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Safety Year in Review 2017 and forward into 2018

Posted by Linda Chambers on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

There were some safety issues of 2017 that you may not have heard about or that you should be aware of moving into 2018.

As everyone knows 2017 was a year full of Natural Disasters: Hurricanes; Harvey, Irma and Maria, wildfires in CA and the West and man made ones; mass shootings, vehicles used as weapons on civilians and the opioid health emergency. Of course we can not foresee many of these but some we can prepare for and prevent.

 

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Ca wildfires

 

LasVegasShooting

With the opioid crisis the DOT has just passed a rule adding four opioids to mandatory drug testing starting Jan 1, 2018 for vehicle operators but has removed the requirement for blind specimen testing by blood or urine and added oral fluid testing and/or hair testing as approved methods. As long as your employees that drive your DOT permitted trucks have their current CDL license and Hazmat training, if hauling hazmat chemicals, they are not required to take a drug test since your vehicles are not for hire. But be aware that since your business must be listed publicly as holding a DOT permit you may get third party scammers calling trying to make you believe that with this new rule your employees must immediately get drug tested for opioids in order to continue operating your company vehicles. They may tell you that you need to pay to go to a testing facility right way which of course they can get you an apointment and take payment over the phone. The DOT just published a warning on their website about this and that "the U.S. Government does not endorse private businesses or vendors, and the use of a service provider is NOT required by FMCSA." Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. So know you are not included in this new rule and do not be tricked.

Next we know you should have fire extinguishers on your rigs and in your facilities where you use and store chemicals and many of you use inexpensive box store brand extinguishers. So you need to know about the huge recall applying to 40 million Kidde brand 134 models, manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017. This covers both plastic handle and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers. You should stop relying on these if you have them and replace them with another brand or Kidde Model. Having and trying to use one of these that may fail when needed can open you up to lawsuits or refusals by your insurance company to pay on a fire insurance claim.

In 2017 INSI/ISEA came up with a new standard for dropped objects prevention solutions. This standard covers anchor points, attachment points, tool tethers and anti-drop storage, such as self closing bags for above ground workers. So if your company has employees working on roofs or above ground as with window washing you need to update your self to the new standards. This is to reduce the number of "struck by" incidents that has been on the increase, up 8.6% in 2015, attributing to 247 deaths that year.

Cantsleep

Sleep deprivation was also a focus in 2017. The National Safety Council reported that almost half of working Americans do not get enough sleep to safely perform assigned duties on the job. Sleep impairment can be as bad as with using drugs or alcohol. Stating employers need to put more emphasis on their employees getting a good nights sleep and not allowing workers to perform dangerous tasks just like they would if they were coming to work intoxicated. In a survey 43% of Americans admitted they do not get enough sleep and it effected them thinking clearly, making correct decisions and were less productive while at work. Consider using the topic of Sleep deprivation in your next safety meeting. I suggest first handing out a survey asking about your employees work habits before mentioning what the meeting will cover to get the best and most honest answers.

In another 2017 report the CDC found one in four US adults have hearing loss from work related issues. That while American think they have good or excellent hearing they in fact have permanent hearing damage. And 20% of people that stated they had no work related noise exposure still had hearing damage caused by things at home like using a leaf blower without protection, listening to music with ear buds set too loud or just by attending concerts. Be sure all your employees have and know when to use hearing protection when operating or even just working around equipment on the job.

AED in box

For 2018 the AHA, American Heart Association is going to launch a campaign calling for more training by workers to be able to respond to workplace cardiac emergencies. Also for increased public access to AED's, automatic external deliberators. In a 2017 survey they found that most American workers are not prepared to handle or assist in heart emergencies due to lack of training in CPR and basic first aid. I challenge each of you to have a CPR class given at your work place or take it upon your self as an individual to go take a class. The small amount it costs in time and money is worth the life of a co-worker, friend or loved one. I myself have been CPR certified since I was a teen and AED certified for over 20 years, when AED's first where put out publicly. I have so far assisted in saving three lives. Or at least they were alive when they were taking away by ambulance. There is only a 5 minute survival window for a victim of sudden cardiac arrest with the survival depending upon early CPR and having access to an AED within that 5 minute timeframe. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a sudden cessation of cardiac mechanical activity that causes the victim to stop breathing and have no pulse. Annually, almost 400,000 people experience out of hospital cardiac arrest and 9 out of 10 of these victims die. When bystanders intervene by giving CPR and using AED's before EMS arrives, 38% survive. If we can increase the rate of survival from even 7% to 20%, 50,000 lives could be saved each year.

