Avoiding Asbestos Hazards in the Workplace

Asbestos was a popular naturally-occurring mineral commonly used in household products and building materials a few decades ago. Today however, it can only be found in a few materials and products, and those that do contain it have to be labeled as such.

A number of homes and buildings that were constructed during the 1970s up to the late 1980s are still standing today. While they don’t really pose a threat to health so long as the asbestos fibers are not disturbed, asbestos hazards in the workplace are still very much around, especially when the job requires constant handling of this dangerous mineral.

So how can employees avoid asbestos hazards in the workplace?

1. Being and staying informed
It is the employer’s job to provide information and trainings to employees, especially when the task requires the said employee to be exposed to asbestos. Companies need to comply with government standards and rules in keeping the working environment safe for their employees. However, workers also have a general duty to take care of their own health so as not to compromise the health and safety of other workers. This involves, but is certainly not limited to, the knowing the company’s policies, and staying informed by constantly checking for updates, especially regarding health and safety in the workplace.

2. Using proper equipment correctly
Equipment that allows workers to properly deal with asbestos-containing products can be expected of an OSHA-compliant company. Nevertheless, it is the worker’s responsibility to know how to use the provided equipment, and use them correctly. Failure to comply with the company’s standards and policies, particularly with the use of safety-providing equipment, may lead to health hazards, or worse, fatalities in the occupational setting.

3. Getting certified.
Safety training and certification is a necessity for workers whose daily tasks puts them at risk for exposure to asbestos. Asbestos may not be easily identifiable, and its fibers are also so tiny that they are not easily seen by the naked eye.

When released into the air, they can be inhaled into the lungs, or settle on articles of clothing which allows them to be taken out of the workplace and possibly into the worker’s home. Getting trained and certified is a necessity in order to protect not only the worker’s health and safety, but also the health and safety of those who work in the company as well as their families.

4. Helping to identify risks.
When the presence of asbestos is suspected, the worker should follow company protocol in order to have the risk identified and assessed. Part of a worker’s responsibility is to report both identified and unidentified risks, as well as participating in the implementation of risk control measures.

Employers have a duty to do what they can to ensure that their employees’ health and safety are protected at work. This includes making sure that workers are not exposed to substances that could be detrimental to their health, such as asbestos. By doing so, employees are able to work in a safe environment without risking their health. On the other hand, employees also need to do their part in keeping free from asbestos exposure. Keeping safe in the workplace is a collaborative effort.

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Safety in the Office is Directly Tied With Cleaning

Every office environment needs to be cleaned and sanitized in order to ensure the safety and health of all employees working there. Regardless of what the nature of the work you do in the office is, you have to make sure it is safe. That way people will not only feel good about the work they do in the office, but also they will be more productive.

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When it comes to maintaining the safety of people, while they work, everything plays an important role. That said, office cleaning is very important, just as it is important to maintain a certain standard about cleaning. That will ensure that all health standards are maintained and that there is no risk to human health. Here are certain points that prove that work safety is tied to cleaning:

Clean equipment – the equipment in any office should be regularly cleaned in order to ensure that it functions properly. This is especially important for machinery that requires human operators and that people often work around. In order to ensure that the equipment functions properly and that it is most efficient, it needs to be maintained by professional cleaners most of the times. If that is not done, there is always danger of machinery not working properly, which poses a threat to the work process and those who are involved in it.

Reduce the clutter – a cluttered working environment poses a real danger to everyone working there. When there is too much stuff lying on the ground and on the desktops, accidents can happen. People often times require a lot of space to work effectively, and when that is not the case, their productivity will be hindered. When there is no clutter in the office, the work process will be smooth and people will not accidentally bump into things that get in their way.

Careful with the cleaning substances – a good number of cleaning solutions are truly harmful for human health. This is why if you hire a professional cleaning company you have to make sure that their substances and solutions are non-toxic and they pose no risk for human health. You want to make sure that the office cleaners utilize green cleaning methods and eco-friendly solutions. Ideally you want to have efficient cleaning service that will get the job done fast and efficiently.

