Category Archives: General Safety Issues

Before You Hit the Road: Tips for a Safer Commute

The workplace isn’t the only place where you should strive for safety. The roadways can be equally as dangerous and an accident before work can start you off on the wrong foot. If you are like millions of other drivers, commuting may be one of your least favorite parts of the day and for good reason, according to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), a division of Texas A&M University, the average commuter spends about 42 hours a year in traffic congestion.

Not only can traffic congestion cause major headaches and stress, it is also a contributing factor in accidents across the U.S. Texas, alone, is notorious for some serious traffic jams. Here are some tips to having a safer commute and ways to prepare for your morning drive before you even hit the road:

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep can be hard to come by, particularly when you’re putting in overtime and trying to balance a life outside of work. A good night’s sleep is essential to physical and mental health, productivity and safety at work as well as safety on the road. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep at night. Additionally, NSF also reports that at least 100,000 crashes occur each year due to sleep deprived drivers. Do yourself a favor and get enough sleep, even it means skipping the nightly news report or chatting with friends on social media.
Prep for the Day the Night Before

Remember how Mom used to urge you to set out your clothes for school, the night before? It’s not a bad idea. The more prepared you are for your day, the better. If your morning is full of too much to do before you even get behind the wheel, you may leave the house stressed out, running late, and as a result, you may drive more recklessly thus increasing your risk of an accident.

Relax

Some drivers really hate commuting. It can be stressful, it can cause anxiety, and it can cause rage. If you get in the habit of relaxing before you leave for work, you may be and feel ready to face morning gridlock. While a relaxing bubble bath may be out of the question, some yoga poses or even brief meditation could put you at ease, making you more focused and less likely to lose your cool while driving. Relaxing exercises not your thing? Consider going for a brisk walk, a short run, or even hit the gym before work, it may have the same benefits.

Check Out The Traffic Beforehand

For many commuters, traffic is traffic, but sometimes taking a look at the traffic before you head out the door can help you prepare for what you can expect or what you may want to avoid. Check out traffic cams or download an app like Waze to get an up-to-date look at the roads and any delays due to accidents or construction. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast, too, as a rainy morning in Texas can make for a nightmarish commute. Preparedness may not always reduce the hassles of a morning commute, but it can help you stay safer.

Choose the Best Steel Lockers for Your Office

Purchasing a locker for your office means you need to be well-informed before you make a buying decision. Depending on your requirements, you can customise your office’s locker system as well as select the accessories that will enhance it. The most important consideration you need to make is how many tiers you will need. This one variable will assist you in quickly determining what characteristics will work for your storage and security needs. Always double-check the dimensions and description for verification as well.

Handle Types
You also have to consider the handle type. Locker systems are featured with a lift handle, door pull or recessed handle design. Lift handles supply the user with fast and convenient access to the items or content within a locker. This kind of handle makes it easy to add a padlock for securing the handle and preventing any kind of access that is unauthorised.

Recessed handles are designed to keep vandals from striking the handle component in order to obtain access. Door pull handles, like lift handles, provide an easy way to affix a padlock. Most of the box lockers that are sold feature a door pull handle design. Now that you have become acquainted with the three main handle designs, you need to think how the locker will be used, the style of locker you will need and the size and colour options.

Compartment Storage Lockers
For instance, compartment storage lockers are ideal to choose when you need to store and safely secure personal items or equipment. These types of lockers come with either latch-fitted or key-operated locks. The lockers are good for storing equipment when you are not using it.
Niche Type Storage and Security
Other locker storage solutions for the office include the post locker, which is made to safely store snail mail. and the laptop, which enables an employee to store his laptop or laptop accessories. You can also use headset lockers that are available for storing headsets.

Laptop Storage
The laptop storage lockers that are used provide a cost-efficient way to store laptops. The lockers come fitted with either latch or key-operated locks. You can choose a separate frame and door colour or keep the frame and door color the same. Usually, the frame on this sort of locker is grey whilst the door may be grey, red or blue.

Headset Lockers
Another storage option – a headset locker – is usually divided equally among sixteen compartments. Typically, the lockers are offered in one size and each of the compartments feature a standard key-operated lock.

