STAYING SAFE DURING SPRING BREAK

“The U.S. State Department maintained a cautious tenor on traveling to Mexico’s border region in a new travel warning that discourages travel to cities south of the Rio Grande.  Published Wednesday, the warning advises U.S. citizens against taking non-essential trips to Tamaulipas, noting carjacking attempts and the January 2011 slaying of Monte Alto missionary Nancy Davis, who died at a McAllen hospital after suspected carjackers shot her in the head.  The State Department claims that “no highway routes through Tamaulipas are considered safe,” emphasizing routes between Matamoros and Tampico as hotspots for carjackings and other crimes, according to an article written by Jared Taylor, of The Monitor.

Similar cautions are placed against travel in Nuevo León and Coahuila states in Northeast Mexico, which along with Tamaulipas are hotbeds of drug cartel activity.  The State Department cited homicide figures from the Mexican government that showed 47,515 people killed in narco-violence between late 2006 and through the first nine months of 2011, with nearly 13,000 homicides through Sept. 30, 2011, alone.   As with past travel warnings, the State Department warned about Mexican border cities, which have seen prolonged battles between the cartels that control lucrative drug smuggling routes into the United States. Many battles between cartel members and authorities have featured grenades and other improvised explosive devices, sometimes leaving bystanders injured or dead, officials said.

“Gun battles have occurred in broad daylight on streets and in other public venues, such as restaurants and clubs,” the warning states. “During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area.”  The warning does not specify the number of incidents in which U.S. citizens have been trapped, but a 2009 gun battle broke out in Nuevo Progreso that left dozens of Winter Texans fleeing for cover as shooters exchanged gunfire along the tourist spot’s main strip. No injuries to U.S. citizens were reported in that incident and no similar episodes of violence have been reported since.  The State Department noted the number of U.S. citizens slain in Mexico has risen from 35 in 2007 to 120 in 2011.  U.S. officials warned against carjackings that have occurred day and night on both free and toll (cuota) highways in Mexico, especially along the border, with criminals targeting newer and larger vehicles.  The travel warning published Wednesday replaces a similar advisory issued in April 2011.

The State Department’s more cautionary advisories have garnered skepticism and dismay from merchants and officials along the Tamaulipas border, who have claimed tourism business has been scared away.  The chamber of commerce in Matamoros raised eyebrows among officials in the Rio Grande Valley in August 2011, when it issued its own travel warning that advised Mexican visitors to be aware of possible extortions or cartel violence when visiting U.S. border towns.  

U.S. government employees continue to face travel restrictions and curfews because of the heightened security risks in Mexico.  In Tamaulipas, U.S. government workers are prohibited from traveling on highways outside Matamoros, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo. The government has also imposed a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew, with employees prohibited from frequenting casinos and strip clubs in Tamaulipas. The new warning casts a dark taint on border areas, but says Mexico City and most tourist areas remain safe, as well as the states in the Yucatan Peninsula and far south of the country. ” 

The purpose of sharing this article with you is that March brings Spring Break, and we want our students who travel to come home safely.  There’s no rule that says Mexico is the only place to go to have fun.  With the cost of gasoline and travel, many families and students can find fun spots very near their homes.  The southern coast of the U.S. offers beautiful beaches and great food.  The state of our economy is another thing – many parents simply cannot afford to send their kids off for a week’s vacation. 

The last thing most of these students want to think about during spring break is safety. Unfortunately, the combination of youth, freedom and alcohol can have devastating consequences for young adults who just want to have a good time. Spring break revelries may expose students to risks of theft, sexual assaults, alcohol poisoning and more.  Marcia Peot, a full-time police officer and chief safety officer at StreetSafe, offers the following safety tips for vacation-bound college students:

· Don’t let your guard down. Being on vacation is not an excuse to go wild, do something out of character or dive into unsafe situations.
· Research your destination in advance, especially if it’s a foreign country. Learn about any dangerous areas you should avoid, familiarize yourself with local laws and customs and know where to go and what to do in case of an emergency.
· Stay in groups or use the buddy system. You are more of a target when you are by yourself.
· Be cautious with strangers. Do not accept a ride or go off somewhere alone with a person you don’t know.
· Use alcohol responsibly. Don’t drink excessively. When you are intoxicated, your physical reflexes, awareness of your surroundings and ability to make decisions become impaired, making you an easy target. Never leave your drink unattended and do not accept beverages from anyone other than the bartender or waiter.
· The beaten path is the better path. Stick to populated and well-lit areas, don’t take short cuts and familiarize yourself with the area before heading out.
· Be smart about hotel safety. Lock your hotel room at all times. Do not advertise your room number, open the door for anyone you are not expecting or bring strangers back to your room.

College life can be stressful, but there’s no need to add to that stress by putting yourself in danger during spring break. Have fun, be safe, and come home refreshed and ready to start those studies again!   If you plan to go to a beach, (preferably in the U.S.), take plenty of sunscreen, a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection, and a hat that offers some shade.  Call your parents often to let them know that you are ok.  Use common sense while you are having fun.  Remember, “let your conscience be your guide!”  If it feels wrong, it probably is.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR THAT FLU SHOT!

