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I've Been Given 'Safety' . . . . So Now What Do I Do?

I've Been Given 'Safety' . . . . So Now What Do I Do?"Oh my, what did I do to myself? I seemed a little interested in 'Safety,' and now I've been appointed to be my company's safety person! But I don't really know a thing about safety!"You might be surprised how often I hear that. Really. While there are some organizations that, due to company size, type of industry and regulatory experience (and sometimes, company culture) have long-established "safety" (or "health, safety and environment" (HSE)) staffs, there are many that do not. Sometimes organizations have never had a dedicated "safety" person or think they have done "just fine" by making HSE an "additional duty" of existing staff. (Hello, Human Resources, Facilities and Quality staffs?)If this speaks to you, then – welcome. It's a wonderful thing that you (or someone in your company) had some inspiration to address its HSE programs, maybe a bit more formally.  Maybe this was because of workers' compensation costs or a bad injury. Maybe it was because the company needs to prove for its customers, that it has certain programs in place. Or something else.The good news is that regardless, with the proper company support and some effort on your part – you can make a significant difference for your company. You don't have to be an expert in "everything." There are some simple things that can get you moving in the right direction and focusing on some fundamentals can help you.However, and on the other hand, you also need to know that having effective "safety" programs is not just a matter of telling people to "be safe today." There is a lot more to it, as persons who take on safety roles, with or without safety backgrounds, usually find out.The Lay of the LandI am not an attorney and so do not take this as legal advice, but, when you take on safety duties on behalf of an employer, as part of an occupational health and safety program, there are levels of responsibility that go with that. This can vary by country. Speaking purely of safety, in some countries, safety staffs and persons acting in supervisory capacities can have personal liabilities. In the United States, state laws build in the principle of "exclusive remedy." This basically means that employers provide injury benefits to injured workers, regardless of fault. Workers however, lose their ability to sue their employer. Companies in those cases don't have unlimited liability for occupational injuries but in exchange for that, there can essentially be liberal application of workers' compensation benefits. (There can be exceptions to this, such as for cases involving intentional harm, concealment, or other reasons.) This does not however mean that third parties cannot sue companies, such as the families of fatally injured workers, or non-employees. And of course, OSHA can still cite employers for violations of OSHA regulations. (Sometimes, everything can seem to be going "great" until that serious injury or fatality....)The violation of environmental laws tends to have much higher potential for personal liability and jail time. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can prosecute criminally, and the Department of Justice has an Environmental Crimes Section. For a discussion pertaining to your potential liabilities, consult your company's legal counsel or your attorney.In any event, if your company is regulated by OSHA, the supervisors and managers in your company "do" have certain obligations. There are higher expectations of supervisors and managers than of general employees, but then again, the law does describe the rights and responsibilities of employees.Ignorance on the part of your company, is not an excuse for not otherwise providing a safe and healthful workplace. Especially if push ever comes to shove, your company will want to show that it is compliant with applicable laws and regulations, has competent persons performing necessary actions to provide a safe workplace, and that it takes reasonable and prudent actions in its approaches to safety.Understanding basic requirements or "safety 101" issues is part of that and will be important to you. This includes knowing which organizations regulate your business (including OSHA and EPA or State-equivalents as well as others) and becoming aware of critical compliance issues. You need to know what your basic "blocking and tackling" issues are. Focusing on safety and health for the moment, these types of items would include basic hazard identification and control, first aid and emergency medical care, emergency action plans, fire protection, basic injury and illness reporting and investigation, regulatory reporting of injuries, claims management, processes for ensuring proper training (some topics are mandatory), processes to determine and ensure workers are qualified to perform certain work (e.g. electrical), and written programs that apply across a number of industries. (For example, emergency action plans, energy control (lock/tag/try), hazard communication, and others.) While some regulations will apply to a broad range of types of employers, others apply only if conducting certain types of work. If your company uses machines and equipment with hazardous motion or components, you will want to learn machine guarding requirements, for example.Going beyond that, to do the best job, you will also need to know some related and/or extended concepts. For example, what are reasonable company policies and HSE goals? What are "leading" and "lagging" safety indicators? How does what "you" do fit into your organization's workers' compensation programs and disability insurance programs? How can or should what "you" do integrate with new projects, processes, and equipment that other departments might be planning? What organizations exist in your industry that may have defined best practices for the type of business you are in?You will want to start a process to answer those questions.What Causes Injuries? What Prevents Them? Your Answers Are CriticalYou will want to be able to move beyond just taking notes on injuries that have already happened and instead, proactively avoid having those "bad" things from happening to begin with. (Or are you happy to serve just as the local claims administrator for the insurance company?)What is YOUR take on the age-old topic of "why accidents (incidents) happen?" This is a critical question, and your personal answer to this question will affect how you develop and implement your programs. Is it the case that most accidents are from dumb mistakes and a failure to be careful, and that people should be fired if they have one, regardless of the culture, management leadership, training, and work environment? Is it just the opposite of that – always "management's fault," regardless of employee actions? Or do causes tend to include a blend of factors? There are many books and articles written about these questions; you should take some initiative if you haven't already, to become informed about causes and prevention.'Warning! Warning! Warning!'There is the risk that some of the well-intentioned folks who’ve asked you to take on your new role, may have some misconceptions about what an effective safety program should include, or otherwise firmly believe in ideas and approaches to safety that are not acceptable to OSHA or have otherwise been discredited. For example, one must be careful when implementing safety incentive programs, so that the program does not discourage injury reporting. For