Here is to everyone having a safe 2018.

Tags: safety

How to use a Spill Kit

Posted by Linda Chambers on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 @ 10:27 AM

This is the last of my series on Spill Kits. I have told you why you need one, how to put together one your self and now we get to the part of actually using them.

Here are the steps you need to take when you see or are made aware of a chemical spill:

1. Is the spill still happening? Ex: a value is open and chemical is spilling out, a barel tipped over and contents still inside is still flowing. Safely stop the flow first. Put on gloves if needed and stop the flow.

2. Has someone been injured by the spill? If Yes open the nearest Spill Kit, put on PPE and remove the victim. If no victim or if someone else can handle their care go to the next step.

3. Determine what has spilled; look at the container it came from, look for labels. If you know what it is and what spill kit to use move on. If not then start with a Universal or General kit until you learn otherwise. If you can identify it but do not actually know how to handle this chemical, go get the SDS and check it for what PPE and clean up measures it tells you.

Types of Spill kits.png

4. Once you know what it is and which type of Spill Kit to use if you have not already needed to open the kit now and put out the safety measures to keep others out of and away from the spill. Enlist others to do this if possible so you can get right to the spill.

5. Put on all needed PPE if you haven't earlier. If the spill is large, and more than one set of PPE is included and someone else is available have them get ready to help you.

acid spill kit.jpg

6. Contain the spill with supplied barriers; socks, booms, sand, drain covers, etc. Start with the highest hazard. ex: spill running toward a drain, electricity, road, stream, down a hill, etc. Choose the best route for cleanup according to the surroundings of the spill.

Using a spill kit.jpg

7. Once contained, meaning the spill can not get bigger, neutralize if needed. Ex: if it is an acid or corrosive. 

8. Once neutralized start to apply absorbent materials; pads, pillow, sand or other loose absorbents. Work from the outside edge inward. Continue until you have used enough to absorb all of the liquid or you have run out. If you have exhausted your supply and you still have a center of liquid move or put down barriers at the edge and start removing the absorbed materials while more supplies are found or until official first responders can get there.

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9. Clean up using broom and pan, shovel or other supplies and empty into a clearly marked as hazardous, approved container for removal; bags, bucket, pail, etc.

SweepUpSmall.jpgPuttingHWintobags.jpg

10. Clean spill area once cleared of spill with regular cleaning supplies; mop, neutral cleaner, sponges, etc. and discard them as well as they could still have traces of hazardous chemicals on them. You want to clean with a neutral cleaner so you don't have any chemical reactions with the residue from the spill.

11. Once cleaned and dry, remove all warning safety measures you had set out.

12. Immediately restock Spill Kit or replace with a new one until you can resupply.

Tags: spill kit, chemical safety, safety

Spill kits, what they are and do you need them?

Posted by Linda Chambers on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 @ 08:30 AM

For my next safety blog to start of the new year I will talk about needing and then making a spill kit.

I have been asked many times by contractors, "Do I really need a spill kit? I one word, Yes. OSHA requries you as a contractor working out in the public to be responsible for the health and safety of your employees and the public at large while you are working while you are handling and working with hazardous materials. And unless you know for sure and can prove that non of the products you use to clean with are hazardous then I would plan on carrying a spill kit when ever you are transporting and using chemicals. 

To know what type and how large of a kit you will need you will first have to know what chemicals you are carrying at any given time, how these chemicals may react under multiple conditions and with each other if a spill was to occur.

Spill-kit-bucket.jpgAccidentSpillKevin Stokes2.jpgSweepUpSmall.jpg

According to OSHA; "A spill kit is a collection of items to be used in the immediate response and clean-up of spills, leaks or other discharges of hazardous wastes or other hazardous materials" (chemicals, gas, etc.). "Spill kits should be maintained in close proximity to areas where chemicals are managed or stored to enable prompt response to and clean-up of spills."

Spill kits will come in various sizes and types and a few are those that can handle anything. To know what you will need you first need to check your SDS's for all of the chemicals you use. Then from this information that will determain what kits you will need.

