Texting While Driving is Still One of Today’s Biggest Problems

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We should all know by now that not only is texting and driving a bad idea but is probably also against the law where you live. A federal ban on texting and driving was enacted in 2010 and 46 states have laws in place about using mobile devices while behind the wheel of a vehicle. A new law outlawing the practice in Mississippi will go into effect on July 1, 2015. The dangers of texting while driving should be common knowledge by now but apparently it bears repeating. Despite the laws in place and the number of warnings, texting while driving remains one of the biggest dangers on the road today.

It seems that every week there are reports of a new tragedy that could have been easily avoided happening on the road. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nine people are killed each day as a result of distracted drivers and over 1,000 people are seriously injured. Some of the main culprits that contribute to distracted driving are using a mobile phone, texting or eating. The CDC outlines three major types of driving distractions and they include: visual distractions that take your eyes off the road, manual distractions that take your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions that take your mind off of driving.

Did you know that someone using their phone while driving is 23 times more likely to have an accident than someone that isn’t? In fact, a study cited by the Huffington Post found that there’s a 1 in 4 probability that any given car crash involved a cell phone in some way. There were 3,328 people killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012 and another 421,000 people were injured. That’s almost half a million people injured as a result of something that might not have happened if people stopped texting while driving.

In the year 2000, Verizon Wireless became the first wireless carrier to support state legislation for the banning of all hand-held cellphone use while driving. That’s 15 years of supporting safe driving initiatives like the Responsible Driver Action Plan while continuing to be one of the industry’s leaders when it comes to safety outreach. The company developed its Responsible Driver Action Plan as part of its efforts which included the incorporation of responsible driving messages in customer communications and company advertising.

There are even apps now specifically to help drivers resist the temptation of their phones on the road. One of them is SafelyGo, which will automatically receive and respond to your calls while you’re on the road. This way you can keep your eyes on the highway while your phone makes sure you stay connected during your trip. With these kinds of advances in technology, there’s no excuse to be using your mobile device in the car. It’s not just about your own safety; it’s about everyone around you.

Lab Safety Guidelines

There is a great need to examine and reevaluate the safety procedures in a lab, especially if you happen to be more than just a simple lab assistant. Lab managers will need to consider this task carefully if they want safety to be a primary concern, especially when handling hazardous materials. There are plenty of cleaning companies that have certification as professional cleaners, going far beyond the usual house cleaning, office cleaning, carpet cleaning and the like and well into the area of laboratory cleanup, biohazard cleanup and more. Proper routines and rules must be observed if you want to succeed at keep the lab safe. The following tips will give you a few ideas you can use in your daily work:

Lab Safety Guidelines

• No drinks and food in the lab
This is pretty commonplace in most areas, but it also happens to be one of the things people find hardest to deal with. Everyone happens to enjoy a refreshing drink of cold water or coffee at work, but removing food and drinks from the lab will have multiple great benefits. First of all it will reduce the available distractions, so fewer things will go wrong. When performing really important and sensitive tasks, every distraction is a serious problem, especially when handling hazardous materials and substances. The risk of contamination in such areas jumps exponentially since such items can bring bacteria from the outside or may become carriers of contaminants from within the lab environment itself.

• Partnering up
A lot of times experiments can only be done right by sharing duties with a partner. Working in teams has a great advantage over working alone, obviously – you will have another set of eyes looking out for you when something goes wrong. Human error is not something that can be avoided – people get tired, mistakes are made and so forth, but in certain conditions mistakes cost lives, so working as part of a team requires people looking out for each other.

• Warning sign usage
Anything that you know for sure is dangerous should be labeled as such, whether with the appropriate sign or by using the NFPA 704 “fire diamond” to denote the type of danger faced by handling the materials or substance in question. You should also consider the OSHA guidelines or similar ones in your country. Trip hazards, high decibel noises, circuit breakers and more will need to be clearly marked so lab members will be fully aware of what they’re dealing with.

