Well, it appears the temperature is starting to increase by the day. As the temperature rises it is important to pay attention to the heat index in relation to humidity. We found this nice chart that shows the affects of heat and humidity. It makes a normally warm day seem much hotter, and a very hot day can be unbearable with high humidity. To counteract this effect while working outdoors we recommend investing in some Heat Relief Safety Products. Remember to work safely and take care of yourself.
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 Washington State area devastated by a mudslide Saturday, March 22nd, has seen much clear-cut logging. Native American tribes and environmentalists have long warned that clear-cut logging could raise the risk of landslides. Although the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest may appear solid and stolid, they are a geologically active part of the physical environment, including regular earthquakes, landslides, and the occasional volcano. Sometimes, human activities – including the clear-cut logging that patch-marks much of the region – have an important impact on forests, soils, and water patterns.
The massive mudslide that hit Saturday, March 22, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle was part of that picture, all but wiping out the community of Oso across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. As rescue and recovery efforts continued Friday morning, officials reported that the number of confirmed dead remains at 17 with another nine bodies located but not yet recovered. Ninety more individuals are still unaccounted for – large numbers in a small community of around 180 people.
The demand for lumber, plywood, paper, and other wood products is part of an industry that once dominated Washington State and Oregon. Logging’s impact has been a concern for a number of years. Large, older trees take up more water than younger stands, which can take decades to mature and may be cut down before they reach full maturity. The Tulalip Tribes were so concerned with landslides hitting the Stillaguamish River and its prime salmon habitat that they blocked a proposed timber sale above an earlier slide in 1988.”There were some very large clear-cuts planned for that area, which made us very concerned,” Kurt Nelson, a hydrologist with the tribes, told KUOW, the NPR affiliate at the University of Washington in Seattle. “That reach of the North Fork has multiple, ancient, deep-seated landslides,” Mr. Nelson said. “There’s a lot of unstable terrain in that area.” Landslides have followed logging in that area at least four times, KUOW reported.
“This had been known at least since the ’50s as one of the more problematic areas on the Stillaguamish for perennial landslides,” Mr. Kennard, (Geomorphologist Paul Kennard, who worked for the Tulalip Tribes in the 1980s and now works for the National Park Service at Mt. Rainier) reported. Although state logging regulations have been tightened in recent years, The Seattle Times reports that a clear-cut nine years ago “appears to have strayed into a restricted area that could feed groundwater into the landslide zone that collapsed Saturday.”
Heavy rains and winds are hampering rescue efforts, by both professional rescue teams and volunteers. The careful use of heavy equipment, helicopters, and other means of rescue continue. Personnel are wading through debris, muck, trees, ice, and foul water.
Meanwhile, the request by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) for more federal assistance to help with recovery efforts in the Oso area has been approved. The money will be used to help local and state government agencies recover a portion of the estimated $4.5 million expected to be spent on emergency response, protective measures, and debris removal. Safety precautions should be used by all; pros and volunteers. Wearing respiratory protection, gloves, goggles, hardhats, and protective clothing is important for the safety of those exposed to all types of hazards.
At his briefing Friday, Snohomish County Fire District Chief Travis Hots asked corporations and businesses in the region to donate money to help those affected. “Some of these people have lost their homes, some have lost their cars, some have lost their entire family,” he said. “Funerals will have to be paid for. Please dig deep.” Chief Hots is the spokesman for search and recovery efforts.
Source: Christian Science Monitor, Associated Press
By Sarah Walden of UmbrellaBagger.com
Traveling to the office during dangerous weather conditions can be frightening. Safety precautions are necessary for employees and management to remain calm, collected and protected during severe storms. Paying attention to any and all warnings before, during and after a storm secures employees during their commute and office hours. Aside from safety concerns, trekking to work in bad weather is uncomfortable and a lack of preparation can lead to an intolerable day.
Here are four tips to help make the rainy, slushy or snowy commute easier for full-time employees.
Stay Informed and Drive Cautiously
Set up weather alerts on a smart phone or computer the night before a large storm is due. Tune into the morning news while getting ready and take notice of the suggested strategies and tips for the current conditions. When leaving the house, travel with extreme caution and care. If proximity allows, consider carpooling with coworkers – multiple eyes and ears increases awareness of precarious conditions and helps ease stress for drivers.