Here are the different types of kits:

Universal or General - These handle most non hazardous, non acid spills and as long as the kit is made to handle the volume of the spill, this in the type everyone needs to carry with any vehicle that transports chemicals. Even if non hazardous it is a good idea to be able to handle a spill on your own. 

Types of Spill kits.png

Oil-Only - Contains absorbent materials made for oils not water. (photo)

HazMat - These contain specialized PPE, absorption materials and removal devices above what a general kit would contain.

acid spill kit.jpgCalgonite spill kit.png

Acid -  Is a type of HazMat kit. These contain specialized PPE, neutralization and adsorption materials in addition to specialized removal containers. Note: Some acid kits are not made to handle hydrofluoric acid so make sure of the neutralizer you get. I recommend Spill-X-A or Calgonate.

OSHA guidelines lists the equipment types that must be in a spill kit: Proper PPE, materials to contain the spill and the materials needed to clean up and remove the spill.

Here is what normally needs to be in any spill kit:

Labeling on outside of the kit container, stating what type of spill kit it is, it may also state the size spill it covers but is not required.

A warning measure, to keep others away from the spill until removed, examples are;

            A-frame floor sign        

            Roll of caution tape

            Hazard cones

PPE, personal protection equipment to use while removing the spill;

            Gloves - hand protection - minimum  

            Eye wear - eye protection - minimum

            Mask - lung protection if needed

            Shoe covers - foot protection if needed

            Can include more when needed for type of spill example; a full face respirator.

Physical barriers to place around the spill used to contain which may not absorb the spill;

            Berm, bumper, sock  

            Drain covers or plugs, to keep spill out of drains and pipes. 

Absorption materials;

            Sand, clay, pads, or other materials to soak up the spill

Removal Items; Broom and pan or shovel, to collect loose soiled material for removal 

Removal containers;

            Bags, or other container that can be sealed to remove spill waste.

The size of the kit can vary as well. Always try to have and use a kit made to handle more chemical than you have spilled, but if you can not, try to limit or contain the spill with the materials you do have on hand. For instance if the only thing you can do is lessen a spills impact by blocking a storm drain, stopping it from travelling down hill or out into a street, do that until additional help arrives, like the fire department. Additional spill kits or other materials can be brought to the contained spill for removal as soon as possible by the first respondors.

There is one big point to this post that you do not have to buy a pre-made kit and there is no such thing as OSHA approved so do not fall for that sales trick. OSHA does not certify any specific brand of kits. But a kit may say conforms to OSHA requirements or be called an OSHA spill kit. But you can make one yourself some times at a much lower cost. That I will cover in next weeks post.

Tags: safety, spill kits, chemicals

How to keep your enclosed trailers cool and safe.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Mon, Aug 01, 2016 @ 01:14 PM

In the heat of the summer it is hard to keep an enclosed work trailer cool. A hot trailer is not only uncomfortable but it can be down right dangerous.

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A hot trailer can allow your employees to over heat if they are having to work in the trailer for even a short amount of time. You can have a fire hazard from things like vapors from gas cans, automatic combustion from chemical soaked rags or towels, The danger of equipment overheating  and catching fire and carbon monoxide poisoning from running engines.

Here are some ideas on how to keep your enclosed trailers cooler and safer during anytime of year but especially in the heat of the summer.

  • If your trailer came with only one rear door, add a second door or a few sets of small windows or vents that can be opened for cross ventailation.windows-enclosed-trailer.jpgSide_vents.jpg
  • Install exhaust vents from all equipment to the outside. Exhausted_hotbox.jpgEngine_vent.jpg
  • Install at least one roof vent and if possible one with a temperature triggered fan. enclosed_ventfan.jpgtemp_controled_vent.jpg
  • If your trailer is a dark color, consider painting or buying one with a white roof to reflect the sun.Blacktrailerwhiteroof.jpg
  • Store gas cans on the outside of the trailer in a lockable cage. lockable_jerry_can.jpgDouble_lock_gascans.jpg
  • Store any gas or chemical rags in a fire proof container that you empty often to be laundered or trashed. oilywastecan.jpg
  • Consider installing a small ac unit to run while you are stationary and have your equipment running.  wall_ac.jpg
  • Install a smoke and carbon monoxide monitor inside the deepest part of the trailer. combo_alarm.jpeg
  • Have a fire extengisher close at hand to knock down a small fire before it gets out of control.FireExt-Grid.jpg

Please try to implement as many of these as you can to have a cooler and safer enclosed work trailer.