another example, some might want you to model your accident prevention programs based solely on the old triangle theory (Heinrich theory) of injury causes and relationships. Organizations that use that approach and that treat all events as equal in terms of serious injuries and fatality (SIF) potential, are likely to miss important risk reduction opportunities. This is because in at least most cases, the types of things that cause SIFs, are not the same things that cause other less severe types of injuries. By the way, the old Heinrich model also had explicit consideration for mental deficiency as one potential cause of injuries. I doubt that you'll want to be telling your injured employees that they are mentally deficient.Where to Begin?If you don’t have a safety background, it would be good to learn some basic concepts. Work with your company to identify resources that are already available to you. Are there corporate resources and possibly a corporate web page with links and tools?An OSHA 30-hour regulatory overview class can be helpful to understand a broad range of requirements, although it will also probably cover some requirements that have nothing to do with your type of business. With a good trainer, it will be a good start, but do realize that will "just" be a start. Your company should not be under the illusion that this is all you will ever need.There are other ways to gather information about basic hazards and requirements. Some states have compliance assistance/consultation programs that provide mini-courses on things like "Top 25 OSHA Violations" and high-impact requirements. The federal OSHA web page has some great resources, including a small employer orientation. There is even an interactive tutorial on hazard identification. Then, there are other decent primers that you can find on line with a little bit of research. You can also find various kinds of task-specific hazard checklists online, in many cases, for free.Training might be available through the insurance company that provides your company's workers' compensation coverage. If so, you can often work with your insurance company and ask them to provide and/or tailor a class for you and other employees. Be selective however, because usually there is only "so much" that can be provided within a policy year.Also, I would find a book or two on basic safety management. As you identify your gaps, you can obtain more specialized texts and materials if you need them. You may want to tie in with one or more associations or organizations dedicated to occupational safety and health. Depending upon your perspective, this could include, for example, the National Safety Council (NSC), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), or the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association (for mining). There are also industry-specific organizations that can help address industry-specific safety issues. For example, the American Foundry Society (AFS) has a committee dedicated to foundry-related health and safety.You can also subscribe to online safety publications. These organizations discuss current safety issues and also periodically provide related webinars. Some are free, but for those with a fee, it's usually pretty minimal. OH&S Magazine is one option for this.At some point, attendance at regional or national safety conferences can be helpful. These normally provide you with access to both excellent presentations on topics that you choose, and exhibits and displays of safety related gear, equipment, supplies and software that may be of interest to you. Consider checking out the Michigan Safety Conference, the Indiana Safety and Health Conference & Expo, the Tennessee Safety & Health Conference, and other regional events. National events include (but certainly are not limited to) the National Safety Congress & Expo, the American Society of Safety Engineers' Professional Development Conference & Exposition, and the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition. There are numerous specialty conferences beyond those, such as for ergonomics.There are also several documents out there that are intended to describe elements of effective safety management systems. You might want to look at these to gather ideas for what to be sure to include in your own system or to set a company trajectory. For example, there is the well-established ANSI/ASSE Z10 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard, recently reaffirmed and with some fantastic additions planned. The revised standard should be released by the end of 2018. There is also the newly approved international standard ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.Once you understand basic requirements and good practices, you can and should assess how your company stacks up.To do this, you should (if you haven't already) conduct a review of the last few years of your company's injury and illness records and note the types of injuries/illnesses that have occurred and the corresponding causes. Also ask your company for copies of prior insurance and risk assessment reports and prior regulatory citations, and/or conduct other assessments against criteria that you establish. Perhaps your company has conducted internal walk-throughs or program evaluations. Take a look at those.Evaluate your safety committee, if there is one. Is there a scope, and does it have clear goals? With proper scope and employee involvement, some great things can come out of having one. But this is with willing employee involvement, meaningful participation, and appropriate training. Safety committee members may be willing and able to assist with special projects. If you don't have a safety committee (and presuming that one is not required by regulation or contract), then evaluate whether or not one would be helpful.It can make sense to ask for a third-party assessment or assistance periodically. You don't know what you don't know. An extra set of eyes can help. Injuries and fatalities sometimes occur because workers can basically become complacent or inattentive to risks they are used to taking, or because people don't fundamentally recognize risk potential. Also, some types of assessments are best conducted by third parties unless you have staff fully trained and competent for the type of assessment needed, such as for personal air sampling to assess compliance with regulatory exposure limits.Back at the RanchHopefully, you plan to take your new assignment seriously and manage it as you would for any other part of the business. For that matter, your company's HSE programs should be integrated into the business, for greatest buy-in and success. Develop a coordinated game plan and follow it. Plan to develop your skills and knowledge. Ask for help when you need it. Develop measures of success, communicate, and seek to improve over time. You don't need to be intimidated, and you can succeed in your new role with the proper mindset and deliberate action. Good luck.Greg Zigulis, CIH, CSP, is President of Sixth Sense Safety Solutions and provides companies with comprehensive occupational health and safety assistance. Over the span of his 30+ year career (to include in manufacturing, construction, restoration and mining), he has helped many persons assigned "safety duties" to understand responsibilities and best practices, to grow in knowledge and to develop in their roles. To learn more, go to or contact Greg at [email protected](This article is posted with permission from the author's blog.)Posted on Feb 15, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)

