.
The following tips can help keep you safer when you set out to shovel:
- Warm up. Warm your muscles before heading out to shovel by doing some light movements, such as bending side to side or walking in place.
- Push rather than lift. Pushing the snow with the shovel instead of lifting can help reduce the strain on your body. When lifting snow, bend your knees and use your legs when possible.
- Choose your shovel wisely. Ergonomically-designed shovels can help reduce the amount of bending you have to do.
- Lighten your load. Consider using a lighter-weight plastic shovel instead of a metal one to help decrease the weight being lifted.
- Hit the pause button. Pace yourself and be sure to take frequent breaks. Consider taking a break after 20 to 30 minutes of shoveling, especially when the snow is wet.
- Consider multiple trips. Consider shoveling periodically throughout the storm to avoid having to move large amounts of snow at once.
- Keep up with snowfall. Try to shovel snow shortly after it falls, when it is lighter and fluffier. The longer snow stays on the ground, the wetter it can become. Wet snow is heavier and harder to move.
- Wear layers. Dress in layers and remove them as you get warm to help maintain a comfortable body temperature.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while shoveling.
A national study² found that the most common shoveling-related injuries were to the lower back. Cardiac-related injuries account for only 7% of all injuries, but they were the most serious in nature. If you do not exercise on a regular basis, are middle-aged or older, or have any health conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, you should check with your doctor before doing any strenuous shoveling. Consider using a snow blower or snow removal service as an alternative means of snow removal.
Snow and Ice Removal Requirements
Snow and ice not only pose a potential risk to you but also to others. As a property owner, you are responsible for making a reasonable effort to keep public walking areas around your property clear of snow and ice. Pre-treating your walkways and other paved surfaces with an anti-icing product can help make snow and ice removal easier.
Consider stocking up on ice melt in advance, as it sometimes sells out during long winters. You can store unused ice melt in an airtight container, out of reach from children and pets. Be aware that rock salt can damage brick, stone, asphalt and concrete walkways.
Be sure to check your local codes and ordinances regarding snow and ice removal requirements.
Week of 1/24/2022 –
It is human nature to want to help someone in distress, especially if they are severely ill or
bleeding. And while you may feel compelled to assist someone in trauma, or just clean up blood
or other body fluids after an accident or illness, you must be aware of the potential for
contracting a harmful virus from another person’s blood or other body fluids.
What we are talking about are viruses known as Bloodborne Pathogens. These pathogens
include, but are not limited to, Hepatitis B or C, which can affect your liver, and the Human
Immunodeficiency Virus, also known as HIV, which attacks the body’s immune system and can
lead to the development of AIDS. These viruses are harbored in the carrier’s blood, and can be
transmitted to another person who is exposed to their blood or other body fluids that could
contain blood, such as cerebro-spinal fluid (which surrounds the brain and spinal cord), synovial
fluid (which is present in our joints), pleural fluid (which is found in and around the lungs),
pericardial fluid (surrounds the heart), peritoneal fluid (which lines the abdomen walls), amniotic
fluid (which surrounds a fetus in the womb), saliva in dental procedures, and any other body fluid
that is potentially contaminated with blood, such as vomitus, semen, or vaginal secretions.
Everyone should recognize that exposure to bloodborne pathogens occurs when the blood or
other body fluid of an infected person is absorbed into your body, which can occur through direct
contact with non-intact skin or with mucous membranes. Unbroken skin is actually an excellent
barrier to infectious agents. However, open wounds, such as cuts, scraps, and broken cuticles, as
well as pricking a finger on broken glass or another contaminated sharp object, provide a direct
pathway for biological agents to be absorbed through the opening in the skin and into your body.
The same is true when infectious fluids make contact with, and are absorbed through, mucous
membranes lining the inside of the mouth, nose, eyelids, and vagina.
Also, be aware that anyone could be carrying a bloodborne virus, even if they do not show signs
or symptoms of having a disease. You may recall that these people are considered to be
“asymptomatic”. So do not make a judgement call about a person being infectious based on their
lack of symptoms; instead, treat all blood and body fluids as if they are known to contain a virus.
Remember; it only takes a single small exposure to an infected person’s blood or other body
fluids to contract an infectious virus. So, if you encounter blood or other potentially infectious
body fluids while at work, do not touch it. Instead, report it immediately to your supervisor or
safety staff so it can be cleaned up and the area disinfected by a designated person who is
properly equipped and trained in procedures for dealing with potentially infectious blood and
body fluids. The same applies if you should come across an item that could be tainted with blood,
such as a used needle from a syringe or other sharp objects such as contaminated shards of glass.
