Back to School Driving Safety Tips

School days bring congestion:  School buses are picking up their charges, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings,  parents trying to drop their kids off before work.

Slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

If You’re Dropping Off

Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. The following apply to all school zones:

  • Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
  • Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
  • Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
  • Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
  • If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door

By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.

Source: NSC

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Americans impacted by hearing loss hits record numbers

May is National Better Hearing Month

UniFirst First Aid + Safety First Aid and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging the public to make an appointment with an audiologist if they suspect hearing loss for themselves or any of their loved ones.

According to the National Institutes of Health NIDCD, approximately 20 percent (48 million) of American adults aged 20 to 69, have some trouble with hearing and approximately 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them.

As the baby boomer population ages, more Americans are forced to face hearing health challenges. Growing numbers of younger Americans (including millennials and GenX’ers) are also reporting hearing problems. The NIH NIDCD also states that five in 10 young people listen to music or other audio too loudly and that four in 10 young people are around “dangerously loud noise during events like concerts and sports games.” Occupational noise is another factor impacting hearing in people of all ages who work outdoors, in factories, fulfillment centers, etc.

Technology has progressed extensively and hearing aids are no longer the bulky contraptions of years past.”  Hearing aid companies have stepped up to the plate to make “very cool” hearing aids for kids and young adults. “You can opt to buy hearing aids that are virtually undetectable or you can buy them in a wide range of cool colors and styles. Many work with smart phones.”

Audiologists are the experts in hearing health, Hearing aids are not always the only or recommended solution, which is why it’s important to see an audiologist to further determine the appropriate treatment. Sometimes the cause is temporary or a symptom of another illness or disease. An audiologist will run various tests to determine the cause and will be able to recommend treatment.

 

Some signs of hearing loss may include:

  • Suddenly having to turn up the volume of the television, radio, or stereo and having other family members complain that the volume is too loud.
  • Difficulty understanding people speaking to you and asking people to repeat themselves.
  • Difficulty with phone conversations and understanding the other person.
  • Sudden inability to hear the doorbell, the dog barking, and other household sounds.
  • People telling you that you speak too loudly.
  • Ringing in the ears.

In furthering working to help the public recognize hearing loss, the American Academy of Audiology helped launch a hearing screening app last year, hearScreen USA. The app provides an easy hearing test through the use of a smart phone. For those who demonstrate hearing loss, the app will recommend an audiologist. Based on technology developed by the University of Pretoria, South Africa, the app provides accurate detection of hearing loss in under three minutes.

To find an audiologist, go to www.audiology.org/FindAnAudiologist.

 

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Importance of Gloves in the Workplace

Hand injuries, including injury to fingernails and fingers, are often written off as first-aid usage and near-misses.

Many workers consider the use of gloves hard to comply with and unnecessary. Yet, more varieties of gloves for broader purposes exist than ever before – cut-resistant, chemical protective, electrically-rated, infection control, just to name a few. Carefully identifying the need, then selecting a glove with the appropriate performance parameters can prevent many injuries.

Back in the ‘old days’ People considered it a sign of toughness not to wear gloves. Most never considered wearing gloves to keep a better grip on tools, prevent knuckle busters and burns, or just keep my hands clean. In my teens and twenties, I would have been laughed at for wearing gloves. Now watching shows like Orange County Chopper, Monster Garage, and Pimp My Ride you see these master mechanics wearing gloves.

Gloves can make your job easier and safer. Choosing the correct glove for the job is a critical decision in preventing injuries while maintaining a grip on the situation. Identify the hazard and then evaluate the required characteristics for a glove. Hazards can range from heat, flames, sparks, sharp object electrical energy, and chemicals.

Identify the hazards that could injure hands in this week’s discussion. List the characteristics required in each case and check your inventory to see if you have the proper gloves. Gloves are considered PPE and are the last line of defense in preventing injuries. Wear them every time. Remember that prevention is the key to a workplace where Nobody Gets Hurt.

OSHA 1910.138(a)

General requirements. Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.

OSHA 1910.138(b)

Selection. Employers shall base the selection of the appropriate hand protection on an evaluation of the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the task(s) to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.

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5 tips to keep your eyes safe!

As reported by NIOSH, 2000 eye injuries occur every day at work in the U.S.

Construction workers have one of the highest eye injury rates.