We will go ahead and be straightforward and recommend that you get your flu shot if you haven’t already, even though the flu season has not been as bad so far!  Although it is the normal time of year for flu, confirmed cases doubled just this month, even though in most states the influenza activity remains regional rather than widespread.  California and Colorado are the only states that report widespread flu activity so far.  Experts are unable to explain why the season has been fairly mild, but it is beginning to circulate, and situations can change at any time.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that this year’s season had the latest official start since 1987-88. 

Shots are still available at public health centers.  The vaccination usually takes about two weeks to become effective.  Some factors that may figure in on why the flu has been kept under control are milder weather, and the fact that more persons took got their immunizations last year.  Ones who are more susceptible to catch influenza are children under 6 months, older patients, and those who have underlying chronic illnesses.  Physicians also state that flu is unpredictable, and there’s many things about the flu that are puzzling to them, as well. 

Many persons confuse symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and other stomach or intestinal problems to be influenza.  Seasonal flu normally is a respiratory disease, and not one of the stomach or intestines.  Most persons are contagious from one day before symptoms develop and five to seven days after symptoms disappear.  Young children and those who have weakened immune systems may be contagious longer.  The illness lasts usually one to two weeks.  Please stay at home if you are ill, until you are sure you are no longer contagious.  Germs are spread through coughs, sneezes, and droplets in the air, and also any germs on surfaces that persons may touch.  That is why “washing your hands” is preached so often!  Keep some hand sanitizer in your car or purse, so you can clean your hands every time you return to your car from shopping or running errands.

Hundreds of thousands of people each year are hospitalized with influenza.  Between 3,000 and 40,000 people die during any influenza season, depending on the strain that’s circulating, according to Jeffrey Duchin, M.D.  He is chief of the Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Immunization Section at Seattle & King County Public Health.  Dr. Duchin says “This is a serious health problem for both adults and children, yet  it’s preventable.  There’s a way to avoid unnecessary doctor’s visits, to avoid unnecessary antibiotics, and to avoid hospitalization – through vaccination.”  Complications from influenza include bacterial pneumonia, ear/sinus infections, and dehydration, especially for persons with chronic health problems. 

As we know from the past, influenza strains are worldwide – no country is immune from it.  The H1N1 pandemic of 2009 taught  much about the importance of vaccines and staying out of the public when we are sick.  The H1N1 virus was a very deadly strain, causing  a global disease outbreak.  Let’s hope this time of the year brings the lowest figures ever regarding influenza.  Each person can help prevent it through innoculation, and staying home when ill in order not to expose others to illnesses we may have.

CDC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THREE ORGANIZATIONS CITED BY INDIANA OSHA FOR INDIANA STATE FAIR ACCIDENT

Indiana OSHA has cited three organizations involved in the Indiana State Fair accident on August 13, 2011, that resulted in fatal injuries of two workers. Fifty-eight people were injured and 7 were killed when a deadly force of wind toppled stage equipment just before the band Sugarland was scheduled to perform.

IOSHA cited the Indiana State Fair Commission with one serious violation for failure to conduct a life safety evaluation and cited Local 30 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees for 3 serious violations. Violations included failure to consider soil conditions when placing cable anchor points for the grandstand stage; failure to provide fall protection for workers 4 feet or more above ground level; and, failure to conduct a personal protective equipment hazard assessment of the worksite to determine the personal protective equipment required while erecting the load bearing roof and the grandstand.

IOSHA also cited Mid-America Sound Corporation for 3 knowing violations, including failure to develop and implement an Operations Management Plan, failure to develop a risk assessment plan, failure to maintain and use current engineering calculations and documentation, and failure to provide appropriate, qualified supervision. See the news release below for more detailed information: 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FATAL INJURIES AT 2011 INDIANA STATE FAIR RESULT IN SAFETY VIOLATIONS ASSESSED AGAINST THREE ORGANIZATIONS

INDIANAPOLIS (February 8, 2012) – The Indiana Department of Labor announced today it is citing three organizations involved in the Indiana State Fair accident on August 13, 2011 that resulted in fatal injuries of seven people including two employees. The IOSHA investigation resulted in the following: 

1. A Safety Order was issued to the Indiana State Fair Commission citing them for a “serious violation” for failure to conduct a life safety evaluation that included an assessment of all conditions and the related appropriate safety measures of the Indiana State Fairgrounds concert venues at the 2011 Indiana State Fair. A penalty of $6,300 was assessed. 

2. A Safety Order was issued to Local 30 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees including Theatrical Payroll Services, Inc. for three (3) “serious violations” and one (1) “non-serious violation.” Citations included failure to consider soil conditions when placing cable anchor points for the grandstand stage; failure to provide fall protection for employees working 4 feet or more above ground level; and, failure to conduct a personal protective equipment hazard assessment of the worksite to determine the personal protective equipment required while erecting the load bearing roof and the grandstand. The non-serious violation involved failure to maintain proper OSHA records for four years. Penalties of $3,500 were assessed for each serious violation, and a penalty of $1,000 was assessed for the non-serious violation. Total penalties assessed were $11,500. 

3. A Safety Order was issued to Mid-America Sound Corporation for three (3) “knowing violations.” These violations included failure to develop and implement an Operations Management Plan, the failure to develop a risk assessment plan, failure to maintain and use current engineering calculations and documentation, and failure to provide appropriate, qualified supervision. 

Each knowing violation was assessed a penalty of $21,000. Total penalty assessed was $63,000.

