Working at height is a common requisite of almost any construction, maintenance or development work and should be conducted with extra care. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height remain one of the most common causes of fatality in any workplace, with a large proportion of these being a result of proper checks and basic assessments having not been carried out.

If you are an employer running your own business where working at height is frequent, it is crucial that you are familiar with the Working At Height Regulations 2005 and that you are continuously implementing the right health and safety protocol within your work site. If you are an employee, it’s important to be aware of the necessary safety checks so you can be sure you are not putting yourself in danger whilst at work. 

1.     Assess the work to be done.

Thorough and practical assessment of the work to be carried out will allow the work to be controlled responsibly throughout, minimising the likelihood of setbacks or emergencies.

It is stressed by the HSE that work should be done at height only when absolutely necessary. Ask yourself: can this work be done from the ground, with specialised equipment? Or can it be done using lower-level or interval platforms, reducing the risk of fall or injury?

Also identify the risks themselves, including the height of the work to be done, and how realistically accessible it is, even with the use of elevated platforms and other equipment. Determine how many people are required to complete the work, so as not to compromise the safety of more than what is absolutely necessary. Decide whether the work to be done is of a long or short duration (short duration is work that is measured in minutes rather than hours). 

2.     Take note of environmental conditions.

Work at height should never be undertaken or allowed in extreme weather conditions that could endanger anybody’s health and safety. Also bear in mind the surrounding environment of your work site, such as a noisy environment that could affect communications between those working at height and those co-ordinating on the ground. Nearby unstable matter can also pose an extra risk of injury, distraction or obstruction, so it’s important to maintain the worksite and its surrounding area to as high a standard as possible.

Although environmental conditions very often cannot be controlled, they can be noted and prepared for accordingly. 

3.     Check the relevant equipment.

Use of the right equipment is obviously the backbone of any work being carried out at height; whether this involves ladders, scaffolding, or the use of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPS) such as scissor lifts or cherry pickers.

What should not be overlooked, however, is the checking and maintenance of this equipment on a regular basis. Different equipment and machinery will have various maintenance specifications; scaffolding checks for example, ought to be carried every seven days, whilst harnesses require a pre-use check, detailed inspection and interim inspection at various stages of their lifetime.

Equipment checks should ideally be carried out by someone assessed under a registry body (such as the Construction Industry Scaffolders Registration Scheme), or at least with sufficient experience in the use of the height equipment being used. 

4.     Ensure employees have the right training.

In light of the previous point, anybody using specific height equipment should have had the right training in its operation – this is essential. If your business engages in the use of mobile elevated platforms, it is absolutely crucial that all employees have undergone IPAF training and hold a current Powered Access Licence card (PAL) that proves they are capable of operating MEWPs safely.

IPAF training can be carried out by an IPAF approved training provider, and courses can be completed in just one day, with different packages to suit your business’ needs. If you are an employee, speak to your employer about possibly setting up a course to secure a fully qualified workforce (and some excellent team building opportunities). 

5.     Prepare for the worst.

It sounds simple, but the law requires that there is always a plan in place for emergencies and rescues when working at height. Use all means possible to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur, such as safety nets or bean bags; rest platforms at regular intervals, and the wear of safety clothing.
Adele Hallsall writes for Kimberly Access, which provide access platform equipment for construction jobs. They have been serving businesses with access equipment for many years now and have a loyal customer base. They also provide training such as IPAF training.


