Archive for April, 2011

PostHeaderIcon What is an explosive atmosphere?

A workplace should be a place of safety but sometimes there is a build-up of gases or dust and both these substances can become highly flammable. That in itself will not cause an explosion but should the gas or dust mix with air and be ignited, then serious injury, death and destruction can occur.

The employer has a definite obligation to prevent any build-up of gases, mists, vapours or dust and a further obligation to prevent sparks or other sources of ignition to be let loose in such a dangerous situation.

Typical workplaces where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur are locations using spray-painting devices on motor vehicles or in silos and other places where grain is poured and stored. Fumes and dust can easily be created and when mixed with air and ignited, an explosion will almost certainly occur.

Governments issue regulations regarding the safety of workplaces. Employers must designate areas or zones within their operation listing them as potential areas of explosive atmosphere. Equipment which could produce a spark or other form of igniting the gas or dust is strictly controlled within each zone.

Employees working in such dangerous zones must be provided with protective clothing including such things as non-static footwear. Every care and precaution must be taken when working in areas likely to produce an explosive explosion.


PostHeaderIcon Why only qualified people should use forklifts

There is no doubt a forklift truck is a brilliant piece of equipment. They can move in and out of tight spaces, take up little space, are cheap to run and have great strength for serious lifting work.

But the operation of a forklift is not a simple matter. For example, a forklift can overturn from unexpected angles and its operation follows strict rules and regulations. Only a trained and qualified person should operate a forklift.

If there is a mechanical or other operational fault, the machine must not be operated until repaired. Only a qualified person can carry out a proper inspection before the forklift is put to work. Failure to operate a properly maintained forklift can result in serious damage, injury or even death.

A forklift can leak fluids which may cause slippage. A qualified person will place mats under a forklift and know how to inspect for any leaks. The forks when raised may drop unexpectedly and only a qualified operator will know to have people well clear when the machine is in operation.

A forklift can tip over if the weight being lifted is not correctly balanced and only a qualified driver will know how much to lift and how to place the load correctly.


PostHeaderIcon Which workplaces need hard hats?

The general health and safety rule is that hard hats are required in any workplace where accidents are likely to happen at any time and in workplaces where objects can fall from one level to another. Building sites are a prime example in which tools, nails, clamps and other pieces of building material can and do get knocked or dropped. The most obvious trade or occupation in which hard hats must always be worn is the construction industry.

Any occupation where an employee is likely to bump their head against any sort of fixed object requires all workers to wear a hard hat. There could be beams or pipes or other hard objects in the workplace. A hard hat will give protection against such accidents.

Then too there are exposed electrical conductors which are a danger to workers. Hard hats are essential in workplaces were these objects are present.

Of course a hard hat must be maintained in good condition and always worn the correct way. No hard hat can be guaranteed to prevent an injury in every situation but a hard hat can and does significantly reduce the damage which can be caused by an accident in the workplace.



PostHeaderIcon How to hold up a box without injury

Lifting a box may cause an injury. An injury can be anything from a slight inconvenience up to serious damage to your back and other muscles. There are several steps you can take to prevent injury.

  • Check the weight before lifting. The size of the box does not necessarily indicate its weight
  • Check the contents. Are the contents well packed?
  • Are there handles? If not, how will you grip the box?
  • If the box has to be lifted up high, use steps or a ladder
  • Use your legs and your arms rather than your back

There are other sound tips when holding up a box. Make your movements slow and smooth rather than rushed and jerky. Always face the box front on and never on an angle. The best ‘place’ to carry the box is between your waist and your shoulders.

If you have to perform a lot of lifts, take your time. Have a short break between lifts. Make sure you warm up beforehand with some simple stretching exercises. If the box is too heavy, do not lift it yourself but use a machine such as a forklift. Remember always that safety comes first and prevention is better than cure.


PostHeaderIcon What are fire assembly points?

In an emergency, and a fire is certainly an emergency, people inside a building are required to exit using the designated doors, stairs, etc. Once outside the building, everyone has to move to an area named as a fire assembly point which can be found by the various fire exit signs around the office.

Fire safety officers are clearly identified by wearing a coloured safety vest and it is their responsibility to conduct a roll call, a check as to who has gathered and remained at the fire assembly point. Remaining at the fire assembly point until directed to leave is essential and just because a siren stops sounding, that is not a signal to leave the fire assembly point.

But while staff will be aware of the evacuation procedure, visitors to the building may not. This is why visitors are required to sign a book and list their details. This book can then be used to check if everyone has vacated the building. Every business has to have a fire safety officer and drills or rehearsals for a real emergency are held from time to time.

Locations of fire assembly points are clearly marked at the sites themselves and on wall diagrams within the building and in literature provided to staff. If new buildings are added to the site or if fire assembly points are changed, full details must be published and a drill carried out.


PostHeaderIcon What are biohazards?

‘Bio’ is short for biological and biohazards are hazardous substances which can injure or kill people or animals. The most common types of biohazards are linked to medicine and to hospitals or laboratories in particular. Medical waste is a prime example of a biohazard. People are most likely to be affected when a biohazard liquid is spilt and comes into contact with their skin. That is why rubber gloves, special protective glasses and lab coats or similar are worn by people working in these situations. Such protective clothing greatly reduces the possibility of injury or illness.

