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Total Safety’s CCSM Solution Prevents Two Fires in 12 Hours

Our client, a large petrochemical plant, experienced first-hand how easily a fire can start when doing maintenance work in a compartment such as a container, tank or vessel. A single spark can mean disaster.  Safety in confined spaces requires supervision and continuous monitoring and assessment of atmospheric gas levels for the duration of the job.  During a 12-hour period the petrochemical plant had two separate incidents where and a fire ignited in a vessel while the maintenance crew was on a lunch break. Total Safety’s CCSM team was able to detect the problem and mitigate a fire incident in a confined space. Total Safety used advanced connected technology to constantly monitor worksite conditions to ensure they are safe. Read more here.

 

 

 

5 Fire Protection Tips for Oil & Gas Worksites

With the flammable chemicals, gases and materials used in the oil and gas industry, employers are paying great attention to fire protection in the workplace. Controlling fire hazards is a key part of ensuring worker safety on extraction, refining and other sites.

In complying with rules established by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the general industry, oil and gas companies should utilize fire prevention plans, which could include equipment and training for workers.

Keep fire extinguishers close to areas where workers may be at risk for fire hazards, such as welding work stations.

Here are five ways to improve fire protection:

1. Assess initial fire safety workplace preparedness
While companies believe they are ready for fires or other incidents, a thorough inspection and safety audit may reveal unknown vulnerabilities at worksites. Evaluate any particular areas and workers at higher risk for flash fires or explosions. For example, workers performing hot work, such as welding, may be exposed to combustible or flammable materials. Look for areas where fire protection equipment is either old or malfunctioning and replace them with ones that are in good, working condition. These can include sprinkler systems as well as fire extinguishers.

2. Keep equipment for emergency response onsite
For welders and other workers at risk for similar hazards, supply their work stations and areas nearby with equipment such as fixed and portable fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers need to be readily available for workers to use in an emergency and isolate the fire before it spreads to other parts of the worksite.

3. Install alert systems to warn employees of danger
In the event of a fire, workers need to be warned immediately so they can evacuate the building or work area safely. Implement emergency alarm and mass notification systems that will alert employees to the danger. Companies also have the option of using a mass notification system that messages employees on their mobile devices warning of emergencies.

“Monitor the presence of these gases and vapors using combustible and toxic gas detection systems to avoid activities that may increase the chance of fire.”

4. Measure dangerous gases with detection equipment
With the risk of fires and explosions, there may be hazardous gases in the air that could endanger worker health and safety. Monitor the presence of these gases and vapors using combustible and toxic gas detection systems to avoid activities that may increase the chance of fire. OSHA recommends discontinuing work if the detectors find that a flammable or combustible gas surpasses 10 percent of the lower explosive level. Educate workers on what is considered an acceptable level of these gases to allow them to be proactive in knowing when to stop work when it becomes unsafe.

5. Train workers to use equipment for fire protection
To reinforce your plan, be sure to train workers to operate fire protection equipment, including fire extinguishers. Give them instructional materials for these tools as well as provide a demonstration if necessary. Additionally, plan a fire drill to remind employees about safety procedures and educate them on how to properly evacuate the workplace. Posting evacuation directions and ways to exit the building near work stations may also help with protecting workers from fire-related injuries and fatalities.

The importance of noise protection in the workplace

Safety equipment is designed to protect workers from a great variety of hazards. When thinking of injuries that can occur in the workplace, we might not think of the importance of hearing protection.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed yearly to hazardous noise levels while at work. Hearing loss disability also results in an estimated $242 million in workers’ compensation payments each year. All told, that makes hearing loss one of the most common work-related illnesses in the U.S.

“1.1 billion young people are at risk of hearing loss.”

In a study released in August, NIOSH found 17 percent of U.S. workers who have been exposed to noise on the job went on to experience hearing difficulty. Additionally, another 15 percent have experienced tinnitus, the sensation of ringing or buzzing in one or both ears even when no source of sound is present. Nine percent of workers experience both these conditions.

“Hearing loss can greatly impact a worker’s overall health and well-being,” NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, said in a statement. Howard added that hazardous levels of occupational noise exposure should be avoided to prevent hearing damage.

As Safety + Health magazine reported, that an estimated 1.1 billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss because of unsafe listening practices. This means more workers will enter employment with existing hearing loss.  Hearing loss in the workplace can present safety risks if workers are unable to hear alarms or critical communications from other workers.