Most common are particles of dust, metal, wood, slag, drywall, cement, etc. are the most common source of eye injury to carpenters.

Even “minor” eye injuries can cause life-long vision problems and suffering–a simple scratch from sawdust, cement, or drywall can cause corneal erosion that is recurrently painful.

Hammering on metal which gives off metal slivers and the rebounding of the ordinary nail are two of the most common causes of vision loss in construction workers.

1. Understand Potential Eye Hazard Examples

  • Hammering, grinding, sanding, and masonry work that may produce particles
  • Handling chemicals may lead to splashes in the eye
  • Wet or powdered cement in the eye can cause a chemical burn.
  • Welding leads to exposure to arcs and flashes (intense UV radiation) for welders, helpers, and bystanders
  • Dusty or windy conditions can lead to particles in the eye
  • Eye injuries can result from simply passing through an area where work is being performed
  • Coworkers around or above you may generate the hazard

2. Find the Z87 marking on your safety glasses.

 

Safety eye and face protection includes non-prescription and prescription safety glasses, clear or tinted goggles, faceshields, welding helmets, and some full-face type respirators that meet the ANSI Z87.1 Eye and Face Protection Standard

The safety eyewear must have “Z87” or “Z87+” marked on the frame and in some cases the lens

Goggles are stronger than safety glasses

Goggles are used for higher impact protection, greater particle protection, chemical splashes, and welding light protection

Goggles for splash or high dust protection should have indirect venting

Goggles with direct venting (a mesh of small holes around the sides) tend to fog less, but should not be used with liquid or fine dust hazards

Common tasks: sawing, chipping, grinding, masonry work, using a nail gun, pouring cement, and working with chemicals

When goggles are used for welding make sure they are the proper shade # (the shade number is marked on the lens and shows how dark the lens is)

3. When should you use a face shield?

Faceshields are used for even higher impact protection and to protect the wearer’s face in addition to the eyes

Faceshields should always be used over safety glasses or goggles

Particles or chemicals can easily go around a faceshield and the curve of the faceshield can direct them into the eye

Faceshields are frequently lifted leaving the eyes unprotected without the safety glasses or goggles

Common tasks: spraying, chipping, grinding

4. If safety glasses look, cool people are more likely to wear them.

Safety glasses have hard or soft nose pieces, padded temples, and a variety of other features that improve comfort without adding great cost

Safety glasses come in many styles from the Buddy Holly heavy frames to the old visitor specs, frameless lens, frames with football logos, aviator metal frames, and the most stylish wraparound glasses

Tinted safety glasses are now common that rival the most expensive commercial sunglasses but cost much less and are safer

What are the lenses made of in your safety glasses?

Most non-prescription ( Plano ) safety glasses have polycarbonate lenses

The non-prescription safety glasses are tested by shooting a 1/4″ BB at 100mph at the lens and dropping a 1 lb pointed weight from 4′ on the lens–if it breaks in either test it won’t have the Z87 mark

Prescription safety glasses may have polycarbonate, glass, or plastic called CR39 but these glasses only have to pass a test of dropping a 2oz steel ball from 4′ unless they are marked Z87+; then they must pass the high velocity/impact tests

Polycarbonate lenses are much more impact resistant than glass or plastic lenses. Glass and plastic lenses usually shatter into small sharp pieces, but polycarbonate usually just cracks

Are your safety glasses scratched?

Polycarbonate lenses scratch easier than other lenses, but new anti-scratch coatings help if the glasses are cared for properly

Wear an eyewear retainer strap that will let the glasses hang around your neck when not in use instead of laying them down on the job

Store them in an old sock before they are tossed into a tool chest or the seat of a car or pickup

Use a glasses cleaning station or wash and wipe with a soft clean cloth (old T-shirts work fine, but the sweaty shirt that you’re wearing may have as much drywall dust as your safety glasses, creating a muddy mess on the lenses by day’s end)

When do you take your safety glasses off?

When finished with a tool or specific task–but what’s going on around you?

At your break–but are there still hazards around you from other workers?

