Taking Action Safety Talk

There are many variables for success in anything you do. At work there are many qualities in those individuals who are viewed as people who get things done and are effective in their position. One key attribute that successful people share is that they take action. Taking action is the foundation in succeeding at whatever you are trying to get accomplished. This basic principle is very important for success in every aspect in your work including working safe.

taking action toolbox talkTaking Action to Work Safe

Safety is one thing that does not happen by accident. Massive thought and action are necessary to ensure all workers at a jobsite go home healthy each day. This thought and action begins at the highest levels of management before work even begins and makes its way down to each individual worker completing their tasks for the day. Management can provide all of the training, resources, tools, equipment, etc. needed to work safely but if each individual worker does not take action to utilize these things then it is wasted effort.

An example of this at the most basic level is hazard identification. A large amount of time each year is spent on training employees to recognize hazards. While recognizing hazards is extremely important, it is only the start of the process to ensure safety during a work task. After hazards are identified, action needs to be taken to mitigate or eliminate the hazard. Workers who only identify hazards but do not take action to mitigate them still leave exposure to risk for everyone in that work area. Without action nothing gets done. Taking action to work safely can manifest itself in various ways.

Examples of Taking Action to Work Safer

  • Involving the right personnel to get hazards corrected
  • Stopping work to take the time to make a work task safe before proceeding
  • Taking ownership of a problem and seeing it through that it gets corrected
  • Communicating hazards or mitigation actions to coworkers
  • Asking for help to understand how to do a task safer or more efficiently when you do not understand

Proactive Versus Reactive Safety Approach

Related imageMany of the safety rules and procedures that are in place were “written in blood”, meaning they came about from a previous incident that caused an injury, property loss incident, or a fatality. When we implement a safeguard after an incident occurs we are taking a reactive approach to safety. We can look at the majority of rules and procedures that we follow today as a proactive approach towards safety, however many of them came from a reactive position. Something bad had to happen first before many of the rules and procedures were put into place.

Being proactive is the best way to approach safety in the workplace. Addressing and eliminating hazards before work begins should be a main goal of a company’s safety program. Many workers or the management in some companies would rather take a reactive approach with some hazards rather than being proactive and eliminating them up front. This mindset puts everyone onsite and the company as a whole at risk for an incident or injury.

Proactive Versus Reactive Example

An operator is on an excavator in an already tight work area. A crew that has a work task next to him decides to park in his work area. The crew is not aware of the scope of work for the operator’s task and that is why they did not recognize the hazard of parking there. This makes his job even more difficult to complete. Instead of the operator asking the crew to move their vehicles to a safer location or contact his supervisor he decides he can probably squeeze by the vehicles to complete his work. Ten minutes later he turns his excavator around and in the process hits two of the crew’s vehicles with his counterweight.

If he were to took a proactive approach towards the hazard of the vehicles in his work area this incident would not have happened. He could have stopped his work and asked the crew to move their vehicles to eliminate the hazard of hitting them. This small decision could have made a big difference.

Instead, there will be a site shutdown to complete an incident investigation. The investigation takes time and money to complete. There will be a large cost to fix the vehicles. Individuals could be written up in result of the incident. New procedures and rules will be implemented to prevent a similar incident from occurring.

Being proactive sometimes takes time to do successfully. To eliminate some hazards it takes thought and planning to do correctly. Other times, like in the example, a two minute conversation to move the vehicle could save hours of downtime, money, and stress for everyone involved.

What Can Hurt Me Today?

Every day before our work begins we should go through some type of process to evaluate the work for the day as well as the associated hazards. This process can include a self-check as well as a work area inspection and inspection of tools or equipment. During this process a main objective should be identifying hazards so that you can take steps to eliminate or mitigate the hazards found. One useful question to ask yourself before a work task begins is: “What can hurt me?”.

Questions to ask to work safelyAsking this Question as a Tool

Sure, it may seem very dark and negative to ask yourself this right as your work day is starting or when starting a new work task, but it can be the difference in recognizing the hazard that could injure you or someone else that day. Asking this question should trigger you to stop and really look around your work area and consider what dangers you are dealing with. Identifying uncontrolled hazards should be a top priority before starting any work task. Taking ownership of these hazards and seeing them through to get corrected is necessary for a safe workplace.