Chemical Hazard Communication: Why Do I Need GHS Labels?

Chemical Hazard Communication: Why Do I Need GHS Labels?What is hazard communication, and why does it apply to my workplace? OSHA recently aligned with a global system to simplify workplace safety. Hazard communication is a procedural standard set forth by the United Nations to standardize the identification, communication, and labeling of chemical-related hazards. The globally harmonized system (GHS) of chemical identification and labeling can be a bit complicated, so here we'll try and dive in to the finer details and help make sense of it all. In order to understand hazard communication (also known as HazCom), first we must differentiate between common workplace containers. Primary Container vs. Secondary Container Labels Primary containers come straight from the manufacturer. They come in drums, tubs, pails, bottles, or other larger canisters that are pre-labeled with the chemical identifier. The primary container labels are required to include the manufacturer information. The next section is where things are a little confusing. Often times, workplace operations require transferring chemicals from the original labeled container into a smaller secondary container (beaker, flask, or bottle). Additionally, certain manufacturing processes require hazardous materials to be transferred into larger containers (plating and finishing operations, semiconductor, pharmaceutical manufacturing, etc.) Secondary container labels do not require the manufacturer information. A written hazard communication program is key to standardize your workplace chemical stock, and facilitate your GHS Chemical labels.Labeling Requirements for Secondary Containers The secondary containers are required to be labeled with a GHS chemical label, given if any of the following events occur: The material is not used within the work shift of the individual who makes the transfer. The worker who made the transfer leaves the work area. The container is moved to another work area and is no longer in the possession of the worker who filled the container. Labels on portable containers are not required if the worker who made the chemical transfer uses all of the contents during the work shift. If you use chemicals in the workplace, chances are that you need GHS labels. These labels inform workers of chemical hazards and keep the company compliant with the HazCom standard. OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard OSHA hazard communication federal standard [29 CFR 1910.1200(f)(1)] states the following: "Employers must ensure that no worker uses, stores, or allows any other person to use or store any hazardous substance in a laboratory if the container (including bags, barrels, bottles, boxes, cans, cylinders, drums and reaction vessels) does not meet the following labeling requirements in OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard." The OSHA standard also indicates the primary aspects of a GHS Label.
The identity of the chemical and appropriate hazard warnings must be shown on the label. The hazard warning must provide users with an immediate understanding of the primary health and/or physical hazard(s) of the chemical through the use of words, pictures, symbols, or any combination of these elements. The name and address of the manufacturer, importer or other responsible party must be included on the "primary container" label. The hazard label message must be legible, permanently displayed, and written in English. The expectation for compliance for the now two-year-old GHS alignment has only increased going into 2018. Ensure your facility is up-to-date with chemical organization and label compliance!Source: OSHA QuickFacts. Laboratory Safety Labeling and Transfer of Chemicals. Web. OSHA 3410 8/2011. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 19 April, 2017. Jacob Gospodnetich is the Marketing & Content coordinator for HCL Labels, Inc. He graduated San Jose State University in 2016 with his Bachelors in Business with a Concentration in Marketing.Posted on Feb 08, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)

How GFCIs Save Lives

How GFCIs Save LivesFrom the time they were introduced in 1973, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) have reduced the number of electrocutions by 83 percent, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. These safety devices detect when an electrical current is moving through an unintentional path (such as water or a person) and immediately shut off power to prevent injuries. They are used inside and outside of homes and commercial buildings in areas where water or moisture is nearby. There are also GFCI circuit breakers that protect a whole circuit of outlets.GFCIs are equally as important as smoke detectors in residential buildings — and like smoke detectors, they're required by code. Homes built before the 1970s should be updated to include GFCI outlets in any rooms with electrical access near a water source.How They WorkIf water contacts a device plugged into a GFCI while the device is turned on, the GFCI senses a short circuit and interrupts the connection.The GFCI's inner mechanics monitor the temperature difference of the electrical current running between the loop of the hot and the neutral wires. When it detects a temperature imbalance, the GFCI trips the breaker in the outlet, stopping the flow of electricity. It prevents any further electrical current from passing through until the outlet is manually reset.Testing a GFCIThese types of devices occasionally break or wear out. Newer GFCIs have a light indicator that alerts homeowners if there is a problem, along with a reset button, which closes one of the circuits and disables the entire outlet. To test the GFCI, simply press the "test" button, then the "reset" button. The power in the outlet should turn off at the test and then turn back on after the reset.If a circuit is damaged — or was installed incorrectly — the reset button will not click into place. The problem could be a bad GFCI outlet or a broken or frayed wire. If the wire is broken or frayed, the electricity can heat that wire and potentially cause a fire at the outlet or an adjacent wall, ceiling, or floor. Encourage homeowners to test their GFCIs monthly to identify any potential problems as soon as possible. How to Install a GFCIGFCIs are easy to install if you understand the concept of electrical flow and know which lines are "hot" (meaning they carry live electricity) and which are neutral. Carefully read the manufacturer's instructions before installing a GFCI. Ensure that the circuit breaker for that outlet is off and there is no power at the outlet before you begin. GFCI receptacles have terminal screws on both sides. One side is the "line" and the other side is the "load." Each wire must go on the correct side:The black wire is the load wire (meaning it has live electricity). It is installed on the "load" side.The white wire is the neutral wire and goes on the "line" side.The green wire is the ground wire (the wire that carries electrical current into the ground). It should be connected to the bottom screw of the GFCI. If there isn't an existing ground wire in the wall box where you plan to install the GFCI, do not install it. The ground wire safely diverts the current and is critical to preventing injuries. Installing, testing, and repairing GFCIs can be lifesaving. Work with homeowners to make sure they have these safety devices in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and outdoor receptacles.Hector Seda has more than 40 years of construction industry experience in residential, commercial, and health care construction. He also writes about tools, power distribution, and construction for The Home Depot. Their selection of circuit breakers, including GFCI breakers, can be easily accessed by clicking here.This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement.Posted on Feb 07, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)