 The roof is an integral element of our home and as cautious home owners we all have the responsibility to maintain its good condition. Periodic roof survey is essential to keep a close watch on the roof and if the need be, amendments can be made instantly to avoid further damage. Roof repairs or renovation work if outsourced to expert vendors makes the job more easy and perfect. This also reduces the risk as they are quite acquainted with the safety measures that are pre-requisite in roofing job. 
Nevertheless, if you have sound knowledge and the confidence to do it, can also be a better option. This will help in saving the additional labor cost and one can be sure of the superior material quality being used. Safety measures are of utmost importance and should be given priority in order to ensure that there are no accidents or life-threatening events. Roofing repairs are one of the most critical areas of work and should be done carefully with due importance on safety measures. 
Let us peep into some basic yet crucial safety steps that one needs to ensure while doing the roof repairs.
1.Clear away all the mess in the work place area. If you have any old and unused belongings on the flat roof or there is debris that has got collected on the roof; clean all these before you can begin the work. 
2.Ensure that all electrical wires are intact in their place and there are no live or open wires nearby while working on the roof. Take care in case if you have any overhead wire or cable running over the roof. Call the electrician to fix up the wires for you and insulate them if required.
3.Do not forget to wear a helmet, safety glasses and gloves. 
4.Use proper shoes which do not slip. Strictly do not wear slippers while working on the roof.
5.Do not wet the roof floor or do not climb over wet roof.
6.Check the roof shingles before you climb on to the roof. 
7.Keep kids and pets away from your work area or barricade the area where you are working and if the need be, maintain signboards that indicate your work in progress.
8.Avoid using a metal ladder as there are chances of hazards due to electrical shocks. Check the ladder quality before you climb onto it. Ensure that the ladder is properly rooted on an even surface below and would not budge from its place.
9.The quality and strength of the rope matters a lot in case you are using a rope as a safety belt. Try to use the proper secured safety belts available in the market rather than regretting later.
10.Keep your toolkit and equipment ready well in advance and move it onto the roof before you start the work.
These basic tips should be thoroughly followed before the onset of roofing repairs to keep you safe and sound. 
About the Author:  The author as a writer has an inclination towards the construction industry. His articles primarily focus on renovation and repair matters. His in-depth research in Belgium, makes it possible for him to share such useful tips and information.


Workers’ Memorial Day, observed on April 28, is also the anniversary of the signing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, (OSHA), over 4 decades ago, and has been designated as the time to remember fallen workers and surviving families, as well as to emphasize the promise of safe jobs. 

The signing of OSHA was the committment of the right to a safe workplace.  Despite this promise, and the dedication and efforts of both workers and enlightened employers, 12 workers die on-the-job every day in the United States. In fact, a total of 150 U.S. workers die each day, (more than 50, 000 workers each year) as a result of exposure to health and safety hazards on the job. 

Over the next several days there will be thousands of people participating in Workers’ Memorial Day observances throughout the U.S. in remembrance of fallen co-workers, friends, and family as they renew their commitment to making their workplaces safer. Members of the public and the survivors of victims of workplace injuries and death have been invited to attend and participate in observances, which include the reading of names of deceased and injured workers, memorial bells, candlelight vigils, and other memorial services. 

It’s a fact that safety laws and regulations don’t kill jobs – but unsafe jobs do kill workers. Our elected officials should be making sure that all workers are protected, by keeping safety standards and regulations up to date and enforced. They should also be strengthening the voice of workers to advocate on their own behalf for safer jobs, not attacking their rights to advocate effectively for themselves, their families, and all workers. 

The Whistleblower Act was written to protect workers from reporting unsafe working conditions, without repercussion. They have the right to tell their employer of any risks and hazards of their jobs that could be life-threatening, without repercussion. After a company investigation, those workers have the right to protection against discrimination, such as: reduction of pay/hours; prospect of promotion; making threats; blacklisting; demotion; denial of benefits, intimidation; fail to hire/rehire. 

Companies are required to meet all safety standards as set by OSHA. When accidents happen and there are injuries and/or casualties, OSHA will investigate. Depending on their findings, companies may have to pay large penalties for failure to comply with such standards, as well as benefits to the worker’s family. 

This Workers’ Memorial Day, the soldiers at Ft Hood, Texas, should be remembered. Although a service was held for them, they need special thoughts this day.  They were doing their job when shot by a fellow soldier. Investigations are being conducted until a cause for this tragedy is found. Remember those and any others you know or family members of someone who lost their life because of their job. 

Every worker has the right to know they will be safe at their job, and get to return home at the end of their shift.