Taking Ownership of Mitigating Hazards

Identifying hazards is not worth much if you do not see it through that they are properly addressed. Even if you spot something and make a mental note to avoid that hazard it could seriously injure someone else in the area. Take the time and energy to properly mitigate the hazard so not only will you not be affected by it, but also your coworkers will not be either.

Summary

While a positive mindset and attitude are important for success in the workplace, asking yourself critical questions such as “what can hurt me today?” can trigger you take the extra time to really evaluate a work task. Take ownership of hazards in your work area and see them through that they get fixed. After all you never know what safeguard or action may make the difference in preventing an injury.

Being Client-focused in the Construction Industry

Have you ever heard the term client-focused? For employees who are not in a management role they may not give much attention to the term “client-focused”, but in the construction industry every employee should consider the importance of being client-focused.

What Does Being Client-focused Mean?

Being client-focused means keeping the client’s (or project owner’s) best interests in mind when completing your work. In the construction industry, the general contractor or project owner almost always has a high regard for safety for all subcontracted employees on their worksite followed by productivity. If a worker is client-focused then keeping the client’s best interests in mind would mean they are approaching their work both safely and efficiently as best as they possibly can.

Examples of Being Client-focused

  • Following all safe work practices and company specific safety procedures when completing work.
  • Approaching work with forethought and keeping in mind any possible negative impacts that could result from poorly executed work.
  • Ultimately treating how you approach your work as if you were the one who owned the end outcomes – good and bad outcomes.

Being Client Focused Construction IndustryBeing Client-focused is Important for All Employees

By completing work from a client-focused standpoint, you ensure you are representing your company well which often leads to additional work from the same client. It also leads to earning work with other companies who are involved in the project. Earning more work ensures all employees will continue to have jobs even after that specific project ends.

Approaching work in this manner not only means that there are less injuries and property damage incidents on the job as a whole, but each individual worker also can reap the benefits of additional work.

Hand Injury and Prevention Safety Talk

We use our hands for virtually every task we do at work and because of this fact they are commonly injured on the job. Keeping our hands and fingers out of harm’s way at work is critical. A serious injury to an individual’s hands or fingers results in a huge negative impact on their ability to work and overall quality of life. While gloves are the most common form of PPE found in the workplace, hand injuries are still the second leading type of injury on the job.

Hand Injury Statistics 

  • There are 110,000 lost time cases due to hand injuries annually.
  • 1 million workers are treated in an ER for hand injuries annually.
  • 70% of workers who experienced a hand injury were not wearing gloves.
  • Another 30% of victims had gloves on, but they were damaged or inadequate for the work task.

Three Common Types of Hand Injuries

  1. Lacerations are the most common type of hand injuries. Lacerations are due to sharp objects or tools. Often hand injury and preventioninadequate gloves are used during an activity that involves a sharp tool. A glove with Kevlar is effective in protecting the hand against a cutting or slicing motion. A straight stab motion can still easily penetrate these gloves. Caution needs to be used when using any tool that can easily penetrate the skin.
  2. Crush injuries are usually due to employees placing their hands in the line of fire between two objects or in a rotating piece of equipment. 
  3. Fractures occur when there is a sudden blow to the bones in the fingers or hands. Motor vehicle accidents often cause fractures to the hands. Another common cause of fractures is an individual extending out their hands to catch themselves from a fall.

Safe Work Practices

  • Use tools to remove your hands from the line of fire when doing a work task that could result injury to your hands or fingers. Using tools such as push sticks when using a table saw is an example that removes your hands from the line of fire.
  • Avoid using fixed open blade knives. There are safety knives that limit the length of the blade exposed. They also have a safety feature that retracts the blade when pressure is let off the handle or switch that controls the blade.
  • Never put your hand in an area where you cannot see it.
  • Always wear the proper gloves for whatever work task you are doing. Understand the limitations of your gloves and what work tasks they are appropriate for.
  • Never work on an energized piece of equipment. Lock and tag out the equipment to ensure there will not be unintentional start up while you are working on the equipment.

