Get the right can for the right liquid

Came across this on the Justrite website yesterday and thought it might be of use to you all…

Those of you who follow my blog know that I don’t use it as a glorified commercial for our eCommerce website. I believe in providing good, accurate, up-to-date information to build trust and help everyone be just a little safer. The rest will take care of itself as experience has shown. However, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to provide you with information like this and not let you know where you can get the can that you might need so if you need to order a Justrite can, you can visit our material handling page or, if the one that you need isn’t there call us at (800) 213-7092 or email me at



Skin Dangers of Working with Concrete

Most people who have no experience, and some who do, don’t ever think of concrete as something that can cause severe burns. Think again. As these photos demonstrate, concrete can cause serious skin burns and yet very often those who work with concrete wear no protective gear whatsoever, exposing themselves to serious health issues related to the high alkaline content of concrete.

To prevent burns from concrete…

  1. Wear protective gloves, boots and coveralls.
  2. Put barrier cream on all exposed skin
  3. Wash all exposed skin as well as hands with soap and water every two hours at least.
  4. If you get concrete on your skin, wash off immediately.
  5. Apply Neutralite Concrete Burn Neutralizer to reduce skin irritation and restore the proper pH skin balance.

Flu season is mild, but not over yet

The flu virus is thought to thrive in cold weather, so it’s no surprise that during this unseasonably warm winter, we’ve had an equally mild flu season. Doctor visits for the flu have been below average this winter for New Mexico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But don’t think you’re in the free and clear. Typically, flu season peaks in February and March, so it still has time to ramp up and not over yet—meaning you still have time to get a flu shot—the kingpin of prevention—if you haven’t already.

Flu season doesn’t end with the start of spring either. It can continue well into May.

Because of the unpredictability of the flu, there is still a risk that it will become more widespread.

Currently, the CDC reports the flu as follows:

  • Widespread influenza activity was reported by 1 state (California).
    • Regional influenza activity was reported by 12 states (Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Virginia).
    • Local influenza activity was reported by 17 states (Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming).
    • Sporadic influenza activity was reported by the District of Columbia, Guam, and 20 states (Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).
    • No influenza activity was reported by the U. S. Virgin Islands.

If the winter remains mild, the chances of a mild flu season are high due to a combination of factors.

There are some who believe that flu viruses do like cooler weather and lower humidity, but we don’t have any solid science to prove it according to the CDC.

Also, in colder months, people tend to group together in closed areas, increasing the likelihood that colds and flu will spread. But when it’s warmer out, kids get outside for recess and adults get out of their offices for lunch. Another factor is that vitamin D is known to boost immunity. When it’s cold out, people get little sun exposure, so their skin doesn’t produce much vitamin D, compromising their immune system. But when it’s 50 degrees out and sunny, you’re likely to go outdoors, get some sun, and get a hefty vitamin D boost.

What is influenza (also called flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. Influenza A viruses can be broken down into sub-types depending on the genes that make up the surface proteins. Over the course of a flu season, different types (A & B) and subtypes (influenza A) of influenza circulate and cause illness.

Do I have the flu or a cold?

The flu and the common cold have similar symptoms. It can be difficult to tell the difference between them. Fever is generally the first difference. A flu may have a mild to moderate fever and most colds won’t. Your health care provider can give you a test within the first few days of your illness to determine whether or not you have the flu. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

The Flu Is Contagious

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6-10 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

So what can you do at this point?

•  Getting a flu shot is the single most important thing someone can do to protect themselves from the flu

•  Make sure your immune system is operating at its peak so it can help fight off any viruses you come in contact with. That means daily exercise, getting enough sleep, keeping stress level down, eating a well balanced diet, drinking lots of fluids, and making sure you get some vitamin D – either through sun exposure or taking a supplement.

• Avoid close contact—kissing, handshakes—with people who are sick and coughing. If you’re sick, stay home and keep your distance from others.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, not your hand, when coughing or sneezing. Cough or sneeze into the elbow as the picture shows.

• Wash your hands often to protect against germs you may pick up from door knobs, handshakes or surfaces. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands.

• Keep your hands away from your face. Avoid the urge to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. The average person touches their face over 200 times a day without even realizing it.