Six Risky Misconceptions About Workplace Violence

Six Risky Misconceptions About Workplace ViolenceKnowledge is power. False knowledge exposes everyone to risk. This is especially true when evaluating your workplace for the risk of workplace violence. Misconceptions about workplace violence all too often lead to poor policies and decisions that can leave workplaces more exposed to dangers.Here are six common myths to consider regarding your workplace."It can't happen here."This myth is hazardous because it can create a false sense of security and cause management to ignore important warning signs. In truth, violence can happen in any workplace. Management must have a realistic awareness of risks and the tools to assess and manage them. Rational awareness, not paranoia, is the key to cultivating safer workplaces."Workplace violence is about murder."It's easy to take the impression from sensational media coverage of mass shootings in workplaces that workplace violence always means people are being shot and dying. In fact, not so. The FBI issued a study in 2002 called "Workplace Violence: Issues in Response." In it, they report: "Homicide and other physical assaults are on a continuum that also includes domestic violence, stalking, threats, harassment, bullying, emotional abuse, intimidation, and other forms of conduct that create anxiety, fear, and a climate of distrust in the workplace. All are part of the workplace violence problem.""Potentially violent people can be 'profiled' and screened out."Wrong. Those who commit violence in the workplace can be of any demographic background. When we turn to generalizations, profiling, and stereotyping to screen out potential perpetrators instead of watching for behaviors, we put the workplace in much more danger of experiencing violence."Violent perpetrators just 'snap' with no warning or clues."This simply isn't true. It's very rare for violent incidents to happen without any kind of recognizable warning behaviors. They could be odd behaviors, obsessions, ominous statements, threats, escalation of conflict with other workers, and other warning signs."Only 'crazy' people commit workplace violence."Not so. Only about 5 percent of profoundly mentally disturbed people are actually violent. And of that population, the majority are incarcerated or hospitalized. Most workplace violence is not committed by those who would be considered "insane.""Security guards and metal detectors will keep us safe."A dangerous myth. Almost anything can be used as a weapon by someone intent on causing another person injury. The ability to commit workplace violence is not contingent upon smuggling a firearm past security. It has also been demonstrated that the presence of such measures only forces the perpetrator to be more creative in order to defeat them.Here's what you can do:Start by educating yourself. Do some reading. Talk to an expert. Have you subscribed to any of the myths mentioned in this article? Becoming aware of that is a great start.Pay attention to your people. Watch for changes in behavior and learn which behaviors should command your attention.Revisit your policies. Are there any tweaks that could make your workplace safer? Get some good advice, if necessary.The risk of workplace violence can be dramatically reduced with good information, good policies, and increased awareness.Gary Sheely is a Tactical Confrontation Specialist at who focuses on workplace violence issues. He's published three books, including his latest one, "Safe at Work: How Smart Supervisors Reduce the Risk of Workplace Violence." He conducts training workshops and has been a keynote speaker across the United States. He can be reached at [email protected] on Jan 03, 2018Let's block ads! (Why?)

Preventing Industrial Blind Spot Accidents with Safety Mirrors

Preventing Industrial Blind Spot Accidents with Safety MirrorsThough many types of safety equipment exist, one of the most effective and economical approaches is preventing collisions with special industrial safety mirrors and domes that are shatter resistant, weatherproof, and can be customized to fit the unique needs of the industrial environment. The use of these devices is an approach already widely accepted in many workplace safety programs and due to its simplicity, affordability and customizable properties, convex mirrors and mirrored domes are rapidly gaining traction among industrial safety managers worldwide.However, the selection of convex mirrors can be far from a straightforward process. Often, one-size-fits all, standard catalog units will not suffice. The types of vehicles used in the space, pedestrians, traffic flow factors, and how aisles intersect can all play a role in determining which mirrors and domes best serve the organizations' workplace safety needs. Other issues that may need to be addressed include how easily the mirror mounts to a specific surface, upholds in severe weather conditions or resists shattering.In these situations, special options or customization of mirrors may be required to help walking employees and vehicle operators optimally "see around corners" to improve safety at active aisle intersections and loading docks.Dangerous Work ZonesSafety is often compromised in facilities when both employees operating heavy equipment such as forklifts encounter stock pickers or others on foot at dangerous intersections or blind spots. The ramifications of a workplace collision are great: physical injury, death, potential litigation, loss of productivity, and even higher insurance rates are all possible consequences of employees not having greater visibility in the workplace. Even a near miss or a "close call" can be serious. Many of the large fulfillment warehouses have "runners" who blindly run into each other, while on foot at rack intersections, causing severe injury."If someone is carrying product, chemicals, or items involved in production, a near miss can cause them to fall or drop a what they are holding, which can lead to all kinds of issues," said David Johnson, Merchandising Manager at Northern Safety Co., a supplier of industrial safety equipment.While some safety precautions already exist in such environments, none are foolproof. For example, for forklifts and other vehicles that "beep" loudly when in reverse, the noise inside and outside a busy facility can often drown out such warnings."When vehicle operators drive in reverse, they are often looking the opposite way that they are traveling," Johnson said. "The noise level at production plants can also distract workers. That's when the risk of an industrial accident multiplies – when employees cannot adequately see or hear vehicles or foot traffic at intersections and other high risk areas."As a solution, industrial safety mirrors and domes provide a vital secondary level of visual protection at locations where the collision risk is greatest. To accommodate a range of needs, many options are available. This includes not only a wide variety of mirror and dome sizes, shapes, and angles of visibility, but also shatter-resistant acrylic and polycarbonate materials, "all weather" coatings for indoor or outdoor use, as well as high-visibility safety markings designed to attract attention. For instance, in outdoor loading dock areas, a standard mirror tends to blend into the background when a forklift exits a trailer. In such cases, convex mirrors with high visibility safety borders, such as those by Se-Kure Domes and Mirrors, a Sturgis, Michigan based manufacturer of industrial safety mirrors, can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.While the company's Safety Border Convex Mirror offers 160° viewing, the caution stripes on the border draw immediate attention to the mirrored viewing area. This provides additional safety at corner and "T" intersections outdoors. Strategically positioning these mirrors at the ends of warehouse aisles and outside corners can also help to prevent accidents at blind spots in indoor spaces, as well.Compared to conventional glass mirrors, acrylic mirrors are much more durable, lightweight, and fade-proof with top quality metalizing. Second surface printing also protects the safety border from scratching or discoloring. Mirrored domes also have a high-visibility safety border option.Endless Options to Meet Workplace NeedsIndoors, mirrored domes in a variety of configurations can provide even greater visibility around corners. To eliminate blind spots around machinery and in areas with low ceilings, mirrors with a "roundtangular" shape can allow a wide viewing angle with a minimal vertical mirror height, allowing the mirror to be placed as high as possible on the wall.Specialized convex or flat mirrors with handles and wheels can also promote safety by allowing employees to easily inspect under cars, trucks, and heavy equipment without having to climb under the vehicles or elevate them. Options include an LED flashlight for better viewing and a heavy-duty articulated wheel carriage that enables tilting the mirror without the wheels leaving the surface. Economy models are also available without wheels for quickly searching high areas, such as racks or shelves without having to climb a ladder.To promote plant safety, slogans can be printed on a mirror's surface such as "meet the person most responsible for your safety," as well as company information or logos. This option is available for convex, dome, and flat mirrors.According to Johnson, most of the situations that pose a danger to worker safety are usually solved with an out-of-the-box solution. However, when customization of the mirror, dome, or mounting hardware is required, few companies are equipped to make the necessary modifications. He said a mirror or dome can be found "for virtually all applications, and when customization or modification is required, they can do that, too."While industrial safety mangers typically gauge the value of a product by the number of accidents, incidents, or even near misses they record, what this tracking does not account for is the amount of traffic that is kept safe each day by industrial mirrors and domes. "The true value of such mirrors is how economically they can help to prevent accidents and enhance production uptime," said Johnson.John Mangiameli is Executive Vice President at Se-Kure Controls, Inc. Se-Kure Domes & Mirrors ( is a wholly owned subsidiary of Se-Kure Controls and is a manufacturer of domes and mirrors for industrial warehouse safety applications. Se-Kure offers a variety of hardware and mounting attachments for ideal mirror and dome placement, even in challenging environments. Posted on Dec 21, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Gift Wrapping and Lifting Tips for the Busy Elf