Week of 1/3/2022 –
Working safely does not come naturally for many of us. It can even be argued that many aspects of working safely actually work against our own human nature. Because of this possibility, it is important to find your “why” for working safely on the job. Motivations for each individual will vary greatly, but below are a couple of reasons that could serve as your “why” for choosing to work safe. Your health. Obviously, a big driving factor should be your own health and well-being. However, it can be argued that this fact alone is not enough for a person to want to work safe. Many individuals may be more willing to take risks if they believe the only person it will affect is themselves. Your family. Earning an income and providing for a family is one of the biggest “whys” for many things we do in life including working safely. Understanding how an injury will affect your family can be a strong “why”. Your company. Love the company or not, the paycheck you earn from your work pays your bills. Not only does the company pay your bills in exchange for your work, but hundreds or thousands of other employees depend on the paycheck they get from the company. When individuals choose to take risks there can be huge long-lasting effects for the company as a whole if injuries or fatalities occur. Understanding how injuries can negatively impact a business which in turn could lead to layoffs, reduction in benefits, lower raises, etc. can be your “why” to choose to follow safe work practices and procedures. The mentioned drivers for possibilities for your “why” is just the tip of the iceberg in the list of reasons why you should want to work safe. While working safely or following all of the safety policies and procedures may not come naturally for many of us, finding your “why” can make a huge difference in taking steps towards becoming a safer worker. You should always want to work safely for your own sake, but there are also huge consequences for those around you if you choose to take risks on the job.
Week of 12/27/2021 –
The New York Move Over Law requires drivers to be extra cautious when approaching an emergency or hazard vehicle that is stopped on the side of the road with its emergency lights on. … If it is not possible to do so safely, then the driver must reduce speed as it approaches the stopped vehicle. As soon as you see lights, vests or reflectors, check traffic around you, SLOW DOWN and MOVE OVER if safe to do so. Drivers MUST use due care when approaching an emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle including police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, construction and maintenance vehicles and tow trucks. The Move Over Law applies to both sides of the roadway, not just the shoulder on the right.
Week of 12/20/2021 –
What did you bring for lunch today? And where have you stored your lunch until it’s time to eat it?
If it’s a salmon sandwich with a creamy homemade dressing, let’s hope it’s freshly made and kept cold. If it’s a container of leftover meat, it had better not be sitting in your warm truck cab until your lunch break. To prevent food-related illnesses, you have to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. This advice is even more important in warm summer weather, when foods at room temperature can spoil even more rapidly.
Cleanliness is also vital to food safety. Washing your hands and cleaning food preparation surfaces, containers and utensils can also stop the spread of foodborne diseases. There are a number of good reasons for following food safety guidelines. They are as follows:
- weight loss
- and death.
Temperature determines how quickly foodborne pathogens will grow. The danger zone is between 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). In this temperature range, bacteria grow rapidly. Do not eat food that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours. With warmer summer temperatures, the limit is one hour.
Week of 12/13/2021 –
Your back is in motion all day, every day, even when you sleep. It bends when you sit, twists when you turn, lifts when you stand and supports you when you walk. An injured back can be uncomfortable or it can be disabling. By learning a few back injury prevention techniques, you may be able make your work day safer. Here are some tips:
- When you are driving, make sure your back is well-supported and that you use good posture. To prevent back strain, keep the steering wheel close enough that your knees are slightly flexed and higher than your hips.
- When you have to lift an object, always plan ahead. Decide how you are going to pick up the load, carry it and set it down, then check the route for obstructions. Always get assistance if the load is too heavy or too awkward.
- As you lift, position your feet close to the load and squat – don’t bend down. Rise to a standing position, using the strong muscles in your legs rather than the weaker ones in your back. Don’t twist your body when carrying the load. Lower yourself to a squatting position as you set it down.
- Take several short rest breaks at work by standing up and doing a few minutes of stretching exercises. If your job requires you to stand all day, try placing one foot on a slightly higher surface to relax tight back muscles.
- When you sleep at night, curl up on your side and place a pillow between your knees for added support. If you do sleep on your back, place pillows under your bent knees to relieve the strain on your back muscles.