“The Indiana Department of Labor, through its Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration, undertook a 6-month investigation of whether any health or safety standards that were owed to employees on the premises were violated,” noted Commissioner Lori A. Torres.  “The investigation does not address duties to the public and it was not an investigation of causation. IOSHA does not as standard practice establish causation. When an employee is killed while working, Indiana law establishes a duty on the employer to ensure that fatality is reported. IOSHA then determines whether it falls within its jurisdiction to investigate that fatality. The investigation is conducted to determine if established safety standards were violated by any employer on site. Because two employees were killed as a result of the collapse of the load bearing roof, an IOSHA investigation was initiated.” 

“We have issued knowing citations to Mid-America Sound Corporation, which indicates the most serious safety violation,” said Commissioner Torres during a morning news briefing at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. “The evidence demonstrated that the Mid-America Sound Corporation was aware of the appropriate requirements and demonstrated a plain indifference to complying with those requirements.”

“The State Fair Commission failed to have conducted an adequate life safety evaluation and plan prior to the event,” noted Commissioner Torres. “The commission simply did not establish and maintain conditions of work for its employees that were reasonably safe and free from recognized hazards.”

She also noted that IATSE Local 30 clearly acted as an employer and failed to take proper safety precautions for employees and failed to take appropriate steps to ensure the load bearing roof was properly secured.

Maximum penalties that may be assessed under Indiana law are:

  • Non-Serious Violation: $7,000
  • Serious Violation: $7,000
  • Knowing Violation: $70,000 

Each organization was informed of the investigation findings this week prior to the 10 a.m. news briefing. Each will have 15 business days, by Indiana law, to pay the penalties or to contest them to the Indiana Board of Safety Review. All violations require abatement by March 6, 2012.  Indiana law requires that IOSHA investigations be conducted within 6 months of the date of the fatality. The investigation took 175 days and involved more than 2,000 manhours.  A copy of the safety orders are available on the Indiana Department of Labor’s website at: www.in.gov/dol/2367.htm.

About the Indiana Department of Labor:

The mission of the Indiana Department of Labor is to advance the safety, health and prosperity of Hoosiers in the workplace.  Note: The above information was taken from OSHA’s QuickTakes bi-monthly newsletter that we receive, as well as the Indiana Department of Labor.  This is an example of what happens when outdoor events are not safely set up.  We can’t control the wind; however, if the proper planning had been done, possibly lives wouldn’t have been lost, and injuries could have been avoided. Hopefully, these citations will make those who set up public concerts and other venues  be aware of OSHA rules in order to keep their citizens safer.

SAFETY KNIVES IN THE WORKPLACE

GUEST BLOG

PPE, or personal protective equipment,  has become a much-discussed topic on health and safety forums. However, safety knives are yet to receive their due, with quite a few industries unaware about how to implement knife safety in their present work environments. Creating a ‘knife policy’ as such is imperative, but also quite challenging. This is because officers will obviously be focusing on safety, while the actual knife users may be more concerned with cutting performance! Of course, price is another factor for the company in question. Regardless of these challenges, there is no doubting the importance of introducing safety knives for manual cutting operations at the workplace. 

Carefully assessing the requirements for safety knives   

As part of your company’s knife safety audit, you need to first evaluate the type of knife that delivers optimal performance whilst offering the expected levels of safety. This can be done by taking into consideration the opinions of knife handlers across various departments. Different departments may handle a variety of materials on a regular basis; these may include cardboard, plastic or shrink wrapping to name a few. Some safety knives may work better with plastic than cardboard. So it follows that precise material handling requirements must be understood before identifying the safety knife features and performance that will best suit the daily cutting tasks. In fact, a precise assessment is the first step to creating and implementing a safe workplace knife culture. 

Verifying the suitability of safety knives 

Pharmaceutical and food industries may require metal detectable knives that can be easily cleaned in an autoclave while other may prefer the disposable variety that doesn’t risk cross contamination. How can you verify the suitability of safety knives unless you use them first? By requesting the safety knives supplier to provide samples that can be used to guarantee all the important considerations. Before using the safety knives, it is imperative that users go through the operating instructions for different knife designs carefully. 

To use the safety knives optimally, it is crucial that you understand how to use them correctly. For instance, some knife designs will need to be positioned at an angle of 45 degrees while others can be held much like you would handle an open blade knife. The direction of cutting is another consideration. Some cut away from you and others with hooked heads cut towards you. To prevent snagging, some knifes may ‘slice’ as opposed to ‘cutting’ material. So, as you can see, choosing the right knife design will involve a bit of research and trial. As PPE safety equipment suppliers provide sample knives, trialling, at least, should not be a problem. 

Taking other factors into consideration 

You need to assess how comfortable it is to use and handle the safety knives. A few lightweight designs may shatter easily and expose their blades. Assess whether the knife blade is enclosed within a finger-safe gap or it is auto-retractable. Also see if the knife blade can be replaced. As a range of safety knives is available at leading suppliers, you will have a lot of choice when it comes to picking a design that best meets your workplace needs. 

Blog4Safety and Texas America Safety Company want to thank Penny Cooper, a writer who represents suppliers of safety equipment, Intersafety, located in the United Kingdom.  We appreciate your interest in sharing safety information with our readers.

