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Safety Matters Vol. 1: Foolproof First Aid

In most cases, accidents that occur at our work sites are minor. However, the more serious ones can result in severe injury or death if we fail to take the proper action. Even if you have never received first-aid training, there are a few steps you can follow if someone is hurt.

If an injury occurs that appears to be life-threatening, specific steps should be taken. If possible, call 9-1-1 immediately. In addition, remember the following:

  1. Always adhere to the guide- lines of universal precautions, including wearing gloves when treating injury victims.
  2. In the event of electrical shock, do not touch the victim if he or she is in contact with a live current. Instead, take the following actions:
    • Turn off the main power switch
    • Check the victim for a heart-beat and breathing
    • If necessary, begin cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (If possible, lay the person down with his or her legs elevated.)
  3. If a co-worker is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound. Use a sterile bandage or cloth. Keep the wounded area elevated, and try to keep the victim's head lower than the trunk to prevent fainting.

         If bleeding continues, you may need to apply direct pressure to the artery supplying blood to the injured area. To do this, press down on the appropriate pres-sure point. Pressure points are located on the inside of the arm just above the elbow and just below the armpit. On the leg, they are just behind the knee and in the groin. If blood soaks through the cloth, do not remove it. Add another cloth on top of it.

  4. If the bleeding is the result of an amputation, place the amputated part in a plastic bag with ice and send it to the hospital with the victim.
  5. If you have never received first-aid training, call out for a co- worker who is trained in first aid. While waiting, do not move the victim unless it is absolutely neccessary. Have someone retrieve a first-aid kit. Check to see whether the victim is breathing. If you don't know what to do, try to keep the victim calm until help arrives.

Safety Tips

Nine Tips to Avoid Hand Injuries in the Warehouse

How many of your workers need to lift boxes, crates or other materials or equipment during the course of the workday? While the primary safety concern related to lifting is back injury, it is also important for workers to take care of their hands. In fact, a large percentage of work-related injuries involve the hands and fingers.

The good news is that there are many things you can train your workers to do in order to keep their hands and fingers safe. Here are a few of them

  1. Always check materials for slivers, jagged or sharp edges, burrs, and rough or slippery surfaces.
  2. Use gloves or other hand protectors when appropriate. Be sure to wear the correct kind of gloves for the task.
  3. Grasp objects with a firm grip.
  4. Know the equipment. Keep fingers away from pinch points.
  5. Keep hands away from the ends of boards, pipes or other long objects.
  6. Always wipe off wet, greasy, slippery or dirty materials before handling them.
  7. Keep hands free of oil and grease.
  8. Check to see if there are handles available before lifting heavy or awkward items, such as auto batteries.
         Use tongs to feed material into metal-forming machines and use baskets to carry laboratory samples.
  9. Make sure hands and fingers are clear before putting down a heavy load.

Supervisor Corner

How to Handle Workplace Accidents

The rate of workplace accidents that involve serious bodily harm or death has diminished drastically over the past two decades, thanks to a host of federal safety regulations set in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

However, many frontline supervisors and managers are often unprepared as to what actions they should take when a workplace accident or injury occurs.

Steps to Follow

Experts say supervisors should adhere to the following steps after a serious workplace accident:

  • Send a message that the injury is being taken seriously. Don't minimize the importance of the event.
  • Assure the victim that you are taking charge, and seeking immediate and appropriate care.
  • Assess the seriousness of the injury. If the worker experiences loss of consciousness, excessive bleeding, chest pain or amputation, call 9-1-1. If the injury is not life-threatening, and the worker appears stable and composed, assist in the immediate transfer to a nearby clinic for a full medical assessment.
  • Stay with the employee during medical transport and demonstrate your concern during post recovery periods. Studies have shown that employees recover faster when supervisors and other company personnel assure them that they are valued team members.
  • Assign another supervisor or worker to secure the accident area immediately to prevent further injuries.
  • Conduct an investigation. Gather statements from employees and other witnesses in order to be as descriptive as possible regarding where, when and how the accident occurred.
  • Submit accident and injury reports in a timely and organized manner.
  • Provide proof and reassurance to other workers that action is being taken to correct any problems.