Invest in a reliable raincoat and sturdy rubber boots. Although clunky and awkward, protective outdoor gear helps keep work clothes dry. Forgoing style during the commute to the office is better than sitting in soggy clothing all day long which can lead to a head cold or wrinkled attire.
Take Advantage of Facility Accommodations
Spend a little more money to park in the indoor garage or covered lot on days when weather is extreme. Opting for street parking is usually the more cost-effective alternative, but defrosting a car after eight to nine hours of snow or ice build up is time consuming. Fallen tree branch damages or sliding accidents cost more time and money than garage parking fees.
Unlike drivers, walkers get stuck with soppy shoes and a wet umbrella after their commute. Office lobbies are often equipped with dry floor mats and a wet umbrella bag dispenser. Both resources prevent slip and fall accidents that are all too common during winter snowstorms and the rainy spring months. Don’t bypass these luxuries; they are in place to keep workforce visitors safe and dry.
Take the Day off or Work from Home
There is no shame in missing work if travel doesn’t feel safe. Use a sick day or paid leave if necessary. Although roads may seem fine in the morning, conditions can change rapidly in the afternoon. Getting home could be a nightmare and pose a greater threat than the initial travel. If necessary, ask to work from home. Most managers allow remote labor, as long as employees have a computer and the basic materials to complete their duties for the day.
Dealing with rain, snow and ice shouldn’t have to interfere with productivity. Instead of letting the weather dictate professional life, take the necessary precautions to aptly coordinate work-related travel.
Thanks, Sarah, for this unique idea for wet umbrella bag dispenser(s). These would work great for work, school, or churches. pb
We recently published a guest article about farmers losing their lives on the job in Ireland. Farmers all over the world have one of the most hazardous professions anywhere. From those in third-world countries, to the ones with sophisticated equipment, there is still risk for injury and/or death in this occupation.
Farmers are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries; it is one of the few industries where family members often share the work and live on the premises. Many are migrant workers who may lack training or misunderstand the seriousness of the job, through language barriers. NIOSH was developed in 1990 to create an agricultural safety and health program. Through intramural research and funds, programs are developed at university centers in twenty states. Programs such as these address injuries associated with agriculture, in addition to stress, musculosketal disorders, hearing loss, and pesticide exposure.
In 2010, the U.S. had 1,823,000 full-time workers employed in production agriculture. In 2009, an estimated 1.03 million young persons under 20 years of age resided on farms, with about 519,000 youth performing farm work. An estimated 230,000 youth were hired to work on farms in addition to the ones who lived on the farms in 2009.
Four hundred seventy-six farmers and farm workers died from work-related injuries in 2010. Tractor overturns were the leading cause of death for those involved. Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) are the most effective way to prevent tractor overturn deaths. In 2006, 59 per cent of tractors used on the farms in the U.S. were equipped with ROPS.
One hundred thirteen young persons (on average) die annually from farm-related injuries; most of these deaths happen to those age 16-19 years of age. Sources of fatalaties were twenty-three per cent from machinery (including tractors), nineteen percent involved motor vehicles (including ATVs), and sixteen per cent were due to drowning.
Around two hundred forty-three agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-injury. At least five per cent of these leave permanent impairment. In 2009, around 16,200 youth were hurt on farms; 3,400 were due to the actual farm work.
Other risks that farmers are exposed to:
- Getting kicked by animals;
- Work-related lung disease;
- Prolonged sun exposure;
- Skin diseases;
- Hearing loss;
- Certain cancers associated with chemical use.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture supports the AgrAbility program, which reached newly disabled farmers and ranchers through education, assistance, and networking with on-farm assessments and assistive technology implementation on their worksites. NIFA farm safety efforts work to assist farmers avoid workplace hazards, help those with disabilities remain employed and ensure equal access to the agriculture profession for all workers, regardless of background or ability.
