Health and Safety Concerns in the US Cleaning Industry

Health and Safety Concerns in the US Cleaning Industry


The US Cleaning Industry is growing at a rapid pace, owing to the growth of industries such as healthcare. For instance, the employment of janitors and cleaners is expected to witness 6% growth from 2014 to 2024, a fact revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Janitors and Building Cleaners.


Working in the cleaning industry can be a physically demanding task, especially while working outdoors, such as cleaning windows of high-rise buildings. Here’s a review some of the key health and safety concerns and what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends to address these issues.

Safety and Heath Related Tips for the Cleaning Industry

  • Personal Protective Equipment – OSHA recommends that all equipment for personal protection be safely designed and constructed. These must meet or be equivalent to the standards developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The guidelines recommend the equipment fit comfortably, something that can mean the difference between “safely covered” or “dangerously exposed.”


  • Safe Work Practices When Using Chemicals – As per OSHA, it is the responsibility of the employer to train workers on safe practices while handling cleaning chemicals. Gloves act as good personal protective gear while dealing with chemicals. Natural latex gloves are recommended by experts at Signature Restaurant Supply, even while taking on messy cooking chores or at the time of cleaning and washing dishes.


  • Preventing Falls – One of the leading causes of work-related injuries and deaths is falls. Employers in the cleaning industry must provision for equipment like safety harnesses and safety nets. Another step that can be taken to prevent falls is to keep the floors in the work areas clean and dry at all times.


  • Protection Against Respiratory Issues – The use of respirators protects workers against work environments where there is lot of dust, smoke, vapors and allergens in the air. A respirator will either work by providing clean air from an external source or by filtering particles and chemically purifying the air. Some of these apparatuses such as a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) might require special training on how to use it safely.


  • Ergonomics – A good work place manager will always focus on the ergonomics aspect of the cleaning process. There are many concern areas for a cleaning worker, from moving furniture to carrying buckets and many things in between. For instance, the more tools and supplies that are loaded on a cart or a barrel, the greater the amount of force needed to push it.


  • Confined Spaces – Several areas, given the fact that they aren’t designed for humans, are termed as “confined spaces” and are occupational work hazards if adequate safety precautions are not taken. For someone in the cleaning industry, such areas could include tanks, vessels, pits, manholes, tunnels, large storage bins, etc. For instance, a blocked leachate line in a composting toilet, where liquid waste is backing into the waste vault, will be termed as an example of a “confined space” hazard for someone in the cleaning industry, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines.


  • Electrical Safety – For an all-important issue of electrical safety, OSHA recommends never to operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water. Only a qualified and authorized person must inspect the electrical wires. Fallen electrical lines must not, therefore, be handled by janitors and cleaners, and must be reported to the utility company.


Well, the guidelines are out there to be followed. It is the primary responsibility of the employers in the cleaning industry to ensure compliance and provide a safe and healthy working environment for their workers.

The Top Five Mistakes Made by the DIY Electricians

The Top Five Mistakes Made by the DIY Electricians


We live in an age where everyone is surrounded by Pinterest inspiration boards, online guides, and Youtube video tutorials – so it’s no surprise, we have turned ourselves into the do-it-yourself generation. It certainly is a good feeling to accomplish something and be proud of our own work. But how safe is it to approach electrical work as a DIY electrician?

With the given nuances to electrical work, we are needlessly putting ourselves at risk. Here are the top five DIY homemade electricians’ mistakes and how to properly fix them:

  1. Installation without a junction box – Do not attempt to connect wires without an electrical box. Junction boxes shield the connections from unintentional damage and contain sparks and heat from a loose connection or short circuit. Add an electrical box. Be sure the installation is done properly and the box is flush. If the outlet is wiggling or loose, it’s not adequately installed and needs repair.


  1. Outlet overload – Every outlet is prepared to handle a specific electrical load. For instance, you’d never want to plug a refrigerator in your sitting room, as you know the general purpose of that circuit isn’t designed to handle such a large electrical power draw. Placing a high demand on a circuit creates an unnecessary hazard of shock and fire. Be wary of the demand placed on circuits and how much equipment you are plugging into each outlet (including those plugged into extension cords and power strips).