Antiviral drugs are an important second line of defense in the prevention and treatment of flu.

  • Antiviral drugs are important in the treatment and prevention influenza.
  • Influenza antiviral drugs can be used to treat the flu or to prevent infection with flu viruses.
  • Treatment with antiviral should begin within 48 hours of getting sick, and can reduce your symptoms and shorten the time you are sick.
  • When used for prevention, antiviral are 70% to 90% effective in preventing infection with influenza viruses.
  • Antiviral drugs are effective across all age and risk groups.

Two antiviral drugs (oseltamivir, brand name Tamiflu®, and zanamivir, brand name Relenza®) are approved for treatment of the flu.

  • Oseltamivir is approved to treat flu in people one year of age and older.
  • Zanamivir is approved to treat flu in people 7 years and older.
  • These are prescription medications, and a doctor should be consulted before the drugs are used.
  • Antiviral treatment lasts for 5 days and should be started within 2 days of illness, so if you get flu-like symptoms, seek medical care early on.

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care. In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash


In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Seasonal Flu versus Pandemic Flu

Pandemic Flu

Seasonal Flu

Rarely happens (three times in 20th century) Happens annually and usually peaks in February or March
People have little or no immunity because they have no previous exposure to the virus Usually some immunity built up from previous exposure
Healthy people may be at increased risk for serious complications Usually only people at high risk, not healthy adults, are at risk of serious complications
Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed Health care providers and hospitals can usually meet public and patient needs
Vaccine probably would not be available in the early stages of a pandemic Vaccine available for annual flu season
Effective antivirals may be in limited supply Adequate supplies of antivirals are usually available
Number of deaths could be high (The U.S. death toll during the 1918 pandemic was approximately 675,000) Seasonal flu-associated deaths in the United States over 30 years ending in 2007 have ranged from about 3,000 per season to about 49,000 per season.
Symptoms may be more severe Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and muscle pain
May cause major impact on the general public, such as widespread travel restrictions and school or business closings Usually causes minor impact on the general public, some schools may close and sick people are encouraged to stay home
Potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy Manageable impact on domestic and world economy


Remember, if you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.

Safety First, Safety Always!

Information from the CDC, FDA and NM Dept of Health


Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for plateau

The Stormwater Minute

What’s In Your Drain?

 Fifty Catch Basin Inserts. 2 Weeks.

This Stormwater Minute is mostly visual. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. And this is a perfect example. The photo above shows what was removed from 50 catch basin filters after 2 weeks in storm drains in the southern California area.

We could give you test reports, case studies, fancy graphs and charts but none of it would be as visually impactful as this one image. Imagine what is going into our stormwater system each day from unprotected drains.

The Ultra-Drain Guard is the flagship product of our stormwater management product line. Simple in concept but, as you can see from the photo, incredibly effective.

Brad Kemp is a Regional Sales Manager for UltraTech International, Inc. and the in-house Stormwater Management and Erosion Control expert (aka The Stormwater Guy). For more information on UltraTech’s expansive line of compliance products please visit

iAuditor, free Audit App for you iPhone or iPad

Free is good, right? Especially when it comes to something that might otherwise take you a whole lot of time to put together. Today I want to make you aware of a free app you can download and customize, to make you workplace audit much, much simpler.

Completely free, fully customizable workplace audits for every industry and application

Inspections and Checklists

  • Customize audits to your workplace
  • Add photos to show compliance
  • Sign-off on the iPad touchscreen
  • GPS locating for fast worksite setup
  • PDF Export & email functionality
  • Create, save & share audit templates
Use the template editor to make your own forms or customise existing forms downloaded from the SafetyCulture Online Cloud The revolutionary Template Editor - make audits for any industry
Use the simple, fast interface to conduct your workplace audits in a fraction of the time, and email them once finished. Streamlined Audits with a simple and fast interface

CDC publishes Top Ten list of Sodium intake

Okay, technically this isn’t a “workplace safety” post but it does relate to health and it comes from the CDC website. It’s also surprising so I’m going to post it.

According to the CDC website, Bread is where Americans are getting most of the sodium that they ingest. Considering the fact that 90% of us get more than the recommended levels of sodium intake, that’s pretty significant.