At the end of the day, but while still on the job site–a carpenter took his glasses and tool belt off and left them on the roof at the end of the day; while climbing down the ladder he lost an eye from a coworker dropping pliers on him from above

As you leave the site and are out of the hazard zone

5. What do you do to stop your safety glasses from fogging?

Buy safety glasses that have anti-fog coatings put on during manufacturing

Use anti-fog solutions on the lenses regularly, if needed

Wear a sweatband on your forehead or a cool rag in your hard hat

Keep the lenses clean and unscratched.

If you need help deciding, contact UniFirst First Aid + Safety today!

 

 

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OSHA Raises Employer Penalties for 2019

OSHA Raises Employer Penalties for 2019

The penalty increases apply to federal OSHA states.

The penalties levied against employers for safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have gone up, effective Jan. 24. The increases only apply to citations issued after that date and for the remainder of 2019.

The 2019 penalties are:

·        Other than Serious violations, $13,260 (up from $12,675 in 2018);

·        Serious violations, $13,260 (up from $12,675);

·        Repeat violations: $132,598, (up from $126,749);

·        Willful violations, $132,598 (up from $126,749);

·        Failure to abate (per day), $13,260 (up from $12,675 last year).

The penalty increases apply to federal OSHA states. Nonetheless, OSHA expects that the 26 states operating their own occupational safety and health programs will align penalty structures with federal OSHA so that such programs are equally effective.

“While this is OSHA’s expectation there has been little adjustment from various state plans to align with the increase in penalties,” notes Tressi L. Cordaro, an attorney with the law firm of Jackson Lewis PC. “For example, North Carolina and Kentucky still maintain a $7,000 maximum fine for serious violations and $70,000 for willful or repeats.”

In the future, DOL is required to adjust maximum OSHA penalties for inflation by January 15 of each new year.

Source: https://www.ehstoday.com/standards/osha-raises-employer-penalties-2019

 

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How To Maintain & Clean Your Emergency Eyewash Stations

Eye Wash Station Inspection & Refill Services

Emergency Eyewash Station Maintenance

In this guide, we’ll walk you through some best practices on how to keep your eyewash units in tip-top condition, so that you can rest assured that they’ll be ready for action should the unthinkable happen.

Why is maintenance so important?

Eyewash stations are of critical importance in any workplace that works with hazardous, corrosive substances. Using an eyewash in an emergency situation can help prevent scarring, permanent injury and blindness.

Improper maintenance can lead to a number of hazards, which we’ve detailed below.

Infections

Bacteria, amoeba and other disease-causing organisms thrive in stagnant water. If an eyewash station is not regularly flushed and activated for testing purposes, the water within the system will begin to harbor organisms such as legionella, pseudomonas and acanthamoeba, which, if propelled into the eyes, can cause nasty infections such as conjunctivitis.

If the user’s eyes have been damaged (which, after all, is probably the reason they’d be using an eyewash unit in the first place), the risk of infection is even greater.

Corrosion

Over time, iron-containing metals that come into contact with water are liable to oxidize, or rust. Not only can this lead to contamination of the water used in the eyewash station, but it can also cause damage to the unit itself.

Corrosion can cause holes in the pipes supplying the eyewash unit, resulting in leaks, which can cause the eyewash to discharge water at an insufficient pressure, diminishing its ability to properly flush out the eyes of the user.

image of How To Maintain & Clean Your Emergency Eyewash Stations

Blockages

Occasionally, dust, dirt and foreign objects can build up within an eyewash station, especially if it is not operated for a long period of time. This debris can lead to contamination and cause blockages in the pipework.

Blockages can impede the flow of water to the unit, or conversely increase the pressure, sometimes even to levels that can harm the user’s eyes.

Testing

The ANSI regulations, as well as the various other bodies of guidance that pertain to emergency eyewash stations, state that units must be regularly tested, and for good reason.

Regular testing doesn’t just ensure that the unit is functioning correctly – it also helps prevent the water within the unit from sitting and becoming stagnant and helps flush any collected debris through the pipes.

Aside from the weekly functional testing mandated by the ANSI regulations, it is advisable to perform a weekly visual inspection of all eyewash units to ensure that they are free from detritus and in a good state of cleanliness.

The water stored in portable eyewash stations should be changed at least every 120 days. The water should also be treated with water preservative to help keep microbes at bay. Water preservative comes supplied with all of our portable eyewash units.

Cleaning

As with any item of safety equipment, it is crucial that eyewash stations are kept clean and sanitary. This will prevent the buildup of harmful, infection-causing microbes.

