Healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing over 18 million workers. Women represent nearly 80% of the healthcare work force. Health care workers face a wide range of hazards on the job, including needlestick injuries, back injuries, latex allergy, violence, and stress. Although it is possible to prevent or reduce healthcare worker exposure to these hazards, healthcare workers continue to experience injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Cases of nonfatal occupational injury and illness among to healthcare workers are among the highest of any industry sector. By contrast, two of the most hazardous industries, agriculture and construction, are safer today than they were a decade ago.
According to one estimate, over 400,000 people go to the emergency room annually as a result of injuries caused by workshop equipment and power tools. Approximately 70 percent of the people who wind up in the emergency room as a result of injuries caused by power tools are amateur craftsmen.
There are several common power tool-related injuries to be aware of, including saw amputations, lacerations, eye injuries, and puncture wounds. While there are many different ways to get injured while using power tools, there are a number of safety tips you can incorporate into your work no matter what tools you’re using.
- Be familiar with how your tool operates before you start using it. If you’re a beginner, take the time to read the owner’s manual or speak to knowledgeable experts. Only use power tools for the specific functions they were designed for.
- Thoroughly inspect your power tool to ensure that it’s in working order. Don’t forget to look over any safety equipment that comes with your power tools.
- Before actually commencing work is to take a minute to make sure that you’re physically able to undertake a task that involves using power tools. If you’ve been drinking, or if you’re rushed or fatigued, put off working with power tools until you’ve had time to recharge your batteries.
As far as precautions to take while you work, you should always wear standard safety equipment, such as a face shield, gloves and goggles. If you’re using a power tool that runs on gasoline, there are some extra safety precautions that you should incorporate into your work, including working only in well-ventilated areas and filling up the gas tank only after the power tool’s engine has cooled.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those that were killed and injured in the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. Some of those were firefighters. We must never take our firefighters and first responders for granted as they risk their lives everyday on our behalf. “ -Randy Boss
Firefighters at the scene of a massive fertilizer plant explosion in Texas were concerned Wednesday night about anhydrous ammonia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anhydrous ammonia is a pungent gas with suffocating fumes that is used as a fertilizer. When exposed to humans, it can cause various problems:
- Anhydrous means without water
- Anhydrous ammonia can rapidly cause dehydration and severe burns if it combines with water in the body
- Symptoms can include breathing difficulty; irritation of the eyes, nose or throat; burns or blisters.
- Exposure to high concentrations can lead to death.
- Victims require treatment with large quantities of water for at least 15 minutes
- It must be stored at high pressure, according to the University of Minnesota.
- It is a low-cost, highly effective nitrogen-based fertilizer, the University of Arkansas said.
- It is one part nitrogen and three parts hydrogen.
- When released, the vapors initially move close to the ground, causing greater risk for exposure.
It has been observed at the OSHA VPP sites and confirmed by independent research that developing strong safety cultures have the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any process. It is for this single reason that developing these cultures should be top priority for all managers and supervisors.
What is a safety culture – how will it impact my company?
Safety cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shape our behavior. An organizations safety culture is the result of a number of factors such as:
- Management and employee norms, assumptions and beliefs;
- Management and employee attitudes;
- Values, myths, stories;
- Policies and procedures;
- Supervisor priorities, responsibilities and accountability;
- Production and bottom line pressures vs. quality issues;
- Actions or lack of action to correct unsafe behaviors;
- Employee training and motivation; and
- Employee involvement or “buy-in.”
In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement, and get under a sturdy table or the stairs. A specially-constructed “safe room” within a building offers the best protection. Use an internet search engine and search for “safe room” for more information.
If a basement is not available, move to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and cover yourself with anything close at hand: towels, blankets, pillows. If possible, get under a sturdy table, desk or counter. Put as many walls as possible between you and the storm. Stay away from windows.
If caught outdoors, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If you cannot quickly walk to shelter, get into a vehicle, buckle your seatbelt and drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have two options as a last resort:
– Stay in the vehicle with the seatbelt on and place your head below the windows.
– If you can safely get noticeably lower than the roadway, exit the vehicle and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Do not seek shelter under an overpass.
Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes. You should leave a mobile home and go to the designated storm shelter or the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building.
When vacationing, always bring along a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and have a place of safety in mind in the event severe weather threatens.
Many workplaces contain spaces that are considered “confined” because their configurations hinder the activities of employees who must enter, work in, and exit them. A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, process vessels, and pipelines. OSHA uses the term “permit-required confined space” (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.
The BMI ranges are based on the relationship between body weight and disease and death. Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including the following:
- Dyslipidemia (for example, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
Are you prepared for a global talent shortage? A recent report from the World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group, Global Talent Risk – Seven Responses, emphasizes that organizations will experience massive shortages of trained workers over the next twenty years despite current high levels of unemployment. Here’s why:
“The Northern hemisphere faces talent shortages in a wide range of occupational clusters largely because populations are ageing rapidly and educational standards are insufficient. “The United States, for example, will need to add more than 25 million workers to its talent base by 2030 to sustain economic growth.
To prevent burns from fires:
- Be alarmed. Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home—on every floor and near all rooms family members sleep in. Test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are working properly.
- Have an escape plan. Create and practice a family fire escape plan, and involve kids in the planning. Make sure everyone knows at least two ways out of every room and identify a central meeting place outside.
- Cook with care. Use safe cooking practices, such as never leaving food unattended on the stove. Also, supervise or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens, or microwaves.
To prevent burns from scalding water:
- Check water heater temperature. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Infants who aren’t walking yet can’t get out of water that may be too hot, and maintaining a constant thermostat setting can help control the water temperature throughout your home—preventing it from getting too high.
So what is Risk Management 365 anyway? It’s following a 5 step process of managing risk 365 days a year not just buying insurance once a year. Insurance is NOT risk management ! There is no amount of insurance that can reverse a serious injury or death of a father, grandmother, son or grandchild. We live in a dangerous unhealthy world but though education and support from committed employers and engaged employees and their families we are making a difference. How many people quit texting while driving or began a regular exercise program after reading about it in this blog? How many children now wear a helmet when riding their bike? How many people recognized the signs off a heart attack and got treatment? If you have I would love to hear from you.
Our mission is “Keeping employees and their families healthy and safe at home and at work.”
Learn more about Ottawa Kent and the Risk Management 365 process at www.ottawakent.com