Take 5 For Safety – Hand Injuries – Part 4 – Chemicals

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Hand Injuries – Part 4 – Chemicals

One way chemicals can enter our bodies is through absorption through the skin. More often than not, this occurs through the hands as we handle various chemicals. It’s important to read the label and to know the chemicals you are working with and to utilize protective gloves when handling chemicals.

Chemicals can cause irritations to your skin. Most of the time this isn’t acute and doesn’t occur with just one unprotected handling of the chemical, but it’s with repeated unprotected handling of the chemical. Detergents and solvents can dry out your skin and dissolve the oils in your hands. Your hands may develop a rash that is further irritated as you use your hands to work on various tasks. Continued abrasion of the tender skin can cause you further irritation and discomfort.

Also some chemicals such as caustic Sodium Hydroxide can cause a burn to your hands. Very acid or caustic chemicals can immediately burn your skin from contact.

It’s important you protect your skin with gloves. More importantly, the right glove for the chemicals you are handling. Not all gloves are made the same. Neoprene gloves work great for many workplace chemicals such as solvents and detergents. However they are not effective for some chemicals such as Benzene. Latex gloves don’t work well with many solvents. Cut-resistant gloves work well on sharp objects, but won’t do a thing against chemicals.

Even after using gloves, you should wash your hands after handling chemicals and especially before you eat, drink or smoke. Protect your hands from irritation and burns, utilize gloves whenever handling chemicals.


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Take 5 For Safety – Hand Injuries – Part 3 – Hand Tools

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Hand Injuries – Part 3 – Hand Tools

Here are some facts about hand injuries and hand tools:
* Some 30,000 persons are injured annually using hammers.
* 25,000 using standard blade screwdrivers & crescent wrenches.
* Each year, more than 115,000 Americans end up in the emergency room as a result of hand-tool-related injuries.

The improper use of hand tools causes many injuries everyday throughout the United States. Tools are not used as intended, they are used improperly or they are in poor condition. It is very important to inspect any hand tool prior to its use. Ensure the tool is not worn, broken and is in good working condition.

Here are some other tips:

* Never use a hammer with a splintered, cracked, or loose handle
* Don’t use hammers with rounded striking faces
* Don’t strike a hammer face with another hammer
* Don’t use nail hammer claws as a pry bar

* Use the correct sized wrench for the job
* Don’t use pliers or crescent wrenches on bolt and nuts, use the proper wrench.
* Pull on wrenches rather than pushing them
* Never use a cheater bar on a wrench

* When using screwdrivers, place the object on a flat surface or in a vise, don’t hold it in your hand!
* Don’t use screwdrivers as chisels or pry bars
* Use the correct size driver for the screw
* Don’t use screwdrivers with chipped tips


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Take 5 For Safety – Hand Injuries – Part 2 – Lacerations

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Hand Injuries – Part 2 – Lacerations

In a recent study of hand injuries the leading cause of injury was contact with cutting or piercing objects, most often pieces of metal, razors and knives, power tools and nails. Fingers and hands were the most-injured body parts among the construction workers in this study, accounting for one-third of emergency room visits. About 15 percent of these injuries were amputations, partial amputations, crushes and fractures. About 63 per cent involved a laceration.

So how can we reduce hand injuries? A recent study found that wearing gloves reduced the relative risk of injury by 60 percent. We have seen here in our own facility and through the corporation that the wearing of cut-resistant gloves and cut-resistant sleeves when handling or working around cut hazards had dramatically reduced lacerations.

The study also showed that workers reported that they had worn gloves only 27 percent of the work time, and only 19 percent reported wearing gloves at the time of the injury. Gloves are only effective when you wear them.

To reduce the chance of injury when working around cut hazards it is important that you wear the cut-resistant gloves and sleeves. They are made of Kevlar or Dyneema and offer cut resistance to sharp objects. Understand, they are certainly not cut-proof, however they afford you much protection when working with and around sharp items such as:
* Utility knives
* Saw blades
* Dies
* Knives
* Sheet Metal
* Glass
* And similar cut hazards


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Take 5 For Safety – Hand Injuries – Part 1

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Hand Injuries – Part 1

Each year in the US over 16 million people suffer hand injuries; over 250,000 of those are serious and disabling. The hand is one of the most complex parts of your body – the movement of the tendons, bones, tissues and nerves allows you to grip and do a wide variety of complex jobs.

Without your hands it would be extremely difficult to do routine simple tasks, such as opening doors, using a fork, or tying your shoes. Tuck your thumb into your palm and imagine trying to tie your shoes. It would be extremely difficult.

Hand injuries are difficult to repair because of the complexity of the hand. After a hand injury, the hand may not function as it did before the injury due to loss of motion, dexterity and grip.

