Emergency Preparedness
Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Firemen Extinguishing a Fire

Dangerous Times, Dangerous Goods

This year has seen environmental disasters that have put millions of people at risk. From the incredible one-two-three punch of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, to the Bangladesh floods, to the recent earthquake in Mexico, we see people facing lack of food, clean water and shelter. All of us need to protect ourselves and our loved ones during these periods when outside help hasn’t arrived. But while we’re watching out for what Mother Nature can throw at us, we must also remember hazardous chemicals and articles, even those that can help us survive, can put us in danger as well.

How to Prepare for Natural Emergencies

What does a typical household need to prepare for natural emergencies (or even man-made ones such as chemical spills that can isolate and endanger communities)? A number of websites list “must haves” and “should haves” for these situations, including:

What are some of the hazards that our own preparations can create?

One of the biggest dangers during emergencies is generators. These internal-combustion power sources can be Continue Reading…

Fire Safety
NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week 2017

Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 8th as Fire Prevention Week. This date was chosen as the Great Chicago fire started on October 8, 1871. Each year a theme for the week is chosen in an effort to keep fire safety present in people’s minds. This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” An explanation of the theme is best explained by a video from Sparky, The Fire Dog.

Here are some statistics from a recent survey conducted by the NFPA. About one in every 338 homes had a fire each year from 2010 to 2014.  For most of those years the second leading cause of fires in homes and fire deaths/injuries is heating equipment. In terms of escape planning, only about a third of the US has developed and practiced a home escape plan. Also, many people believe they would have 6 minutes before a home fire could become life threatening when in reality the time is much shorter. The most shocking statistic of all was that only 8% of those surveyed indicated that when hearing a fire alarm their first thought was to leave the home Continue Reading…

Safety
Fall Safety Tips

Fall Autumn Pumpkins and Leaves

Summer Comes to an End

It seems like yesterday I wrote a blog about on Spring Safety, now the time has come to trade the electric trimmer for the rake, the lawnmower for the leaf blower, and the air conditioner for the space heater (hopefully later rather than sooner).

Before we make the full transition from summer mowing to fall cleanup, please keep the following safety tips in mind:

11 Fall Safety Tips

  1. Safely store warm weather tools like lawn mowers and trimmers. Check fall yard tools, such as leaf blowers, along with their power cords, for unusual wear and tear. Repair or replace worn tools or parts right away
  2. Unplug and safely store battery chargers that won’t be in use again until spring
  3. Raking leaves? Prevent back injuries by standing upright while raking and pull from your arms and legs. Don’t overfill leaf bags, and when picking them up, bend at the knee and use your legs, not your back, for support
  4. Use only weatherproof electrical devices for outside activities. Protect outdoor electrical devices from moisture. Make sure electrical equipment that has been wet is inspected and reconditioned by a certified repair dealer
  5. Keep dry leaves swept away from outdoor lighting, outlets, and power cords Continue Reading…
Prop 65
Proposition 65 List – Updated

Foggy California bay at sunset

What a Difference A Day Makes

Recently at a ballroom dance lesson, I heard the song “What a Difference a Day Makes”. A young couple is using it as their wedding song. They were learning a dance using it for the reception. Listen here to the 1959 version by Dinah Washington. Not only did the melody and words stay with me, but so did the title. Keeping in mind how things can change in a day I wanted to follow up on my blog “Extra! Extra! Read all About it: California Proposition 65 List Updated” from April 2016. A bit more than a day later but you get the point.

It turns out the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 or as it is more commonly known Prop 65 was updated seven times since my blog in April. The list has to be revised and republished at least once per year. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the agency responsible for Prop 65 implementation. They consider adding chemicals to the list when some other “authoritative body” makes a determination regarding a substances ability to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Shown below are all of the new substances that were Continue Reading…

Safety
Flood Water Safety

Wearing yellow flood boots walking through flood water

How to Stay Safe During Extreme Weather

Hurricanes bring about many emotions for me. You see, I have lived through a large number of them with varying impacts on my life. Here are just a few that trigger some strong emotions in me even after more than 15 years. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit. I was in college at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. What made it so scary was the fire alarm in the middle of it, which caused an evacuation from my dormitory. The wind and rain were so strong you almost couldn’t stand.

The next one that comes to mind is Bertha in in 1996. Bertha was memorable because we purchased our first home the day she hit. If we had stayed in our new home, we would have lost both of our cars due to a tree falling. The worst though came in 1999. That year brought us Dennis in August and Floyd in September. We survived Dennis with a few heavy rains and some minor damage to the neighborhood. However, Floyd hit just 2 weeks later! Again, there was little damage in our area but lots of rain. We cleaned up and prepared for work the Continue Reading…

Safety
OSHA, Emergency Exits, & Procedures

Neon Green Exit Sign

School Days, Fire Drills

One of my earliest memories from elementary school was deeply concentrating on my school work at my desk (at least some of the time), when suddenly being startled by a loud alarm. My classmates and I would jump up in excitement as we all meshed together in a quiet single file line, and our teacher would lead us out of the nearest exit into a parking lot on a nice Spring day. We would stand outside quietly until the principal would walk outside and give us a quick wave of her hand, and to our dismay we would all march back into school with our heads down to pick up right where we left off in the rest of the day’s school work.

