Take 5 For Safety – Alcohol & The Job – A Safety Issue

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A Safety Issue

Working under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited. This means more than just not drinking on the job. Tests have shown that alcohol can still have an effect on your body up to 18 hours after you have stopped drinking. Alcohol use is a legitimate on-the-job safety issue – and not just an attempt to control off-the-clock lifestyles.

Alcohol is a sedative. Drinking any quantity of alcohol impairs a person’s judgment, thinking ability, and coordination to some degree. Some people can “handle” alcohol better than others, but it is a fact that any alcohol consumed has some effect. Other factors which influence your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol include your weight, medications, and previous medical conditions. You may not feel it right away, but remember, alcohol affects judgment.

After drinking, you are no longer in a position to assess your own capabilities. You don’t have to be drunk to have some impairment. If you can’t make it through the day without a drink, you could have a problem and should seek professional help.

What should you do about a co-worker who is drinking on the job? Should you ignore the situation or report it? Most people would ignore the situation because they do not want to cause problems on the job or do not want to get involved. People would prefer to avoid conflict at almost any cost. But look at it this way — the drinker, no matter how nice a co-worker, is not doing you any favors. It’s a fact that the drinker is less productive. Who has to pick up the slack? You do. It is a fact that the drinker is more 1ikely to be involved in accidents. Who else is he or she placing at risk? You!

Are you allowing the drinking to continue?
* You are – if you cover for the drinker’s poor productivity
* You are – if you cover their mistakes.
* You are – if you make excuses to others for them.

Take control of the situation.
* Don’t allow the situation to continue. Stop covering for the drinker.
+ Talk to your supervisor. It is your responsibility to talk to your supervisor whenever any performance or safety issues affects your job. A drinking worker could be just as dangerous as a defective saw. You wouldn’t hesitate to bring the saw to your supervisor’s attention, would you?
+ If you are uncomfortable, suggest to your supervisor that there may be a problem. A good supervisor will take the initiative and pick up the issue from there.

Whatever you do, make sure you do something. Watch out for your co-worker as they may need help. If you don’t, you may pay dearly for someone else’s mistake.


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Take 5 For Safety – Cuts & Burns

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Cuts & Burns

Nicks, cuts, scratches and burns. Minor injuries that can occur to any one of us no matter how careful we are. Minor injuries to the skin that are often ignored. But it must be remembered that skin is a vital organ; one that should not be ignored. Not only is skin the largest bodily organ, it also keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. So what do you do when you get a minor injury? If you are like many, you realize a doctor’s visit is not necessary and try to treat the injury yourself. How do you know when to seek professional treatment? How do you treat injuries that do not require a doctor’s visit?

Cuts: Cuts require immediate professional attention if:
* There is severe bleeding, especially arterial wounds, which literally pump blood from the body.
* Puncture wounds, such as those caused by a rusty nail or animal bite. These will require a tetanus booster shot.
* Cuts more than one half inch long and one quarter inch deep, which will require stitches.

To treat any cuts, first stop the bleeding and then treat to prevent infection. Place a sterile gauze (or if you do not have any gauze, a clean cloth) over the wound and hold it until the bleeding stops. Apply pressure continuously. If the gauze or cloth soaks through, simply place another cloth over the first and resume the pressure. When the bleeding has stopped, wash the cut with soap and water, followed by a disinfectant. If the bleeding does not stop, get professional treatment. After the cut is clean, look for any foreign object(s) in the cut and remove them. If you do not, a threatening infection may set in. To aid in keeping the wound clean while it heals, you can cover it with a bandage. However, if you use a bandage, remember it will need attention too. Change it twice daily and use an antibiotic cream to prevent further infection. Keep in mind that wounds exposed to air heal faster. But it is also very important to keep a wound clean and dry to prevent infection.

Treatment for a scrape is the same, except you do not have to worry about stopping blood flow as there is very little.


