Take 5 For Safety – Caught or Crushed Injuries

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Caught or Crushed Injuries

Each year, workers suffer approximately 125,000 caught or crushed by injuries that occur when body parts get caught between two objects or entangled with machinery. These hazards are also referred to as “pinch points.” The physical forces applied to a body part caught in a pinch point can vary and cause injuries ranging from bruises, cuts, and scalping to mangled and amputated body parts, and even death.

Workers in field, industrial, and office settings are all affected by caught or crush hazards to some degree. Get training and learn about the caught/crush hazards and pinch points specific to your tasks, tools, and equipment so you can take precautions.

Dress appropriately for work with pants and sleeves that are not too long or too loose. Shirts should be fitted or tucked in. Avoid wearing loose and dangling jewelry. Tie back long hair and tuck braids and ponytails behind you or into your clothing. Wear the appropriate, well-fitting gloves for your job.

Look for possible pinch points before you start a task. Take the time to plan out your actions and decide on the necessary steps to work safely. Give your work your full attention. Don’t joke around, daydream, or try to multi-task on the job – most accidents occur when workers are distracted. Read and follow warning signs posted on equipment. If you value all that your hands can do, THINK before you put them in a hazardous spot.

Machinery can pose a hazard with moving parts, conveyors, rollers and rotating shafts. NEVER reach into a moving machine. Properly maintain and always use the machine and tool guards provided with your equipment; they act as barriers between the moving parts and your body. Don’t reach around, under or through a guard and always r eport missing or broken barriers to your supervisor. Turn equipment off and use lockout/tagout procedures before adjusting, clearing a jam, repairing, or servicing a machine.

Caught/crush hazards are not limited to machinery. Vehicles, powered doors, and forklifts can pose a crush hazard unless they have been blocked or tagged out. Never place your body under or between powered equipment unless it is de-energized. Doors, file drawers, and heavy crates can pinch fingers and toes. Take care where you place your fingers. Test the weight before lifting, carrying, and placing boxes; an awkward or heavy load can slip and pinch your hands or feet. Get help or use tools to move large and/or heavy items.

If you have ever slammed your finger in a door, you can appreciate the pain associated with this common type of caught/crush injury. Take the time to learn about the caught/crush hazards in your workplace so you don’t learn about the consequences first hand.

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Take 5 For Safety – Chemical Inventory List

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Chemical Inventory Lists

The OSHA , Hazard Communication Standard (https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/5194.html) , requires employers to make a chemical inventory list of the hazardous chemicals present in the workplace. The chemicals on these lists are identified with markers to easily find the corresponding safety data sheet (SDS).

Quick and easy access to the chemical inventory list and safety data sheets allows employees to find important information about the chemicals in their workplace.

Additional benefits include:
* Employees are able to find information on chemical hazards, properties, first aid, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency procedures, and disposal methods.
* Emergency responders can quickly access chemical safety and hazard information.
* Regulatory chemical and waste reporting can be easily tracked and reported.

Chemical inventory lists should, at minimum, include notations of the following for each product:
* Identification marker
* Corresponding SDS on file
* Product name
* Manufacturer’s name
* Manufacturer’s address, city, and state
* Manufacturer’s telephone number and emergency telephone number

Consumer products, temporary working solutions, and non-hazardous materials do not need to be inventoried. Radioactive and biohazardous materials as well as wastes should be inventoried under their own separate programs.

Include the following in your chemical inventory:
* Aerosol products
* Compressed gases
* Flammables and combustibles
* Oxidizers
* Organic peroxides
* Poisons not included in the above categories
* Corrosives
* Controlled Substances (Drug Enforcement Agency listed drugs)

Maintaining the chemical inventory list should be an ongoing process, so it includes real-time material lists and quantities that adequately reflect the current conditions in the workplace.