Quality Features
Any locker you choose should offer an air vent system on the door, a welded front frame, through frame locking, welded internal door strengthener and knuckle hinges. The locker should feature, as standard, an anti-bacterial powder coating as well. Using this type of coating prevents the spread of MRSA and E-coli bacteria at bay. MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which causes different infections in the body.
The office locker you choose should be quality engineered so it will supply a dependable and sturdy storage and locker system for many years. Any built-in security adds extra confidence that office electronics and personal items will not be stolen or seized. Make sure the office locker you select offers replacement keys or locks, if necessary too. Numbered cards that show locker numbers are usually available.

You can get a better idea of the various locker styles by visiting such sites as locker-selector.co.uk. When you have this kind of reference, you can better visualise how a locker system can be incorporated into your office environment.

The importance of Fire Safety Training

Fire safety training is essential to know especially when you review the recent statistics concerning fire.

Some Important Fire-related Statistics

Over the span of a year, from 2011 to 2012, local rescue services in Britain were called out to almost 585,000 fires or false alarms. Of these call-outs, approximately 272,000 were for actual fires whilst 312,000 were false alarms. Of the 70,000 building fires reported, approximately 44,000 took place in private dwellings. Of the primary fires recorded, around 6,000 took place in dwellings whilst 7,300 happened in other structures. About 14,000 of the fires involved a fire in a car.

When you review the above statistics, fire safety training is not the kind of knowledge you can blithely sweep under a rug or scan over randomly. In order to reduce any risk of liability and ensure the safety of household members or employees, you need to take fire safety training yourself or offer the a course or program to people in the workplace. By taking this approach, you not only reduce your costs for liability cover, you will also establish a safer working environment for your employees and yourself.

Fire Awareness Education

Fire safety trainers today feature courses that are highly interactive as they provide fire simulation equipment that mimics emergency occurrences. These hands-on courses give participants the confidence they need to handle certain fire-related events. Fire demos are featured by trainers that allow participants to hone their skills using a fire extinguisher as well.

Legally, employers are obligated under the Fire Safety Order or Regulatory Reform of 2005 to make sure that fire safety training requirements are met. To make scheduling easier, safety trainers can come to your work site. Therefore, there is no practical reason why you cannot provide fire safety training to your staff.

Types of Fire Safety Training for Employees

Staff members can take one of various fire-related courses, including –
• Fire extinguisher maintenance
• Fire extinguisher maintenance (refresher course)
• Practical fire extinguisher course work
• Fire warden training
• Fire safety awareness

A fire safety awareness course usually lasts about two hours and combines practical sessions with theoretical learning. This educational format permits staff members to learn how to respond efficiently in a fire emergency. Delegates taking the course normally receive a comprehensive manual and a certificate.

Class Participation/Interaction: What is Involved

Participants are given the chance to use a fire extinguisher to control a live fire using a fire-friendly simulation apparatus. Therefore, a fire safety awareness course is important as it not only assists employees in handling a fire emergency, it also ensures that your company remains compliant with the relevant and local health, fire and safety laws. In fact, the course includes a section that covers fire legislation. Not only that, students learn proper evacuation procedures, review the common causes of a fire, and learn about various fire extinguishers and their uses.

Some of the causes of a fire relate to flammable liquids, faulty wiring, lighting fixtures and heat sources. For instance, it is important to have the wiring in your business regularly checked. Double adaptors and power-boards can both overload power points. Make sure the correct fuses and safety switches are installed and used as well.

You can obtain the above-described fire safety training by contacting companies, such as ifast in the UK. Use a provider that will continually work with you to raise an awareness among your staff about the importance of safety and security. Stay safe and work safe by arranging for training today.

Is Asbestos Eradication Realistic?

At the tail end of last year, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health called for urgent action to be taken to tackle the legacy of asbestos in Britain’s workplaces. Building occupants may be exposed to asbestos, but those most at risk are persons who purposely disturb materials and they become airborne such as maintenance or construction workers. This often leads to mesothelioma – an incurable disease of the lungs which is fatal.