Cleaning practices – you want to ensure that any cleaning practices in the office are carefully designed so that they pose no risk for anyone. This includes putting warning signs of wet floors, safety instructions on how to utilize cleaning equipment and written rules of how cleaning the office environment should be done.

Safety in the Office is Directly Tied To Cleaning

Cleaning the office is an important part of the work process, as it is the only thing that can guarantee a safe and clean environment. The aforementioned aspects of cleaning should always be maintained as they are essential in ensuring there are no risks for the people working in the office.

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How to Protect your Office from Fire Hazards

Every building with people working inside requires fire protection, which takes many forms. It features a mixture of educational, preventive, mitigating and investigation aspects that are all aimed at alerting for potential risks and spotting a eliminating a threat before it becomes a problem. Different jobs present different risks, and it is important to know the dangers and risks in order to prevent fire threat. This is vital, as the damage that a destructive fire can cause is great. It can grow in a matter of seconds and cover large area. Modern day jobs need to be entirely safe when it comes to accidents such as this and for this reason measures against the threat are very important.
There are few elements of any fire protection system. All of them are aimed at preventing a fire from growing and eliminate threats that are potentially dangerous and may cause a fire to occur.

How to Protect your Building from Fire Hazards

– Instructions and education – this is the most basic element of a fire protection system. Basically this includes making all of the employees that work within a building aware of the risk of fire and any threats that can potentially cause one. They should be instructed on how to perform their work in ways that are safe. Educating all personnel on what to do in case of a fire alarm and an emergency situation is key in preventing any accidents. Facilities that work with dangerous chemicals, gas or other flammable materials must develop strict codes as they are exposed to more risks. It is often times the case when professional cleaning services and special handling of these materials is required.

– Passive fire protection – this element of fire protection is represented in the form of building materials that are resistant to fire. These include floors, walls, doors and pretty much any part of the building. For the most part, these materials are used because of established strict standards. The nature of the materials used requires special knowledge on how to maintain them. Any cleaning company should be aware of the specifics and provide sufficient service.

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– Active fire protection – this important element of fire protection includes a number of suppression and detection systems be they automatic or manual. Manual systems mostly include fire extinguishers or standpipe systems located in key points of the building. They can be used by people to directly fight a fire. Automatic systems most often feature sprinklers at ceiling level that use a reliable source of water in case a fire and smoke is detected. Certain models include different forms of fire suppression that use a different extinguisher than water. Active fire protection relies heavily on detection components, such as heat and smoke detectors that can locate and alert in case of a fire threat. In order for these systems to work and function properly they must be regularly checked by professionals who will provide maintenance and cleaning service to them if needed.
Fire protection is a very important aspect of all work safety codes. Strict regulations must be followed in order to ensure that no threat occurs and that any danger is handled in time.

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Electrical Safety Tips

There are many electrical appliances that are often used in everyday life or during construction efforts, so you will need to ensure you’re treating such electrical works with the respect and care they deserve so you can be safe from harm. Take your time to check the principles of safe operation of electrical devices ahead and make sure everyone both around your home and at your workplace or construction site is fully aware of them at all costs, as electricity is one force that should never be underestimated due to its lethal hazard and long-lasting effects on the human body after an accident. The following tips will give you more information you can use to deal with it:

Electrical Safety Tips

• If you want to be safe when using electrical appliances, light bulbs and other types of equipment, then you will need to be vigilant at all times to avoid burns, shocks and the threat of electrocution. Once again: keep your eyes open and be careful.

• You would do well to assume that all overhead wires are charged with lethal voltage, as well as any exposed wiring you see either around your home, office or other location such as a construction site. Avoid touching exposed wiring at all costs and use proper protection to stay safe, such as insulated gloves at the least with lower voltage wiring. Leave power lines to professional electricians and the company that employs them and stay away from them – a simple, common sense solution.

• You would do well to stay at least 10 feet away from any possible overhead wires during cleanup activities. If you’re working at certain heights or you need to handle longer objects, you would still do well to survey the place before you move on to working with overhead wires.