• Proper Safety Equipment
Maintaining your budget is very important for any laboratory out there, but you will also need to setup a good budget for safety and a safety plan. When you need to draft a new budget or you plan on revisiting your current one, you would do well to consider extra funds for safety equipment, such as eye wash stations, goggles, safety glasses, ear plugs, lab coats, protective gloves, fire safety and a whole lot more. You should also consider setting up a budget for proper safety training for all experienced and new lab members as well to drill in procedures in case of emergencies and accidents.
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Ways to Increase Workplace Safety Awareness in the Workplace

There is no such thing as being too safe. As technology continues to evolve, so do the potential hazards and risks that threaten the safety of each and every employee and work place. With respect to this notion, there are always new ways to increase workplace safety awareness. Here are five proven ways to effectively improve safety awareness and reduce the risk of incidence:

1) Increase Safety Training and Awareness Courses

Safety training will help employees become more situationally aware and as a result decrease the likelihood of accidents. The point is simple, less accidents create more time to focus on corporate goals and initiatives which in turn will improve productivity. As new methods emerge, outdated safe practices are often proven to be obsolete or ineffective compared to modern theories and methodologies. Thus, it is imperative for safety awareness to be the fabric of the workplace.

2) Improve Awareness of Spill Kits

In the event of a spill of hazardous materials, improving workplace awareness of spill kits can prevent and mitigate a potentially horrific disaster. Along with fire prevention and extinguishment devices, spill kits can stop the spread of contaminants from further adversely affecting the workplace. In addition spill kits can also contain components which can be utilized to protect and aid workers affected by chemical spills as well.

3) Enhance Employee Knowledge of Fire Extinguishment Materials

Knowledge of fire extinguishment materials can sometimes be the difference between a small contents fire and a massive building conflagration. Fires double in size every minute, in addition to the implementation of a fire evacuation plan, knowledge on how and when to properly use the different varieties of fire extinguishers can be a great aid in improving safety.

4) Implement an Action Plan

In the event of an emergency, an action plan can assure all employees and workers are protected from potentially deadly consequences. In the event of an accident, the implementation of recovery policies and procedures can serve as a framework to handle the most complex of scenarios. From these action plans, a course of action and a chain of command can be established, seamlessly streamlining all facets that require action. It is important employees know what to do in a variety of emergency situations. In the event such an incident were to occur, a prepared team is more equipped to effectively and safely handle all the challenges that accompany.

5) Establish Efficient Practices Through Continuous Improvement

When workers know how to work safely, they establish continuity. Continuity can lead to innovative methods to complete a task, faster and better. These methods can be documented in to the form of standard operating procedures or workplace practices. Continuous safety is virtually synonymous with continuous improvement, which in turn results in identifying and implementing better and safer ways to do the same job. In addition to efficiency, there are less accidents and workers are more cognizant of hazards that accompany various material handling applications.

Tom Reddon is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. Follow him on Twitter at @TomReddon.

Protection Clothing for Cleaning

Cleaning is a necessary task that you are often times forced to do around your home and your office. Thanks to cleaning, you will have a refreshed environment and living conditions that are more than suitable for resting and relaxing. There are a lot of products and tools that can make your cleaning more effective and fast, but what you have to keep in mind is that home cleaning and office cleaning should be carefully executed.
If you want to be completely safe during your cleaning service, you need to consider some protection clothing. There is a lot of risk related to using the various cleaning solutions, some of which are far from safe. If you pay attention to labels, you will often notice the description saying ‘poison’, ‘toxic’ and ‘danger’. That alone should be enough to warn you of the threats and make you stay alert during your cleaning service. Acquire the following gear if you want to be safe:

Gloves – even simple latex gloves can protect your skin from the chemicals and dangerous ingredients of various solutions you use in your everyday cleaning. If you have any skin problem, such as irritation, rash, itch and burn you will do well to avoid direct contact with the solutions you use in office and home cleaning. Gloves will not hinder your cleaning in any way, and they will not allow the dangerous liquid to come into contact with the skin on your hands. Thanks to a pair of gloves you can mix solutions without fear and wash dishes with any type of cleaning detergent.

