CERTIFIEDSAFETY SAFETY TIP LIBRARY
CertifiedSafety relies on knowing, understanding, explaining, and implementing best-in-class safety—within our company and at our customer’s locations.
We’ve packaged selected learnings, practices, and methods to help you do better at safety. Whether you’re an individual concerned with safety or a top-level leader in your organization you will benefit from the information below.
Safety starts with you and your commitment to create, promote, and support a safety culture within yourself and your organization. Go ahead, get started. You have nothing to lose.
Distracted Driving. Know the Facts
Prevent Hand Injuries
Clearly, our hands are vital tools for performing a myriad of essential life and work functions, not to mention the fact that they are one of our primary points of contact with the world around us. Yet the data suggests that far too many people are putting their hands at risk – and paying a steep price. Not only are there an estimated 110,000 lost time hand injuries annually, but hand injuries send more than one million workers to the emergency room each year. In addition to the physical harm that hand injuries pose to workers, they also have financial implications. The average hand injury claim has now exceeded $6,000, with each lost time workers’ compensation claim reaching nearly $7,500, according to the BLS and the National Safety Council. When you consider these statistics, the overall drain on employee productivity is apparent.
Below are several ways to reduce hand injuries in your own facility through the implementation of a hand safety program:
- Identify trends or patterns related to incidents of hand injuries in your facilities. A trend analysis should be based on a combination of lagging (reactive) and leading (proactive) performance indicators. For example, a facility could measure the number of reportable hand injuries (lagging), while also measuring the reduction of risks associated with the hazards that contribute to hand injuries (leading). The analysis of these trends enables facility management to gain a better understanding of the types of hand injuries employees are experiencing and what behaviors or work tasks may be leading to those injuries.
- Perform a job-hazard analysis, or job-hazard assessment. A job-hazard analysis is a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur. It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment.
- Confirm that required hand protection meets or exceeds regulatory standards. Once the appropriate hand protection has been identified, make sure that hand protection is the correct type, model, and size according to regulatory standards per each specific “glove on” task requiring the use of hand protection.
- Provide employee training. It’s important that all employees utilizing hand protection also be trained initially and on a reoccurring basis, when new hand protection is required and/or provided and if evaluation indicates training deficiency is noted. Training should address the tasks for which hand protection use is required and potential hazards of tasks, what hand protection is required, how to wear the hand protection, limitations of the hand protection and proper use and care of hand protection, maintenance, inspections, service life, and disposal.
- Conduct periodic audits to ensure continued compliance – Maintaining compliance is critical when working to reduce hand injuries. Periodic audits should be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of current hand protection strategies and policies, as well as to adjust hand protection requirements as needed. Audits should include observations of employee work habits during a variety of job tasks. This will help determine whether employees are following procedures and wearing required PPE.
By encouraging PPE compliance and having a well-grounded culture that values safety and shared accountability, workplaces are safer and more productive.
Health/Safety Alert - Illness Etiquette
Hacking cough? Aching muscles? High fever? Sidelong glances from your coworkers and customers?
Do yourself and everyone a favor–stay at home!
Allow your body to fight the virus and become well again. Since your body is working hard to become well again, your energy and concentration is less likely to be at its peak. This will affect your productivity. Furthermore, you put others at risk of becoming ill because the surfaces you touch (desks, computers, phones, door knobs, pens, etc.) can remain contaminated for up to two hours after you handle them. So, instead of one person being out for one day, several more may easily become infected and be out for a few days. “And he infected two people, and she infected three, and so on, and so on…” The issue of one person’s productivity has now turned into multiple!
Here are some preventative ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick.
Wash your hands: In addition to staying home, there are easy, non-vaccination things you can do to protect yourself and others from catching a virus. One key is the washing of the hands. In fact, this is one of the most important things you can do.
Frequently washing your hands dislodges and washes away germs that you’ve picked up from other people or contaminated surfaces. Hand-washing may even prevent other serious diseases-like hepatitis A, meningitis, and other infectious virus–if made a habit.
