Safety Tips For Home Improvement Projects

diy home improvement projects safety tipsHome maintenance and improvement projects are always gratifying when you do them yourself. It may take a few tries to get everything done exactly the way you want it, but at least you did it yourself. In addition to your self-gratification, DIY projects for your home can save you money. You don’t have to hire anyone to do it for you, so you only have to pay for the tools and materials needed.

Before you get started, there are a few things you should keep in mind in regards to safety. Here are a few safety tips for your next home improvement project:

1. Watch For Health Hazards

When you’re working on home improvement project, there are a few things that could  pose a threat to your health. For example, older homes have been known to have lead paint and asbestos. In fact, asbestos isn’t banned in the U.S. or Canada, where it’s still produced and exported. You should have your home inspected for the mineral and lead paint before moving in and starting improvement projects.

2. Use Proper Equipment

You should always wear eye protection as well as proper gloves and work clothes while working on a project. If you’re working around dust and wood shavings, wearing a mask will keep you from inhaling harmful debris.

In addition to protective gear, you should also make sure you’re using the right tools. Using an axe to pound nails into place isn’t only the wrong way to use an axe, but it’s also extremely dangerous. Always make sure you’re using the proper tools for the job. Some heavy equipment even requires a certification or a license to operate.

3. Set Up A Safe Work Space

Working in an area with plenty of space is important for getting your project done — but it is also important for your safety. Make sure there are no cords or tools lying around for you to trip over. If you’re working inside, you can also lay down plastic sheeting to protect floors and help make the clean up process easier.

Proper safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, are also important for the safety of any home. While you’re working, however, other needs might arise. If you experience an industrial spill while working on a home improvement project, you can use SpillFix Industrial Absorbent, which uses all natural materials and was recently awarded New Product of the Year by Occupational Health & Safety for sustainability and effectiveness. If you have any questions about SpillFix, feel free to contact us!

Preparing for Pesticide Problems This Fall

Safety goggles

As the weather starts to get colder, bugs start to travel inside workplaces to find warmth. Many business owners spray pesticides as a way to stop bugs from entering the building. Although this is a common method of eliminating pests in the building, always follow safety guidelines very closely in order to reduce the risk of pesticide related illness or injury.

When spraying pesticides, workers should always wear the correct clothing described on the bottle. For example, wearing impermeable gloves will aid in keeping the chemicals off of your skin. Always wear long pants and long shirts to cover your arms and legs from extra mists and out of control sprayers. Although not always specified, using goggles to protect the eyes will drastically reduce the possibility of ocular injuries.

Despite following all instructions carefully, sometimes accidents still occur. If a worker gets pesticides in the eye, or their skin, or in their lungs, follow these procedures to ensure a safe resolution.

  • In the eye: In some cases, damages to the eye can begin in about fifteen minutes. If the pesticide gets into a worker’s eye, hold the eyelid open and gently flush the eye with tap or hose water for fifteen minutes. Do not add eye drops or additional chemicals to the water or eye.
  • On the skin: A painful, burning irritation almost always occurs when pesticides splash onto a worker’s skin. Be sure to remove the poisoned clothing and thoroughly wash the area with water. Discard the contaminated clothing or carefully wash separately from other laundry.
  • Excessive inhalation: Excessive pesticide fumes could cause breathing troubles or fainting in workers. If present conditions appear safe enough for helpers to reach a victim, drag them to fresh air immediately. Open all windows and doors to ventilate the area. Loosen the victim’s tight clothing if they stopped breathing. If you cannot reach the injured worker, call the local fire department.

Always store pesticides in places where they will not get bumped or spilled. Keeping sprayers on high shelves in locked cabinets or closets will ensure unused chemicals stay out of the way from usual workplace activities.  

Most importantly, in the event of a spill, clean puddles quickly and safety to avoid further injuries. An absorbent product will usually handle the liquid base of pesticides the best. SpillFix absorbent product, made of a renewable resource from the coconut husk, cleans chemical spills quickly and efficiently. Sprinkle the absorbent product around the outside of the spill to prevent spreading. Secondly, cover the rest of the spill with SpillFix. Then mix the coconut husk base into the spill until the absorbent fully absorbs the pesticides. Workers can safely dispose of the use SpillFix or save it for another dangerous spill.

Always follow the instructions when using pesticides in your business. Bugs can be a big nuisance, but avoiding worker related injuries will save the business from more nuisances in the long run.