Agricultural workers benefit from these efforts by increasing their knowledge of the hazards and changes in practices in order to reduce risk of exposure to those hazards. This helps farmers remain economically competitive and safe in an often economically and physically challenging agricultural work environment.
Some of the personal protective equipment that farmers and their employees should have are good work gloves, safety glasses or goggles, knee pads, sunscreen, face masks when using pesticides or sprays, ear plugs, and a big, wide straw hat!
We thank our farmers for providing food for our tables and wish them successful harvests in 2014. Please stay safe.
Sources: CDC, NIOSH, NIFA
Our parent company, Texas America Safety Company, has been in the business of selling quality personal protective equipment for over twenty years. There are many items you may not know about, so we would like to take the time to introduce some winter products to help you stay warm. Whether you plan to be sitting outside at a football game, going on a ski trip, hunting, or working every day in the outdoors, we think you will enjoy viewing these products.
Here is a list of some of our items that will help you stay warmer, and chances are, at a lower cost than retail stores. You can see full descriptions on our cold weather comfort products page.
- Winter liners. These are worn under hardhats to keep your head warm from outside cold. They can also be worn underneath a regular hoodie to add warmth.
- Knitted tube liners. Warm liners that fit over hardhats; they are either full-face or half-face.
- Plush Fleece Balaclava winter liners. These work much better than scarves, and come in navy, orange, or camo colors. Drawstring ensures warmth around your head and neck.
- Multifunctional Winter Gaiters. Made of microfiber, these can be worn 10 different ways.
- “Hot Rods” Warming Packs! Handy little packets that warm up your hands, feet, anywhere you need to stay warm! Be sure to check these warming packs that last for hours. You’ll be glad you did!
It is our goal to furnish you with safety information on a daily basis. We thank all our readers and blog contributors this past year, and wish all of you a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!
Don’t forget to ask for the 5% discount we offer if you mention that you read about it on our blog!
Timing can be everything. While you can’t always choose your hours or work locations, you may be able to plan your workload to avoid overheating. Schedule your heaviest work for the coolest parts of the day. In the summer, sunlight exposure is greatest between 10 am and 4 pm. Many workers start their day very early in the morning, and quit before the hottest time of the day starts, or return to work in the evening hours. If you are working between 10 am and 4 pm, take several breaks during those hours, in a shady place.
Stay hydrated. When it’s hot, you must remember to drink enough fluids. Drink before you get thirsty, because once you become thirsty, you are already beginning to dehydrate. Skip drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar. Water is still the best choice, but if you are sweating a lot, drink a sports beverage to help replenish your electrolytes and prevent heat cramps.
Summer fashion advice: Wide-brimmed hats, sun glasses with side panels, and pants tucked into socks may not make much of an impression, but they can prevent any number of burns, stings, and bites. Full-length pants and long-sleeved shirts reduce bites from mosquitoes and ticks and minimize skin contact with poisonous plants. Hats and safety sunglasses protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s UV radiation. If you have a history of skin cancer, you may choose dark clothing with a tight weave, which blocks UV rays more effectively than light-colored, loosely woven clothing. However, if pests are more of a concern, wear light colors and tuck your pant legs into your socks to avoid unpleasant up-the-leg visitors. To stay cooler in the heat, wear light-colored clothing that is loose-fitting and made from a breathable material such as cotton.
Know your plants. Poison oak, ivy, and sumac are found throughout the United States. The sap oil from these plants can cause painful allergic reactions. Investigate the types that are poisonous, and avoid them. Wear long sleeves, long pants, boots, and gloves to shield your skin from contact. Also, you may consider using a barrier skin cream. Burning plants that may be poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac can cause life-threatening allergic reactions from the smoke.
Find out if any workers have existing allergies. In addition to knowing first aid and having first aid kits handy, supervisors should be aware if a worker is allergic to certain insect bites or stings, plants, etc., and be prepared to treat them as soon as possible. The worker should carry benadryl, or some type of allergy medicine to avoid going into anaphylactic shock.