Burns are classified as first, second, or third degree. A first degree burn causes redness. Blistering is caused by a second degree burn. Charred, blackened or blanched skin are signs of a third degree burn. Furthermore, burns can be caused by heat (thermal burns) or by contact with chemicals. Seek professional, medical treatment for:
* All third degree burns.
* Second degree burns involving more than one fifth of the body or if the burn has affected the face, hands, feet, or genitalia.

First aid treatment for a burn involves relief of pain, infection prevention and treatment or prevention of shock. If a burn begins to blister, cool it by placing your hand or foot in cold, still (not running) water. You will need to use an ice pack on any other part of the body. Gently clean the burn and cover the area with a sterile, non-stick gauze. Change the dressing twice a day. Never puncture a blister. This just opens the door for infection. Never use butter, oils, or petroleum jelly on burns.

If the burn is due to a chemical exposure, flush the burned area with running water for at least 15 minutes. While you flush, remove any contaminated clothing, especially clothing in the area of the burn. Check the first aid instructions for the chemical. These are found on the container and/or Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Treat as specified. Cover the burn with a clean dressing and call a doctor.
* If a third degree burn is involved, get professional medical treatment quickly. Call an ambulance first. While awaiting professional help, make sure any fire is out and/or remove the victim from the burn source. DO NOT REMOVE ANY CLOTHING OR APPLY ANY DRESSINGS. Treat for shock and make sure the victim is still breathing.

Use common sense in all situations. Maintain a well stocked first aid kit and be familiar with first aid procedures. Being knowledgeable and prepared may be the smartest first step of all.


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Take 5 For Safety – Keep the Windshield in Good Condition for Your Safety

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Keep the Windshield in Good Condition for Your Safety

It is important to have an unobstructed and clear view out the windshield as you drive. Part of proper maintenance for your vehicle includes inspecting the windshield and windshield wipers. The windshield should always be kept clean, especially as the weather turns cold. Parking under trees increases the chance for sap, leaves, or bird droppings to collect on your windshield. These obstructions can make it difficult to see out of. As the weather turns cold out, frost and ice that is left on the windshield as you drive can make seeing difficult. It is always important to take the time to scrape away any debris or obstruction from all windows of your vehicle so you can see clearly out of them.

Inspect the Windshield over for any issues

Clean the windows of your vehicle inside and out. This way you have the best visibility possible for when you drive. Also make sure to remove any leaves or twigs that may be left in the inlets at the base of the windshield. This can restrict airflow for defrosting the inside of your windows. By removing any debris at the base of the windshield, the defrost can work efficiently. Also make sure the glass does not have cracks or divots on it. Over time, exposure to road debris and grime can cause thousands of tiny pits and scratches in the windshield glass. During the winter months, the pits can cause reflections that may dramatically reduce visibility.

The Windshield Wipers should be inspected regularly

The windshield wipers should be inspected regularly, and replaced when needed. To help keep the windshield clear and streak-free, the rubber blades need to be free of cracks or cuts. The rubber on the blades also should flex to follow the curved contour of the glass. If the wipers are exposed to the sun long term, it may cause the wiper blades to harden and crack. Using the windshield wipers often may also cause them to wear out. If you are unsure if the condition is good for the windshield wipers, make sure to bring your vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. If a wiper blade is installed on the rear window of your vehicle, do not forget to inspect that as well. This way, you can make sure you can see out the back of your vehicle in all-weather elements.

Keep the Washer Fluid topped off in your vehicle

It is important to keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir full at all times. It is especially important to do so during the winter months. Also, make sure to use a de-icing washer fluid to prevent it from freezing when the temperatures get colder. Since the washer fluid is relatively inexpensive, it is a good idea to keep a couple of extra gallons on hand. This way you can make sure the visibility is the best it can be in case you need to refill the reservoir and there is not a store nearby.


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Take 5 For Safety – Extension Cords

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Extension Cords

We use extension cords almost every day both at work and at home. These are very useful devices, but they can present a fire or shock hazard when either worn out or used improperly. Most extension cords carry 110-volts of electricity. You may have received a shock from a 110-volt line without serious injury, but 110-volts can kill you.