For an effective chemical inventory:
* Keep the inventory list with the corresponding SDS.
* Update the list and the SDS binder when new chemicals arrive in the workplace.
* Note the locations of the chemicals.
* Note the types and sizes of chemical containers.
* Tally the total amounts of chemicals stored in your workplace.

Additional information and efforts spent on your chemical inventory can help optimize your hazard communication plan and chemical safety procedures.

During the inventory process:
* Review the chemical hazards in your workplace.
* Identify concerns to determine if the chemical should be modified or substituted.
* Minimize the amounts and hazards of the chemicals in the workplace.
* Take the time to clean out surplus and waste chemicals and containers.
* Analyze chemical usage patterns, age, shelf life, and cost.

Your chemical inventory can be as simple as a document, spreadsheet, or you can purchase professional software or contract with online inventory maintenance services.

Some benefits to more sophisticated inventory systems include:
* Barcode labeling and tracking.
* Remote inventory control.
* Automatic stock notifications and re-orders.
* Flagging the chemicals that have specific regulations and reporting requirements.

Beyond providing an easy way to access chemical safety information, a chemical inventory list can save you time, money, and identify ways to improve your workplace chemical handling and storage.

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Take 5 For Safety – Avoiding Allergic Reactions to Latex

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Avoiding Allergic Reactions to Latex

Most people who encounter latex products have no health problems, but some workers, continually exposed to latex gloves and other products containing natural rubber latex, develop allergic reactions. Those who work where latex products are manufactured or who have multiple allergic conditions may also be affected. A latex allergy can result in serious health problems.

Workers with ongoing exposure to natural rubber latex should follow the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healths (NIOSH) recommendations which include: reducing exposure, using appropriate work practices, training and education, monitoring symptoms, and when possible, substituting non-latex products. You can take steps to avoid or minimizing allergic reactions to natural rubber latex.

Learn to recognize latex allergy symptoms, which include skin rashes; hives; flushing; itching; nasal, eye, or sinus irritations; asthma, and (rarely) shock. If allergy symptoms develop, avoid direct contact with latex products until a doctor experienced in latex allergies sees you. If you have a latex allergy, tell your employer, physicians, nurses and dentists and wear a medical alert bracelet. Workers with latex allergy should talk to a doctor about precautions in areas where powder from latex gloves worn by others might be inhaled. High-risk workers should be periodically screened for latex allergy symptoms.

Non-latex gloves should be used when contact with infectious materials is not likely (food preparation, routine housekeeping, maintenance, etc.). If latex gloves are required, use powder-free gloves with reduced protein content. When wearing latex gloves, dont use oil-based hand creams or lotions unless they reduce latex-related problems. After removing latex gloves, wash hands with a mild soap and dry thoroughly.

Identify and frequently clean work areas contaminated with latex dust (upholstery, carpets, ventilation ducts, and plenums). Frequently change ventilation filters and vacuum bags used in latex-contaminate areas. Prevention strategies should be evaluated whenever a worker is diagnosed with a latex allergy.

For additional information about latex allergy, call 1-800-356-4674; or visit the NIOSH Web page at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/homepage.html
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Take 5 For Safety – Carbon Monoxide

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Carbon Monoxide

What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, tasteless, odorless gas. CO gas is generated as a waste product of the incomplete combustion of coal, wood, oil, and other petroleum based fuels (e.g. gasoline, propane, etc). CO gas, although odorless, usually occurs in a combination of combustion by-products that have distinctive odors. The primary source of CO gas is the internal combustion engine. CO gas is also generated in industrial operations such as auto repair, oil refining, steel and chemical manufacturing.

Hazards of Carbon Monoxide
Health Hazards:
CO is a chemical asphyxiant which means that it reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Asphyxiation, or suffocation, occurs when the blood does not deliver enough oxygen to the body.

CO gas is absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream. Inhalation of CO gas may cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, rapid breathing, unconsciousness and death. High concentrations of CO may be rapidly fatal without producing significant warning symptoms.