 

 

 

PUT ME IN COACH, I’M READY TO……..

learn my new job!  Many companies have a trainer or “coach,” who teaches skills to the new employees on a one-on-one basis.  This type of coaching is a spontaneous form of training.  It provides immediate feedback, and correction.  To establish a structured program, parameters must be set regarding issues such as who will conduct the training, what material will be covered, and how long training will last. In addition, the following topics should be considered:

  • Selecting and preparing OJT trainers/coaches
  • Working with supervisors for successful implementation
  • Developing and/or selecting training materials
  • Setting trainee prerequisites
  • Evaluating performance
  • Granting company certification to trainers/coaches and trainees
  • Evaluating the program

The coaching-based On Job Training program strategy is based on a few simple ideas:

  • Management has to create a positive attitude about coaching.
  • A successful OJT program is created in a team environment.
  • A champion in the company is needed to administer the program.
  • Supervisors are assigned to oversee the training needs of each trainee. (Note: They do not necessarily conduct any training.)
  • OJT trainers use coaching skills as they direct the learning process. Every OJT coach is given specialized training on teaching and coaching skills.
  • OJT is conducted based on standardized methods for each job or task.

The foundation of the program is its coaches. Coaches must know and be able to perform the jobs they are teaching and also know how to share their knowledge and skills with a novice.  Choosing the right people to be coaches and then giving them the support they need is key to a successful program.  A coach is “someone who helps someone else (a trainee) learn something that he or she would have learned less well, more slowly or not at all if left alone.”  Here are some of the attributes a good job coach should possess:

Responsiveness – expresses interest in trainee, is a good listener, has good communication skills, accommodates individual differences,  maintains relaxed manner, and is receptive to questions.

Enthusiasm – is energetic, optimistic, prepared, willing to commit time.

Humor – able to incorporate humor in personal and real-life examples during training.

Sincerity/honesty – takes every question seriously and doesn’t pretend to know the answer if they don’t.

Flexibility – able to eliminate, adjust, or alter material during training according to trainees’ needs and/or time constraints.

Tolerance – able to accommodate different personalities and learning style.

Each program will improve over time. Today’s trainees will learn about coaching relationships and be trained using methods that adhere to adult learning principles. These employees will have a head start when it is their turn to take on the roles of supervisor and coach in the future.

Whenever I was learning a new job, an experienced worker with lots of patience and one who didn’t mind answering the same question always made it easier for me.  One in particular that I remember, took me step-by-step slowly and thoroughly through the paces, and made it seem easy.  Being a good “job coach” is the same as being a good teacher.  We all probably have a particular teacher in mind that made an impression on us that we have carried through life.  The responsibility of a job coach is to ensure that all new trainees are ready to fulfill their job duties in a safe and thoughtful way.

Source: CDC

SAFETY DEVICES FOR SNOW SKIERS

“Three advanced skiers died Sunday when an avalanche pushed them down the back side of a mountain pass and ski area in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, while a fourth survived the slide by using an inflatable safety device. The skiers thought they were in a safe zone, but ended up being swept in the avalanche.  One pro skier, Elyse Saugstad, told the media that she credited her airbag device for saving her. 

The deadly avalanche surprised a group of 15 skiers who were exploring outside the resort boundaries in search of fresh powder at Stevens Pass, about 80 miles northeast of Seattle. Stevens Pass is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the Nodrthwest, ideal for skiing, backpackers, and snowboarders.  Skiing outside the boundaries as a practice is not illegal, but it is considered dangerous.  “It’s public land so the Forest Service basically requires to have open boundaries so people can ski out in the open ski area if they want, if they are on their own,” John Gifford, general manager of Stevens Pass told ABC News. 

The Northwest Avalanche Center had put out a warning telling the public of a high-avalanche-danger alert for areas above 5,000 feet, indicating that warm weather could loosen snow. Police officials confirmed the group knew about the warning.  “Everyone that is skiing was an experienced skier, and they were all wearing their avalanche beacons,” Deputy Chris Bedker of the King County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue said, referring to a device worn to help find people who have been buried in snow.  Around noon Sunday the avalanche took three men and one woman downhill almost 3,000 feet. The three men who died were swept about 1,500 feet down a chute in the Tunnel Creek Canyon area, King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Katie Larson told the Associated Press.

Among the three men who died were free-skiing world tour judge Jim Jack, Stevens Pass Marketing Director Chris Rudolph and skier John Brenan. ESPN’s free-skiing editor Megan Michelson was also skiing with the group but was not caught in the slide that killed the three men. The other skiers in the group were able to free themselves from the snow, and quickly made their way to dig out those still buried. They performed CPR on the victims but were unable to revive them, Sgt. Larson told the AP. 

About two hours south at Snoqualomi Pass, a snowboarder was killed after another avalanche struck Sunday and he went over a cliff. Rescue video taken earlier this month shows a man being rescued when an avalanche buried him next to his snowmobile. There have now been 13 avalanche deaths this winter season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Experts have said that a weak base layer of snow caused by a dry winter has lead to the dangerous conditions.” 

After reading this story, we decided to search for some of the safety devices that have been developed to save lives of skiers, including  the airbag system that saved Saugstad.

