Archives for December 2014

Time To Replace Your Signs, Tags, and Labels?

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When was the last time you checked on the appearance and effectiveness of the signs, tags, and labels in your facility? Wear and tear on these items can mean you’re not in compliance, even though you think you are. Old, worn-out products might also be endangering lives, if they’re no longer sufficiently communicating hazards. Utilize the following tips to determine which products need replacing and, while you’re at it, set a schedule for regular assessments going forward.

SIGNS

Not only are damaged or faded signs not communicating hazards properly, they are likely sending a message that your business does not care to emphasize safety. Keep replacement signs on hand and take old ones down as soon as they show signs of wear or damage.

You might want to consider Seton’s Duroshield Overlaminate, which resists grime, dirt, mildew, chemicals, and inclement weather. Another great option, especially in areas that have wet or dirty operations, is photoengraved metal signs.

Unfortunately, another common issue is theft. Vandal-proof hardware can prevent your signs from being stolen. Proper sign support is also critical in communicating your message effectively.

More often than not, it is cheaper to replace a badly damaged or unreadable sign than attempt many repairs in the field. Never take a damaged sign away and leave nothing in its place!

Labels & Tags

Labels and tags can be used for hazard warnings, valve identification, equipment instructions, accident prevention, asset security, and more. Wear and tear on these items can present many of the same hazards associated with signage. Labels and tags should be made of high performance, durable materials that can withstand harsh environments – both indoors and outdoors. Information should be communicated appropriately and legibly at all times.

Labeling of chemical containers is a particularly important consideration and full details can be found in section 10.41 on Replacing Labels in the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. If a chemical container’s original label must be replaced, the new label must contain the same information as the original. Only use labels, ink, and markings that are not soluble in the liquid content of the container.

Seton can customize any sign, tag, or label to your unique needs, and we also offer printers for quick, on-the-spot labeling needs. Don’t forget to check out our full line of safety products in the 2015 Seton Source Book, which will send in early January!

Machine Safety Basics

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Thousands of operators have lost limbs — and lives — at the hands of dangerous machines. Anyone who is operating or working around machinery should be able to identify potential hazards and/or compliance issues. Understanding the mechanical components of machinery and the motions that occur at or near these components will help prevent countless injuries.

Key Components

The mechanical components that may exist on your equipment generally fall into these categories:

  • The point of operation is the area where the machine performs work. Mechanical actions that occur at the point of operation include cutting, shaping, boring and forming.
  • The power-transmission apparatus includes all components of the machine’s mechanical system that transmit energy.
  • Other moving parts include the areas of the machine that move while the machine is operating, such as reciprocating, rotating and transverse moving parts, as well as lead mechanisms and auxiliary parts of the machine.

Mechanical Motion

A machine’s components are hazardous largely because of the mechanical motions they make. Basic types of mechanical motion are:

  • Rotating motion, such as action generated by rotating collars, couplings, cams, clutches, flywheels, shaft ends and spindles, that may grip clothing or otherwise force a body part into a dangerous location. Projections, such as screws, on the rotating part increase the hazard potential.
  • Reciprocating motion is back-and-forth or up-and-down movement that may strike or entrap a worker between a moving part and a fixed object.
  • Transversing motion is movement in a straight, continuous line that could strike or catch a worker in a pinch or shear point created by the moving part and a fixed object.
  • Cutting action occurs by sawing, boring, drilling, milling, slicing or slitting machinery.
  • Punching action begins when power causes the machine to hit a slide (ram) to stamp or blank metal or some other material.
  • Shearing action is powered slide or knife movement used to trim or shear metal or other materials.
  • Bending action is power applied to a slide to draw or stamp metal or other materials.
  • In-running nip points, also known as “pinch points,” are created when two parts move together and at least one moves in rotary or circular motion.

When evaluating activities for potential hazards, consider the entire operation, the activities associated with the operation, and the potential for worker injury. Once you have identified the hazards, it is time to ensure you have appropriate guards in place. Work practices, employee training and administrative controls can play a role in preventing and controlling machine hazards.

The Ins and Outs of Managing Hallways

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As we continue to dive into all aspects of facility management this month, we thought we’d encourage you to take a look at your hallways. Especially during winter months, when workers and visitors can track in lots of water and debris, preventing slips and falls in these areas should be a top priority. Read on for more ways to ensure people stay safe as they navigate through your facility.