Exposure to this gas may aggravate preexisting heart and artery disease. As CO gas is odorless, there may be no odor warning if toxic concentrations are present.

If you suspect CO poisoning, move the person immediately to the fresh air away from the source of the CO. Call 911 or your emergency number for medical assistance. CO poisoning can be reversed if caught in time.

Safety Hazards:
CO gas mixes very well with air. CO gas penetrates easily through walls and ceilings. It is an extremely flammable gas. CO gas may react very strongly with oxygen, acetylene, chlorine, fluorine or nitrous oxide.

Who is at Risk?
Workers most likely to be exposed to carbon monoxide are welders, mechanics, firefighters, long shore workers, diesel engine operators, forklift drivers, toll booth or tunnel attendants, police, taxi drivers, shipping and receiving workers and warehouse personnel.

Methods of Control of Carbon Monoxide
To reduce the chances of CO poisoning in the workplace:
* Install a ventilation system that will effectively remove CO from the work area.
* Properly maintain equipment that may produce CO to enhance safe operation and to reduce CO generation.
* Consider switching from gasoline-powered equipment to battery or electric equipment.
* Prohibit the use of gasoline-powered equipment indoors or in poorly ventilated areas.
* Consider installing CO detectors with audible alarms.
* Educate workers about the sources, hazards, and controls of CO.

What Can You Do To Help?
* Report any situation to your employer that might cause CO to build up.
* Pay attention to ventilation problems, especially in enclosed areas.
* Avoid the use of gas-powered equipment in enclosed spaces.

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Take 5 For Safety – Be An Extra-Safe Driver

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Be An Extra-Safe Driver

Those who drive for a living would be the first to agree it can be mighty dangerous out there on America’s crowded roads. Although the common factors of inexperience, recklessness, and aggressive driving contribute to many vehicle accidents, it doesn’t explain why so many professional drivers get into accidents. A driver may be trained, experienced, and competent behind the wheel, but the very flood of vehicles competing for space on the roads today presents added danger to all drivers. Even the very best drivers must learn to operate their vehicles with life-saving EXTRAS.

Drivers should take extra care of their vehicles’ maintenance by keeping them in good operating condition. Before getting behind the wheel, do a simple walk around the vehicle to insure that tires are properly inflated and have good tread, check that lights are clear and working, and see that windshields are clean and wipers blades are sharp.

Once inside the vehicle, drivers should take the extra time to check the gas gage, adjust the mirrors, seat, and seatbelt to a comfortable position and, if it’s an unfamiliar vehicle, locate the lights, brakes, and wipers. Horns, flasher lights, and other warning devices are not just accessories but vital parts of the extra safety built into any vehicle, so make sure they operate properly.

On the roadways, be extra careful by driving defensively. Following the rules of the road can help you concentrate on what your should be doing…driving. Stay out of the other vehicle’s blind spot and avoid tailgating. Instead, keep a safe distance from other drivers by maintaining that extra safety cushion of driving space between your vehicle and those around you. As an extra precaution, know the condition of the weather and road and drive only as fast as those conditions allow.

Be extra cautious by staying alert and expecting the unexpected. Watch out for and anticipate other drivers, pedestrians or children on or near the road. Safe drivers scan constantly for hazards, predicting how they may be affected by a hazard and pre-determining how to avoid or reduce them.

The ever-changing variable of the road and other vehicles can make drivers instantly vulnerable to accidents. If drivers don’t practice these life-saving extras on the road, they might personally discover why vehicle deaths and serious injuries now total more than all the wartime wounded and fatalities since 1776.

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Take 5 For Safety – Back Injuries – Get Your Workers Back In Control

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Back Injuries – Get Your Workers Back in Control

Jokes about nagging back pain get standup comedians a lot of laughs, but back strains and sprains are not at all funny, nor should they be an unavoidable curse to anyone.