Biohazards are not all the same. While all are hazardous some are more hazardous or dangerous than others. Low level biohazards can cause symptoms similar to those caused by food poisoning. More serious biohazards can cause diseases such as measles, mumps and even influenza but because millions of childhood vaccinations have been given, the danger of these biohazards is still relatively low.

When humans are required to work with bacteria associated with SARS, malaria and TB, the work environment is sealed and full protective clothing is worn. In addition modern medicine has antidotes for these biohazards should they cause an infection.

Finally some biohazards can cause injury and death to animals though not to humans. Bird flu and Ebola are two examples of the possible consequences of some biohazards. But the average person will rarely if ever find themselves in a situation where such biohazards are present.


PostHeaderIcon Why Is Smoking banned in the Workplace?

The short answer is because it’s the law. Around the world many governments have passed legislation making it illegal to smoke in most public places including workplaces. Employers are obliged to inform all employees of the law. Signage must be visible and the company policy circulated to all current and new workers. The message is clear – Smoking is banned in the workplace.
The reason governments have banned smoking is because of the health risks. Not only is smoking linked directly to premature death but absenteeism, sick leave and incomplete work practices are all linked to the effects of smoking. The whole issue of smoking is seen as an issue of public health. In the current language, smoking has become a matter of health and safety in the workplace.
The penalties for non-compliance can apply to the smoker and to their employer. It is an offence to smoke, to not have appropriate signage and to allow smoking to take place in the workplace.
Another major reason for banning workplace smoking is to provide all workers, and especially non-smokers, with a smoke-free environment.
While the law does provide for penalties, employers are encouraged to offer employees who smoke advice and opportunity to quit. The good health of all workers is in everyone’s interest.

PostHeaderIcon What types of fire extinguishers are there?

There are five types and all are colour coded. All extinguishers are required to be red with the appropriate colour band to denote its contents.

The most common extinguisher, all red, is the Class A extinguisher. It’s the most widely used and the cheapest. It is used to fight fires involving paper, cardboard, wood and most plastics. These extinguishers contain water and are not to be used on electrical fires.

Foam fire extinguishers with a colour band of cream can be used on flammable liquid fires caused by petrol/gasoline and oil. These are known as Class B extinguishers and can also be used on fires fought with a Class A extinguisher. Foam extinguishers are not recommended for fighting electrical fires although they are safer than water based extinguishers.

Dry powder fire extinguishers with a colour band of blue are sometimes referred to as the multi-purpose extinguisher because they can be used to fight Class A, B and C fires. Class C fires are those involving gases such as butane, methane and propane.

Class D fires are those involving metals and for which a special dry powder is used.

CO2 fire extinguishers with a colour band of black contain carbon dioxide and are used to fight fires involving electrical appliances. These are known as Class E fires

PostHeaderIcon Why is having a first aid specialist in an office important?

The most obvious reason is to save lives. If a person has a heart attack or other serious health problem, the quicker the patient receives help the better their chances of [a] staying alive and [b] limiting the damage to their body. There can be no greater reason for having someone on staff who knows what to do in such an emergency and can help the patient until professional medical help arrives.

CPR [a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Course] is a procedure that anyone can learn and apply in an emergency. This means you can assist a person – adult or child – to maintain breathing and circulation following cardiac arrest. In a serious emergency, every second counts.

But there are many other medical issues which can happen in an office. Someone can be scalded by a hot drink or cut or scratch themselves with paper, scissors, a stapler, etc. Being able to correctly stop some bleeding and then know how to dress and bandage a wound is important.

A first aid specialist can also remove dangerous situations in the office allowing prevention to be better than cure. Just making sure that the first aid kit is well stocked and readily available is another important factor and also ensure you have first aid signs pointed in the right places within the office.

Remember medical emergencies are never planned, they just happen.


PostHeaderIcon Why are fire exit signs necessary?

Fires can be deadly. Smoke can suffocate and ‘blind’ people and flames of course are equally as deadly. It is essential that all public buildings have fire exit signs. Many advocate that even homes should have exit signs as well.

To begin, government regulations require building owners to have fire exit signs clearly and prominently displayed. So too a map by the elevator or lift wells should clearly show exits in time of an emergency.

It might be that people have worked in a building for a long time. But even so, a fire emergency can cause panic. If people have a rapidly rising heartbeat and become seriously afraid, sensible decision-making can go out the window. If a person in the building is new to the environment, then they will have little if any idea of where to exit the building.

That alone demonstrates why fire exit signs are essential. And the signs should be simple and well placed. Fire drills for regular occupants are also an excellent idea.

Many buildings have safety or fire doors. These are closed in the event of a fire thus stopping the fire from spreading throughout the building. Now if a person goes to one of these locked doors in trying to exit the building, imagine their added panic at feeling they are trapped. If there are clear arrows and fire exit signs throughout the corridors, a safe and sensible exit is possible.

By Cluboo Cluboo Web Directory