  • Reduce wet or slippery surfaces by utilizing proper matting both outside and inside of doorways
  • Consider using anti-slip floor tapes or treatments, where applicable
  • Set up floor stands to indicate wet, dirty, or otherwise hazardous areas that people should avoid
  • Clean up all spills immediately and properly, or call someone who can (this means keeping a supply of mops and other janitorial supplies on hand at all times)
  • Train employees on procedures and processes regarding cleaning and reporting
  • Exit signs, fire alarms, and egress routes should be clearly indicated and unobstructed
  • Maintain ample lighting at all times
  • Avoid stringing cords, cables or air hoses across hallways
  • Report any loose or broken flooring
  • Clear any clutter, tools, trash, materials or equipment that may have accumulated
  • Move any stacked boxes or files OUT of the hallway, keeping in mind these sensible stacking tips:
  1. Avoid stacking materials too high
  2. Keep stacks straight, an irregular stack is more likely to fall
  3. Pay special attention to irregular and oddly shaped items, making sure they do not extend into aisles and walkways
  4.  Avoid stacking materials too close to fire sprinklers, as close objects can render sprinklers ineffective

Protect Your Facility And Workers With Pipe Marking

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Unmarked pipes could mean danger for both your workers and your facility.  Workers must be made aware of where pipes are, what they are carrying, and any associated risks. Pipe marking regulations offer both placement and color recommendations, and help create a system that is easy to understand and work with.

Start by creating a list of all pipe contents in your facility, documenting the following:

  • Pipe contents
  • Outside diameter of pipe (including insulation)
  • Quantity of markers needed per ASME/ANSI standards
  • Pressure
  • Temperature
  • To/from information
  • Location details (for aid in installation)

From there, you can determine which pipe marking products are needed, using the guidelines below.

  • MARKER COLOUR – Determined by what the pipe is carrying, marking colour categories include:Colorchart
  • SIZE SPECIFICATIONS – ANSI standards also designate letter height and length of colour field for various pipe diameters:

Sizechart

  • LOCATIONS – the four key areas where pipes need to be marked are: adjacent to changes in direction, adjacent to all valves and flanges, at both sides of floor or wall penetrations, and at 25- to 50-foot intervals on straight runs

 Additional Tips & Resources

  • Display markers on all visible sides of the pipe
  • Use in conjunction with pictograms where recommended
  • Apply Self-Adhesive Markers to clean, dry surfaces or use Snap-Around Markers if pipes are very dirty
  • Can’t find the wording you need? Seton can customize markers to your exact specifications!

 

 

The Skinny On Confined Spaces

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Confined spaces can be found in almost any workplace and, despite the name, are not necessarily small. Some examples include silos, vats, hoppers, utility vaults, tanks, sewers, pipes, access shafts, truck or rail tank cars, aircraft wings, boilers, manholes, ditches, trenches, and storage bins. To qualify as a confined space, the following characteristics must be present:

1. Limited openings for entry and exit: Confined space openings are limited primarily by size or location. Small openings make it difficult to get potentially life-saving protective and/or rescue equipment in when needed.

2. Unfavorable natural ventilation: Because air may not move in and out of confined spaces freely, the atmosphere can be very different than the atmosphere outside of the space. Common ventilation issues to be aware of are:

  • Oxygen-Deficient Atmospheres: An oxygen-deficient atmosphere has less than 19.5% available oxygen and therefore should not be entered without an approved self-contained breathing apparatus. The oxygen level in a confined space can decrease because of work being done, such as welding, cutting or brazing; or it can be decreased by chemical reactions (rusting) or through bacterial action (fermentation). The oxygen level can also decrease if oxygen is displaced by another gas, such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen. Workers exposed to the total displacement of oxygen by another gas, such as carbon dioxide, will lose consciousness and then die.
  • Flammable Atmospheres: Two things can make an atmosphere flammable: the oxygen in the air OR a flammable gas, vapor or dust in the proper mixture. An oxygen-enriched atmosphere (above 21%) will cause flammable materials, such as clothing and hair, to burn violently when ignited. Therefore, never use pure oxygen to ventilate a confined space. Ventilate with normal air. Different gases have different flammable ranges. If a source of ignition is introduced into a space containing a flammable atmosphere, an explosion will result.
  • Toxic Atmospheres: Most substances (liquids, vapors, gases, mists, solid materials and dusts) should be considered hazardous in a confined space. Toxic substances can come from the product stored in the space, the work being performed in the space, and/or the area adjacent to the space.

