WORK RELATED HEARING LOSS

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, (NIOSH), work-related hearing loss continues to be a serious workplace issue for safety and health.  Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable, but once it happens, hearing loss is permanent and irreversible.  Employers and workers must take precautions to protect workers’ hearing.
One of the most common occupational diseases is hearing loss.  High numbers of exposed workers in the following industries include:

  • Military
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Transportation
  • Construction
  • Utilities
  • Manufacturing

The most effective way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is through controls, such as building an acoustic barrier or muffler in the workplace.  Earplugs and earmuffs should be used when a safe level of noise cannot be attained otherwise.
This is not a new danger; it has always been a threat.  Repeated exposures to loud noise can cause permanent, incurable hearing loss or tinnitus, (buzzing, ringing, or other sounds in ear caused by defect or damage to the auditory nerve).  Employers need to provide hearing protectors in situations where dangerous exposures are not eliminated.
Worker education, along with employers’ assessments of noise situations, need to be consistently enforced.

Source: NIOSH
Gateway Safety

UV (LIGHT) RADIATION

Whether at work or play, as summer heats up, it’s important to know this information regarding the damage that Ultraviolet waves can do to our vision. 

According to sources listed below,
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.  Listed 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.

Be sure when you are shopping for sunglasses that the lenses 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 such as polarized safety eyewear, wraparounds, vented sunglasses, etc.

Source: Gatewaysafety.com
SafetyNets, Un.California, Davis
Prevent Blindness America

CHAINSAW SAFETY

For workers involved in tree removal, logging, or trimming trees at home, the chainsaw can be one of the most effective and productive tools used; however, it can also be one of the most dangerous.
Employers must train their workers to safely perform hazardous tasks through work practices on controlling such hazards.  They need to know how to safely operate, use and maintain tools and machines that they utilize daily.

Personal Protective Equipment is also needed to ensure safety while using chainsaws:

  • Helmet/ Hardhat
  • Faceguard/ Safety Glasses, Goggles
  • Earplugs, Earmuffs
  • Leg protection
  • Safety Boots

SUMMERTIME AND THE SUN

Maybe because it’s so hot, we just can’t seem to say enough to warn everyone about the harmful effects of the sun!  Too many Americans don’t protect themselves from the sun’s damaging rays, according to the Center for Disease Control, (1998), even though they are aware that the burns from the sun increase their risk of skin cancer.

Many people who have been diagnosed with basal cell cancer, squamos cell cancer or melanoma, have been told by their dermatologists that sunburn during their childhood is likely a major factor that may have caused their problem as adults.  Children must be protected from sunburn, beginning at an early age.

The American Academy of Dermatology has established the Shadow Rule: No Shadow – SEEK SHADE.  If your shade is shorter than you are, the sun is at its highest intensity.

For those who must work or play outdoors, wear wide brim hats, hard hats w/sunshields, sunglasses, long sleeves, and use sunscreen that has a minimum of 15 SPF.  Reflective surfaces such as water and sand can add to the burning effects of the sun.  So play it safe, stay out of the sun as much as possible.  (And hope for an early Fall!)

Working with Power Tools?

When using power tools, the proper personal protective equipment should always be worn.

These tools are classified by their source of power: electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic and powder-actuated.
Safety tips when using the types of tools listed are:

  • Electric – Electric shock is the most hazardous threat, and proper grounding is extremely important. Wear gloves and safety footwear when using electric tools.
  • Pneumatic – Powered by compressed air, i.e., drills, hammers, sanders, require that eye, head and face protection be used.   When operating jackhammers, safety glasses, shoes, face shields and hearing protection from noise are necessary.
  • Liquid Fuel – Usually powered by gasoline, which sometimes creates vapors that can explode or burn.  If using this type of equipment in inside areas, respirators should be worn.
  • Powder-Actuated – These tools operate like a loaded gun, and should be operated only by specially trained persons.  Face, ear and eye protection need to be worn.
  • Hydraulic – Fire-resistant fluids must be used to run this equipment, with the exception of insulated sections of derrick trucks, aerial lifts and tools used on or around energized lines.  Jacks, lever and ratchet jacks, screw jacks and hydraulic jacks should be properly inspected before use and immediately after.  Appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW CPR, LEARN!

According to a study done by the University of Washington and Mickey Eisenberg, M.D., approximately 166,000 lives each year are lost (or 455 people per day), due to sudden cardiac arrest.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in adults, most by persons with underlying heart disease.  In this instance, the heart goes from a normal heartbeat to a trembling rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, which happens in about 2/3 of cardiac arrests.  VF can be fatal, without defibrillation (electric shock) being given.   CPR doesn’t stop VF, but it extends the time in which defibrillation can be effective, and provides a small amount of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart, keeping these organs alive until defibrillation can shock the heart into a normal rhythm. A person has a 40% chance of survival if CPR is started within 4 minutes of collapse and defibrillation provided within 10 minutes.
Interesting facts regarding CPR:

  • Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was developed in the late 1950’s and 1960’s.  About the same time, chest compression was found also to benefit circulation.  Later in 1960, chest compression and mouth-to-mouth were combined to form CPR almost as it is practiced today.
  • Typical victims of cardiac arrest are women in their late 60’s and men in their early 60’s, occurring almost twice as often in men than women.
  • There has never been a case of HIV transmitted by mouth-to-mouth CPR.  However, TASCO has CPR microshield kits available with one-way ventilation tubes and shields for protection if the victim has blood on their face, resulting from an accident.
  • Never underestimate the importance of knowing CPR.  With proper training, you may be able to save a life someday!  If your workplace doesn’t have CPR training, find a training program and sign up for a course.

