If your backup is your primary than you don’t have a backup

My wife and I had this discussion last night because she’s slowly gotten into the habit of leaving her curling iron on, trusting in the backup safety feature that turns it off after a certain amount of time, rather than unplugging it. I told her that she shouldn’t make the backup safety feature her primary way of making sure that the iron wasn’t left on all day. If the backup safety feature should fail the iron would end up on all day and might potentially start a fire.

I did get her permission to talk about this from her and, to her credit, she agreed and said she’d try to make sure she unplugged the iron from now on (time will tell if she actually does because habits are really hard to break).

It did get me thinking about this truth however, especially as it applies to safety in the workplace. If you make you backup your primary you don’t have a backup and you defeat the purpose of the backup, putting yourself at risk.

This can apply to almost any area of safety. Let’s take the example of confined space. Confined Space entry requires that anyone going into the confined space have a primary and a secondary means of entry. In most instances, the ladder that is mounted on the inside of the well is the primary and the line that is attached to the D-ring on your body harness is the secondary. If something happens and you slip off the ladder or aren’t able to physically climb the ladder, someone else outside the well can hoist you out. If, however, you use the hoist that is intended as your backup as you primary means of entry and/or egress, you’ve now made your backup your primary and you have no backup. if something goes wrong (say the line breaks or fails somehow) the worker plummets to the ground; trust me, he isn’t going to be able to suddenly grab onto the ladder.

Another example, in everyday life, is the seat belt and the airbag. You don’t ignore the seat belt just because your car is equipped with airbags, nor to you deactivate the airbags because you’ve got seat belts. Both are necessary.

There are many more examples of safety areas that have redundancy built into them in order to make sure that a worker isn’t just protected, but protected even if something goes wrong. Redundancy is important, especially in areas where lives are at risk. They might be inconvenient at times but they are designed the way they are for maximum protection. Don’t eliminate your primary in favor of the backup or you no longer have a backup.


Powerpoints for Safety Training

Slideshare.net is a file sharing website for powerpoint presentations. I have, over the years, uploaded several powerpoints to this website and they are available to you free of charge.

Simply download them and use them as you need.

After seeing a report that almost 100,000 people had viewed these presentations and over 1,000 had downloaded them, I realized that I had probably never mentioned them here on this blog so, to make up for that, here the links for you to have a look and download if you feel that they might be of use to you.

Understanding the dangers of “Dry” and “Delayed” Drowning

Most of us understand the dangers of drowning. We make sure that our children are watched when they are swimming, make sure they learn to swim, protect infants from accidentally falling into pools and buckets of water, etc… What many of us don’t know is that there are two other forms of drowning that you need to protect against, namely “Delayed drowning” and “Dry drowning”.

The tragic death of a 10-year old boy in Goose Creek, South Carolina brought this into focus back in 2008. Unfortunately, the boys’ death was mistakenly called “dry drowning” instead of what it actually was, “delayed drowning”.

What is “delayed drowning”?

Delayed drowning occurs when water gets into the lungs. Even though the victim may appear fine for a while, the water in the lungs impedes lung function and essentially “drowns” the victim, usually within a couple of hours.

What is “dry drowning”?

Dry drowning, in contrast, occurs without the presence of water in the lungs. It is somewhat unclear how dry drowning occurs but it occurs in water, not hours later, as in the case of “delayed drowning”. It is believed that dry drowning can occur in one of two ways:

1. The shock of the cold water may cause the heart to stop. In this instance, the victim never inhales water into the lungs; he or she stops breathing because death has occurred so no water enters the lungs.
2. A sudden rush of water into the throat causes the air ways to shut to keep the water out of the lungs. Because the air way is shut, however, air can’t get in either and the victim asphyxiates.

However dry drowning occurs, it occurs in much the same situation as regular drowning so that many cases of dry drowning look like regular drowning.

Delayed drowning, however, is very different and not nearly as common. Another instance of delayed drowning in 2012 has media calling it “extremely rare”. Death, in these cases can happen anytime after inhaling the water for up to 48 hours. It is therefore extremely important to know what to look for and pay close attention to signs that may point to a problem.

Symptoms of potential delayed drowning:

1. Sudden weariness or tiredness.

2. disorientation or confusion

3. Unusual behavior

4. Coughing and/or difficulty breathing

5. Heaviness in the chest

The first 3 of these symptoms come from oxygen deprivation. Because the brain isn’t being supplied with the necessary oxygen, it gets tired, drowsy, confused, erratic or disorientated. The fourth and fifth symptoms are just a physical reaction to having water in the lungs.

The purpose of this post isn’t to have parents panic every time that a child coughs when he or she is in the pool. It’s pretty hard to spend a day at the beach or the pool without at least one episode of coughing. The important thing to remember is that the coughing is the child’s protective system doing what it is supposed to do; the lungs are expelling anything that isn’t supposed to be there and it works well.