With an estimated 5000 people dying as a result of asbestosis and mesothelioma every year, and a vast majority of these deaths coming as a result of exposure just decades ago, the All-Party Parliamentary Group argued that it is wrongly seen as an issue of the past as the use of the material has been banned since 1999. However, they believe the time has come to put regulations in place that will lead to the safe removal of all asbestos that is still in use in buildings throughout the UK. This is to ensure that future generations do not suffer the same asbestos-related deaths which have blighted the workforce of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

But is this proposed asbestos eradication realistic? While asbestos is still around us and can be found across both domestic and non-domestic premises, people are still knowingly being exposed to asbestos whether they’re working in maintenance, refurbishment or demolition. In their report, the group have called for:

• Commercial, public, and rented domestic premises should have to conduct a survey to indicate whether asbestos is present in the building, registering the results with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
• If asbestos is identified, any refurbishment or repair to the building should include its removal.
• The HSE must develop a programme of workplace inspections to ensure asbestos material is identified, marked and managed and that eradication plans are in place with a projected timetable.

Ian Lavery, chair of the all-party group said: “We believe that the Government needs to start now on developing a programme to ensure that asbestos is safely removed from every workplace and public place so that we can end, once and for all this dreadful legacy which has killed so many people, and will continue to kill until asbestos is eradicated.”

Whether asbestos eradication is realistic or not, it always helps to be fully informed on an issue that remains prominent in the public conscience. If you’re unsure of the impact asbestos may have on your property or business, Praxis42 are available to offer eLearning and consultancy to suit your needs. Our Asbestos Condition Surveys are provided as part of an estate and facilities risk management service, whereas our Asbestos Awareness eLearning course aims to help organisations meet their legal obligation to train employees whose work could lead to exposure to asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos

All visitors to a site may require protection, not just the workers.

It goes without saying that construction companies need to look for enough safety gear to cover their workforce. While crews should be provided the proper work vests, boots and helmets, there are other concerns that businesses may overlook. In a recent article for Construction Citizen, Jim Kollaer of Kollaer Advisors describes a possible problem he witnessed in a construction team in Houston, Texas.

Kollaer said that he saw a team heading to a hot mix job. Though the workers were all wearing the right protective gear, the driver—possibly an owner of the company—didn’t have a helmet on and seemed unprepared. When Kollaer told the crew about this, his concerns were dismissed. All the same, it shows the possible safety gaps that can arise on a work site, even if companies are trying to keep everyone wearing the right equipment.

Following OSHA guidelines can help companies keep everyone protected at the same degree. A fact sheet from the organization notes that employers should go beyond simply acquiring the right equipment, and also train workers to wear and maintain this gear correctly.

According to this source, hard hats are useful for protecting against penetration and electrical injuries as well as dangers from falling objects. It’s also the employer’s responsibility to communicate with workers and let them know which equipment is necessary.

This includes not just headwear but other forms of protection, such as hand, foot and face guards. By creating a strong safety culture, companies could also train their workers to respond when they see bad behavior.

Purchasing team hard hats all at once is the first step to a safer workplace, but it’s also a point where some companies make mistakes. Cover everyone who will be on site with the equipment available from Texas America Safety Company

CATEGORIES

Will hard hats with new technology appear in the near future?

As more and more devices become “wired,” it seems that every profession is set to accommodate more data access. Google Glass was one example of a data interface with possible worksite applications, and Sourceable recently commented on another way that this could come to the construction industry: “smart” hard hats. This would involve putting sensors inside a worker’s helmet to address potential safety concerns.

One way this could work is by transmitting health information live from a worker to others, encouraging proper treatment and response when something bad threatens a worker. Eventually, this information could help predictive analytics foresee possible trends and work around them as well.

Dr. Rod Shepard of Laing O’Rourke said that his company’s plan for a more predictive approach to injury prevention “looks more at big data collecting information over a period of time” before working that into future plans. “It may be that we have a couple of alert scenarios over several months, but really the huge advantage can be gained long term in guiding how we do things day to day,” he added.

In an article for City A.M., Alastair Sorbie of IFS examined the ways that “disruptive technology” have already entered into construction. These include digital modeling tools that can help construction efforts avoid problems and ensure a safer work site.