Over 25% of all industrial injuries involve the hand, wrist and fingers. Typical injuries include:
* Puncture wounds
* Lacerations
* Broken fingers
* Contusions
* Thermal Burns
* Chemical Burns

These injuries occur when:
* Cutting or using a sharp tool
* Using hand tools
* Reaching into moving parts
* Working with chemicals
* Touching something hazardous (electrical or thermal)


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Take 5 For Safety – Hand & Power Tools

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Hand & Power Tools


What are the sources of amputations in the workplace?

Amputations are some of the most serious and debilitating workplace injuries. They are widespread and involve a variety of activities and equipment. Amputations occur most often when workers operate unguarded or inadequately safeguarded mechanical power presses, power press brakes, powered and non-powered conveyors, printing presses, roll-forming and roll-bending machines, food slicers, meat grinders, meat-cutting band saws, drill presses, and milling machines as well as shears, grinders, and slitters. These injuries also happen during materials handling activities and when using forklifts and doors as well as trash compactors and powered and non-powered hand tools. Besides normal operation, the following activities involving stationary machines also expose workers to potential amputation hazards: setting up, threading, preparing, adjusting, cleaning, lubricating, and maintaining machines as well as clearing jams.

What types of machine components are hazardous?

The following types of mechanical components present amputation hazards:
* Point of operation—the area of a machine where it performs work on material.
* Power-transmission apparatuses—flywheels, pulleys, belts, chains, couplings, spindles, cams, and gears in addition to connecting rods and other machine components that transmit energy.
* Other moving parts—machine components that move during machine operation such as reciprocating, rotating, and transverse moving parts as well as auxiliary machine parts.

What kinds of mechanical motion are hazardous?

All mechanical motion is potentially hazardous. In addition to in-running nip points (“pinch points”)—which occur when two parts move together and at least one moves in a rotary or circular motion that gears, rollers, belt drives, and pulleys generate—the following are the most common types of hazardous mechanical motion:
* Rotating—circular movement of couplings, cams, clutches, flywheels, and spindles as well as shaft ends and rotating collars that may grip clothing or otherwise force a body part into a dangerous location.
* Reciprocating—back-and-forth or up-and down action that may strike or entrap a worker between a moving part and a fixed object.
* Transversing—movement in a straight, continuous line that may strike or catch a worker in a pinch or shear point created between the moving part and a fixed object.
* Cutting—action generated during sawing, boring, drilling, milling, slicing, and slitting.
* Punching—motion resulting when a machine moves a slide (ram) to stamp or blank metal or other material.
* Shearing—movement of a powered slide or knife during metal trimming or shearing.
* Bending—action occurring when power is applied to a slide to draw or form metal or other materials.

Work practices, employee training, and administrative controls can help prevent and control amputation hazards. Machine safeguarding with the following equipment is the best way to control amputations caused by stationary machinery:
* Guards provide physical barriers that prevent access to hazardous areas. They should be secure and strong, and workers should not be able to bypass, remove, or tamper with them. Guards should not obstruct the operator’s view or prevent employees from working.
* Devices help prevent contact with points of operation and may replace or supplement guards. Devices can interrupt the normal cycle of the machine when the operator’s hands are at the point of operation, prevent the operator from reaching into the point of operation, or withdraw the operator’s hands if they approach the point of operation when the machine cycles. They must allow safe lubrication and maintenance and not create hazards or interfere with normal machine operation. In addition, they should be secure, tamper resistant, and durable.


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Take 5 For Safety – Got Water?

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Got Water?

In summer weather and other hot, humid working conditions, drinking enough water is vital to preventing heat illness. The most serious illness, heat stroke, can be fatal. It occurs when the body’s cooling system fails because of moisture and minerals lost to sweating. To prevent heat illness under hot work conditions
* Wear clothing that allows air circulation
* If possible, try to stay out of the sun
* Take breaks when you can and drink water frequently.

Don’t drink a large quantity of water at once, just keep on sipping. Drinking enough water helps keep the body’s digestive and elimination systems working properly. What is enough water? Eight glasses (eight fluid ounces or about .25 of a liter each) is probably as good a starting point as any. Drinking other beverages and eating waterlogged produce such as lettuce also supplies some of your water requirements. Then adjust your water intake for what seems right for you.

Clear urine, a regular digestive system and supple skin are signs of adequate fluid intake. Headache can be a sign of dehydration, so try drinking water before you pop a pill.

Now, about that old water bottle. If it’s just an old soft-drink container, replace it with one intended for repeated use. Maybe you should get two so one can go in the dishwasher every so often. Try not to handle the bottle, particularly the top, unless your hands are clean.

