Author Archives: [email protected] (jlaws)

Six Essentials to Using Video for Safety Training

Six Essentials to Using Video for Safety Training While video content isn't a new concept for safety training, it's suffered the same fate as other content formats. Most videos pack in too much information, and since employees often only see it once or twice—at scheduled safety training events—they only remember bits and pieces afterwards. The consequence? When employees get back to their jobs, they don't apply what they've learned. This is why organizations are turning to a more effective approach that presents video content in short and focused bursts that are spaced out over time, with key concepts continuously tested and reinforced. Known as microlearning, this approach is proven to help employees learn and engage and better apply safety training on the job because it is mapped to the way people actually learn and retain information. For one manufacturer, employees log on to their microlearning platform either through kiosks in the breakroom or their mobile device to engage in short safety training videos. This includes watching a micro-video and answering three to five questions about safe work practices, while playing a fun game. Then, based on their answers, the platform intelligently identifies areas where each employee needs more knowledge and delivers learning to continuously fill those gaps, while reinforcing what they already knew. This approach helps the organization's employees improve long-term memory around safety topics and build additional knowledge over time. It also helps managers and supervisors identify where employees need coaching so they could give them the assistance they needed to be successful. Today, the manufacturer has seen a significant decrease in safety incidents. Also, positive work behaviors have created a corporate culture of safety. For organizations to move the needle and follow this approach, they need to not merely chop down their videos into smaller chunks, but rather consider these six essential components: 1. A focus on specific safety goals.The key to driving success with safety training videos, and microlearning, is to start with a set of very specific objectives (e.g. reduce ladder incidents by 50 percent). Often, organizations try to cram everything into one in-person safety training session and when they only have employees' eyes once, they tend to take a kitchen sink approach to content. Instead, employees are more likely to retain knowledge when organizations identify specific goals and address those topics one at a time. 2. Proven brain science techniques for ingraining information into memory.While bite-sized content is ideal for the brain to process, this isn't enough to make it stick. To ensure employees recall safety best practices at critical times it is important to combine microlearning videos with proven memory-building techniques, such as spacing, retrieval practice, and confidence-based assessment. Employees often get hurt at work because they develop shortcuts and bad habits over time. Brain science techniques help reduce these habits by consistently keeping the "correct way" top of mind. Spacing involves increasing the time between the first moment someone learns a concept and every subsequent repetition of the same concept. Retrieval practice uses questions to help the brain remember information. Confidence-based learning asks employees to rate their confidence in the correctness of their answer to a question. The act of asking people to think about their response, embeds information more deeply in the brain. 3. Personalized and adaptive learning on a continuous basis.The workforce is made up of multiple experience levels. Employees have different roles and therefore specific safety considerations. Given this, it doesn’t make sense to create one-size-fits-all videos and micro-content. To achieve the best results, videos should be served up through an adaptive microlearning platform that can identify what employees know or don't know, as well as how they are performing on the job on an ongoing basis. Then, learning can be presented automatically to target each employee's individual strengths and weaknesses. This allows employees to learn at their own pace and focus on building the safety knowledge they need to perform their jobs at an optimal level. 4. Gamified elements that are integrated into the learning experience.Bite-sized videos won’t benefit a safety program if no one takes the time to engage with them. For content to drive results, continuous participation is key. Incorporating multiple game mechanics—such as points, leaderboards, and peer competition—into the learning experience is a proven way to motivate employees to return time and time again. 5. Mobile accessibility for anytime, anywhere access.Today, many employees rely on their mobile devices for information and to stay connected. This is especially true for workers in remote settings, such as construction locations or delivery fleets. Microlearning is ideal for meeting the needs of a workforce that consists of both desk-based and deskless employees. Anyone can easily weave in a few minutes of quick, digestible chunks of video learning into their work day, no matter where they are. Not to mention, the whole experience also fits perfectly on a small mobile screen. 6. Reporting and analytics that tie learning to business results.While videos and microlearning offer an effective way to learn, they won't prove their value if they can't be tracked beyond a one-time test score and, more importantly, employees' specific behaviors. To really boost employee knowledge, it's essential to identify the safety training knowledge employees understand versus the information they're struggling with. Identify patterns and trends to adjust content to fill in knowledge gaps. By using data to close critical knowledge gaps, organizations can proactively keep people safe rather than waiting for an incident to occur. Carol Leaman is the CEO of Axonify. Posted on Jun 18, 2018 Let's block ads! (Why?)

Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge Addresses Front Line Service Provider Risks in Toxic Opioid Exposure

Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge Addresses Front Line Service Provider Risks in Toxic Opioid Exposure Research shows the growing risk of toxic opioid exposure for first responders, police, rescue crews and medical professionals as the opioid epidemic rages across the U.S. First responders arriving at the scene of a suspected drug overdose, law enforcement officers searching an area for illicit drugs, or medical professionals performing overdose reversal treatment, are often in danger of being exposed to toxic substances such as heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil or other synthetic and non-synthetic opioids. That's a critical problem as the opioid epidemic grows nationwide and with opioids now responsible for 1 in 5 deaths of young adults. Often these first responders have no way of quickly identifying the presence of dangerous substances, or any means to quickly and effectively protect themselves and others. Fentanyl and other potent synthetic opioids can be absorbed through the skin or inadvertently inhaled in situations where drugs are disturbed and particles become airborne. These exposures place first responders at serious risk. In fact, the risk is so high that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), state police in Oregon, Arizona, Michigan and Missouri, and several big city departments have banned field testing to try to reduce exposure risk for their officers. With this in mind, the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge was launched, a three-phase, prize-based competition to find technology-based solutions that address or improve opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and overdose avoidance and response. The second phase of the challenge, ongoing now, consists of four challenge topics that address specific unmet needs – one of those topics seeks the development of technologies to protect first responders and medical professionals from inadvertent exposure to toxic opioid levels. Solutions could be those that assess a scene or patient to determine whether there is risk of exposure to toxic substances or act to protect themselves and others. These solutions could include ambient detection of opioid residue, medical prophylactics, or protective equipment, for example. Technology developers are invited to come forward and submit their solutions by July 11, 2018, to help uncover, promote, and support the development and deployment of these promising technologies. Up to 12 prize recipients will be announced in September 2018 and will receive $200,000 to advance their solutions. These semi-finalists will be eligible to compete in the final phase of the program, the Product Phase, to further develop their technology for market entry, and possibly win an additional $1 million prize. We hope this Challenge will help in protecting our first responders and medical professionals from inadvertent exposure to toxic opioid levels, and ultimately, in fighting this national opioid epidemic. Frank Tropper is Director of Global Programs for NineSigma. Posted on Jun 11, 2018 Let's block ads! (Why?)

Changing Environments Spotlight Need for More Hearing Protection Research

Changing Environments Spotlight Need for More Hearing Protection Research How many times a day do you think about your ears? If you're like most of us, the honest answer is: zero. Yet, in the workplace, in the home, and out in public, we're expecting our ears to perform like never before. At work, we just assume we'll be able to hear colleagues' voices, ringing phones, even fire-drill alarms. At home, we're being introduced to voice-activated devices that speak to us in soothing-but-earnest tones, answering our questions and playing our favorite songs on command. Out in public, we're treated to a cacophony of competing noises that we expect our ears to filter so we can decipher which ones deserve our immediate attention. Most of us accept the rising levels and increasing sources of noise around us as normal everyday life. Like the proverbial frog and the boiling pot of water, however, we are blissfully unaware of these noises' cumulative effects on our hearing — because we experience each noise-level increase incrementally. If we could beam ourselves Star Trek-style to a remote desert island, then come back an hour later, we would acutely feel the sudden rush of sounds swirling around us upon returning. Take a little noise inventory of your own sometime. Baristas are yelling orders over hissing cappuccino makers. Burrito makers are asking customers to pick their ingredients as loud music streams in the background. Food truck customers are shouting over traffic noise. Digital out-of-home media in convenience stores is blaring cable news or branded programming on TV screens. Airports are making garbled announcements from overhead speakers, while loudly beeping people-mover carts weave through crowds like salmon swimming upstream. Audiologists generally agree that we should wear hearing protection when we are exposed to sounds of 85 decibels (abbreviated as dB or dBA) or more. By way of comparison, the typical human voice is about 64 dBA. A leaf blower is about 90 dBA. A jackhammer is approximately 105 dBA. (Discover more examples at HearingAtWork.org, which also offers free ear plugs and links to noise-level apps.) In addition to the loudness of a noise, we need to pay attention to how much time we're exposed to it. For every 3 dBA increase above 85 dBA, the amount of time before hearing damage occurs is cut in half. Of course, for those of us who are just passing through these places, our exposure to all those decibels — the metric used to measure the volume level of a sound — might feel limited and somewhat within our own control. We can always walk out of the coffee shop or store if the noise level feels uncomfortable. But what about the people who can't simply walk out — the employees? New and novel work environments combined with a constantly evolving multicultural and multilingual workplace have created an obstacle course for occupational hearing. Human resources and safety specialists in large industrial work settings commonly know these facts about noise exposure, and usually provide hearing protection and appropriate worker training to minimize the risk of injury and hearing loss. Smaller companies with tighter budgets and less knowledge about hearing protection often have gaps in their policies and training. How does all that noise affect people at work? What does it do to their job performance, their mental focus, their communication ability? How does workplace noise affect the bottom line? Not even Alexa or Siri knows the answers to those questions. In fact, one of the things we know in the workplace safety and hearing protection communities is how much we don't know. We urgently need more research, because all of those questions — and others like them — are really important. Here are four key areas of research that would help industries and the hearing protection community deepen their understanding and ability to respond. Noise Impacts: What types and levels of noise are people exposed to at work and in their personal lives — paying particular attention to new occupations and work environments, as well as recent in-home technology changes — and how does exposure to all that new noise affect people? Hearing Loss Mechanisms: We need a deeper understanding about how the mechanisms of hearing loss work. For example, what sound frequencies and patterns of exposure put people at greater risk? There's a lot more awareness of how the sun's rays affect our skin than there is about how sound waves affect our hearing over the course of our lives. Chemicals: We know that certain chemicals and medications are "ototoxic" — physically harmful to ears and hearing. Common examples include aspirin, lead, and chemotherapy drugs. Cigarette smoking, too, since it deprives the body of oxygen and causes the inner ear to slowly suffocate. But we need a lot more knowledge about how various agents interact with the human ear. Prevention: First and foremost, ear plugs are the best line of defense against hearing loss. Researchers also tell us that, ironically, other chemicals can have a positive effect on our hearing by protecting our ears from hearing loss. For example, antioxidants in food may help protect our hearing. What dietary steps can we take to boost our hearing health? Audiologists and other hearing specialists no doubt would add to or refine that list. But my point is simple: More research is needed to advance society's knowledge about how our increasingly noisy world affects our hearing, and about how we can better protect this sense that enables us to enjoy and interact with one another and the world around us. Why do I care so much about hearing protection? Because I have hearing loss myself, and I know all too well that failing to appreciate, understand, and care for our hearing hastens the day when it permanently disappears and changes our lives forever. Charles D. Johnson is president of the International Safety Equipment Association and a passionate advocate for hearing protection. Posted on Jun 01, 2018 Let's block ads! (Why?)