Sorbie does note that implementing more technology in this sector will require workers with the skills to use it, which will be especially important in attracting future employees. In this way, the issue of using tech to encourage safety touches on other important trends impacting construction, at least in the U.K.

For more about hardhats and other necessary construction safety gear, contact Texas America Safety Company. We have supplies for many different work situations and weather conditions.

CATEGORIES

Head Protective Gear

The Top 5 Reasons to Talk to Your Employees about Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is constantly on the mind of business leaders and companies. This is because there is no way to guarantee complete safety, but there are a lot of things you can do to prevent major accidents.

While many companies put up signs, give a safety talk when on boarding employees, and review once a year, this is not an effective strategy to maintaining a safe workplace. Consistently talking to your employees about safety is one of the best ways to ensure a safe workplace for everyone.

Why should you consistently talk to your employees about workplace safety?

1. Keeps safety top of mind

When you talk to your employees about safety regularly, it keeps safety top of mind. It shows that workplace safety is a series topic in the organization and one that is not to be joked about. It also ensures that there are no mental lapses of safety procedures. Whether employees are tired, or have other things on their mind (which everyone does), it makes sure that when they walk into the workplace they are paying attention and understand the importance of safety.

2. Holds everyone accountable

Talking to your employees about safety makes sure that everyone is held accountable. Not just the employees, but also the managers, CEO, and company as a whole. Talking about workplace safety shows that everyone is in it together and it’s not just one person taking the lead. It opens the conversation for questions to be asked and clarified. It enables everyone to feel like they have a role in keeping the workplace safe, which they do.

3. Employees take ownership

When we say, “talk to your employees” we really mean have a conversation. It is well known that people take ownership in things when they feel they’ve had a voice in the conversation/been a part of the decision process. So talking to your employees and giving them a voice in the conversation about workplace safety will help them feel valued and truly take ownership of it. It will allow them to become leaders and hold themselves, as well as everyone around them, accountable.

4. Becomes a part of the culture

When you stay consistent with something in a business for an extended period of time, sooner or later, it becomes a part of the culture. This is obviously the end goal with workplace safety. Having a culture of safety ensures that everyone is holding each other accountable from the top down. If you don’t consistently talk to your employees about safety it will quickly become something that is not often thought about. Having conversations often about safety will ensure that it becomes engraved in the culture of your organization.

5. Creates new ideas

Talking with your employees about workplace safety is good for them and also good for the company. By opening up the conversation you open up a platform for new and innovative ideas. Employees are the ones working on the ground floor everyday and seeing the safety procedures in action. They know the good ones, and the not so good. They will be able to bring new and innovative ideas of how to continue to keep the company a safe place to work.

As you can see there are a lot of benefits that come from consistently communicating with your employees about workplace safety. It is the most effective way to prevent major accidents and keep employees safe.

Author Bio:
August works at HUMAN Healthy Vending, a healthier for you vending company, and the owners of the complete guide on how to start a vending machine business.

3 tips for handling power lines after bad weather

Tornadoes have caused damage in multiple states across the country this year. As the Insurance Journal reports, Arkansas saw several possible tornadoes appear on March 13, with thousands of power outages lasting on into the next day. Illinois experienced a possible tornado the same week, and similar storms may have been spotted in Iowa as well. This last storm brought funnel clouds around the Quad Cities, as WQAD8 reported.

With all of this activity, companies are likely considering the implications of sending crews to respond to tornado damage. Power outages in particular can add to worker risk, since they could result from fallen lines that need to be carefully restored. Dealing with the cables safely can force crew members to rely on their protective clothing as well as any training or best practices they have.

The storm may have passed, but workers could still be facing some urgent dangers. Here are three tips to help crew stay safe while they do their job. In some cases, these are not only good pieces of advice but recommended by government agencies.

#1: Choose the right footwear
Before arriving at the site, workers can ask themselves whether or not they are ready to step out on potentially dangerous ground. After a tornado, simply walking from one spot to another can leave a crew member exposed to sharp edges. Foot protection should match the guidelines set out by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, which listed foot and leg protection in its Personal Protective Equipment booklet.