When cleaning an eyewash station, use a simple solution of household detergent and hot water. Apply the solution to the unit with a soft sponge or cloth before rinsing thoroughly, making sure to sluice away any remaining soap residue.

Did You Know?

UniFirst First Aid + Safety First Aid offers onsite services to help you meet and maintain compliance for your Eye Wash Station, First Aid cabinet, AED, and many other safety-related items?

 

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Source: https://www.safety-eyewash.co.uk/content/eyewash-maintenance-guide


Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment

 

For companies maintaining or considering emergency shower and eyewash stations, there are two key standards to remember.

The ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment is an essential resource—visit ISEA’s www.safetyequipment.org website to order it. This important consensus standard outlines the minimum equipment performance criteria for this equipment. It specifies flow rates, water temperature delivery, testing, and much more.

Z358.1 is the leading international standard for the implementation of eyewash and shower equipment. On the standard’s page on its website, ISEA points out what a wide range of industries need to install and maintain this emergency equipment, listing “manufacturing and processing facilities, construction sites, laboratories, medical and healthcare offices, refineries and other workplaces.”

The other key standard is OSHA’s first aid standard, the one that explains the requirement for certain facilities in those and other industries to install shower or eyewash equipment. OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.151(c) says, “Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.”

End-users frequently ask what constitutes “immediate use.” Fortunately, ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 answers this question: It specifies that showers and eyewashes should be located within 10 seconds’ travel distance from a hazard. As Speakman Company’s Imants Stiebris explained in an article in the July 2018 issue of this magazine, “While in existing facilities it is fairly easy to measure 10 seconds with a stopwatch, engineers and architects who are designing facilities do not have this luxury; all that they have to work with are blueprints. To help these design professionals, the Z358.1 standard suggests that 55 feet is a distance that most persons can travel in 10 seconds or less. The victim’s physical condition and potential obstacles must still be taken into consideration.”

Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment

The shower and eyewash units should be on the same level as the hazard requiring their use, in order to eliminate trips and the need for the affected worker to climb up or down. The units should be installed in a well-lit area and identified with a sign; if shut-off valves are installed in the supply line for maintenance purposes, the employer should prevent unauthorized shut off of the water supply.

The Z358.1-2014 standard also directs that the water temperature delivered to this equipment be “tepid,” which is defined as being between 60 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so that the affected worker will be able to withstand the continuous flow for 15 minutes without the risk of scalding or hypothermia.

 

Employee Training and Equipment Testing
Shower and eyewash companies say there are six interrelated areas for managers of employers’ eyewash and shower programs to get right: performance, use, installation, testing, maintenance, and training.

Employees must be trained to hold their eyes open during the flushing process. All employees also should be trained on how to use the emergency equipment fixtures before they handle hazardous chemicals.

Showers should deliver at least 20 gallons per minute for a minimum of 15 minutes; for eyewashes, the required minimum is 0.4 gallons per minute. The equipment must activate in 1 second or less and then continue to operate hands-free.

Experts recommend designating one person as responsible for inspecting, operating, and documenting findings weekly for the shower, eyewash, and combination units and drench hoses, but for large facilities with multiple units, they recommend having a contractor or vendor do these tasks, in order to eliminate inconsistent checks because of vacations, sick days, etc.

Contractors should be familiar with the ANSI standard and be able to give a detailed report on any problems. The weekly check ensures flushing fluid is available at the correct temperature, pattern, and flow and also clears the supply line of sediments and minimizes the risk of microbial contamination caused by still, sitting water. During activation of plumbed showers, the equipment is to be checked for any visible damage, leaks, rust, and obstructed flow; the inspector is to ensure that spray nozzles are protected from contaminates and that protective caps and covers deploy easily, and the equipment continues to run until it is turned off.

Self-contained (gravity-fed) showers must be visually checked weekly to determine whether the flushing fluid needs to be changed or replenished, and they must be maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. All emergency showers must be inspected annually to make sure they meet the ANSI Z358.1-2014 performance requirements.

References
1. https://safetyequipment.org/product/ansiisea-z358-1-2014/
2. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.151

 

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Five Safety Tips that Impact Business

Follow these tips to create and maintain a strong safety culture that engages employees as part of the process.

