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Part Six, Office Safety Blog: Drive Safely, Recycle, and Love Trees!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 @ 04:30 PM

This is the sixth and final installment of Safety Training Services, Inc.'s second "Office Safety" web blog series. Directly below you will find links to the previous topics:

Part One | Two | Three | Four | Five 

Series #1: Part One | Two | Three | Four 

Now that you've caught yourself up (if need be), we will now discuss two topics in this article: "Safe Driving" and "Recycling." 

Safe DrivingDriving Safety, Office Safety

OSHA really says it best, "You are your employer's most valuable asset!" When it comes to driving, we need to understand that the way you drive says everything about you and your company.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 1,766 deaths a year result from occupational transportation incidents. That number is more than 38 percent of the 4,547 annual number of fatalities from occupational injuries. While fatal highway incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal work-related event, transportation incidents accounted for nearly 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2010 and more than 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2011.

There were 152 multiple-fatality incidents in 2011 (incidents in which more than one worker was killed) in which 354 workers died.

So what do we do to address this?

Office Safety, Driving safetyLuckily, many of these incidents/injuries are preventable. As does anything else safety-related, it simply requires a bit of knowledge and making a positive statement by following some easy, but mindful guidelines. Luckily, OSHA has done some of the work for us! Here are some their work-related safe driving practices in a quick and easy format:

  • Stay Safe!
    • Use a seat belt at all times - driver and passenger(s).
    • Be well-rested before driving.
    • Avoid taking medications that make you drowsy.
    • Set a realistic goal for the number of miles that you  can drive safely each day.
    • If you are impaired by alcohol or any drug, do not drive.
  • Stay Focused!
    • Driving requires your full attention. Avoid distractions, such as adjusting the radio or other controls, eating or drinking, and talking on the phone.
    • Continually search the roadway to be alert to situations requiring quick action.
    • Stop about every two hours for a break. Get out of the vehicle to stretch, take a walk, and get refreshed.
  • Avoid Aggressive Driving!
    • Keep your cool in traffic!
    • Be patient and courteous to other drivers.
    • Do not take other drivers' actions personally.
    • Reduce your stress by planning your route ahead of time, allowing plenty of travel time, and avoiding crowded roadways and busy driving times.

We all have someplace to be, let's make sure we all get there safely!

Why Recycle?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the cornerstones of any waste reduction program are waste prevention, recycling, and buying/manufacturing recycled-content products. Waste prevention is the process of preventing or reducing the generation of waste. If this is not achievable and when waste cannot be prevented, recycling is the next best option. It saves energy and helps keep valuable materials out of landfills and incinerators. 

  • Air pollution, recycling, office safety, china air pollutionIn 2008, the EPA estimated that of the 250 million tons of waste generated in the U.S., approximately one-third, or 83 million tons, was recycled or composted.
  • Since 1985, the percentage of waste recycled in the U.S. has doubled, and the trend is likely to continue.

Recycling really deserves it own blog article (and I will address that soon!), but for now, I want to hit on two main topics in an office setting-recycling paper and batteries.

Top 5 Reasons to Recycle Paper:

  1. Economic Benefits - Creates new jobs, can make extra money for communities, you can re-sell the paper.
  2. Preservation of Trees - Do we really still not know how much trees do for us? Here are 22 benefits of trees; need I say more?
  3. Reduce Pollution - Air & water; these are necessities of life! Let's keep it clean, folks.
  4. Health Benefits - Indirectly, but yes, less pollution=better air/water. Better air/water=better health. Healthy people don't have to go to the doctor as much and don't need as much medications. You like saving money, right?
  5. Greater Sustainability - There's only one Earth that I know of, so we need it to last as long as possible. Recycling paper uses less natural resources and that equates to longer life on Earth. Unless, you're working on a plan for sustainability on other planets in your spare time, check out which bin you're tossing that paper into.

Bad, Bad, Batteries: The Facts

  • Inside a battery, heavy metals react with chemical electrolyte toBatteries, recycle, office safety produce the battery’s power. 
  • Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which can contaminate the environment when batteries are improperly disposed of.
  • One way to reduce the number of batteries in the waste stream is to purchase rechargeable batteries.
  • Recycling batteries is good for the environment. It keeps them out of landfill, where heavy metals may leak into the ground when the battery casing corrodes, causing soil and water pollution.
  • When incinerated, certain metals might be released into the air or can concentrate in the ash produced by the combustion process.
  • If you put your batteries into the normal garbage, they will be taken to landfill sites and the resources lost.