Types of extension cords
Extension cords come in either two or three-wire types. Two-wire extension cords should only be used to operate one or two small appliances. Three-wire cords are used for outdoor appliances and electric power tools. The third wire on this cord is a ground and this type of cord should never be plugged into any ungrounded electrical outlet. Only grounded extension cords are to be used with power tools unless the tool is double insulated.

Care and inspection of extension cords
Extension cords must be treated with care and checked regularly for damage or deterioration. The cord itself should never be pulled to disconnect it from an electrical source; remove it by the plug. They should not be placed under rugs equipment and should never be strung through doorways, windows, walls, ceilings, or floors. Damaged cords present a potential fire or shock hazard and should be destroyed and replaced immediately.

An extension cord should never be used as a substitute for permanent wiring. They should not be fastened to a building or structure, even though staples are sold for this purpose at many hardware stores. String the cord with non-conductive material (not tie wire) where it will not be struck or stepped on. If it runs over a roadway be sure to protect it. Avoid plugging two cords together to make a longer one. It’s best to use one cord in a continuous length from the receptacle to the appliance or tool. Extension cords which are either connected together or are too long will reduce operating voltage and operating efficiency of tools or appliances and may cause motor damage.

Extension cords are convenient devices that we often take for granted in our everyday activities, but which need proper care and attention. Use good housekeeping practices at home and at work, to keep extension cords from being a tripping hazards or becoming damaged. Inspect them regularly for wear and replace defective units.

Safe Work Practices
* Protect the extension cord to prevent a tripping hazard and potential damage to the cord. Coil it in large loops, not in close kinked coils. Do not bend it unnecessarily.
* Check cords for cut, broken or cracked insulation.
* Do not drape cords over any wire rope guardrails or steel.
* Use the right cord for the job.
* Do not use an extension cord in a situation where there is moisture.
* Do not allow it to rest in water. Do not subject it to intense heat or chemicals that may damage the insulation.
* Extension cords are for temporary use. Install permanent wiring when use is not temporary.


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Take 5 For Safety – Defensive Driving

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Defensive Driving

For some of us, the most dangerous thing we do everyday is driving to and from work. For others, driving
is simply part of the job. In order to complete these tasks safely on a day to day basis we must incorporate
the following techniques into our everyday commute.

* Do a quick walk around your vehicle to evaluate the condition of your vehicle prior to getting on the road.

* Secure all loose items in your vehicle. Do not attempt to catch items sliding around in your car.
* Always keep your eyes moving, constantly looking at your side and rear view mirrors, up, behind and to both sides of the vehicle.
* Maintain a visual of ½ to ¾ mile in front of you.
* When changing lanes, physically turn your head around to check your blind spot. Followed by checking your side and rear view mirrors.
* Always look out for motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and smaller vehicles.
* Leave at least 6-8 seconds in front of you and the car in front of you. During inclement weather, increase this to at least 8-10 seconds.
* Always give yourself an out. Avoid remaining next to other automobiles, move ahead or drop behind them to allow yourself room for maneuvering in case something happens.
* Stop prior to stop signs and then roll forward slightly to get a better look in each direction.
* Avoid using a cell phone. If necessary, always use a hands free device.
* Always use signals and be sure to signal ahead of time to communicate your intensions to other drivers.
* Refrain from driving while suffering from emotional distress or tiredness. Stop for fresh air or move around in order to wake up.
* Avoid backing up whenever possible. Always back into parking spaces when possible.
* Wear your seatbelt.
* Be predictable; avoid multiple lane changes at once and last minute turn signal notifications.
* Observe and abide by all traffic laws.
* PAY ATTENTION, or else it may be too late!!

Help reduce the likelihood of vehicle accidents by always practicing the tips mentioned above. Remain
alert and always remember a defensive driver is a safe driver.


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Take 5 For Safety – Look Out For Your Co-Workers

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Look Out For Your Co-Workers

Take a look around at your co-workers. Some are your friends during work hours, and even after work. You know about their families, what they like and don’t like, and what they do for fun. So, be on the lookout for unsafe conditions and correct them, or report them to your supervisors as soon as possible.

