The Dangers of Arc Flash Incidents

arc_flashThe flash is instantaneous, almost too fast for the eye to comprehend. But the end result of this incident could be more than $15 million in direct and indirect costs to a company.

What is arc flash?

An arc flash is a short circuit through the air. When insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is breached or can no longer withstand the applied voltage, an arc flash occurs. As employees work on or near energized conductors or circuits, movement near or contact with the equipment, or a failure of the equipment, may cause a phase-to-ground and/or a phase-to-phase fault.

The temperature of an arc can reach more than 5000 F as it creates a brilliant flash of light and a loud noise. An enormous amount of concentrated radiant energy explodes outward from the electrical equipment, spreading hot gases, melting metal, causing death or severe radiation burns, and creating pressure waves that can damage hearing or brain function and a flash that can damage eyesight. The fast-moving pressure wave also can send loose material such as pieces of equipment, metal tools, and other objects flying, injuring anyone standing nearby.

via The Dangers of Arc Flash Incidents – MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY.

Prevent Medication Poisoning in Children

babymedsafetypillsEach year more than 60,000 children are treated in emergency departments due to accidental medication poisoning. That’s about 165 kids – or roughly four school busloads of children – per day.

Parents, grandparents and caregivers can prevent unintentional medication poisoning in children by being vigilant about safe storage and safe dosing of medications.

via Medication Safety Guide.

Health Care Reform and Your Business

HealthcareReformThe Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, otherwise known as “Obamacare” or the “Health Care Law,” affects small and large businesses in several ways. How the health care law affects your business depends on the number of people you employ, either full time or part time (not counting independent contractors).

Smaller Employers

Businesses that employ fewer than 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees may be eligible to receive a small business health care tax credit for providing health care coverage to employees. First, you must determine the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including each part-time employee as a percentage of a full-time employee. Then you must cover at least 50 percent of the cost of health care coverage for some of your employees, based on the single-person rate, and you must pay average annual wages below $50,000. If you meet all of these qualifications, you must apply on IRS Form 8941 (PDF) to receive the tax credit when you file your business tax return.

For Larger Employers

The health care law doesn’t “require” larger employers to provide health care to employees, but beginning in 2014 the law imposes penalties on businesses with over 50 employees that don’t provide “affordable” health care to employees. Here are the details of this portion of the law:

Starting in 2014, large businesses (those with 50 or more full-time workers) that do not provide adequate health insurance will be required to pay an assessment if their employees receive premium tax credits to buy their own insurance. These assessments will offset part of the cost of these tax credits. The assessment for a large employer that does not offer coverage will be $2,000 per full-time employee beyond the company’s first 30 workers.

To be deemed “affordable,” the health care insurance provided by the employer must pay for at least 60 percent of covered health care expenses, and employees may not be forced to pay more than 9.5 percent of their family income (before deductions and adjustments) for coverage offered by employers. The question of how an employer is supposed to know the amount of “family income” is not yet addressed.

If a business fails to provide any coverage or the coverage is deemed not to be affordable, the amount of the penalty is $2,000 per worker, but the first 30 workers are excluded from the calculation.

via Health Care Law and Your Business – Obamacare and Your Business.

Keep Children Safe – Home Safety Checklist

home_safetyHere is a list of safety tips to keep children safe at home.

  • Sound the Alarm: Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas. If already installed, test them! Tip: Replace the batteries every daylight-saving time change.
  • Avoid Overload: Check for overloaded extension cords – usage should not exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Don’t Get Tippy: If young children are in the home, bookshelves and other furniture should be firmly secured with wall brackets to prevent tipping.
  • Paint Safe: Check walls for loose paint. If re-painting, do so in a well-ventilated area and consider VOC-free paint.
  • Childproof, Childproof, Childproof: Check your local library or look online for complete lists of childproofing suggestions. Areas of particular danger include outlets, appliances, electronics, stairs and windows.
  • Cover Outlets: Cover all unused outlets to prevent children from sticking a finger in the socket.
  • Watch Cord Placement: Extension cords should not be placed under rugs or heavy furniture, tacked up or coiled while in use.
  • Get Grounded: All major appliances should be grounded. Be sure to check your ground fault circuit interrupters regularly.
  • Plan Your Escape: Practice a fire escape plan with your family where you identify two exits for every room and what to do with young children.
  • Give Your Air Heater Some Space: All air heaters should be placed at least three feet from beds, curtains or anything flammable.
  • Keep Extinguishers Handy: Place all-purpose fire extinguishers in key locations in your home – the kitchen, bedroom and basement. Be sure to check expiration dates regularly and know how to use them safely.
  • Create a Safe Exit: In addition to alarms and extinguishers, consider an escape ladder if your home has two floors. Keep emergency numbers and contacts readily available by the phone.
  • Unplug Appliances: Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use and store them out of reach.
  • Go New in the Nursery: Check that all painted cribs, bassinettes and high chairs were made after 1978 to avoid potential lead paint poisoning.
  • Cool Your Jets: Set your water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid potential burns and to save energy.
  • Put Away Medications: Take medications and medical supplies out of your purse, pockets and drawers, and put them in a cabinet with a child safety lock.
  • Look for UL: The UL Mark appears on products that have been tested, verified and inspected for safety. Make sure to look for it to keep your holidays safe and bright.

via Home Safety | Home Safety Tips | Home Safety Checklist | Safety at Home.

Risk Management in Human Resources

riskThere are two types of roles in Risk Management. People are a source of risk. Shortage of right kind of employees at a right time, attrition of experienced employees, employee leaving after completion of a one-year training program, employees doing sloppy work due to lack of competencies, handling customers very badly, an employee unwilling to take on additional responsibility or high absentee employees.

People are important in handling risk. People using their skill to solve unexpected problems, employees going the extra mile for the organization, an employee becoming multi-skilled, redesigning his own job to avoid unnecessary delays in getting work done, or evolving new process to resolve the problem or an employee persuading a talented friend to apply for a position and join the organization.

via Devising risk management in human resources.

Cancer Prevention

091216a-lung-cancer-cellsWhat Is Cancer?

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Cancer is not just one disease, but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer.

How Can Cancer Be Prevented?

The number of new cancer cases can be reduced, and many cancer deaths can be prevented. Research shows that screening for cervical and colorectal cancers as recommended helps prevent these diseases by finding precancerous lesions so they can be treated before they become cancerous. Screening for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancers also helps find these diseases at an early, often highly treatable stage.

Vaccines also help reduce cancer risk. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and some vaginal and vulvar cancers, and the hepatitis B vaccine can help reduce liver cancer risk. Making cancer screening, information, and referral services available and accessible to all Americans can reduce cancer incidence and deaths.

A person’s cancer risk can be reduced in other ways by receiving regular medical care, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active.

via CDC – Cancer – Prevention.