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Tag Archives: Safety Tips

How to Choose the Right Hard Hat in Summer

Excessive heat is a threat to the safety of workers — especially those working outside in construction, oil and gas, agriculture and similar industries. If their bodies cannot release heat as quickly as it accumulates, workers can face numerous health risks, such as fatigue, fainting, cardiovascular issues, impaired judgment and other symptoms of heat related illness.

One critical consideration for outdoor workers in the summer is head protection. In fact, according to recent Honeywell studies, the color of a plastic hard hat is directly related to the heat affecting the body. This guide explains three key steps to help safety managers choose the right hard hats to protect outdoor workers in the hottest months of the year.  (Information from Honeywell)

1.  ASSESS THE HEAT RISK

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), temperatures as low as 71° F can still be dangerous for workers engaged in heavy exertion. That’s because ambient air temperature — the reading on a thermometer — does not tell the entire story of heat risk. Other contributing factors include direct sunlight, relative humidity, and radiant heat reflected from water, windows or metal structures.

Therefore, in assessing the heat danger for outdoor workers, keep in mind that even though the ambient temperature may seem comfortable, workers could still be at risk.

How does it really feel outside? The answer is reflected in the Heat Index, which combines relative humidity with the actual air temperature. Consider this guide from the National Weather Service. Download the NIOSH/OSHA Heat App [iOS | Android] to access a simple heat calculator on your device.

 

2.  CHOOSE LIGHT-COLORED HARD HATS
All hard hats reflect, absorb and transmit some infrared rays from the sun.The rays that are absorbed through the shell become trapped, increasing the temperature of the air gap surrounding the worker’s head. There are a variety of factors increasing the temperature of the air gap, including the angle of the sun, the amount of wind, the ambient temperature and the color of the hard hat.

Honeywell tested the impact of color on the temperature that the worker is subjected to. We put identical hard hats of different colors on head forms inside a controlled environment that was tuned to resemble a warm summer day. The hard hats were then exposed to an infrared heat lamp to simulate the sun. Thermocouples were placed on the outside of the hard hat shell and inside the shell, just above the head form. Honeywell found that in a 90° F environment, the temperature of the air gap beneath the hard hat shell (the air that the worker is actually exposed to) ranged from 111.6° F to 122.3° F.

In fact, Honeywell found that depending on the color, the outer shell of a hardhat can become 60 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature, while the temperature inside the hard hat can become more than 30 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature. Clearly, selecting light-colored hard hat in warm temperature conditions can make an enormous difference in a worker’s health and safety.

How does the color of a hard hat contribute to heat risk? Honeywell studies show that in a 90° F environment, the temperature surrounding a worker’s head is lowest with hard hats that are white and highest with hard hats that are orange or high-visibility yellow.

Honeywell replicated these results by setting up several hard hats on head forms in warm, sunny environments across the globe. The sunlight-powered experiments provided data that was consistent with our controlled tests.

In summary, the head form under the light-colored hard hats was significantly cooler than under darker colored hard hats. Interestingly, the orange color performed the worst, allowing infrared rays to penetrate the shell and creating the highest temperature in the air gap surrounding the worker’s head. White compared favorably to all other colors, making it the ideal hard-hat color to help mitigate heat risk. Across the spectrum, a good way to improve worker safety in the heat is to swap out darker hard hats for lighter colors.

3.  CHOOSE UNVENTED HATS
Adding vents to hard hats should lower the temperature underneath, right? Not so. Venting creates a window for sunlight to seep into the hat, which means higher temperatures for the worker’s head. Moreover, vented hats do not have enough room to allow air to flow properly, unless the air enters the vent on a strong wind — and even then, the cooling effect is only momentary. Therefore, vented hard hats generally do more harm than good.

How to select the right hard hat for hot conditions. Hard hats of different colors can be important indicators of job roles on a worksite, enabling quick identification of key people. But for jobs in direct sunlight, lighter-colored hard hats can significantly reduce the risk of heat stress and improve workers’ safety.  Download full article from Honeywell

To select hard hats for hot conditions, please contact your Total Safety sales representative. Total Safety helps organizations achieve higher safety standards and create a workplace culture of safety. Go beyond the basics with  our VMI solutions,  high-quality safety equipment, PPE, and  MRO solutions. We are committed to helping you meet compliance, reduce injury, and help to protect the safe well-being of your workforce. 

