Only One Pair: Protect Workers’ Eyes on the Job

eyesafety

As an employer, you need to promote and enforce the use of eye protection when it is necessary. Educate your workers about the importance of eye protection so they will automatically reach for it before they put their eye health at risk.

Safety glasses provide good protection. They provide even better protection if they properly fit and cared for.

CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) offers these suggestions regarding the fit and care of your safety glasses.

  • Ensure safety glasses fit properly and are individually assigned and fitted.
  • Wear safety glasses so temples fit comfortably over the ears. The frame should be as close to the face as possible and adequately supported by the bridge of the nose.
  • Clean safety glasses daily and avoid activities that can scratch lenses.
  • Store safety glasses in a clean, dry place to protect them from damage. Keep them in a case when they’re not being worn.
  • Replace safety glasses if they are scratched, pitted, broken, bent or ill-fitting.
  • Replace damaged parts with identical parts from the original manufacturer.

When you need to provide workers with the supplies they need to stay safe on the job, count on Seton. Give us a call at 855-581-1218 or visit http://www.seton.ca and we can help you select the safety products you need.

Avoid the Sting: Keep Workers Safe from Insects

insects

There are many hazards that outdoor workers face during the summer months. In addition to those hazards related to the heat and extremely hot weather, workers also have to deal with insects that can inflict harm.

Stinging insects, such as bumble bees, wasps and hornets, can cause just temporary injury most of the time. But sometimes, insect stings can be serious.

Oftentimes, a sting can cause pain, swelling, itching and redness where the sting has occurred, according to CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety). Typically, if a mild allergic reaction occurs, it lasts a few days.

There is the possibility of a more severe reaction, which can cause anaphylaxis (or anaphylactic shock). Symptoms include hives, itching and swelling in areas other than the sting site; swollen eyes and eyelids; and wheezing. Shock and cardiac arrest are among many other additional symptoms.

CCOHS suggests not working in an area where these insects are seen. But if you must, follow these tips before beginning work in that location.

  • Check for signs of activity or a hive or nest. If you see a number of insects flying around, check to see if they are entering/exiting from the same place. If so, it is probably a nest or food source.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and closed-toed boots or shoes. Tape pant legs to boots/socks, and sleeves to your gloves. Consider wearing an extra layer of clothing.
  • Power tools (lawnmowers, weed eaters, chainsaws) aggravate insects. Be aware that tools can provoke insects and cause them to swarm.

When you need to provide workers with the supplies they need to stay safe on the job, count on Seton. Give us a call at 855-581-1218 or visit http://www.seton.ca and we can help you select the safety products you need.

The Heat is On: Protect Your Workers from the Summer Sun

hotweather

With the official start of summer, workers need to begin to take extra precautions when working in the summer heat.

With heat stress and heat exposure strong possibilities this time of year, workers have to be aware of these risks and how to prevent them.

Heat exposure can cause many different illnesses, such as heat edema, heat rashes, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat syncope and heat stroke. The most serious of these illnesses is heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: nausea or irritability; dizziness; muscle cramps or weakness; feeling faint; headache; fatigue; thirst; heavy sweating and high body temperature.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) suggests the following treatment for heat exhaustion:

  • Provide medical care to affected worker.
  • Move worker to a cooler, shaded area.
  • Remove as much clothing as possible (including shoes and socks).
  • Apply cool, wet cloths or ice to head, face or neck. Spray with cool water.
  • Provide worker with water, clear juice and a sports drink

Heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke are hot, dry skin or profuse sweating; confusion; loss of consciousness; seizures; and a very high body temperature.

The treatment of heat stroke is similar to the treatment for heat exhaustion. However, it is not recommended to force a worker suffering from heat stroke to drink liquids. Also, it’s important to call 911 immediately if you feel a worker does have heat stroke.

Make sure your workers know how to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and understand how important it is to get help quickly.

When you need to provide workers with the supplies they need to stay safe on the job, count on Seton. Give us a call at 855-581-1218 or visit http://www.seton.ca and we can help you select the safety products you need.