For more information on exactly where you can recycle your batteries, click here to be taken to the EPA.gov link on finding out!

And for more general information on OSHA's Recycling Standards & Hazards, click here.

And, as always, contact Safety Training Services with any further questions, or simply leave it in our comments section below.

Tags: driving safety, recycle, batteries, air pollution, safe driving, office safety, general office safety

Office Safety Series, Part 5: Know First Aid, Know Workplace Safety!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 12:15 PM

To have or not have....that is the question.

Oh wait--no its not! When it comes to workplace first aid kits, the answer is HAVE! In fact, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a First Aid standard (29 CFR 1910.151) that requires trained first-aid providers at all workplaces of any size if there is no "infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees." And what is a band without its instruments? A first aid kit is a necessity for ANY workplace!

Before we jump too far into specifics of standards, first aid kits, and contents of, let us take a moment to discuss the full purpose of these items and how they fit into a workplace first aid program.

What is First Aid?

first aid training, office safety, workplace first aid kitsAs stated by OSHA, first aid is emergency care provided for injury or sudden illness before emergency medical treatment is available. The first aid provider in the workplace is someone who is trained in the delivery of initial medical emergency procedures, using a limited amount of equipment to perform a primary assessment and intervention while awaiting arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.

A workplace first aid program is part of a comprehensive safety and health management system that includes the following four essential elements.

  1. Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
  2. Worksite Analysis
  3. Hazard Prevention and Control
  4. Safety and Health Training

When designing and implementing a workplace first aid program remember to:

  • Aim to minimize the outcome of accidents or exposures.
  • Comply with OSHA requirements relating to first aid.
  • Include sufficient quantities of appropriate and readily accessible first aid supplies and first aid equipment (*cough* automated external defibrillators or 'AEDs' *cough*)
  • Assign and train first aid providers who:
    • receive first aid training suitable to the specific workplace.
    • receive periodic refresher courses on first aid skills and knowledge.

What's the Risk?

Let's talk numbers for a moment. In 2004, the private industry had 5,703 work-relatedworkplace first aid kits, office safety, supplies for first aid kits fatalities. That same year had 4.3 million total workplace injuries and illnesses, with 1.3 million resulting in days away from work.

Occupational illnesses, injuries and fatalities in 2004 cost the United States’ economy $142.2 billion, according to National Safety Council estimates. The average cost per occupational fatality in 2004 exceeded one million dollars.

To cover the costs to employers from workplace injuries, it has been calculated that each and every employee in this country would have had to generate $1,010 in revenue.

OSHA Requirements

In addition to first aid requirements of 29 CFR 1910.151, several OSHA standards also require training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) because sudden cardiac arrest from asphyxiation, electrocution, or exertion may occur. CPR may keep the victim alive until EMS arrives to provide the next level of medical care.

If an employee is expected to render first aid as part of his or her job duties, the employee is covered by the requirements of the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030). This standard includes specific training requirements.

Automated External Defibrillators

aed training, workplace safety, office first aid kits

As we are in 2013, AEDs are no longer just a tool used by non-medical personnel such as police, fire service personnel, flight attendants or security guards; these are potentially life-saving devices used by anyone trained to used them (and even then, there are some that ANYONE can use with no prior knowledge). The best part, these devices are now widely available, safe, effective, portable and just plain easy to use! Using AEDs as soon as possible after sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), within 3-4 minutes, can lead to a 60% survival rate. CPR is of value because it supports the circulation and ventilation of the victim until an electric shock delivered by an AED can restore the fibrillating heart to normal. Do not neglect to include AEDs in your workplace safety program, they can and WILL save lives!

What Goes in my Workplace First Aid Kit?

At this point, we should discuss what actual items should be included in a first aid kit. For this, we will reference the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard (ANSI Z308.1-2009) which was revised in 2009. This standard is the minimum fill for workplace first aid kits. The new changes in the standard brought two new items and eliminated latex from first aid kits altogether. Here are the ten items for a minimum workplace first aid kit fill.