Week of 11/22/2021 – How many times have you heard a child (of any age) exclaim “it’s not my fault!” or “it wasn’t me! Whether or not these statements are true is beside the point, what we are talking about is how we conduct ourselves and what image we project to those around us. A responsible, conscientious person will say “it’s not my fault, but it’s my problem”. These individuals identify themselves by their actions; they pickup that piece of garbage on the ground, they’re quick to lend a co-worker a hand or show them a better, safer way. They step up and take the high road any chance they get. Why? Because to these people, they see an opportunity every time a situation presents itself. An opportunity to eliminate a trip hazard, an opportunity to lighten the load for a co-worker or to help them keep out of harms way. They may not be a supervisor or a lead hand, but they lead by example, they answer to themselves. When you hear “Ah…somebody’s bound to get that”, they are that somebody, for them there’s always something to do, always an opportunity. When you get enough of these people working together (there’s never enough, always looking for new members) you get a company of people that do the right things, follow safe work procedures, help and look out for each other and co-workers throughout the site. They project an image of accountability and carry a reputation for getting things done and asking “what else can we help you with”.
Week of 11/8/2021 – Today’s world, many of us are busier than our parents’ or grandparents’ generations have been. Between long hours at work, kids, housework, school, and any other obligations we have, there is more fatigue and drowsiness in the general population than arguably ever before. Because of our fast-paced lives, drowsy driving is a major concern on our roadways. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that an estimated 37,000 injury crashes and an estimated 45,000 property damage-only crashes occur annually related to drowsy driving. While general fatigue is a major cause of drowsy driving there are also several other causes.
Causes for Drowsy Driving: Lack of sleep- The amount of things we have going on in our lives can make it hard to get plenty of sleep. Medical issues- Certain medical issues or health conditions can bring the onset of drowsiness even if a person has had plenty of sleep. One common example is thyroid issues. Drugs/ alcohol- Drugs and alcohol on their own can cause an obvious hazard while driving. When they are paired with a lack of sleep or medical issues, it can be an extremely dangerous situation.
How to Avoid Drowsy Driving? Get plenty of sleep. Most experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep. Eat a good diet and drink plenty of water. Taking care of your body is important to be able to function at optimal levels. Consult your doctor for unusual or excessive fatigue. It could be a symptom of an underlying health issue. Never drink and drive. Use caution even when only using prescribed medication. Many medications cause drowsiness. Pull over when drowsiness is setting in. A ten-minute nap can make the difference in whether or not you make it to your destination. Do not be a drowsy driver. Take the necessary precautions to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Pay attention to the drivers around you and practice defensive driving techniques to protect yourself from other drivers who may be driving drowsy.
Week of 10/18/2021 – Gasoline is common both on the job and at home for use in both vehicles and equipment we use every day. It is important to practice safe handling and storage of gasoline to avoid spills and fires. Improper use and storage of gasoline leads to many injuries as well as property damage year after year.
Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association on gasoline related injuries and property loss incidents every year:
500 fire deaths
Several thousand injuries treated at hospitals
6,000+ home fires
$450M+ property damage
Gasoline is a volatile, flammable liquid. It is colorless to pale brown or pink in color with a distinctive odor. Generally, the odor of gasoline provides an adequate warning of hazardous concentrations. Its vapors may travel to a source of ignition and flashback. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and may collect in low-lying areas. Use only as intended. Do not use gasoline as an accelerant, a solvent, a cleaner, a degreaser, weed killer, etc. Use approved containers for gasoline. Keep small quantities of gasoline at the worksite or at home to help prevent incidents. Do not use or store gasoline near ignition sources. The vapors of gasoline can travel to a source of ignition and ignite. Remember- it is the vapors of gasoline that ignite. Use proper PPE when refueling equipment. Chemical gloves, safety glasses, and flame retardant clothing are some examples to keep your skin and eyes safe when handling gasoline. If a fire starts while handling a gas container, set the container down and get away from it. Never try to hit the fire to extinguish it or throw the container away from you. Contact the proper personnel such as emergency responders to immediately put the fire out. Teach your kids about gasoline safety and practice these tips at home to prevent injuries and fires to both yourself and your loved ones.