If, however, the coughing is more severe and won’t stop or if there was a near drowning episode, it is advisable to take your child (or the adult) to the hospital to have him or her checked out properly. Make sure the attending physician understands the concern you may have concerning delayed drowning and have the person in question properly checked out. If there is water in the lungs they will be able to take care of the problem.

Best Award

Over the years we’ve won various awards recognizing different achievements but there is no better award than the recognition that we receive from our customers. This was brought to us by one of our customers today. He told us that we were a pleasure to do business with and  that we’ve always been there to help him out when he needed us. He handed us this:


Thanks Mr. Lewis, it’s customers like you who make it all worthwhile!


Photo of 1936 Supplied Air Respirator


Oct. 15, 1936. Washington, D.C. “Protection against that dreaded disease Silicosis is assured underground workers with this new sand-blasting helmet developed by William P. Biggs, Safety Engineer of the Navy Department. Weighing only 43 ounces, the helmet has been tested for nearly a year in various naval stations throughout the country.” Harris & Ewing glass negative.

(taken from http://www.shorpy.com/node/15321)

National Safety Week 2- Employee Wellness

June 2013 National Safety Month Tips

Week 2: June 9-15

Employee Wellness: Tips for Healthy Living

With busy schedules and lifestyles, keeping the mind, body and soul healthy can be a major challenge. Moen, which manufactures kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets, showerheads and stainless steel sinks for residential and commercial applications and offers employees a comprehensive health and wellness program, offers these tips to help you and your employees live a happy, healthy, safe and balanced life:

1. Get Physical – Exercise not only helps you build muscle, lose weight and gain self-confidence, but it’s vital in maintaining a healthy heart. And, don’t think you need to spend hours at the gym to achieve a new physical you. From strength training and cardio workouts, to walking the dog or taking the stairs – anything that gets your heart pumping will benefit your health.

2. Stress is a Mess – Over time, stress can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, depression and even death. Wellness experts at Moen suggest that when you start seeing red, instead think blue – as in blueberries. Antioxidants found in the tasty fruit fight stress hormones. Also, don’t forget to breathe. Inhaling a deep breath for 5 seconds then exhaling for another 5 seconds can help clear your mind and enhance blood circulation.

3. LOL, Laugh Out Loud – Build your immune system through laughter! Health-increasing hormones like endorphins are released into your body when you laugh. Additionally, laughter works your abdominal muscles.

4. Eat Healthy – We know we should eat healthy, and with new online tools it’s a no-brainer. The new MyPyramid program (http://www.MyPyramid.gov), developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allows you to choose the ideal proportions or foods and food groups to eat according to your body size and structure

5. Get Plenty of Zzzzzz’s – Between work, family and extra activities, it’s sometimes difficult to get the necessary 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Be sure to avoid caffeine or exercise right before bed. Instead, try reading a book or mediating.

6. What’s Up, Doc? – Going to the doctor only when you’re sick isn’t going to cut it. For both your physical and mental well-being, it’s wise to have a routine annual physical examination. Especially if your family has a history of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, getting regular check-ups can help prevent or detect serious health issues.

7. Yoga-tta Do It – Yoga, an ancient practice of stretching and breathing techniques, has become a popular exercise for both men and women. In addition to releasing positive energy, yoga prevents injuries, promotes flexibility and can add relief to a stressful day. In fact, according to the book, Real Men Do Yoga, PGA golfer David Duval practices yoga every day. So, if it’s good enough for professionals, it may be an excellent addition to your weekly stress-relief routine.

8. The Right to Recreation – You schedule meetings and appointments each week, so why not schedule time for recreation? Be sure to set time each week for activities you enjoy. Whether it’s dinner with family and friends, or taking the phone off the hook and curling up with a good book, be sure to block out time on your calendar with activities that you enjoy and will rejuvenate you.

Safety First, Safety Always!

Information from National Safety Council, Environmental Health and Safety Today and ASSE

Napo’s Films – Free, Funny Safety Training videos

Have you met Napo yet? Napo is a computer animation who walks around doing stupid stuff and ends up getting himself in all kinds of trouble. He blows himself up, slips and falls and pretty much has every accident imaginable in order to help you train your workers concerning workplace safety.

Part of the reason that Napo is a great training resource is that Napo doesn’t actually speak any known language (he mumbles intelligible stuff throughout the clips) relying instead on actions and signs to communicate. This makes Napo great for training in workplaces where you have a number of non-english speaking workers.

Check out Napo’s Safety films.


The movies are available as a free download in Avi, Mp4, Ogv, WebM, or Wmv formats and there are a lot of them. Most are only a couple of minutes long but they do the job in communicating the hazard.