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Goggles – some of the cleaning products you use during your cleaning service can greatly irritate your eyes because of the fumes they release. In order to protect yourself from this danger, you should acquire a pair of specialized goggles to wear while cleaning. This will provide protection for your sight not only from the fumes of the chemicals, but also from dust and other debris that might get airborne during carpet cleaning for example. Goggles can usually be used multiple times, so definitely consider acquiring quality protection for your sight.

Mask – cleaning solutions and more importantly the chemicals that are present inside them can sometimes lead to respiratory distress. To avoid breathing in the chemicals and fumes of the cleaning products you use during your cleaning service, you should always wear a mask. It will be your best line of defense when it comes to filtering the toxins of the cleaning products. This is especially the case with professional cleaners, who have to work with different cleaning solutions every single day. A mask will also prevent solid particles, such as dust and various others from entering your organism.

Protection Clothing for Cleaning

Apronaprons are very useful, especially those that provide pockets where you can put your extra cleaning equipment during your home cleaning. Not only will you stay clean if the job is a messy one, but also you will have everything you need with you and will not waste time.
A lot of these additions to your cleaning are not expensive at all and you can use most of them more than once. Definitely consider them to be safe during your cleaning.

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Health and Safety Tips for Tradies

Every day, tradies build, create, design and install equipment and infrastructure people rely on to make their lives easier and more comfortable. The many demands of the work, including the many physical and labour-intensive tasks that are performed, mean there are some specific health and safety considerations unique to those working as a tradesperson. Since tradies rely on their physical and mental health to do their job well, below are some tips specific to tradies that can assist with staying healthy and safe while on the job.

Schedule Regular Visits to the Physio

Because of repetitive movements like lifting and muscle strains arising from working in challenging environments, tradies have a higher risk of physical injury than other workers. Because of this, it’s essential that tradies make regular appointments with a physiotherapist. Physio will provide physical therapy to help ensure on-the-job comfort and limit time off work due to injury. A good physiotherapist will also be able to monitor and address any muscle problems before they have a chance to worsen.

Always Use or Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Whether it’s a plumber, electrician, mechanic or builder, trade workers rely on a number of tools, equipment and machinery to get the job done effectively and safely. Using personal protective equipment means wearing gear, like goggles, hardhats and steel-capped boots, when using power tools to prevent injury. It’s important tradies always wear or use any safety equipment that assist with ensuring safety while doing their job duties. It also helps to know you’re working with the safest, best quality tools from a specialist supplier like AEG.

Limit Exposure to the Sun

The majority of tradies work outdoors in the sun, which dramatically increases the risk of developing skin cancer. It’s crucial to stay safe in the sun by wearing sunscreen and looking at ways to limit exposure. This could involve a number of strategies, including starting work earlier in the day or moving any duties to shaded areas where possible. Especially in warm climates, it’s important for tradies to consider what they can do to reduce exposure to the sun, helping to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Ditch the Tradie Diet

The diet of the tradie has a reputation for being anything but healthy. Instead of munching on the same daily meat pie and chocolate milk combo, tradies would benefit from limiting their calorie intake and boosting their fruit and vegetable quota. Additionally, the after-work or ‘knockoff’ drinks that tradies are known for could become a weekly ritual instead of a daily one. As well as feeling better and healthier, steering clear of the typical tradie diet will also have benefits for any trade worker’s waistline and wallet.

Drink More Water

Leading on from the diet point, it’s also important tradies make sure they keep their fluids up since they are particularly prone to becoming dehydrated while performing physical work. It’s essential trade workers, especially those working outdoors, stay hydrated – not with a cold beer but through drinking good, old-fashioned H20. Staying hydrated will improve concentration, as well as helping to reduce heat-related stress and overexertion. There’s little doubt this will help tradies perform their jobs more effectively and safely.

