Having an AED Isn’t Enough!

A good number of AED (Automated External Defibrillators) that inspect in the workplace might not work in case of emergency. It’s great to have an AED in the workplace but unless someone is maintaining and inspecting it on a regular basis, it might not actually work when you need it.

Zoll-AED

You need to assign someone to inspect that AED at least  once a month. Set up a calendar reminder on their computer so that they don’t forget.

Here is the AED inspection checklist:

  1. First thing to check is the battery. Most defibrillator have two batteries. One is the battery that actually powers the AED when you use it, administrating the shock. Most AED batteries have a 4-5 year life (check with your manufacturer) and should be replaced after that period regardless of whether or not it has ever been used. There should be an expiration date stamped on the battery. The other is usually a small 9 volt battery that your AED uses to do regular self-testing. There should be a small light that blinks on your AED letting you know if this battery needs to be replaced or not. Green means it’s still good, orange or red means it needs to be replaced.
  2. Second thing to check are the pads. AED pads have a 2-year expiration date. Again the date should be stamped on the package that the pads come in.
  3. Third is a quick visual inspection to make sure that there are no frayed wires, disconnected leads or obvious damage that might hinder the AED from working when needed.
  4. Finally, the accessories should also be checked and replaced as needed. Disposable gloves, for example, deteriorate rather rapidly and should be replaced every six months or so. Check also to make sure that the scissors, CPR barrier, etc… are all still there and replace as needed.

While it’s great that so many companies are finally getting the message and purchasing an AED for the workplace, it’s also important to put together an inspection schedule to make sure that AED can do what it was purchased to do if the time ever comes.

Need an AED? Check out the Zoll AED.


Fall is the Time to do a Safety Check on your Vehicle

A little maintenance on your car now can make a huge difference when that first cold spell or snow storm hits. It can also save you a lot of money.

Here are some things you need to check and take care of it repairs and maintenance is needed:

  1. Check the brakes
    You should inspect your brakes at least once a year; more often if you tend to hit the brake pedal a lot and hard. Some of the warnings signs you need to pay attention to are mushy pedal feel, squeaking noises when you push on the brake pedal,  brake warning light coming on and the car pulling to one side when you apply the brakes.
  2. Check the Tires
    Worn tires aren’t going to give you the traction you need on ice or snow. Make sure that the tread on the tire is good enough by putting a penny in the groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire. Check for uneven wear and get an alignment if necessary. Check the tire pressure regularly and get your tires rotated every 6,000 miles to save your shock absorbers.
  3. Check the Windshield Wipers
    You’ll know when your windshield wipers need to be replaced because of the streaks on your window or when an inspection shows cracks or tears. Also make sure you check your windshield fluid regularly. Use only washer fluid as water will freeze in cold weather and be useless.
  4. Check the Battery
    That first cold morning isn’t a good time to find out that your battery needs to be replaced.  Check the battery terminals, they should be clean and free of corrosion
  5. Check the Headlights
    There has been a lot of debate about when you should turn your headlights on but studies have shown that your vehicle is more visible, even during the day, when your lights are on so make it a rule to turn them on when you start the car regardless of the weather. Also make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Incorrectly aimed headlights not only create blind spots for you, as the driver but can also blind other drivers.

All of these checks take very little time but they can save you a lot of time and money later. Regular maintenance can save you from having to pay for costly repairs down the line and also keep you and your loved ones safe throughout the winter.


Garage Door Safety

I was going to start this post with a quiz asking what the largest moving object in your home is but seeing the title of this post I’m guessing few of you wouldn’t be able to figure it out.

Before 1993, however, when congress passed a law that required all garage door openers to have a sensor to keep the door from closing when it detected anything in the way, many children (not to mention pets) ended up getting injured and killed, crushed by garage doors.

As great as this legislation was, it is still necessary to make sure that it is functioning correctly in order to avoid the same kind of accident today. Here are a few safety tips concerning your garage door:

1. Keep all moving parts like the rollers, hinges and wheels oiled. Your garage door should open and close smoothly.

2. Check all screws and bolts periodically to make sure they are tightened. Screws can slowly work loose and cause the track to work away from the ceiling or wall. Screws that aren’t tightened can also obstruct the wheels and hinges causing damage to your garage door opener and/or to the garage door itself.

3. Make sure that your garage door is adjusted well so that the balance is correct. Houses can settle over time, shifting slightly; humidity and temperature can also affect the door and the frame. To check the balance, release the mechanism and lift the garage door manually. It should lift fairly easily and the opening should be even across the bottom. The door should not start to close when you left go of it.

4. Check your sensor by holding your hand in front of it and trying to close the door with the remote. The door should not move.

5. Put an object that’s about 1 1/2″ tall on the ground at the point where the door impacts the floor. Again, try to close the door. It should reverse as soon as it makes contact with the object.

If any problem is detected, fix it or call your local garage door company for maintenance and repair.


Generator Maintenace and Safety Tips

With winter on the way, and already here in some places, many of us who live in more rural settings rely on a generator for emergency power. Three years ago we were without power for almost a full week. At the time we didn’t have a generator. Fortunately we have a wood stove for heating the house, cooking and heating water to wash up with. The biggest concern for us is always the food in the fridge and the freezer. At the time of our week long blackout we were fortunate to have temperatures running below freezing so keeping food frozen or cool wasn’t the problem. That week was a wake up call for us however. Since them we got a freezer that we fill up with grass fed beef and fresh caught salmon so a power outage for any length of time with temperatures above freezing would result in a lot of spoiled meat that we couldn’t readily replace. We went out and got a generator and with it a whole new set of headaches because unfortunately a generator isn’t something that you just place somewhere, forget about and start up when you need it. There are a few things that you need to know about maintaining and running a generator safely.

1. Pay attention to the wattage. Start by ignoring the top number; it means nothing of any value to you. What you want to look at isn’t the “starting Wattage” but the “running wattage”. Add up all the items that you want to run at the same time and make sure that they don’t exceed that number.

2. Make sure that it is far enough away from the house and located in such a manner that exhaust isn’t going to blow back into the house. Way too many people die each year from CO poisoning. At the same time it needs to be close enough that you aren’t running extension cords that exceed 100′.

3. Make sure that the cord you are using is rating for the power you need it to handle.

4. Bolt your generator into a concrete pad or use a good chain to anchor it solidly. Generators are worth a lot and, because they are stored outdoors, they tend to sprout legs and walk away. It isn’t very fun to spend $800.00 over more on a generator and found it has vanished when you need to use it.

5. Old gas is your generators’ worst enemy. It is best to drain your generator once it is no longer needed and refill it when it is needed. Additionally make sure you use gas additives to keep the gasoline from breaking down and giving you problems.

6. Start your generator every 3 months and run it for 20 minutes. This habit will keep the generator in good working order.

7. Plug the fridge and freezer in only intermittently. These appliances tend to be the biggest drain on your generator and don’t need to be run continuously. Most freezers can keep food frozen for almost 24 hrs so you only need to plug them into the generator long enough to make sure that everything is well frozen and then unplug then and use the available power for lights and heat instead of running the fridge and freezer continuously and having little to no power for anything else.

8. Make sure that you let the generator cool down completely before you refill it with gasoline. Don’t risk a fire by trying to refill it when it is still hot. Trust me, you’re going to spill some gas refilling it and if the engine is still hot you run a big risk of igniting the gas.

9. Stock up on gas additive, motor oil and filters. Anticipate long power outages and stock up accordingly. It’s better to have more than you need than not have what you need and not be able to run the generator in an extended emergency.

10. Store the gasoline safely. First of all, look up regulations for your area to find out how much gasoline you’re allowed to store in your home or attached structure. Secondly understand the dynamics of pouring gasoline and get several small containers that you will easily be able to lift and pour and get a larger container with a spigot to refill the smaller one. Don’t even try to put the 10 gallon container, you’re just asking for a heap of trouble.

11. Be aware that running out of gas with power cords still plugged in can actually drain the generator and render it useless at generating power, especially the cheaper generators. It will run but it won’t actually be generating power because the magnetic coil of the generator has been drained. You’ll need to take it in and get it “recharged” because it can be used again. So make sure that you unplug the cords before you turn it off and/or before it runs out of gas.

A few steps in maintenance and safety can help make your generator something that saves you a lot of headaches when the power goes out instead of actually being one of the headaches.


