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Author Archive: Matthew Kane

Choosing the Right Safety Cabinet for Flammable Liquid Storage

Safety CabinetMost manufacturers and distributors deliver flammable liquids in clearly labeled, safe containers. But it’s not enough to place these containers on any available workplace shelf. Flammable liquids must be stored in safety cabinets that comply with applicable standards.

What is a Flammable Liquid?

But what is a flammable liquid anyway? While organizations often define the term differently, OSHA considers flammable liquids to be any liquid having a flash point at or below 199.4°F. They also classify flammable liquids as either Category 1, 2, 3 or 4:

  • Category 1: Flashpoint below 73.4°F; boiling point at or below 95°F.
  • Category 2: Flashpoint below 73.4°F; boiling point above 95°F
  • Category 3: Flashpoint at or above 73.4°F and at or below 140°F.
  • Category 4: Flashpoint above 140°F and at or below 199.4°F.

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What You Need to Know About GHS

GHSHave you noticed any changes in the labeling of hazardous products delivered to your workplace? With the implementation date for GHS compliant labels quickly approaching, some manufactures are now shipping products with GHS labels and GHS compliant safety data sheets.

While you probably received training on the GHS changes, it may have been months ago. If you’re struggling to remember what the change is all about, here’s a quick review:

What is GHS?

GHS stands for Globally Harmonized System. It’s a system for classifying and labeling hazardous chemicals that’s designed for worldwide implementation. Prior to GHS, many countries (and even areas within countries) had different systems of classification and labeling.

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Fall Protection for Residential Roofers

fall protectionFor the past few years, OSHA has made fall protection a major focus of its education and compliance efforts. But unfortunately, fall accidents and fatalities remain at unacceptable levels. In fact, falls remain the leading cause of death in construction—with 294 fall fatalities in 2013.

More recently, OSHA has turned its attention to fall prevention among roofers, and residential roofers specifically. This may be partially because the majority of fatalities from roof falls occur within small construction companies.

If you follow the news, it’s not hard to see evidence of the failure of some residential roofers to use fall protection equipment. For example, in December, a Nebraska residential roofing company was assessed penalties of $140,000 for exposing employees to dangerous fall hazards.

Falls from Residential Roofing Versus Commercial Roofing

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Get Familiar With Fall Protection Equipment

fall protection equipmentWhile most of us understand the importance of fall protection equipment, it’s not always clear what this equipment is and what constitutes a complete fall protection system. In this post, we’ll review the four most critical components of a fall protection system:

1. Harnesses: Attaches to the body.

2. Anchors: Attaches to a fixed surface.

3. Lanyards and lifelines: Connects harnesses to anchors.

4. Rescue steps: Increases blood circulation in fallen workers while awaiting rescue.

Let’s look at each of these components in more detail.

Fall Protection Harnesses

In the past, fall protection systems used belts, chest harnesses or full body harnesses to secure the body. Today, belts are no longer used for fall protection (unless combined with full harnesses) because it’s possible to slip through them. Also, when suspended from a belt, workers can suffer injuries from the pressure on their waists.

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Prevent Eye Injuries With the Right Eye Protection

eye protectionAccording to the Center for Disease Control, every day more than 2,000 U.S. workers receive some form of medical treatment for eye injuries sustained at work. Every year, U.S. workers suffer from more than 800,000 work-related eye injuries.

These are some big numbers. What’s even more startling is that safety experts estimate that eye protection could have prevented or lessened the severity of 90 percent of these injuries.

Workers can face a multitude of eye hazards on the job, including flying objects, extreme heat, chemicals (including liquids and gases), dust and optical radiation. Industries particularly prone to eye injuries are production, construction, installation/maintenance/repair, service and transportation.

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How to Select Air Respirators for Your Workplace

air respiratorsSelecting the right air respirators for your workplace is no easy task. Get it wrong and the result could be catastrophic. While you should seek help from an experienced safety professional before choosing respirators for your workplace, it’s helpful to understand the many different types of respirators on the market.

To help, here’s a quick overview:

Air Purifying vs. Supplied Air

All respirators can be divided into two main groups: air purifying or supplied air. Air purifying respirators filter particulates or gasses out of the existing air supply. In contrast, supplied air respirators don’t use the existing air at all—they get their air from a separate, secure source. Continue Reading

Cleaning Up Incidental Spills in the Workplace

Incidental spillsWhen you work with liquids every day, such as water, oil, grease, solvents and fuel, there’s always the possibility of incidental spills.

Help make sure you and your employees are prepared for spills when they happen by reviewing the following tips:

1. Assess hazards and risks

Consider the type, volume and location of liquids in your workplace to determine the risk and potential impact of spills. For example, small quantity clean-water spills that occur far from sensitive equipment or walkways are generally low impact and easy to clean up.

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Placement and Maintenance of Fire Extinguishers

maintenance of fire extinguishersSo you’ve completed a hazard analysis of the types of combustible materials you have in your workplace, and you’ve determined which fire extinguishers you need.

But the next question is where should you install these extinguishers exactly? And what do you need to do to maintain them?

Placement of Fire Extinguishers

As you might expect, the general rule is to place fire extinguishers within easy reach of employees. After all, the faster you can get to and use a fire extinguisher, the easier it will be to put out the fire.

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Planning for (and Avoiding) Suspension Trauma

suspension traumaWhile preventing accidental falls in the workplace must remain a priority, it’s important not to forget about injuries that can happen when you use fall prevention equipment. A not uncommon “after the fall” injury is suspension trauma.

What is Suspension Trauma?

Suspension trauma is the common name for orthostatic intolerance. It occurs when blood pools in leg veins, reducing the amount of blood in circulation.

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Latex Glove Alternatives for People With Latex Allergies

latex glove alternativesLatex allergies are a growing problem among workers—and especially healthcare workers. Some sources estimate that 10 percent of all health care workers suffer from latex allergies.

Fortunately, more and more latex glove alternatives are coming on to the market, giving healthcare workers and their employers a variety of options to choose from.

In this blog post, we’ll quickly review the problem of latex allergies and discuss the pros and cons of various latex glove alternatives.

Latex Allergies

Latex is made from a milky white sap produced by rubber trees. The sap is turned into liquid latex, which is used to make products such as rubber bands, balloons and surgical gloves. For years, latex was the most common type of disposable glove used in the healthcare field because of its excellent fit, comfort, strength, and barrier protection.

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