Tags: safety, enclosed trailer, keeping cool

Cold weather tips for mobile contractors.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Thu, Jan 07, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

cold_weather.jpg is finally here for most of you and with that special things you need to take care of now and be reminded of before you have a problem.

For those that do not work in the colder weather all equipment and supplies need to be winterized. Washers filled with a RV antifreeze solution. Winterize_with_antifreeze.jpgHoses should also be air dried out and not allowed to freeze where the cold may damage the hose material. The contraction and expansion of freezing and thawing will cause many hoses to get micro cracks which will shorten the life of the hose and possible cause serious safety issues for personnel and equipment later on. You can also apply lubricants or coatings to hoses that you are using out in the cold, to keep their materials supple, to reduce cracking.

For those that will still be working in this cold weather make sure your equipment is is top shape, that you have changed the oils over to cold weather strengths, that you allow your machines to warm up longer and properly before putting a load on them. That your other fluids are at full levels or when possible with small amounts of antifreeze to reduce the chance of freezing. Tires will loose pressure due to the cold temps so be sure to check levels often. Check battery charges often as cold drains them faster. At 32 degrees a fully charged battery only has a 65% cranking capacity while an engines starting requirement can increase from 100 up to 155%. 

Keep liquid chemicals from freezing by keeping them in insulated enclosed boxes or behind wind breaks. Containers should be kept full as possible, as larger volumes of liquids take longer to freeze. You might even consider placing a large cooler on your rig to keep chemicals in, as a cooler will keep cold out and a steady inside temp as well as it does to keep cold in when used as a normal cooler.

And there are other safety issues to consider. Controlling water run off while washing which may freeze causing slip and fall situations. You may need to stock up and carry, signage, litter or ice melt to spread out on walk ways and work areas. Carrying anti slip tire tracks and a small shovel to get a vehicle and trailer out of snow, ice or mud from snow melt if needed.ice_melt_treatment.jpgshoe_tread_covers.jpg

You need to make sure your employees know how to dress and stay dry while working in the cold so not to get hypothermia or frostbite.They need to wear hats, 10-50% of body temp can be lost from the head, waterproof gloves, warm wool socks (not cotton), and waterproof foot wear with non slip treads or added cleats or tread covers. Under garments with moisture wicking action will keep sweat wet away from their skin. Small hand and foot warmers will make it more comfortable to work out in the cold. Wearing a neck gator or scarf placed over your mouth will keep the cold air out of your lungs.

Do not let the colder weather stop you and your workers from drinking and staying hydrated. People tend to not drink as much in the cold which is a mistake when you are still exerting your self even if you can not feel the sweat. Drinking sips of warm drinks will help keep your core temp up but refrain from caffeine usually found in coffee and tea by drinking decaff as caffeine increases blood flow which will cause the body to loose heat faster.

Also stopping to eat small high calorie items like power bars as a snack, even just a few bites at a time, will keep your core temp up as your body will send blood to your stomach to digest it. Working at an even pace will keep you warm where moving too fast will cause you to sweat and burn calories needed to keep you warm that can bring on hypothermia or cause stress to your circulatory system which may bring on a stroke or heart attack.hypothermia.jpg

Remember to be aware of wind chill as it can damage any exposed skin well before you realize it. Know the signs and stages of hypothermia and frost bite. Have employees keep extra socks and 

Try and take frequent rests periods out of the wind and cold to allow your body to warm up but resist the urge to make the rest area hot. Moving from very cold to very hot locations will make you feel colder when you go back out and if the heat has caused you to sweat on your skin the evaporation will cool you down even more rapidly. Be careful if you are using an enclosed rig that it is properly ventilated so not to have dangerous fumes from building up including CO2 and carbon monoxide that you can not smell.

I hope these tips help keep you and your employees warm and safe during the winter cleaning season.

 

Tags: safety, Tips, Health, chemicals

Gearing up for Fall conventions.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Thu, Aug 20, 2015 @ 01:06 PM

Hello all,

I have been very busy getting things ordered for our exhibit booths and Power Points updated or created for our up coming conventions this Fall.