Safe and Legal Flying: A Drone Regulation Guide

Safe and Legal Flying: A Drone Regulation Guide Drones have exploded in popularity thanks to their versatility and the growing accessibility of the devices, but numerous regulations enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration have prohibited their mass adoption. Regulations are extensive, and they include registering your drones; maintaining an altitude of less than 400 feet; following all FAA airspace restrictions; and avoiding other aircrafts, groups of people, and emergencies or disaster efforts. In addition, the blanket ban on flying drones out of eyesight of the user, known as the "line of sight rule," effectively prevents them from being used as delivery vehicles in potentially large commercial applications. Legal restrictions aside, there are other circumstances that prevent drone pilots from being able to fly safely. Heavy winds in excess of 25 mph are dangerous and can compromise photo quality and decrease battery life, as the motors are forced to compensate for wind gusts to maintain a steady position. Rain can also damage electronics, and the accumulation of water droplets on the lens of a drone's camera makes photography nearly impossible. Taking to the AirWhile regulations are largely responsible for keeping drones grounded, recent changes are helping the unmanned aerial vehicles take flight without the miles of red tape. The most significant change is the implementation of the Low Altitude and Authorization and Notification Capability program, which enables commercial drones to be quickly approved for use in a wide range of controlled airspaces. Previously, drone operators wanting to fly in any airspace controlled by an air traffic facility had to wait for approval per the FAA’s Part 107 small drone rule. This requirement has historically resulted in wait times of 90 days or more and proved to be a major obstacle to commercial drone operation. Now, drone pilots can use LAANC to get authorization almost immediately, allowing them to focus on flight plans while automatically keeping air traffic controllers aware of planned missions. One of the issues surrounding drone use is that technology has been advancing at a pace that doesn’t allow federal regulators to keep up, and requests for airspace restriction waivers have created a significant backlog. As the FAA looks for solutions to a problem that will no doubt continue to grow, automated systems will become essential. In the last four months of 2016, the FAA fielded more than 28,000 applications for the remote pilot in command certificate, and the agency was able to issue almost 23,000 certificates. Business Is BoomingIn January 2018, the number of drones registered with the FAA surpassed 1 million. According to the 2016 "FAA Aerospace Forecast," that number is expected to reach 7 million by 2020. When drone technology was just emerging, the media industry was one of the first in line to reap the benefits. The aerial perspective allowed by drones helps elevate cinematic storytelling, and movies, TV shows, advertisements, and news segments regularly feature drone footage today. The real estate market was also quick to utilize consumer-grade drones as a tool for producing high-resolution images and video for multiple listing services. The ability to stitch these images together and analyze them for data has also made drones invaluable to the mining and aggregates industry, and 3D mapping techniques based on photogrammetry help companies measure the volume of stockpiles in a much more cost-effective manner. The same procedures are implemented in the agricultural space to give farmers unique insights about their land and crops. In some circumstances, drones are even taking on roles in the public safety space. The Fayetteville Police Department in North Carolina has two drone units that take to the skies to help officers on the ground, whether they're searching for a missing person or trying to apprehend a suspect on the run. So far, the drone program has cost less than $100,000, while an entry-level helicopter program has a price tag of around $1.3 million. For health and safety professionals who are currently using or considering drone solutions, there are a couple important considerations to maintain safety and legality in UAV operations: 1. Observe the 3 RsMaintaining compliance with the regulations covered in FAA Part 107 is critical to a safe operation. That being said, don't abandon common sense — just because something isn't specifically prohibited by the FAA doesn't mean it's a good idea. Respect is also critical when flying your drone. Always ask for permission from clients or landowners, and be transparent about your intent to collect data. When in doubt, overcommunicate. Finally, practicing restraint means avoiding the temptation to multitask and keeping your drone grounded in dangerous situations involving high winds or inclement weather. Not only are these conditions unsafe, but they also put your drone in jeopardy and typically result in unusable image quality. 2. Promote a Safety-First CultureImplement standard operating procedures to establish a culture of safety and minimize accidents. Mitigating risk is about consistency and following safe practices on a daily basis without fail. In other words, it's not enough to simply establish procedures and rules; you have to "walk the walk." Safety requires you to maintain 360-degree awareness of your surroundings — a goal that takes effort and practice. Drone technology is constantly evolving, and it has the exciting capacity to change how certain tasks are performed. As it revolutionizes industries, it's important to keep safety top of mind. Flown carelessly, drones can be dangerous. But a methodical and consistent approach to safety will minimize accidents and maximize your return on investment. Lauren Elmore is the president of Firmatek, a leader in the mining, construction, and solid waste industries that specializes in using drones and data collection to solve problems related to inventory and stockpile measurement, mining and solid waste mapping, and construction and engineering work. She is also a Stanford University graduate with a degree in economics, and she was a member of the Stanford Women's Gymnastics team. Posted on May 31, 2018 Let's block ads! (Why?)