W³…to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide. ®

Full article by Honeywell and re-posted by Total Safety. Download study here. 

SafeTek eDistribution Vending Machine

How Using Total Safety’s VMI Solution Resulted In 38% Cost Savings

SafeTek eDistribution Vending Machine

A large utility company in California was facing challenges with controlling inventory costs and preventing waste. They required certain items to be available 24/7 and accessible near specific work zones in the plant. They also needed to keep track of the inventory that was issued by the department and the employees for billing purposes.

The Solution

Total Safety’s vendor-managed inventory (VMI) program uses the latest automatic vending technology to help businesses to have an automated point-of-use dispensing solution. Our vending machines are highly customizable to hold tiny items like nuts and bolts to large items like an engine. Our software is easily programmed to set up employee allowances, and automatically restock orders. Our team designs a custom program to fit the customers exact needs and provide 24-hour support.

For this customer, Total Safety evaluated the company’s needs and set them up with eight different machines throughout the plant. The machines were stocked with 80 unique critical point-of-use items. We went a step further and added quality restrictions on products like batteries and flashlights. Certain items were designated as secure check in / check out items, and restrictions and time stamps were applied.  For popular consumables, we set the customer up with inventory alerts, and automatic refills.

This level of inventory management service helps to ensure that the workforce always has the PPE, tools, and MRO supplies required to perform their work and eliminates downtime. Workers have access to items they need right in their work zone, without having to walk to a manned tool crib.

The Result

After just one year of using Total Safety’s vending program, the company reported that a multitude of challenges from inventory tracking to cutting spending, to storing odd-shaped items was solved! We were able to reduce their overall inventory spend by 39%! They reported increased activity and time on tools,  because employees had exactly what they needed to do their job readily available.

8

80

39%

Vending Machines Unique Items Cost Savings

 

Total Safety helps organizations achieve higher safety standards and create a workplace culture of safety. Go beyond the basics with  our VMI solutions,  high-quality safety equipment, PPE, and  MRO solutions. We are committed to helping you meet compliance, reduce injury, and help to protect the safe well-being of your workforce. 

W³…to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide. ®

 

two men and two women in an industrial warehouse, smiling and talking while reviewing information on a tablet. All are wearing hard hats, and hearing protection that reflects that they have access to proper PPE and are working safely

How to Increase Employee Engagement to Improve Workplace Safety

two men and two women in an industrial warehouse, smiling and talking while reviewing information on a tablet. All are wearing hard hats, and hearing protection that reflects that they have access to proper PPE and are working safely

Occupational health and safety is a practical matter, where the major goals are commonly shared by the business and its staff. Companies have a vested interest in both keeping workers safe and staying on the right side of relevant regulations. 

This common desire for a safe workplace doesn’t mean problems won’t arise, however. Employees may become complacent or view certain safety requirements as too tedious to follow while safety managers and business leaders may not notice these issues or work to resolve them quickly. 

How can organizations encourage a better overall climate for workplace health and safety for both frontline employees and managers? The answer is effective employee engagement. 

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement describes those who are committed to their work and the goals of their company. They understand the organization’s safety objectives and are dedicated to achieving those goals. Engaged employees are motivated, committed, and give their best effort at work…not only because they’re paid to be, but because they’re invested emotionally or have exacting standards. 

Why is Employee Engagement Important? 

“Employees and workplaces with high levels of engagement are safer, too.” 

Employee engagement can help operations execute safety procedures much easier and with more cooperation from your employees. An engaged employee will go out of his or her way to ensure things are done right and actively offer their opinions, suggestions, and feedback. More importantly, highly engaged employees are less likely to have an accident on the job than those who are less engaged. 

Highly engaged employees: 

  • are more productive 
  • stay with the company longer 
  • practice safe work behaviors 
  • encourage others to work safely 
  • comply with safety instructions 

Employee engagement can also have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. Engaged workers are more efficient, accountable, and able to produce better. Consequently, companies are able to post higher profits and shareholders see better returns. 

