All posts by Doug

Is Your Office Making You Ill?

Guest Post by reader Emma Jones.

Most people wouldn’t normally class office work as a high risk profession. The sedentary nature of the job and lack of physical work that goes with it may not scream ‘danger’ but in fact there are a number of health problems that can come with a desk based job ranging from workplace habits, poor working environments and issues with common office equipment – some of which may not be obvious. Most businesses and corporations require at least some book keeping or administration work and with a reported 40% rise in ‘white collar workers’ in the US since the 1970’s, this is clearly one of the leading professions in the country. So it is important that office workers adopt good working practices and create safe work environments in order to stay healthy. Here are some of the most common health problems associated with office workers and the best ways to avoid them.

Eye strain

Eye strain is a common problem associated with looking at computer screens, mobile phones and paperwork for prolonged periods of time. It can cause eye itching, watering, soreness and in severe cases double vision, light sensitivity and headache. It is a problem that is thought to affect between 50-90% of all computer based workers as their eyes are constantly working hard to focus on small fonts and prints. Medical professionals may often recommend limiting your time on computers but if it is your job it’s not always possible to do this. Instead make sure the font on your computer is large and the resolution is high – making things clearer and reducing the need to squint and strain. Your office space should also be generally well lit, if not with natural light than full spectrum lighting units which are thought to emit more natural, balanced spectrums of light than fluorescent tubing so that reading and writing are also easier.

Coughs and colds

If one person in the office gets a cold then the chances are it’s going to spread like wildfire. That’s because the air quality in office blocks is often very poor and although air conditioning might feel fresher than opening a window, its actually recycling all of that stale air and pumping it back out to the workers. Devices such as printers and photocopiers are also thought to emit ozone fumes, electrical issues may present a problem, ventilation systems may let in pollution from outdoors and all of these factors combined are thought to contribute to an actual medical condition known as ‘sick building syndrome’. To help improve this it is important to keep windows open, take outdoor breaks when you can and keep offices full of (well looked after) green plants which act as natural air purifiers by taking in toxins and emitting oxygen.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injuries occur when you carry out particular task repeatedly and it causes stress and tension to muscles and joints. One of the main types of RSI in an office environment occurs in the hands and wrists from typing and using a mouse or from things such as holding a telephone between the neck and ear. Using handsfree telephone sets, ergonomically designed keyboards and tools such as padded mouse mats may relieve some of the stress to your wrists and hands. You should also takes breaks and carry out regular simple hand/wrist exercises such as stretching the fingers and rotating the wrists in order to keep the blood flowing.

Poor Posture

Many people assume that standing puts more pressure on the body but surprisingly sitting down is actually more strenuous on the lower back and if you are sitting for long periods of time without being properly supported then it can lead to severe aches, pain and make you more vulnerable to injury. Slouching is one of the main contributing factors in poor posture so it is important to sit up straight, with your feet flat on the floor and your forearms at a ninety degree angle on your desk. A good quality, adjustable chair and a foot rest (if necessary) can help achieve this. The top of your computer monitor should be at eye level and your mouse and other belongings should be within easy reach.


Unfortunately the statistics speak for themselves: obesity is rife within office workers and presumably due to the rise in modern technology over the past three decades, they are now more inactive than ever. The lack of physical exercise coupled with the way in which office staff tend to ‘graze’ at their desks on unhealthy snacks could be the reason why their profession is causing them to pile on the pounds, but with obesity being a major health condition linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious ailments it is something that needs to be addressed. With rising economical demands and increased pressure on staff in many offices, workaholics are spending more time in the office and consequently neglecting their diet and health. One study suggests that short bursts of exercise and daily practices such as taking a walk at lunch or opting to use the stairs rather than the lift can help with this but office workers should take responsibility for their diets and try to avoid unhealthy snacking during the day.

References and source materials:

Blog4Safety: ‘Safety Can Be Confusing’, accessed 24.07.15

The Business Insider: ‘Great News We’ve Become a White Collar Nation’, accessed 22.07.14

WebMD: ‘Eye Fatigue’, accessed 23.07.14

Consumer Healthday: ‘Is Your Office Making You Sick: Sick Building Syndrome‘, accessed 23.07.14

The Atlantic: ‘Jobs With The Highest Obesity Rates’, accessed 22.07.14 ‘Is Workaholism a Genuine Addiction’, accessed 25.07.14 – Office and conference room chairs – accessed 22.07.14

Electrical Safety Tips for the Workplace

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


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


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


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


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


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


About the author:

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

Asbestos in the Workplace: The Risks

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

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

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

What Is Asbestos?

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

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

There are three basic types of asbestos:

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


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

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

What Asbestos Does

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

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

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

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

What You Can Do

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

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

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

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



The “How To” Guide to Air Compressor Maintenance

Air compressors are a necessity for many business owners and can often be a huge investment. The good news is, a well maintained air compressor can last for up to 10 years with the proper care.


Sizing and Installation

Preventative maintenance for air compressor begins before you even purchase it. It’s important to purchase the right air compressor for the function you’ll be using it for in order to get the greatest longevity out of the system. A common mistake is that people buy an air compressor that is too large for the application they need it for. Do your research ahead of time at

Once you purchase the right-sized air compressor, it’s important that you install it properly in a space that is well ventilated, since the most common problem with air compressors is over-heating.


Regular Checks

You should check your air compressor daily, monthly, quarterly and annually to ensure that it stays well maintained. The owner should do a visual inspection every day to check for any alarms or oil leaks. Almost all air compressors these days have built-in microprocessors that will alert you about maintenance issues, like a filter that needs to be changed or a temperature problem. These alerts are much like the oil or gas light going on in your car: They let you know there’s a problem, and it’s your responsibility to take care of that problem.

For monthly, quarterly and annual inspections, it’s best to call in a professional. If you have a relatively small air compressor, you can do the monthly checks by yourself, but every air compressor owner should have a professional inspect their machines on a quarterly and yearly basis. John Henry Foster can help you with its Preventative Maintenance Program, which includes pre-scheduled visits so you won’t have to remember to schedule your inspections. You can choose to pay based on time and materials, or choose a flat rate billing option. Rates vary based on the size of the air compressor.


Monitor temperatures

            As stated above, the most common problem with air compressors is overheating, and summer is the most common time of year to experience this. Aside from installing your air compressor in a space that is well ventilated, it’s important to keep the air compressor coolers clean. A build-up of dust or debris can clog the coolers and keep them from working properly. It’s also important to keep all of your air compressor oils and fluids at their proper levels.



            Depending on the size of your air compressor, it can cost anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars. Air compressor owners usually start to notice more problems after five years, but with the right maintenance they can easily last for up to 10 years. As a general rule of thumb, you should expect to spend the cost of your air compressor in annual maintenance costs. For example, if you purchased an air compressor for $50,000, you should expect to spend about the same each year on materials to perform preventative maintenance and labor costs.



Preventative care? The biggest thing to get the proper life out is to apply the proper compressor for the application. Generally people buy too large of a compressor and they don’t install it in the processor


1. Sizing of the compressor is key

2. Installation of the compressor. Proper ventilation

3. OEM specifications for PM maintenance schedule. The manufacturer requirements as far as the pm goes, they’ll have the schedule of how often


Preventative maintenance. Oil filers, lubricant, air filters.


Daily, monthly, quarterly, yearly and checks. Your daily checks should be by the people who own it. Depending on the size of the machine, monthly can go ownership and have a professional come in. definitely quarterly and yearly should have professional. Rates vary based on size of the machine. $120/hr.




Author Bio: Matt works for John Henry Foster, a hydraulic and pneumatic equipment company based in St. Louis, Missouri.