Watch out for the critters! Tall grass, leaf litter, rocks, wood piles, and bushes are favorite hiding places for spiders, ticks, scorpions, and snakes. If possible, stay away from these areas. Wear gloves when handling brush or debris. Wear boots, pants, and long sleeves when working in tall grass or underbrush. Cut grass and remove dried leaves from around the worksite to reduce tick populations. Be cautious near piles of undisturbed materials where snakes or spiders may be. Store unused apparel and equipment in tightly closed plastic bags. An additional spider caution: they are often found living in outdoor toilets where flies are plentiful. If you are working around standing water, or where mosquitoes breed and live, be aware that some of these little pests carry West Nile Virus. This is a very serious and debilitating disease, so be sure you have insect repellent sprayed all over your clothes and open skin.
Monitor your coworkers. In addition to your own physical condition, also keep an eye on your coworkers. Learn the symptoms of heat-related illness, and watch for them in yourself and others. Understand that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress. Also, brush up on your first aid so you can help a coworker who may need immediate help if suffering from heat stroke or other heat-related reactions. Observe certain workers, such as older ones, that could be prone to heat stroke. Those with heart disease or other health problems may not be able to stand continuous heat very long. You and your coworkers can also help each other by inspecting for hard-to-spot creatures. Ticks, in particular, can be difficult to see, especially on your own body. Help each other inspect skin, hair, and clothes for unwanted passengers.
Use plenty of sunscreen. Last, but certainly not least, follow this advice: wear plenty of good sunscreen to block UVA and UVB radiation. Wear sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15. SPF refers to the amount of time you will be protected from a burn. An SPF of 15 will allow a person to stay out in the sun 15 times longer than they normally would be able to stay without burning. The SPF rating applies to skin reddening and protection against UVB exposure. It does not indicate any level of protection against UVA. A good broad spectrum sunscreen will contain additional ingredients to block UVA. Ask your dermatologist what he/she recommends. Sunscreen performance is affected by wind, humidity, perspiration, and proper application. It should be reapplied at least every two hours. Some sunscreens lose their efficiency when used with insect repellent. Throw away sunscreen bottles that are more than 2 years old, as it is no longer effective.
Another “hot” topic for July, (in addition to fireworks safety), is the observance of UV Safety Month. Not only can the sun’s ultraviolet rays harm your eyes, but it can damage your skin, as well. Too much sun can cause wrinkles. Worse yet, it can cause skin cancer. If you have places that you suspect could possibly be skin cancer, see your dermatologist, as early detection offers a good chance for successful treatment. Make it a habit to wear sunscreen when going outdoors. Most dermatologists will tell you, many of these suspicious places are the result of being exposed to too much sun when you were younger. It’s never too early to start protecting your child’s skin.
Whether at work or play, as summer heats up, it’s important for you to understand the damage that Ultraviolet waves can do to our vision. Ultraviolet (UV) is the invisible band of radiation with a wavelength shorter than visible light and longer than x-rays – between 400 nanometers (nm) and x-rays at 4 nm and below. Here are their three regions:
- UV-A: (400-315 nm), Near UV
- UV-B: (315-280 nm), Mid UV
- UV-C: (280-100 nm), Far UV
Long- term exposure to ultraviolet radiation can damage eyes, and can lead to such disorders as cataracts and macular degeneration. UV-blocking eye protection should be worn when people are exposed to the sun reflecting on water, sand, asphalt, and snow. Many individuals are not aware of the dangers that contact with UV rays pose. Everyone should wear eyewear blocking 99% of UVA and UVB rays, and a brimmed hat. According to Prevent Blindness America, children are also at risk for eye damage from exposure to UV radiation. They should wear the same UV-blocking eyewear for outdoor play, especially between 10 am and 3 pm, when UV rays are the most intense.
When choosing sunglasses, be sure to choose lenses that absorb at least 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays. Avoid labels that state “Provides UV Protection”, but do not distinguish the proportion of UV rays it blocks. Carefully select the type of eye protection that best fits your needs and likes: polarized, wraparounds, or vented.
Remember these tips for sun safety AT WORK OR PLAY:
- Stay in the shade as much as possible;
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher;
- Save your sight;
- Cover up!
- If you work outdoors, take frequent breaks!
- Stay hydrated.
Source: Gatewaysafety.com/Prevent Blindness America