Week of 10/11/2021 – According to the Ministry of Labor, the temporary worker as well as a permanent employee had been assigned a task on the opposite side of the plant. To get there, the permanent worker got into a single-seat Yale forklift. The temp worker then stood on the forklift’s forks to ride across the plant, but in doing so, obstructed the driver’s view. In the middle of the plant, the forklift hit a structural steel column. The temp worker on the forks suffered crushing injuries in the collision, which caused a permanent injury. The investigation into the incident determined that neither worker had taken forklift training while working at Regency, meaning neither were certified. Along with stipulating that a company must ensure safety procedures are carried out, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires a supervisor to make sure proper procedure is followed. Both Regency and the supervisor pleaded guilty to the violations in a Toronto court room late last week. The company was ordered to pay $50,000, while the supervisor faces a $3,000 fine. There are so many lessons to be learned from this one incident: Don’t utilize a forklift as a mode of transportation. Forklifts are to be utilized to move materials, not people from one side of the plant to the other. Don’t utilize a forklift if you aren’t certified and trained. It takes skill to safely drive a forklift and you must be aware of the various controls and operation of the industrial vehicle. It is far different then driving an automobile. Never carry anyone on the forks of a forklift. It is not a way to transport personnel whether standing on the forks or being lifted using a pallet. These are just unsafe practices from years ago. As well if there is only 1 seat on the forklift, only one person should be on the vehicle. Never drive forward on a forklift where your view is obstructed. Drive in reverse. Finally, please note that even the supervisor of the operation was individually fined for the incident. Yes, you can be held responsible for the unsafe practices of your workers. Take this article and learn the lessons free of charge rather than facing a life changing injury or a monetary fine.
Week of 10/4/2021 – In today’s world, many of us are busier than our parents’ or grandparents’ generations have been. Between long hours at work, kids, housework, school, and any other obligations we have, there is more fatigue and drowsiness in the general population than arguably ever before. Because of our fast-paced lives, drowsy driving is a major concern on our roadways. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that an estimated 37,000 injury crashes and an estimated 45,000 property damage-only crashes occur annually related to drowsy driving. While general fatigue is a major cause of drowsy driving there are also several other causes. Causes for Drowsy Driving Lack of sleep- The amount of things we have going on in our lives can make it hard to get plenty of sleep. Medical issues- Certain medical issues or health conditions can bring the onset of drowsiness even if a person has had plenty of sleep. One common example is thyroid issues. Drugs/ alcohol- Drugs and alcohol on their own can cause an obvious hazard while driving. When they are paired with a lack of sleep or medical issues, it can be an extremely dangerous situation. How to Avoid Drowsy Driving Get plenty of sleep. Most experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep. Eat a good diet and drink plenty of water. Taking care of your body is important to be able to function at optimal levels. Consult your doctor for unusual or excessive fatigue. It could be a symptom of an underlying health issue. Never drink and drive. Use caution even when only using prescribed medication. Many medications cause drowsiness. Pull over when drowsiness is setting in. A ten-minute nap can make the difference in whether or not you make it to your destination. Do not be a drowsy driver. Take the necessary precautions to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Pay attention to the drivers around you and practice defensive driving techniques to protect yourself from other drivers who may be driving drowsy.
Week of 9/27/2021 – This is an article I found of an incident that occurred a few months ago. A faller started his chainsaw and heard a squealing noise from it. He turned the saw over to see if it was catching on anything. It did not appear to be. He then turned the saw to the normal upright position and triggered it again. The chain broke, flipped forward and whipped quickly to the right, striking a co-worker that was standing approximately 5 ft. away. The co-worker moved away from the faller and said the chain had just hit him. He pulled up his shirt and blood was pouring out. The broken drive link had entered his abdomen, passing through the right lobe of his liver, diaphragm, heart and left lung. The faller and another worker put him in their truck and rushed him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. Always check equipment thoroughly before using it. If your equipment starts to act inappropriately shut it off properly before inspecting it. Sound is a very powerful tool we can utilize to tell if a power tool or piece of equipment is running properly. Listen for changes in the sound level, pitch or frequency. If you find problems, stop using it, tag it out of service and have it repaired properly.
Week of 9/20/2021 – Traditionally more injuries and motor vehicle incidents occur during this time than any other time of the year. We can give several reasons why, but it usually boils down to human errors, such as those caused by distraction, fatigue, or stress – all of which might lead to lapses or mistakes, which in turn lead to injuries or incidents.
Week of 9/13/2021 – There are many excuses someone will give for not working safely. Some common excuses include: I didn’t know, I didn’t have time, I lost my PPE, nothing will happen, etc. One of the worst excuses to have for not working safely is an “it won’t happen to me” mindset. This excuse communicates a mindset that is set on not completing a task safely or shows a person is relying on luck to keep safe while on the job. There is no substitute for experience. Experience, for the most part, allows us to work more efficiently and safely, however this is not always the case. Experience can also lead to complacency or a higher level of tolerance for risk. When an employee has done the same task or has been in the same occupation for many years they can have the “it won’t happen to me mindset”.