Avalanche airbags – Avalanche airbags help a person avoid burial by making the user an even larger object relative to the moving snow, which forces the person toward the surface. Avalanche airbags work on the principle of inverse segregation. Avalanches, like mixed nuts and breakfast cereal are considered granular materials and behave fluid-like (but are not liquids) where smaller particles settle to the bottom of the flow and larger particles rise to the top. Provided the airbag is properly deployed, the chances of a complete burial are significantly reduced. 

Beacons –  Beacons or “beepers”,  should be worn by every member of the group.  They emit a beep via 457 kHz radio signal in normal use, but may be switched to receive mode to locate a buried victim up to 80 meters away.  Using the receiver effectively requires regular practice.  Since about 2000, nearly all avalanche rescue transceivers use digital displays to give visual indications of direction and distance to victims. Most users find these beacons easier to use, but to be effective still requires considerable practice by the user. Beacons are the primary rescue tool for companion rescue and are considered active devices because the user must learn to use and care for their device. 

Probes – Portable (collapsible) probes can be extended to probe into the snow to locate the exact location of a victim at several yards / metres in depth. When multiple victims are buried, probes should be used to decide the order of rescue, with the shallowest being dug out first since they have the greatest chance of survival.  Probing can be a very time-consuming process if a thorough search is undertaken for a victim without a beacon. In the U.S., 86% of the 140 victims found (since 1950) by probing were already dead.   Survival/rescue more than 2 m deep is rare (about 4%). Probes should be used immediately after a visual search for surface clues, in coordination with the beacon search. 

Shovels – Shovels are essential for digging through the snow to the victim, as the snow is often too dense to dig with hands or skis. A large strong scoop and sturdy handle are important. Plastic shovels often break, whereas metal ones are less prone to failure.  As excavation of the avalanche victim is extremely time-consuming and many buried victims suffocate before they can be reached, shovelling technique is an essential element of rescue.  Shovels are also useful for digging snow pits as part of evaluating the snowpack for hidden hazards, such as weak layers supporting large loads.

Recco rescue system – The Recco system is used by organized rescue services around the world. The Recco system is a two-part system where the rescue team uses a small hand-held detector. The detector receives a directional signal that is reflected back from a small, passive, transponder called a reflector that is included into outerwear, boots, helmets, and body protection. Recco reflectors are not a substitute for avalanche beacons. The Recco signal does not interfere with beacons. In fact, the current Recco detector also has an avalanche beacon receiver (457 kHz) so one rescuer can search for a Recco signal and a beacon signal at the same time.

Avalung – Recently, a device called an Avalung has been introduced for use in avalanche terrain. The device consists of a mouth piece, a flap valve, an exhaust pipe, and an air collector. Several models of Avalung either mount on one’s chest or integrate in a proprietary backpack.  During an avalanche burial, victims not killed by trauma usually suffer from asphyxiation as the snow around them melts from the heat of the victim’s breath and then refreezes, disallowing oxygen flow to the victim and allowing toxic levels of CO2 to accumulate. The Avalung ameliorates this situation by drawing breath over a large surface area in front and pushing the warm exhaled carbon dioxide behind. This buys additional time for rescuers to dig the victim out.

Other devices – More backcountry adventurers are also carrying Satellite Electronic Notification Devices (SEND) to quickly alert rescuers to a problem. These devices include the This device can quickly notify search and rescue of an emergency and the general location (within 100 yards), but only if the person with the EPIRB has survived the avalanche and can activate the device. Survivors should also try to use a mobile phone to notify emergency personnel. Unlike the other devices mentioned above, the mobile phone (or satellite phone) provides two-way communications with rescuers.

On-site rescuers (usually companions) are in the best position to save a buried victim. However, organized rescue teams can sometimes respond very quickly to assist in the search for a buried victim. The sooner organized rescue can be notified the sooner they can respond, and this difference can mean the difference in living or dying for a critically injured patient. The International Commission for Alpine Rescue recommends, “early notification is essential, e.g., by mobile phone, satellite phone, or radio, wherever possible”  Other rescue devices are proposed, developed and used, such as avalanche balls, vests and airbags, based on statistics indicating that decreasing the depth of burial increases the chances of survival.  

Although inefficient, some rescue equipment can be improvised by unprepared parties: ski poles can become short probes, skis or snowboards can be used as shovels. A first aid kit and equipment is useful for assisting survivors who may have cuts, broken bones, or other injuries, in addition to hypothermia. 

If skiing is your choice of sport, be prepared ahead of time, be sure someone checks to see if there is a possibility of an avalanche.  There is equipment to determine this.  Most of all, if it is thought to be a dangerous area, stay out.  It not only risks the lives of skiers, but of the rescue personnel whose job it is to search and rescue.

 

Source: ABC News

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING ANSWERS

While researching protective clothing,  I checked our parent company,  Texas America Safety Company,( www.tasco-safety.com) and borrowed these charts that will be helpful to those who purchase protective clothing for their employees.  These figures may not be of interest to those who do not require this type of P.P.E.; however, I hope it will help others learn more about all the requirements and research that goes into keeping employees protected from the particular hazards they encounter in their every day jobs.