How To Recycle Hazardous Industrial Waste

recycling industrial waste spillfix renewable resourceWorkplace safety and environmental impact are important aspects of a company’s culture and reputation, which is where recycling comes in. There are numerous benefits to recycling such as saving money, conserving resources, and protecting the environment among other things. Large companies can have a significant impact on the environment so they have a responsibility to handle byproducts with care. Here are a few steps you can take to recycle hazardous industrial waste responsibly:

1. Know The Rules:

First, you should check the regulations for recycling industrial waste. Because there are so many different kinds of industrial byproducts, they are all carefully classified and categorized with specific regulations on how to handle them properly. For example, solid waste is different from liquid waste and is, therefore, subject to different regulations and recycling methods.

2. Responsible Recycling:

Now, you should search for a responsible recycler. You want to employ a recycler who won’t cut corners and follows regulations. To determine if you’ve found a responsible recycler, you should understand the recycling process for your particular type of waste. If you know the rules and how the recycling process should work, you can ask your potential recycler to verify their methods.

3. “Sham” Recycling:

Always be wary of sham recycling where the legal requirements for recycling hazardous waste aren’t being followed. In order to avoid this situation, you can ask these questions:

  • Is the hazardous waste an effective substance for the purpose your recycler will use it for?
  • What amount of byproduct are they using? Is it used in excess?
  • Does the recycling facility maintain records of all transactions?

These questions will help you determine whether there’s a market for the end product.

Recycling hazardous waste will help your company save money and improve your relationship with the public. You can keep detailed records and impact reports of your recycling history to demonstrate to the public that you’re doing your part to protect the environment while still delivering the products they need. If you have any questions about proper recycling methods for hazardous industrial waste, check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.

4 Awesome Coconut Facts

coconut husk renewable resource spillfix cleanupAs you may know, SpillFix Industrial Organic Absorbent is derived from coir, or coconut husks, which is a renewable resource that is 100% organic and safe to use — and safe for the environment. But spillfix is not the only creative way to use coconuts! Other than being a wonderfully tasty treat, this tropical fruit can be useful in a variety of settings.

1. The Coconut IV

Coconuts are a nutritious treat, full of fiber, vitamin C, and iron, but they also have other surprising medical benefits. As far back as the 1950s, coconut water could be used as a substitute for intravenous hydration and resuscitation of critically ill patients. Recently, it was used in the Solomon Islands to treat a severely dehydrated patient.

  1. Coco-Fuel
    Now you know coconuts are a great fuel for the human body, but its oil can also be used as a planet-friendly fuel alternative for automobiles and other machinery. As engine fuel, coconut oil can be used as a direct substitute for petroleum diesel, as an additive to petroleum diesel or bio-diesel, and even as the the base ingredient of bio-diesel.

  2. Tasty Alcohol

The piña colada is a vacation staple. No beach party is complete without a refreshing coconut drink by the pool. But in the Philippines, people often use the sap from an unopened coconut flower and distill it into a drink called lambanog. This potent drink is easily 80 to 90 proof, but is also organic and chemical-free! This coconut beverage is typically homemade, but some commercial distilleries have started producing lambanog as well, and they have introduced several new flavors, such as mango, bubblegum, and blueberry.

  1. Coco Armor

Coconut armour may sound like a joke, but craftsmen in the small Micronesian archipelago of Kiribati were able to craft husks into suits of armor! The coconut fibre armour from Oceania was made of dense coconut fibre matting; the full suit consists of a cap, body armour, back plate, jerkin and leggings.

Now we may be partial, but while all of these uses for coconuts are useful and incredibly creative, SpillFix Industrial Organic Absorbent may take the cake. Our product instantly absorbs any liquid spill on contact, so spill areas can be cleaned up with minimum downtime and the area immediately rendered safe. Go to our supplier page to locate a retailer near you!

Closing the Skills Gap

It’s back to school time for a lot of young people – but just because you’re out of school doesn’t mean you should stop learning. There are always plenty of opportunities throughout your career to continue your education – and more and more, companies are relying on employees who seize these opportunities.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

With more and more industries seeing an almost constant growth in their workloads – as well as industries finding themselves evolving to meet output demands and modern safety standards alike – n, many companies are finding that they there is a need for more skilled workers in their employee lineup. Unfortunately, in many cases, this need  isn’t being filled, as i’s become increasingly more difficult to find these skilled laborers.

The good news? Even if these skilled workers aren’t lining up at your door, your company can still meet this need for a skilled workforce. In fact, DeWys Manufacturing in Marne, Michigan, found that the solution to this very problem wasn’t finding additional skilled workers: the answer was educating the workers they already had- and in this company’s case, making the shift from, “where do we find skilled workers?” to, “how do we create the training programs to make our workers more skilled?” madeall the difference.