Back injuries suffered in California’s workplaces last year ran up a bill of millions of dollars. Those disabling back injuries were no laughing matter for the workers who lost time from work or from their personal activities. The sad truth is that most of the pain and lost time could have been prevented if workers had been more aware of how their backs function and how to safely lift bulky or heavy loads.

The back is a network of fragile ligaments, discs, and muscles which can easily be thrown out of order. The back’s complex design breaks down when it is forced to perform activities it was not designed to do.

One sure way to risk injuring the back is to lift heavy or bulky loads improperly or unassisted. The unsupported back cannot operate like a derrick or a crane boom. Lifting with the back twisted or bent just begs for a pulled muscle or ruptured disc. The back can be damaged quickly but can take a long time to heal. So workers should be encouraged to do their lifting with good sense and a little extra help from a co-worker or mechanical aid.

Workers should learn to squat over the item to be lifted, and face it squarely. In this position, the back gets added lifting strength and power from the legs and arms. Teach workers to tilt the item on edge with its long axis straight up so the the center of the weight is as high as possible above the ground. Next, the worker should move up close to the item, because the backbone must act as a supporting column, and it takes the least strain close in. In this position, the worker is ready to lift. Still squatting, the feet should be set with legs pointed right at the load, with the back straightened, the worker may then grasp the load with both arms and slowly stand up with it.

A good way to help workers learn the right from the wrong way to lift, is to have them practice lifting correctly a few times. They will notice that the correct way to lift is the easiest way to lift the load, with the least strain and awkwardness. To lift the wrong way will, over time, cause injury and pain and then no one will be laughing.

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Take 5 For Safety – Are You Prepared For An Emergency?

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Are You Prepared For An Emergency?

Emergencies in the workplace cannot be eliminated, but if you have an emergency action plan in place and have trained workers to respond quickly and appropriately you can optimize efficiency, relieve anxiety, and in some cases, save lives.

Management commitment and worker involvement are essential to an effective emergency action plan. The action plan should be explained to workers and reviewed whenever the plan or responsibilities change. How good is your emergency action plan? Find out by asking yourself and your workers the following questions:

General
* Is there a means of reporting emergencies and accounting for personnel before and after an incident?
* Who is the person responsible for decision-making during emergency conditions?
* Does everyone in the workplace know the procedures to follow in various emergency scenarios (e.g. fire, explosion, earthquake, chemical spill or workplace violence, etc.)?
* Do workers know the escape routes and evacuations procedures including where to reassemble for a headcount or for further instruction?
* Do workers know where emergency supplies are located?

Medical
* Do workers know how to respond in the event of a medical emergency?
* Are there workers trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid?
* Does the worksite have first aid equipment which corresponds to the possible injuries workers may encounter? (e.g. emergency wash stations, personal protective equipment, oxygen tanks, ice packs, etc.)
* Are emergency response phone numbers (fire department, ambulance, medical facility, etc.) clearly posted where they can be readily accessed?

Fire
* Does the worksite have fire extinguishers that match the possible fire hazards?
* Have workers practiced using the fire extinguishers so that they’re aware of their operation and limitations?
* Have the fire extinguishers been recharged within the last year? (They must be tagged to indicate the recharge date.

Spills
* Does the worksite have absorbent material that matches the quantity and type of chemicals which could spill?
* Do you have relevant personal protective equipment that would be needed to respond to a chemical spill?
* Have workers been properly trained in how to safely respond to a chemical spill?

Once you have established your emergency action plan, make sure workers are trained and retrained in the possible emergencies they may encounter, the emergency procedures they should follow, any first aid or rescue procedures, and in the location of emergency response equipment and phone number. In an emergency an immediate and educated response can save individual lives, the business operation, and thousands of dollars in potential losses.