Industrial Standards

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to be responsible for the health and safety of workers in and around areas of hazardous materials and contaminated waste, OSHA responded by formulating an all encompassing compendium of safety regulations that prescribe operating standards for all aspects of OSHA projects. Almost 2 million people are affected by the OSHA Standard today.In 1990, additional standards proposed and developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) were accepted by OSHA. NFPA Standard 1991 set performance requirements for totally encapsulated vapor tight chemical suits and includes rigid chemical and flame resistance tests and a permeation test against 21 challenge chemicals.The basic OSHA Standard calls for 4 levels of protection, A through D, and specifies in detail the equipment and clothing requited to adequately protect the wearer at corresponding danger levels.  
  Level A represents the greatest danger of respiratory, eye or skin damage from hazardous vapors, gases, particulates, sudden splash, immersion or contact with hazardous materials. It calls for total encapsulation in a vapor tight chemical suit with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or supplied air and appropriate accessories. Level A chemical protective clothing can also be manufactured to meet NFPA 1991 specifications.
  Level B situations call for the highest degree of respiratory protection but a lesser need for skin protection. It calls for SCBA or positive pressure supplied air respirator with escape SCBA, plus hooded chemical resistant clothing (overalls and long sleeved jacket; coveralls; one or two piece chemical-splash suit; or disposable chemical-resistant coveralls.

Glossary of Terms

Polypropylene - A breathable material used for non-hazardous environments. Provides protection against dry particulates, paint, and light chemicals.

Tyvek – A material that provides protection in all kinds of industrial applications. Provides an excellent barrier in light splash situations, and dry particulates such as asbestos, lead dust and radioactive dusts. Also provides protection in food processing and painting.

Tyvek QC – Polyethylene coated. Provides excellent lightweight splash protection from many acids and other liquid chemicals, and pesticides.

PE Coated – A polyethylene coating which provides lightweight industrial chemical protection. Not suggested for use with extreme chemicals.

Tychem 9400 – A tough, durable, tear-resistant material which provides excellent protection against a broad range of chemicals.

Tychem SL – A lightweight fabric providing effective and economical protection against a broad range of industrial chemicals, including those used in agriculture and petroleum markets.

Vinyl Aprons, Hemmed – Made of high quality virgin vinyl resistant to acids, alkalis, solvents, chemicals, oils, fats, grease and salt. Provide reliable tear, abrasion and puncture resistance. Used in food processing, meat packing, assembly, restaurant work, and industrial maintenance.

Unhemmed Aprons – Identical to the above, but unhemmed. Used mainly with food processing, industrial maintenance, and other hygienic applications. Unhemmed are more economical.

Die-cut Aprons – Provide medium-duty splash protection and flexibility in industrial applications. Neck straps and tie straps are incorporated in this one-piece design making it even more economical.

Urethane Aprons – These aprons are lightweight, long lasting and very economical where water splash is likely. Ideal for food processing and heavy industrial abrasion areas.

PVC Aprons – Made from a thick 20 mil. PVC material. Used in rigorous work environments. Recommended for use in aircraft production, or battery manufacturing.

Hycar Aprons – Nitrile blend provides reliable abrasion and cut resistance for longer protection against oils, fats, chemicals, acids and grease. These rubber protective aprons can withstand the deteriorating effects of animal fats and greases while remaining flexible in cold environments.

Particulate Holdout – The filtration efficiency of a material, measured by the number of particulates per 100 that can be pulled through the material. Reported for 2 micron size particles.

Penetration Resistance – Material resistance to liquid penetration is measured using ASTM F903 – the outside surface of the material in question is exposed to the test chemical for one hour.

Permeation Resistance – ASTM F739 is used to measure the permeation resistance of materials. Permeation is the molecular movement of chemicals through a material. If exposure to chemical vapors is a concern, this data should be analyzed.

Tensile Strength – The force required to break a material apart by pulling it from opposing directions. Measured in pounds and is reported in two directions.

Burst Strength - The force required to break through a material.

MATERIAL PROPERTIES
  DuPont Tyvek® DuPont Tyvek® QC DuPont Tychem® SL
(SARANEX)
DuPont Tychem® BR
(9400)
Basis Weight
(ASTM D3776-85; oz./yd.)
1.2 2.1 3.1 5.3
 
Thickness
(ASTM D1777; mils)
5.3 6 7.1 21
 
Strip Tensile
(ASTM D1682; MD lbs./in./CD lbs.)
7.9/7.6      
 
Work to Break
(ASTM D1682; MD in.-lbs./CD in.-lbs.)
2.4/2.1      
 
Tongue Tear
(ASTM D2261; MD lbs./in./CD lbs./in.)
2.2/2/4      
 
Breaking Strength–Grab
(ASTM D1682-64, Sec. 5.3; MD lbs./CD lbs.)
  25/35 43/45 99/95
 
Mullen Burst
(ASTM D3786-87; psi)
  66 65 190
 
Tearing Strength–Trapezoid
(ASTM D1117-80; MD lbs./CD lbs.)
  7//5 11//10 25/24
 
Flammability
(CS-191-53; Section 1610)
Class 1 Class 1 Class 1 Class 1
 
Shelf Life
(Years)
5 10 4 10
  SARANEX 23P SARANEX 23P SARANEX 23P SARANEX 23P
WHICH GARMENTS SUIT YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT?
TYPE MATERIAL USAGE FEATURES
Dry Particulate DuPont Tyvek® Limited Excellent barrier to many harmful dry particulates including asbestos, lead dust, glass-reinforced fibers and radioactive dusts.
  Polypropylene Limited Greater breathability than Tyvek, but not the same protection. Use for non-hazardous, low-linting applications; i.e. non-toxic spraying.
 