On Sept 10-12th Soap Warehouse will be at the UAMCC event in Charleston, SC. This National Convention is free and contractors that are not even a member yet are invited to come. Just contact me at 800-762-7911 or by e-mail at info@soapwarehouse.biz to request your free VIP tickets to get in. Once you have your ticket you can go and register at the UAMCC website HERE with your ticket number. This way a name card will be ready and waiting for you when you check in. This year it is being held at the Embassy Suites Charleston Area Convention Center Hotel located at 5505 International Blvd. North Charleston, SC 29418. There is a great line up in store for attendees.

UAMCC2015schedule

I will be a speaker for two safety sessions, General "Chemical Safety" on the 11th at 3 pm and then first thing in the morning on the 12th at 7 am to talk about "How to set up OSHA training" for your employees. A very needed and seldom covered topic.

UAMCC2015safetyChip_for_wheel

A few months later on Nov.12-14th Soap Warehouse will be at the PWNA National Convention being held in Charlotte, NC at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel3315 Scott Futrell Dr., Charlotte, NC 28208.

To register for this event you can go HERE and if you pay before Aug. 21st you can save $25. PWNA member cost is $249 additional attendees $149@, non-members $349 with additional attendees $249@.

Both Conventions offer Certification classes, please visit their websites for information and pricing if required.

At the PWNA event I will be giving a brand new talk on "How pH effects cleaning." Many do not realize how pH works and why it is important to understand how your chemicals will work.

At both events we will have an exhibit booth that attendees can come by and take at chance at our prize wheel. This year our theme is "Don't Gamble on your Soap." you can spin and win a chance to draw a poker chip that can be worth $5, $10, $25 or even $50 dollars to use toward any Soap Warehouse product purchase with at the show or later on. Other prizes will be a letter opener, a water bottle or a spray bottle with a Soap Warehouse product already in it where you only have to add water once you get home to have roughly a free quart of product to try out. Product in the free sample bottle will vary.

Our booth will also have a large assortment of product in quarts and gallons for purchase with or without using a chip. Quart prices start at $3 and even the gallons will be $1-$2 lower than our regular prices.

If you would like us to bring an order to either show you are attending, just call and place the order by the Friday prior to that show so we can bring it with us and save you the shipping cost. You will just have to load it and take it home in your own vehicle.

As always we will also have a booth drawing box at the booth and will again be offering a free 60 second professional video produced by iMotion Video, currently a $795.00 value. iMotionPrice

Every business owner that has won this and are using their video love the traffic it generates their business. Some even use their's at Home Shows to draw people over to their booth. Other uses are on your website, to link to from e-mail or Facebook ads. Video gets people's attention and creates business.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at these events and will be excited to met and talk with you.

 

 

 

Tags: UAMCC, safety, PWNA, conventions, speaking, exhibiting

May 3-9th is Safety Week.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Fri, May 01, 2015 @ 12:57 PM

There are two ways for your employees to work while on the job, safely or unsafely. Everyday at every second an employee has and makes the choice of which it will be. This is a voluntarily action and unfortunately is one where the employer can not force compliance even if you were standing right with everyone of them all day long. Employers can only teach and preach safety and hope that the employees understand it is in their best interests as well.

SafetyWeek

The Top 10 reasons why employees need to buy in to work safety.

10. To maintain production/performance numbers. Nothing slows down work faster than an injury. Employers need to praise and admire good safety performance. As workers feel valued for their working safely they will get others to do the same.

9. To become a person of influence. Employees that follow safety protocols without being forced shows others how to make good choices and becomes an influencer and team leader regardless of whether they hold a management or supervisory position.

8. To set themselves up for promotion. Employers see and more often promote smart and cooperative employees. Not ones that make stupid decisions and risk theirs and others safety on the job.

7. To get positive recognition. Awards, promotions and bonuses go to good performers and good performers are most likely the ones with good safety values. Employees are negatively noticed when they are not following safety rules dragging everyone else on the crew down with them.

6. To remove friction and drama. When employees follow safety rules there is no need for the employee to be chastised, scolded or singled out making them look inept. Voluntarily following safety guidelines and procedures allows things to run smoothly.

5. To maintain job security. When times get tight and cut backs are needed those employees that can not follow the rules including those for safety will be the first to go.