Dangerous noise in work environments
According to the NIOSH study, workers in certain sectors face greater risk of hearing damage than others. For example, workers in the manufacturing industry had a significantly higher risk for both tinnitus and co-occurrence of tinnitus and hearing difficulty. The mining sector was found to have the highest of frequency for hazardous noise exposure of any industry.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets limits on how many decibels of noise workers can be exposed to based on a weighted average over an 8 hour day. OSHA’s permissible exposure limit is 90 A-weighted decibels (dBA) for 8 hours. However, if the noise level increases by 5 dBA, the amount of time the worker can be exposed to the noise level is reduced by 50 percent. For example, while a worker can be exposed to 87 dBA for 8 hours, if the noise level increases to 92 dBA, the worker can only be around the noise source for 4 hours. To illustrate, the noise of a heavy truck comes in between 85-90 dBA, while a jackhammer will measure between 90-100 dBA.

Hearing loss one is of the most common work-related illnesses in the U.S.

While these are general guidelines, there are several warning signs that noise is       exceeding safe levels for an individual worker. These include:

              • Hearing ringing or humming at the end of the workday.
              • Not being able to hear another worker speak at a conversational level from an arm’s length away
              • Experiencing temporary hearing loss at any point

 

How to better protect workers
Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the U.S., according to NOISH. If workers must be exposed to high noise volumes in order to complete their tasks, OSHA recommends several different methods for preventing permanent hearing damage. One method is to utilize engineering controls to reduce noise levels either at the source or by buffering the sound. This may involve utilizing low-noise tools and machinery, properly maintaining or lubricating equipment, enclosing the noise source or installing sound walls or curtains.

Employers may also utilize administrative controls to lessen the impact of noise in the work environment. Examples include limiting the amount of time an individual worker spends near a loud noise source, and providing quiet environments, such as soundproof rooms, where workers can recover from noise exposure.

In addition to all the above, employers can provide workers with hearing protection devices, such as earmuffs and earplugs.  OSHA requires employers to implement an effective hearing conservation program in any industries where noise exposure is equal to or greater than 85 dBA for an 8 hour period, with the exception of the construction industry where the exposure limit is set at 90 dBA for an 8 hour period. This program includes training workers to recognize hazardous noise exposure, fitting them for noise protection equipment, and creating and maintaining an audiometric hearing test program.

One of the most critical steps of a successful hearing protection program is regular monitoring of noise levels to detect and adapt to changes. We now have technology that can monitor worker exposure to noise so employers can be proactive at protecting their workers. It is important to have a hearing protection program in place to motivate workers to care for their hearing health.

Total Safety offers solutions for hearing conservation including the best hearing protection products, fit testing, and programs.

Protecting Lone Workers

One of the most common methods for ensuring worker safety is to promote connectivity among employees. Workers are often trained to look out for their colleagues, from recognizing signs of health problems, such as hypothermia, to alerting each other to dangerous conditions such as slippery walkways.

While this training does a lot to increase workplace safety, it isn’t effective for lone workers, those employees whose jobs require them to work in isolation from other workers and without supervision. These workers face additional safety hazards as, in addition to the risks present for all workers on a job site, lone workers cannot call out for help to a fellow worker in the event of an emergency.

Though companies are required by law to provide for the safety of all their employees in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not provide a standard for managing lone worker safety. However, there are applicable OSHA guidelines, as well as state standards on lone worker safety, that employers can consult.

Workers who complete their tasks in isolation face the additional hazard of being unable to ask another work for assistance in an emergency. Workers who complete their tasks in isolation face the additional hazard of being unable to ask another work for assistance in an emergency.

Safety guidelines for lone workers
As Health & Safety International magazine reported, research firm Berg Insight’s People Monitoring and Safety Solutions, estimates there are more than 50 million lone workers in North America and Europe alone, with many working in industrial settings. Lone worker roles in utility, manufacturing, petrochemical, construction and energy sectors face some of the highest levels of risk, yet many businesses around the world haven’t identified lone worker monitoring as a significant, un-met need. The  guidelines for lone worker safety boils down to communication – training workers to recognize hazards and providing ways to contact supervisors for assistance.

“Connectivity is a key component of managing a swift response.”