The problem is that processed foods and baked good such as bread, bagels, rolls, buns, etc… include high levels of sodium in order to preserve better. While bread isn’t necessarily really high in sodium, the problem is that the typical American consumes a lot of it. The study says that as much as 7% of our sodium intake comes from bread.

Poultry is another surprise in the top ten list (It comes in fourth) until one realizes that they inject a sodium solution into the meat.

Here’s the complete, top ten list (You can read more about this one the CDC Vital Signs page here):

Top Sources of Sodium
in the Diet
  Breads and rolls
  Cold cuts and cured meats
  Pasta dishes
  Meat dishes

CSB Chides OSHA on Combustible Dust Standard

The U. S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is apparently tired of OSHA dragging its feet on the combustible dust standard it promised to address as early as 2003 and has yet to act on.

In two separate statements, both of which can be found on the CSB website. Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso speaks out about OSHA’s failure to address the issue despite promises to do so.

Rafael Moure-Eraso is chairperson of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

The first statement dated on February 6th, addresses the lack of a standard that might have, had OSHA acted as it had said it would, have prevented the explosion at Imperial Sugar Refinery that that killed 14 workers and injured 38 others. This particular statement was issued on the four year anniversary of the explosion and chastises OSHA for failing to have followed through with a standard that they had promised was forthcoming as early as 2003.

The second statement dated February 19th, refers back to the 2003 dust explosions at the CTA Acoustics plant in Corbin that killed seven employees. Rafael Moure-Eraso claims that the findings related to that explosion resulted in a promise from OSHA to address the issue and draft a standard. It further builds on the accusation by relating other dust explosions that might have been prevented had a standard been in place. Each time, the CSB made recommendations to OSHA to draft a standard.

Apparently Rafael Moure-Eraso has had enough of OSHAs’ dragging its feet and is going public with his criticism of OSHA on this matter.

Part of his complaint has to do with the fact, not only that OSHA hasn’t yet drafted a standard but that apparently OSHA hasn’t even outlined a timeline, milestones or targets to get it done.

I, for one, am certainly interested in hearing what OSHAs response might be as to why it apparently hasn’t pulled out a manila folder and written “Dust Standard” on it. However overworked and understaffed they might be, this seems to be something that can’t sit on the back burner any longer. Without a standard to enforce, too many irresponsible companies out there will just continue to do business as usual and sit like a ticking timebomb.

Dangers of Falling Ice

Icicle danger: BEWARE OF Death by Icicle!

Icicles and rooftop snow are the latest danger facing the public this winter. Freezing temperatures across the country have led to the build-up of ice and snow on cell towers, buildings and roofs – with emergency services called into action to deal with some of the dangers.

More people than ever are being killed by icicles. It’s official. Winter is here and is dangerous!!

The numbers of people injured or killed this year by falling icicles is still going up and the news isn’t good.

The fact that icicles are dangerous shouldn’t come as a surprise–they’re essentially little frozen missiles, usually falling from great heights–but the number of people harmed this year is surprisingly high. In fact, injury rates are the highest on record. Don’t be complacent next time we are outside near a cell tower, house or buildings with icicles.

That piece of ice can kill!!

Ice bridges are in place like the one below but we still have to watch out from the sky above for those falling pieces of ice that can be up to over 1000 lbs falling toward you at a high rate of speed. Yes that is the size of a refrigerator falling from the tower above. It can kill and severely damage vehicles and equipment.

How do icicles form?? The heat emanating from homes, cause snow or ice to melt and then refreeze into icicles hanging from gutters, the edges of roofs, windows, or any place water is able to drip. Continued cold temperatures with period of slight warming trends also create icicles that “grow” and become larger, longer, and exponentially more dangerous to those who pass below them.

Icicles may become several feet long, with an extensively large diameter at the top, and if they fall from as little as one floor height, can cause property damage, injury and possibly even death. Back in the mid 1990’s we had a huge icicle at my house, it is at least 10 foot long and I am sure longer ones exist.