Five Reasons to Work Safe Today

take safety homeFive Reasons to Work Safe Today (Safety Talk)

We all have different reasons for why we choose to do certain things and why we may not choose to do others. When it comes to working safely we should all want to choose to make the right decision. We all are different in the way we think, but there are many common reasons why we should choose to work safe. No matter what your motivator may be keep these five reasons in mind as to why we should all strive to should work safe.

Five Reasons to Work Safe

  1. Your health. Obviously your health and well-being should be the biggest motivator as to why you should choose to work safe. Once we lose our health or impact it severely, it may never be the same. It is important to really think about how a severe injury would change the rest of your life.
  2. Providing for your family. Your family depends on your ability to earn an income. When you are injured or ill you can lose that ability very quickly. Even if it is only for a short time the financial and emotional effects on your family can be drastic.
  3. Your reputation. While productive employees are still very much rewarded at many companies, working safely is often recognized right along with production. Your reputation at work not only affects you in your current position, but it also can affect getting a future promotion at your company or opportunities at other companies. No one wants to reward a risk taker or put them in a position of power. If it is known that you are a worker that cuts corners or does not work safely it could make all the difference in whether or not you get the chance at a better opportunity.
  4. Your coworkers. Making the choice to take a shortcutcan not only harm yourself, but you can also harm a fellow coworker. Everyone’s safety on the job depends on not only on their own choices but the choices of all the workers there.
  5. Your company. Whether you love the company you work for or not, the job they provide you with pays your bills. Working safely allows business to continue thus providing the opportunity for you to continue to pay your bills as well as your fellow coworkers to do the same.

Achieving Safety Goals

Achieving Safety Goals Safety Talk

Any company that focuses on improving workplace safety aims to get their employees home in the same health they came into work or better every single day. For many companies there is often a larger expressed goal attached to this effort. Often the goal for many worksites or companies as a whole is to make it an entire year without any injuries. For other companies it may just be no lost time injuries in a year. Despite what the goal is or the duration set, one thing is for certain- it takes focused effort every single day to achieve it.

Safety Goals Set by Companies

Safety records are tracked, days since last injury counters loom over employees’ heads, and safety lunches are held quarterly to celebrate employee efforts in working safely. While these tools may be good reminders for a workforce that there is a goal set and there is progress being made, the honest truth is that it takes dedication by every single person on that team over a long period of time to achieve the larger goal. The enormity of these safety related goals can overwhelm even the most optimistic employee.

achieving safety goals toolbox talkThe Only Way to Achieve a Big Safety Goal is One Task at a Time

After huge goals are set by companies regarding workplace safety, it is up everyone’s willingness to embrace that it is possible and take action towards meeting the goal. The thought alone of making it a whole year without injury automatically shuts down many individuals from even wanting to put a care towards attempting to achieve it. To reduce the enormity of the goal, concrete actions need to be lined out every day to focus on preventing injuries one task at a time.

The best way to achieve a huge goal is to take small steps towards it every single day. For safety goals it means doing one step, one work task, one safeguard, the right way each time it needs completed. Effort cannot be applied directly to the overall abstract goal that may be a year or two away. Effort can be applied by each individual to take action in the task they are doing that minute to complete it in the safe and correct manner.

Changes in Eye Safety in 2018

When we take a holistic view of eye safety by considering the manufacturer, the products and the individual workers who rely on them, we can make great strides toward reducing occupational eye injuries.

When you think of eye safety, you might immediately think of protective eyewear, OSHA requirements for using such eyewear, or the various eye hazards in your workplace. What you might not consider is the intense pain and unmeasurable cost to an individual who experiences an eye injury—and the lasting effect on his or her overall quality of life.

Choosing a safety eyewear manufacturer can feel like a leap of faith. But when you look closely, key attributes will help you identify the reliable, safety- and quality-focused manufacturers that stand out from the crowd. Look beyond manufacturers who treat safety eyewear like a commodity. Instead, look for those that show a proven commitment to eye protection from every angle, including those that sponsor advocacy programs for industrial safety.

Here is a list of attributes to seek in a manufacturer that will deliver what you and your workforce really need:

  • Proven history of product integrity and dedicated customer support
  • New product development processes in which listening to customers is key
  • Commitment to research and development of innovative new frame materials, lens tints, lens coatings, style, and fit and comfort features
  • Customized sample programs that allow end users to try application-specific eyewear before they buy
  • State-of-the-art processes that ensure order fulfillment, rapid response, and uninterrupted supply
  • Involvement in national standards committees to further the protection of workers
  • Manufacture in the USA and dedicated on-site engineers who ensure all products meet or exceed quality standards, regardless of where they are manufactured

Focus on the Products
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Once you’ve identified a shortlist of reliable manufacturers, shift your focus toward their product offerings. Safety eyewear comes in a multitude of sizes, shapes, and styles—sometimes with even more options in lens tints, lens coatings, and more.

Remember, despite how good they look, safety spectacles, goggles, and sealed eyewear alike must fit properly in order to protect. Not only is ill-fitting eyewear uncomfortable and distracting, it also can fall out of place upon impact, allowing objects to reach the eyes. To ensure a safe and proper fit, look for styles that either come in small, medium, and large sizes; have flexible wraparound coverage; or feature innovative adjustability options that enable a high level of customization for a personal fit.

And, fogging lenses pose a major problem for nearly everyone wearing safety eyewear. Fog obscures an individual’s view of the task at hand and of nearby hazards. Furthermore, fog is nearly impossible to avoid: It is caused both by environmental factors and by the heat naturally generated by worker exertion. Selecting a proven, long-lasting anti-fog lens coating is vital. Look for coatings that are permanently bonded to the lens, last more than 30 washes, employ dual-action hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, and undergo rigorous batch testing at the point of manufacture to ensure evenly distributed application and to maintain excellent optical clarity.

Focus on the People You Protect

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You’ve identified a trustworthy manufacturer and selected eye protection that meets the needs of each individual worker and the hazards they face. Now, it’s time to focus on the individuals—the fathers, mothers, loved ones, and friends—whom you are committed to protecting.

  • Educate workers on the specific hazards present, how those hazards can impact the eyes, and the importance of always wearing safety eyewear among those hazards.
  • Conduct fit tests to ensure eyewear fits each individual properly (snug and gap-free).
  • Ensure the best anti-fog performance possible to maintain a clear view of tasks and hazards.
  • Provide the appropriate lens tint for the lighting in each environment and explain the long-term benefits of their use.
  • Teach workers how to recognize an eye injury and what to do in the event of such an injury.
  • Foster a culture of safety in which workers encourage each other to wear their eye protection.

Eye safety matters. In fact, most people value the sense of sight above all others.When we take a holistic view of eye safety by considering the manufacturer, the products, and the individual workers who rely on them, we can make great strides toward reducing occupational eye injuries. Doing so also helps us meet our overarching goal to send every worker home without injury every day so they can enjoy life, uninterrupted.

First Day Back to Work

There are a multitude of different risk factors for workplace injuries. One risk factor for an increased likelihood of injury is working after an extended break such as coming into work on a Monday after a few days off. It has been statistically shown that a worker is more likely to be injured on a Monday. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that since 2007, Mondays have had the highest number of workplace injuries out of all the days of the week every single year with the exception of two years.

Why is the First Day of Work Back More Dangerous?

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides injury data where we can see that more injuries occur on Mondays than any other day of the week, they do not give an explanation why. There can be a multitude of possibilities to why more injuries occur on the first day back to work. Lack of focus or attention could be one reason why someone is more likely to fall victim to an injury on their first day back to work. Some other possibilities to consider:

  • Mondays are known for individuals having lower energy levels and sometimes lower morale. We have all heard someone jokingly say they have “a case of the Mondays”. This can lead to caring less about the task at hand or not taking the time to take the extra steps to work safely.
  • Personal issues at home creating stress or serving as a distraction. Issues that occurred over the weekend can possibly take the mind of a worker off of their work during the start of their week.
  • Mondays, especially in the first few hours of the shift, can be hectic or busier than other times of the week.

Quick Steps to Prevent Injury on First Day Back

  • Do a self-check to see whether you are fit for work or not before you start your shift. Ensure your head is in the game and you are able to focus on your work.
  • Complete inspections of your work area as well as any tools or equipment used.
  • Take the time and energy to ensure all the necessary safeguards are in place for your work tasks.
  • Look out for your coworkers.
  • Stop work if needed to address hazards.