It’s Time To Reconsider Clay Absorbents In The Workplace

Every business needs cleaning supplies to handle potential messes around their work site. But for industrial facilities or garages working with fuels, gasoline, oils and other spillable liquids, over-the-counter cleaning supplies definitely won’t do the trick. These facilities must turn to professional industrial absorbent products and spill kits to handle their cleaning needs. But are the tools they’re reaching for as safe as they could be?

Tools like spill kits and absorbent products are a vital part of any major industrial facility; without them a small worksite spill can potentially become a major problem for nearby communities and local wildlife. Just one gallon of oil or gasoline will pollute 100,000 gallons of water; because of this, it’s important to clean a spill before it leaks out of a contained area. Unfortunately, what a majority of workers and companies do not know is that many popular spill kits used to prevent major accidents can still pose a number of risks, even when used properly.

A product designed for to address a safety issue should not become a safety issue itself. Unfortunately, many popular absorbents can indeed become a problem. How is this possible? Because of the main ingredient in popular absorbents: clay.

Clay-based products have been the main absorbent product ingredients of choice for years, largely because of their affordability. However, clay absorbents present a number of potential problems:


  1. Despite their name, clay absorbents do not truly absorb the very spills people want clay-based products to clean. Instead, liquids simply coat the surface of the clay absorbent being used. And since these liquids are not properly absorbed, the very spill that workers cleaned to prevent a hazardous situation can potentially leak right back off of the clay product. Imagine the kind of damage this can do if a used absorbent product is dropped off at the local dump, improperly disposed of in unsealed plastic bags. This should never happen, seeing as clay absorbents do not meet US EPA Guidelines for solid waste disposal and must be treated as a hazardous waste. Unfortunately, just one little slip-up by a new worker or a lapse in company rules can result in an accident just waiting to happen.
  2. The next time you pick up a bag of clay absorbent product, check the label for a health warning. Clay absorbents often contain crystalline silica, a material known to pose major health risks to workers. Long-term exposure to crystalline silica dusts can cause silicosis, an irreversible lung disorder that can cause asthma, and even encourage the development of tuberculosis and heart failure; additionally, workers who breathe in silica dust have twice the normal risk of lung cancer and often. In fact, the silica dust found in clay products and produces during other industrial worksite activities poses such a strong health risk that many safety experts are now pushing for stronger rules for working with this dust.
  3. During a clean-up process clay absorbents can quickly create as big a problem for a worksite as the spill they’re meant to clean. Due to their design, clay absorbents have to be swept up or shoveled into proper disposal bins. This process cuts down on productivity, wears down the workers cleaning the heavy absorbent material, and can even make an area more dangerous to walk in by spreading the often leaking product over a greater area; this creates a large, slippery surface that’s unsafe to walk on. Seeing as the National Floor Safety Institute already reports that slips and falls are the leading cause of lost work time injuries, the last thing a worksite needs to do is increase the risk of falling and add to the billions in paid compensation claims already associated with these injuries.


In addition to these three major safety risks, clay absorbents are incredibly inefficient: it takes over 10 pounds of clay to clean up one gallon of spilled oil. The same dust that poses a health risk to workers doesn’t just get into individual’s lungs, either: it also works its way into a facility’s machines and tools, causing additional wear and tear and leading to equipment failure.

Despite this myriad of issues clay absorbents remain popular for industrial companies and garages alike, partly because of their low sticker price, and partly because they are unsure about where they can go for alternative spill cleaning solutions. Fortunately, a number of alternatives are in fact available for companies looking to improve their worksite safety measures. Rather than just using clay absorbents, companies can now buy absorbent mats, socks, and pillows to help absorb and contain worksite spills. There are also a number of environmentally friendly, silica-free loose absorbent products available today that feature a higher absorbency rate than their clay counterparts.

