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Author Archive: Matthew Kane

How to Safely Store Unsafe Chemicals

store unsafe chemicalsMany workplaces use potentially hazardous chemicals as part of their manufacturing processes. Fortunately, you can mitigate chemical hazards through proper storage and handling procedures.

Here are a few tips to help you store unsafe chemicals safely:

1. Know your chemicals

Different chemicals have different properties. They may be flammable, corrosive or oxidizing/reducing. Some require storage at specific temperatures. Some are light sensitive. Some may be volatile or odiferous.

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Eyewear Sterilization Cabinets and Safety Goggles in Schools

eyewear sterilization cabinetsThere’s nothing like hands-on learning to inspire students, which is why school science laboratories are popular with both students and teachers.

But with school science labs come health and safety issues. And one common concern is how to properly clean and care for safety goggles and glasses used in school laboratories, especially when students share eyewear.

Unclean safety goggles and glasses can spread infection, such as colds and flu.

So what are your options for minimizing the spread of infections when sharing eyewear? Here are a few:

1. Purchase individual safety goggles

You might be able to circumvent the infection issue by purchasing a pair of goggles for each student—but this approach is expensive. Because of the cost, you may be tempted buy cheaper models, which tend to be less comfortable and fog up more easily. This, in turn, could make students more resistant to wearing them.

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Hand Sanitizer or Hand Washing – Which is Better?

hand sanitizerWith cold and flu season quickly approaching, it’s more important than ever to keep hands clean. Colds and flu viruses are transmitted when infected people cough or sneeze—emitting tiny droplets. When these droplets come in contact with another person’s eyes, mouth or nose, the cycle of infection continues.

Viruses can live for two hours or longer on surfaces such as hands and doorknobs, which is why hand cleaning is such an important defense against infection.

The CDC recommends washing hands several times throughout the day, including (but not limited to):

  • Before, during or after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

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Procedures for Donning and Doffing PPE

PPEAs a result of the ongoing Ebola outbreak, healthcare workers and hospital administrators are paying increased attention to the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE).

In fact, on October 20th, the CDC updated its PPE recommendations for healthcare workers who care for Ebola patients. The CDC now recommends that:

  • Healthcare workers receive repeated training in donning and doffing PPE.
  • Healthcare workers demonstrate competency in donning and doffing PPE.
  • Trained supervisors observe every step of PPE donning and doffing.

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Should Your Workplace Have an Automated Defibrillator?

automated defibrillatorAccording to OSHA, over 220,000 people suffer from sudden cardiac arrest each year in the U.S.—and about 10,000 of these occur at work.

When sudden cardiac arrest victims receive defibrillation quickly, survival rates improve significantly. According to the American Red Cross, each minute of delay reduces the chance of survival by about 10%.

Given that the average response time for 911 responders is eight to 12 minutes, more and more workplaces are adding automated defibrillators (AEDs) to their first aid programs.

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Wear Your Hard Hat For Protection From Falling Objects

wear your hard hat

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, 245 workers in the United States were fatally injured as a result of falling objects in 2013. That’s 34 percent of all fatal work injuries!

What OSHA Says

While not all of these deaths were a result of head related injuries, the majority involved some type of injury to the head. Many of these fatalities could have been prevented if the workers had been wearing a hard hat. As stated in OSHA regulation 1926.100(a), “Employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns, shall be protected by protective helmets.”

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Most Commonly Cited Safety Infractions in 2014

safety infractionsRecently, OSHA released a list of its most frequently cited safety infractions for the fiscal year 2014.

Fall protection took the number one spot, with 6,143 violations. Hazard communication took the number two spot, with 5,161 violations. These two infractions also held the one and two spots in 2013.

In light of these findings, here’s a quick refresher on OSHA’s fall protection and hazard communication standards.

Fall Protection

OSHA requires that employers protect workers from falls of four feet or higher in general industry, five feet in shipyards, six feet in construction and eight feet in longshoring. Fall protection is also required when working over dangerous equipment or machinery, regardless of height.

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Choosing the Right Safety Glove for the Job

safety glove

Hand injuries can severely impact your ability to do your job and even perform everyday activities. But sometimes, exposure to chemicals, hot and cold temperatures, sharp objects and biological hazards are unavoidable.

Fortunately, PPE manufacturers have developed many different types of protective gloves—made from materials ranging from simple latex to high-tech Kevlar—to protect against all kinds of hazards. Here’s an overview of the many types of protective gloves available today:

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Worker Visibility During Road Construction

worker visibilityAs we move deeper into fall and days grow shorter, now’s a good time to think about worker visibility during road construction.

According to The Bureau of Labor statistics, there were 991 roadway work-related fatalities in 2013. Roadside workers are especially at risk because they have to deal not only with passing traffic but also hazards related to construction vehicles and equipment.

One way to protect against roadway construction fatalities is by wearing high visibility apparel. ANSI and ISEA standards divide this apparel into three classes: Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3.

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Safety Compliance in Your Small Business

safety complianceStarting a small business is challenging. Add to that the challenge of getting up to speed and compliant with all relevant rules and standards and it can be overwhelming.

Yet, most OSHA standards apply to businesses regardless of their size or when they commenced operations. And it’s a good thing too—failure to comply with these standards can put lives of employees at risk.

To help small businesses get their bearings, OSHA has compiled a list of standards that apply to most industries. These include:

  • Hazard communication: Identify chemical hazards in your workplace and protect employees from them.
  • Emergency Action Plan: Ensure employee safety in a fire or other emergency.
  • Fire Safety: Prevent fires in the workplace.
  • Exit Routes: Know how to exist the workplace in case of an emergency.
  • Walking/working surfaces: Reduce the number of slips, trips and falls from unsafe walking or work surfaces.
  • Medical and first aid: Have medical personnel and supplies on hand.

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