Tire Safety Awareness and Tips

Put tires at top of car safe driving list

With winter fully upon us, it’s already a little late to get our vehicles ready for the rough weather and conditions ahead. Getting this accomplished before you need it is the way to go.

Some people call this winterizing and remember about anti-freeze, wiper fluid, water-grabbing gas additives and wiper blades.

While some climates aren’t as severe during the winter, these are all good things to take care of no matter where you call home, and at the top of the list is tires.
Tires


Most of us use all-season tires, so all we need to do is check the condition, age and pressure. The condition is the hard part … tread depth, road damage and sidewall cracks are some of the easy things to miss. Damage can be hard to find, so spend some time looking closely.

Don’t tolerate sidewall cracks. Sometimes called “dry rot,” and these deterioration patterns suggest the rubber is nearing the end of its lifespan. Trying to stretch this can leave you stranded or much worse, so you should have a professional inspect them. They know from experience there’s just no way to predict failure when these cracks start appearing.

If your tires are more than 5 years old, it’s time to think about replacing them. Every tire has a “birthday” stamped on the side, and the Department of Transportation requires tire manufacturers to follow a standard marking scheme. Of course, the tire’s birthday is in code. The “magic decoder ring,” which displays a tire’s birthday, is available on the DOT website.

The “US DOT Tire Identification Number” is stamped on the sidewall near the rim. On some tires, it’s hidden on the axle side, more commonly on raised white lettered tires. You might have to scoot around under the car a bit to find it. Once you find the code, it contains the tire’s birthday. The last four-digits of the DOT number reveal the week and year the tire came out of the factory, so 2809 would be the 28th week of 2009.

Tread depth is easy to remember and all you have to do is use a penny. Turn it upside down and if you can see the top of Lincolns head, YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TREAD!

 

Pressure
The only tire pressure you need to know is the one printed on the vehicle data plate. Most of these are on the driver’s side door jam. It displays the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, as their judgment of the best compromise between traction, handling, noise, wear, etc. They tune the suspension components around this number and have carefully determined how the tread contacts the road, called the contact patch, at that pressure. Any deviation makes you the test pilot.

The factory recommended pressure is a “cold” pressure. The engineers know the pressure will rise with heat, and if you are using the same size and brand the car was born with, no worries. But if you change the tires, you need to make sure the maximum allowable pressure for that tire (also printed on the tire sidewall) gives you some headroom as the tire heats up.

The only way to know how much margin you have is to stop and take a reading on a hot day after some time at highway speeds.

 

Temperature
That temperature sensitivity (about one psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit) means you have to adjust the tire pressure as the seasons change, typically in fall and spring. Now that summer is behind us, many people are probably seeing some tire-pressure warning lights if their vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system.

If you filled your tires when it was 95 degrees outside last July, when the temps dip into the 30s, you could be almost 10 psi low. It’s best to check first thing in the morning, and in the shade. That will give you a true “cold” reading.

 

Extra pressure
With gas prices still on the rise, there’s a temptation to “add a little extra” with thoughts of decreasing rolling resistance and increasing gas mileage. The extra air consumes your margin, and causes the contact patch to change shape. It mucks with the handling, wet traction and braking effectiveness, plus it makes the center of the tires wear out faster than the edges.

 

Nitrogen
There are tons of misinformation on the claimed benefits of using nitrogen in vehicle tires. It would take pages to dispute all the rhetoric out there on this subject, so look at the big ones. First, remember that air is around 80 percent nitrogen to begin with, so we aren’t talking huge differences to start out with.

There are claims that nitrogen is a good deal because it leaks out more slowly (backed up by pointing out nitrogen’s slightly larger molecular size). A consumer magazine took on this myth and found out it’s actually true, but on the order of one or two psi a year. Since you have to adjust your tire pressure at least twice a year anyway, that difference isn’t going to save you a trip to the air pump.

spare tire serves as a backup in case your car has a flat. Vehicles typically carry a spare tire mounted on a rim, to be used in the event of flat tire or flat tire. Many spare tires for modern cars are smaller than normal tires to save on trunk space, gas mileage, weight and cost and should not be driven far before replacement with a full-size tire. Jacks and for emergency replacement of a flat tire with a spare tire are included with a new car. Hand or foot pumps for filling a tire with air are available. Cans of pressurized “gas” can be bought separately for a convenient emergency refill.