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Take 5 For Safety – Aggressive Driving

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Aggressive Driving

Every year, the Highway Patrol reports approximately 500,000 collisions with 200,000 injuries and 4,000 fatalities as a result. Unsafe speed, improper turning, failure to yield the right of way, and obey traffic signals were the most frequent causes, which led the Department of Transportation (DOT) to estimate that two-thirds of traffic fatalities may be caused by aggressive driving.

Aggressive driving can be caused by longer commutes, traffic congestion, and other drivers’ behaviors. It can also be caused by your own mood, reactions, and ability to deal with stress on and off the road. Aggressive driving is triggered by anger – yours or another driver’s. Aggressive drivers are more likely to speed, make unsafe lane changes, ignore the right of way, and violate traffic signals. Aggressive driving behavior includes tailgating, unsafe passing, honking your horn, making rude gestures, or swearing at other drivers.

Don’t confuse aggressive driving with road rage. Blaring your horn in traffic or making rude gestures are not illegal, but they can escalate and lead to road rage. Road rage is a criminal act where a driver tries to intentionally injure or kill another driver, passenger, or pedestrian.

Help prevent aggressive driving (and road rage) by first adjusting your attitude. Forget the idea of “winning” on the road. Driving is not a race; it should not be a contest to see who finishes first. Leave plenty of time for a trip so that if traffic or another delay occurs, you can keep your cool. Think of the highway as a conveyor belt – everyone will get to their destination eventually, so there is no need to speed or act impolite to save a few minutes.

Put yourself in the other driver’s shoes. Have you ever made a mistake on the road, been lost, or unsure of your turn-off point? Instead of being angry at another driver making the same mistakes, give them the benefit of the doubt. When you make mistakes, acknowledge them and give the drivers around you a friendly nod or wave. Polite behavior makes driving safer.

Whether on Wall Street, in a casino, or on the highway, there will always be bad actors that want to break the rules. Ignore rude and bad drivers on the road. Unless you are a traffic safety officer, it is not your job to enforce the rules of the road or punish the bad behavior of others behind the wheel. Do not try to teach other drivers “a lesson.”

If you encounter an angry or aggressive driver on the road, don’t engage them. Avoid eye contact and do not make (or return) rude gestures or comments. Give an angry driver a lot of room by putting distance between you. Slow down or exit the roadway if necessary, but do not pull off to the side of the road or try to “reason” with an angry driver. Get help by using your cell phone or driving to a public area such as a police station or shopping center.

If you think you have a problem with anger on the road or aggressive driving, get help. Anger management classes or counseling can help you deal with the stress in your life and in your car that may be contributing to your behavior.

Keep your cool on the road and live to work and play another day.

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Take 5 For Safety – Aerial Platform Safety

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Aerial Platform Safety

Jobsites are not always at ground level. Sometimes, workers need to use aerial platforms, aerial ladders, articulating boom platforms, vertical towers, or ladder trucks to reach their work. All work has hazards and risks involved in it, but when you work at an elevated height, extra training and attention to safety procedures is a necessity.

In order to work safely with aerial platforms, get training on the operating procedures for your job site and task. Get specialized training on each aerial lift model you will use. Know the risks and hazards involved with aerial work, including your own risk of falling and the hazard of dropping objects on to coworkers below. Learn to tether your tools and equipment and ensure that coworkers underneath the platform are wearing hard hats.

Formal inspections and maintenance of aerial platforms should be scheduled based on the environment and how often the machine is used. Before performing maintenance on an aerial platform, lower it to the full down position. Switch all of the controls to the off position. Apply the brakes and/or use chock blocks. Lock out the power and bleed the hydraulic lines. Never modify or alter your aerial platform without written permission from the manufacturer because changes could alter the structure and stability. Never operate the aerial platform from a scaffold, trailer, or boat without written permission from the manufacturer.

In addition to regular inspections and maintenance, inspect the platform each time before you use it. Look for proper function of the controls. Make sure that the emergency lowering mechanism works. Watch for wear and tear. Check for proper fluid levels and no leaks. Never use equipment if it is not working properly. Tag it out of service until it can be repaired.