Work safety has always been a top priority in the plumbing and heating industry. As plumbing is a profession that involves frequent exposure to hazardous situations and chemicals. Plumbing experts needs to be precise with regard to their health and work standards. Plumbing as a craft requires significant technical knowledge and involves much more than simply unclogging a sink or replacing a home shower. 

Typically, a plumber’s work involves working with a wide variety of plumbing tools and equipment in different challenging situations on a daily basis. It is therefore vital that all plumbing engineers are well aware of the risks involved in the occupation and are able to take the appropriate safety measures to minimize them. 

Professional plumbing experts like Plumbers 4U ensure that all their staff are trained and well versed in their own health and safety policies and adhere to safe working practices onsite. These emergency plumbers, working in the North London area and serving Camden, St. Albans, Enfield, Barnet and Brent, work to ensure that all projects are delivered in a professional, responsible and safe manner. 

 There are many well-known risks involved when working as plumber – but taking the correct precautions and safety measures will ensure safety and success in the field. 

  • Plumbers often need to work in close proximity to flammable or combustible substances, and risk exposure to toxic substances like lead, asbestos, adhesives, solvents, solder and sulphur dioxide
    Take proper precautions to avoid inhaling harmful vapours by using properly fitted respirators and ventilation systems, and use eye protection while working with chemicals and in areas where foreign materials may enter your eyes. 
  • There is an increased risk of injury while working with different tools
    Keep your equipment and tools organized and work in a clutter-free area. Inspect the different equipment for safety hazards before each use. All bench and hand grinders should be checked prior to use and should have the proper safety guards in place. 
  • Working in different awkward positions, and lifting heavy or awkward objects could cause back injury
    Work in a clutter-free area and work with your back hunched as little as possible. If lifting heavy objects, bend at the knee and keep a straight back, and do not try to lift something that’s too heavy. 
  • Exposure to extreme temperatures might lead to burns from steam or hot water
    Secure cut off valves prior to working with steam lines or hot water lines. 
  • Plumbers risk electrocution by working with electrical equipment in close proximity to water
    Do not work with electrical equipment while in water or if the equipment is wet, and inspect all electrical cords and plugs for exposed wires or cracks in the insulation before each use. 
  • There is a risk of slipping, tripping or falling on wet surfaces especially while working at heights
    Ensure that you use fall protection and that you take extra care while working at heights.  

Although challenging, there are a lot of benefits to a career in plumbing. You’ll be able to start your own business and set your own work timings, and can therefore set different appointments to fit your work schedule. You’ll never be short of work – plumbing is not an industry that can ever go out of fashion, nor can the need for plumbers ever dwindle. The profession also ensures a fairly good income, as you’ll be able to charge for your skills on an hourly basis. 

Sent to us by Ram Seth, writing for Plumbing specialists Plumbers 4 U ensure that all of their engineers adhere to the industry’s safety standards to avoid or mitigate some of the above risks, and as long as an accident-free plumbing workplace is maintained, which requires a commitment from everyone within a company, the profession of plumbing is a lucrative one.

We appreciate these safety tips, and all understand that plumbers do many jobs that none of us want to do. They know what they are doing, and are worth the charge. pb

Drugs and Money: The Costs of Addiction (Guest Post)

Chances are that you know someone who currently struggling, or has struggled, with addiction. has created an infographic detailing some of the statistics behind addiction, along with the costs and benefits of treatment.

The impact of addiction is shocking. From lost time at work to crime-related costs, addiction costs $600 billion per year. That number boils down to $1,800 per man, women, and child in the United States. $193 billion going to tobacco, $193 billion to illicit drugs, and $335 billion in alcohol.

And while you may think that addiction doesn’t affect you, 2 out of 3 drug users, are employed, and 1 in 12 full-time workers are using drugs regularly. Only 10 percent of individuals with substance abuse problems will seek treatment.

This infographic also details the cost of drugs like meth, cocaine, and prescription medications, along with the costs of jail time, treatment, and healthcare costs. For every $1 invested in substance abuse treatment, we save $7 in healthcare and criminal justice costs.