• If any overhead wires happen to fall on a vehicle, you should stay inside and drive away if possible. If your engine stalls you should stay inside and call the local electric company for assistance with this issue, as well as emergency services instead of trying to solve the problem yourself.

• You should never try to do any operations with electrical equipment while still standing in water. You should also do your best to avoid repairing any electrical cords or any equipment unless you happen to be authorized and qualified to do so. If you do need to do any repairs, you would do well to have a qualified electrician doing them instead of you, as they will have the necessary experience to do so.

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• When you’re working in damp or wet locations, you need to ensure you have all electric cords and equipment fixed and in good condition, as well as using a ground fault circuit interrupter to keep them safe. Keep your eyes open when you’re doing any cleaning, especially during floor cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and so forth. A short circuit can become a fire hazard quickly if left alone, so if you smell the acrid smell of burning insulation, shut the power off and locate the issue before moving forward.

• Last, but not least: always be cautious when you work with electricity, no matter where you are and what you’re doing. It may seem like a simple thing to keep in mind but you should never feel safe just because you think you have things covered. Be vigilant, be safe.
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Respiratory Safety Tips and Guidelines

There are plenty of hazardous jobs out there, ranging from cutting materials and grinding them, producing dust in the process, to welding which produces toxic fumes, mixing chemicals and various other types of work during construction and other jobs that produce and use toxic substances. The side effects of working with such chemicals or in such conditions will often include a number of symptoms such as shortness of breath, burning sensations, dizziness, and in the worst case scenarios even unconsciousness and death. Keeping yourself safe when working in such conditions is a serious business, so you will need to ensure you know what you’re doing, lest you end up sick or worse.

Respiratory Safety Tips and Guidelines

• Ensure your equipment fits you, as there are different sizes available and you need to make sure yours is the right one, especially when you work with chemicals. There is a good reason why it’s a bad idea to have beards, sideburns, stubble or even moustaches, as they will be a problem when you’re using a respirator of any kind. You need to ensure you’ve tested the fit to verify the seal before entering a hazardous environment. Eye glasses may also affect the fit, so you may want to have corrective lenses on your eyes instead so they won’t get in the way. Cold temperatures will create valve sticking, fogging, and stiff rubber on masks and so on.

Choosing the right respirator is up to you, as there are different ones used for different types of hazards. You need to make sure you use the right kind for the right situation. You need to ask yourself if any other ways of countering the hazard will work out first. Make sure you’re fully aware of what it is and how you can deal with it. You need to know that an unknown composition of the atmosphere you’re about to breathe can be extremely dangerous, flammable or even deadly. You can use disposable masks for dust such as sawdust and so on, but they will not work well with concrete dust and finer particles. They will work well when you need to do cleaning for construction, or maybe even simple house cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and so on if you’re allergic to dust. You need to make sure you always use a full gas mask for hazardous chemicals that may also act as eye irritants or worse. Always, absolutely always make sure you have a tight seal and you’ll do just fine.

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• Air purification devices are fairly common in the construction world, but they do possess their own limitations as well. They do not protect against oxygen deficient atmospheres, since they will require the resupply of air, they also cannot be used for entry into dangerous atmospheres such as those of hydrogen sulfide. You also cannot use them with substances with poor warning properties, such as those extremely dangerous, no odor, no eye irritation or respiratory irritation substances such as hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide, which are fairly hard to detect by ordinary means. Be aware of what you’re dealing with as much as possible and use the right filters for the right situation.
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Protective Clothing and Work Safety during Plumbing

Before you begin working on any DIY projects or plumbing repairs, you would do well to review some of the simple basics concerning safety. By following certain methods you will spare yourself injury and failure as well as being able to complete your projects on time. The following safety tips should be followed no matter what type of project you’re after:

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• Stay informed
You need to check the local building and plumbing codes before you start working on your project. Knowing what you can do to make things work that way will keep things professional and safe when you need to be careful.

• Eye protection
Work only with safety glasses if you need to do any plumbing work done, especially if you suspect you may have anything that could potentially endanger your eyes. Any work that involves using a drill, snaking a drain, hammering, working under a sink or using a reciprocating saw will pose a danger and potential hazard for the eyes. Sometimes small objects, droplets of sewer water and so on may fly into your eyes if you lack proper protection, so make sure that never happens.