  1. Securing Electrical Wires – Properly securing electrical wires does not mean stapling and hammering a wire too tightly. If the insulation is accidently pinched or perforated, you are prone to a serious fire risk. Accidentally pinching or piecing an electrical wire can create an arc fault, resulting in a possible fire. Inspect wires and avoid piercing or hammering these – they should be secured properly without being too restrictive and always use specialized staples and staple guns and/or fasteners.


  1. Stuffing electrical boxes – Do not overstuff an electrical box. Every electrical load has a minimum box size. Calculate the proper electrical box size. Use the following formula to help you:

-Add 1 for each hot wire and neutral wire going into the box

-Add 1 for all the ground wires combined

-Add 1 for all the cable clamps combined

-Add 2 for each connected electrical switch or outlet

Take that figure and multiply it by two for a 14-gauge wire, and by 2.25 for a 12-gauge wire. This figure establishes the minimum box size required in cubic inches – choose a box with this amount of volume.


  1. Incorrect wiring type – To an inexperienced individual, wires look almost the same, but they’re intended to be unique and purposeful. Each wire (copper, aluminum, residential and outdoor) has a type, rate amperage, and specific use. Choose the appropriate wiring type. Incorrectly using these can place you at risk for shock, electrocution or fire.

Wiring mistakes and problems are far too common, and when ignored have the capacity to cause short circuits, shocks, electrocution and even fires. If you’re in doubt, don’t do it yourself, as a lot can and will go wrong. Hire a licensed professional, who is specifically trained to perform and recognize the hazards associated with the job.


Written by: Vania Silva. Vania is an electrical safety advocate and enjoys reading and writing about electrical related issues.

Safety Tips when Installing an EPDM Flat Roof

Safety Tips when Installing an EPDM Flat Roof

EPDM roofs are more popular than ever due to the relatively easy application process. Whilst it’s great to see so many people buying the materials for themselves and following instruction manuals or video tutorials online, it’s also important to remember some key health and safety tips. As with all building jobs, there are many safety precautions to take in order to stay safe when installing an EPDM flat roof. Here are Waterproof System’s top 5 safety tips to follow.

  1. Read the product packaging carefully. While this might be an obvious place to start, it’s easy to overlook product packaging, instruction manuals, and technical information guides. This is especially important for the adhesives, primers, and sealants used to help bond EPDM rubber to other surfaces, as some of these contain strong chemicals that are flammable or might pose a health hazard. For any flammable products, avoid smoking and exposed flames. It is best to study any packaging and technical information before you start as well as familiarising yourself, and anyone working with you, with the signs and symbols used for these products. This government page is a good place to start.
  2. Clothing and protection. It is so important to buy and wear the appropriate protective clothing before embarking on an EPDM roof project (or in fact any large DIY job!) Key items include:
  • Safety glasses
  • Shoes with a good grip
  • Chemical resistant gloves

Also, whilst it might be tempting to throw on some old loose clothes, this is actually incredibly dangerous. Baggy clothing can get caught on various surfaces whilst you are climbing to the roof, or can cause you to trip and fall. Try to strike a good balance between something that allows adequate movement but without impeding your safety.

  1. Breathing and ventilation. As mentioned above, adhesives which contain strong chemicals to help the rubber bond are the most dangerous in terms of ventilation and air quality. If you feel a bad headache coming on, dizziness, eye or throat irritation, take a break from your DIY project and call for help if necessary.
  2. Be careful when working at a height. Although the roof you are planning to install will be flat, there are still many precautions to take as roof installation and repairs are one of the highest-risk aspects of building work. It is estimated that falls account for more injuries and deaths than any other accidents caused in the building industry.

It is important to monitor the weather while you are working as rain, wind, and snow make roof installation even more dangerous – the surfaces of the roof and ladder might become slippery and strong wind might cause a fall. Take note of weather forecasts and be prepared to leave your project if it is too dangerous to continue. Some EPDM flat roofing materials are also ineffective in wet conditions. For example, adhesives can be affected by condensation in wet conditions.