Spare Tires

Spare tires come in a variety of sizes and versions. Many cars are equipped with temporary spare tires and wheels, which are noticeably different from regular tires and wheels. Some require higher inflation pressure, or the use of a pressurized canister to inflate the tire. The only type of spare tire that can be used without such restrictions is a conventional, full-sized spare that is the same as the other tires on the vehicle.

 

The Folding Spare- must be inflated with an air canister prior to mounting.
The Compact Spare- smaller and narrower than the other wheels on the vehicle.
The Lightweight Spare- the same diameter as the other tires on the vehicle but thinner.

These tires are:

  • labeled “temporary” spares because of their weight-saving construction.
  • are intended for emergency use only and not for sustained or high speed driving.
  • not to exceed 50 mph nor to travel further than 50 miles.

Maintenance Tips and Suggestions

Tire Air Pressure –Check the air pressure in your spare tire whenever you check tire pressure to be sure your spare is in top condition in the event of a flat tire.

Know How to Change Your Tire – Become familiar with the equipment needed for changing a tire and be sure essential tire-changing tools are in good repair and where they should be. Practice changing a tire. Always check your owner’s manual and the tire sidewall for instructions on proper use of a temporary spare.

  • Locate the jack, handle and lug wrench.
  • Know where the jack contacts the vehicle when raising it.
  • Locate the key for wheel locks.
  • Know how to access the spare tire.

A functional spare that is in good condition is a comfort. By avoiding the following pitfalls, you can be assured that your spare tire is in good form.

  • Under inflation – If your spare is low, it may shred on the way home or to the service facility. The distance you can travel before this happens is directly related to the tire’s inflation level. Check the pressure of the spare, as well as the other four tires every month.
  • Dry Rotting – Tires deteriorate with age. Tires do have a shelf life. After a period of time, they may begin to develop small cracks in the sidewall.
  • Inaccessibility – The leading reason spare tires fall victim to under inflation and dry rotting is inaccessibility. Clear out the trunk and check the spare or take your car to a shop and let an auto tech check your spare.

Spare Tire Safety

  • Most space saving spares are limited to 50 miles and 50 m.p.h. Replace a temporary spare with a full-size tire as soon as possible.
  • Keep your compact spare and its wheel together and do not use them on another car.
  • Do not use tire chains on a space saving spare. They won’t fit and will damage the car as well as the chains.
  • Do not drive through a car wash that pulls the car along guide rails with a spare on your car. The spare can get caught on the rail and damage the tire, wheel and very possibly other parts of your car.

The bottom line is keeping up with the tire pressure is probably the single most important user-safety and gas-savings task you can accomplish, and it does take some intervention as the seasons change. However, this is not the place to get creative. Follow the factory numbers, check it often and stay safe.

Information provided by NHTSA and NSC.

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

koswald@plateautel.com


Tips for Proper Breathing when Wearing a Respirator

A respirator has only one basic function, namely to protect you against the “bad stuff” in the air around you, whatever that “bad stuff” might be. It can, however, fail unless certain steps and precautions are taken. A respirator that isn’t working properly can actually provide a false sense of security that can lead to more damage than no respirator at all. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are getting the proper usage from your respirator.

  1. Make sure that you are using the correct cartridge with the correct NIOSH designation.
  2. Make sure that your cartridges are being changed out regularly, based on a change out schedule (A change out schedule is based on the levels of contaminants in the air and lets you know when the cartridge will start to lose its effectiveness because it’ll start getting clogged).
  3. Make sure that the area you are working in is properly ventilated to eliminate as many of the contaminants as possible.
  4. Understand when the respirator needs to be worn. Anytime you might be exposed, you need to wear it. Think, for example about the time, prior to actually spraying finishes and paints. During stirring and mixing, vapors and fumes may still be present.
  5. Make sure you do a positive and negative pressure check fit each and every time you put on the respirator. Just because it passed last time doesn’t mean it’ll pass this time; you may have not quite seated it the same way.
  6. Make sure that you inspect your respirator for damages, rips and tears each and every time you put it on. Even tiny rips and pin holes can allow contaminants to bypass the cartridge, entering your system.
  7. Make sure that facial hair isn’t interfering with the seal. Any and all facial hair that falls along the seal line needs to be shaven.
  8. Make sure that you know the limitations of your respirator. A respirator is only one part of the total protection package. Many substances can be absorbed through the skin as well. Make sure you cover up properly to keep skin absorption from happening.
  9. Always keep your respirator in its bag when it’s not in use. This includes breaks and lunches.
  10. Clean you respirator regularly to remove contaminants. It isn’t a whole lot of good to have a dirty respirator sitting in a bag. All you’re doing is trapping the contaminants in the bag with the respirator.