  • (1) First Aid Guide
  • (1) Absorbent Compress 4"x8" minimum
  • (16) 1"x3" Adhesive Bandages
  • (1) Adhesive Tape 2.5 yard roll
  • (10) Antiseptic Treatment 0.9 grams
  • (6) Burn Treatment 0.9 grams
  • (4) 3"x3" Sterile Gauze Pads
  • (2) Pair Medical Exam Gloves
  • (1) Triangular Bandage 40"x40"x56" minimum
  • (6) Antibiotic Ointment 0.5 grams

The following are not required, but recommended items:

  • Analgesic (oral, non-drowsy formula)
  • Bandage Compress 2"x2" minimum
  • Breathing Barrier (single-use)
  • Burn Dressing 12 sq. in.
  • Cold Pack 4"x5" minimum
  • Eye Covering 1/4" thick minimum
  • Eye/Face Wash (Sterile) 4 oz. minimum
  • Roller Bandage 2"x4" yards minimum
  • Hand Sanitizer

The above required kits may be suitable for your company. However, keep in mind, that more adequate means may be necessary for certain hazards of individual work environments. This may be evaluated by a competent person in your workplace, or by another safety professional. Safety Training services, Inc. is available for said service and our safety professionals provide free "walkthroughs" of your workplace and will help prescribe a first aid kits modeled to your workplaces' individual hazards and/or needs.

Training

OSHA recommends 5 key elements in a first aid training program for the workplace. 

  1. AED training, aed training chicago, first aid kit training, first aid training services"Hands-on," skill based teaching methods.
  2. Instruction and discussion in preparing to respond to a health emergency with an emphasis on prevention as a strategy.
  3. Including logical and well-informed assessment of the scene and victims.
  4. Designed and adapted for the specific workplace in responding to life-threatening emergencies.
  5. Designed and adapted for the specific workplace in responding to non-life-threatening emergencies including management of wounds, burns, bites/stings, and bodily injuries.

Always make sure to keep updated on proper first aid requirements and trainings. The first aid program should be reviewed periodically to determine if it continues to address the needs of the specific workplace. The first aid training program should be kept up-to-date with current first aid techniques and knowledge. Outdated training and reference materials should be replaced or removed. If you do not have an adequate first aid training program, or feel that your hands are full with other workplace duties, allow Safety Training Services, Inc. to be your first aid training provider! Your facility or ours, we provide "Real Training" in hands-on scenarios with state-of-the-art equipment. CPR and AED can be included in the training program to be certain you and your employees will be ready and able to respond immediately and correctly in the event of a workplace emergency!

Tell me more about your First Aid Training!

Tags: supplies for first aid kits, aed training chicago, workplace first aid kits, first aid training, aed training, office safety, workplace safety

Office Safety? More Like Hospital Trips for the Uninformed!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jul 01, 2013 @ 12:30 PM

Slips, trips, and falls are some of the worst yet most common type of office injuries in the workplace, but they are also the easiest to correct.

Office safety is very essential in today's world. Not only is it essential but it is also very important to be aware of several safety rules and regulations as this could hamper the smooth functioning of your office due to legal issues. This article does not focus on the legislation regarding workplace safety, but on providing several tips for ensuring that you and your employees have a safe working environment. Staying alert minimizing the risk!

Be sure take time to look around your work area and help to prevent these hazards. Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents and can result in back injuries, sprains and strains, contusions, and fractures. Slips, trips and falls, sidelined 25,790 workers in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS). The National Safety Council says employees are twice as likely to suffer a disabling fall in an office setting as anywhere else. Falling, specifically, is the most common office accident and results in numerous and disabling injuries.

Slips & Falls

Office safety, slips, trips, fallsStanding on chairs – particularly rolling office chairs – is a significant fall hazard. Workers who need to reach something at an elevated height should use a stepladder.  Stepladders must be fully opened and placed on level, firm ground. Workers should never climb higher than the step indicated as the highest safe standing level. 

Carpeting and other skid-resistant surfaces can serve to reduce falls. Marble or tile can become very slippery – particularly when wet, according to the National Safety Council. Placing carpets down can be especially helpful at entranceways, where workers are likely to be coming in with shoes wet from rain or snow.

Some other simple changes to the workspace can be effective in eliminating hazards and reducing the number of fall injuries. 

  • Clean up all spills immediatelyworkplace safety, slips, trips and falls
  • Close all file cabinets when not in use
  • Ensure sufficient lighting
  • Always use a ladder or stepstool to retrieve anything above shoulder level
  • Remove obstacles from hallways and other high-traffice areas
  • Do not lean back in chairs
  • Regularly have the floors moped clean and dry

If you feel yourself falling, try to hit on your shoulder and roll. You are most likely to absorb more of this impact than falling straight. Don’t reach out with a hand or arm to break your fall, as it may result in a broken limb or hand.

