Holiday Safety Tip Reminders

This is the number one season for at home injuries so share these key points with all of your employees.

Lights

Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.

Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.

Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.

Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

Candles

Never use lighted candles near trees, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.

Toys and Gifts

Be especially careful when you choose toys for infants or small children. Be sure anything you give them is too big to get caught in the throat, nose or ears. Avoid toys with small parts that can be pulled or broken off. If you are giving toys to several children in one family, consider their age differences and the chances that younger children will want to play with older kids’ toys.

Alcohol, Parties and Driving

Being a smart party host or guest should include being sensible about alcoholic drinks. More than half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Use designated drivers, people who do not drink, to drive other guests home after a holiday party.

 

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Common mistakes people make when working on electrical systems

1. Thinking that it’s “only 120 volts”

“It’s only low voltage.” Okay, I’ll admit that you can have an open casket with a low-voltage hit, but you’ll still be dead. The only difference between low and high voltage is how fast it can kill you. High voltage kills instantly; low voltage may take a little longer.

Dr. A.G. Soto, consulting physician to Ontario Power Generation presented a paper at the 2007 IEEE Electrical Safety Workshop discussing low-voltage shock exposures. In that paper, he stated that a 120-volt shock can kill up to 48 hours later. He also stated that many emergency room physicians are unfamiliar with electric shock and that an EKG may not show a problem. The injury to the heart muscle tends to spread over time and cannot always be identified using EKGs.

2. Working on energized systems or equipment when it can be de-energized.

De-energizing is the only way to eliminate hazards. Arc flash personal protective equipment (PPE) just increases your chances of survival; it doesn’t guarantee it. Just be aware that until equipment and systems are placed in an electrically-safe work condition, proper PPE and procedures must be used to protect the worker. See Article 120 in NFPA 70E 2012.

3. Not wearing any PPE.

This could go into number 2 above, but people really don’t like wearing rubber insulating gloves or arc flash PPE and equipment. It’s hot, uncomfortable, restricts movement, and slows the entire work process down — not only by wearing it, but by selecting the correct PPE and putting it on and taking it off.  It will also save your life. One of the most likely times people neglect to wear their PPE is during troubleshooting. The rationale seems to be, “I’m not really working on it; I’m just testing it.”  Yet, CDC/NIOSH studies have found that 24% of electrical accidents are caused by troubleshooting, voltage testing and like activities. We have a tendency to ignore hazards associated with tasks we consider “safe”.

4. Not wearing the right PPE.

Some people think that if they wear anything by way of PPE, that should be enough. Do you know how to interpret arc flash labels? What do you do if there’s no arc flash label on electrical power equipment? Do you know how to use the tables in the NFPA 70E? Do you refer to the notes when you use the tables? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you aren’t choosing the right PPE.

5. Using outdated or defective test equipment to troubleshoot.

When the leads are frayed or your meter is damaged, it’s time to replace it.  The NFPA committee was concerned enough to put two different requirements for using only portable electric tools and test equipment that were properly rated.

6. Not using an Energized Electrical Work Permit system.

People tend to hate paperwork. This is one great exception. You should plan each job, have the right tools and equipment to do the job safely and follow your work plan. How do you document the Hazard/Risk Analysis or our PPE Assessment? The Energized Electrical Work Permit provides the means to plan the work, assess the hazard and the risk, choose the proper PPE for the job and document it.

 

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U.S. Workers Ask For Workplace Violence Prevention Preparation

Due to this year’s past high profile public and workplace shootings throughout the U.S., the FBI Academy Alumni Association, received high interest in a shooting response program held in Boston last week.

The workshop, “Active Shooter Preparation and Response” was held by the group and resulted in a turnout of about 300 attendees.

The local citizens group’s main goal is to raise awareness about workplace violence and shootings and prod employers and landlords to take preventative action in case of an emergency.

“Workplace homicides are still relatively rare, but general workforce violence is not uncommon, and there’s evidence of an increase in violent crime in general,” said Randy Spivey, chief executive of the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, a firm in Spokane, Wash., that develops workplace violence-prevention programs for companies.

While a workplace incident like a shooting spree is still relatively rare, the unfortunate past events shows that is highly important for all employers to be aware of the best strategy for a company to use in case of an emergency.

To view the original article, visit http://www.masslive.com/business-news/index.ssf/2012/11/companies_focus_on_preventing_workplace.html.

If you would like more information about Workplace Violence Prevention, visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/safety-management-courses/violence-prevention.

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Nominations for OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health Are Seeked

OSHA has recently announced that they are now accepting nominations for eight new members to serve on the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health.

