Electrocution is one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. It’s a hazard not limited to construction, manufacturing or factory settings, either; even an office building can present electrical risks. Below are five tips and precautions you should take regardless of your work setting.

 

1. Be cautious with electrical extension cords. From mobile worksites to office buildings, extension cords often can’t be avoided. In any setting, be sure that extension cords are well protected against physical damage. Do routine checks for any abrasions, tears or cracks in extension cords, as they can go unnoticed and pose serious threats for electrocution or fire. In the event that an extension cord must be spliced for any reason, make sure that the splice is well insulated — better than the original insulation, if possible. Additionally, be sure that extension cords have enough slack in them so that they are not putting unnecessary strain on the electrical outlet itself.

 

2. Assume all electrical devices are energized before servicing them. From changing a light bulb to performing maintenance for a piece of electrical equipment, you must always assume you are handling equipment that is energized until you can verify otherwise (see tip No. 4 below about Lockout/Tagout). And be mindful of where you’ve placed all tools and equipment (ladders, for example) so that you don’t inadvertently energize something. When in doubt, or when working with electrical equipment, be sure to use personal protective equipment, such as electrical gloves and eyewear, and only handle electrical equipment that you are familiar with and have been trained to service. Alert any nearby coworkers that you are performing maintenance work so that they can steer clear.

 

3. Use GFCI in wet settings. Some work settings might require Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) if work conditions are damp. Those areas include kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor work settings. If your worksite falls into any of these categories, be sure your GFCI equipment is in place and is working properly. In settings prone to dampness, don’t rely on GFCI alone; use extra precautions to ensure that electrical equipment is properly insulated against such conditions.

 

4. Use Lockout/Tagout Equipment and Procedures. Also known as LOTO, Lockout/Tagout procedures, as defined by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), are an effective safeguard against workplace electrocution. Lockout refers to devices that prevent unwanted access to electrical equipment by requiring the user to have a designated key. Tagout refers to devices that act as warning systems that alert others that a specific machine is currently undergoing maintenance, decreasing the chances of a person mistakenly energizing it and causing injury.

 

5. Maintain a hazard observation checklist. The only way to know if your equipment is safe is to check it regularly. Employees in any work setting should be trained to spot immediate dangers, such as exposed wires, dangerous spills, worn extension cords or and machines that are not operating properly. Checklists should be specific to each job setting. A checklist should include emergency contact information, as most employees will not be trained to address electrical issues.

 

About the author:

Christina Chatfield, Marketing Communications Manager of HARTING USA in Elgin, IL, is an expert in industrial electrical and electronic components. HARTING Technology Group develops, manufactures and sells products for your specialized manufacturing needs.

{ 0 comments }

Asbestos in the Workplace: The Risks

by Doug on July 15, 2014

Asbestos is a killer. In fact, it’s the biggest work-related killer in the UK, with the HSE reporting an average of 20 deaths per week from asbestos-related illness. In total, 2,291 deaths are recorded annually in the UK as a direct result of mesothelioma, a type of cancer that develops in the tissue that covers the surface of the lungs and the abdomen.

In the US, the figures aren’t any better. 4,800 patients are diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, with a further 3,000 developing mesothelioma. From 1999 to 2010, there was an average 12.8 deaths per million people due to asbestos. At the top of the list was Maine, which exceeded the average by almost double with 22.5 deaths per million annually.

With the rate of asbestos deaths at its peak, here are the facts that you need to know.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral with thin, fibrous crystals. It’s been mined for 4,000 years, and for the greater part of the 20th century was commonly used as building insulation and household fire-proofing.

The danger of asbestos is that its fibres are so thin that they are invisible when airborne, and are easily inhaled, which damages the lungs.

There are three basic types of asbestos:

  • Crocidolite (blue fibres)
  • Amosite (brown fibres)
  • Chrysotile (white fibres)

 

There have been some scientific debates pressing that blue and brown fibres asbestos is more toxic than white, though the consensus has generally been that all types of asbestos are carcinogenic.

