9/5 = N95 Day

Tomorrow, 9/5 has been designated by NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) as N95 day.

The purpose of N95 day is to raise awareness concerning respiratory protection and to increase “workers’ knowledge of on-the-job respiratory safety and protection”.

2300N95Moldex 2300 N95 Filtering Facepiece


NIOSH estimates that some 20 million people who need to be protected from airborne particles, aren’t.

From the CDC website:

N95 awareness day activities include: a live webinar with NIOSH professionals discussing respirator preparedness in the healthcare setting, an online blog, Pinterest-ready infographics, tweets throughout the day (#N95Day), as well as a twitter chat with NIOSH N95 respirator experts. The twitter chat (#N95Chat) will touch upon various industries as the panel of experts discusses best practices for using this type of respiratory protection while taking questions from participants.

You can read more about N95 day on the CDC website.

ANSI Approves Updated Head Protection Standard.

Tuesday this week (June 3rd, 2014) The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) announced that it had received the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval for ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014, American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection.

The standard remains essentially unchanged from the last revision that took place in 2009 with the exception of a new designation for hard hats that can be used in high heat environments. The new HL designation is intended to let users know that the head protection has passed the high heat test of 60°C ± 2°C (140°F ± 3.6°F).

While the new standard probably won’t make a difference to most people who need to wear a hard hat for work, it is important for workers in high heat environments like foundries and other job sites where prolonged exposure to high temperatures might affect the integraty of the hard hat.

For more information you can purchase the new standard on the ISEA website.

Bee and Wasp Safety

wasp_hugeThe extended summer here in WA has resulted in an increase of wasps and bees. As soon as the temperatures drop, the males will die and the hive will go dormant for the winter but until then, we seem to have a constant buzzing around our heads whenever we are outside, especially if there is food present.

Bees collect pollen so any flowery scent or perfume is going to attract them. If working outside try to avoid scents that might attract them. Stay away from flowers where they might be numerous if possible. Avoid wearing bright colors as they are drawn to them.

Wasps, on the other hand, are scavengers, looking for food so they will zero in on your picnic, soda or fruit juice. Keep food covered and protected. Be especially careful with soda cans where wasps might crawl inside only to sting the inside of your or your child’s’ mouth when you or they go to take a swig. Wasps may also be drawn to the smell of sweat.

Do no swat or crush them as both bees and wasps excrete a substance that calls other bees and wasps to attack when they sting.

If you are camping or having a picnic outdoors, your best bet is to build a wasp trap to keep the wasp away from your food. There are several tutorials available on the web (Wasp trap 1, Wasp trap 2, Wasp trap 3).

If you know that you are allergic to bee or wasp stings, make sure you always carry an EpiPen with you and let others know how to use it it in the event that you are unable to do so. Job sites, church groups, etc… should always include an EpiPen in the first aid kit just in case.

If stung, do not pull the stinger out with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. Putting pressure on the stinger will inject more of the venom. Instead, use your fingernail, a piece of gauze or a credit card to scrape or snag the stinger to remove it.

Wash the area with soap and water and use ice to keep the swelling down. Never leave someone who’s been stung alone. Have someone stay with them for an hour or so to make sure they don’t have an allergic reaction.


July is UV Awareness Month

July is UV Awareness Month

Protection from sun exposure is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. UV is also being used now in Gel Manicures to get the nails to harden for those that like to have their nails done at a nail salon. UV has been linked directly to causing Skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas—are highly curable. However, melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous. About 65%–90% of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daylight savings time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time) are the most hazardous for UV exposure in the continental United States. UV rays are the greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America.

Ultraviolet (UV) Light

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can penetrate and change skin cells.

The three types of UV rays are ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC)—

  • UVA is the most common kind of sunlight at the earth’s surface, and reaches beyond the top layer of human skin. Scientists believe that UVA rays can damage connective tissue and increase a person’s risk of skin cancer.
  • Most UVB rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, so they are less common at the earth’s surface than UVA rays. UVB rays don’t reach as far into the skin as UVA rays, but they can still be damaging.
  • UVC rays are very dangerous, but they are absorbed by the ozone layer and do not reach the ground.

Too much exposure to UV rays can change skin texture, cause the skin to age prematurely, and can lead to skin cancer. UV rays also have been linked to eye conditions such as cataracts.

What are the facts and is this a threat to me?

  • Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S.
  • Over 2 million people are diagnosed annually
  • Many people die of skin cancer every year
  • Sunburns are a high risk factor of skin cancer

“I don’t think I’m at risk, so I don’t need to protect myself…”
The following people are at an even greater risk of getting skin damage or skin cancer: African Americans, Asians, and fair skinned people with moles or freckles. People with blue eyes, blonde or red hair have the greatest risk. BUT don’t be fooled everyone has risks!