Groups in which the nominees are interested in representing can be an employee, employer, public, and state and health agency. All members serve for two years except for the representative designated by the Department of Health and Human Services and appointed by the Secretary of Labor.

If you’d like to submit a nomination, visit www.regulations.gov where you can also view the Federal Register notice for additional details.. You can also submit by mail or fax. The deadline is January 7.

To view the press release, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=23241.

 

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What Four More Years of Obama Means To OSHA

According to Aaron Trippler, director of government affairs for the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the president’s re-election is unlikely to result in any drastic changes for OSHA.

Some of the things believed OSHA will keep focusing on are the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) and possibly finally updating permissible exposure limits (PEL’s). On another note, Trippler also believes that OSHA will likely focus their funds on enforcement and the impact it has shown, and the relationship between federal OSHA and state plans, since 50 percent of their budget is received from them.

To read the article, visit http://ehstoday.com/osha/how-will-obama-s-re-election-impact-occupational-safety-and-health?page=1.

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OSHA’s Advisory Committee On Construction Safety and Health To Meet in Nov.

The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) has a meeting scheduled by OSHA on November 27-30 in Washington, DC. It will consist of meetings divided in Work Groups and a full committee at different times. ACCSH Work Groups will meet Nov. 27-28 and the full committee on Nov. 29-30.

The ACCSH works as an advisor to the Secretary of Labor and Assistant Secretary of Labor of OSHA. The full committee agenda will include Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor and updates from the Directorate of Construction. The Work Group meetings will include the topics: Health hazards, emerging issues, prevention through design, training and outreach, and injurly and illness prevention programs.

To submit any comments or requests, visit their Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. You can also submit by mail or fax.  All comments and requests must be submitted by Nov. 16, 2012.

 

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CPSC Urges Consumers to Change Batteries in Alarms This Weekend When Changing Clocks for Daylight Saving Time

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is encouraging consumers to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms this weekend.

“When changing clocks this weekend for Daylight Saving Time, remember to change the batteries in smoke and CO alarms,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Fresh batteries in alarms are essential to keeping your alarm working and on guard to protect you and your family.”

Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 4, 2012.

About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that don’t work. CPSC also recommends that consumers test their alarms once each month and place smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom.

Fire departments responded to more than 366,700 residential fires nationwide that resulted in more than 2,300 deaths, more than 12,500 injuries, and $7.09 billion in property losses annually, on average, from 2008 through 2010.

CO alarms are equally important and should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas. CO alarms should not be installed in attics or basements unless they include a sleeping area. Combination smoke and CO alarms are available.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that consumers cannot see or smell. There was an average of 183 unintentional, non-fire CO poisoning deaths each year from 2006 to 2008. To protect against CO poisoning, schedule an annual professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances, including furnaces and chimneys. Keep portable generators outside, far from the home when they are being used.

 

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Safety Tips for Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Now that Hurricane Sandy has finally passed, it has unfortunately left large amounts of recovery and planning for months ahead.

Whether you live in the area of the disaster or have been sent to work there, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has recently offered these tips for the aftermath:

  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off (Visit our Carbon Monoxide blog post for more info).
For more information on disaster recovery and federal assistance programs, visit http://www.ready.gov/.

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Safety Industry Salary Survey Results Show Improvement

A salary survey sent by Safety + Health to 13,410 of their subscribers on August 13 received positive results on their small response rate of 9.9%.

About 52% respondents expect or have received a bonus or raise this year.

Out of the 1,322 that responded, 14.8% have a salary of $100,000 to $125,000 and 28.4% are between 53-59 years old.

Almost half of the respondents also stated having a four-year degree. Finance and real estate industries were the most likely to receive a bonus this year, followed by utilities.

To view the survey visit, http://www.nsc.org/safetyhealth/Pages/Salary-Survey-2012_1012.aspx?utm_source=In+this+issue+–+Nov+2012&utm_campaign=inThisIssueNov12&utm_medium=email#.UJE0JMWHKSp.

 

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Stay Warm, But Safe from Carbon Monoxide Danger

Here in Florida, as the temperature quickly drops to levels we don’t like or are used to, make use that any space heaters you might be using aren’t causing harm. For weather hazards that we ARE more used to here and the upper east coast currently experiencing, like hurricanes, beware of gas-fueled portable generators. Because carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, it is extremely important to be aware of any exposure to it with any of these.

For more information on the dangers of CO and how you can prevent any danger, visit OSHA’s Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/carbonmonoxide-factsheet.pdf.

To view a Carbon Monoxide safety video, visit https://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/blog/entry/carbon-monoxide-deaths-increase.

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