Feel free to like, comment, and share this infographic entitled “Drugs and Money: The Costs of Addiction” brought to you by



Spring has made a late arrival here in North Central Texas, but Old Man Winter still thrives in other parts of the United States. With the arrival of warmer weather, all the weeds and other plants loaded with allergens start spreading their cheer around us!   Folks who have allergies are not looking forward to the misery associated with them. 

It’s also the time to plant gardens, mow the yard, and clean up and fix up what the cold weather left behind. As you prepare to start your seasonal yard work, stock up on face masks, goggles, gloves, sunscreen, and plenty of allergy medicine! Be sure your power equipment is in good shape, as it usually needs an annual checkup to be sure everything is running as it should. 

There is so much to look forward to during spring and summer: baseball, swimming, outings, summer camps, and hopefully, being with family more. Kids are anxiously awaiting summer break from school, so this means we need to be careful when driving down neighborhood streets. 

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are also a part of spring that we would rather not have to deal with. So far, there have been fewer tornadoes for this time of the year than usual. But, as it warms up, conditions will make the atmosphere right for twisters. 

Be sure that you have a plan, just in case you must leave your home in the event of a severe thunderstorm, or worse, tornado. Every member of the family should know where to meet. A care kit should be packed with enough water for at least three days, non-perishable food, medicines, pet food, flashlight, blankets, and other supplies. Keep your cell phone charged at all times, just in case. 

Information from The Weather Channel shows that even as we push deeper into the heart of spring tornado season, 2014 has so far completely spared Americans the agony and grief of tornado-related deaths. The year’s long early safe streak has put 2014 in rare territory, historically. The modern era of tornado records began in 1950 with the advent of the storm database maintained by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. This year has now gone on longer than any other calendar year in that era without a tornado fatality. 

Another recent year’s long quiet streak ended rather violently when this April 20th marked the 10th anniversary of 2004’s first killer tornado, also an F3 in Illinois. Eight people died on April 20, 2004 when a twister smashed into Utica, Ill., causing a tavern to collapse. 

Even including what are likely incomplete historical records from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, 2014 already ranks among the top 10 years with the longest fatality-free start. It’s possible that some of those older years in the record had undocumented tornado deaths, which would move 2014 even higher in the rankings if we had perfect knowledge of what happened back then. 

With no tornadoes reported Monday, we now have to go back 99 years to find a calendar year when the first documented tornado death came later in the year – that was 1915, when the first recorded death came on May 5.

We are thankful that so far that we have not had any deaths as the result of tornadoes. Let’s hope that 2014 will continue to be a low record for killer storms.  Be prepared by listening for important warnings from your local television stations, NOAA, and the Weather Channel. 

Source: The Weather Channel


 April is designated as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Every day we should observe all the ways we need to be safe while behind the wheel. These ideas are for everyone who drives, no matter your age. How many times you have let some sort of distraction cause you to not pay attention to your safety and that of your passengers? 

Here are some ideas, which you all have read before, but we are going to keep trying to let you know how important this is. 

First of all, DON‘T talk on a cell phone while you are driving if you have children in the car. You may use a hands-free device, but you will still be letting your train of thought veer away from safe driving, and you are setting a bad example for your kids. If they think it’s ok because mom and dad talk or their cell phone and drive, someday they will, too. 

Here are some more driving DON’T’s: 