  1. Don’t go it alone.

One of our key pieces of advice – which is applicable across all building jobs – is to work alongside another person. Even if they are not helping with the DIY work, they can support you if you encounter any trouble and this can make the difference if it comes to an accident or injury.

So there are our top tips for those considering DIY EPDM roof installation or repairs. Even if you’ve carried out roofing work before, it’s crucial to remind yourself of the risks involved in such work and how you can keep yourself safe from accidents. Even experts can make mistakes. Above all, if you do not feel able to install your EPDM roof safely, we advise that you seek professional help from a trusted roof contractor.

5 Safety Recommendations on Operating an Adjustable Hydraulic Loading Dock Ramp

5 Safety Recommendations on Operating an Adjustable Hydraulic Loading Dock Ramp

It’s understandable that all the buyers pay great attention to the quality and performance, including safety factors, of hydraulic loading dock ramps when placing orders. While during the real operation on the container ramps, safety considerations are easy to be neglected, for the operators or users will not expect that safety hazards may accumulate with time going by, even though such steel structure machine is strong enough.

In order to avoid accidents produced from the operation process of the loading dock ramps, here 5 safety recommendations are listed for your reference.


  1. Regular maintenance on the hydraulic cylinders.

Hydraulic cylinders and oil are the motive part which offers lifting and lowering power for the whole ramp, so that the ramp can hold the weight of forklift and goods. Any mistake or subtle problem that lies in the hydraulic power part must be dealt with immediately to prevent the container loading ramp from breaking down or cause injuries. Therefore, regular maintenance and inspection should be conducted with special care.

  1. Check out the control box.

Container loading ramps can be controlled by manual power or electric power. For the latter one, control box is the control part on which users or operators manipulate the buttons to control or adjust the working conditions of the loading dock ramps. Regularly check on whether the power button, lifting and lowering button and emergency button are in good condition to ensure safety.

  1. Examination on safety devices.

Safety devices of hydraulic loading ramps mainly consist of safety chain, safety supporting legs, brake pads, guardrails, leading board, which are all essential auxiliary components of yard ramp. Regular examination on these devices is of great importance to protect workers and ensure operation safety.

  1. Platform test and inspection.

Anti-skid platform is adopted on the loading container ramp, and it’s made of steel with welding, grinding and coating techniques. Generally few problems will be formed from this hard platform, but do heed that whether it crackles or deforms to affect the work of forklifts. Also check all the screws and junctions are both in normal conditions.

  1. Daily inspection on the tires.

This recommendation is especially applicable for mobile loading dock ramps with tires which usually are solid tires in type. Although such solid tires are hard enough to move the container ramp and support the body structure firmly, it will crackle or deform after longtime use. So daily inspection on the tires is a must to keep the good condition of mobile loading container ramps.

More details about hydraulic loading dock ramp can be reached on the linked website, and welcome to contact us for any of your questions.

3 Simple Ways to Promote Worker Safety in Your Workplace

3 Simple Ways to Promote Worker Safety in Your Workplace

 If you own or manage a business, it’s your responsibility to keep your workers safe. Workers need to be protected when performing any tasks required of them in their workplace. Everybody wants to make sure that no incidents occur that will cause any major damage to their employees and their property.

 It’s fairly simple to ensure your workplace is in the best condition to prevent accidents. Sometimes this involves a simple installation of reliable shelving, or even easier putting up posters that remind employees of the proper protocol around certain areas of the workspace.

Depending on your industry, the safety rules will be different. Specifications are usually available as resources online to businesses. If you need more advanced solutions, it’s a good idea to contact a professional safety advisor or your local occupational health and safety organization.

 Taking the right steps will put your business in the best position to be protected in a situation where accidents may occur. While it’s impossible to guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen in a workplace, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of harm occurring.

 Here are three simple things you can do to substantially decrease the chances of accidents happenings:

 1.     Prevent slips and falls

 One of the most common occurrences of incidents occurs through slips and falls. While often small and harmless, these are easily avoidable. They can result in larger incidents occurring, depending on the type of industry you work in.

 Keep walk ways and areas of operation free of clutter. In cases of spillage, or where areas are slippery, make sure that employees know the proper protocol. Having accurate signage that reminds workers of the risk in that area can make a huge difference.