This doesn’t mean that newer employees cannot have the same mindset, but it is often very experienced employees who fall into this mindset trap. We have all heard stories of experienced workers or supervisors getting seriously injured from becoming complacent towards known hazards. It is necessary to be mindful of your attitude towards safety on the job. Complacency can be hard to avoid, however having the mindset that an incident or injury will not happen can put you at great risk of sustaining an injury. Believing you are not susceptible to the hazards of the job is a quick way to be injured. No one is able to avoid injury from the majority of hazards from just having experience alone. It takes action on top of that experience to ensure safeguards are in place and safe work practices are being followed to avoid injury. No matter how much experience you have, the necessary steps still need to be taken to prevent an incident from occurring. Do not let experience on the job affect your attitude towards taking the correct steps to work safe. Hazards need to be controlled. They are only controlled when we as workers take the time to implement the proper safeguards and follow safe work practices. Evaluate your attitude towards safety as well as what hazards or work tasks you may have become complacent towards.
Week of 9/6/2021 – In researching this topic, I discovered that flashlights like many battery powered devices can indeed explode during use. There have been recent cases of e-cigarettes and hover boards exploding while in use. However, they typically utilize a different type of battery. In the types of batteries most commonly used in flashlights, zinc/carbon batteries and alkaline batteries, hydrogen gas (H2) is produced naturally as a product of the corrosion of the zinc electrode within the battery. Differences in batteries, including cell design and charge rate, affect the rate and volume of H2 generation. Excess hydrogen gas is more likely to be released if batteries are used incorrectly. Excess hydrogen gas may also be produced by rechargeable batteries during recharging. If H2 accumulates within batteries or battery compartments without sufficient release, the buildup of pressure can cause the battery or compartment casing to rupture. In order to protect yourself, follow these tips. Read and follow manufacturers recommendations for product use. DO NOT MIX batteries of different brand, old and new batteries, alkaline with nonalkaline batteries. DO NOT USE damaged batteries. Ensure that proper polarity(+,-) is observed when installing batteries. Regularly inspect flashlights in a NON-hazardous areas.
Week of 8/30/2021 – September has been designated as Food Safety Education Month so this week we’ll look at food safety. The four easy lessons of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill can protect you and your family.
- – Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours and keep the fridge at 40 °F or below.
- – Cool the fridge to 40 °F or below, and use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature.
- – Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours, and divide food into shallow containers for rapid cooling.
- – Thaw meat, poultry, and seafood in the fridge, not on the counter, and don’t overstuff the fridge.
Bacteria spreads fastest at temperatures between 40 °F – 140 °F, so chilling food properly is one extremely effective way to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. The four easy lessons of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill can help prevent harmful bacteria from making your family sick. For your health!
Week of 8/23/2021 – Most of us pay attention to expiration dates on food and medical prescriptions. But, have you ever considered the expiration date of a smoke alarm? Yes, these potentially life-saving devices have lives of their own and expire after about 10 years or 87,000 hours of service. However, that’s something that’s not widely known. A recent national survey conducted by First Alert revealed that 72 percent of Americans are not aware that smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years. If you neglect replacing your alarms, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk. If you open up the smoke alarm in most cases a manufactured or expiration date can be found on it inside the cover. If there is no date, then it may be too old anyway and should be replaced. I’m encouraging everyone to make sure their home is equipped with working smoke alarms – the key word being “working.” The fact is, even if you have smoke alarms installed at home, you and your family may not be sufficiently protected if you haven’t maintained them. According to the Houston Fire Department, an estimated 30 percent of all residential fires responded to are in homes without a smoke alarm (or they have a non-working smoke alarm). For the discounted pricing of smoke alarms these days, it just isn’t worth the risk not to have a properly working one.
Week of 8/16/2021 – An operator of an excavator struck a water line while digging a trench, causing water to spray around. A worker in the trench took his shovel and started tossing water back at the excavator operator. The operator was trying to close the window against the water when he inadvertently hit the lever controlling the bucket. The bucket moved, crushing the other worker against the wall of the trench. Horseplay starts in fun, but can easily end in tragedy. In this case, the water line break was enough of a distraction to cause a safety concern without the added confusion of a water fight. Don’t give in to the temptation of workplace pranks; they take everyone’s mind off the number one priority of working safely.
Week of 8/9/2021 – A safety tip that we all can use in our day to day lives as well as the emergency scene is the 20,20,20 rule. Every 20 minutes take 20 seconds and look at the 20 feet around you. Hazards are constantly changing and being aware of them is important. Safety habits shouldn’t just be for work, they should be for your home life as well. Have a safe week!