The Do's and Don'ts of Dealing with Eye Accidents and Emergencies

The Do's and Don'ts of Dealing with Eye Accidents and Emergencies Eye injuries can be painful, expensive, and, in some cases, may invite blindness. So if you ever suffer an eye injury, taking appropriate measures until you receive emergency eye care will not only reduce the risk of partial or total blindness, but also help you protect your vision. Since you may not always be able to avoid eye accidents, knowing the do's and don'ts will keep you prepared to handle any emergency until you get to your eye doctor. When a Small Foreign Object Gets in Your EyeDo: Rinse your eye thoroughly with water until the foreign object gets flushed out, and if you are unable to get it out of your eye, cover the eye and rush to the nearest eye doctor. Don't: Don't touch or rub the eye because the foreign object can scratch the eye, causing further damage. How to Remove Embedded ParticlesDo: Immediately bandage the affected eye and see an eye doctor to prevent an infection. Don't: Do not try to remove the embedded object yourself, as it may scratch the cornea and damage your vision. How to Safely Handle a Cut Near the EyeDo: In case of cuts, safely cover the injured area around the eye using bandage to avoid contamination and infection until you receive emergency eye care. Don't: Avoid flushing or washing the cut with water, and don't put any pressure on it. What to Do in Case of Bumps and BruisesDo: Apply a soothing cold compress for at least 15 minutes to reduce the swelling, and visit an ophthalmologist immediately. Don't: Do not put any pressure on the affected area. How to Treat Welding Arc BurnsDo: Keep the eyes closed until you receive emergency eye care. Don't: Don't delay visiting an ophthalmologist as doing so can increase the risk of vision loss. Carefully Approaching Chemical ExposureDo: In case of chemical exposure, immediately flush the eyes using clean water and see an eye doctor without wasting any time. Don't: Do not cover the eyes, and avoid touching or rubbing because this may cause vital eye fluids to leak out. Because your eye is a vital organ that gets easily damaged by cuts, burns, scratches, and chemical exposure, any eye condition that is left untreated can invite partial or permanent loss of vision. So never put your eyes at risk and act quickly whenever you suffer an eye injury, whether it is minor or serious. Tips to Keep Eye Injuries at BayEye injuries can be avoided if appropriate safety measures are taken in everyday life. Use the following tips to safeguard your eyesight in the long term: Handle sharp objects with extreme care and keep them away from the reach of small children. At work, wear protective equipment, especially when you are working with power tools or chemicals. When participating in sports, always wear your helmet and appropriate safety gear. When working outdoors, wear sunglasses that fit snugly around your eyes for protection from harmful UV rays and flying objects. Secure the rugs and railings in and around your house to avoid eyes injuries that occur due to accidental slips and falls. If an eye injury occurs despite taking every precaution, the best way to handle the situation is to seek immediate medical attention at an emergency eye care center as soon as possible. Other eye conditions that are not triggered by an injury but still warrant emergency eye care include blurred vision, redness, painful red eyes, and persistent swelling. Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center, an Ophthalmology Center in California. With a knack for understanding medical procedures and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels. Posted on May 15, 2018 Let's block ads! (Why?)

Maximize Efficiency by Minimizing Workplace Injuries

Maximize Efficiency by Minimizing Workplace InjuriesFrom unexpected falls to machinery mishaps, accidents at work are unpredictable and can happen to anyone. In 2016, approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers. Putting in the extra effort to guarantee your work environment is safe shows employees you care about their well-being and may help improve workforce morale and productivity.By taking action and following these precautionary steps, you can prevent common workplace injuries and protect your employees.FallsFalls have the unfortunate (but unsurprising) distinction of being the most common type of work injury. In one swift movement, you can hurt your body and your dignity. Slips, trips, and falls often can be avoided by keeping work spaces free of clutter; less to trip over means fewer injuries.Keep walkways clear, boxes and files organized and properly stored, and electrical cords secured and covered. Use drip pans and guards when dealing with a liquid, and clean any spill immediately. Placing rugs and other skid-resistant surfaces in areas that might become slippery when wet can reduce falls. Pro tip: Add extra rugs in entryways to prevent slippery floors during rainy and snowy seasons.Employees should refrain from standing on chairs, especially those with wheels. If you need assistance with something out of reach, use a step ladder that is placed on firm, level ground, or connect with the on-site specialist or maintenance team. The National Safety Council also suggests keeping vision lines clear by installing convex mirrors to improve sight lines when turning corners.Struck or Caught By ObjectsBeing struck by or caught on an object is another common concern. Stack boxes straight up and down, but avoid piling them to the point where they become unstable. Remember to store heavy objects close to the floor to help lower the risk of being injured if a cabinet or bookshelf falls over. Beware of fully-extended file cabinet drawers because the cabinets are prone to toppling over.Equipment UsageMisusing equipment is one of the most prevalent causes of workplace injuries. Each staff member should be thoroughly trained on how to use equipment common to daily tasks and operations. Additionally, ensure each piece of equipment is used for its intended purpose and handled correctly. Regularly cleaning and inspecting equipment also can help certify that it's safe to use. If needed, confirm employees are wearing protective clothing such as safety glasses, helmets, or gloves when operating equipment to provide extra protection, and follow OSHA compliance.Fire SafetyFire hazards remain an ongoing concern. Start taking safety precautions by making sure all electrical cords are in good condition, because damaged cords can be a serious problem. Limit the use of space heaters and never leave one unattended. If you do need to use a space heater, keep it away from paper products and confirm it has a fail-safe for turning off if it tips over. Keep fire escape routes clear, and never block or shut off fire sprinklers. Verify all staffers are aware of the company's fire exit strategy by holding annual fire drills. Annually review fire alarms and extinguishers to be sure they are working and up to date.If using combustible materials in the work environment, keep only the amount needed on hand and store materials in fire-safe containers in an assigned storage area. Using industrial vacuums to frequently clean work spaces also helps prevent dust accumulation and fires.Substance ControlOpioid addiction is affecting people from all walks of life, including your employees. Employees under the influence are more likely to be involved in an on-the-job accident because of impaired judgement, response time, and reflexes. Is your workplace current with drug testing policies? Expand existing policies to include commonly prescribed medications (opioids), as well as illicit drugs and alcohol. Implementing this type of testing establishes the use of drugs and can allow the employer to help the employee seek help for drug addiction.Employers can start the conversation by educating their workforce about what's expected from the drug testing program and what resources they can access through the company Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP helps facilitate support by connecting employees with ongoing resources to stay clean and find healthier stress solutions outside of drug use. Drug testing is the first step in recognizing a problem and will keep and support a safe workplace.Take BreaksMany work-related injuries occur when a worker is tired and isn't paying close attention to surrounding dangers. Whether you're sitting at a computer all day or doing manual labor, it's important to take breaks to rest your mind and your body.While workplace injuries can never fully be avoided, they can be decreased. Administrative staff play a key role when identifying and eliminating potentially harmful conditions. When conducting workplace walk-throughs, take this list of safety tips and see how many can be applied to your current work environment. Talk to employees about their needs and concerns, educate them on safety procedures, and establish a reporting system for potential hazards so that issues can be addressed before they cause a future workplace injury.Katie Moser is the network operations specialist for FEI Behavioral Health. She provides critical incident support for corporate customers and activations, and also supports the crisis management department with deployment and scheduling of crisis responders during drills and activations. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.FEI has a 35-year history in enhancing workforce resiliency by offering a full spectrum of solutions, from EAP and organizational development to workplace violence prevention and crisis management. One of the most successful social enterprises in America, FEI is wholly owned by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, a national network of social sector organizations working to achieve its vision of a healthy and equitable society. Learn more at feinet.com.Posted on Mar 16, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)