These are just some of the ways those working a trade can stay safe and healthy while on the job. Ultimately, the major responsibility for staying healthy and safe rests on the individual – the same individual who will also reap the benefits of doing so.

The 5 Golden Rules Of Office Safety

Your office work may not be as risky as, let’ s say, building construction, but it still holds some not – so – obvious hazards. So what can basically happen when your job involves sitting on a chair and staring at a computer? Surprisingly, a lot. Even the administrative employees suffer severe injuries that could have been prevented with a little attention and workplace modifications. Here are a couple of ways to ensure the office safety and minimize the risks.

Golden Rules Of Office Safety

1. Mind Your Steps
Trips, slips and falls are some of the most common sources of office injuries. Did you know that employees are 2.5 times more likely to experience a fall in an administrative environment than anywhere else? The first step is to keep your office clutter – free. All free standing boxes and various items like stretching cords pilled on the floor constitute a serious danger. Cleaning the spills and splashes will also cut the chances of slippery floors. Always keep an eye on the floor while walking.

2. Protect Your Back When Lifting
Every now and then your office job may require an actual manual labour. It doesn’t matter what you need to lift, there are some key points that will prevent a back trauma. Before directly approaching the box, first move it with your feet. This will help you determine the weight of the box. Instead of bending at the waist and lifting with your back, preserve your posture straight. Your upper body and your legs should be in a same line. Then get the box and push it with your legs.

3. Safe Climbing
When it comes to inadvertent injuries, hard to reach shelving and storage units are an all – time classics. You need to get something that is placed too high? Use only approved ladders and don’t try to climb the shelving.

4. Use Technology Properly
Not taking precautions while using tools and machinery may not always result with an injury. In the rare cases when it happens, it can turn into a disaster. Use to tools in the right way and don’t take shortcuts. Don’t underestimate the risks, even if it’s about a simple thing like a stapler.

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5. Fire Safety
Cleaning chemicals and products should be stored in a well – ventilated room, away from heat or fire sources. Some cleaners are extremely inflammable. Be sure you know all the fire exists and you are fully prepared in case of emergency.
Although these are the most common examples of injury threats, there are many more safety issues that need to be discussed and that are specifically related to your work environment. Good planning and smart strategy are the best way to keep the level of risk at the office low.
You can consider assigning a safety committee or improving and establishing safety plan. Print the basic rules and place them on a spot where everyone can see them. Employees should be familiar with all the rules – from office cleaning and de – cluttering to fire safety tips.
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Avoiding Asbestos Hazards in the Workplace

Asbestos was a popular naturally-occurring mineral commonly used in household products and building materials a few decades ago. Today however, it can only be found in a few materials and products, and those that do contain it have to be labeled as such.

A number of homes and buildings that were constructed during the 1970s up to the late 1980s are still standing today. While they don’t really pose a threat to health so long as the asbestos fibers are not disturbed, asbestos hazards in the workplace are still very much around, especially when the job requires constant handling of this dangerous mineral.

So how can employees avoid asbestos hazards in the workplace?

1. Being and staying informed
It is the employer’s job to provide information and trainings to employees, especially when the task requires the said employee to be exposed to asbestos. Companies need to comply with government standards and rules in keeping the working environment safe for their employees. However, workers also have a general duty to take care of their own health so as not to compromise the health and safety of other workers. This involves, but is certainly not limited to, the knowing the company’s policies, and staying informed by constantly checking for updates, especially regarding health and safety in the workplace.

2. Using proper equipment correctly
Equipment that allows workers to properly deal with asbestos-containing products can be expected of an OSHA-compliant company. Nevertheless, it is the worker’s responsibility to know how to use the provided equipment, and use them correctly. Failure to comply with the company’s standards and policies, particularly with the use of safety-providing equipment, may lead to health hazards, or worse, fatalities in the occupational setting.