People often mistakenly think that it is their lungs that they are protecting by wearing a respirator. Many of the contaminants you are protecting will not show up as respiratory problems. The lungs are often only the gateway to the rest of your body, including your kidneys, your liver and many other internal organs (hence the need to “total protection as mentioned in point #8 above). Proper protection is your first line of defense; understanding how to maximize it’s efficacy is crucial.


Tips for electrical system maintenance and upkeep

Most of us only think about our electrical system when it shorts or blows. By then, it’s usually something that requires an electrician and is going to cost us. Whether we are talking about your home or your place of business, there are some simple things that you can do to make sure you don’t have to call the electrician, or worse, end up with an electrical fire.

  1. Use surge protectors on all computers, televisions, sound systems and other electronics. A surge protector is cheap, especially when compared to the cost of replacing your HDTV because a power surge fried it. And don’t forget to use a surge protector on your laptop too when you plug it in.
  2. Don’t overload any one circuit. Be aware of how much power your appliances and electronics need and make sure to spread the demand around to avoid overloading.
  3. Avoid leaving unused electronics plugged in when not in use for an extended period of time. Even if they are turned off, they are using power. Don’t leave your cell phone and laptop charger plugged in when not in use (even when they aren’t charging they are sucking power).
  4. Make sure that all your appliances are in good working order. Old and damaged appliances and furnaces use more power then appliances and heating systems that are new and/or well maintained. Change the filter in your central air and/of furnace at least every 90 days when in use. Clogged filters overwork and overheat the furnace and central air. While you’re at it, check the dryer vent to make sure it isn’t clogged as well.
  5. Any time you are doing any kind of electrical work, make sure that your electrical panel is locked out to avoid having someone accidentally flip the circuit back on. There are a wide variety of electrical lockout products available to keep you from being accidentally electrocuted while you are working.
  6. Keep up with all product recalls. The Consumer Product Safety Commission website is consistently kept up to date. A few minutes a month could save you’re a world of grief. Other websites to check out include www.saferproducts.gov and http://www.recalls.gov/
  7. Know your limitations. Electricity can kill so be honest with yourself and know when to call in a licensed electrician. No all projects are do-it-yourself ones. Some are best left to professionals.

Respirator Maintenance

The purpose of a respirator is to protect you from harmful contaminants. The much we all seem to understand. Where the communication breaks down, however, is usually in the area of keeping the respirator clean. A dirty respirator, especially one that is dirty on the inside, while on some level protecting you from harmful vapors, particulates and gases, is also contaminating you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a workplace and seen a respirator sitting on top of a tool chest or on a table in a contaminated area, face up, while the wearer is at lunch or on a break. That same wearer is going to come back from that break and stick what has essentially become a cup of contaminants to his face and inhale the contents for the next couple of hours until he takes his respirator off again.

Some others wearers are a little more savvy then this and know not to do this. They make sure that the respirator is not getting contaminated on inside. In fact, they make sure to put the mask in a sealed bag or container whenever they aren’t using it. Unless, however, they have properly cleaned the respirator, they are sealing it in a bag with all the contaminants that were clinging to the exterior and to the filter. During the break or during the 12 hours between shifts, those particles, gases and fumes aren’t necessarily behaving themselves by staying exactly where they are; they are moving around in the bag and slowly contaminating the inside of the mask.

If you are wearing a respirator, it is vital that you understand respirator maintenance, cleaning and disinfecting.

First, start out by reading and familiarizing yourself with “The Basics of Respiratory Protection“, include a section on maintenance and cleaning (there is a good one at http://www.trustcrm.com/ectny/respiratory_advisor/oshafiles/maintenanceandcare1.html#Appendix%20B-2).

Next make sure you have what you need to properly clean the respirator. Respirator Cleaning Kits can be purchased that include everything you need to make sure that your respirator continues to protect you rather than becoming one of the culprits.