Archive for the ‘Cleaning and Washroom’ Category
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 where..exposed 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
Health and safety audits in the United Kingdom are notoriously strict when it comes to compliance
with the 1992 workplace health safety and welfare act. Considering that the auditors can fail you on
some of the most ridiculous of reasons, I will provide some tips I’ve learned from being the assigned
health and safety representative for a large business based in Birmingham.
Assign a representative, and incentivise them!
This should be the first thing you do! Management with previous experience with legislation
compliance should be amongst your ideal candidates. Arrange quarterly reports from them to
ensure that they are working efficiently. Now you have some accountability in place, you can take a
look around for any obvious infractions.
Toilets, drinking water, changing rooms and eating areas all fall under the welfare section of the
workplace health and safety act. Ensure that drinking water is provided from a clean and regularly
Sanitary conveniences and washing facilities should be able to easily service the capacity of your
workforce. For example, one cubicle is not enough for a business with 100 or so employees. Are
these facilities constantly packed with large queues? This should be taken into consideration in
addition to the effectiveness of your cleaning staff, take a UV light to your washroom facilities to
check if all precautions are being taken to eliminate the residual of biological waste.
Even though the probability of electrical failure is miniscule, keeping all of your mains powered
electronic devices PAT tested is essential with legislation compliance, especially when these devices
are coming in contact with the public. The condition of your property should be monitored to ensure
that it has the appropriate stability and solidity for use.
Floors and “traffic routes” should be kept clear and clean by your staff, most accidents tend to occur
in high traffic areas, so your health and safety representative should take careful note of these spots.
Most of this part is simply common sense, as it doesn’t take a genius to note a dangerous area.
Make sure all potentially hazardous materials are marked, and your employees are aware about
The health part of the legislation is mostly common sense. Are your employees working in an
acceptable environment? Is there fresh, clean air being ventilated in your workplace? Is your
ventilation solution providing an acceptable, cool environment for your employees to function
properly? The legislation states that workplaces should be at least 16 °C; if the work involves
physical effort it should be at least 13 °C (Unless other laws require lower temperatures).
Lighting should be sufficient to enable people to work and move around safely. Room dimensions
and space should be sufficient for the number of employees working on the property. A lot of
these can be worked out by simply looking around and talking to employees about any unsafe or
I hope that this has been a relatively simple way of looking at this legislation, use your common
sense and have your health and safety representative study the appropriate materials, they are not
lengthy, and can prove to be advantageous in the wellbeing of your employees.
Jennifer is a health and safety consultant providing business with clear strategies to combat
workplace accidents and the associated health and safety risks. For more information on washroom
services Nottingham and other aspects relating to this article such as clinical waste disposal
then please visit City Healthcare.
‘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.