Footwear is also important around the electrical source itself. The same booklet examined two types of shoes that can provide protection against electrical current: conductive shoes and electrical hazard, safety toe shoes. The latter “can protect against open circuits of up to 600 volts in dry conditions and should be used in conjunction with other insulating equipment and additional precautions to reduce the risk of a worker becoming a path for hazardous electrical energy.”

#2: Err on the side of caution
A separate fact sheet from OSHA also specifically addresses the dangers of working around fallen cables. The source noted how difficult it is to determine whether or not a cable is “on.” Instead, it recommended that workers should assume all cables they see are energized, which means avoiding any contact, even from inside a vehicle. Anything touching a downed wire is potentially dangerous.

Wearing sufficient hand protection, such as insulating rubber gloves, may let crews stay consistent with the other protective gear they’re wearing. It also helps to be mindful of overhead lines: the OSHA Contact With Power Lines etool advised staying ten feet away from these lines. Warning signs should clearly alert all crew to wires that aren’t very apparent.

#3: Keep a safe distance
A wire lying on the ground could seem harmless enough while the area around it provides the real trap. The same booklet states that some large objects, including buildings and fences, can carry current. The ground itself may also pose a hazard, as “electricity can spread outward through the ground in a circular shape” starting at the edge of the wire.

As an extra precaution, crews need to make sure none of their additional equipment will conduct a charge. Relying on material that doesn’t conduct electricity at all makes this less of a likelihood: One example could be a ladder that isn’t made of metal. Keeping lines grounded or insulated also gives crews possible protection and reduced danger levels at the worksite.

Contact Texas America Safety Company for more information on protective gear. Stay ready for anything in the stormy season and keep your workers safe.

The Importance of Workplace Sobriety

The Importance of Workplace Sobriety

It is essential to maintain sobriety and avoid taking either drugs or alcohol within the workplace.

Whilst that sentence, in and of itself, sounds relatively obvious, maintaining concentration by avoiding the dangers of being under the influence of alcohol is absolutely essential for ensuring a safe work place. Alcohol and substance abuse is the number one health epidemic facing Americans, with statistics from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence suggesting that alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the country: An incredible 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, and an additional 12 million individuals abuse alcohol through binge drinking or other risky drinking behaviour that could lead to addiction, an accident, or another form of self-harm. So how does this huge number of American drinkers affect safety within our workplaces? Well, of the 17.6 million alcoholics in the United States, a huge 75% of those individuals hold down a regular job, meaning that they are putting the health of themselves and their colleagues at risk because of their impaired status on a daily basis. It should come as no surprise that these statistics combine to ensure that in approximately 10% of the cases where employees are involved in a fatal accident at work, the deceased individual tested positive for either drug or alcohol use, or both.

How Workplace Alcoholism Affects Performance

In conjunction with the obvious safety issues, there are a myriad of ways in which workplace drug or alcohol use can negatively impact on the performance of your employees and ultimately on the productivity of your company. The use of illicit substances in the workplace can lead to: frequent tardiness or increased absenteeism, which can result in less work being achieved and in colleagues being expected to pick of the slack. Poor decision making within the work place, such as choosing to sleep on the job or even steal from the work place in order to fund their addiction, can also lead to the cost and trauma of disciplinary procedures and, if there is no choice but to let that individual go, to the cost of recruiting and training a new member of staff to fulfil that role. It is also important not to underestimate the effect that working with an alcoholic can have on the morale of the overall workforce, causing the level of satisfaction, particularly amongst close co workers, to diminish considerably.