Week of 8/2/2021 – Pressure washers can and are being used in many different applications. At home, they may be used for washing cars, campers, decks, concrete as well as house exteriors. They can also cause injuries, even though it’s “just water”. Due to the water being under pressure, it moves with enough force to cause damage to the eyes or skin and contribute to other types of injuries. Close contact with a pressure washer’s flow to your skin actually abrades away the skin layer by layer rather than cuts and causes injuries that are hard to heal and scar for life. For safer use of a pressure washer, consider the following. Understand your machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use, maintenance and storage. Wear eye and hearing protection when operating. Avoid contact with the high pressure stream of water. No matter how thirsty you may be. Keep your hands, feet and body out of the way. Always wear good footwear and clothing. To keep control of the water stream, hang on to the wand with both hands. Never point the sprayer at another person, whether the pressure washer is operating or not. It could discharge not just water but if the angle tip isn’t secure it has the potential to shoot off unexpectedly. Maintain good footing and balance. Do not let children use a pressure washer. Do not use a washer in an area where the water could contact electrical equipment. Use in well ventilated areas. Pressure washers get the job done quickly and well. They have the potential for causing injury, so use them safely at work and at home.
Week of 7/26/2021 – How many times have you tripped over something you did not see or turn around and get startled because someone was in your area that you were not aware of? It happens to many of us often. Depending on what is preoccupying our mind, our emotions, the distractions around us, the noise levels in our area, etc. will determine how much of our ability to be observant is affected. The less able we are to be observant, the higher our chances are to be injured on the job by an unrecognized hazard.
How to Improve on Being Observant at Work
- Eliminate distractions from your work area. Whether it is someone talking to you or excessive noise, try to get rid of anything distracting you from your work. Also, consider good housekeeping practices as a tool to eliminate unnecessary distractions in your work areas.
- Take the time before starting a task to stop and look around your work area. Really focus on the different tools or equipment in that area. Are there hazards you are missing? Do you have everything you need?
- While completing a work task monitor your thoughts. Is your mind truly on the task? For example, think of a time when you were driving and can barely remember the trip. How observant do you think you were while operating your vehicle?
Week of 7/19/2021 – In summer weather and other hot, humid working conditions, drinking enough water is vital to preventing heat illness. The most serious illness, heat stroke, can be fatal. It occurs when the body’s cooling system fails because of moisture and minerals lost to sweating. To prevent heat illness under hot work condition. Wear clothing that allows air circulation. If possible, try to stay out of the sun. Take breaks when you can and drink water frequently. Don’t drink a large quantity of water at once, just keep on sipping. Drinking enough water helps keep the body’s digestive and elimination systems working properly. What is enough water? Eight glasses (eight fluid ounces or about .25 of a liter each) is probably as good a starting point as any. Drinking other beverages and eating waterlogged produce such as lettuce also supplies some of your water requirements. Then adjust your water intake for what seems right for you.
Week of 7/12/2021 – Whether your barbecue uses charcoal, wood, propane or natural gas, making sure it’s safe is important. Ensure that your grill is clean prior to use. Grease buildup can cause a fire that cannot be easily extinguished. For gas grills soapy water on connections and fittings can reveal an unwanted leak. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your home or other structure. Don’t use gasoline or paint thinner to start your fire. You may hurt your finely groomed hair and ego in the process. Use starter fluid sensibly. When using a gas grill NEVER turn the gas on with the lid closed. An accumulation of gas can result in a horrendous explosion. Keep children away from the grill. Enjoy your time with family and friends and ensure everyone is safe.
Week of 7/5/2021 – As the summer season rapidly approaches the use of various fans is going to increase. Fans helps move the air around us and help keep us cooler. However, there are some important safety items we need to look at as the summer approaches. Today as you are around your house or work, take a look at each of the fans you have. Is the guard in place? Fans that are less than 7 feet off the ground must have a guard on them to prevent injury. The opening needs to be ½ inch or less. Ensure the guards are in place and secure. Several years ago there was an injury where an employee jumped up to adjust a fan and the guard came loose and they hit the blades. Is the fan clean? Fan blades that are clean and free of dust and dirt build-up actually move more air than a dirty blade and will keep you cooler. Is the plug in good condition? Check the plug and cord and make sure all the electrical prongs are in place and the cord isn’t frayed. Make sure the motor cover is in place securely. Keep Cool, Stay Safe!