Gift Wrapping and Lifting Tips for the Busy ElfChoose the best place to wrap your gifts and away from prying eyes.BEST: Standing using a work surface that is 36-42” high (kitchen bar/island, a folding table with risers or counter) provides a good height for working while standing.  Standing allows you to move freely and avoid strains that can occur when over reaching.GOOD:Sitting on a chair at a table is ok, but try to avoid reaching too far away to get supplies, cut the full length of paper or wrap large items standing up if you have to reach.AVOID: Wrapping gifts on the floor; this puts excessive strain on your back and causes awkward reaching and sitting postures.Gather all your supplies and place conveniently nearby to reduce reaching...… such as presents, wrapping paper, ribbon, tape and scissors so you aren't running around looking for materials.The need to repetitively reach across the table for these items can put stress on the low back.Tight on space? Consider pulling out a kitchen drawer and covering it with a cookie sheet or pan with sides, then place all of your supplies such as scissors, tape, ribbon, tags in the pan so you aren't searching for them while wrapping.Cutting and taping: Avoid Sawzall and Duct Tape.Consider investing a few dollars and get the best tools for the job like this wrapping paper cutter, spring-loaded scissors, and weighted tape dispenser. The cutting tools reduce the stress on the hand and fingers. The tape dispenser allows you to retrieve a piece of tape with one hand while the other hand is holding it all together.Use gift bags and avoid a lot of the fancy folding and cutting.Gift bags decrease the time you need to wrap gifts and eliminate the need to reach for paper, scissors, tape, etc. Oversize bags are great for large or heavy items.Take an eggnog break to change posture and stretch… grab a cookie too!!!Take a stretch break every 20-30 minutes. Open up your shoulders and take a few back bends. Go for a little walk.Don't be a messy elf and clean up as you wrap.Scraps of paper and ribbon on the floor create a slip and fall hazard (as well as too much mulled wine).Gift Lift Guidelines:When bending and reaching, fire up your core muscles and bend your knees. Keep your head above your buttocks when bending.Anything over 35 pounds is a two elf lift.Over 50 pounds get the John Deere or just put a bow on it and leave it where it lies.When putting packages under the tree avoid unsupported long reaches. Pad your knees when kneeling, place one hand on the ground and position lighter gifts with the free hand.When you stand up, reset your body and take a few back bends.Avoid over shoulder reaches when putting the star on top of the tree. Get a ladder or step stool to keep the job below shoulder level. When the ladder has printed on the top rung "this is not a step," it means, this is not a step. Falling into the tree will only "delight" the tree, if you know what I mean.(This article was posted to with permission from the MEMIC Safety Blog.)Natalie Campaneria is a Safety Management Consultant with The MEMIC Group (207-791-3514,, a super-regional specialist in workers' compensation insurance that is based in Portland, Maine. She has more than 25 years of medical and ergonomics experience as a physical therapist to MEMIC. In her prior role, Natalie founded the ergonomics department for a regional health care system with the goal of reducing repetitive strain injuries in the workforce. Her responsibilities included job-specific ergonomic risk assessments and she was responsible for the development of safety and risk prevention programs. As the leader of the ergonomics team she spearheaded, implemented, and taught material handling, office ergonomics, and safe patient handling programs which resulted in significant reductions in worker injuries and claims. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Florida International University and a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) from the University of New England. Before joining the health care profession, she worked in the hospitality industry including restaurants, cruise ships, and hotels; she holds a degree in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America.Posted on Dec 18, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

