Archive for April, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Can PPE Clothing be Fashionable?

Health and safety has become an important part of our daily lives, both in our personal lives and our working lives too. In actual fact, good health and safety can be the difference between life or death, or perhaps some other serious form of injury. The fact that we all take health and safety much more seriously these days means that the incidence of accidents occurring (both in the workplace and at home), is vastly reduced.

One of the big steps forward has been the introduction of the risk assessment in the workplace. It’s really quite amazing before risk assessments were adopted, how ‘gung-ho’many people were when it came to carrying out certain activities in the workplace. Today however, most companies will ensure that a proper risk assessment is carried out; even if the end result is that there is no risk in the activity at all.

One of the key factors in carrying out an effective risk assessment is to check for the necessity for wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). PPE covers a wide range of products from safety boots to hard-hats, and from defenders to high visibility vests. In the early days of PPE, fashion was given very little thought by the manufacturers, so the types of products that were available were quite restricted in terms of style. For example safety shoes were really only available originally as great big clod hoppers, whereas today you have a much more fashionable range of choice, including things like reinforced trainers. However, whilst these reinforced trainers might look much more fashionable, I wouldn’t like to recommend playing a game of tennis in them! But other items of work-wear are now available not only in a range of fashionable designs, but in a wide range of colours too.

Certain items of PPE clothing can be fashionable as well as functional; manufacturers strive to keep PPE ‘user friendly’ in order that they are worn as intended, to personally protect the wearer, rather than ridiculed for being out-dated and left stuffed in the back of a locker because nobody wants to be seen ‘dead’in them.

PPE can be quite expensive and as such they need to be carefully monitored, and their distribution recorded. Asset tagging is an effective way of asset tracking; in other words being able to conveniently and easily log where your assets are.

PostHeaderIcon Staying Safe in the Fuel Crisis

We’re all usually quite good at getting ourselves into a bit of a mess; sometimes we get into a hole and we just don’t know when to stop digging. But it rather takes the biscuit when our own Prime Minister digs the hole for us. I just don’t know what possessed David Cameron to go on TV and advise everyone to start stocking up on petrol. It’s a bit like waving a red rag in front of a bull!

Here in the good old UK, once upon a time we used to be described as a nation of shop keepers. Now I rather think it might be more apt to describe ourselves as a nation of panic merchants. It seems like every time there’s even a whisper of a petrol shortage, or the possibility of the supermarkets been shut for the odd bank holiday, it’s a signal for everyone to start queuing up to do their panic buying.

Unfortunately what happens is that people go beyond just topping up their petrol tanks in their cars, and they also revert to storing petrol, (sometimes in inappropriate containers) in their garages, sheds, and outhouses. It has caused the Fire Brigade to coming forward to warn people of the dangers. But that in itself is a further topic of amusement as we hear of the lengths some people have gone to store fuel ‘just in case’. But it’s no laughing matter and whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, people will be storing petrol and it could pose a serious threat, especially to those who are unaware that flammable material is being stored nearby. What’s needed is a clear warning notice, both on the container itself, and on the entrance to the garage or shed etc., just to remind anyone entering of the danger within.

Labelling is always a good health and safety measure, and durable asset tagging has now been made much simpler by a new product that is available to purchase online. Asset tagging is fast catching on with many businesses that need to keep track of products for their asset registers. The tags themselves are robust and durable, and can be customised to your exact requirements.

PostHeaderIcon Step Up to Foot Safety

If your feet hurt, it seems that you hurt all over! I wonder just how many women have spent years of their working lives in high heels, thinking more about the fashion statement they are making than the toll that their feet are taking? Many times working men and women suffer injuries to their feet, which can result in time lost, and possible surgery to repair whatever damage has been done.

OSHA dictates that as in all personal protective equipment, (PPE), companies should choose the appropriate footwear for the hazards of the particular job the employee does. The standard from OSHA (29 CFR 1910.136) requires protection “where there is danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole and to electrical hazards.” There are also hazards such as impact when heavy materials are being handled, compression protection for work involving manual material handling carts, bulk rolls, and heavy pipe, and puncture protection from sharp objects, such as nails, screws, tacks, and scrap metal.