• Hand protection
You would do well to focus on wearing proper protection for your hands at all times when you work. Hands will often come into contact with different chemicals, sewer water and more when you work on plumbing. If your hands have any scratches you may risk infection, not to mention handling things that way is simply unsanitary. Whenever you use a drain machine of any sort, you would do well to use leather or latex gloves to protect yourself from the germs of your drain lines. Good drain gloves will not only protect your hands, but it will also become a good habit to handle tools with them for added safety.

Protective Clothing and Work Safety during Plumbing

• Lung protection
You will need to work with a face mask if you want to protect your lungs. Sanding, sawing and more are sometimes needed when you work on some plumbing projects, not to mention the unpleasant smell of sewer gases that would be filtered through a mask so you won’t have to inhale it.

• Being careful
You would do well to be extra careful whenever you’re handling any tools, as you will need to follow the manufacturer’s suggestions if you want to succeed. Many people are often injured when they don’t keep both hands on the power tools they use, not staying vigilant as they work and so forth. Don’t be one of them and keep your eyes open and your hands steady.

• Get some help
Having someone to give you a hand when you need it will make completing your tasks far easier to handle. Running a drain machine for example means you will need to have two hands on the cable, as well as someone else unplugging the machine when you’re done, not to mention other tasks that need more than a single pair of hands. This will be very useful whenever you deal with plumbing emergencies, as you never know what you may need.
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Hand Protection Tips while Working

Hand injuries are extremely common on the job, no matter where you work, up to the point where nearly 80% of most common occupational injuries are hand injuries. There are hardly any jobs that don’t really use our hands in the process, so we need to take great care to avoid any accidents with our hands. There is much that can be done to avoid such issues, but for the most part common sense should be involved before you make any decisions. The following tips will give you more information you can count on to make a difference and protect your hands:

• Wearing gloves

This is the first line of defense against blisters, scrapes, burns, cuts and splinters you will have on the job, so look for several good pairs of work gloves you can count on to get you through your tasks without fail. Make sure you’ve chosen the right gloves and that they fit comfortably against your hands, allowing you to work with ease. You would do well to wear some chemical resistant gloves when you’re working with acids or caustics. There is no way to avoid things without proper protection, so never underestimate its importance. Always keep the insides of your gloves nice and clean, as any contaminants inside will only negate their protection. Make sure you replace your gloves as soon as you see any damage to their material. Always remember to use gloves when you’re using knives and box cutters and you need to do fine work with them and cut away from your body as you work.

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• Working with machines

Always stay vigilant so you can avoid the terrible danger posed by machines with exposed moving parts. You need to make sure you use the proper controls built into the machine to stay safe, especially when it comes to machine guards and the tool rests used. Under no circumstances should you try to reach inside the machine while it is powered and unless you possess the necessary technical expertise and credentials to do so. You would also do well to keep all watches, rings and bracelets off your person to ensure they will not get in the way while you work. If there are any shavings you need to get out of the way when cleaning, never use your hands to do so but use a brush or a scraper to do it so you will not get hurt while cleaning.

• Staying vigilant

Always keep an eye on what you’re doing and make simple and smart choices so you can avoid any injuries while working on the job. Know all your potential sources of hazards and stay vigilant. Inspect your protective equipment and gloves as well as your hands after you’re done working if you’re handling dangerous chemicals. Never allow carelessness to become a danger to your safety. You would do well to keep your eyes open when you clean your machines and workplace as well, as sometimes periodic cleaning may need to be completed by a professional cleaning company trained in dealing with hazardous chemicals and similar problems.

Hand Protection Tips while Working

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DIY Construction Safety Tips and Guidelines

DIY construction efforts take quite a bit of effort, but they should never be hurried along at the expense of safety. You would do well to keep that in mind so you can prevent any accidents you may face. You can get things done even without hiring builders, a building team in most cases, such as bathroom and kitchen fitting, wallpapering, tiling and even brick work. Think ahead and use the following tips to get yourself prepared for the building jobs ahead in a productive and safe manner:

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• If you use poorly designed tools and equipment of low quality, then chances are things WILL break at some point and you may get hurt in the process, not to mention the long term health hazards that may lead to. Carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, tendonitis, white finger and so forth are something you do not want to deal with.