What Is Involved in a Site-Specific Safety Plan?

What Is Involved in a Site-Specific Safety Plan?When safely operating a truck-mounted crane, you must know your equipment and plan for your job properly. Mobile crane safety training courses can be beneficial to achieving that goal. OSHA-approved classes are arranged to teach inspectors, signalers, contractors, operators, engineers, riggers, and construction managers how to execute heavy lifts safely.You must ensure that everyone participating in the lift receives training in the basics. Your training objectives should involve understanding:Current regulations and standardsThe various types of mobile cranesWork site preparationWhat's included in a site-specific safety planThe risks involved with crane operationEach person's responsibility when it comes to crane safety on construction sitesHow a crane safety plan minimizes the risk of an accidentSwitching between rigging techniques and lifting methodsHow to input a lifting and crane safety programIt is necessary to know what's involved in a site-specific safety plan because that is where on-site crane operations detailed planning begins. A construction manager or general contractor usually prepares the site safety plan alongside the subcontractors. The plan includes each phase of safety and describes how specific processes are to be performed. It also contains details that explain the necessary procedures for each lift.A safety plan that is site-specific helps every business stakeholder abide by OSHA's and others' regulations. It also provides a process for reporting accidents, as well as managing and identifying hazards. When filled out correctly, it will guarantee compliance by doing the following and then some:Guarantee a lift plan for production lifts and separate lift plans for every critical liftInspect procedures for the load testing and/or inspection of cranes, both during the course of construction and when they first arrive on siteDecide where the crane will be during liftsCreate a procedure for dispersing the plans among all partiesDesignate who will operate the craneBe sure that those performing lifting and rigging operations understand proper rigging procedures, and that rigging is supervisedOn a large job site, several contractors coordinate their safety programs to prevent omissions, overlap, and conflicts. This consolidated program is what this "site-specific" plan is for. When other stakeholders have their own safety plans, the lift director or general contractor has to create a site-specific safety plan that considers site-specific conditions.The Job SiteTo comply with a site-specific plan, you must first inspect your work zone. Be aware of your closeness to power lines or any other obstacles overhead. Once you’ve figured out the footprint of your cranes and other equipment, you will need to start the site preparation. High axle loads result in high ground pressures, which means you must know what support and other groundwork need to be placed in advance.Find out where the paths leading to and from the work zone are at the beginning, middle, and end of the project. These zones will be anywhere the cranes, their load, any rigging, or the load line may reach their maximum working radius.These zones will be assigned in the way your team has decided (typically with range-limiting warning devices or flags). These pre-determined limits protect workers and equipment. Make sure that proper signage is plastered everywhere it’s required and that it can be clearly seen by your workers.Examine your cranes as well as your other equipment, making sure to keep careful records each step of the way. Have a crane assembly plan that considers procedures necessary to alter the manufacturer’s instructions to a specific job site's conditions. Local regulations might demand certification and/or a third-party inspection prior to operation. Of course, when the lifts are done, you will need to have a dismantling plan in place.Larry Collier is executive service technician/diagnostic specialist at Larry Collier Crane Parts & Service, which is located in McDonough, Ga. The company prides itself on being a comprehensive resource for high-quality, factory-stocked crane parts, crane repair and rebuild services, diagnostic assistance, and more. Posted on Mar 06, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)