When you are planning your work, first ensure that the platform is appropriate to the task. Make sure that loads are within the capacity limit and are stowed properly for stability. Always use the outriggers and stabilizers required for the aerial platform and check for uneven surfaces and debris in the work area. Look for overhead obstructions and electrical lines. Avoid using aerial platforms outside in bad weather and high winds. Don’t use an aerial platform if it has to be stabilized against another building or object. Never use your aerial platform as a crane.

Before working on an aerial platform, put on the appropriate fall protection gear. Consider a fall limiter so that you do not fall too far off of the platform. Make sure that guardrails are installed and access gates are closed before you raise the platform. Keep both feet on the platform at all times and do not reach too far out. Do not use lumber or ladders to get additional height on the platform. Do not step on guardrails or gate rungs and do not climb out of the platform for any reason. If you will travel with the aerial platform, go slowly in order to watch for overhead hazards and people down below.

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Take 5 For Safety – Battery Handling Safety

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Battery Handling Safety

Batteries are used to power our automobiles, trucks, tractors, and construction or power equipment. There are different types of batteries such as lead-acid batteries, gel cells, and lead-calcium batteries. Most batteries contain sulfuric acid and lead. Because batteries contain chemicals, chemical reaction by-products, and an electrical current they can pose a hazard to workers if not handled properly. Workers that operate, maintain, and recharge batteries should use caution.

Before working with a battery, you should have training in proper handling procedures. Consult the vehicle and battery owners’ manuals for specific instructions on battery handling and hazard identification. To avoid splashing acid in your face, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as chemical splash goggles and a face shield. Wear acid-resistant equipment such as gauntlet style gloves, an apron, and boots. Do not tuck your pant legs into your boots because spilled acid can form a pool in your boots.

Be aware of the chemical hazards posed by batteries. The sulfuric acid (electrolyte) in batteries is highly corrosive. Acid exposure can lead to skin irritation, eye damage, respiratory irritation, and tooth enamel erosion. Never lean over a battery while boosting, testing or charging it. In marine environments, do not allow the battery solution to mix with salt water; it can produce hazardous chlorine gas. If acid splashes on your skin or eyes, immediately flood the area with cool running water for at least 15 minutes and seek medical attention immediately.

Always practice good hygiene and wash your hands after handling a battery and before eating. If you handle the lead plates in a battery and don’t wash your hands properly, you could be exposed to lead. Signs of lead exposure include loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation with cramping, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue.

The chemical reaction by-products from a battery include oxygen and hydrogen gas. These can be explosive at high levels. Overcharging batteries can also create flammable gases. For this reason, it is very important to store and maintain batteries in a well-ventilated work area away from all ignition sources and incompatible materials. Cigarettes, flames or sparks could cause a battery to explode.

Before working on a battery, disconnect the battery cables. To avoid sparking, always disconnect the negative battery cable first and reconnect it last. Be careful with flammable fluids when working on a battery-powered engine. The electrical voltage created by batteries can ignite flammable materials and cause severe burns. Workers have been injured and killed when loose or sparking battery connections ignited gasoline and solvent fumes during vehicle maintenance.

Battery maintenance tools should be covered with several layers of electrical tape to avoid sparking. Place protective rubber boots on battery cable connections to prevent sparking on impact if a tool does accidentally hit a terminal. Clean the battery terminals with a plastic brush because wire brushes could create static and sparks. Always remove your personal jewelry before working on a battery. A short-circuit current can weld a ring or bracelet to metal and cause severe burns.

Batteries can be very dense and heavy, so use proper lifting techniques to avoid back injuries. Battery casings can be brittle and break easily; they should be handled carefully to avoid an acid spill. Make sure that a battery is properly secured and upright in the vehicle or equipment. If a battery shows signs of damage to the terminals, case or cover, replace it with a new one. Finally, remember to dispose of old batteries properly.

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