 2.     Prevent clutter

 When an area is enclosed with items and cluttered, the chances of injury occuring increases substantially. Employees need space to operate. When they’re working in an enclosed environment, they’re much more likely to hurt themselves or others.

 This hazard can easily be reduces through the installation of proper storage and making sure that employees know where things need to be. Workers should not be having to twist and turn to operate important tasks.

 3.     Control Fire Hazards

 A fire can have really drastic effects on a workplace. It’s one of the worst incidents that can occur. Often workers are dealing with combustible material and there is a danger posed by this. Whether it’s oil, petrol, easily-combustible materials or any other chemicals, fire can be extremely dangerous.

 Ensure you have a proper fire safety plan in place. This involves training of employees on the proper way to deal with fire hazards. It also includes evacuation plans, fire warden training and proper sprinkler systems in the workspace.


Why is Fire Safety training important?

Why is Fire Safety training important?

Fire safety training on the job might be for a lot of workforces: it’s what the law states and yes it produces sense. It’s not necessarily necessary to coach every technician to train everyone on the job and in no way absolutely vital that may everybody finding a fireplace should try to include the application out. The most important thing might be that everybody discovers how to action without risk together with properly in the case of a fireplace – all people should certainly discover how to use the alarm system together and leave the building safely. In addition to fire protection training, most employees should certainly find out what negative aspects to help seek out and ways to eliminate financial risk and reduce the odds of the fire. Some corporations use fire safety franchise to best suit their employees which is altogether a good thing.

Many people globally realize the need for well-being and using fire protection accessories. I feel individuals ought to have at a minimum some rudimentary expertise in tips on how to auto look after on their own ought to some sort of critical occur. Fires secureness training brings about information to on their own from this type of accidents. If the heart ended up being to destroy released out of the blue you actually may only include a matter of minutes ahead of the blaze did start to spread. It could cause problems for residences and in extraordinary instances many times giving up lives.

The Regulative Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 offers organizations a fabulous lawful accountability to use shoot safety measures and share with workforce shoot knowledge on the job training. Campfire continues to be one largest financial risk to help businesses. Arson is definitely the main reason driving that will fire, that is challenging to protect against, still a shortage of maintenance, and awareness together with broad safe practices have the effect of some of the best shoot hazards. Like for example, substandard electric regarding energy home appliances, accumulation regarding kitten around do the job zones, smoking-related risks – shed cigarette smoking together with suits, damaging products which include paints, adhesives together with synthetics, effortlessly sited and/or overheating portable heating up versions together with devices which include soldering iron, setback heat lamps together with lowering together with welding equipment.


Workplace nicotine bans around the UK via 2006/7 have lessened smoking-related that will fire on the job nevertheless the continuous development of energy apparatus around places of work ensures that accidents relating to defective energy apparatus stay on high. When learning tips about how to learn future shoot negative aspects together with perils it contributes greatly to be aware of a fabulous the easy knowledge precisely that will fire get started together with how they can build-up together with distributed, together with this goes a considerable way when it comes to fire protection. Simply by knowing the actions of warmth together with light up, you should understand why shoot entrances should certainly be kept filled together with many sizzling homes carry out means.

Such a shoot knowledge on the job coaching raises safe practices should certainly a fireplace escape out. Practicing evacuations, analyzing safe practices signals together with knowing what they will suggest, analyzing shoot risks together with recognizing the direction to go about finding a fireplace are usually required aspects a fireplace knowledge on the job training. Why use extinguishers together with becoming familiar with instructional classes regarding shoot can also be beneficial what you should know, in spite of this taking up a fireplace might be a matter of particular decision together with perils probably are not taken.

Safe fire safety practices coaching should certainly take care of most designed to raise information and facts inside of a fashion that may is recognized together with information is instantly use, and so several multitudes – online video media, illustrations or photos, description, case in point together with interactivity to prevent place emphasis might be crucial. It’s all about shoot awareness. Learning the methods together with practices regarding shoot actions together with evacuation can protect a fabulous lifestyle – most staff at minimum need to ensure keywords the place their own shoot leaves will be together with the place their own shoot fitting purpose is. Take a moment to help look around your working environment and/or workplace, would most likely YOU can deal?