Commercial Property Air Testing: New Technology Saves Time and Expense

Commercial Property Air Testing: New Technology Saves Time and ExpensePoor indoor air quality (IAQ) can result in liability, property damage claims, disruption in business continuity, compromised worker health and safety, and ultimately costly long-term damage to built structures over time. Yet testing IAQ has traditionally been an expensive task, due to the need to contract the services of outside experts, as well as the fact that comprehensive analysis requires complicated equipment or multiple pumps to assess for various contaminants.New technology has hastened the introduction of complete, easy-to-use IAQ assessment kits that can quickly test for the presence of mold, allergens, lead, asbestos, radon, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and formaldehyde. What are some of the current IAQ challenges faced by property management companies, building inspectors and professionals involved in disaster recovery and restoration, and how can the new generation of kits save time and expense?IAQ Challenges in Commercial PropertiesThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized that IAQ is a major concern to businesses, building managers, tenants and employees because it can impact the health, comfort, well-being and productivity of building occupants. Similarly, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) does not publish a formal IAQ standard but suggests that a proactive approach be taken to address IAQ concerns.As noted by OSHA, professionals tasked with maintaining IAQ have traditionally faced a series of challenges ranging from identifying the exact sources of contamination to understanding how the problem can be exacerbated by factors including building design, building materials, and renovation activities.Apart from these well-established and well-reported issues, a separate priority has come to the spotlight in recent months and years in the wake of a string of high-profile natural disasters—such as the destructive hurricanes that struck Texas and Florida during the 2017 hurricane season as well as the wildfires that ravaged large areas in California over the same period. In their wake, these disasters left behind not only houses and buildings that were completely destroyed, but also structures that were left intact but that were significantly contaminated by pollutants such as mold and soot.In the case of these events (as in all natural disasters), preparedness entails an understanding of the complexity of all facets of a loss, including air quality contaminants and potential airborne hazards. Water and fire damage can leave behind a wide range of toxins that must be mitigated before the structures can be fully renovated and occupancy resumed. Exposing occupants and workers to residual contaminants is a potential liability issue that is often overlooked. Meanwhile, local teams involved in assessing IAQ in these structures using conventional methods may be overwhelmed by the sheer scale, cost and project management component of the task.Compounding the complexity of ensuring acceptable air quality in a commercial building is the fact that there is no single test to identify an IAQ problem. In the absence of any more sophisticated procedure, an assessment would entail the inspection and testing of the ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems. As well, a building walk-through to check for odors and look for water damage, leaks, dirt or pest droppings would be necessary.Further evaluation could entail everything from elimination of standing water in humidifiers and air conditioning units to specific testing for individual contaminants, each of which is a time-consuming and expensive task. For a professional contractor tasked with inspecting, assessing or improving a commercial building's indoor environment, it would be an advantage not to have to wait for IAQ experts to arrive on site and to be able to take the task of assessing air quality into one's own control.How New Tests Can HelpIn light of these challenges, new contaminant detection technology optimized for IAQ testing is now commercially available. One such product—the yogi-go—is a portable environmental test kit that is like three pumps in one and allows remediation and restoration professionals, field technicians and building inspectors to conduct complete air sampling themselves. These new, all-in-one sampling instruments are pre-calibrated to provide variable flow rates for multiple contaminants: a high flow rate to sample mold, a mid-range rate to sample lead and asbestos, and a low flow rate to sample VOC gases.A typical kit of this type can detect the presence of several environmental contaminants and toxins in a building—including mold, allergens, lead, asbestos, radon, VOCs and formaldehyde in the air—offering a comprehensive approach to IAQ testing. The tests provide actionable results that can be used to improve the health and well-being of building residents and workers. Such mobile kits would also include a sampling instrument; a waterproof carrying case; and a rechargeable battery, so no on-site electricity is needed to collect samples.These test kits are typically simple to use and come with an easy-to-operate, pre-calibrated instrument and color-coded sampling system. Building managers or other personnel can collect their samples in just minutes and then send the sample to an independent, accredited laboratory.The labs with which these tests typically work adhere to industry standards and are accredited by organizations such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association Laboratory Accreditation Program for Industrial Hygiene and Microbiology; the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program; and the National Radon Safety Board.With some kits, clients receive a full lab report and results summary within a few business days. Some of these solutions include a complimentary phone consultation with a Certified Industrial Hygienist should a building receive a report with high contaminant levels.This unbiased consult can equip an inspector or building manager with the key information needed to address these challenges, potentially mitigating the contaminant levels in their building.Typically, less than five minutes of training is required and there is no need to wait for certified professionals to arrive on the premises. These kits are designed to have the same impact on the industry as other must-have tools, such as the moisture meter and infrared camera.A New Way to Take Control of OperationsThis new breed of devices allows contractors to better handle IAQ assessment at job sites and enable them to manage liability; protect workers, clients and building occupants by managing exposure to air contaminants; support billing and invoicing procedures with comprehensive analytical reporting on microbial presence; and provide accurate, affordable air quality data upon job completion.For building managers, conducting such tests can allow them to retain occupancy and ensure lease renewals while improving client relationships. For disaster recovery and restoration specialists, these tests allow the determination of air quality pre- and post-remediation of water-damaged structures; provide an easy way to collect mold samples; and deliver fire/smoke damage data that can be shared with insurance adjusters and forensic auditors. For all commercial professionals, it is a new way to take control and rely less on consultants.As awareness grows concerning the importance of ensuring good IAQ in commercial properties, the evolution of assessment tests like these can provide property management companies, building inspectors and disaster recovery and restoration professionals with a new level of self-reliance, expertise and time and cost savings.Gregory Sancoff is CEO of Live Pure, Inc., the designer and manufacturer of the yogi™ and yogi-go™ indoor air and drinking water quality assessment kits, which offer a complete solution for home and workplace environmental testing. Posted on Mar 05, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)