Help your fellow workers get through the day without an accident:

· I’ll help you lift those heavy items, so you don’t have to do it by yourself. I know a back injury can mess up your home life, as well as your ability to work.

· I’ll be sure to inspect those slings before you lift a load. I know that you are depending upon them to hold the weight of the load until it is set down.

· I’ll clean up spills when they happen so you don’t accidentally slip and get injured.

· I’ll make sure that all passageways and walkways are clear so you won’t trip or fall.

· I’ll label all containers in the workplace, so you don’t use the wrong product for a job by mistake.

· I’ll check the backup alarms on our equipment, because I can’t always see you, and I want to make sure you can hear me.

· I’ll tag and report all tools that aren’t working properly so you won’t be injured by plugging in a tool that has a faulty wire.

· I’ll know and practice the emergency evacuation procedures, so we can both get out of an unsafe condition together.

Finally, I want to see you leave work exactly the way you arrived. So, if I see you doing something the wrong way, I’ll show you the right way to do it. Of course, I expect you will do the for me-after all, shouldn’t everyone on the crew watch out for each other?


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Take 5 For Safety – Housekeeping

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Did you know that over 2/3 of all accidents involve housekeeping in some way, shape, or form? Approximately 2.5 million disabling injuries happen in the service industry every year with a cost of over 100 billion dollars.
Housekeeping does not just mean picking your trash. It includes your entire work area. Are your extension cords laid out properly and out of the way of vehicle and pedestrian traffic? Are your work materials and equipment properly stored? Are they placed out of the way of your immediate work area? Do you have a clear access path to and from your work area?

Here are some results of poor housekeeping practices:
* Injuries, when employees trip, fall, strike, or are struck by out-of-place objects;
* Injuries from using improper tools because the correct tool can’t be found;
* Lowered production because of the time spent maneuvering over and around someone else’s mess, and time spent looking for proper tools and materials;
* Time spent investigating and reporting accidents that could have been avoided;
* Fires due to improper storage and disposal of flammable or combustible materials and wastes;
* Substandard quality of finished products because of production schedule delays, damaged or defective finishes, ill-equipped employees, etc.;
* Lack of future work due to a reputation for poor quality;
* “Wall-to-wall” OSHA inspections due to the poor “first impression” of the compliance officer. General housekeeping rules to remember are:
* Clean up after yourself. Pick up your trash and debris and dispose of it properly, or place it where it will not pose a hazard to others. Institute a routine cleaning schedule.
* Keep your work area clean throughout the day. This will minimize the amount of time needed to clean a “larger mess” at the end of the day.
* Dispose of combustibles and flammables properly. If improperly discarded, they will increase the potential for a fire.
* Mop up all oil spills as soon as possible to minimize spreading.
* Plan your work. Keep adequate sized drain pans handy to
* Stack materials and supplies orderly and secure them so they won’t topple.
* Do you value your health and safety, your work reputation, as well as your future employment? If you do, practice these general housekeeping rules.
* An uncluttered workplace shows respect for those who work there. Help keep it that way!


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Take 5 For Safety – Safety is Important Around the Home Too…

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Safety is Important Around the Home Too …

Why is it that trained professionals often decide to ignore basic safe working procedures when they start up a project in their home? Year in and year out, approximately 5,000 U.S. employees lose their lives in accidents at the workplace. But that number pales in comparison to the over 30,000 that lose their lives in accidents around the home during any given year in the United States.
When you decide to “fix up” the house, make sure safety is on that “fix up” list. The following are some safety items that most employees/homeowners should be aware of and address if necessary. The list is not all-inclusive of course, and you should customize or add to the list to meet your home safety needs:
* Home Smoke Alarms-installed where necessary, in proper working order.
* Electrical Safety-Use safe electrical work practices at home too.
* Fire Extinguishers-mounted for quick emergency use. All should know how to use.
* Emergency Evacuation Plan-Make sure all at home know the plan, and practice it once a year, or more if necessary.
* Flashlights-Make sure they are in working order and you can access them easily.
* First Aid & CPR-Keep your first aid kit stocked and adults should know basic CPR.
* Emergency Phone Numbers-post in a convenient place near a phone. Include a poison control phone number on your list.
* Remind all of other Fire Safety Items (such as candles and other decorative items)
* When Performing Home Maintenance/Work Yourself–Use the same safety precautions, or more, that you do at work. And remember, emergency rooms are full of “weekend-do-it-yourselfers.”
* Practice Fall-Protection Safety (including proper ladder use)
* Reading Chemical Labels is not just something you do at work–Practice Chemical Safety in and around the home.