Electrical Safety in the Workplace: Protect Your Workers from Hazards

electricalnew

If your workers deal with electricity on the job, they could be at risk for an injury or worse every day. They need to know those risks. And it’s important to ensure that workers understand how to work safely with or near electricity, and that they understand the risks involved. The main types of electrical injuries they can suffer include electrocution, electric shock, burns and falls.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) offers the following tips for staying safe when working with or near electricity:

  • Inspect portable cord-and-plug connected equipment, extension cords, power bars, and electrical fittings for damage or wear before each use. Repair or replace damaged equipment immediately.
  • Always tape extension cords to walls or floors when necessary. Nails and staples can damage extension cords, causing fire and shock hazards.
  • Use extension cords or equipment that is rated for the level of amperage or wattage that you are using.
  • Always use the correct size fuse. Replacing a fuse with one of a larger size can cause excessive currents in the wiring and possibly start a fire.
  • Be aware that unusually warm or hot outlets may be a sign that unsafe wiring conditions exist. Unplug any cords or extension cords to these outlets and do not use until a qualified electrician has checked the wiring.
  • Always use ladders made with non-conductive side rails when working with or near electricity or power lines.
  • Place halogen lights away from combustible materials, such as cloths or curtains.
  • Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to interrupt an electrical circuit before a current sufficient to cause death or serious injury occurs.
  • Use a portable in-line Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) if you’re not certain that the receptacle you’re plugging an extension cord into is GFCI protected.
  • Make sure that exposed receptacle boxes are made of non-conductive materials.
  • Know where the panel and circuit breakers are located in case of an emergency.
  • Label all circuit breakers and fuse boxes clearly.
  • Don’t use outlets or cords with exposed wiring or portable cord-and-plug connected power tools with the guards removed.
  • Don’t block access to panels and circuit breakers or fuse boxes and don’t touch a person or electrical apparatus in the event of an electrical accident.

CCOHS has additional electrical safety tips, including those related to working with power tools and power cords here.

See Clearly: Why You Need Emergency Showers or Eyewash Stations, and Where to Put Them

eyewashstations

Exposure to a hazardous substance can cause serious health problems or worse. That is why emergency showers and eyewash stations are so important. They can quickly and easily remove contaminants from an affected worker.

If you don’t already have an emergency shower or eyewash station and you’re not sure where they should be located in your facility, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has some suggestions.

Emergency showers or eyewash stations should:

  • Be located as close to the hazard as possible.
  • Not be separated by a partition from the hazardous area
  • Be on an unobstructed path between the workstation and the hazard
  • Be located where workers can easily see them (in a normal traffic pattern)
  • Be on the same floor as the hazard and located near an emergency exit
  • Be located in an area where further contamination will not occur
  • Provide a drainage system for the excess water
  • Not come into contact with any electrical equipment that may become a hazard when wet
  • Be protected from freezing when installing emergency equipment outdoors

Don’t forget to also train workers how to use emergency showers and eyewash stations before an emergency occurs.

Do you already have emergency showers or eyewash stations in your facility? How do ensure that workers know where they are and how to use them?

Stay Warm: How to Protect Workers from Cold Weather Hazards

coldweather

Winter is almost here. It’s now time to start thinking about working outside in the cold weather and how to stay safe and warm.

If your workers are exposed to cold temperatures for long periods of time, they are at risk for such health conditions as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. Extreme exposure can also lead to death, in some cases.

There are many steps to take to ensure workers stay injury- and illness-free when working in cold environments.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) offers these suggestions to help keep workers safe in cold weather conditions:

  • Provide heated warming shelters (tents, cabins, restrooms).
  • Pace work to avoid excessive sweating.
  • Offer rest periods in a warm area where employees can change into dry clothes.

Equipment Design: Cover metal handles and bars with thermal insulating material. Design machines and tools so operators can wear mittens or gloves when using them.

Surveillance and Monitoring: Workplaces that fall below 16°C should have a thermometer that monitors temperature changes.

Emergency Procedures: Outline the procedures for providing first aid and getting medical care. A trained person should be responsible for this during each shift.

Education: Both workers and supervisors should be educated about the risks of exposure to cold and how to protect themselves. A buddy system can help workers identify symptoms in each other.

What extra steps do you take to ensure your workers stay safe in the cold weather? What more can you do to protect them and help them recognize the signs of cold weather illness?

Keep Alert: Ways to Keep Shift Workers Safe

shiftwork

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) defines rotational shift work as shifts that that rotate or change according to a set schedule. Such shifts are either continuous, running 24 hours per day, seven days per week, or semi-continuous, running two or three shifts per day with our without weekends.

These irregular hours can be difficult on the human body, with shift workers being at risk of becoming fatigued and tired while on the job. Being fatigued at work can be dangerous, and it’s important for shift workers to be as alert as possible when they are working.

As a facility, there are several things you can do to make shift work easier for workers. CCOHS offers these suggestions:

  • Give attention to the work environment, keeping good lighting and ventilation in mind. Do not widely separate workstations so that workers at night can remain in contact with one another.
  • Provide rest facilities, where possible, to help ensure workers are well rested.
  • Provide healthy cafeteria services so a balanced diet can be maintained. Provide educational and awareness materials on the benefits of eating a balanced meal.
  • Consider offering facilities for social activities with the needs of the shift worker in mind.
  • Consider access to quality daycare for shift workers’ children to alleviate strain on family members.

Workers should also pay attention to their own eating habits and ensure they maintain regular eating pattern. They should also sleep on a set schedule, which helps establish a routine. Workers should also plan to relax before bed to assist in getting better sleep.

Do you have any unique way to keep your shift workers alert and productive on the job? Have they shared any of their own techniques with you?

Count on Seton to help you create a safe workplace. Give us a call at 855-581-1218 or visit www.seton.ca and we can help answer any safety product questions you may have.

Detective Work: Accident Investigation on the Job

inspections

When there is an accident in your workplace, it’s crucial for an investigation to follow. Accident investigations can help determine hazards that need to be immediately addressed.

Supervisors should typically lead accident investigations. But the investigation team can consist of other individuals, such as employees, a safety officer, health and safety committee, an outside expert and a local government representative.

According to the CCOHS, the accident investigation process should consist of these steps:

  • Report the accident occurrence to a designated person within the organization.
  • Provide first aid and medical care to injured people and prevent further injuries or damage.
  • Investigate the accident.
  • Identify the causes.
  • Report the findings.
  • Develop a plan for corrective action.
  • Implement the plan.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the corrective action.
  • Make changes for continuous improvement.

Do you usually conduct accident investigations after accidents occur? If so, what information have you learned from past accident investigations that has surprised you? What lessons can you learn from these investigations?

How to Make a Workplace Safe: Your Safety Inspection Checklist

safetyinspection

One way to identify hazards and ensure your workplace is safe is to conduct workplace safety inspections.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), health and safety committee members are the best enabled to conduct these safety inspections. Members of the inspection team should also have knowledge of regulations and procedures, knowledge of potential hazards and experience with the work procedures involved.

How often should you conduct a workplace safety inspection? The answer will vary from workplace to workplace. These are some factors that will determine how often you should conduct your safety inspection:

  • The frequency of planned formal inspections may be set in your legislation
  • Past accident/incident records
  • Number and size of different work operations
  • Type of equipment and work processes. Those that are hazardous or potentially hazardous may require more regular inspections.
  • Number of shifts. The activity of every shift may vary
  • New Processes or machinery

The hazards that are identified should be assigned a priority level for getting them remedied (such as Major requiring immediate action, Serious requiring short-term action and Minor requiring long-term action).

Regular safety inspections can only help make your workplace safer in the long run. Do you already conduct regular inspections or is this something you need to start?

Need help getting started? Give us a call at 855-581-1218 or visit www.seton.ca and we can help answer any safety product questions you may have.

Avoid Contaminants in the Air: Develop a Respirator Program for Your Workers

respirators

When there are contaminants in the air, workers are at risk for respiratory hazards. Some of the airborne contaminants of concern include biological contaminants, dusts, mists, fumes, and gases, or oxygen-deficient atmospheres.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), respirators should be used to protect against those contaminants if other hazard control methods aren’t effective. Some of those control methods include mechanical ventilation, enclosure or isolation of the process or work equipment, proper control and use of process equipment, and process modifications, including substation of less hazardous materials.

It’s helpful to have a written respirator program so employees know how to choose a respirator, if that is the desired manner in which they can protect themselves from contaminants.

If you’ve never created a written respirator program before, CCOHS offers this list of what such a program should contain:

  • Hazard identification and control
  • Exposure assessment
  • Respirator selection
  • Respirator fit-testing
  • Training program
  • Inspection and record keeping
  • Cleaning and sanitizing respirators
  • Repairing and maintaining respirators
  • Proper storage of respirators
  • Health surveillance
  • Standard operating procedures (available in written form)
  • Program evaluation

If you don’t already have one, develop your respiratory program today and encourage the proper use of this and all PPE (personal protective equipment) in your workplace.