3. Getting certified.
Safety training and certification is a necessity for workers whose daily tasks puts them at risk for exposure to asbestos. Asbestos may not be easily identifiable, and its fibers are also so tiny that they are not easily seen by the naked eye.

When released into the air, they can be inhaled into the lungs, or settle on articles of clothing which allows them to be taken out of the workplace and possibly into the worker’s home. Getting trained and certified is a necessity in order to protect not only the worker’s health and safety, but also the health and safety of those who work in the company as well as their families.

4. Helping to identify risks.
When the presence of asbestos is suspected, the worker should follow company protocol in order to have the risk identified and assessed. Part of a worker’s responsibility is to report both identified and unidentified risks, as well as participating in the implementation of risk control measures.

Employers have a duty to do what they can to ensure that their employees’ health and safety are protected at work. This includes making sure that workers are not exposed to substances that could be detrimental to their health, such as asbestos. By doing so, employees are able to work in a safe environment without risking their health. On the other hand, employees also need to do their part in keeping free from asbestos exposure. Keeping safe in the workplace is a collaborative effort.

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Safety in the Office is Directly Tied With Cleaning

Every office environment needs to be cleaned and sanitized in order to ensure the safety and health of all employees working there. Regardless of what the nature of the work you do in the office is, you have to make sure it is safe. That way people will not only feel good about the work they do in the office, but also they will be more productive.

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When it comes to maintaining the safety of people, while they work, everything plays an important role. That said, office cleaning is very important, just as it is important to maintain a certain standard about cleaning. That will ensure that all health standards are maintained and that there is no risk to human health. Here are certain points that prove that work safety is tied to cleaning:

Clean equipment – the equipment in any office should be regularly cleaned in order to ensure that it functions properly. This is especially important for machinery that requires human operators and that people often work around. In order to ensure that the equipment functions properly and that it is most efficient, it needs to be maintained by professional cleaners most of the times. If that is not done, there is always danger of machinery not working properly, which poses a threat to the work process and those who are involved in it.

Reduce the clutter – a cluttered working environment poses a real danger to everyone working there. When there is too much stuff lying on the ground and on the desktops, accidents can happen. People often times require a lot of space to work effectively, and when that is not the case, their productivity will be hindered. When there is no clutter in the office, the work process will be smooth and people will not accidentally bump into things that get in their way.

Careful with the cleaning substances – a good number of cleaning solutions are truly harmful for human health. This is why if you hire a professional cleaning company you have to make sure that their substances and solutions are non-toxic and they pose no risk for human health. You want to make sure that the office cleaners utilize green cleaning methods and eco-friendly solutions. Ideally you want to have efficient cleaning service that will get the job done fast and efficiently.

Cleaning practices – you want to ensure that any cleaning practices in the office are carefully designed so that they pose no risk for anyone. This includes putting warning signs of wet floors, safety instructions on how to utilize cleaning equipment and written rules of how cleaning the office environment should be done.

Safety in the Office is Directly Tied To Cleaning

Cleaning the office is an important part of the work process, as it is the only thing that can guarantee a safe and clean environment. The aforementioned aspects of cleaning should always be maintained as they are essential in ensuring there are no risks for the people working in the office.

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How to Protect your Office from Fire Hazards

Every building with people working inside requires fire protection, which takes many forms. It features a mixture of educational, preventive, mitigating and investigation aspects that are all aimed at alerting for potential risks and spotting a eliminating a threat before it becomes a problem. Different jobs present different risks, and it is important to know the dangers and risks in order to prevent fire threat. This is vital, as the damage that a destructive fire can cause is great. It can grow in a matter of seconds and cover large area. Modern day jobs need to be entirely safe when it comes to accidents such as this and for this reason measures against the threat are very important.
There are few elements of any fire protection system. All of them are aimed at preventing a fire from growing and eliminate threats that are potentially dangerous and may cause a fire to occur.