Source:  Mickey Eisenberg, M.D.
University of Washington
“Learn CPR-You Can Do It!”
CPR Shields

CPR can save lives, if it is done properly. However, many people don’t know how to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) properly and even if you do, it can be dangerous for you. If there has been a car accident or other catastrophe and someone needs CPR but they have blood on their mouth or face, in this day in age, you need to be protected against diseases yourself. Microshields are the best way to keep from accidental contamination from occurring. A CPR microshield covers the mouth of the victim and has a valve for air to pass from the giver to the receiver. The valve only opens when the rescuer breathes out and closes when the rescuer finishes giving the breath. The masks even have a breathing tube that ensures an open airway.
These shields are important for everyone to have so they even have holders with a keychain attachment so you always know where your shields are in an emergency. You can even get them with a pair of high risk latex gloves for further protection.

THOSE PESKY SUMMER BUGS, PLANTS!

We all know that one of life’s unpleasant experiences we all have to contend with in the summertime, whether we go on vacation or stay home, are those pesky insects and poisonous plants!

Poison Ivy:  Did you know it grows almost everywhere in the US except Hawaii, Alaska, and some parts of Nevada?  They differ in looks according to the places they live.  Poison Sumac is basically the same plant.
One needs to research the plant and how it looks according to their location.  Urushiol is released from the plants, and sticks to just about anything it comes in contact with.  The best way to deal with these plants is to stay away from them!

Bee Stings:  Most of the time, bees are as afraid of you as you are of them!  Bees are attracted to bright, floral patterns of clothing, fragrances, and food.  Bees will land on soda cans, or spilled food, so beware!  Plan to wear proper clothing (long sleeves, hats, leather work gloves, etc.) if you are going to be outside and know you are in “Bee Territory”!

Spider Bites:  Summer is the prime season for mating and laying eggs for Brown Recluse spiders.  This spider has a very toxic venom.  These non-aggressive spiders only bite when they are caught in a situation, such as being in shoes, bedding, or clothes.  One of their hiding places is cardboard boxes, under the flaps.  So use extreme caution when cleaning; shake out shoes and clothes before donning them.  They also like woodpiles, so check your gloves for spiders before you pick up the wood.

Handling Birds?

If you have to handle birds that may have been infected with the bird flu, it is important for you to protect yourself. Wearing gloves is the best way to prevent any contamination through the skin. Nitrile gloves are very sturdy and are good for various uses. Neoprene gloves are also protective against chemicals and animal fats. Both gloves are cut resistant and puncture resistant and approved by the USDA for food handling. Remember that it is only in the handling of birds that the flu is dangerous, cooked chicken and other fowl is safe to handle and eat.

There is also evidence that the flu can be passed by germs getting into the eye area. You can prevent this by wearing chemical goggles or other well covering safety glasses to protect your eyes.

Prevent Falling Accidents

In the United States Construction industry, falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities. An average of between 150-200 workers each year are killed and more than 100,000 injuries are the result of falls at construction sites. Accidental falls are complex events resulting from either equipment-related or human issues. Therefore, the standards for falling protection deal with preventing fall hazards, and providing proper safety equipment.

Fall protection systems should be carefully designed for appropriate work situations. Proper installation of safety systems, safe work procedures, training and supervision are necessary to ensure workers’ security. Lastly, use some common sense when working off the ground. It’s always better to have too much protection than not enough.

Listed below is a short glossary of fall prevention equipment that can be furnished for safe endeavors:

¨ Anchorage – Secure point of attachment for lanyards, lifelines or deceleration devices.

¨ Body Harness – Straps secured about the person that distribute fall-arrest forces over thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders, which is attached to other parts of fall-arrest system.

¨ Deceleration Device – Any mechanism: rope, grab, forms of lanyards, auto retracting lanyards that dissipate a substantial amount of energy during fall arrest.

¨ Lanyard – Flexible line of rope or strap that has connectors to a deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage.

The Colors of Safety Awareness

When you are driving down the highway, and you see construction workers, rescue workers, or persons picking up litter along the roads, have you noticed the bright colors they wear? Those safety vests, hard hats, clothing, reflective stripes, etc. are there for their protection and to assure that they are conspicuous to oncoming traffic.

When you watch emergency personnel doing their job, notice those bright colors on their clothing, and remember color is just one of the many ways to help ensure a person’s safety.

Primary Safety Colors are:

Safety Orange – Used for vests, traffic cones, hunting vests, barrels and other construction marking devices.

Fire Engine Red – Named mainly for fire engines and other emergency vehicles.

Chartreuse Yellow – Greater visibility at night; many cities now use this color for fire engines and emergency equipment.

Neon Yellow – Most visible color to the human eye, present on most vests.

High Visibility Yellow – Used for coveralls, rainwear, slush boots.

High Visibility Safety Products are a neccessity when working near traffic. Remember to be safe and plan ahead.

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