Is Your Safety Plan Comprehensive? What You May Be Missing

Is Your Safety Plan Comprehensive? What You May Be MissingSafety should be any business's top priority. The aim of any workplace safety program should be no injuries. It makes good business sense, and it keeps your people from being harmed. What's more important?Still, injuries and fatalities continue to plague businesses, to the tune of $170 billion a year, according to OSHA. The safety agency notes that these are "expenditures that come straight out of company profits" and that this can be the difference between success or failure.The other side of these numbers is human suffering and even death. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workplace fatalities have been steadily on the rise since 2008, up 13 percent through 2016.These are heavy statics. But the truth is that most businesses suffer the costs of injuries even with a proper safety plan and good compliance. So what's missing? Maybe your plan doesn't consider all of the factors that go in to establishing total safety. The True Cost of InjuriesBefore diving into the elements to include in your safety plan, let's first turn to why your goal should be zero injuries. Injuries represent costs: direct and indirect, human and financial. To start, injuries hurt! They may also cause permanent damage.Injuries are expensive. Even the smallest injuries, ones that many employers and employees assume will take place, are more detrimental than might be obvious at first glance.Consider that one laceration costs a business on average $41,000. That could be traded for a lot of worker hours put into crafting an outstanding safety program. It could pay, for instance, for a lot of incentives or improvements.All accidents disrupt work flow, reduce productivity, and decrease morale. They can lead to paid time off, workers' compensation, and ongoing physical therapy. If an employee is sidelined for days or weeks, add on the cost of training a temp worker or new employee and the inefficiency that accompanies such a change. On top of that, there may be damaged or ruined equipment.The bottom line is that accidents should be eliminated because they are nothing but bad.Start With the BasicsAny safety plan should start with the basics: OSHA regulations. Build from there. In other words, meet regulations as your starting point and go beyond them. Get specific. What are the hazards in your particular environment? Identify the problems and find the solutions.It's natural and common to create a safety protocol in reaction to an accident. This is good, but it's better to find potential problems and remove or mitigate them before the accident happens. This requires walking the floor often and paying close attention to how workers complete tasks.It's also important to keep your safety plan nimble, as new hazards will crop up. An easy example is changing weather: Protocols for dealing with ice and snow will apply in the winter, while protocols addressing overheating will apply in the summer.Make Safety Priority One From the Start and Repeat OftenEach new hire needs to understand from the very beginning that safety is the company's top priority and that there is a no-tolerance policy regarding non-compliance. This should be backed up with a comprehensive safety training program that each employee must complete before beginning work.Thereafter, follow up with regular safety meetings and messaging, and keep it varied. People learn in different ways, so spread your safety reminders in different ways. Use videos, posters, texts or emails, loudspeaker announcements, hands-on training, and role play. Add humor to capture you staff's attention.The goal is to keep safety at the forefront of everyone's thoughts.Get Employees InvolvedTo develop and implement the best safety plan possible, you must involve your workforce. Bonus: They'll make your job easier! You can't be everywhere all the time; let them be your proxy. They're the ones who are experts about the workplace environment and the equipment. This puts them in the best position to identify trouble before it happens.Assign safety ambassadors or teams. In addition to helping create safety protocols, empower them with the ability to make sure those procedures are enforced. Encourage them to lend a helping hand to others, when appropriate, and to correct any situation where they see a co-worker being unsafe.By and large, people don't like to be dictated to. Giving employees a voice in the safety plan will make it much more likely that they'll fully participate in a healthy safety culture. This also means allowing them to have a choice in, say, PPE. If there is a dispute about certain elements of your plan, let workers know the reason it's being implemented—that it's not just a "because I say so" situation.Address Mental and Emotional HealthAn important key to staying safe is mental and emotional health—this is an aspect that is often overlooked. However, workers under emotional stress are less productive. They are also more likely to be distracted, tired, and stressed. And stress is one of the most common causes behind accidents.Emotionally and mentally taxed employees may also be more prone to inappropriate behaviors such as drug or alcohol use in the workplace, or lashing out at other employees verbally or physically. Employee-on-employee violence is another top cause of injuries.Be sure to include education about the importance of emotional well-being in your safety talks and training. Dispel any possible discomfort workers may have about this topic by treating it as a normal aspect of your safety program.Provide resources about where to seek counseling for different types of problems. Offer to fully or partially pay for treatments as a way of encouraging such proactive behavior. Put that saved $41,000 to work for you and your team.If employees are having issues in the workplace, be they problems with co-workers or management or just a need for help, let them know whom they can go to in the company. Make it clear that expressing their vulnerability in this way is not only OK, but encouraged. When people know they can ask for help, they work better as a team. And safety is always a team effort.Address Physical HealthPhysically healthy employees are safer employees. Physically unwell people are more likely to lack mental clarity and to be fatigued. And fatigue is yet another primary cause of workplace injuries.Unhealthy people are also more likely to get sick, which results in days off, potentially infecting the rest of your staff, or both.Exercise is a critical aspect of health. Consider paying for gym memberships or offering on-site workout classes. Encourage breaks and suggest that employees get up and move and stretch regularly. This will also help reduce another primary cause of workplace injuries: repetitive movement strain.As regards nutrition, while you can't control everything your workforce eats, you can control what you offer on site and at work meetings and events. Replace soda with healthier options in vending machines. Stock the cafeteria with nutrient-rich options; eliminate processed foods. Ditch the office donuts for fruit and yogurt.As with all other aspects of your safety program, include education about exercise and nutrition in your safety training, too.Safe Workers Are Better WorkersWorkers who feel safe and cared for are more productive, do higher-quality work, miss less work, return to work more quickly after an illness or injury, and are more satisfied—which means they stick around longer.While accidents are all bad, staying safe is all good.TJ Scimone founded Slice, Inc. in 2008, in search of creating the safest cutting tools possible. The result is a unique line of tools including box cutters, utility knives, and craft cutters. All of Slice's tools are ergonomic and feature finger-friendly® blades. Posted on Feb 28, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)