How to Protect your Building from Fire Hazards

– Instructions and education – this is the most basic element of a fire protection system. Basically this includes making all of the employees that work within a building aware of the risk of fire and any threats that can potentially cause one. They should be instructed on how to perform their work in ways that are safe. Educating all personnel on what to do in case of a fire alarm and an emergency situation is key in preventing any accidents. Facilities that work with dangerous chemicals, gas or other flammable materials must develop strict codes as they are exposed to more risks. It is often times the case when professional cleaning services and special handling of these materials is required.

– Passive fire protection – this element of fire protection is represented in the form of building materials that are resistant to fire. These include floors, walls, doors and pretty much any part of the building. For the most part, these materials are used because of established strict standards. The nature of the materials used requires special knowledge on how to maintain them. Any cleaning company should be aware of the specifics and provide sufficient service.

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– Active fire protection – this important element of fire protection includes a number of suppression and detection systems be they automatic or manual. Manual systems mostly include fire extinguishers or standpipe systems located in key points of the building. They can be used by people to directly fight a fire. Automatic systems most often feature sprinklers at ceiling level that use a reliable source of water in case a fire and smoke is detected. Certain models include different forms of fire suppression that use a different extinguisher than water. Active fire protection relies heavily on detection components, such as heat and smoke detectors that can locate and alert in case of a fire threat. In order for these systems to work and function properly they must be regularly checked by professionals who will provide maintenance and cleaning service to them if needed.
Fire protection is a very important aspect of all work safety codes. Strict regulations must be followed in order to ensure that no threat occurs and that any danger is handled in time.

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Electrical Safety Tips

There are many electrical appliances that are often used in everyday life or during construction efforts, so you will need to ensure you’re treating such electrical works with the respect and care they deserve so you can be safe from harm. Take your time to check the principles of safe operation of electrical devices ahead and make sure everyone both around your home and at your workplace or construction site is fully aware of them at all costs, as electricity is one force that should never be underestimated due to its lethal hazard and long-lasting effects on the human body after an accident. The following tips will give you more information you can use to deal with it:

Electrical Safety Tips

• If you want to be safe when using electrical appliances, light bulbs and other types of equipment, then you will need to be vigilant at all times to avoid burns, shocks and the threat of electrocution. Once again: keep your eyes open and be careful.

• You would do well to assume that all overhead wires are charged with lethal voltage, as well as any exposed wiring you see either around your home, office or other location such as a construction site. Avoid touching exposed wiring at all costs and use proper protection to stay safe, such as insulated gloves at the least with lower voltage wiring. Leave power lines to professional electricians and the company that employs them and stay away from them – a simple, common sense solution.

• You would do well to stay at least 10 feet away from any possible overhead wires during cleanup activities. If you’re working at certain heights or you need to handle longer objects, you would still do well to survey the place before you move on to working with overhead wires.

• If any overhead wires happen to fall on a vehicle, you should stay inside and drive away if possible. If your engine stalls you should stay inside and call the local electric company for assistance with this issue, as well as emergency services instead of trying to solve the problem yourself.

• You should never try to do any operations with electrical equipment while still standing in water. You should also do your best to avoid repairing any electrical cords or any equipment unless you happen to be authorized and qualified to do so. If you do need to do any repairs, you would do well to have a qualified electrician doing them instead of you, as they will have the necessary experience to do so.

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• When you’re working in damp or wet locations, you need to ensure you have all electric cords and equipment fixed and in good condition, as well as using a ground fault circuit interrupter to keep them safe. Keep your eyes open when you’re doing any cleaning, especially during floor cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and so forth. A short circuit can become a fire hazard quickly if left alone, so if you smell the acrid smell of burning insulation, shut the power off and locate the issue before moving forward.

• Last, but not least: always be cautious when you work with electricity, no matter where you are and what you’re doing. It may seem like a simple thing to keep in mind but you should never feel safe just because you think you have things covered. Be vigilant, be safe.
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