The guidance document advises performing risk assessments first to make sure it is safe for workers to perform their jobs alone. Workers should then be trained to understand risks inherent in the job and know when and how to contact others in an emergency. Supervisors should regularly check in with any employees who are working in isolation through both periodic visits and communication devices, such as radio, telephone or other connected devices. Finally, employers should create systems to account for all workers and confirm the worker has returned to the home base once his or her task is completed.

The Health & Safety International magazine further recommends ensuring there are safe entry and exit points for any locations where employees are working, whether in isolation or not. Employees should also have their individual medical risks assessed before being allowed to work alone. If employees have medical conditions that may put them at risk for stroke, seizure or other life-threatening ailments, it may not be an acceptable risk to allow them to work alone.

Take advantage of available technologies
Employee-worn technology and monitoring automation are the most robust solutions to keep lone workers safe. Berg Insights estimates there could be as many as 2.2 million lone workers using monitoring technology and services in North America and Europe by 2020. Delivering assistance as quickly as possible is the responsibility of every employer.  This means it is more important than ever to have real-time insights and emergency response programs in place.

In addition to periodic check-ins and a means for employees to contact supervisors, either via phone or radio, the employee may also be outfitted with a warning device or alarm. This may include panic alarms or other distress signal the employee can activate from the work site. Employers may also choose to utilize an automatic alarm that goes off under certain conditions, such as when it detects a lack of movement or exposure to hazardous substances. Automatic alarms can be especially helpful for reducing safety risk in the event a lone worker has fallen unconscious or is unable to speak.

Alarms are available from multiple manufacturers and may be selected based on the specific characteristics of the work environment. Alarms are available with weather-resistant casing, long-life batteries or the ability to wirelessly alert emergency responders.  Putting a procedure in place for what happens after the alarm is triggered, the alarm itself will do little to protect workers. Employers should also be sure all employees are trained in emergency response procedures specific to their job.

In addition to alarms, all employees are required to be outfitted in the personal safety equipment mandated by OSHA, regardless of whether they are working in isolation or with others. Routine health surveillance should be implemented for any employees working near hazardous substances that may cause a negative impact on the employee’s health. Finally, employers should implement a system for incident reporting so that if any accidents or injuries do occur, the situation can be remedied before additional incidents occur.

Total Safety Wins 22 Awards from American Petrochemical and Fuel Manufactures

Total Safety, a leading global provider of integrated safety services, solutions, and equipment, has been awarded the 2019 Contractor Safety Achievement Award in 22 facilities throughout the US by the American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association (AFPM). The AFPM award recognizes contractor companies who consistently meet and exceed safety standard excellence in the US refining and petrochemical industry. Total Safety will be presented the award during the AFPM Summit in San Antonio, TX, August 25-27, 2020.  Read the press release.

Criteria for award selection include contractors that work a minimum of 20,000 hours per year at a regular member facility and achieve a total recordable incident rate of 0.35 or less with no workplace-related fatalities. Since 2009, Total Safety has received more than 150 AFPM Contractor Safety Achievement Awards. Learn more about AFPM Awards here.

“We are proud to receive these 22 Contractor Safety Achievement Awards from the AFPM,” said George Ristevski, Chief Executive Officer for Total Safety. “Our employees take great pride in the company’s performance and work relentlessly protecting the health and safety of our clients. Our mission guides everything we do and is reflected in the way we show up each day to serve our clients; W3…to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide. This award goes to our nearly 3,000 employees.”

Client sites where Total Safety’s performance was recognized for the 2019 AFPM Contractor Safety Achievement Award include: ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, Marathon, Valero Refining, Dow Chemical, Phillips 66, PBF Energy, Chevron, Motiva, and HollyFrontier.

Learn more about AFPM Awards here.

COVID-19 PCR Testing

Total Safety Now Offers PCR COVID-19 Testing Services

COVID-19 PCR Testing

We are all faced with the dilemma of getting back to work while also mitigating the threat of a coronavirus outbreak interrupting operations. Following CDC Guidelines on social distancing and sanitation is a great start. However, testing and tracking is the only way to break the chain of infection. At present, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antibody testing are the two most common methods of testing for SAR-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of the virus, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies. By detecting viral RNA, you can tell whether someone has the virus very early on.