Lab Safety Rules and Guidelines

Lab safety rules

Your safety is the constant concern to us. Common sense and personal interest in safety are still the greatest guarantees of your safety at work, on the road, and at home. But knowing the proper laboratory safety signs and symbols is also important. 

Here are the safety rules that most commonly came up at several laboratories’ policies:

General lab safety rules

The following are rules that relate to almost every laboratory and should be included in most safety policies. They cover what you should know in the event of an emergency, proper signage, safety equipment, safely using laboratory equipment, and basic common-sense rules. 

  • Be sure to read all fire alarm and safety signs and follow the instructions in the event of an accident or emergency. 
  • Ensure you are fully aware of your facility’s/building’s evacuation procedures. 
  • Make sure you know where your lab’s safety equipment—including first aid kit(s), fire extinguishers, eye wash stations, and safety showers—is located and how to properly use it. 
  • Know emergency phone numbers to use to call for help in case of an emergency. 
  • Lab areas containing carcinogens, radioisotopes, biohazards, and lasers should be properly marked with the appropriate warning signs. 
  • Open flames should never be used in the laboratory unless you have permission from a qualified supervisor. 
  • Make sure you are aware of where your lab’s exits and fire alarms are located. 
  • An area of 36″ diameter must be kept clear at all times around all fire sprinkler heads. 
  • If there is a fire drill, be sure to turn off all electrical equipment and close all containers.
  • Always work in properly-ventilated areas. 
  • Do not chew gum, drink, or eat while working in the lab. 
  • Laboratory glassware should never be utilized as food or beverage containers. 
  • Each time you use glassware, be sure to check it for chips and cracks. Notify your lab supervisor of any damaged glassware so it can be properly disposed of.
  • Never use lab equipment that you are not approved or trained by your supervisor to operate. 
  • If an instrument or piece of equipment fails during use, or isn’t operating properly, report the issue to a technician right away. Never try to repair an equipment problem on your own.
  • If you are the last person to leave the lab, make sure to lock all the doors and turn off all ignition sources.
  • Do not work alone in the lab.
  • Never leave an ongoing experiment unattended. 
  • Never lift any glassware, solutions, or other types of apparatus above eye level. 
  • Never smell or taste chemicals. 
  • Do not pipette by mouth. 
  • Make sure you always follow the proper procedures for disposing lab waste.
  • Report all injuries, accidents, and broken equipment or glass right away, even if the incident seems small or unimportant.
  • If you have been injured, yell out immediately and as loud as you can to ensure you get help.
  • In the event of a chemical splashing into your eye(s) or on your skin, immediately flush the affected area(s) with running water for at least 20 minutes.
  • If you notice any unsafe conditions in the lab, let your supervisor know as soon as possible.

Housekeeping safety rules

Housekeeping lab safety rules

Laboratory housekeeping rules also apply to most facilities and deal with the basic upkeep, tidiness, and maintenance of a safe laboratory. 

  • Always keep your work area(s) tidy and clean. 
  • Make sure that all eye wash stations, emergency showers, fire extinguishers, and exits are always unobstructed and accessible. 
  • Only materials you require for your work should be kept in your work area. Everything else should be stored safely out of the way.
  • Only lightweight items should be stored on top of cabinets; heavier items should always be kept at the bottom.
  • Solids should always be kept out of the laboratory sink. 
  • Any equipment that requires air flow or ventilation to prevent overheating should always be kept clear. 

Dress code safety rules 

Dresscode lab safety rules

As you’d expect, laboratory dress codes set a clear policy for the clothing employees should avoid wearing in order to prevent accidents or injuries in the lab. For example skirts and shorts might be nice for enjoying the warm weather outside, but quickly become a liability in the lab where skin can be exposed to heat or dangerous chemicals. 

  • Always tie back hair that is chin-length or longer.
  • Make sure that loose clothing or dangling jewelry is secured, or avoid wearing it in the first place. 
  • Never wear sandals or other open-toed shoes in the lab. Footwear should always cover the foot completely. 
  • Never wear shorts or skirts in the lab.
  • When working with Bunsen burners, lighted splints, matches, etc., acrylic nails are not allowed.

Personal protection safety rules

Personal protection lab safety rules

Unlike laboratory dress code policies, rules for personal protection cover what employees should be wearing in the lab in order to protect themselves from various hazards, as well as basic hygiene rules to follow to avoid any sort of contamination.