The Connected Worker: Leading a Revolution in Safety and Productivity

The Connected Worker: Leading a Revolution in Safety and ProductivityArtificial intelligence (AI), analytics, robotics, and other disruptive technologies are already enhancing the capabilities of white-collar workers. Sports reporters and financial analysts, sales and marketing professionals, insurance claims adjusters and lawyers are all using these technologies to work more accurately and efficiently. But how far behind are blue-collar workers?In reality, blue-collar workers were early adopters of technologies such as robotics, using it to improve efficiency for mechanical tasks that include palletization, welding, stamping, trimming, deburring, and molding machines more than two decades ago. Now, with improvements in connectivity and sensor technology, blue-collar workers in industries as diverse as energy, utilities, manufacturing, construction, and mining are about to take the next big leap. Their use of sophisticated sensors, networks, data sciences, and analytics is resulting in quantum improvements in productivity, decision making, and safety.Blue-collar workers have traditionally been resistant to technologies that track and monitor performance, but this is changing with the usage of these technologies in other spheres of life. The widespread consumerization of technology and pervasive connectivity has lowered resistance. The blue-collar demographic is now more comfortable with the concept and benefits of being connected.Even more critical to the acceptance of data sciences and analytics is the change in shop floor work contracts. Workers are increasingly being compensated based on output. This makes tracking the number of hours worked, quality, output, and reporting a crucial requirement.Another compelling driver of the coming change is the number of individuals affected by work-related accidents. According to the latest figures available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compensation as a result of workplace injuries in the natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations alone account for 3 percent of total compensation costs in the United States. A number of ways to make the workplace safer and reduce the unnecessary cost of medical compensation are being urgently explored.Clearly, blue-collar workers are primed for the adoption of AI, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), analytics, and robotics. Industry 4.0 is knocking at their doors, and executives responsible for safety, productivity and costs are opening their doors to the new technologies.Safety FirstThe good news is that many of the solutions in terms of connected networks, sensors, software, algorithms, and analytical engines and data storage already exist in generic forms. These solutions just need to be shaped for industry-specific situations and use cases. For example, a construction site needs to keep workers safe from equipment that is moving materials (overhead cranes, welding machines, cutters, etc). Employees must be warned in real time when approaching equipment presents a danger. Sensors placed around the equipment or on the workers in the form of wearables can be used to trigger alarms.On the other hand, workers in a mining operation may need to be kept secure from gas leaks. Similarly, in situations such as fatigue detection in a worker, companies may need the sensors to sniff out the data to send to a system for analytics. A broad, overall architecture diagram for such a system is shown below. In this example, Sam, a miner, wears a helmet equipped with a bunch of sensors, communication equipment and alert management options. The system monitors Sam’s environment and is capable of making localized decisions for a handful of situations. But when the decision-making is complex, it uses a gateway to send data to a central system or cloud where the data is analyzed and decisions relayed back to Sam. Such central systems can be used to serve workers and emergency response teams (ERTs) in multiple zones and geographies. The solutions that keep Sam safe need to be scalable and reliable. This means three things: 1. Ensuring the capability of sensors and devices (on helmets, wearables, clothes, belts, loops, operational equipment, and facilities or work environments) remains within a manageable range. 2. The solution must have redundancy in order to remain reliable.3. The solution must be hierarchical in nature, helping address the time required for a response, the coverage area, and the different levels of decision making needed in a given environment.This approach covers all possible situations related to safety and productivity. For example, a "man down" gets processed by a helmet using a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a location-based service to generate an instant alarm. Health monitors that measure pulse, oxygen levels, and blood pressure, on the other hand, can leverage a back-end analytical system to determine alerts for more fuzzy parameters such as worker fatigue.Productivity NextThe quest for lowered cost and reduced equipment downtime in the energy, utilities, manufacturing, construction, and mining industries is never ending. With the arrival of the connected worker, delivering on both counts has become easier.Take the need of aeronautical engineering companies for assembling hundreds of small components with very high quality parameters. Such assembly requires sophisticated training, long years of experience and tools to ensure that precise safety standards are met. However, workers with minimal experience can be equipped with AR visors and now deployed on the shop floor without compromising quality. The AR visor assists workers by overlaying instructions on actual scenarios to guide assembly and assure quality.In other instances, workers wearing AR glass can team up with remote experts to examine the condition of sophisticated and expensive equipment. The experts, in a central location, can work with on-site workers in different geographies to ensure accurate and timely maintenance. To achieve this, annotated images and videos of equipment are sent back in real time to the experts who then provide solutions. By eliminating the need to maintain on-site expertise, operational costs are brought down and the highest quality of support is made available across geographies.Again, like safety, productivity solutions must be hierarchical in nature. Systems should be able to assess the level of support required. This means if a chatbot can assist a worker with the first level of troubleshooting, the problem should be escalated to a subject matter expert only when the intervention by the chatbots fails. The overall effect of using chatbots is multifold: problems can be dealt with locally using a bunch of sensors and analytics, while down time can be minimized and costs kept under control.The data compiled from incidents can then be used for long-term measures that improve productivity and reduce costs. These measures would include imparting better training and capturing root cause to re-design or upgrade equipment and processes.The Promise of TechnologyThe technological building blocks to fuse physical and cyber systems – sensors, hardware, equipment, models, data management and analytics – already exist. Sensors are becoming rugged and affordable. Their form factor ensures they can be embedded into practically any equipment, device or location. Edge computing devices are becoming sophisticated. Communication infrastructure and networks reliability have reached a new peak. Cloud-based back-end systems can scale at will. All that organizations must now do is use innovation and ingenuity to bring these innovations together.Industry 4.0 and its connected workers hold the promise of a safer, more productive, and cost-effective future. The reality is that blue-collar workers can finally join the ranks of their white-collar brothers using today’s smart, new technologies.Swarup Mandal is General Manager, Manufacturing & Technology, for Wipro Ltd.Posted on Dec 14, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Taking Temperatures at a Distance with Infrared Thermometers