In hindsight, the fun and excitement of a fire drill as a child was in actuality a well thought out systematic process designed to help students and staff become aware of how to exit the building in the quickest, easiest, and safest way possible. The importance of these emergency procedures are not only important in our childhood school days, they should also play an essential role in the workplace. In fact, OSHA clearly defines what is Continue Reading…

Graduation Cap
FOODSAFE Canada, What to Know and How to Get Certified

Organic food, fresh vegetables

FOODSAFE Canada

FOODSAFE is a resource of the Province of British Colombia and is a food safety training program that instructs students on a wide array of food related safety issues.

The training program enables students to learn about food borne illness, food preparation safety, storing food, and serving food safely. The program offers courses for cooks, servers, and other restaurant employees, but also offers courses for management crews, business owners, executive chefs, and others who will handle food and areas where food is stored, prepared, or served.

In Canada, every person who owns a food establishment must obtain a certificate from a health official showing they have completed FOODSAFE or an equivalent program. The food establishment owner must also be able to show proof that in their absence, there is at least one other person in the business who has a certificate. For those in serving positions, it is not required by BC regulation, but many employers do insist that all employees hold a valid certificate to work in their establishment.

Anyone who works with food should take the course and test for certification as it not only teaches about food borne illness and how to prevent it, but it is also a Continue Reading…

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Consumer Chemical Products and GHS SDS Requirements

Consumer chemical bottles

Do My Products Need a SDS?

Determining which of your consumer chemical products would require a GHS Safety Data Sheet (SDS), can sometimes be difficult and confusing. Which products actually do need to have compliant SDS, can differ depending on which country/region you are in, and how the product is being used.

Canada

In Canada, chemical products that are labeled, packaged, and sold at retail outlets as consumer products, are regulated by the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), and the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations 2001 (CCCR 2001). Examples of ‘retail’ outlets are stores such as Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, and corner gas stations that anyone off the street can walk into and buy chemical products in, etc.

Chemical products, which are intended for use in worksites and not sold at retail outlets, on the other hand, are regulated by the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR, or “WHMIS 2015“). It is the HPA and HPR (WHMIS 2015), where GHS SDS requirements are found, while the CCPSA and CCCR 2001 do not currently contain any SDS requirements at all.

In the HPA, in Part II, Section 12(j) and Schedule 1, CCPSA consumer products are actually excluded from the application of the Continue Reading…

Safety
National Forklift Safety Day – June 13

Forklift

Forklift Safety

There’s an old joke out there about what happens when you play a country song backwards. According to the joke you get your girl, dog, and truck back. Rascal Flatts even did a song about it. It is a pretty good tune. Take a listen here.

So, how does a song about getting a truck back relate to forklifts and forklift safety? Well, by definition a forklift is a powered industrial truck. Since the joke and song talks about trucks you can see the connection. Forklifts are used to lift, move, and place various materials weighing anywhere from a few thousand pounds up to 90 tons. These powered industrial trucks must comply with OSHA standard 29CFR 1910.178. You can access a copy of the standard at this link.

National Forklift Safety Day

In 2016, accidents and incidents involving powered industrial trucks were listed in the top ten OSHA violations. To stress the safe use of the vehicles, need for operator training, education of non-users the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) has set aside Tuesday, June 13 as National Forklift Safety Day. This is the fourth year for such an event. Having a written standard, good safety policies and regulations surrounding the safe use of these machines isn’t enough. It requires every day awareness Continue Reading…

Safety
OSHA Safe + Sound Week

Safe + Sound Week 2017

Safe + Sound Week is June 12 – 18

Back in the 14th century, sailing ships were a primary means of trading goods. To protect goods on these vessels they were insured against loss or damage.  The best news for the insurance companies was to receive word that the ship had returned “safe and sound”. The word “safe” was an indication of all crew members were accounted for without injury. The word “sound” told the company the ship had not suffered any serious damage. Since then we continue to use the phrase in our daily life.

The week of June 12-18 has been designated as the inaugural Nationwide Safe + Sound Week. The week is presented by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Safety Council, American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), American Society of Safety Engineers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health just to name a few. The goal is to “raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs”. All businesses and companies are encouraged to participate.

The focus of the week is on three core elements. It covers management leadership, worker participation and find and fix hazards. Here is a brief overview of each taken from the OSHA website.

Core Elements: