Next time you need to teach your employees about arc flash protection, head over to donniesaccident.com and download the video about Donnie’s arc flash accident. There are a couple of different ones to choose from but all of them speak volumes through images and testimonials about why anyone working with electricity needs to be wearing PPE.
Do you have a great idea that you believe would help reduce noise in the workplace? A great idea for a new type of ear muff? The Department of Labor wants to hear from you (no pun intended).
The Department of Labor has just issued a challenge: “Make a difference in preventing work-induced hearing loss by submitting your innovative solutions to challenge.gov by Sept. 20, 2016.
In their words:
“Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. Last year, U.S. businesses paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers. While it’s impossible to put a number on the human toll of hearing loss, an estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers’ compensation for hearing loss disability.
Hearing loss is pervasive. It is also preventable. Ways to prevent work-induced hearing loss include using quieter machines, isolating the noise source, minimizing worker exposure, or creating more effective protective equipment.
Design a new technology concept that overcomes barriers in work-induced hearing loss prevention. For example, you could:
Design technology that will enhance employer training so that wearing hearing protection becomes a habit.
Design a real-time detection system that will alert workers, wirelessly through their mobile devices, when hearing protection is not blocking enough noise to prevent hearing loss.
Design selective hearing protectors that allow workers to hear important alerts or human voices while protected from harmful noise.
Don’t limit yourself to these three ideas. Use your experiences to inspire a solution.”
Find out more and submit your idea here.
NIOSH reports about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment each DAY. That’s more than every person in Seattle each year sustaining an eye injury! However, safety experts and eye doctors believe the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of these eye injuries.
Simply using the proper eye protection on the job could prevent thousands of eye injuries each year.
Common eye injuries occurring at work can result from chemicals or foreign objects in the eye and cuts or scrapes on the cornea. Other causes of injuries include splashes with grease and oil, burns from steam, ultraviolet or infrared radiation exposure, and flying wood or metal chips.
Two major reasons workers experience eye injuries on the job are because they were:
- Not wearing eye protection, or
- Wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey of workers who suffered eye injuries revealed that nearly three out of five were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. These workers most often reported that they believed protection was not required for the situation.
OSHA requires the use of eye and face protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented by such equipment. Personal protective eyewear, such as goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or full face respirators must be used when an eye hazard exists. The eye protection chosen for specific work situations depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, other protective equipment used, and individual vision needs.
(Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Al Rainsberger, CHMM for Foss Maritime)
Every summer we hear a lot about heat stress and how to combat it and yet, equally important is cold weather protection for winter.
In order to function properly, your body strives to keep your core temperature at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to keep the core at that temperature in cold weather it constricts the blood vessels to the skin, the arms and the legs (the less cold blood that is brought back to the heart the easier it is to keep the core temperature elevated). The unfortunate results of prolonged exposure to cold is that the skin and extremities, not getting enough blood, can begin to die. That’s frostbite.
The stronger the wind, the harder it is for our bodies to keep the body warm and therefore the risks of frostbite and hypthermia increase. The National Weather Service provide us with this wind chill chart:
The Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health has come up with the following threshold limit values work/warm-up schedule for a four-hour shift:
Learn how to recognize the onset of hypothermia and frostbite and what to do to protect yourself on the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health website.
I don’t know about the weather where you live but here in Western Washington where I live we’ve seen record high temperatures and more than enough sun to last us all summer (yes, there are plenty of us here in Washington bemoaning the lack of rain). With all this sun, we’ve already seen our fair share of sunburn and this is because many people still don’t understand what sunscreen is and what it does.
Let’s start with the basics. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The Sun Protection Factor number is telling you how much longer you can stay out in the sun than you could if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all. An SPF of 15, for example, is letting you know that, if you normally can stay out in the sun for 30 minutes without sunburn or damage to your skin, with SPF 15 sunscreen you will be able to stay out 15 times longer, that is to say 7.5 hours. Increase the SPF to 30 and you should be okay for 15 hours. SPF 15 blocks 93% of the UVB rays which means that out of every 100 photon bombarding your skin 93 will be blocked while 7 will get through. SPF 30 blocks 97%.
Sounds pretty logical and straightforward, right? Not really! The problem is that most of us don’t really apply the sunscreen properly. Most of us, according to a numerous studies, only apply 1/5 to 1/2 of the amount that the manufacturer recommends (After all, we reason, of course they want me to apply lots of sunscreen, that way they can sell more!). If you apply only 1/5 of the amount of sunscreen with a protection factor of 15, you end up with a protection of only 3 rather than 15 so that now, instead of being able to stay out in the sun for 7.5 hours you will now begin to suffer damage to your skin after only 1.5 hours.
Additionally, while you may not suffer sunburn which happens because of UVB, your skin can still suffer damage (which can cause skin cancer, aging, leathering, sagging and more) if the sunscreen doesn’t protect from UVA as well. Make sure that your sunscreen contains zinc oxide, avobenzone, titanium dioxide, ecamsule and oxybenzone for maximum protection.
Three more items of note… First, don’t rely on sunscreen if you don’t have to. Short exposures to the sun are best. Sun does provide our bodies with Vitamin D which is necessary for health so try to get some exposure but keep it under 30 minutes. If you absolutely must stay out in the sun, apply sunscreen. Secondly, be aware of the fact that sunscreen does deteriorate over time and that the sunscreen you purchased last year isn’t going to protect you as well this year and certainly not as well next year. Thirdly, don’t go tanning. Tanning will prematurely age your skin and expose you to harmful UV rays. A tan, which most people associate with health is actually the opposite. Brown skin is skin that is already damaged.
It isn’t good enough just to be wearing a fall protection harness while working at heights. If the harness isn’t put on properly you could be looking at some serious injuries if you should take a fall.
Our friends at Guardian Fall Protection have put together a web page with step by step instructions with photos on how to properly don a harness.