Ice can form quickly on the cold metal of the towers and metal roofs of buildings even with no rain, snow or much moisture. When ice coats an antenna, which is likely from 50 or hundred feet up to a thousand feet up even in mild winter weather, it becomes a serious hazard. Ice forms around the cold metal and builds while temperatures remain below freezing. When that ice warms and falls from the tower, it becomes a hazard not only to antennas lower on the tower but also to the transmitter buildings, vehicles, and people on the ground. One winter, a huge ice chunk knocked a hole in the thick reinforced concrete ceiling reported by one provided. As you can imagine, dripping water and high voltage didn’t mix very well. Innumerable technicians or engineers working at sites have returned to their vehicles during winter weather to find their pickups smashed by refrigerator-sized chunks of ice. That is how dangerous these pieces of ice can be.

The dangers are worldwide. They do look pretty with the sunlight and hanging from the roof as a winter wonderland scene but they are like sharp weapons. Ice daggers: They are potentially lethal icicles hanging from a rooftops and towers around the world.

In one episode of the popular show known as “Mythbusters” shown (on the Discovery Channel), proved that falling ice could kill. Causing ice to fall several feet provided compelling evidence when penetration of a piece of meat was sufficiently deep to have caused serious injuries if not worse.

In fact, hundreds of people are injured or killed each year, in not only the United States but also any country that has similar weather, from spear-like icicles or large chunks of ice falling from several stories in height. A worker from Wisconsin died instantly in February 2010 when a microwave sized piece of ice fell, crushing his skull and vertebras in his neck and back. A 7-year-old boy from Springfield, Vermont, suffered traumatic brain injuries when an icicle fell and hit him while he was playing. The young boy suffered two skull fractures and brain damage and has to learn how to walk again. There are numerous other sad stories from ice, heavy snow, falling ice  and these deadly icicles.


  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch the sky above if you are close to a building, house or cell tower for falling ice. Don’t let the complacency bug bite you and end up injured or even worse.
  • Be aware most ice falls within 5-10 ft of domestic buildings but can travel as far out as 50-100 ft from a cell tower.
    • 80 TO 90 MPH That is the rate at which a half-pound icicle three inches in diameter falls from a 30-story building, according to terminal-velocity calculations by Andreas Schroeder, a physics professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
    • 1,000 LBS. The force with which the half-pound icicle hits. “That is the rough equivalent of a couple of people on a stiletto-shoe heel on top of your head,” UIC’s Schroeder says. “Roughly the same as a five-ounce baseball thrown by a Major League pitcher hitting you in the head.”
    • Wear a hard hat when entering any cell site.
      • You should not stand under areas with icicles above.
      • Never place a ladder directly against a gutter covered with ice or icicles the pressure of the ladder against the gutter may cause the ice or icicles to dislodge, falling on the person or property below

Information from, Discovery Channel, University of Chicago, North News and Pictures Ltd and National Telecommunications Safety.


Today’s Blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau


Preventing and thawing frozen pipes

What can we do to help safely thaw these frozen pipes and prevent it from freezing during cold winter weather? Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing. An eighth-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, destroying floors, furniture, and personal property. Both plastic (PVC) and copper pipes can burst.

Pipe freezing is a particular problem in warmer climates where pipes often run through un-insulated walls or under insulated attics or crawl spaces. Here are a few safety tips I put together to help deal with one of Mother Nature’s safety hazards.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located and are in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze if the water is not running through the pipe and the water temperature in the pipe is cold.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Many products are available at your local building supplies retailer. Pipes should be carefully wrapped, with ends butted tightly and joints wrapped with tape. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for installing and using these products. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

During Cold Weather, Take Preventive Action

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

Here are some additional tips to avoid bursting water pipes:

During severe cold snaps, pipes can freeze and burst. Avoid trouble by taking precautions NOW:

Find the master shutoff valve.
The master shutoff valve turns off the water to the entire house. Learn its location and make sure everyone in the household knows where it is. This could be critical if a pipe should burst.

Where are my shutoff valves?

There are actually two major shutoff valves in line with your service. The first valve, called a curb stop, is generally located near the property line and is normally housed by a cylinder with a cap on it called the curb box. The other major valve is located in the home next to the water meter. Other valves may be near plumbing appliances such as sinks and toilets.