COVID-19 PCR Swab Testing.
Total Safety has the resources and capacity to offer the PCR test to your entire workforce. Our Credentialed Medical Team will bring all the resources required to set up a testing site to administer PCR testing. Total Safety has partnered with multiple labs across the country to get the patient fast results. In most cases we can have results to the patient within 72 hours of delivery at the lab. This saves valuable time when an employee may be in quarantine and unable to work.

PCR Testing Service can be layered on with Antibody Tests
Our COVID-19 PCR testing can be set up to run in tandem with antibody testing. Antibody testing is a simple finger stick and only takes ten (10) minutes to obtain results. Antibody testing can reveal two markers: (IgM) indicating more recent infection, and (IgG) indicating a past infection. Total Safety recommends that any patient showing signs of either marker receive a PCR test which can indicate if the person is actively infected and a potential threat to your workforce.

Why Total Safety
Total Safety is dedicated to serving others and upholding our mission: W3…to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed new strategies and solutions to keep companies in compliance with CDC guidelines, including COVID-19 testing services. We are here to help manage a safe environment for your workforce in accordance with CDC guidelines. Our onsite medical management service offerings are backed by our Medical Director and executed under his guidance.  Contact us for more information!

*All records, reporting and data management is handled in accordance with HIPAA and CLIA requirements in accordance with FDA and CDC guidelines. Testing data is reported though lab-based software to state, local, and public health departments. This information is shared with reporting entities based on donor’s place of residence.

Eye protection is a critical, ongoing concern for safety specialists.

Improving eye health in industrial settings

Eye protection is a critical, ongoing concern for safety specialists.

 

The human eye is astounding in its complexity and performance. It’s also especially vulnerable to everything from contact with many chemicals to poking and piercing injuries. Additionally, damage to the eye can lead to serious quality of life issues in an especially harmful way. All employees at risk of suffering an eye injury need to have the right personal protective equipment in place, as well as emergency response tools like eyewash stations and a strong understanding of the best way to keep this unique part of the body safe as they go about their daily duties.

Sign reading "Notice: Safety glasses required beyond this point."Eye protection is a vital consideration in nearly all industries.

Addressing the many aspects of eye health and safety in the workplace

There are a number of considerations to make when developing or improving plans related to employees’ eye safety. Some are obvious: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates the use of eye protection for workers engaging in specific tasks, and eye protection must meet industry and national or worldwide standards. Other aspects of eye safety are just as important, but aren’t as easy to manage. Developing a culture of proactive and cooperative eye safety can definitely pay off in terms of worker health, but it’s harder to create such an environment.

Learning (and adhering to) existing standards

While a cut-and-dried topic in terms of compliance or non-compliance, using the proper equipment in the right situations is still vital for overall eye health in the workplace. Leaders of safety programs and initiatives must be confident they have the right PPE on hand and can quickly replace any that’s damaged in an accident or worn down over time. Keeping a reserve of additional eye protection is a very basic but useful principle. Regular inspections of eye protection should also be on the radar, and that duty can be delegated to employees who understand and buy into a culture of eye health and safety.

Developing consistent understanding among employees

Most people recognize the fragility of the human eye, but just as with any safety concern, it can be tempting to cut corners to save time or reduce daily burdens. Building a culture that supports eye safety means fewer instances of improper procedure and potential for injury. Engage workers about keeping their eyes safe and make sure they understand how to keep them protected during their day-to-day work.

Sharing specific do’s and don’ts, like this list developed by OHS Online, can help them address certain emergencies that affect themselves and others. Discussing the results of eye injuries, while somewhat of a scare tactic, can lead to a greater appreciation for safety as well.

Finding strong, dependable PPE

Not all eye protection that meets necessary standards is totally equal. Knowing the differences between manufacturers and their various lines of products, and make sure employees don’t have any major issues with the equipment, whether due to comfort or style, as EHS Today pointed out, is vital. The appearance of eye protection is, unfortunately, just as much of a factor for some employees as their protective qualities. It’s far easier, within reason, to choose options that they like than to force them to wear something they don’t – and may potentially remove while on the job.

Contact Tracing with Total Safety

We’ve all heard about the importance of contact tracing in managing the spread of contagious illnesses like the coronavirus.  Contact tracing has been used for years to control the spread of infectious diseases. The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for unified health and safety integration on a larger scale. Contact tracing is a key component in understanding contact patterns and evaluating hot-spots, and incorporating effective social distancing measures at your facility.