  • Tripping over open drawers or file drawersOffice safety, trips, slips, falls
  • Tripping over electrical cords or wires that run across hallways
  • Tripping over loose carpet or broken tiles or concrete
  • Tripping over objects stored in a hallway, walkway or other areas of high traffic
  • Tripping because of poor lighting
  • Tripping over non-secure mats and rugs

Another major type of injury in the office setting comes from workers being struck by or caught by an object. Incidents of this nature accounted for 15,680 injuries in 2008, according to BLS. 

  • Shut the drawer!
    • File cabinets with too many fully extended drawers could tip over if they are not secured, the council warns. Additionally, open drawers on desks and file cabinets pose a tripping hazard, so be sure to always completely close drawers when not in use. 
  • Safe stacking
    • According to the Office of Compliance (OOC), which oversees the safety of U.S. congressional workers, proper storage of heavy items can help reduce the number of office injuries. Large stacks of materials and heavy equipment can cause major injuries if they are knocked over. OOC recommends storing heavy objects close to the floor, and warns that the load capacity of shelves or storage units should never be exceeded.

Report it

general office safety, trips and fallsAnytime you see something unsafe, report it to your facilities management department or supervisor. Things you might want to point out include sightings of:

  • Torn carpet
  • Loose tiles
  • Wobbly steps or floorboards
  • Burned out light bulbs
  • Broken chairs or desks
  • Other defective equipment
  • Stray electrical cables or obstructions of walkways
  • Possible unauthorized visitors

Promoting safety in the office can be simple with a few great office safety tips. There are many ways to share office safety tips in the workplace. You could have annual safety meetings where the entire company gets together to discuss current safety issues. They are also a great way to implement new safety rules. The biggest benefit of office safety meetings is that any person that has a question can have it answered by you or others in the group.

For the time in between safety meetings you can hang safety posters around the office. The posters can have office safety tips written on them. This will help employees to remember what they learned at the meetings long after they are over.

Safety in the workplace involves making arrangements so as to avoid accidents. At the same time, it also involves being alert to certain hazards and having knowledge about the measures used to overcome them. Here are some examples of the knowledge you & your employers should have regarding office safety.

  • Keep your working area neat and clean
    • Piles of papers and stacks of files combined with a tangle of wires are a disaster waiting to happen, on several fronts. A clean work space will also enable you to identify a problem and tackle it faster and more effectively.
  • Any common area break room should be kept clean.
    • There should be trash cans that are emptied on a daily basis. A broom, mop and other cleaning supplies should be in a closet or close by encase of spills.

Knowledge is power. Safety should be everyone’s top concern.

Training is, again, and extremely important tool in promoting office safety. We can prevent or greatly reduce these types of accidents if we train our people to:

  • Not run in the office
  • Avoid excessive bending, twisting, or leaning backwards while are seated
  • Always use a ladder and not a chair for reaching
  • Wear stable shoes
  • Do not carry anything that obstructs your vision

Administrative controls

In addition to employee training and improved equipment, certain administrative controls can aid hazard recognition and the elimination of potentially dangerous situations. 

  • Conduct walkthroughs.Periodically walking around the office can help with hazard recognition and maintenance of ergonomic task design.

  • Monitor signs of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Recognizing the symptoms of MSDs can alert employees of the need to make an ergonomics alteration to their workstation. But workers need to know what those warning signs are.
     
  • Talk to employees about their concerns. Simply asking workers how they are feeling can go a long way toward recognizing hazards.
     
  • Establish employee reporting systems. Establishing an employee reporting system can be the best way for organizations to get a handle on potential hazards before they cause injury. Consider creating an anonymous reporting process that encourages workers to come forward with their concerns. 

general office safety, trips and fallsAn office environment is considered to be one of the safest work environments, therefore to ensure a safe work environment; each individual must employ common sense, know physical limitations, display an attentive attitude towards their surroundings, and become aware of applicable compliance codes.

 

Safety Training Services, Inc. can help! Whether its general office safety training topics like OSHA-compliance training (OSHA-10 General Industry), safety auditing or even rescue serices available to your company, contact us to find out how we can become your all-inclusive safety company!

Contact STS Today!

Tags: general safety tips, osha compliance, fall safety, slips, office safety, general office safety, workplace safety, trips and falls, safety training topics