3. Not designed for continuous worker occupancy: Most confined spaces are not designed for workers to enter and work in on a routine basis, making inspection, maintenance, repair, cleanup and other tasks difficult and dangerous due to chemical or physical hazards.

Safety News You Can Use

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  •  A Brampton manufacturer has pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that certain Occupational Health and Safety Act measures and procedures were carried out when a worker was severely burned in a 2012 accident. The court imposed an $80,000 fine, plus a 25% victim surcharge, which will be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. The worker is not expected to recover or be able to return to work.
  • The Ministry of Labour is considering extending noise protection requirements to certain workplaces that are not currently covered by noise requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  Industries that might be affected include: health care facilities, schools, farming operations, fire services, police services and amusement parks. The consultation proposal is available for public review and comment until December 29th.
  • Toyota Canada has been fined $65,000 after a worker was caught in a moving production line. The incident took place in October, when an employee on an instrument panel line noticed part of the production line was running in slow mode and reached under the line to press a reset button while the line was in operation.
  • A report has indicated that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is still giving rebates to companies that have been found guilty of safety violations leading to injury or death. The Ontario Federation of Labour compared the practices to ‘giving the finger’ to injured workers. Minister of labour Kevin Flynn told reporters that he expects a resolution in early 2015, but he wouldn’t say which changes will be made. 

 

It’s What’s On The Outside That Counts

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Slips, trips, falls, theft, and automobile accidents are only some of the hazards that could occur in and around your parking lots. Learn what to watch out for, and how to best manage what’s outside your facility.

Supervisor Responsibilities

  • Signage: Hazards like curbs, tire stops, speed bumps, and icy or otherwise dangerous areas should be clearly indicated. Also, control speeds and warn drivers about pedestrian crossings with proper signage.
  • Maintenance: Parking lot lighting and security systems (cameras, call boxes, panic alarms, etc.) should be well-maintained and fully operational at all times. Painted lines, pavement markers, signs, and cones tend to wear and weather over time. Regularly monitor the quality of those items as well as checking ground surfaces for cracks, holes, and lumps.
  • Janitorial/housekeeping: Routine housekeeping practices are as critical outside of your facility as they are inside. Especially during winter months, quick, efficient removal of ice and snow is paramount. Other circumstances can create debris and spills of all sorts, so proper products and procedures should be in place to respond quickly and prevent injury.

Worker Responsibilities

  • Footwear: Wear comfortable, flat, close-toed, slip-resistant shoes that fit properly.
  • Reporting: Learn who to speak with and how to properly report any accidents or hazards.
  • Drive slowly, no texting: Remain alert and cautious at all times, ensuring the safety of pedestrians and other drivers.
  • Help clear clutter: If you see debris or hazards that you know not to be toxic or dangerous, don’t just walk past – do you part, clean it up!
  • Stay alert & obey signs: Just because you drive into and out of that parking lot every day, don’t get complacent or distracted. Caution, yield, no parking, and speed limit signs apply to you too!

Celebrate National Safe Driving Week December 1st-7th with the Canada Safety Council. This year’s theme is ‘It’s not just alcohol that impairs’. Visit their site for more info, and travel safely!

How to Deal with Mold in Your Facility

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An important part of facility management that can frequently be overlooked is the issue of mold. Molds are microscopic organisms found everywhere in the environment — both indoors and outdoors. Mold tends to grow in damp, dark locations and, when present in large quantities, has the potential to cause adverse health effects, such as sneezing, cough and congestion, runny nose, aggravation of asthma, eye irritation and dermatitis (skin rash).

To prevent mold growth in a water-saturated environment, the following steps should be followed:

• Remove excess moisture with a wet-dry vacuum and dry out the building as quickly as possible

• Use fans to assist in the drying process

• Clean wet materials and surfaces with detergent and water

• Discard all water-damaged materials

• Discard all porous materials that have been wet for more than 48 hours

To clean up an existing mold issue, follow these general mold cleanup tips:

• Identify and correct the moisture problem

• Make sure the working area is well ventilated

• Discard mold damaged materials in plastic bags

• Clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water

• Disinfect cleaned surfaces with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of household bleach in 1 gallon of water. Caution: Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products that contain ammonia

• Use respiratory protection (an N-95 respirator is recommended)

• Use hand and eye protection