Here are a few problems where the feet are at risk:

Chemical hazards; boots and shoes made of rubber, PVC or neoprene are needed.
Heavy objects – steel toes are to protect against falling objects, which cause about 60 per cent of all foot injuries. If there are electrical hazards, a fiberglass toe should replace the typical steel toe.
Slips and falls – shoes with good traction are needed.
There are at least two distinct areas of foot protection that are mentioned in the realm of safety shoe covers. In industrial and construction situations, OSHA and ANSI are concerned with safeguarding the “impact and compression” of the foot. Medical, industrial, and laboratory environments are the other areas of foot protection issues. Shoe covers for medical personnel can protect from spatters, liquid, and chemicals that could pose a danger. Also, using shoe or boot covers protects others from receiving contaminants from you. Those that are involved in “clean” manufacturing conditions, such as computer chips, digital medical equipment, precise engineering instruments, etc., must be careful to not transfer contaminants to sensitive objects. Clean rooms must remain as germ and contaminant free as surgical environments; therefore, shoe covers are an important component.

Even those involved in sports, such as cycling, can use shoe covers. While your back, arms, and legs are stressed during high level cycling, nothing takes a worse pounding than your feet. There are products that offer a line of covers and booties to protect shoes from road abuse from rocks, mud, and other hazards.

One last “footnote”: I recently read an article in the AARP Bulletin, written by Candy Sagon, regarding assisting people with dementia or Alzheimer’s who could possibly wander off from caregivers or nursing facilities: a locator shoe with a built-in Global Positioning System device now makes it easier to tract down its wearers. Manufactured by GTX Corporation, the shoes look like a typical walking shoe but have a miniature GPS unit implanted in the heel. The cost of the shoes is around $300. The shoe works by allowing caregivers or family members to set up a perimeter, called a “geo-fence,” allowing wearers to move freely around a specific area. When they stray beyond the perimeter, a Goggle Maps message pops up on a computer or phone to alert caregivers. What a great investment to help with the task of keeping these patients safe.

Regardless of the reason that your company has safety footwear to keep you safe, be sure you wear it every time you are on the job. Those responsible for choosing footwear or any other type of PPE should select comfortable, and proper fitting protective clothing, head to toe. There may not be a magic formula for the feet, but there are steps that can be followed to be sure feet are protected.

Source: OSHA, AARP Bulletin

PostHeaderIcon The Need for Emergency Lights

If you live in an occupancy building, have a busy office or you are a site manager, then youwould have probably at some point thought about or come across emergency lighting.

Emergency lighting provides back up lighting, which comes into effect when a building losespower and experiences a power outage. Emergency lights need to give sufficient levels oflight and illumination to enable all occupants and residents to safely evacuate the premise.

Common amongst many residential buildings including flats and apartments, many newbuilds now install emergency lighting as standard during construction.
UK Building Regulations and the British Standard specifies the design, installation andtype of equipment needed for clubs, hospitals, hotels, schools and shopping centres etcincluding the minimum safe standards that must be met. Although standby lighting has beenincreasingly introduced to new buildings the Building Regulations and British Standardscover the use and need for emergency escape lighting.

The loss of mains power electricity may cause sudden darkness and a blackout within abuilding and potentially cause danger to occupants and those residing in a communal orcommercial building.

Emergency lighting therefore is usually battery operated and self-contained locally. Self-contained emergency lights are cost-effective and can be installed quickly and easily, whilstincreasing the integrity of the emergency lighting system as each installation is independentof another.
More commercial buildings and sites that house vital services such as hospitals will havetheir emergency lights as well as other critical services backed-up by a generator.
Emergency lighting needs to be sustained for a duration of at least three hours, although if thepremises will be evacuated immediately on power failure and then not reoccupied a minimumduration of one hour may be acceptable.

The legends, lights and signs should then be placed and sited in clearly visible locationsleading to the exit points of the building, whilst access to call points, fire alarms and firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers should be illuminated as well as being readily accessible.

Whatever the type, source and location of emergency lighting, be sure that your back-uplighting systems is routinely checked and maintained all year round.

Martha is an expert in home and business security and pays particular attention to fire safety and prevention. For more information on fire safety including emergency lighting equipment for your business, please visit Discount Fire Supplies.