How do I protect myself in this hot sun?
The UV Index for New Mexico and West Texas ranges from a 7-13 on any given summer day. This means that the risk of UV exposure is in the ‘very high’ to ‘extreme’ range.


You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.


Loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts and long pants made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection from the sun’s UV rays. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one. Darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors.

If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.


For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.

If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using sunscreen with at least SPF 15, or by staying in the shade.


Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.


The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Put on sunscreen before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back.

How sunscreen works. Most sun protection products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after you swim or do things that make you sweat.

Expiration date. Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Cosmetics. Some make-up and lip balms contain some of the same chemicals used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, don’t use them by themselves.

The National Weather Service and EPA advise people to regularly check the UV Index, which they developed as a way to predict the next day’s UV radiation levels on a 1-11+ scale, helping people determine appropriate sun-protective behaviors. EPA will issue a UV Alert when the level of solar UV radiation is predicted to be unusually high and the risk of overexposure is consequently greater.

Also at the EPA site (www.epa.gov), you can check the UV Index forecast map, which shows

contour lines of predicted UV Index values during the solar noon hour. The map is created daily

from National Weather Service forecast data. Here are the recommended Sun Protective measures for each exposure category.

Index Number Sun Protection Messages
LOW <2 You can safely enjoy being outside. Wear sunglasses on bright days. If you burn easily, cover up and use sunscreen SPF 15+.In winter, reflections off snow can nearly double UV strength.
MODERATE 3-5 Take precautions if you will be outside, such as wearing a hat and sunglasses and using sunscreen SPF 15+. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.
HIGH 6-7 Protection against sun damage is needed. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, use sunscreen SPF 15+ and wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants when practical. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.
VERY HIGH 8-10 Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade.Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.
EXTREME 11+ Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade.Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.

Regardless of the UV Index, the following sun safety measures are encouraged:· Do Not Burn.· Generously Apply Sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

· Wear Protective Clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.

· Seek Shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

· Use Extra Caution near Water, Snow and Sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn.

· Watch for the UV Index (See chart above).

· Get Vitamin D Safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements.

Early detection of melanoma can save your life. Carefully examine ALL of your skin once a month. A new or changing mole should be evaluated by a dermatologist. Have fun in the sun this summer, but remember to use all the UV protection possible.

Sign up and contact me to find out more about UV safety and skin cancer with our Wednesday Wellness class July 10 with Dr. Mac of the Clovis Cancer Center.

Information provided by EPA, NOAA and American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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


Shooting Earplugs for under $13.00? Yep!

Up till now if you wanted to protect your hearing and still be able to communicate at the shooting range, your only option used to be electronic earmuffs like the Tactical Pro which are well over $200.00 each. With the advent of the Moldex BattlePlug, that’s no longer the case.

For under $13.00 (no, it’s not a typo!), you can now get the Battleplug earplug.


BattlePlugs Impulse Earplugs

Moldex® BattlePlugs are an authorized hearing protector for use by soldiers and Department of the Army civilians.

Patented BattlePlugs use a unique filter built into the plug body to instantaneously reduce dangerous, sudden impulse noises (e.g. weapons fire) plus allow for easy communication and improved awareness in the cap open position – NRR 9dB.


  • Now an authorized hearing protector for use by soldiers and Department of the Army civilians.
  • Dual Mode Protection:
    – Open cap to hear commands and for loud
    blasts: NRR 9dB.
    – Closed cap for continuous/steady noise and impulse noise protection: NRR 24dB.
  • The louder the blast, the more noise reduction (in open position).
  • Cap is easy to open and close, in-ear.
  • Easy to see when cap is in open or closed mode.
  • Easy to clean.

wash and wear again

BattlePlugs can be washed and reused. Each pair comes with a Pocket-Pak® carrying case to keep them clean when not in use. The smooth shape slides easily into your pocket. No sharp edges.

complete system

Each bag contains a pair of BattlePlugs and a cord, Pocket-Pak carrying case, chain, and instructions.

Available in three sizes: small, medium and large.
NOTE – 80% of users will fit a medium, if you need a small or a large purchase the small or large replacement pods and switch them out.

Click here to purchase the BattlePlug earplugs

Miller Fall Protection Fall Clearance Calculator

We’ve talked before on this blog about the “fall clearance” issue. Essentially fall clearance has to do with the distance you need to account for when taking a fall in order not to hit the ground. What this means is that if you are 6 foot tall, wearing a 6 foot lanyard, accounting for stretch and other factors, you will need to have 18 feet off fall clearance as illustrated below.