Don’t be afraid to begin making the switch from clay absorbents to alternative cleaning solutions; while the initial cost of purchasing new cleaning items may be higher, investing in modern day absorbent products will inevitably lead to the creation of a safer, less expensive workplace all around. So don’t hesitate any longer – make the worthwhile switch today to environmentally friendly, truly effective absorbent products.


Bio: This article was co-written by freelancer Larissa Gula and Joe Davids, the CEO of American Green Ventures. Currently American Green Ventures (US) Inc. is in the process of introducing SpillFix Industrial Organic Absorbent products to the American market as an alternative to hazardous clay absorbent products.

July 4th Plans Need to Include Safety Precautions

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



Fireworks are always an exciting part of any Fourth of July celebration.  But we always need to use caution when handling them.  Remember that you are basically purchasing small hand held explosives!  YouTube is littered with videos of people who have fireworks blow up in their hands or faces.  While most seem to end up with just minor injuries or some singed hair, the possibility of greater injury is always there.

Just this morning, we had a tragedy in a town 30 miles from here.  The city puts on a locally famous fireworks show every year at the local high school football stadium.  A load of fireworks exploded, tragically killing one person, and sending 4 others to the hospital with extensive injuries.  The city has chosen to cancel the show in light of this.

Most cities have a fireworks ban within the city limits, so please keep that in mind as well.



With the warm weather, it makes for a perfect season to fire up the grill and cook some burgers or steaks for friends and family.  While this is fun for everybody involved, it can quickly turn to disaster if the fire gets out of control.  Be sure to keep all fires contained and keep fire extinguishers handy just in case.  Many parts of the country have been in drought conditions, and the surrounding landscape can flame up with just an errant spark or ash.  If possible, it’s always a good idea to keep the grill on a concrete-type surface.  Also, be aware of overhead hazards.  Flames travel upwards.  You don’t want a low hanging branch (or hour house eaves) catching fire because you got overzealous with the lighter fluid.

Also, keep in mind that some places have a burn ban going.  Always check with local authorities regarding the laws for grilling and outdoor fires.



Going to the lake or lounging at the pool is one of the better features of summer time.  Getting the gang together to take the boat out or just cool off in a friend’s pool is one of the less expensive forms of entertainment.  We need to be sure to take precautions, though, so that the fun time doesn’t end with a hospital trip or worse.

  1. Make sure to swim in designated areas only (at a lake), and make sure to use a life jacket if you’re not a strong swimmer.  Children should always wear them.  If you’re in a boat, it’s the law in most places that life jackets are worn, or at minimum, available.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings at all time.  If you don’t pay attention, you could swim out into the boating sections of the lake and risk injury.  Or, if you’re in your boat, you could risk wrecking and/or injuring yourself and your friends. That video link was remixed to be funny, but it could have easily been a tragic video.  Everyone in that boat was lucky nothing worse happened.
  3. It should go without saying that alcohol and boating don’t mix. Ever.


Plans for the holiday don’t have to be ruined because of safety concerns.  Just take a few extra moments to check things out and make sure there are no issues.  It’s much easier to prevent the problems than to fix them after they happen.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.



10 Essential Supplies Your Tornado Shelter Needs This Season

The incredibly destructive power of a tornado should be discussed between you and your family every year. Just like a fire drill, a tornado safety plan should be in place and practiced before a storm hits. When away from home, look for tornado shelter signs in the building that you are in, which guide you to rooms reinforced to withstand the power of a tornado’s strong winds and flying debris.


Some homeowners build their own underground shelters, or use a room such as a basement or another interior room away from windows as their shelter. These are the safest places to be during a storm.

While a tornado may only last a few minutes, it has the power to completely destroy everything in its unpredictable path. Should you ever need it, a tornado kit should be stocked in your shelter, with enough supplies for a few days. It is important to pack for several days in case you or your family is without public services such as electricity for days after a storm, or in the unlikely event that you are somehow barricaded inside the shelter and are waiting for help.