At present, almost all of the companies are discerning the significance of the fireplace basic safety teaching services as well as take action education the impotencies from the fireplace products themselves. In summary, a new well established as well as the qualified agency might help this functionality more effective within furnishing a new essential hearth basic safety training. But all and all it is good to go for fire safety training.

14 Fire Safety Tips you need to teach your Kids

14 Fire Safety Tips you need to teach your Kids

Children are fast learners than us. No doubt they can adopt things way early than we does. Once kids reach at a certain age they view the world with curiosity and that is the perfect time to feed them with information that can help them, people around them & the society they live in. Yes, I am talking about teaching kids about fire safety & 911.

We might think that for kids this is not important at an early age, but sorry to disappoint, when the time comes your kids needs to be aware of what to do?

No matter you are a parent, teacher or a caretaker you need to gather kids around you & teach them some basics on how to protect themselves in case of emergency fire. Kids also need to be aware of how to use fire equipment service which in most cases can save a lot of legwork for firemen.

Coming back to the topic here are some tips that you can inform your kids with:

  1. Where is the Escape route?

Teach the kids about basics of an escape route. It will be a great advantage if the kids know how to find the escape route & direct other kids towards it. Teach the kids possible ways to escape from a room and move towards the escape route.

  1. Teach kids to use windows as tools

Make sure you inform kids how to check the windows. Windows are a source of oxygen for kids. Teach the kids how to make windows assessable in case of emergency.

  1. Escape ladders on Second Floor

Normally escape ladders are on the second floor. Educate your kids on how to use an escape ladder and how they can teach everyone around them to do the same.

  1. Making their way to Safe location

Good thing about kids is that they do not panic like adults. If you teach them how to act in case of emergency, they usually turn out to take better decisions than most adults. A good way to teach kids is to teach them in play. Blindfold the kids and ask them to find their way out. This is the most effective method which give instant results, and kids get trained to walk out of any emergency situation.

  1. Rhyming is one of the quickest way to teach them

Best way to teach the kids is to teach them with rhyme. Take the steps necessary for basics of fire safety and turn that into a poem. Kids now only have to remember the poem and in this way they will carry out all the necessary steps to prevent from fire.

  1. Train the kids with Smoke Detectors

Educating kids regarding the home detectors can be a great start. The way smoke detectors operate and alarms work is a necessary learning for every child.

  1. Run outside and stay outside

Normally kids are smart with this. But incase teach the kids to stay out once they are out of the house. Normally kids tend to follow the steps of their parents. The way you act in emergency will affect the behavior of kids. Teach your kids to run out of the building in case of emergency and never look back.

  1. Teach kids to Pause, Drip, and Roll

This is one of the most important steps you can teach your kids. In an emergency to pause whatever they are doing, drip and roll to a safe place. First show the kids how to do it, and then ask them to try it with variations.

  1. Keep kids away from matches

Off course this is basic but sometimes kids do things that can be very dangerous. If there is a match box or a lighter ask the kids to stay away from it at all costs.


  1. Go to the fire safety plan

Do drills in which you can teach your kids to follow certain steps in case of emergency. There should be a guideline, a to-do list to follow. And pick a safe place in your home and ask the kids to go there if something happens.

  1. Crawl when necessary

Teach the kids to crawl in case of extreme fire. Get on the ground and stay away from smoke wherever possible.

  1. Don’t panic, act!

If the clothes get fire teach your kids not to panic and go for the above pause, drip and roll technique to prevent further damage to the body.

  1. Never go inside a building

Once the kids are out teach them not to go inside for anything. Wait for others to come but do not try to go inside to help them.

  1. Call 911

This is one of the basic and first things kids needs to learn. Teach them to call 911 and fire brigade units. Or ask a neighbor or a relative to do so.

The above tips are quite effective when done right. Kids are more sensitive than adults. But, if you rehearse with them what to do in case of emergency if would be easy for them to follow.