  • Don’t drink and drive, and never get in a car with someone who has been using drugs or drinking.
  • Don’t text and drive……ever! Pull over, please don’t take the chance!
  • Don’t make assumptions about what other drivers are going to do. Just because someone has their turn signal on does not mean they are actually going to turn. They may be like the rest of us, and have forgotten that it is on!
  • DON’T assume that other cars can read your mind, either. Make sure that you use your turn signals and give yourself, and the cars around you, plenty of room to maneuver.
  • DON’T tailgate other cars, pass on shoulders, fail to yield, run stoplights or stop signs (even if no one else seems to be around), or break any other rules of the road on purpose. If you act like you are above the law when you operate a car, you will sooner, rather than later, find out that you are not.
  • DON’T play your car stereo so loudly that you are disruptive to others, or so loudly that you are unable to hear train signals or emergency vehicle sirens.
  • DON’T engage in other activities, while driving, that distract your attention or reduce your reaction time. Eating, changing clothes, or putting on makeup while driving is dangerous. In some states, if you are caught doing these things while driving you can be cited for “driver inattention” and given a ticket.
  • DON’T treat a car like it is a toy. It is not. Don’t use your car to play chicken, race, or give another car a friendly “tap.”
  • DON’T let your emotions and frustrations get the best of you. Don’t engage in road rage, no matter how irritating another driver might be to you.
  • DON’T activate the cruise control when driving in wet conditions. There can be a build up of water under the tires, and could cause hydroplaning. (This is not a distracted driving tip, but an important DON’T to add to your list.)
  • DON’T drive if you are sleepy. Ask your passenger to drive, or wait until your head is clear. Needing sleep really distracts you from your driving responsibility. 

DO DRIVE DEFENSIVELY. If you have a group in your car, let them lead the conversation so you can keep your eyes on the road at all times. Stay safe and take this message to heart. If you let some distraction cause you to have an accident while driving, chances are someone will get hurt and you will be responsible. So “drive friendly”,  as we say in Texas, and drive responsibly!


Origin of Earth Day

In the 1960s, there were many concerns about the awareness regarding the environment among Americans. During this period, U.S senator and environmentalist, Gaylord Nelson, tried to galvanize the conservation movement through the appropriate creation of a national celebration.

Nelson made many efforts in the Congress to pass legislation to protect the popular Appalachian Trail. He also tried to pass a legislation to ban the use of DDT. In order to organize the first Earth Day, Nelson sought some help from Denis Hayes, who was a graduate of Harvard University.

The first Earth Day was celebrated on 22nd April, 1970. It was specifically designed as an environmental awareness program. Its aim was to educate participants about the importance of conserving the environment. In 1990, Denis Hayes organized a global Earth Day. It was observed in more than 140 countries by 200 million persons. 

Every year on April 22, over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day. From San Francisco to San Juan, Beijing to Brussels, Moscow to Marrakesh, people plant trees, clean up their communities, contact their elected officials, and more—all on behalf of the environment.Like Earth Days of the past, Earth Day 2014 will focus on the unique environmental challenges of our time. As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever. Earth Day 2014 will seek to do just that through its global theme: Green Cities. With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future. Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people. 

Forty-four years ago, Earth Day began. Great strides have been made through technology by improving water quality, air quality, and recycling. We still have a long way to go, and if you haven’t done your part to make our earth a cleaner place, start today.

  • Dispose of old computers  through the correct channels, as the monitors contain materials that are very harmful.
  • There are ways to destroy personal information by use of shredders. Professional shredding companies contract with hospitals and other businesses to safely remove old paper records.
  • Ride a bike to work, or just simply for the exercise.
  • Teach your children to know the difference between recycling materials and those that we simply toss away.
  • Plastic bottles, plastic grocery sacks are hard on our environment; take reusable bags to the grocery stores,
  • Drink water from a glass rather than a plastic bottle. There are washable cups with lids that you can carry your coffee, tea, or water with you while away from the house.
  • Carry a sack with you when you go for a walk, and pick up debris that others have simply tossed aside.
  • Help keep our lakeshores clean.
  • Plant a tree.

There are so many ways each one of us can do our part, and those small tasks can help improve our little corner of the world.  If everyone would do the same, and businesses would make every effort to comply with environmental laws, what an even greater earth it would be!

For more ideas or to volunteer to help spread the word, check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.

Source:  Earth Day Network; Earth Day 2014



Road workers brave many of the most unsafe working conditions around, including inclement weather, dangerous heavy equipment, work performed from heights, and potential electrical hazards. On top of these already risky conditions, motor vehicle traffic speeds by the work site constantly, threatening the unwary worker with serious injury or death.