How to Improve Employee Engagement

The importance of effective engagement is clear in terms of improving workplace health and safety concerns. There are many tactics for improving engagement, including:

  • Regularly involving staff in health and safety concerns: All businesses need to train employees on a variety of relevant safety issues, but businesses with high levels of engagement go further. Open, two-way communication about why and how the company deals with safety issues is important, as giving employees a voice makes them feel involved and heard. Addressing potential concerns proactively and transparently helps convince workers that their employer is doing more than the bare minimum and can inspire a similar sense of participation.

 

  • Recognizing employee achievements: Simple actions, like thanking workers for continued periods of safe operation and informal praise for following safety rules, can have a positive effect on employees. Expressing support and recognizing good behaviors is an easy (and effective) way to reinforce positive actions amongst your staff.

 

  • Give feedback: Studies show a correlation between regular feedback and employee engagement. 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, compared to 18% of employees with low engagement. Also, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were appreciated more.

 

  • Supporting ongoing employee development: Employers can cultivate engagement by providing ongoing opportunities for professional development. When employees are empowered to work safely and confidently, companies will have fewer accidents and more satisfied workers. Businesses that give employees resources to grow in their roles and move into new ones show they value their staff in the long term.

 

  • Supplying excellent PPE and other safety equipment: Providing proper PPE, uniforms, and quality life-safety equipment is a clear indication that the employer is invested in keeping their workers safe.  

Total Safety helps organizations achieve higher safety standards and create a workplace culture of safety. Go beyond the basics with  high-quality safety equipment, PPE, and safety training. We are committed to helping you meet compliance, reduce injury, and help to protect the safe well-being of your workforce. 

Night time, Male worker in uniform is tired and wiping his forehead

How to Manage Fatigue in the Workplace 

Night time, Male worker in uniform is tired and wiping his forehead

Workplace safety includes consideration of long work hours, swing shifts, and other rotating schedules that have an impact on worker fatigue. According to OSHA, almost 15 million American workers have full-time jobs that require evening, night, rotating or other irregular shifts that contributes to worker fatigue. 

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide employees who are working very long shifts adequate breaks and rest time between shifts. It is a manager’s responsibility to recognize when their workers are displaying symptoms of fatigue to avoid injuries and costly damage. Recent news about the prevalence of fatigue in the workplace makes now the right time to discuss how to recognize fatigue and what to do about it.  

“Fatigue causes 13% of accidents in the workplace”

The Dangers of Fatigue in the Workplace 

Fatigue has a direct effect on the workforce. Fatigue affects employees’ memory, balance, concentration, decision-making, and motor skills. Research shows 13% of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue, a dangerous byproduct of a society that operates 24 hours a day. In the long term, persistent fatigue and lack of proper sleep can lead to poor employee health, potentially increasing the incidence or severity of issues like diabetes and heart disease.  

Employees often feel the effects of a lack of rest when they commute back and forth to work. Reduced alertness and reaction time both negatively influence driver performance and put workers at risk as they travel to and from job sites each day. 

The frequency with which fatigue occurs in the workplace must be recognized to craft an effective solution. Businesses, alongside the managers, supervisors and EHS specialists that address safety issues, need to look at this as a broad-based problem that could lead to negative consequences at nearly any workplace. 

 Signs of Workplace Fatigue 

Fatigue presents unique challenges for companies, but recognizing the signs of fatigue can help managers to keep employees safe.  Here are seven signs of fatigue:   Continue reading

If You Must Set-Off Fireworks This July Fourth, Take Precautions

With Fourth of July coming up, fireworks season is here.

Black cats, roman candles, sparklers, bottle rockets – you name it – someone will light the fuse.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2013. Injury was highest for children, age 0-4, followed by children, 10-14.

“In 2007-2011, four people per year were killed in fires started by fireworks, while data from death certificates show that five people per year were killed directly by fireworks,” according to the NFPA website.

The list of risks associated with fireworks usage is not a short one.

To keep adults and children safe from injury or fatality, extreme safety precaution should be taken when using fireworks.

Remember the following as you and your family celebrate this Independence Day:

  • Avoid using them when possible. Go see a professional show.
  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • If you must use them, read all caution and warning labels. Carefully follow the directions.
  • Never let children use fireworks.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles.
  • As Total Safety always recommends, use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, hearing protection, and gloves.

For more information on the safety of fireworks, you can visit www.NFPA.org