The Fire Problem: Why We Are Still Not Safe

The Fire Problem: Why We Are Still Not SafeFire safety has been an issue since long before last year's devastating Grenfell Tower disaster in London. In fact, recent accidents are only showing us the consequences of decades of neglecting safety.There still are many unanswered questions about fire safety and recent research showing how seriously behind workplaces are on health and safety has only shown that now is the time to rethink building safety.Regulations and responsibilities can be hard to grasp, especially when many different people are involved in the process. A five-step health and safety plan can help with assessing where to start.1) Finding a responsible personAnyone who has some control over premises is legally required to take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of fire and make sure people can escape safely. Such a person can be the employer, the owner, or a facility manager, but the responsibility is not necessarily limited to just one person. If there is more than one responsible person, co-operation and coordination are necessary to comply.Often overlooked, the law applies to self-employed, voluntary organizations or contractors as well. It can be difficult to identify clearly who is responsible for what, as the extent of responsibility also depends on the extent of control, so contacting a professional fire expert is the safest way to making sure every area is covered.2) Assigning dutiesOnce the responsible person is appointed, they will need to make sure the building is compliant with health and safety standards. This will usually include the general fire precautions, fire safety arrangements, such as a fire safety policy and an emergency plan, and the maintenance of all systems and equipment. The first step toward fulfilling these duties is to ensure a fire risk assessment is carried out to identify all possible hazards and risks. The assessment can either be done by a professional auditor or by a competent person.UK fire authorities no longer issue fire certificates and those previously in force have no legal status any more, so carrying out assessments on a regular basis is important to keep legal liability up to date.3) The fire risk assessmentOrganizations with more than five employees are required to record their findings, but it might be useful to record any significant findings in any case. The assessment will help identify every potential hazard and usually includes issues such as:Firefighting equipment and facilities: These include portable fire extinguishers, fire blankets and buckets, sprinkler systems, water mist, spray and foam or powder systems, and kitchen fire suppression systems.Signs and notices: To help people, especially those who are unfamiliar with the building, escape safely and on time, it is very important to provide fire exit signs that incorporate the appropriate pictogram. Other safety signs are necessary if doors need to be locked or kept shut, fire exits need to be kept clear, or to point to fire equipment.Emergency lighting: Self-contained lights with the battery and charger built into the fitting are practical but might not be as helpful in large buildings where central systems are more commonly used. The method of testing the emergency lights shouldn't interfere with the normal lighting from the consumer unit.Means of escape: An assessor needs to consider how quickly the fire could be detected and how fast it might grow and how it could affect the escape routes. Everyone in the building must be able to escape immediately along smoke-free escape routes. Other critical factors include dead ends, stairways, the number and distribution of exits, and special arrangements for people with disabilities.Fire alarm and detection systems: An automatic fire detection and alarm system is considered necessary for residential buildings, covered complexes, buildings with phased evacuation, and a few other situations. In the best case, the fire FD&A system is connected to other systems for automatic control of fire protection measures, such as fire dampers or fixed extinguishing systems.Structural and passive fire protection: Those can limit and control the spread of flame, heat, and smoke by having structural steel protection, fire walls and partitioning, smoke curtains, fire doors, etc. in place.4) Implementing the findingsAfter the assessment has successfully identified all potential hazards, it is time to ensure precautions are in place. If the responsible person feels overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done or simply doesn't know how to install these changes, a professional fire safety officer can help make sure that everything is set up correctly.It is very important that the person carrying out the safety plan and setting up systems is competent to do it. Otherwise, in case of a fire, legal liability might arise on the part of both the responsible person and the assessor if the assessment wasn't done correctly and people are placed at risk of injury or death.5) Maintaining a fire safety planPremises and any protective measure need to be maintained as part of a suitable system. Any equipment, but especially fire safety equipment, needs to be checked, tested, and eventually replaced regularly. This should cover all equipment, systems and facilities such as fire detection and alarm systems, means of escape, emergency lighting, signs, notices, and firefighting equipment.Very importantly, everyone in the building should be trained on how to behave in the event of a fire. That includes explaining emergency procedures, responsibilities and duties of staff, and reflecting the findings of the fire risk assessment together. Fire drills should take place during normal working hours and have to be repeated periodically. Everyone in the building needs to be sure on what to do on discovering a fire, how to raise the alarm, whom to alert, where emergency exists are, and how to use firefighting equipment. These training and briefing sessions can make a huge difference in the end.There have been enough incidents where sloppy health and safety plans have cost lives, time, and money. Setting up the right system now will pay off further down the line and help create a safe, productive, and happy environment.Katharina Busch, content executive at Arinite, is a freelance writer currently based in London. She regularly writes about health and safety, with a focus on workplace safety and fire safety. For more information, visit https://www.arinite.co.uk/. Posted on Feb 22, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)