Legislation has been passed banning asbestos in the UK, but unfortunately it is still technically legal in the US, despite the damage it does.

What Asbestos Does

The long-term effects of asbestos exposure are devastating. In the vast majority of cases, something called “pneumoconiosis” – a disease of the lungs characterised by inflammation due to irritation – is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

This can be especially harmful for smokers, as it’s known to vastly increase the likelihood of lung cancer in conjunction to smoking.

Asbestos has also been linked with ovarian, laryngeal and gastrointestinal cancers.

One of the main problems with asbestosis is that is has a latency period of 20-30 years generally, with some cases being reported over 40 years after original exposure. This is a major issue because it means that by the time the asbestosis is properly diagnosed, there’s no specific treatment available.

What You Can Do

The sectors of industry that are at most risk include any sectors to do with home renovation – plumbers, electricians and interior decorators in particular – and commercial construction.

If you believe you are at risk of asbestos exposure, talk to your employer and your safety representative. It’s also worth getting in touch with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to let them know your situation.

If your employer isn’t taking the appropriate safety measures to tackle asbestos exposure, seek legal help. It’s important that you and your family aren’t put at risk.

Bio: Linda Williams works forCarrs Solicitors, a legal agency based in the UK that specialises in helping victims of work-related accidents claim the compensation they deserve.

Sources:

http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/asbestos-related-diseases-pro

http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/asbestos.htm

http://www.take5andstayalive.com/t/asbestos-what-are-the-risks

http://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma/death-rate.php

http://www.asbestos.com/cancer/facts.php

 

{ 0 comments }

The “How To” Guide to Air Compressor Maintenance

July 11, 2014

Tweet Air compressors are a necessity for many business owners and can often be a huge investment. The good news is, a well maintained air compressor can last for up to 10 years with the proper care.   Sizing and Installation Preventative maintenance for air compressor begins before you even purchase it. It’s important to […]

Read the full article →

It’s Time To Reconsider Clay Absorbents In The Workplace

July 9, 2014

Tweet Every business needs cleaning supplies to handle potential messes around their work site. But for industrial facilities or garages working with fuels, gasoline, oils and other spillable liquids, over-the-counter cleaning supplies definitely won’t do the trick. These facilities must turn to professional industrial absorbent products and spill kits to handle their cleaning needs. But […]

Read the full article →

July 4th Plans Need to Include Safety Precautions

July 3, 2014

Tweet With the 4th of July coming up, the weekend will be filled with plans of fireworks shows, outdoor parties, and parties at the lake.  With all of the excitement and commotion, we all need to be sure to remember to keep safety in mind while planning our various parties.  Here are a few things […]

Read the full article →

10 Essential Supplies Your Tornado Shelter Needs This Season

June 17, 2014

Tweet The incredibly destructive power of a tornado should be discussed between you and your family every year. Just like a fire drill, a tornado safety plan should be in place and practiced before a storm hits. When away from home, look for tornado shelter signs in the building that you are in, which guide […]

Read the full article →

Heat Relief Safety Products

June 12, 2014

Tweet Well, it appears the temperature is starting to increase by the day. As the temperature rises it is important to pay attention to the heat index in relation to humidity. We found this nice chart that shows the affects of heat and humidity. It makes a normally warm day seem much hotter, and a […]

Read the full article →

Magnatech Guest Blog Post – Welding Eye Safety

June 3, 2014

Tweet While welding techniques have gradually improved over the years, there are still many risks that come with the job. This includes repeated contact with harmful dust, smoke and fumes as well as exposure to light and heat radiation. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) states that “each day about 2000 U.S. workers […]

Read the full article →

Is Safety Confusing?

June 1, 2014

Tweet Does this picture remind you of your workplace?  Safety on the jobsite is very important.  While it may seem difficult to navigate through all of the aspects of workplace safety, the professionals at Texas America Safety Company can help find the right safety products for the right job.

Read the full article →

Thank You Pat Brownlee

May 29, 2014

Thanking Pat Brownlee for all of her hard work on the www.blog4safety.com website.

Read the full article →