Plenty of clean water to drink is a privilege enjoyed by workers in this country, with few exceptions. So enjoy drinking your fill for good health.


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Take 5 For Safety – Four Seconds To Safety

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Four Seconds To Safety

Perhaps the best tool to come along in industrial construction (at least as far as safety is concerned) is the Field Level Risk Assessment or Job Hazard Analysis. Whatever you call it, this is a tool that makes everyone stop and think about the different risks associated with the task. Crews normally gather and write out the JHA or FLRA before doing a job. This exercise greatly reduced the number and severity of injuries where this was done.

The same principle of these risk assessments can be done in our shops. Simply take a four-second “reset”. Take four seconds before starting some new familiar task. This act of refocusing has been shown to reduce the probability of an injury incident by more than 90% versus not taking the four seconds. How hard is that? You may have done the task you are about to perform thousands of times before. In your mind, you know that you could do it with your eyes closed. It is usually not the task itself but some small thing you did not anticipate that causes the incident. You did not notice the debris in front of the tool you were going to pick up. You did not notice somebody placed something on the part you were about to pick up. You did not realize how heavy a piece is that you were asked to help carry.

It is easy to imagine the different activities we do every day and how this applies. For example, getting in a forklift and having a quick look around. We change our thinking from where we are going to focusing on the area, road conditions, other vehicles and so on. This is the “reset” we are talking about.

Believe it or not, four seconds is all it takes. Get in this habit of taking four seconds and you significantly reduce your chance of injury. If you get into the habit of taking chances or simply cruising from job to job, you will eventually be injured.

This four second reset was first instituted on CN Rail. This was part of a strategy to reduce the number of very serious incidents they were having including many amputation injuries. What they found was that their employee knew the rule or procedure to do the job without getting injured but were simply not focused. Even well rested employees were getting caught up in the routine of the day and found themselves daydreaming or thinking about other things. Losing an arm or leg is a very rude awakening.

We highly recommend this four second “reset” as an excellent way to refocus on the job at hand. And we believe that this is one very effective method to prevent injury on and off the job.


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Take 5 For Safety – Conveyor Safety

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Conveyor Safety

Find a way to cut down on the amount of materials you handle manually, and you’ve got a good thing going. You lessen the chances of hurting your back and hands, which are two of the more common types of on-the-job injuries. In addition, your capacity for work will increase and so will production.

That’s why conveyors are widely used. They move materials efficiently and safely. Conveyors are one of the earliest forms of automation. In fact, they’ve been around so long that we don’t really look at them as a form of automation but as basic machinery for getting the job done.

Like other things we work with, conveyors are safe when used correctly. They’re not a means of human transportation or a plaything. They come in many shapes and sizes, and each is designed to do a specific job, so it’s not easy to sum up conveyor safety in a few sentences. But needless to say, you have to use the right conveyor for the job.

Certain safety precautions must be taken even though you don’t work directly with conveyors. For instance, don’t crawl over or under them. This is pretty elementary safety advice, but there are still many people who have tried it and get injured in the process.

Never ride a conveyor. We all find it’s difficult enough going through life and avoiding injury without trying some foolhardy stunt.

So unless your job requires it, stay away from conveyors. Don’t attempt to operate a conveyor unless you’ve been checked out on the procedures and are authorized to run it. Persons working on or about a conveyor should know the location and operation of stopping devices. If they don’t, they should consult their supervisor.

Don’t attempt to clean any belts or parts while the conveyor is running. If it’s necessary to clean belts or drums while the equipment is in motion, proper barrier guards should be provided at pinch points.

Most companies that manufacture conveyors try to make them safe. If the equipment isn’t safe, modifications have to be made. Pinch points and moving parts must be guarded. If a conveyor runs overhead, precautions must be taken to prevent injuries from materials which might fall from above. If a conveyor runs at head height or is the type that carries material hung from hooks, measures should be taken to prevent persons from being struck, and employees in the area should remain alert to possible danger.

Conveyors should be stopped and controls locked out when repairs are being made, and the equipment shouldn’t be started again until it is certain that all is clear.

When you place materials on a conveyor or take them off, pinch points are created because of the movement of the machinery. So watch your hands and stay alert. When putting materials on a conveyor, place them so that they will ride safely.

The fact that conveyors run steadily and smoothly may lull you into a false sense of security when you’re around them. Don’t fall into this trap. Conveyors can be dangerous. Loose clothing and jewelry, particularly rings, are dangerous to wear on the job. Combine them with the presence of a conveyor and the hazard potential increases quickly.

Regardless of whether you’re working with conveyors or any other type of machinery, you’re expected to observe basic safety rules. In addition, your help is needed in reporting unsafe conditions or malfunctions to your supervisor. These steps will go a long way toward eliminating hazards and protecting your ability to earn a living.


