Beware of Giant Hogweed

It looks like a giant Queen Anne’s lace but it’s nothing like it. While Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) can be somewhat life sustaining (it’s actually a wild carrot as it’s Latin name implies), Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is extremely toxic.

The sap of giant hogweed causes phytophotodermatitis in humans, resulting in blisters, long-lasting scars, and—if it comes in contact with eyes—blindness.” (Source: wikipedia).

The sap is actually photosensitive meaning that it reacts to sunlight and causes the burning in reaction to ultraviolet rays.

Additionally the sap of giant hogweed can cause permanent scaring.




If you think you’ve been exposed to the sap of a giant hogweed, wash the area thoroughly with COLD water and keep it out of the sun for at least 48 hours.If you get the sap in your eyes wash the eyes out thoroughly and keep any remaining sap from activating by wearing sunglasses outside.

Find out more about treating exposure to the Giant Hogweed sap here).

Giant Hogweed has emigrated from Canadian and has been reported in several states in the US (I know we have it here in WA because a friend of mine found a giant beautiful plant in his yard that he couldn’t identify. A Facebook post identified it and he was able to get rid of it before it had done any damage, fortunately).

Hold the Mustard (Infographic)

OSHA has received some 28 complaints from 19 different cities from McDonald’s workers who allege they have suffered severe burns on the job. They claim that hot oil combined with a pressure to move fast (too fast, they claim) create an environment ripe for burns. Add to this the fact that oil gets spilled on the floor  and you can see where burn injuries might be high.

One-third (33%) of all burn victims say that their manager suggested wholly inappropriate treatments for burns, including condiments such as mustard, mayonnaise, butter, or ketchup, instead of burn cream.” – Hart Research Associates


Hair Straighteners and Burns

Hair Straighteners, which can reach temperatures over 400 degrees, are responsible for an alarming number of burns in children. According to an article in the Mirror, one hospital in England reported 110 burns treated on children in the past 5 years while another reported 155.

That’s a lot of burns on children, frighteningly, many of whom are under 2 years of age.

Children are at a lot greater risk when it comes to burns because “their skin is up to 15 times thinner than adults.” Some of these children required plastic surgery and skin grafts.

Injuries are caused when children grab the straightener or when it falls off the counter on them.

Parents need to be aware of the fact that these straighteners look like toys to small children. Additionally, parents need to realize that straighteners can take over 15 minutes to cool down enough not to cause serious burns.

Teach your kids about Gasoline Fires to protect them

If he could, teenager Austin Bailiff would talk to every kid in the world about gas and fire. He knows what it’s like to think, “It can’t happen to me.” And he lives every day with the terrible reality that it can.

Share Austin’s videos with your kid. Sometimes, hearing stuff from other kids is more powerful than hearing it from us. That’s Austin’s hope. That’s why he tells his story.

Watch these videos with your kids. It just might save their life or keep them from a lifetime of pain from burns

gas-fires1 gas-fires2

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.

Holiday Kitchen Safety Quiz

With the holidays in full swing, you’re probably spending more and more time in the kitchen what with baking and cooking for friends and family as well as for the special meals.

Here’s a quiz to help you make sure that your kitchen is safe, both for you as well as for your kids and guests:

  • Look at your stove… Are the back burners being used first? Are the handles turned to keep the pots from being knocked over?
  • Are the cords for the appliances you are using kept short? Are any of the cords hanging over the edge of the counter?
  • Is the garbage can safely stowed away behind a cabinet door?
  • Do your drawers and cabinets have safety locks on them?
  • Do you have a kitchen fire extinguisher? Is it easy to get to?
  • Are your smoke detectors in or near the kitchen? Are they working?
  • Are your knives properly stored and/put away? Are they out of reach of children?
  • Are your cleaning supplies and chemicals stored away behind a locked cabinet door?
  • Are your medications similarly stored away out of reach of children?
  • Are all flammable items (paper towels, dishtowels, plastic bags… ) at least three feet away from the range top?
  • Are you using a tablecloth with small children present (small children can pull on the tablecloth and pull everything including hot food, down on themselves)?
  • Are all your kitchen outlets GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets?

Keep your kitchen safe this holiday season. Oh… and if you need someone to taste test your cookies and candy you can send them over to us at National Safety. We’ll let you know how good they are.

The Unique Safety Challenges of Concrete Manufacturing

With a quarter of a million workers in the USA involved in the manufacturing of concrete as well as everyone else who uses concrete, the unique health and safety challenges of concrete remain a very real problem.

The hazards are many and varied:

  1. Cement Dust
    Cement dust is something that can cause its own set of health problems. It can cause irritation to the eyes, the throat, the nose and the lungs. It can also cause skin damage, from mild irritation to several cracking and burns. Additionally Silica exposure has been linked to silicosis and lung cancer.
    Steps to be taken to protect against cement dust:
    a. Protect skin, respiratory tract and eyes from exposure to cement dust. Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment like tyvek and tychem, gloves, cement workers boots and goggles.
    b. If you come in contact with cement dust wash it off as soon as possible with soap and water. Rinse the eyes if cement dust gets in them and contact your doctor as soon as possible to avoid long-term damage to the eyes.

    c. Use a P95 or N95 dust mask or respirator to protect the lungs.
    d. Do not consume food or drink in areas that have been exposed to cement dust.