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to safety when working in fast-paced environments and having to meet project deadlines. However, most manufacturing employers can attest to the turbulent outcomes that can arise if safety standards are not regularly enforced. Our everyday actions can have an impact on cost and productivity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2,000 eye injuries occur every day in the workplace, costing more than $300 million in lost production time, medical expenses and worker compensation.

It’s clear that many companies are failing workers with insufficient safety programs and injury prevention plans. However, employers have the opportunity to turn this situation around with a few changes. Protecting employees doesn’t mean your organization has to start from square one. It does, however, require you to create a strong safety culture and open communication channels so employees can collaborate when it comes to hazard identification and problem-solving.

Here are five tips that operations managers, site managers, and safety coaches can use to start that dialogue:

1. Start from the top. Developing a healthy safety culture requires leadership to champion safety as a key organizational value. The company culture must include leading, working, and acting safely. When management leads in safety, the organization will follow.

2. Distribute safety surveys. When executing on your safety culture, it’s important to first find out what your employees know about your safety guidelines and expectations. Are they familiar with your corporate policies and procedures? Do they even know their own responsibilities when it comes to safety? This survey also serves as a great opportunity to get anonymous feedback on employees’ perceptions about safety in your workplace.

3. Conduct pre-shift huddles. This is a time when management can reinforce the safety culture by covering near-injury misses, newly identified hazards and educating staff on how proper processes and equipment handling can protect everyone’s health and safety. The goal of safety huddles is to also provide an open, non-punitive forum for employees to communicate about workplace safety.

4. One-on-one discussions. Supervisors can build trust and show respect for their workers’ safety by engaging associates in informal safety discussions. Associates who know that their opinions and perspectives are valued will be more likely to participate in informal communication about safety practices. This is also an ideal setting to gain feedback from employees who may not be comfortable bringing up concerns in front of a large group.

5. Perform ongoing safety training. Providing safety training for employees is essential for creating a culture of workplace safety. A workforce with a strong understanding of safety guidelines and best practices is more likely to recognize potential hazards before they occur. This can lead to fewer injuries and help you avoid costly losses in productivity and employee morale.

Some of the benefits of a safer and more engaged workforce include:

●       reduced workers’ compensation costs, lower medical expenses and improved productivity.

●       improved safety as a result of clear and repeatable processes for identifying and addressing hazards and injury threats.

●       stronger employer branding and positive outside perspective of the organization.

Impact on Employer Branding

Workplace safety should begin and end not only with workers in mind but with workers being engaged—actively participating and driving safety programs forward. High levels of employee engagement have also been correlated with greater productivity, quality, and profitability, as well as reduced turnover rates. It can also contribute to improved employee retention, and it even has the ability to impact recruiting, since job seekers will be able to learn about your culture of safety through online reviews. In today’s world, job seekers look to current and former employees’ experience to decide whether or not they want to work for a company.

 

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Source: https://www.ehstoday.com/safety/five-safety-tips-impact-business


Shoveling Snow? This might shock you…

Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, SnOMG!

There is no end to the terms for “really big snowstorm,” and those terms came in handy, particularly in America’s snowiest cities. Just check out these average annual snowfall totals, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

  • Mt. Washington, NH – 281.2 inches
  • Houghton, MI – 207.7 inches
  • Syracuse, NY – 123.8 inches
  • Sault St. Marie, MI – 120.4 inches
  • Caribou, ME – 108.7 inches
  • Flagstaff, AZ – 101.7 inches
  • Traverse City, MI – 101.4 inches

But with really big snow storms – and even everyday, run-of-the-mill snowfalls – comes a risk of death by shoveling. Nationwide, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths each year.

So, why so many deaths? Shoveling snow is just another household chore, right?

Not really, says the American Heart Association. While most people won’t have a problem, shoveling snow can put some people at risk of heart attack. Sudden exertion, like moving hundreds of pounds of snow after being sedentary for several months, can put a big strain on the heart. Pushing a heavy snow blower also can cause injury.

 

Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It can make blood clot more easily and constrict arteries, which decreases blood supply. This is true even in healthy people. Individuals over the age of 40 or who are relatively inactive should be particularly careful.

National Safety Council recommends the following tips to shovel safely:

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
  • Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
  • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter
  • Push the snow rather than lifting it
  • If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion
  • Know the signs of a heart attack, and stop immediately and call 911 if you’re experiencing any of them; every minute counts

Don’t pick up that shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease. A clear driveway is not worth your life.