The essential supplies that should be in every tornado shelter are:

  • Water
  • Non-Perishable Foods (canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, baby food)
  • Can Opener (what good is food if you can’t open the can?)
  • Radio set to the local news or NOAA Weather Radio (either hand-crank or battery powered)
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries for the radio and flashlights
  • Camping Toilet or other sealable bag solution for waste
  • First Aid Kit
  • Clothes (including heavy boots, gloves, and clothes if exiting into a devastated area)
  • Blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows


In addition to these supplies, some people might want copies of their important documents to be with them in the shelter. These would include insurance information, important phone numbers, and prescription information. This information is not necessarily essential for your shelter though, and can just as easily be stored in a safe deposit box in your local bank.

Another supply that some might think of as essential would be candles or matches. Matches and lighters could do more harm than good if in an area destroyed by a tornado. It is likely that gas lines would break, and any source of ignition presents a very serious fire hazard.

Hopefully you should never need to use your tornado shelter kit, but your stock of rations should be replaced with fresh and unexpired supplies every year, at the least. Preparedness is key when dealing with unpredictable weather situations, and at the first sound of warning, you and your family should find shelter and stay there until storm warnings are cleared.

About the Author: Stephen Luke is a writer for, a leading supplier of safety signs, traffic signs, parking signs, and more.

Taking Preemptive Measures for Vehicle Accidents in Construction (Guest Post)

Since reducing the risk of fatal accidents and death rate within the construction industry is not an easy job, taking timely, effective preemptive measures is the only way out. Read further for a fair idea of what can be done and how!

The rate of accidents, injuries and deaths associated with the construction industry is much higher than most other areas of work. The most common reasons that make construction work perilous is possibility of deadly accidents with vehicles and falls from extreme height.

On an average, every third fatal accident at a construction site has one or more vehicles involved. Frequently occurring transport accidents at work include:

  1. Victims being stuck by moving vehicles, especially while reversing
  2. People falling from vehicles or hit by things falling from vehicles
  3. Overturning vehicles leading to serious injuries

What Can Be Done to Prevent Vehicle Accidents in Construction?

The first step towards reducing high death rate in construction industry is to reduce the risk of fatal accidents at construction sites that involve vehicles. Employers need to fulfill their legal duties and play a pivotal role in that case, especially by assessing risks and taking practical measures to ensure the safety of everyone around.

This may include maintaining accident records, training and consulting employees, and co-coordinating and cooperating contractors. The focus needs to be on planning and implementing collective safety measures, instead of giving individual measures extra importance. The basic idea should be to replace the hazardous with the harmless.

Taking Preemptive Measures for Vehicle Accidents in the Construction Industry

Practically, accident prevention should not start after the work has already begun on the construction site. Instead, designers, architects and planners can considerably diminish the risk of vehicle accidents by designing and planning well in the pre-build phase.

Risk assessment is the most important aspect that every employer ought to take care of, followed precisely by the conveyance of complete information to the contractors, verifying that the construction site is fully safe for the workers.

A thoroughly carried out risk assessment process involves:

Looking for Potential Hazards:

After you have evaluated the work the finished tasks, identify potential dangers that may be associated with the presence of heavy vehicles at the site. Operations such as reversing, loading and unloading always have a higher probability of damage being done at the workplace.

Factors that increase the likelihood of occurrence of such accidents more include rough terrain, continuous exposure to bad weather conditions, labor working under multiple contractors, and time pressure. You can involve both the workers and their contractors in the risk assessment process, explaining to them what has been planned to reduce the level of risk.

Try preventing the following things in particular:

  • Running over pedestrians
  • Overturning vehicles
  • Vehicle accidents caused by falls while climbing or working too close to power lines
  • Vehicle malfunctioning

Identifying Who May Be Harmed

Figuring out every possible factor that can harm individuals on the work site is the first step towards implementation of safety measures. This will include everyone from contractors, workers, self-employed individuals and even the general public. Pay special attention to the areas where vehicle movement is mandatory and you can’t exclude the public.