Chemical Protective Polycoated Du Pont Tyvek® QC Limited Tyvek which has been “quality coated” with 1.25 mils polyethylene. Offers splash protection against many inorganic acids, bases and other liquid chemicals.
  Dupont Tyvek®/Saranex® 23-P Limited A laminate of Dupont Tyvek® and Saranex 23-P film. Offers an effective barrier against a broader range of chemicals than polycoated Tyvek.
  Dupont Tychem® BR
(9400)
Limited Excellent chemical resistance against a broad range of chemicals. Strong and durable, and offers the low cost, convenience and safety of a limited-use fabric. Used in Haz- Mat, industrial & other chemical applications.
  Hycar Reusable Nitrile rubber offers excellent chemical resistance and maximum wear.
  Vinyl Reusable Withstands fats, grease & cold; comfortable.
 
Cut & Abrasion Denim Reusable Abrasion resistant.
  Hycar Reusable Nitrile rubber; excellent wear.
  Du Pont KEVLAR® (knit & weave) Reusable Excellent cut resistance.
 
General Purpose Denim & Cotton Reusable Multi-purpose use.
  Poly Cotton Reusable Multi-purpose use.
  Leather Reusable Multi-purpose use.
     

Hopefully, these charts from Texas America Safety Company will answer questions you have regarding the most suitable protective clothing.  Once you have made your choice, training and proper maintenance of the PPE should be mandated.  T.A.S.C.O. can answer your questions about the right selections in all types of safety wear; and, remember, if you mention Blog4Safety with an order, you will receive a 5% Discount!

PROTECT YOUR TEN BEST FRIENDS – YOUR FINGERS!

Our hands are very important parts of the success in performing our work correctly.  Regardless of the type of work – industrial, driving, or working in the healthcare field, our fingers essentially do the walking and talking for us many times.  Gloves play a very vital role in keeping our hands safe.  It would be hard to name the many types of gloves, but there is basically a glove for every task.  Cotton gloves work well for material handlers, chemical-resistant gloves protect those who work with chemicals, leather gloves for welders, metal-mesh gloves for meat cutters, and ballistic nylon gloves for chain-saw users.  Every occupation is considered in the design and manufacture of gloves.  All environments require certain gloves: for extreme cold in freezers or outdoors in winter, to extreme heat in welding, to lint-free, high technology areas, to radiation-protection in nuclear plants, wearing the correct type of gloves is very important.   In the United States, gloves that are used for food handling, food processing, and the medical industry are certified by the U.S. Drug Administration.  Many workplaces approve gloves by joint health and safety committees.  Some employers set their own standards to ensure their workers are adequately protected. 

There is a definite difference in the requirement of a good fit of work gloves between men and women.  Ill-fitting gloves are a great problem, because workers won’t use them if they feel awkward.  Some women have to make do with gloves that don’t fit – fingers too long or too wide, palm circumference too large, and gauntlet or wristlet too big.  One size does not fit all.  Texas America Safety Company has a choice of gloves for every hand – their manufacturers have ensured that the gloves they sell meet all needs – large enough for big hands, yet selections that fit the hands of smaller men, as well as all types of gloves for women.  Some of the gloves even come in pink, so guys, “hands off” her gloves! 

In choosing safety gloves, here are some things to look for:

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions to get a proper fit.
  • Select all exposed skin that is covered by gloves.
  • Ensure the glove’s finger length and width, and palm circumference are correct.
  • Ensure that the glove offers a safe grip, to prevent tools or materials from sliding from your hands.
  • Gauntlets or wristlets should fit over the clothing and be stream-lined to the arms to prevent gloves from catching on machinery or debris from falling inside.
  • Be sure that the gloves allow skilled and easy use of the hands.
  • Gloves should not be clumsy or awkward to wear. 

Ill-fitting equipment can detract from a worker’s ability to do his/her job.  It could lead to:

  • Less efficient work;
  • Slower work;
  • Greater number of errors;
  • Difficulty in doing certain tasks – jobs that require detailed movements. 

There’s no reason to purchase gloves that are not going to fit your employees, because now you have choices for every size and need.  Take the time to inventory all your employees’ hand sizes and order enough to cover those “ten friends” the best way to ensure safety, and a good job performance.

ANOTHER SHADE OF EYE PROTECTION!

A new OSHA fact sheet, Eye Protection against Radiant Energy during Welding and Cutting in Shipyard Employment,* is intended to help prevent worker eye injuries in the maritime industry. Electromagnetic energy given off by an arc or flame, commonly referred to as radiant energy or light radiation, can injure workers’ eyes. For protection from radiant energy, employers must ensure that workers use the necessary personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses, goggles, welding helmets or welding face shields. This equipment must have filter lenses with a shade number that provides the appropriate level of protection. A shade number indicates the intensity of light radiation that is allowed to pass through a filter lens to one’s eyes. The higher the shade number, the darker the filter and the less light radiation that will pass through the lens. Tables in the fact sheet below provide the proper shade numbers to be used under various conditions when performing welding operations including gas and metal arc welding and oxygen cutting. 

Eye and Face Protection

Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection. Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation.  OSHA requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants and hazards.  Eye and face protection is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and the construction industry.