A boiled-down primer on how to wash your hands:
- use soap and warm water
- rub and scrub all surfaces of your hands vigorously
- wash for 15-20 seconds
When should you wash your hands? “Frequently” is one answer, but here are some good times to wash your hands: before, during, and after you prepare food; before you eat; after you use the bathroom; after handling animals or animal waste; when your hands are dirty; when someone in your home is sick.
Tissues, sleeves, pens, and more: While washing your hands is one manner of prevention, here are some other tips to protect yourself and others…
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; dispose of the tissue.
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid sharing or lending pens. Bring your own writing utensils to meetings.
- Beware of the office kitchen. Keep it clean.
- If you get the flu, avoid exposing others. Again, stay home from work!
If you do become ill, here are steps you can take for treatment. Go to the doctor, get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids, and remember that over-the-counter medications help to relieve symptoms, not cure them. And did we say, “Stay home from work”?
Keep yourself healthy. Preventive measures might save you some suffering and a little money by avoiding a trip to the doctor. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
According to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 39% of the 330,000 medically-treated injuries attributed to manual workshop tools in the United States involved knives. That equates to approximately 129,000 workers in the US alone, requiring professional medical attention yearly due to improper use of knives. From state to state OSHA shows hand injuries/lacerations account for 8-12% of total lost time injuries, ranking 3rd behind Slips/Trips/Falls and Bruises/Contusions, respectively.
Don’t become one of these numbers.
To prevent accidents while cutting, emphasize these safe work practices:
- Always cut in a motion away from the body, and away from other people. This way, if the knife slips, it won’t cut the worker or a person standing next to the worker.
- Keep the other hand, fingers, and thumbs out of the way when cutting. Wherever possible, secure your work with clamps or other mechanical means. If you have to grip the object being cut, make sure to cut away from the hand.
- Wear cut resistant gloves when working with open blade cutting tools. Proper PPE can prevent cuts from both the cutting device and the material being cut.
- Stay focused on the cutting job. It only takes a second of inattention with a sharp blade to produce a serious cut. Letting the mind wander or talking with others while using a knife greatly increases the risk of an accident and injury. Make sure that when interrupted while working with a cutting device, you stop cutting, retract the blade, and place the knife down on a secure surface before dealing with the interruption. Never continue cutting while distracted!
- Handle cutting tools properly. Inspect your cutting tools before each use. Make sure that when you hand tools to another person you hand them handle first. Do not run with scissors – your Mom was right.
- Store cutting tools safely. Never, ever, leave a knife with the blade exposed on the floor, on a pallet, on a work surface, or in a tool box, drawer or cabinet.
- Leave your pocket knife at home. There is no job at the refinery where a pocket knife is the best tool for the job. You have the time to select and use the right tool for the job.
When cutting anything, the first question to ask yourself needs to be “Is this the best tool for this job?”
Too often we use the wrong tool (like a 6” open bladed knife or a Leatherman style multi-tool) because it is what we have handy rather than choosing the best tool for the task. These are the tools we should be using for cutting.
- Concealed blade cutters – There are a variety of cutting tools available where the blade is safely concealed. These are useful for cutting plastic sheeting, shrink wrap, paper/plastic sacks, cardboard, packing straps,
- Snips, scissors, side cutters, sheers, etc. – These tools are good for cutting plastic ties, cord, tape, wire, and similar items.
Self-retracting and shielded utility knives – There are some jobs where a utility knife is needed to make a precision cut (i.e., trimming gaskets). If a utility knife is the best tool for the job, use one with a self-retracting or shielded blade and use cut resistant gloves. This will minimize the potential for cutting yourself or others.
Value Health/Well Being of Ourselves and Others
Wellness is not just the opposite of sickness; it’s a way of life that shows you care enough about yourself to stay healthy. At CertifiedSafety one of our core values is to “Value the Health and Well Being of Ourselves and Others.” Good living habits can prevent illnesses, reduce medical bills, make you feel more energetic so that you can participate in activities after work and help you live a longer, happier life.
Illness can result from too much smoking, drinking, drugs, junk foods, caffeine, and stress, and not enough exercise, rest, and good nutrition.