How to Prepare Your Business for a Severe Weather Storm

How to Prepare Your Business for a Severe Weather Storm

No matter what size company you have, you need a plan for keeping your business, employees and customers safe in all types of weather, from thunderstorms to tornadoes and more. If you have a supply chain, keeping it moving is another severe weather concern.

Weather Safety Tips

Earth Networks offers solutions for all your weather planning needs. Here are some weather safety tips for business locations to help you get started on your severe-weather plan:

  • Stay in touch: Make sure everyone gets timely text and email updates about the weather situation and business planning at affected locations. Consider how and when to let clients know your situation as well.
  • Stock up on essentials: Storms can hit while you’re at work and it may be safer to stay there than make your way home in blizzard conditions. Your office should have water, first-aid kits, flashlights, food and batteries, as well as a radio.
  • Save data externally: Save files to an external server or cloud storage. If your office is shut down, you can still access client need business documents.
  • Invest in a generator: You may lose power at your site. A generator can keep your business moving and help employees remain calm vs. stumbling around in a dark office.

Putting Plans Into Action

evere weather events can happen anywhere, at any time. Earth Networks can help you decide when to put emergency plans into action. Real-time data using our severe weather radar and meteorological forecasting services can help you make plans for staffing, business hours and customer orders ahead of time so you’ll know what to do when the storm hits.

Our severe weather tracker gives you current conditions, with detailed maps to share with staff wherever they are. This allows you to consult colleagues at various sites to make business operation decisions ahead of time and keep your supply chain operating even during a storm.

We can help keep your business functioning in severe weather. Contact Earth Networks by phone at 301-250-4000 or via our website.

DIY Safety Tips for Home Improvement Project

DIY Safety Tips for Home Improvement Project

Home improvement is one of the factors that contribute to a bigger budget for your home’s basic maintenance. In fact, some homeowners try to skip doing home improvement projects due to the assumption that it can cause them a fortune in doing so.

However, not everyone is aware that doing home improvements by yourself can save you a lot of money. I’m not talking about complicated, over-the-top improvements, I’m referring to simple DIY tips that you can easily follow with the use of some simple tools available at home.

But before you go on and start browsing for DIY home improvement projects, learn first about the safety tips that you can incorporate into your work.

Tip #1 Check Your Tools

Make sure all the tools that you are going to use are in perfect working condition. A power tool, such as a power saw or a wood router that is not maintained well nor checked for any damages can cause accidents. So, make sure to check all your tools before using them. If you noticed even a small damage or a minor issue, don’t risk using it.

TIP #2 Invest in Safety Equipment

Before starting any DIY projects, make sure to invest in safety equipment. If you are working with a tool that can cause an injury, you have to be prepared and well-equipped. The most common types of safety accessories are helmet, gloves, goggles and ear plugs/ear muffs.

TIP #3 Have a First-Aid Kit Ready

A first aid kit should be available in the house or easily accessible in case of accidents. The most common accident that can happen during DIY projects are accidentally cutting yourself, hitting your finger with a hammer, or in the worst-case scenario, losing a limb. A first aid kit should have the essentials and must-have items for minor cuts and medicine to prevent infections.

TIP #4 Protect Your Kids

If you have kids at home, it is important to keep the area that you are working on restricted or inaccessible to them. You should tell them about the dangers that the project you’re working has for small children like themselves. Try to incorporate to them the safety practices, to make them understand what you are trying to imply.

TIP #5 Take Extra Precaution for Power Tools

Always take extra precaution when using a power tool. If this is the first time that you’ll be using one, try to read the manual first on how to use them effectively. Don’t forget to unplug it from the power outlet, even if you’re still going to use it later. Read the manual on how to clean it and store it properly.

TIP #6 Keep A Clean Workstation

Always keep your workstation clean. Another factor that might cause accidents is an untidy workstation. Make sure to put the tools that you will no longer use back to its safety place. Don’t keep any jobs hanging as well and try to divide your projects into different sectors or tasks. Complete each task separately until you finish the whole project.

TIP #7 Make Sure You Are Knowledgeable About the Project

If you think you can’t handle a particular project easily, don’t start it. A good example is fixing your electrical system. If you don’t have enough knowledge about this area, you might want to steer clear from it and let a pro do their job. Accidents happen due to insufficient awareness in the project they’re working on, it is best to know what you can and can’t do.