It is also possible to take note of the likely hazards during the designing stage while the construction cost estimation is being done. Take note of the design for safety and also ensure to calculate cost of making safety provisions.

Prepare an Action Plan after Evaluating the Risks

Evaluating the risks associated with each hazard on the site will help you calculate the possibility of harm and the level of severity. Check whether you have taken enough protective measures to ensure the safety of people on-site. Thoroughly revise all important aspects such as workplace design and signs and signals.  Ensure that all workers have the proper personal protective gear that is needed to complete the job safely.

Taking Action

Once the risk assessment process is completed, list all preventive measures based on priority. When it is time to take action, take all the workers and contractors along. Though your focus should be on implementing measures to prevent any accident from taking place in the first place, it will be equally important to have be prepared for the worst and have all emergency provisions in place too.

Author Bio: Laura Laurel is a Stanford graduate in civil engineer with specialization in Civil Designs, Cost Estimation and 3D Modeling. She began her career as a construction trainee at Viatechnik LLC, rose to be involved with road and bridge construction. She loves to write about Real Estate and Construction Related Subjects.

Why Is Drunk Driving On the Rise? (Guest Post)

Drunk driving awareness campaigns in the UK are like the Coca-Cola truck commercial, the movie Home Alone, and pigs in blankets; They are at their most prominent over the Christmas period. The dangers of drunk driving clearly don’t need advertising to be obvious. So why are drunk driving-related deaths and incidents on an upward curve in the UK?

With yearly increases in drunk driving-related deaths since 2011, the statistics show that driving whilst intoxicated is on the rise and more and more motorists are admitting to have driven under the influence of drink and/or drugs at some point in their lives.

A recent survey of around 2,000 adults carried out by car insurance comparison giant found that 19% of adults confessed to having driven under the influence. That equates to around seven million of Britain’s drivers. So why would so many people make this potentially fatal choice? There are a few possible explanations. 

The morning after the night before

An apparent lack of education and awareness regarding the longevity of the effects of drinking could have contributed to the recent hike in DD deaths.

So many crashes are occurring in the morning, suggesting that people think a few hours sleep is enough to shake off the effects of a heavy session the night before. The simple truth is, you can be over the limit and susceptible to consequential substandard driving skills for a long time after the drinking has ceased.

Authorities and police have backed this theory up and expressed a need for further education. The notion that a bacon sandwich and a night of broken sleep will suffice are way off the mark. 


2011 saw the lowest drunk driving deaths since 1979, so the increase since has been viewed by many as an anomaly, a fluke. But if we dig a little deeper we may find that the increase has come due to a relaxation in the standard of drunk driving education and marketing in the wake of the previously successful years.

In the UK, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine. This is across the board, irrespective of your height, weight, gender, metabolism or current mental situation. In other words, you can give two individuals the same amount of alcohol and they could react completely differently.

There should perhaps be a shift in the marketing and education of drunk driving awareness so that people become aware of what is safe for them. The general consumption statistic is broad and people think they can handle the maximum amount without any issues, and perhaps handle even more. The legal limit in the UK is actually higher than in the majority of Europe, so this is also another blindingly obvious possible reason. Should we head towards a zero-tolerance policy on drunk driving? I can see no logical counter-argument to suggest otherwise. 


Amongst the young and perceived naïve exists a school of thought that a first offence will lead to minor retribution. They may consider themselves unlikely to get caught, and if they do get caught they consider the risk worthy of the possible consequences. All roads here point to a lack of fear amongst drivers. It seems to be the case that not enough people are scared of the consequences of drinking and driving.

Each accident, each death, has a devastating effect on the victim and his/her family and friends. The temptation to drink and drive would be greatly reduced if the possible consequences were rammed home with vigour at every available juncture.

Bio: This article was written by Suzanne Roberts, who works for YourParkingSpace.

Thanks, Suzanne, this is a very serious problem in the U.S., as well. pb