Keeping your main valve in good working condition will assure you that you will be able to turn your water off in the event of an emergency, in case one of your water pipes breaks, for example. Older style gate valves should be turned periodically due to possible corrosion build-up. Newer, Teflon-coated ball valves should stay in working order without any regular turning.

Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses.
Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe so an overnight freeze doesn’t burst the faucet or the pipe it’s connected to.

Shut down your sprinkler system.
Turn off the automatic timer and bleed the system of water. It’s time to put your landscaping to bed for the winter.

Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas.

Wrap exposed water pipes in unheated areas (such as the garage, basement, crawl space, or space beneath your mobile home) before temperatures plummet. You can find pipe wrapping materials at any hardware or building supply store. For a high-tech solution, consider installing “heat tape” or similar materials on exposed water pipe. Be sure to use only UL-listed products and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Seal off access doors, air vents, and cracks.
Winter winds whistling through overlooked openings can quickly freeze exposed water pipes. DO NOT plug air vents used by your furnace or water heater.

What if it’s too late?
During an extended cold spell, pipes can freeze even if precautions have been taken. If a pipe on your property freezes, the Water Authority recommends that you call a licensed plumber to make necessary repairs. If a pipe on your property bursts and you need emergency water shut-off, call your local water company or public works emergency number.

To Thaw Frozen Pipes

Safety First!!

Propane torches or an open flame can ignite wood beams, flooring and other combustible materials around pipes. Use a hair dryer to thaw frozen pipes. Pipes that warm too fast can break.

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe. Likely places include pipes running against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation

  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt more ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, and electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept 3 feet away from flammable materials), or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device. A blowtorch can make water in a frozen pipe boil and cause the pipe to explode. All open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.

  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
  • DO NOT use any electrical appliances or stand in any water due to possible electrocution hazards.

Steps on How to Thaw Frozen Water Pipes

Check to make sure the frozen pipe hasn’t cracked.

When water freezes into ice it expands, so if the water in the pipe is frozen solid it may have expanded enough to actually crack the pipe (in which case you’ll need to repair the pipe). However, in many cases a water pipe isn’t cracked; it’s just blocked

Once you’ve determined the pipe hasn’t split, turn off the water leading to the pipe. In older homes this likely means you’ll need to shut off the main water supply coming into your home, while in newer homes intermediate water shut off valves may have been installed, allowing you to isolate the frozen pipe.

Open all of the faucets connected to the frozen pipe to get rid of the cold water in the pipe, minimize pressure and allow the ice/water to flow out of the pipe once it’s thawed.

Thaw your pipe by using one of the following methods (depending on what you have available and how easy or difficult it is to get to the pipe).

  • Wrap the pipe with bath towels or cloths and pour hot water (from the kettle) over the towels. This will apply warmth to a section of the pipe and thaw the ice.

  • Use a handheld hair dryer to blow warm air onto the frozen section.
  • Prop a small space heater close to the frozen pipe and leave it for an hour
  • Wrap the frozen pipe with electric pipe heating tape (available at home stores).

Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing. Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.

Add insulation added to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.

How to Thaw Frozen Drain Pipes

All the above methods for thawing a frozen water pipe will work for thawing a frozen drainpipe, except for the torches-you DON’T want to use a torch on a PVC or ABS plastic pipe. Plus, here’s a couple of other ways you could thaw a frozen drainpipe.

Pour hot/boiling water down the drain and let it melt the ice.

Snake a piece of rubber tubing down the drain until it hits the ice. Attach the end of the tube that’s in your hand to the spout of a boiling kettle of water. The steam from the kettle will travel down the pipe and melt the blockage.

For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.

Information provided by the American Red Cross and


Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau


Cranes, Rigging and Personnel Lifting Rule

Effective as of February 1st 2012 (2 weeks ago now), the new crane rule went into effect.

In the wake of several crane accidents and fatalities, not to mention the cost of damages, OSHA has put together a new rule for crane inspection, maintenance and operation. If you haven’t been aware of this new rule, don’t panic yet. While it went into effect at the beginning of the month, you’ve got until July 31st, 2012 to comply.

To get a handle on the new rule as well as to get training, sample Accident Prevention Plans (APP) and a whole lot more, you can check out the resources available on the Department of Labor and Industries website under the construction crane resources section.