If you are wondering how you can implement contact tracing, we can help make it easy and stress-free. Through our partnership with Blackline, we can show you how contact tracing can protect your workforce with the analytics from a Close Contact Report that tracks all Blackline device users to connect the dots of personnel interaction. If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, you can run a report to see their individual traffic patterns, who they interact with, and 3rd degree exposure points.

Our powerful communication system works no matter if it is while operating in the field or an office setting. Using intrinsically safe wearables and smartphone application options, employee location data streams to a cloud-based web portal that powers the interactive, online industrial contact tracing solution. Now you can have the tools to mitigate risks and  manage any contagious outbreak, quickly and strategically.

Contact us to learn how:

  • Contact tracing can help safeguard your workers against contagious outbreaks
  • Blackline’s new Close Contact report can ensure an efficient response to the threat of COVID-19, or simply understanding interaction patterns in your company
  • Truly cloud-connected technology that enhances safety in any environment with contact tracing
  • Individual privacy protection, only authorized persons have access to report.

 

Clint Palermo | 281.627-3810| cpalermo@totalsafety.com

Personnel Management Kiosk

The Next Generation of Access Security is Here

Personnel Management Kiosk

The country is opening back up, and there is no doubt that many of the new protocols are here to stay. At this point, everyone is familiar with expectations to social distance, going through temperature screening and wearing a mask.  Technologies have emerged to help make compliance faster, and safer.

The future of interactive security is here. Our Personnel Management Kiosk is low profile, so that it fits anywhere. Our platform is customizable to meet your unique security protocols, and provides real-time analytics, so you always know who is on your premises. Importantly, it can assess temperature in only 2 seconds from three feet away! If your facility requires workers and visitors to wear a mask, our kiosk can alarm to re-enforce this, too. If a protocol is no longer required, such as wearing a face mask, it’s easy to disable these features. Watch this video to see how it works!

The kiosk uses AI technology that features a high-performance biometric algorithm for rapid facial recognition and identification.  Our system can be custom set up with a time stamp to track when employees arrive, access expiration dates for contractors, and more. Add new users to the database in seconds!

The system is expandable and can be connected to other kiosks, security systems and turnstiles. Data analytics allow you to gain insight on who is entering the facility, arrival times, and more. Features such as temperature screening, mask alerts, and alarms can be turned off and on as needed.

  • Virtual Receptionist
  • Entry Access
  • Facial Recognition
  • Temperature Scan
  • Face Mask Recognition
  • Alarms
  • Company News/Info Kiosk

Call me today to discuss: Clint Palermo |281-812-5936 | cpalermo@totalsafety.com

Getting Back to Work with Total Safety

Worker wellbeing is what drives Total Safety to be one of the safest companies in the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, we quickly pivoted our resources to meet this unique demand for our customers. Our Medical Management Division went to work developing programs to meet the standards issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As the pandemic evolves, so does Total Safety’s offerings.

We are proud of the work our Medical Management Division has done to support our clients in navigating the new CDC guidelines and keeping facilities running as safely as possible. Our customers agree that our Medical Management services have been the key to helping implement new safety standards including (but not limited to) our on-site services such as, temperature screenings, COVID-19 CDC wellness interviews, and COVID-19 antibody testing. (See all Services here)

During the beginning of the pandemic, reliable COVID-19 antibody testing was almost impossible to acquire. But, as testing procedures improved, and quality products started being produced, Total Safety was able to source two of the highest-quality most accurate antibody tests available.

If you are wondering if COVID-19 Antibody testing could be part of your back to work tactic – we are here for you! We have been doing COVID-19 Antibody testing for over a month in locations all over the US. We have screened workers departing for offshore locations, workers in the petrochemical environment working in confined spaces, and multiple municipal workforces in Indiana. (Download a case study)

What to Expect.

  • Our Team of Medical Professionals come to your worksite or designated location (US only)
  • We interview each person for COVID-19 exposure and wellness questionnaire
  • We perform an easy finger-stick test on each person
  • In less than 10 minutes the person will have the results of their COVID-19 antibody test.
  • Results show:
    • The development of antibodies indicating a past infection.
    • The development of antibodies indicating a recent infection.
    • Negative antibodies indicating no exposure to COVID-19.

For more information about our COVID-19 antibody test, please call (or email) us for more information.

Contact: Mark Barker  | mbarker@totalsafety.com |