Because factors vary (You might be using a self-retracting lifeline or an 8 foot lanyard, for example) each application should be looked at separately and the fall clearance calculated for each instance. Fortunately, Miller Fall Protection has a fall clearance calculator that you can use to determine your fall clearance. Just type in your variables and it’ll give you your fall clearance, illustrated as in the above image.

Great little tool to keep everyone safe!


June 2013 National Safety Month Tips – Week 1 Slips, Trips and Falls

June 2013 National Safety Month Tips

Week 1: June 3-8

Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

“Safety starts with me” is this year’s theme for National Safety Month. It is important that we all realize safety does start with each and every one of us not matter if it is at home, work or play. This week’s topic is Slips, trips and falls. Most slips, trips and falls are preventable. Many people attribute falls to not having good situational awareness of their surroundings or being clumsy or not paying attention, but many other risk factors do exist. Risk factors include physical hazards in the environment, age-related issues, pets and health conditions. Reduce your risk and find fall hazards in your workplace and home to prevent injuries and keep others safe round the clock.

Remove common fall hazards:

• Keep floors and stairs clean and clear of clutter; also beware of pets running under your feet.

• Maintain good lighting both indoors and on outdoor walkways

• Secure electrical, computer cables and phone cords out of traffic areas or add cord cover to existing cords.

• Use non-skid throw rugs in potentially slippery places, like bathrooms

• Install handrails on stairways or patio rails, including porches

• Use a sturdy step stool or ladder when climbing or reaching for high places

• Clean up all spills immediately

• Wear sensible footwear or footwear with a tread for traction grip features.

Never stand on a the top of a ladder, chair, table or surface on wheels

• Arrange furniture to provide open pathways to walk through

• Periodically, check the condition of outdoor walkways and steps and repair as necessary

• Remove fallen leaves or snow from outdoor walkways to see possible trip hazards

• Be aware that alcohol or other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicine, can affect your balance and increase risk of falling

Older adult falls

Older adults are more prone to become the victim of falls and the resulting injuries can diminish the ability to lead active, independent lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following tips can greatly help older adults prevent falls, but are beneficial to those of all ages.

• Stay active: Chances of falling can be reduced by improving strength and balance. Examples of activities include brisk walking, tai chi and yoga.

• Fall-proof your home: This includes taking advantage of the tips above and removing all tripping hazards.

• Review your medications: Have your doctor or pharmacist review all the medications you take both prescription and over-the-counter. Some medications or combination of medicines can make you drowsy or light-headed, which can potentially lead to a fall.

• Check your vision: It’s best to have your vision checked at least once a year to make sure you have the best prescription for your glasses. Poor vision greatly increases your risk of falling.

Ladder safety tips:

  • Choose the right ladder for the job and make sure you have received training on how to use it properly
  • Check the area you will be working in for hazards, such as cords or objects in the walkway
  • Don’t stand any higher than the third rung from the top of a ladder
  • Do not use ladders outdoors in windy or inclement weather, and if the weather turns while you are on it, descend immediately
  • Always keep at least three points of contact with the ladder (i.e., two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand

June 2013 Daily Tips

June 3: Avoid falls by keeping all walkways clean and clear of clutter and maintaining good lighting.

June 4: Help avoid falls by staying active to improve your strength and balance, especially for older adults.

June 5: To avoid slips, trips and falls, check the area you will be working in for hazards, such as cords or liquids on the floor.

June 6: Properly arranging your furniture at work and home can help prevent falls.
June 7: In the event of a power outage, have an emergency kit prepared containing multiple flashlights and batteries to avoid tripping over objects in the dark.

If you want more safety tips please contact me.

Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Quiz

1. Falls account for ________ emergency room visits each year.

A. 8.7 million

B. 30,000

C. 1 billion

D. 650,000

2. Which of the following risk factors contribute to falls?

A. Age-related issues

B. Physical hazards in the environment

C. Health conditions

D. All of the above

3. Staying active is only beneficial to older adults in preventing falls.

True False

4. What are some common fall hazards?

A. Clutter on the stairs

B. Phone and electrical cords

C. Both A and B

D. None of the above

5. Which of the following tips can help prevent a fall?

A. Leaving water on the floor

B. Having snow on the walkway

C. Having cords out where you can see them

D. Maintaining good lighting both indoors and outdoors

Answers are

1. A,

2. D

3. False

4. C

5. D

Slips, trips, and falls cause numerous injuries every day. But they are among the easiest hazards to correct. Take the time to look around your worksite, office or homes for these hazards and work to prevent them. Take care not to cause any slip, trip, or fall hazards as you go about your daily activities. Don’t let a slip, trip, or fall keep you from enjoying all that life has to offer.

Please raise our Slip, Trip and Fall Awareness and remember Safety First, Safety Always!

Information from National Safety Council, CDC, National Floor Safety Institute and ASSE

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