  2. Wet Concrete
    Wet concrete can cause severe burns to the skin.
    a. Again, make sure that you are wearing the right PPE to protect against concrete burns. tyvek and tychem, gloves, cement workers boots and goggles should always been worn when working with wet concrete.
    b. Apply a neutralizing agent like Neutralite to change the pH balance of the wet concrete and protect against burns when wet cement has contacted the skin.
    c. If wet concrete comes into contact with the eyes, rinse eyes for 15 minutes and get to a hospital immediately.
  3. Other Hazards
    Guards to protect against the cement mixing machinery
    b. Cement trucks
    c. Other construction related safety issues (most concrete is used in construction) such as fall protection, ergonomic issues, hearing protection issues, lockout/tagout, etc…

For more information and documentation relating to concrete and cement health and safety issues, check out the OSHA “Concrete Manufacturing” webpage.

The Basics of Welding Safety (Part 3)


Welding is hot work! Temperatures can reach 10,000 degrees F. To make matter worse, flux, metal particles and other super heated “bits” can be skipping or flying around as a result of the welding process. This means, of course, that the danger of burns and fires increases dramatically.

Certain precautions therefore have to be taken in order to avoid burns. Bare skin is, of course, not recommended. Flame retardant and fire resistant clothing is necessary. In addition, a certain number of other issues have to be taken into consideration:

  • No pockets – With flying super heated debris flying around, pockets are a hazard. Hot pieces can land inside a pocket and burn without being able to fall away.
  • Buttoned up collars – Keeping flying debris out of the neck line is essential
  • Shirts outside of the pants – Tucking the shirts inside the pants creates the same type of issue that pockets do. Shirts outside of the pants allow the hot particles to fall away rather than simmering.
  • Pants without cuffs – Cuffs end up essentially being the same thing as pockets.
  • Flammable and combustible material needs to be far from the welding area. Sparks and debris can be projected up to 35 feet or more.
  • The rules above about clothing apply to co-workers and others who might be in the immediate vicinity
  • Know the location of the fire extinguishers before you start working. Once a fire is blazing, it’s too late to go looking for it. Be prepared.

Heat issues

When dealing with temperatures that can reach 10,000 degrees, and complete skin coverage, especially with FR clothing, we are automatically talking about the possibility of heat stress. Understand the symptoms and treatment of heat related health issues and take the appropriate measures. Make sure that you take frequent breaks away from the heat and stay hydrated at all times.


If burns do occur, follow the proper burn treatment procedures. Water Jel is a great product for treating minor burns. Keep first aid burn products close by and know where they are.

Safely handling Cement

Cement and concrete are an inescapable element of modern life. From the basic foundations to whole buildings, to sidewalks and streets, concrete is everywhere and the amount is increasing daily. Cement, however, can be a health hazard. Between 5% to 10% of construction workers may have cement sensitivity and, even the rest of the workers are still at risk on a number of levels. Being aware of the hazards is important in order to handle it correctly and avoid injury.

What are the hazards?

  1. Dermatitis and Burning from skin contact
    1. Dermatitis is a rash or irritation that results when a worker who has an allergy or sensitivity comes in contact with cement. The skin will itch and get irritated and sore. It will look red, cracked and/or scabby. Even those without an allergy to cement can develop irritant dermatitis which is a chaffing or irritation of the skin that is simply due to the basic nature of cement. Allergic dermatitis is an allergic reaction to the hexavalent chromium in cement. Allergic dermatitis can develop over time, much like a latex allergy. The more a worker is exposed to cement the more likely he or she is to developing an allergy.
    2. Cement burns result because of the alkaline content in wet cement. Prolonged exposure to wet cement can result in serious burns and ulcers. Untreated burns can get worse and worse and eventually get bad enough to require skin grafts. Seek medical attention right away.
  2. Inhalation of cement dust
    When handling and pouring cement, the fine dust can be a hazard to the lungs. A dust mask should be used. When grinding concrete, workers might want to step up to a half-mask in order to provide a higher level of protection from the silica.

  3. Ergonomic and physical Issues related to working with cement
    Cement bags can be heavy, pouring concrete can be back breaking work and because of this it is important to know your limitations and to stretch before starting work.

Precautions to be taken when handling cement:

  1. Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (Gloves, protective clothing, boots, gloves and eye protection)
  2. In the event of contact with the skin, wash the area immediately
  3. Do not leave wet cement on clothing, no matter how much you think your clothing is waterproof.
  4. Use adequate protection when kneeling in concrete (kneepads or kneeboards)
  5. Use Neutralite Solution for concrete burn to neutralize the Alkaline properties of cement and restore the pH balance.

How to wash contaminated clothing:

  • Wash any and all contaminated clothing separately. DO NOT MIX WITH OTHER CLOTHING.
  • Wash clothing as soon as possible.
  • Wash in hot water for the longest normal wash cycle.
  • Use 1.5 the normal amount of detergent
  • Wear gloves when handling contaminated clothing in order to avoid skin contact
  • Run an empty cycle with hot water and detergent after wash contaminated clothing in order to decontaminate the washing machine