Safe work habits aren’t just for the workplace. Make safety a part of your life around your house and you and your family will enjoy your home even more.


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Take 5 For Safety – Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It’s called the “silent sickness,” and sometimes it becomes a “silent killer. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a common, highly flammable gas that can kill in minutes, in high concentrations. Unlike many other chemicals, carbon monoxide has no distinctive odor, taste, or appearance. Unfortunately, the symptoms of CO poisoning-nausea, headache, and dizziness-resemble other common illnesses, and can be easily mistaken for a cold or stomach flu.

How It Poisons: This gas produces its toxic effects when you breathe it, by replacing oxygen in the blood stream with carbon monoxide which acts on all organs in the body, especially the brain. As carbon monoxide combines with hemoglobin, less and less oxygen is carried to the tissues. Unconsciousness usually occurs when about half the hemoglobin is saturated with CO.

How it’s produced: Any process that involves the use of heat, oxidation, or combustion can produce carbon monoxide. Winter months can be a dangerous time for this problem. Buildings are tightly closed, and the buildup of the gas is not usually noticed by unsuspecting employees. This dangerous gas can be a problem in buildings, repair shops, and temporary weather enclosures as well as car and truck cabs if exhaust systems are malfunctioning or leaking.

High Exposure Areas: The gasoline engines used around shipping docks are known carbon monoxide producers. Diesel engines are next in level of danger, followed by propane-powered forklift trucks. Employees must be particularly careful if forklifts are left running inside a truck or trailer body; hazardous CO concentrations can build up very quickly. Watch outside delivery truck drivers too as they are frequently reluctant to shut off truck engines while unloading.

High exposures may occur in forklift or vehicle repair shops. Offices above loading docks are also vulnerable as the gas rises, causing dizziness and nausea for employees working there. In shop areas, ventilation systems should be checked periodically to prevent poisoning from this gas. Fans should be on, motors and fan belts functioning properly. Hoses and duct work should be carefully connected and the systems checked for dents and holes which could impede the exhaust of gasses. Engines should be turned off as much as possible when buildings are tightly sealed during the winter.

Symptoms of CO Exposure: Symptoms to be alert for include red eyes, weakness, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. If you notice a pattern to these symptoms when engines are running in the area, carbon monoxide could be the cause. Forklifts, whether diesel, propane, or gasoline powered are significant CO producers, especially when left idling. Immediately remove anyone who is overcome from the CO exposure area. Restore breathing through CPR. Keep the person warm and resting until paramedics arrive.


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Take 5 For Safety – View the Road – Get the Big Picture

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View the Road – Get the Big Picture

Be alert while driving so you will be ready to react quickly. Know what to look for and where to look:
* When approaching entrances to shopping malls, drive-ins, restaurants, or filling stations, look for any movement that may mean a vehicle is pulling out into traffic.
* Watch for movement well back from the intersection on side roads and at cross streets, so that you can act defensively if necessary.
* On multilane roads notice the space between the tires of the vehicle in front of you and the lane marking nearest to the tire. If the gap starts to narrow, it could mean that the vehicle is drifting or about to change lanes.
* Watch for pedestrians, especially children and animals, and expect anything. Be ready to use your brakes.
* Watch in the rearview mirror for drivers behind you who might want to pass. Frequent checks will help you see someone pulling into the opposing lane. You will be aware of them even if they pull into your blind spot.
* Do not concentrate on one spot on the road. Scan back and forth, looking for any potential problems. Watch what’s happening well out in front of your vehicle to detect problems sooner.
* Keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you. Add one more car length of space for each additional 10 miles per hour of speed.


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