A good means of working against bad habits is to start a good habit—exercise! This can be done at any age. Exercise will help you keep your weight down without strict dieting, reduce stress and tension, and lessen your use of cigarettes and alcohol. It will also strengthen your heart, muscles, and bones, increase your energy level, and help you sleep more soundly.
You don’t have to be an athlete to exercise. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do. You can walk almost anywhere, and no expensive special equipment is required. Walk outdoors in good weather, as the sunshine and fresh air will add even more benefits to the exercise. Walking with your spouse or a friend makes the time go by more quickly and pleasantly.
To get the greatest benefits and the fewest strains from exercising:
- Consult with your doctor before starting, especially if you have a chronic condition.
- Warm up before each session by stretching slowly.
- Build up your exercise time to at least 20 minutes per session 3 to 5 times per week.
- Don’t overdo it. You should be able to feel you have worked your unused muscles but not be in pain or agony.
- Cool down after exercise with more stretching or a less exerting exercise after each session.
While it won’t happen overnight, a program of exercise and more healthful living (without those bad habits) will make you look better, perform better at work, feel better, sleep better—and live longer.
Good Working Positions
To understand the best way to set up a computer workstation, it is helpful to understand the concept of neutral body positioning. This is a comfortable working posture in which your joints are naturally aligned. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system and reduces your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).
The following are important considerations when attempting to maintain neutral body postures while working at the computer workstation:
- Keep your elbows at your side, tucked close to your body, and forearms parallel to the floor or tilted slightly downward (wrists slightly lower than elbows) to prevent nerve compression at your elbow.
- Use a chair that has good back support and position yourself close to the keyboard so that you don’t have to overextend your arms.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- Keep your head and neck straight and facing forward.
- Keep your wrists in line with your forearms and not angled up or down or turned in or out.
Regardless of how good your working posture is, working in the same posture or sitting still for prolonged periods is not healthy. You should change your working position frequently throughout the day in the following ways:
- Make small adjustments to your chair or backrest.
- Stretch your fingers, hands, arms, and torso.
- Stand up and walk around for a few minutes periodically
Hand Injuries Safety Tip
Hand injuries are a common workplace safety issue, which is not surprising since so much work is done with the hands. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there are about 250,000 serious hand, finger and wrist injuries in private industry each year. In a recent year about 8,000 of these injuries required amputation.
Even a minor hand injury can get infected and lead to lost workdays, medical expenses and more serious health problems. The best way to prevent any hand injuries to your employees and to protect them against hand hazards is to follow one simple strategy: Provide employees with the right gloves for the job.
Here’s what you need to think about when selecting gloves. In addition to identifying actual or potential hand hazards, you also need to think about such things as:
- How employees use their hands when they perform specific tasks
- How often and how long they perform those tasks
- How much manual dexterity is required for each task
- How great the risk of exposure is for each hand hazard
- How to ensure a good fit (because a glove that doesn’t fit right won’t protect correctly and may even create new hazards)
Considerations like these will help you determine the right kind of glove for each job that requires hand protection.
Then, all you have to do is match the glove to the hazards and conditions. For example, you might require employees to wear:
- Cotton gloves to keep hands clean, improve grip, insulate from mild heat or cold, and provide some protection from cuts and scrapes
- Leather gloves to protect against rough surfaces, sharp edges, objects that can cut or puncture skin, and sparks and heat that can cause burns
- Rubber gloves to protect hands from strong cleaning products and moisture, as well as to provide insulation when working with electricity
- Disposable gloves for protection against mild skin irritants as well as bacteria and viruses
- Chemical-resistant gloves (e.g., nitrile, neoprene, rubber, polyvinyl) to protect hands against hazardous chemicals (when the hazard is chemical, be sure to consult the MSDS for recommendations about glove selection)
- Temperature-resistant gloves to protect against extreme heat or cold
- Metal mesh gloves to protect against cuts and amputations when sharp instruments or objects are being handled
- Shock-absorbing gloves to protect against repetitive motion stress and vibration