• You should never carry a tool by its cord or doing so with its hoses. Even though this may seem like a good idea at some point, you would do well to avoid it as much as possible. Keep the cords away from any oil, water, heat and sharp edges to avoid any damage. Look for power tools that have lower vibrations overall and make sure you protect your ears and eyes from harm by using goggles and ear protection.

• You must make sure you have tools that don’t conduct electricity or heat so you can do your job well.

• Make sure you maintain a good posture while you work and use the tools as intended to avoid accidents during your renovation or construction efforts.

• You need to make sure you keep people away from any areas where you operate machines, especially if they have no business there and it poses danger to yourself and them.

• You need to be constantly aware of your surroundings while you work, especially when it comes to low clearance areas, obstructions of all sorts and any obstacles that end up in your path so you won’t trip and hurt yourself or worse. This happens more often than you may think.

• You need to pay even more attention when you’re using scaffoldings, as this is a pretty dangerous place to be when you work, even on the best of days. Make sure its erected on a nice and solid surface and that the scaffolding itself is strong enough with more than sufficient weight capacity, at least four times the weight you believe it will need to take.

DIY Construction Safety Tips and Guidelines

• You must never support any scaffoldings or planks on an uneven surface or with uneven objects that simply don’t have a good footing.

• Keep scaffoldings away from any power lines to stay on the safe side during work, especially when you’re alone and you have no other builder present working along you.

• No matter what building service you do, never use a damaged scaffold, regardless of how much in a hurry you are or how small a job you feel you need to do. Make sure you have a good and solid footing on a sturdy scaffold and use the proper guardrails, mid rails and toe boards when you work.

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Eye Protection Safety Tips and Guidelines

Were you aware that each day the US there are more than 2000 eye injuries happening across the country? A lot of these accidents happen because of falling or flying objects, most of which are even smaller than a pin. You need to make sure you keep yourself safe whenever you work, so you would do well to keep a few things in mind as you go about your day. Most workplace injuries of this kind will happen whenever there is no need for safety eyewear or when its left to the individual workers to decide whether they need it or not. A lot of these injuries also happen due to poor cleaning practices in the workplace, especially when you’re handling dangerous chemicals. Cleaning services and professional cleaners in general will alleviate this type of issue up to a point, but vigilance is necessary in all situations regardless of that. The following checklist of tips will give you more information on what you can do to make accidents like that something easily avoided:

Eye Protection Safety Tips and Guidelines

• Creating a safe environment

You will need to focus on minimizing hazards from falling or unstable objects by securing all areas against such possibilities. Make sure you have your tools and safety features in place and secure at all times. You should also always ensure people know how to use their tools safely and properly to avoid accidents, as well as never allowing bystanders inside hazardous areas at all times.

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• Using workplace safety practices

You should always remember to shake, brush and vacuum all dust from hardhats, your forehead or your hair before you remove your protective eyewear. This will help protect your eyes from dust when you remove them. You should also work on cleaning your eyewear on a regular basis as well as never rubbing your eyes with dirty hands.
No matter how much you fight against such issues, sometimes accidents do happen and you need to focus on dealing with the accidents as they happen:

• Specks on the retina

You should never rub the eye that was affected, as this would only make the problem worse. Flush it with lots of clean water instead and see a doctor if your problems persist and the speck doesn’t wash out.

• Dealing with foreign objects, punctures and cuts
Unlike the previous example, you should avoid washing the affected eye as you may worsen the situation. Avoid trying to remove the object and look for medical attention as soon as possible, since you will be in need of delicate medical help.

• Dealing with chemical burns

Flush the eye with water or some other drinkable liquid as soon as possible and open the eye as widely as you can. Keep flushing for the next 15 minutes even as you look for medical help. If you work in a location that handles dangerous chemicals, chances are there will be an eyewash station you can use to do this.
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