Taking Temperatures at a Distance with Infrared ThermometersHandheld digital thermometers can determine surface heat without touching what's being measured. While you won't need this style thermometer to check how cold it is outside or take your child's temperature, they're extremely useful if you need to know the surface temperature of something that is in motion, too hot to touch, or too far away to get a temperature reading using other means.Increasing Safety MeasuresFor many industrial operations, elevated temperatures are one of the first signs that something is wrong, including lubrication failure and excessive bearing wear. Infrared thermometers are an essential safety tool that can help identify potential problems early on without risking the safety of crew members. These thermometers reduce the potential of burn or injury when working with unfamiliar equipment. They're also vital to safe protocol in the event of a fire or other emergency — employees can use them to check the surface temperatures of doors and walls to safely exit the job site.How They WorkThese devices measure the infrared radiation (IR) given off by any object compared to the ambient temperature that surrounds the object. Let's use the example of an incandescent light bulb, which gives off heat when it's turned on. The amount of heat the bulb gives off can be determined in many ways. The IR thermometer calculates the difference in temperature between the bulb and its surroundings and converts this to a digital temperature value on a screen located on the back side of the tool.Typical readouts happen in less than a second, and accuracy claims for the less expensive models are about plus or minus 3 degrees Fahrenheit on a measurement range between 0 and 600 degrees Fahrenheit. To use the tool, point it toward the surface you want to evaluate, center the red dot it emits on that area, then check the digital readout for the temperature result.Understanding Distance-to-Spot RatiosThese tools are also rated in terms of their distance-to-spot relationship, known as the D/S ratio. When evaluating an object, the distance at which the tool can be used varies depending on the size of the area being measured.For example, if you need to check the temperature of a spot with an approximate diameter of 2 inches and your thermometer has a D/S rating of 8:1, then accurate readings are possible up to 16 inches away. If your spot is 4 inches in diameter and you have a thermometer with a D/S rating of 12:1, an accurate reading can be taken up to 48 inches away. Because the distance goes up in a direct proportion to the spot size, the farther away you make the evaluation, the larger the spot being read must be. If you need to check a smaller spot from a greater distance away, you'll need a higher D/S rating, such as 12:1 or higher.Additional ConsiderationsThere are some limitations to these devices. They measure surface temperatures, so they can't deliver readings through material, even transparent ones such as glass, water, and acrylic plastics. They can also be thrown off by airborne pollutants such as smoke, dust, and moisture.Fortunately, these tools are relatively affordable. Many models are available for $50 or less, but there are also units that cost nearly $200. As the number of features, accuracy, and D/S ratios increase, the price does, too. Think carefully about what you need the tool to do. Professional users will normally need very specific capabilities to match the requirements of their work. For this reason, careful comparison-shopping is required.A Welcome Addition to a Well-Rounded ToolboxSafety, reliability and convenience are important factors on any job site. By adding this important tool to your arsenal, you’ll be able to offer improved safety measures and ensure your next project runs smoothly.Steve Willson began his career as an owner-operator of a carpentry contracting business. He joined Popular Mechanics magazine as their home improvement editor, a position he held for 22 years. He has written three books about home improvement and using tools. To see a wide selection of tools, including infrared thermometers like the ones Steve describes, please visit The Home Depot website.This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement. Posted on Dec 11, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Workrite Uniform Company Shares Top Five FR Outerwear Considerations

Workrite Uniform Company Shares Top Five FR Outerwear ConsiderationsThe weather may be getting colder, but the risk of thermal hazards such as flash fire and arc flash is still just as significant, and selecting the right flame-resistant (FR) outerwear is essential to keeping workers safe. Workrite Uniform Company, an FR clothing manufacturer, recommends the following considerations for evaluating FR outerwear options.1. Compatibility with StandardsThe first and foremost consideration when selecting FR outerwear, or any type of FR clothing, should always be safety. Be sure to select FR outerwear that is designed to meet or exceed all relevant safety standards, such as NFPA 2112 and NFPA 70E. These standards, among others, are a great place to learn about the levels of FR protection required in various work environments.2. Temperature RatingSome types of FR outerwear are significantly warmer than others, and selecting garments that offer the appropriate level of warmth helps ensure the outerwear will be worn consistently and compliantly. Depending on the manufacturer and style, some FR outerwear comes with a temperature rating to help you gauge the climates it is best suited for. In the absence of a temperature rating, fabric type and weight provide some indication of how warm FR outerwear will be.3. Breathability and Moisture ManagementIn cold environments, outerwear that traps moisture on the skin is not only uncomfortable, but also potentially dangerous. If excessive moisture remains on the skin, it can cause chilling and even hypothermia. FR outerwear made from moisture-wicking fabrics can help prevent this issue. However, it is also important to look for garments that allow sufficient breathability to prevent workers from overheating and further reduce the likelihood of trapped moisture.4. Ease of MovementIf FR outerwear makes workers uncomfortable or impairs their job performance, they are less likely to wear it and, therefore, less likely to have the protection they need if an accident occurs. Ease of movement is vital to comfort, so it is important to look for garments that are designed with features such as action backs to promote a wide range of motion.5. Added FeaturesSmall details can make a big difference in the performance of FR outerwear. Features such as water-resistant finishes, comfort-enhancing knit cuffs, zip-in hoods, elastic waistbands and beyond can improve the functionality of FR outerwear as well as workers’ satisfaction with the garments.For a fun video showing what happens if non-FR outerwear is exposed to flame, visit Saner is the FR technical manager for Workrite Uniform Company, a position he has held since he joined the company in 2006. He brings 40 years of experience in the fire and safety industries to his work, including 29 years in technical support, safety standards and product development for Akron Brass Manufacturing Company. Mark participates as a voting member within a number of national and international safety organizations to help develop, revise, influence and further improve standards for worker safety.For questions related to safety requirements, product performance and industry standards, contact Mark at 1-800-521-1888 or visit Founded in 1973, Workrite Uniform has delivered high-quality flame-resistant (FR) workwear for more than 40 years.Posted on Dec 01, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