Protecting Both the Alcoholic and Their Co-Workers

Much is made of ensuring that the individual impaired by alcohol is protected as much as possible and that they are supported in changing their habits (ie freeing themselves of their addiction) whilst simultaneously maintaining their role within the company, where that is feasibly possible. However it is just as important to ensure that their co-workers are protected from any potential harm as a result of working alongside an alcohol or drug-impaired individual. This is a huge problem regardless of what industry you are working within, with approximately 20% of workers and managers who were questioned across a wide range of industries and company sizes reporting that they felt a co-worker’s drinking (either on or off the job) was jeopardizing their own productivity and safety. This can be avoided by making use of workplace referral programmes within your company, so that those individuals abusing substances (either drugs or alcohol) in the workplace have immediate access to a referral to the resources and services that they need, improving their overall health, reducing their absenteeism, and ultimately improving their workplace productivity, making seeking support for your employees a more cost effective and economically sensible decision when compared to the alternative of pursuing a disciplinary procedure, letting that member of staff go, and recruiting and training their replacement.

Safety at the workplace, of every member within the workplace, is and should always be of the utmost importance to every employer within every industry. Workplace substance abuse is a very real threat to businesses and one that should be taken and managed very seriously.

The Importance Of A Compassionate Sickness Policy

The Importance Of A Compassionate Sickness Policy

Employee sickness is a major burden upon the economy, costing businesses cumulatively billions of dollars each year. Worse, as many frustrated bosses and managers suspect, a lot of us have been known to sneak the occasional day off work by claiming sickness when we’re not actually ill – just tired, or bored with our jobs, or in need of time in which to do something fun. That kind of thing can cause those who have to shoulder the burden of work while the absentee lives it up to see red. In fairness, “pulling a sickie” as it’s known over the Pond is more common in the UK than here, where employment laws safeguard employee’s rights to take time off when ill without undue fear for their job security. Here in the US, we don’t even use the time off offered to us because we’re so scared about losing our jobs, or being seen as ‘lazy’ and ‘unproductive’. This is a good thing, right? Wrong. In fact, evidence is increasingly demonstrating that optimum productivity and company loyalty is only achieved if employees not only take the vacation they are offered, but work with a compassionate and non-judgemental sickness policy.

The Spread Of Illness

Let’s start with the obvious: contagious sicknesses. If your company does not have a decent healthcare and sickness policy, it’s likely that many employees live in a state of fear that they will lose standing within the workforce if they take a sick day. As such, they are likely to come in to work when they’re suffering from contagious illnesses. Had they taken a day or even a few days off in order to get over the illness, it’s likely that the problem would have been contained within that one employee. However, they’ve gathered their ailing strength and come in to grimly power through their work – where they swiftly go on to infect a vast swathe of their colleagues. Viruses like seasonal influenza spread incredibly swiftly, and with unbelievable ease. End result? Your productivity takes a huge hit as people take time off or struggle to work properly beneath the weight of their sickness. For this reason alone, it’s a very good idea to reassure employees that taking a day off when ill is a fine and sensible thing to do.

Stress

There are no laws in the USA which oblige you to offer sick leave. Indeed, our policies regarding time off for staff are extremely weighted towards the employer in comparison to most other Western nations. However, sensible and successful companies go out of their way to give staff benefits like paid vacation and sick leave. Why? Because they know that this kind of thing not only makes staff feel kindly (and thus loyally) towards the company for which they work, but because they know that vacations and sick leave reduce employee stress. If you don’t think that stress is a big deal, then it’s time to do a little research into the subject. It’s thought that workplace related stress costs American businesses in excess of $300 billion a year through lost productivity, employee meltdowns, no-notice resignations etc. While the line between ‘motivational’ and ‘stressful’ is different for every person, and some employees work well under a degree of pressure, others will suffer enormously from being put under strain. This strain is increased if employees feel that they are working in the kind of harsh, judgemental, and uncaring environment which will penalize people for being sick. So be nice to your employees. One of the best ways you can demonstrate your compassion and perhaps reduce their stress is to be understanding when it comes to sick leave.

Faking It

But what about those who fake sickness in order to get a day off? Well, if you know your workforce well enough, you should be able to spot reasonably easily when an employee is taking advantage of your kindness. If so, try talking it out with them. There may be a good reason behind their need to absent themselves – stress (as mentioned above), or bullying in the workplace for example. These you can try and sort without resorting to drastic measures. If they’re simply trying it on, then the decision as to what to do is in your hands. However, if this is not a persistent problem, it’s likely that the advantages of a happy, non-contagious workforce outweigh the disadvantages of the odd illegitimate absence.