Always remember to keep safety as your top priority, you might be able to save money on DIY home improvement projects, but have to shell out extra money due to accidents that can easily be prevented.

Author Bio: Anthony is a Home Improvement DIYer, who is interested in different projects of Home Improvement. He blogs at Equipment Area, where he shares tips, guides and reviews of different tools around the house.

Understanding Behavior-based Safety

Understanding Behavior-based Safety

There is a reason they are called ‘accidents.’ Let us look at usual dry facts recorded by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2014, the US building boom spiked construction worker injury and death on construction sites increased by 5% in 2014, to 874%. Hundreds of thousands of workers are injured on the job, filing an incredible 1 million workers’ compensation claims a year for both temporary conditions – such as broken bones and sprains – and permanent injuries, including paralysis and loss of limbs.

In another take, the BLS also stated that nationwide, a preliminary total of 4,679 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2014, up from the revised count of 4,585 fatal work injuries in 2013, according to the results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program. In Pennsylvania alone, 2014 saw the incidence of 175 fatal work injuries in 2014.

How does it happen?

Maybe a story will work better where statistics might be hard to relate. Take the case of Steve, an experienced technician. He was performing a simple task but his mind wandered and his hand strayed.

“I was cutting compound miters on a radial-arm saw.  It was real routine – make a cut, move the piece, make a cut….

“Like 99.99% of the injured workers you talk to, I was tired, hassled, and rushed,” Steve says.

“A couple of people found the tips of my index finger in the sawdust. They put it in a coffee cup with some ice, and the doctor was able to take the skin off and graft it on. The finger works fine. It’s just a little narrower.” 

Steve keeps this memory fresh so that he won’t run into trouble again. “From that day on, I haven’t run a piece of work through without imaging my finger going into the cutter.  That sounds horrible, I know, but it gives me a heightened awareness.

Unfortunately, to maintain a heightened state of awareness is hard. So hard, that in the course of work, no means should be spared to keep workers in a perpetual state of awareness of the logical, if unexpected consequences of their every action. It is a fact that even experienced automobile technicians get hurt. They were performing a simple task, their stopped paying attention for just a moment and a hand went the wrong way.

Safety Begins in Your Head

If we are talking about the logical but unwanted consequences of actions of a number of people who are engaged in potentially dangerous work, then the best way understanding the problem is to take a look at the way people behave. Anywhere people come together in a group to engage in a task that is greater than the sum of their parts, the organization has a responsibility to ensure the safety of each individual.

When it comes to large scale operations such as a factory assembly line, or even a public beach, the concept of behavior-based safety largely lies and is dependent on people’s values, attitudes and belief system. The most commonly used system in behavior-based safety is the Hierarchy of Hazard Control. This comprises of five components that escalate to pretty much nail all the areas that you can be instrumental in promoting a culture of safety. Let us quickly understand these components:

  1. Elimination: The most effective way to deal with a hazard is to simply remove it; often physically.
  2. Substitution: The second most effective approach is to replace the hazard with something that is safe, such as changing to lead-free paint or materials to take just one example of substitution.
  3. Engineering Controls: This is the third most effective way. By engineering controls, we simply mean keeping people away from the hazard. Enclosure and isolation are two main principles of engineering controls for hazards.
  4. Administrative Controls: Procedure changes, training, signage and labeling are some administrative controls. Here, experts at Clarion Safety suggest, symbols on safety signs and labels that show human interaction with a hazard give viewers more imperative to take precautions to avoid it
  5. Personal protective equipment: Finally, it is down to wearing protective equipment such as hard hats, air filters, gloves, safety goggles, etc.

If we are talking about the purely behavioral aspect, the most important thing is knowing when to stop what you are doing because you are about to cross the point of no return is important. You should know the limits of your abilities and knowledge. Just like excessive force, excessive ignorance is a sure sign that things are going, or are about to go wrong. Remember, it costs nothing to stop at the beginning of a task but it is very expensive to undo any damage that might result of over-confidence.

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