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Safety Threads: What's Protecting You

All PPE is NOT Created Equally

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For every dollar spent on PPE OSHA estimates $4 are saved in costs from work-related health care and productivity losses. A coating, a textile structure, or interweaving of common place threads are all that stand between you and a life altering injury. Do you know exactly what goes into making these superhuman products? When developing products that will protect against hazards such as, a chemical spill, a fire, abrasion, or general workplace injury. There are many different approaches that go into protecting the end user.

Here are some important terms to know to help you better select your safety options in the future. When it comes to the selection of materials the rates below can differ depending on weight, density, weave, elasticity, and even color.

  •  Permeation rate: the rate at which the chemical will move through the material. For example a more tightly woven material will provide greater protection than a fabric you can see right through. The higher the permeation rate the less protective the material.
  • Breakthrough rate: the time it takes a chemical to permeate completely through the material. Breakthrough is measured using a standardized test ASTM F739
  • Degradation: measurement of the physical breakdown of a material due to contact with a chemical. The slower the rate the more protective the product is. Signs of degradation include swelling, stiffening, wrinkling, changes in color and other physical deterioration.
  • Inherent: materials that have resistance built into their chemical fiber structures. This can never be worn away or washed out. For example aramid fibers are lightweight and extraordinarily strong, with five times the strength of steel on an equal-weight basis.
  • Treated: materials that are made resistant by the application of chemical additives. These treatments wear over time and will no longer provide protection. For example polyethylene coatings are applied to materials to increase their ability to repel liquids, as well as dry particulates

It is important to remember that just because a product is certified doesn’t mean it is the best cost effective option. Naturally products with a longer breakthrough rate made up of inherent materials will cost more than treated products.

No industry is completely safe whether you work in healthcare, manufacturing, construction, mining, chemical handling; all of these industries come with their own set of dangers. Keep in mind, there is no single solution to protect against all hazards, make sure the product you are selecting matches the hazard you are protecting against.


Whistleblowers Protection Act

What you need to know

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As many already know OSHA takes whistleblower protection very seriously and is stepping up protection for those who speak out against non-compliant and unsafe working conditions. Many workers often fear the repercussions if they speak up about unpleasant circumstances that often include intimidation, threats, reduced pay/hours or even firing.

However companies argue that new whistleblower protection interferes with their ability to effectively run their business without being falsely accused of discrimination. OSHA combats this way of thinking by making it clear that as long as companies can reasonably prove that the disciplinary action was proportional to the infraction, applied consistently to other employees and was based on clear rules and instructions there will be no problems.

Clear protocol has also been implemented for placing a complaint. For most cases reports must be filed within 30 days of the alleged discrimination. OSHA will then determine whether retaliation took place based on whether:

  • The employee engaged in protected activity
  • The employer knew about or suspected the protected activity
  • The employer took an adverse action
  • The protected activity motivated or contributed to the adverse action

The best practice is always to provide a safe workplace to avoid any mishaps and future allegations of wrongdoing. Make sure your facility is up to code today!

For more information on whistleblower rights and protections click here.

 


 

Clean = Safe

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Poor housekeeping creates hazards and invites unwanted accidents. The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards. Housekeeping hazards fall into the category of recognized hazards. Maintaining a clean and healthy workplace in high traffic areas such as aisles, stairways, storage, and offices goes a long way in preventing problems before they happen.

Some of the most common workplace hazards that arise from an unorganized workplace are:

  •  Slips from slick or wet floors or platforms
  • Trips from objects or materials left in walkways and work areas
  • Falls from holes in walking and working surfaces,
  • Uneven flooring, uncovered pits or drains, and boxes and pallets used instead of adequate platforms
  • Collisions caused by poorly stored materials, or equipment stored in aisles
  • Fire hazards created by piles of combustible scrap and trash,
  • Improperly stored flammable materials, and blocked emergency exits
  • Chemical hazards caused by leaking or damaged containers,

Eliminating these problems before they become disruptions in the workplace is quite easy, and provides many benefits to a facilities productivity and workplace moral including:

  •  Preventing accidents and fire hazards
  • Maintaining safe and healthy working conditions
  • Saving time, money, materials, space, and effort
  • Boosting employee interaction and traffic flow
  • Reflecting an image of a well-run organization
  • Increased productivity and workplace morale

Stop safety accidents before they start.


Workplace Safety News

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New Innovative Tool Introduced to Reduce workplace Injury

Recently, a new and innovative ergonomic tool has been introduced: a flexible finger cot, which protects workers against excess strains on the thumb joints while carrying out certain assembly activities at the BMW Group’s Munich plant. Each finger cots is made specifically for its user. This innovation shows the importance of keeping workers injury free and is sure to increase productivity.

Learn more about this, click here.

US sugar plant removed safety device 13 days before temp worker’s death

A federal report on the accident that killed a temporary worker, who was buried alive in sugar reveals how deeply rooted the problems are—and how difficult a challenge OSHA faces in changing the way temp workers are treated. The warehouse manager told OSHA that he had complained repeatedly to upper management about the dangers of becoming engulfed while unclogging the sugar hopper that claimed this workers life. He said he had asked the plant manager for a safety device to prevent clogging, but the plant manager said “we can’t do that” because of financial constraints.

To read more about this story click here.

Top Safety Concerns in the Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing facilities are riddled with risks, both hidden and out in the open such as, Exposed wires, fatigued workers and poorly maintained equipment. If you don’t know where to begin looking, such hazards can result in serious injury or death.

Click here to find out which hazards top the list.