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Author Archive: Matthew Kane

Protecting Your Skin From Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace

skin protection from hazardous chemicalsMany workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals in the course of their work. While you might expect chemical exposure in some industries (such as agriculture, manufacturing and construction), hazardous chemicals are also often unexpectedly present in other workplaces, such as salons and funeral homes.

Wherever you’re exposed to hazardous chemicals—whether pouring concrete or coloring hair­—it’s important to protect yourself. Hazardous chemicals can enter your body in a variety of ways, but perhaps the most common is the skin.

Normally, the skin keeps bad elements (e.g. harmful bacteria and dirt) from entering the body and good elements (e.g. water) from leaving. When skin is damaged, its ability to perform these roles is compromised and, consequently, can lead to damage at the site of contact and elsewhere in the body.

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Why Your Funeral Home Needs an Eye Wash Station and Emergency Shower

eyewash station and emergency showerFor many funeral home operators and morticians, caring for the deceased and their families is a labor of love. With their skills, they help families come to terms with the passing of a loved one and ensure the dignity of the deceased.

While working in a funeral home or mortuary has many challenges, it also has some hazards. In fact, many funeral home operators and morticians are regularly exposed to toxic chemicals, especially formaldehyde, in the course of performing their duties.

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, odorous chemical. It’s used in building products and household items, including some adhesives, coatings, pressed-wood products and insulation. It’s valued for its properties as a fungicide, germicide, disinfectant and preservative.

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Why You Should Take OSHA Authorized Online Training

online OSHA trainingWorkplaces accidents are costly—not only in terms of injuries, illnesses and lives lost—but also property damage, legal liability, worker compensation claims and time off work. In fact, the Center for Construction Research and Training estimates that if we could reduce workplace injuries by just two percent a year, the savings would be $336 million!

As it happens, one of the best ways to reduce the rate of workplace injuries is safety training.

OSHA Authorized Training

Of the many workplace safety training programs available, it makes sense to choose OSHA authorized training if your industry is subject to OSHA regulations (and most are). After all, you don’t want to learn a work practice that might be okay overseas but is not acceptable here.

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The Cost of OSHA Financial Penalties

financial penalties OSHASafety for it’s own sake should be a strong enough reason for safety compliance. But sometimes taking a look at the many financial penalties OSHA can assess also helps. Here are just a few:

  • Serious violation: A violation with substantial probability of death or serious physical harm: $1,500 to $7,000.
  • Willful violation: $5,000 to $70,000. Some of these fines can multiply rapidly. For example, if OSHA finds that violations are “egregious,” they can apply a penalty to every violation found or every employee exposed to the hazard.
  • Willful death conviction: Conviction in court of willful violation leading to death of employee: $250,000 for individuals; $500,000 for corporations, plus six months imprisonment.
  • Failure to correct a prior violation: $7,000 for every day past the abatement deadline.

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What Should You Put in Your First Aid Kit?

first aid kitOSHA requires employers to provide “adequate” first aid supplies for their employees. While OSHA doesn’t define what “adequate” is, many employers use ANSI first aid kit standards as a guide.

ANSI First Aid Kits

ANSI standard Z308.1-2014 lists first aid supplies for two types of first aid kits: Class A for common workplaces and Class B for more complex or higher risk environments. Kits are further divided into different types based on other factors, such as indoor or outdoor use.

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Real Life Workplace Injury and Injury Prevention Stories

workplace injuryIt can happen in an instant. A young worker gets entangled in a mortar mixer. A farm worker is thrown from a truck. A construction worker falls from second floor scaffolding. Sadly, all of these accidents could have been prevented through the implementation of better safety procedures and use of safety equipment.

Sometimes it’s hard to change an “it won’t happen to me” attitude. Training, reminders and enforcement penalties are important, but sometimes, real life examples of workplace accidents do more to convince workers to comply with safety regulations.

In this blog post, we’ve assembled a few sources of real life workplace injury stories. These stories—heartbreaking when an injury occurs; inspiring when an injury is prevented—serve to remind us of the continued importance of workplace safety.

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Does Your Workplace Need A Portable Hand Washing Station?

portable hand washing stationWith flu season still making headlines, it’s not surprising hand washing remains at the forefront of the battle against the spread of germs and bacteria.

But how do you combat the spread of germs and bacteria in the workplace especially when your workplace is mobile? For many employers, maintaining safe and sanitary conditions in mobile workplaces is a real concern, which is why portable hand washing stations are becoming increasingly prevalent.

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Hearing Protection in the Workplace

hearing protectionSadly, some workers continue to suffer hearing loss from hazardous noise levels in the workplace. In fact, the CDC reported 23,000 cases of occupational hearing loss in 2007, accounting for 14 percent of all occupational illnesses.

Today, 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels on the job. High noise levels are commonly found in construction, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and transportation. Musicians and support crews are also frequently exposed to dangerously high noise levels.

Fortunately, high noise levels don’t have to lead to hearing loss. Through a combination of administrative and engineering controls, as well as personal protective equipment, you and your employees can prevent hearing loss.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

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Eye Wash Stations in the Oil and Gas Industry

eyewash stations in oil and gasNow that America is the largest producer of oil in the world, it’s a good time to reflect on worker safety in the oil and gas industry.

And while the rate of minor injuries in the oil and gas industry is below the national average, serious injury and fatality rates remain high. These rates may reflect the many unique workplace hazards that exist in the oil and gas industry, such as:

  • Remote locations. Many oil and gas jobs are located in remote areas with no easy access to medical care.
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals. Not only are oil and gas workers exposed to hazardous chemicals during work processes, they may also be exposed to the hazardous byproducts of oil and gas drilling.
  • Reliance on outside contractors. Outside contractors may lack safety expertise, making safety oversight and protocols even more critical.
  • Possibility of multiple victims. When things go wrong in the oil and gas industry, they can go seriously wrong—with multiple victims and injuries as a result.

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Why Your Hair, Nail and Beauty Salon Needs an Eyewash Station

salon eyewash stationWe know how important it is to have eyewash stations in manufacturing and industrial environments where employees are exposed to hazardous liquids. But eyewash stations are equally important in non-industrial settings where hazardous liquids are present, such as hair, nail and beauty salons.

The issue of hazardous liquids in salons came to light a few years ago when air tests revealed formaldehyde air levels above OSHA limits in some salons. (Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen as well as a skin and respiratory irritant.) The source of the formaldehyde turned out to be certain hair straightening products. Disturbingly, the products were labeled “formaldehyde free.”

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