The following is a guide for the selection of the proper shade numbers.   These recommendations may be varied to suit the individual’s needs.

____________________________________________________________________
                                                         |
             Welding operation                           | Shade No.
_________________________________________________________|__________
                                                         |
Shielded metal-arc welding - 1/16-, 3/32-, 1/8-,         |
 5/32-inch electrodes .................................  |       10
Gas-shielded arc welding (nonferrous) - 1/16-, 3/32-,    |
 1/8-,  5/32-inch electrodes ..........................  |       11
Gas-shielded arc welding (ferrous) - 1/16-, 3/32-, 1/8-, |
 5/32-inch electrodes .................................  |       12
Shielded metal-arc welding:                              |
 3/16-, 7/32-, 1/4-inch electrodes ....................  |       12
 5/16 -, 3/8-inch electrodes ..........................  |       14
Atomic hydrogen welding ................................ |    10-14
Carbon arc welding ..................................... |       14
Soldering .............................................. |        2
Torch brazing .......................................... |   3 or 4
Light cutting, up to 1 inch ............................ |   3 or 4
Medium cutting, 1 inch to 6 inches ..................... |   4 or 5
Heavy cutting, 6 inches and over ....................... |   5 or 6
Gas welding (light) up to  1/8 inch..................... |   4 or 5
Gas welding (medium) 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch .............. |   5 or 6
Gas welding (heavy) 1/2 inch and over .................. |   6 or 8
_________________________________________________________|__________

NOTE: In gas welding or oxygen cutting where the torch produces a  high yellow light, it is desirable to use a filter or lens that absorbs the yellow or sodium line in the visible light of the operation. 

We hope that this information will be useful to anyone in the industries that utilize welders and welders helpers.  It is of the utmost importance that their eyes are protected from the hazards of their jobs.

 

Source: OSHA

TOP TEN SAFETY APPS – Guest Blog

Guest Blog – Jesse Harwell is today’s guest author.  We know you will enjoy reading about ways to stay safe, and can benefit from this safety advise.  With these types of safety apps, how much “smarter” can our cell phones get?

Top 10 Safety Apps

There are a number of smartphone apps on the market designed to keep you and your family safe in emergency situations. They cover everything from safe driving and emergency alerts to first aid instructions. Here are the top ten safety apps.

1. Life 360 – Android (Free)

This app is the perfect tool for families in an emergency situation. It has a number of features vital in any disaster situation, such as GPS tracking on family members’ phones, disaster planning tips, communication tools, neighborhood maps of safety points.

2. MyMotolingo – Windows phones ($5/month)

This app is good for parents of teen drivers or spouses of drivers with road rage. It monitors all driver distractions, such as text messages and phone calls, and provides a report of phone activity. It also logs aggressive acceleration, speeding, trip length, and time that can be provided in email reports or tweets. Make sure your loved ones are keeping themselves safe on the road.

3. Playsafe iPhone ($0.99)

Another factor that distracts drivers is playing and changing music on a mobile device. It makes the iPhone screen into a large button to play and pause music. A simple sideways swipe on the screen changes the track.

4. Silent Bodyguard iPhone ($3.99)

This app acts like a silent panic button. Press it and the system will send e-mails, texts and social media messages with your location every 60 seconds to everyone on your emergency contact list. Best of all, it’s silent in case you’re in a situation when you wouldn’t want your attacker to know you’ve called for help.

5. Safety NET – Android ($3.99)

If you have loved ones who have medical issues, you might want to have them install this app. It uses a smartphone’s built-in accelerometer to monitor for falls, collisions, or shakes and immediately alerts all the contacts listed in the user’s “Safety Net.” If you accidentally drop your phone or don’t need help, you are also given 15 seconds to cancel the alert.

6. Pocket First Aid & CPR – iPhone, Android ($1.99) 

This app comes from the American Heart Association and provides basic instructions for performing first aid and CPR for adults, children, and infants. This should not be a substitute for complete first aid and CPR training, but it could save a life in an emergency. It also has several videos and illustrations to help you perform first aid and CPR correctly.

7. Emergency Radio – iPhone ($1.99) 

If you’re in an emergency situation without access to power, this app allows you to listen in on radio frequencies from first responders, such as the police, fire department, coast guard, as well as weather stations and air traffic control frequencies. It is currently available for major cities in the U.S., as well as a few around the world like London, Toronto, and Sydney.

8. ICE – iPhone ($0.99)

ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. This app allows first responders and emergency personnel to find your emergency contacts, medical information, and allergies all in one place.

9. Help Me!Android (Free)

This app provides personal information such as blood type, medical conditions, allergies, and an emergency call button. When the app is open, the screensaver is disabled so that anyone helping you can see the information at all times.

10. Personal SafetyAndroid ($1.99)

This app provides lots of information to keep you and your family safe. It alerts you of high-crime neighborhoods, severe weather, allergens, air quality, and speed limits wherever you are.

Jesse Harwell is a former private investigator who now owns and manages the site  Master of Homeland Security. It is a resource for students looking to earn a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security.

Wow!  What great information, thank you so much, Jesse!  This is good advice to assist everyone, as we never know when an emergency will happen.  Please pass this on to your family and friends.  Go to Jesse’s website for more ways to stay safe!