4. To have a good retirement. It is already hard enough to plan for retirement employees do not need to add on to that a physical disability that was caused by a work accident from not following safety procedures.

3. To plan for a long career. Employees need and want to build their work experience and create a upward moving ladder of opportunities and with all that goes with that. Not working safety may wreak that or be left to chance.

2. To allow family to worry less. The bread winner of a family should want to protect that family; physically, emotionally and financially. It is hard to do that if your family has to be worried about your safety and that they will be taken care of.

1. To maintain a positive cash flow. Even if an employer supplies or the employee buys the best insurance coverage possible, if they are catastrophically injured at work. not everything will be covered. And eventually the coverage will stop along with the cash flow and then were would you be? Better safe than sorry, follow all safety rules 100% of the time.

Tags: safety

It is Winter, so let's talk about deicers.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Wed, Jan 07, 2015 @ 12:32 PM

Many of you work through the Winter months and therefore you are working outside with water in the cold that can freeze into ice. So at some point you are going to have to face the issue of having ice in and around your work areas even when using hot water machines.

To counter the water freezing you most likely will want to use a deicing product, like ice melt, to keep things safe. 

Icemeltbrands

But there is a right an wrong way to use these products and many different types of ice melts to choose from so let's go over them now. 

Nearly all deicers are made from one, or a blend of, five chemical materials: calcium chloride, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and urea. What makes these products different will be how quickly they work and at what temperatures. This is determined by whether the deicer releases or absorbs heat upon contact with snow and ice. 

The fastest acting are the exothermic deicers, which release heat via chemical reaction and are effective at the widest range of temperatures. Calcium chloride granules for instance is effective down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Faster acting, lower temp products will cost you more as a rule.

Icemeltgranuls

 

The slower acting deicers are the endothermic or those that need the sun's heat to break down ice into brine. These work more slowly and since they depend on the sun may not work when you need them too. These will be less expensive and have an higher effective temperature range, like sodium chloride granules that only get down to about -20 degrees Fahrenheit. 

There is also the consideration of residue. You do not want to leave your customer with a mess to clean up after you have cleaned their property so well. Some ice melt like those containing sodium chloride will leave a white powdery residue that if tracked into a home or business can damage floor finishes and carpet fibers. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride can leave behind an oily residue that can damage urethane or wax finishes used on wood floors and can be very slippery on hard surfaces and is a dirt attracter in carpets.

Icemeltedsidewalk

 

Make sure your customers are aware that you have used a deicing product on their property and instruct them to wipe their feet so not to track the residue into their location and to rinse the product off once the temperatures have risen enough for ice to no longer be an issue. If possible you should do the rinsing to remove the product yourself before leaving the job. But do what is safest.

 

Now let us move back to the correct way to use these products.

 

Application is key to getting the best result as the lowest possible cost. I know it is hard, but first thing you need to do is read the directions for that specific product. Just because you have used a deicer in the past does not mean the one you are planning on using now is applied in the same way.

 

Many that you have been use to required you to wear gloves, like with calcium or magnesium chloride but there are some newer "Green" products that are safe to handle. Check to see if the product lists any surface it can not be applied on, like concrete less than a year old or asphalt. There are shaker bottles you can use to keep your hands off the products as well. saltspreader

More is not better with deicers. Know what the coverage ratios are for the product, which can vary greatly for instance, 2 lbs per 100 square feet vs. 4 lbs per 500. I think it is best to use a mechanical spreader and not just your hands or a scoop to get the best distribution of the product. I suggest to buy a cheap hand crank seed spreader and store it with the deicer. handcrankspreader

You also do not have to cover the entire work area. Around the edges and a few passes down the middle or in pie cuts will be enough as the product will dissolve with the ice into liquid and spread out treating the entire work area. If you are spreading it out as a preventative place where the water is most likely be, to collect and freeze. 

Check out some of the newer deicers that now can come in colors, making it easier to see where they have been applied and are much safer for us, landscape and pets. There are even liquids that you could apply with a pump up sprayer on top of any areas you get wet to prevent them from freezing over.

green_fire_largeLiquidDeicerjpg

 

But the biggest mistake contractors make with deicers, is not using them at all. Do not set your self up for a law suit or employee injury just because you don't want to spend a few bucks to remove or keep ice out of your work area on a job.