 

Snow Blower Safety

In addition to possible heart strain from pushing a heavy snow blower, be safe with tips from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, including:

  • If the blower jams, turn it off
  • Keep your hands away from the moving parts
  • Be aware of the carbon monoxide risk of running a snow blower in an enclosed space
  • Add fuel outdoors, before starting, and never add fuel when it is running
  • Never leave it unattended when it is running

Source: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/winter/snow-shoveling

 

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Getting Workers to Use Their Protective Gear

Respiratory Protection

Small changes in training can lead to big results.

Buying safety equipment and getting workers to use it are two entirely different things. Anecdotally, almost every safety professional I’ve spoken to finds it much easier to go shopping for the latest hard hat and safety glasses than getting workers to comply with PPE requirements.

The usual advice to improve compliance to provide new, more comfortable PPE that looks good. But what happens when you’ve purchased new protective equipment that fits well and looks good, but it still doesn’t get used when it should?

There are several often-overlooked ways to get workers to wear their PPE. In most cases, these are small changes in what many workplaces are actually doing—but collectively, they can lead to major improvements.

The Whys of Training

Training should cover more than how to properly wear PPE. It should also discuss why. One of the biggest causes of PPE noncompliance is that many workers simply don’t think they need it. When they’re asked why they aren’t wearing PPE, people will often say things like, “I just never thought to put it on.”

PPE trainers should take a cue from basic marketing tactics and present workers with more impactful value propositions. Explain why PPE use is necessary, make it feel urgent, and appeal to them with compelling stories.

Good stories are personal and relevant. One of my own go-to stories is about a time when I was walking through a worksite—and out of the blue, a rivet struck my hard hat. It had been dropped by someone working on a raised platform several stories up and could have caused serious damage if I hadn’t been wearing PPE.

This story works well because it demonstrates that wearing PPE is a practical choice we can make to protect against other people’s mistakes. It also shows that I personally believe in the value of PPE, and it provides a good prompt for a discussion about when it’s necessary to wear hard hats.

 

More than Monthly

If you want PPE use to become a regular practice, then you need to make it a regular topic of conversation. This means discussing PPE with workers at every opportunity and from every angle. Provide verbal refreshers of key teaching points from PPE training, talk about why it’s so important to wear PPE and chat about different situations in which workers may be tempted to remove their PPE so that people will be on the alert and prepared to act in the safest manner possible.

These refreshers can be delivered in a variety of ways. At the end of a one-on-one conversation with a worker, take a few moments to remind them about PPE issues. You can also discuss PPE when assigning workers to new tasks or when talking to them about non-safety elements of their job. Also consider more passive forms of reminders, such as noting PPE requirements in safety posters, and on video displays in break rooms and other common areas.

Many manufacturing companies already have group discussions built into the work schedule. In most cases, these are either monthly safety meetings or weekly toolbox talks. A short conversation about PPE can usually be worked into these meetings with minimal effort. But monthly discussions typically aren’t enough (especially because other safety issues also need to be covered).

 

When It’s Time for an Intervention

Sometimes proper training and regular toolbox talks on PPE isn’t enough to get everyone to comply. If someone consistently fails to wear their PPE, then it’s time to have a one-on-one conversation with them.

The conversation should be direct but it shouldn’t be focused on reprimanding the worker for unsafe actions. Instead, let the worker share why they think certain behavior is acceptable and then have the supervisor follow up with an explanation of the risks.

People are more likely to listen if they feel listened to in turn, and if they believe in the underlying need for PPE rules. So even when a frank conversation is required because someone isn’t wearing safety gloves or eye protection, it’s still important to focus not on current noncompliance but on desired behavior in the future.

 

From Decision to Habit

Every time a worker makes the decision to use PPE, there’s always a small chance they could choose to not use PPE. That’s why the goal is to transform PPE use into an unconscious habit.

It’s not something that happens overnight. In most cases, building safety habits requires a lot of small course corrections and encouragement, both of which come from group and individual conversations. Eventually, though, PPE use will go from being a rule that must be enforced to something that happens automatically.

Source: https://www.ehstoday.com/ppe/safe-any-speed-getting-workers-use-their-protective-gear

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