Motor vehicle collisions with road workers are an all-too-common occurrence.  According to a recent U.S. Bureau of Labor study, 962 workers were killed at road construction sites from 2003 through 2010. Of these deaths, nearly half (442) occurred when a worker was struck by a vehicle or moving equipment. The study found that workers are equally as likely to be struck by highway traffic as they are mobile construction equipment.

To reduce the risk of injury and death, road workers and construction managers can implement a few simple procedures:

Increase Visibility

When it comes to keeping workers safe from highway traffic, visibility is key.  The Bureau of Labor study found that of the 92 people killed while flagging or performing traffic control duties, only 20 were wearing reflective or high-visibility clothing at the time.

Every precaution should be taken to ensure that workers are visible to oncoming traffic. High-visibility clothing should be worn by every person, but especially those conducting traffic. Yellow or green reflective clothing is preferable to orange, as different colors keep workers from blending in with orange construction signs.

Slow Traffic Down

According to several studies around the country, one of the most effective ways to slow down traffic before entering a construction zone is to plant a stationary police vehicle ahead of where road work begins. One Virginia study showed that the presence of a police vehicle slowed traffic by an average of 12 to 14 miles per hour.

In addition to a police presence, traffic can be slowed by using funneling or lane reduction techniques. Single lanes of traffic tend to move much slower than two or three lanes of traffic. In addition, cars are less likely to try and pass slower vehicles when there is only a single lane. This can prevent an aggressive motorist from swerving into a construction zone while trying to pass.

Use Traffic Barriers

Cones, barrels, and other lane separation techniques keep motorists at a safe distance from workers. Barriers also provide a cushion of safety from inattentive or distracted drivers. A driver who does hit a barrier will hopefully be jolted into awareness before driving into and injuring road workers.

Train Workers on Safety Awareness

Every worker should be trained on the best way to minimize their vulnerability while working next to traffic. A worker’s situational awareness is vital for avoiding both highway traffic and heavy construction equipment moving around the site. Thirteen per cent of all deaths in the Bureau of Labor study were caused by workers simply passing through the construction site. Teaching workers the proper techniques for entering, exiting, and passing through a site can significantly decrease the number of injuries and deaths reported every year

Analyze the Activity Area

Trained safety professionals should review a changing worksite on a regular basis to look for potential hazards. These professionals should try and minimize the zones where heavy equipment will need to back up, and should look for ways to implement any engineering, administrative, or personal protection measures that are needed to improve safety.

No matter what precautions workers take, injuries can still happen, especially with inattentive, distracted, or impaired drivers on the road. By taking the proper precautions, however, road workers can minimize their risk of injury and increase their odds of returning home safely. 

These road worker safety tips are provided by the South Florida personal injury firm of Gordon & Doner. Our firm is dedicated to holding negligent and irresponsible drivers accountable for the injuries caused to road workers in construction zones.

Our thanks to Jason Swilley for these great tips.  Again, April 7-11 was National Work Zone Awareness Week, and we can’t remind drivers too many times to slow down and watch for those who build our roads and keep them safe! pb



There will be many travelers over the Easter Holiday weekend, and we want to wish them safe adventures wherever they go.  Sunrise Services will be observed throughout the world, and for those wishing to attend, allow time to arrive safely, due to the early hours these observances are held.  Many families will gather in their church of choice for the true reason we celebrate Easter, the miracle of Christ’s resurrection. 

Happy memories of  Easter Egg hunts come to mind for this grandmother.  The fun of watching my children and grandchildren hunt through the grass and yard for those colorful treasures was so much fun; however, it also reminds me of how hard it was for me to find those things!  My best friend would always have to share hers with me, because I usually came up with nothing!  (These were the hunts we had at school.) Thanks, Mackie!

If you are fortunate to get to spend time with family and friends during this long weekend, enjoy every minute of it.  If you find yourself spending time on a short trip, enjoy that, too.  Life is too short to waste on worries, instead, live every day as though it were your last. 

From all the folks at Texas America Safety Company, and Blog4Safety – Have a safe and happy Easter holiday.  pb