Here is to all of you having a safe Winter.

 

Tags: Winter work, safety, deicers

Keeping safe in the Summer

Posted by Linda Chambers on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 @ 08:00 AM

Keeping your crews safe and working in the Summer should not be hard or expensive but there are things you can do that will make a difference in them wanting and being able to do the work you need them to do the entire summer.

First have your equipment working in tip top shape and that includes the A/C in your trucks. Although it is not good for workers to experience a large temp shift going in and out of a vehicle while working (from the Sahara to the Arctic), having the A/C set at a reasonable temp, 10 degrees cooler than the outside temp, with a large volume of air moving does help.

Have plenty of water available while at work. Large plastic water coolers, like Igloosigloos resized 600 are a good investment for your employees. Every worker should have there own water bottle that they can fill from the cooler. Remember they should be consuming at least 8-12 oz of water per hour while working outside.

Tip: Save on the cost of buying ice; clean and use 1/2 gal or quart size (juice or milk) bottles filled with water that you freeze over night in your work freezer (or at home). You can fit 3-4 of these at the bottom of the cooler before filling it each day and the ice bottles will slowly melt and even when the cooler is empty the melted bottles can be poured out and used them selves. Have extras and each morning when you take the frozen ones out put new ones in and they will be ready for the next morning.

Make sure everyone has and wears a hat and UV sun glasses. Wide brims are better then baseball caps but anything helps. If your uniform or employees own shirts are short sleeved ask them to use sun screen. Long pants and water proof shoes are best to work in but can be hot. Suggest light cotton instead of jeans for pants and suggest thin moisture wicking socks instead of the heavy cotton which will trap sweat and become even heavier. Heat escapes the most from the head and feet, keeping the feet hot can really make you feel worse. Materials should be light weight but tight weaved or come with UV protection in the fabric if possible.

Believe it or not but Dollar Stores like the chain "Dollar Tree" can be both you and your employees best friend. They carry many things for summer. You or your employees can spend around $5 per person and be set for all day in the sun.

Things you can get for $1:

Neck bands that you can soak in cold water that contain water gel beads that expand and then retain the cold that you tie around the neck. These are a Great value. I use these myself when working outside or down at hunt camp and they are great.

Sun Screen Sticks UV rated 30-50 in packs of 2-4 (depends on the store) great for the face, ears and neck. They also carry sun screen in liquid and sprays.

UV lip balm, because almost 70% of lip cancer is from the sun, not tobacco products.

UV Sun Glasses, even ones that wrap around, to stop eye sun exposure. May not be the most fashionable and supplies vary but at least worth a look, plus not a big loss when they are lost or break. Be sure to check that they are UV, some of them are not.

Water bottles. They have all types, plastic and metal, and in all sizes, shop around to find what you like. Some even have belt clips or loops. waterbottles resized 600

Fine mist spray bottles. Keeping a spray bottle with cold water in it that employees can mist on themselves will help keep body temps down, fend off heat stroke and allows evaporation from dampening clothing keeping them cooler.

Tip: these bottles can also be put in the freezer half filled with water so more water can be added beginning of the day and lets the ice melt over time.

Hats or visors. They may not be a fashion statement but I have seen some nicer ones sometimes. Keep checking and when you find one you like buy 2-3.

Small hand fans or clip on fans. Even though you have to spend another $1 for batteries these little fans can help a lot when used while sitting in the shade on a break to cool you down.

Dollar Tree even has a web site where you can buy items direct by the case so you do not have to go looking for them. Check out http://www.dollartree.com products change all the time so check often.

If you want to spend a little more money, then head to a Wal-mart or similar and buy the spray bottles with the built in fans. Those mist and blow air at the same time. spray mist bottle resized 600

OSHA does not have set rules as to how much water you need to supply, just that you do. They do not require employers to supply clothes, sun screen, UV sun glasses or other sun protection items but anything you want and can give your employees will make them feel like a well thought of and valuable member of your business.

But Please follow OSHA guidelines they do suggest  https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3166/osha3166.html 

and OSHA also has a new Summer campaign "Water. Rest. Shade." that you can read about here; https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/work_rest_schedules.html 

Have a great rest of your Summer and stay safe.

 

 

 

Tags: OSHA, safety, Summer

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