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Take 5 For Safety – Hydroplaning

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** What it is and how to avoid it…

What is hydroplaning?
April showers may bring May flowers but they can also cause more accidents. Hydroplaning is a situation that may occur when driving on wet roads, and can happen in an instant. When your vehicle hydroplanes, your vehicle completely loses contact with the road and is actually riding on the water. In wet weather you need to be aware – driving across a wet surface can cause your tires to lose their gripping power, and you to lose control of the vehicle.

** The 3 main factors that contribute to hydroplaning:
* Vehicle speed. As speed increases, wet traction is considerably reduced. Since hydroplaning can result in a complete loss of traction and vehicle control, you should always reduce speed, paying attention to the traffic around you.
* Tire tread depth. As your tires become worn, their ability to resist hydroplaning is reduced.
* Water depth. The deeper the water, the sooner you will lose traction, although even thin water layers can cause a loss of traction, including at low speeds.

** What you should not do if your vehicle starts to hydroplane
* Don’t brake suddenly. Hydroplaning is a loss of traction to the front tires. Sudden braking slows the front tires but can lock the rear tires causing a spin out.
* Don’t accelerate suddenly. Sudden acceleration can pull the vehicle straight ahead which could be dangerous if, for instance, the vehicle is pointed toward the edge of the roadway when it regains traction.

What you should do
* The type of vehicle you are in:
– If you are in a front wheel drive with or without ABS and traction control or a rear wheel drive with ABS and traction control and you begin to hydroplane, look for open space and plan to travel in that direction. Stay lightly on the accelerator and steer gently toward the open space you have identified.
– If you are in a rear wheel drive without ABS and traction control look for open space and plan to travel in that direction. Ease off the accelerator and steer toward the open space you have identified.
* Don’t use cruise control. When engaged, your vehicle may recognize the buildup of water as slowing down and send more power to the wheels. This may cause the car to shift to a lower gear and build even more water under the tires.
* Check your tire tread often. Although thin water layers can cause a loss of traction, as your tires become worn, their ability to resist hydroplaning is reduced. Place a penny upside down in your tread. If Lincoln’s head is hidden, your tread is thick enough. If the tread doesn’t hide Lincoln’s head, your tread is too thin and you should consider purchasing new tires.
* Vehicle speed. As speed increases, wet traction is considerably reduced. Since hydroplaning can result in a complete loss of traction and vehicle control, you should always reduce speed, paying attention to the traffic around you.

** How you can tell your vehicle is hydroplaning
It may be difficult to determine when you are hydroplaning. The rear end of your vehicle may feel loose, giving you the sensation that it has moved to one side or the other as if it’s caught in a crosswind. The steering may also suddenly feel loose. Watch the road ahead for standing or running water. Pay attention to the spray being kicked up by the cars in front of you. If it suddenly increases, the driver in front of you may have just hit a patch of water that could cause you to hydroplane.

** When all precautions fail
If you do wind up hydroplaning, don’t panic — the situation is manageable if you remain calm. Donʹt slam on the brakes, don’t accelerate, don’t oversteer and keep the nose of your vehicle pointed straight ahead. You should begin to slow and regain control.


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Take 5 For Safety – Pesticides

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Where Are They Found?

Pesticides are potential hazards in many buildings because they are widely used to reduce many household pests, including those associated with indoor plants, pets, and wood and woolen products, and because they are tracked in from the outdoors. Pesticides used in and around the home include products to control insects (insecticides), termites (termiticides), rodents (rodenticides), fungi (fungicides), and microbes (disinfectants). Pesticides are produced specifically because they are toxic to specific organisms. Consequently, they have risks as well as benefits, and it is important to use them properly.

Surveys show that 75 percent of homes in the United States use at least one pesticide product indoors per year. Those most often used are insecticides and disinfectants. However, studies suggest that 80 to 90 percent of exposures to pesticides occur indoors and that measurable levels of up to a dozen pesticides have been found in the air inside homes.

What Are the Health Effects?

The health effects associated with pesticide exposure can include irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat; damage to the central nervous system and kidneys; and for some an increased risk of cancer. Exposure to high levels of cyclodiene pesticides, usually due to misapplication, may cause headaches, dizziness, muscle twitching, weakness, tingling sensation, and nausea.

In 2000, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that more than 1,294,000 children, 12 years old and younger, were involved in common household pesticide poisonings or exposures. In households with children, almost one-half stored at least one pesticide product within reach of the children.

How Can You Reduce Exposure to Pesticides in Your Home?

To reduce risks when you are using pesticides, take these precautions: