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:

  • Management leadership is a demonstrated commitment at the highest levels of an organization to safety and health. It means that business owners, executives, managers, and supervisors make Continue Reading…
Safety
Accidents Can Happen at the Office!

The risk of accidents in an office are negligible … it usually results in very minor injuries and it’s not really worth it to be concerned …

If this is really what you think, there is an important perception problem. We would like to show here some dangerous situations where you will see that using common sense, will help to avoid injury and accidents. Security measures are to be respected both in the offices, on construction sites, or in plants.

Tripping Over a Cable

In addition to being dangerous, it can also be annoying … And all there is to do, is to simply fix the wire or the cable on the floor using adhesive tape or a wire floor guard.

Bumping or Tripping Over an Open Drawer

Often, we leave a file cabinet drawer opened mainly because we only need to use the document for a few seconds before putting it back. This is enough time to create a hazard. A very simple way to avoid this scenario is to close the drawer immediately after you get what you need from the file cabinet.

Hurting Your Back While Carrying a Heavy Object

Weight handling techniques should be used by both office and plant workers. In addition, the use of a dolly would be appropriate or ask help from a colleague.

Objects Landing on Your Head

Top of the cabinets are often used as Continue Reading…

Hazmat Personal Protection Equipment
Drywall and Dust Exposure

Being a Home Owner Working in Safety

A part of being a homeowner is maintaining the structure and surrounding area. We do this to keep the city and neighbors happy, but also to keep the house in good working order. If you look around your neighborhood, yards are mowed and houses are painted. You will even see the occasional furniture delivery or roofer in the area. Another part of home ownership is keeping the inside up to date. After all indoor plumbing is nice and there is always the chance that the house will be sold in the future.

Our home is currently 16 years old and we’ve been in it for 8 years. It has not been updated much beyond some interior paint and a new roof thanks to St. Louis hail storms. We decided to update a bathroom. Easy enough given how small they are, right? It turns out we needed to gut the bathroom down to the studs since it was covered in wallpaper. During the demolition there was a ton of dust generated. Now that new drywall is up it has to be “mudded and sanded” which created even more dust. What was fascinating was the fact none of the folks working wore masks or respirators during any of this. Remember I work in safety so this bothered me greatly and sent me on a hunt Continue Reading…

Safety Star Wars
May the (Safety) Force Be with You

Even a universe long ago and far, far away isn’t immune to problems with worker safety. And it’s not just those Storm Troopers eternally hitting their heads on the ceiling, or rebels getting trapped in garbage disposals.

An Accident on Set

During the filming of 2015’s blockbuster “Star Wars Episode Seven: The Force Awakens,” star Harrison Ford was struck by a piece of the set, resulting in a broken leg and several weeks’ delay in filming. The lost production time wasn’t the film company’s only problem, though. Foodles Production (UK) Ltd, a Disney subsidiary, was charged with four criminal violations to the United Kingdom’s workplace safety laws. This week, the company pleaded guilty to two counts, with the remaining two counts being withdrawn by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). (The charges were laid in Britain because the accident occurred at the famous Pinewood set near London.)

Ironically, what endangered the 74-year-old star was a piece of modern technology. While working on set, he was struck by an automatic hydraulic-powered door that was reportedly triggered by someone unaware that Harrison was nearby. The force produced by this door was likened by the prosecution to “a small car.” When Harrison starred in the first Star Wars film, such a door would have been more likely to be powered by a stage-hand pulling a rope.

The Film Industry’s History of Risk

That doesn’t Continue Reading…

Pokémon Go pokéball
Pokémon Go: Gotta Catch ‘Em All – Safely

Until recently, if you saw someone wandering down the street, eyes fixed to their smart phone, you might assume they were absorbed by texting “Sup?” to all their friends. But there’s a new craze this summer, a game called Pokémon Go. While the game has been praised for getting couch potatoes out into the streets searching for digital creatures (the “pocket monsters” or Pokémon) to collect, questions about player safety (as well as bad behaviour) have been a hot topic in the news.

Let’s look at how you can enjoy hunting adorable imaginary monsters without getting hurt or becoming a nuisance to others.

What is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is available in Canada and the U.S. as a free download for both Android and iOS phones. Once you download it, you discover the game has two main parts – hunting and fighting

Your first task is to locate and catch Pokémon. There are 142 types (Currently available in North America) that may be generated around the landscape. The game provides you with a map of your location, which will indicate, in a frustratingly vague manner, the Pokémon available for capture in your general area. When one comes into range, your smartphone will vibrate and an adorable cartoon monster will appear on your phone screen. To catch it, flick a trap called a “pokéball” at the creature (the thumb-flick, though easy, is not Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
2 Million Plus Workers Get Protection From Deadly Dust! (Part 2)

Silicosis and OSHA Standards

As you may recall in my last blog, I spoke of a tragic story out of West Virginia. It was the Hawk’s Nest Industrial Incident and the repercussions on the people of that time in the 1930s. Up to date each year illness continues takes the lives of thousands of workers. One of these illness still present is caused by a deadly dust – crystalline silica which can cause Silicosis. It is approximated that 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Over time workers have come to count on OSHA to adopt standards to be enforced in the workplace. These standards aid in the reduction of the risks to workers from contracting illness or injury in the workplace.

Let’s review what crystalline silica is. Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found largely in the earth’s crust and is commonly found in the likes of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. It is found in materials that we see every day in the construction of roads, buildings, and sidewalks. Silica dust occurs in the workplace when operations involve cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone. It can also be found among operations that use sand products, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, sand blasting, and hydraulic fracturing.

Crystalline silica (respirable) is hazardous to workers who Continue Reading…

Hazmat Personal Protection Equipment
Safety Supplies Can Save The Lives of Employees In The Workplace

The Best Safety

The best safety at work is something that every employer wants for all of their employees, because health and safety are two of the most precious and important of all things. Therefore each employer out there should make sure that there are certain things in place to ensure workplace safety on all fronts for workers, management, and everyone concerned. Providing total safety and a safe environment is often not easy, but it is doable, if you have all of the right things in place to make it so. Employers do need to make sure that they have proper safety supplies for their employees. The best way that current personal protection equipment can be assured of being the right equipment is by making sure it is what employees do require most for personal protection. Personal protection equipment for employees must always be updated and meet certain regulations overall. If it doesn’t, then it will not ensure the right level of safety, which must be in place on all fronts at all times.

There is nothing more important in the workplace, as in the home front, then making sure that everyone who is a part of the working environment is safe and sound in every way. One of these ways is via personal protection equipment that should be high quality in every way and able to keep Continue Reading…

Safety
June is National Safety Month

When you work in the field of safety, and so does your husband, it makes for interesting living situations. I no longer stand on a chair or stool to reach something on the top shelf. There are now ear plugs and safety goggles beside the lawn mower and weed eater in the garage. We have two fire extinguishers – one by the stove and one in the pantry. Our smoke detectors are checked twice a year from a ladder where three points of contact are maintained at all times. There is even an old Emergency Response Guidebook in my car for looking up UN numbers when I travel. Having lived this way for several years now, it surprises me when friends and family talk about near misses they have. Take heart other safety professionals, there is a month dedicated to our cause. June is National Safety Month.

The National Safety Council has outlined topics for each week of the month and even provides free downloadable resources in English and Spanish for each topic upon signup. I encourage you to do so as the resources are great. The link to the National Safety Council site can be found here. To sign up for the free materials, look to the right side of the website. Let’s take a look at each week and expand on the ideas.

This year the topics are Continue Reading…

Beaker
Pool Maintenance – Use Chlorine and Keep It Clean

Chlorine gas is a scary material. This yellowish gas can kill people at very low concentrations in air. Travelling wherever the wind takes it, leaking chlorine gas is an emergency situation. A mere 10 parts per million in air is classified as Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH). The whole city of Mississauga, Ontario, was evacuated for a week in 1979 due to the threatened release of chlorine from one damaged railway tankcar.

And yet, people clean their swimming pools on a regular basis using products called “pool chlorine”. How is this possible?

It turns out that the chlorine we use in swimming pools isn’t actually chlorine gas. Instead, pool chlorine is composed of chemicals that react with water to give off chlorine gas, slowly and safely. Typical chemicals used for pool disinfectants may be inorganic (such as calcium hypochlorite or lithium hypochlorite), or organic (such as trichloroisocyanuric acid and sodium dichloroisocyanurate).

When these chemicals are mixed with water, they break down to generate chlorine gas in small amounts. However, chlorine is a highly reactive material. It reacts with water molecules themselves to form a substance known as hypochlorous acid. This acidic compound will destroy the cell membranes of harmful organisms such as bacteria and algae, killing them and disinfecting the pool.

Hypochlorous acid, however, is quite reactive itself. Therefore, stabilizers may be added to the chlorinating product, or Continue Reading…

OSHA Record Keeping
Sending and Receiving Safety Data Sheets

There are lots of songs out in the world about letters. You remember those things we used to write and send in the mail and have now been replaced by emails? There are some truly classic song regarding letters and the messages they carry. In 1961 The Marvelettes were begging their postman for a letter from a boyfriend indicating he was coming home. Click here for their song. This was followed in 1967 by The Box Tops song “The Letter” (listen here) where the singer is going home “because my baby done wrote me a letter”. This was followed in 1970 by Steve Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” that you can hear here. In this song the “letter” is actually Stevie letting his love know he is still hers.

So how do letters fit in today’s world of hazard communication? You may think they don’t, but actually they do. Think about when and how you receive your Safety Data Sheets (SDS). There are requirements for ensuring all workers know the hazards of the materials with which that work and that is usually accomplished by the SDS. What are the requirements for ensuring that you have an SDS for the hazardous chemicals in your workplace?

First, we will look at what the United States’ OSHA HazCom 2012 says:

“Employers shall maintain copies of any safety data sheets that are received with incoming shipments Continue Reading…