  • When working with equipment, hazardous materials, glassware, heat, and/or chemicals, always wear face shields or safety glasses.
  • When handling any toxic or hazardous agent, always wear the appropriate gloves.
  • When performing laboratory experiments, you should always wear a smock or lab coat.
  • Before leaving the lab or eating, always wash your hands.
  • After performing an experiment, you should always wash your hands with soap and water. 
  • When using lab equipment and chemicals, be sure to keep your hands away from your body, mouth, eyes, and face.

Chemical safety rules

Chemical lab safety rules

Since almost every lab uses chemicals of some sort, chemical safety rules are a must. Following these policies helps employees avoid spills and other accidents, as well as damage to the environment outside of the lab. These rules also set a clear procedure for employees to follow in the event that a spill does occur, in order to ensure it is cleaned up properly and injuries are avoided. 

  • Every chemical should be treated as though it were dangerous.
  • Do not allow any solvent to come into contact with your skin. 
  • All chemicals should always be clearly labeled with the name of the substance, its concentration, the date it was received, and the name of the person responsible for it.
  • Before removing any of the contents from a chemical bottle, read the label twice.
  • Never take more chemicals from a bottle than you need for your work. 
  • Do not put unused chemicals back into their original container. 
  • Chemicals or other materials should never be taken out of the laboratory. 
  • Chemicals should never be mixed in sink drains. 
  • Flammable and volatile chemicals should only be used in a fume hood. 
  • If a chemical spill occurs, clean it up right away.
  • Ensure that all chemical waste is disposed of properly. 

Chemistry lab safety rules

As chemistry labs are one of the most common types, these basic chemistry lab safety rules are relevant to many scientists, dealing with the safe performance of common activities and tasks in the average chemistry lab: 

  • Before you start an experiment, make sure you are fully aware of the hazards of the materials you’ll be using.  
  • When refluxing, distilling, or transferring volatile liquids, always exercise extreme caution.  
  • Always pour chemicals from large containers to smaller ones.  
  • Never pour chemicals that have been used back into the stock container.   
  • Never tap flasks that are under vacuum.   
  • Chemicals should never be mixed, measured, or heated in front of your face.  
  • Water should not be poured into concentrated acid. Instead, pour acid slowly into water while stirring constantly. In many cases, mixing acid with water is exothermic. 

Electrical safety rules

Electrical lab safety rules

Like almost every other workplace, laboratories contain electronic equipment. Electrical safety rules help prevent the misuse of electronic instruments, electric shocks and other injuries, and ensure that any damaged equipment, cords, or plugs are reported to the appropriate authorities so they can be repaired or replaced. 

  • Before using any high voltage equipment (voltages above 50Vrms ac and 50V dc), make sure you get permission from your lab supervisor. 
  •  High voltage equipment should never be changed or modified in any way. 
  • Always turn off a high voltage power supply when you are attaching it.
  • Use only one hand if you need to adjust any high voltage equipment.  It’s safest to place your other hand either behind your back or in a pocket.
  • Make sure all electrical panels are unobstructed and easily accessible. 
  • Whenever you can, avoid using extension cords.

Laser safety rules

Laser lab safety rules

Perhaps not as common as some of the other laboratory safety rules listed here, many laboratories do use lasers and it’s important to follow some key rules of thumb to prevent injuries. In particular, accidents due to reflection are something that many employees may not think about. A clear set of rules for the use of lasers is essential to ensure that everyone is aware of all hazards and that the appropriate personal protective equipment is worn at all times. 

  • Even if you are certain that a laser beam is “eye” safe or low power, you should never look into it.
  • Always wear the appropriate goggles in areas of the lab where lasers are present. The most common laser injuries are those caused by scattered laser light reflecting either off the shiny surface of optical tables, the sides of mirrors, or off of mountings. Goggles will help you avoid damage from such scattered light.
  • You should never keep your head at the same level as the laser beam.
  • Always keep the laser beam at or below chest level. 
  • Laser beams should never be allowed to spread into the lab. Beam stops should always be used to intercept laser beams.
  • Do not walk through laser beams.

Source : Lab Manager