You Don't Need to Lead Alone: Grow More Safety Leaders

You Don't Need to Lead Alone: Grow More Safety LeadersA popular leadership quote says, "The real job of a leader is not to recruit more followers. The job is to grow more leaders." This is especially true for overworked construction safety professionals trying to lead their organization to better safety outcomes and a positive safety culture. The research is clear: Safety leadership training improves safety climate, the best measure of safety culture. And safety climate is correlated with reduced job site injuries. If you can help your foremen and lead workers become effective safety leaders, you can have greater influence on safety without doing it all yourself.There is a new tool to help you, the Foundations of Safety Leadership (FSL) training developed by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) in partnership with industry and academic stakeholders. The FSL can help your foremen and lead workers understand the skills they need to be safety leaders and also how to put them into practice. Providing the FSL helps show your commitment to job site safety and gives you a competitive edge.During the 2.5-hour course, participants learn how to use the following five critical safety leadership skills:Leading by exampleEngaging and empowering workersActively listening and practicing 3-way communicationDeveloping workers through Teaching, Coaching, & FeedbackRecognizing crew members for going above & beyond for safetyThey will learn the cost of not putting the five skills into practice, as well as the benefits of doing so, including:Fewer injuries and illnessesMore productive workforceBetter-quality workBetter business reputationIncreased moraleIncreased teamworkPositive safety climateReduced hazardsReduced family and co-worker sufferingFewer work stoppages to conduct incident investigationsSince its official release on Jan. 1, 2017, thousands of construction foremen have already participated in the Foundations for Safety Leadership course, and the feedback has been very positive, as illustrated by these quotes from safety directors:"When we have meetings, employees are more comfortable asking questions, and the foremen take the time to answer them.""Shortly after the [FSL] training I saw a significant amount of it, supervisors trying to encourage employees to learn more and participate more. Not just following instructions, but participating in the whole process and developing employees."For trainers, the high-quality research-based curriculum that includes a fully developed PowerPoint presentation, a comprehensive instructor teaching guide, classroom activities, and animated videos makes it easy for you to prepare and deliver the FSL training."I've been a safety and health trainer for over 33 years and I really enjoy teaching the FSL," another safety director said. "The developers put together a well-designed curriculum including a complete PowerPoint presentation and an excellent and easy-to-follow instructor guide. Students I've had in FSL classes have reported enjoying and benefiting from the class, and they say they are looking forward to using the skills when they get back to their job sites.""During my introduction, I ask what is MISSING from the OSHA 30. Everyone's eyes light up when I say 'How to communicate effectively,' 'How to lead.' Everyone gets it. During yesterday's training, we had a fantastic conversation about three-way communication, and how to make it natural and not offensive, and how to ask clarifying questions as a way to achieve the same goal. Everybody got something out of it, including this experienced trainer."The potential benefits of having your foremen and lead workers participate in the FSL training course greatly outweigh the small time commitment and minimal cost. Growing more safety leaders will help the folks you count on most learn how to communicate with their crews, give better recognition and feedback when their crew go above and beyond for safety, and, most importantly, improve safety climate and safety outcomes.There are two ways to make sure your lead workers have the opportunity to participate in the FSL training:1. The FSL was approved by OSHA as a 30-hour elective in January 2017. If your foremen are scheduled to take the OSHA 30-hour course, have them contact and ask the OSHA Authorized 30-hour instructor to select the FSL as one of the electives.2. All of the FSL teaching materials can be downloaded free of charge from This allows you to have your own trainer or an OSHA Authorized 30-hour instructor conduct it as a stand-alone course at your job site, office, or other convenient location.Dr. Linda M. Goldenhar received her Ph.D. in Public Health and began her career in occupational safety and health as a Research Psychologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). She is currently the Director of Research and Evaluation at CPWR: The Center for Construction Research and Training, where she is the lead investigator on project creating leadership training for frontline foremen and supervisors (Foundations for Safety Leadership, FSL) and also the lead on CPWR's Safety Climate efforts, including creating the Workbook and Rating Tool to Help you Strengthen Jobsite Safety Climate and the Safety Climate Assessment Tool (S-CAT). She has published more than 65 peer-reviewed publications, numerous articles in trade magazines, and written book chapters and manuals. She has presented her work at numerous national and international academic and construction-specific conferences.Funding for the Foundations for Safety Leadership training course came from CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, as part of their five-year cooperative agreement with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under grant OH009762. If you want additional information about the course or have questions, you can contact Dr. Goldenhar at [email protected] The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH.Posted on Nov 27, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)