The question then is, how can you create the same benefits and great outcomes as DeWys Manufacturing?

Some companies have created success for themselves by providing short apprenticeship programs to young students just out of school. By taking them in and teaching them the skills needed for their trade, they can ensuring that these young people are already equipped for the job. Out of the 10 or so students who come into a program like this, 6 of them usually come on as full time employees. Ultimately, these young workers are prepared to come in and do a good job from the get go.

But what if you’re working with a more experienced staff? For older, more experienced employees, an apprenticeship is obviously not the appropriate method. Different measures will  need to be taken for people who have been in the industry for some time and need to adapt to new techniques and methods. Fortunately, OSHA offers a multitude of training and educational programs to move employees further in their careers. They even offer training materials if you’re more of a DIY person and you’d prefer to do the learning on your own time at your own pace.

Worried about the cost of these endeavors? You may very well find that assistance programs will put this movement well within your budget; under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, for example, nonprofits are awarded grants to be put towards developing training and educational programs for employees. For more information on how your organization can go about applying for grants such as this one, head here.

We hope we’ve demonstrated that your education doesn’t have to end just because your years at school have. There are plenty of opportunities for people of all ages and skill sets to continue their learning and to continue on the path of improving themselves. If you think your company could benefit from these types of programs, mention them to your bosses and see how they respond to this possible method of improvement. A good boss will see that, by furthering the education of their employees  gives them incentive to do more with their careers – which in turn can benefit the organization as a whole.

Sources cited

Industry Week 1, 2

Preventing Fires in the Workplace

Do you know about the most common fire hazards in your industry? There could be more dangers than you think. Every year, it’s estimated that 80,000 workplace fires seriously damage businesses and injure workers. For 2015, we want to help you and your business recognize and avoid common business place fire hazards, which will help you and your employees be as safe as possible. Once you are aware of these three frequent fire risks, it’s much easier to avoid them later.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Oil Soaked Rags

When a fuel spill happens, reaching for a rag is probably your knee-jerk reaction. However, piles of oily rags become a very dangerous fire hazard in the workplace. Not only are the rags highly flammable, but in some cases piles of rags have been known to get so warm they ignite themselves.

Instead of using a rag to clean workplace spills, we suggest investing in a spill kit with a professional absorbent product. They’re much more efficient at cleaning spills than rags and, depending on whether or not the absorbent product meets your community’s waste disposal guidelines, they can be much easier to dispose of properly.

Old/Malfunctioning Equipment

How long have you been using the current machinery at your factory? If a machine is over a couple decades old, you might be working around a fire hazard. Old and malfunctioning pieces of equipment are more likely to give off sparks when in use. If these sparks land in the wrong spot, (such as a pile of oil soaked rags) you could have a fire on your hands that employees aren’t equipped to handle.

We suggest seriously considering a machinery upgrade. At the very least, be sure to keep old equipment clean and free of clutter in case of sparks. Lastly, complete regular safety evaluations to check wires and gears to be sure the machine is working properly.

Clutter

Even if you always remember to put your tools and materials away correctly, other types of clutter in the work area can act as fuel for a spreading fire. Files stacked on the floor and overflowing trash cans are just a few of the worst offenders. Professional organizers also agree that too much clutter can be a dangerous fire hazard to buildings.

We suggest really taking the time to clean up your area. A potential fire shouldn’t be getting help from your office when spreading throughout a building. Your stack of papers in the corner might look intimidating now, but after taking the time to go through them, you might find things you had forgotten about.
In addition to staying on the look out for these fire hazards, it is also important to have a clear safety plan in the event of a fire. All employees should be aware of where the fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and emergency exits are located throughout the building. Following these tips will help keep your organization fire free.

How to Successfully Complete a Safety Audit

Safety is the most important issue in any workplace. If a worker doesn’t feel safe in his or her job, then they’ll be unable to focus on doing a good job – and will focus on avoiding injury instead. Not only does this not contribute to a productive work environment – it’s dangerous, and is likely a sign that your place of work is not up to date on current legal requirements.

Fortunately, periodic safety checks or safety audits of your business are an easy way to ensure that everything is running smoothly and that there are no hidden safety hazards. A lot of organizations shy away from safety audits, thinking that they are only searching for things that are going drastically wrong. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With the right attitude and intent, anyone can carry out a productive safety audit.

Image courtesy of Boris Dzhingarov of Flickr

Image courtesy of Boris Dzhingarov of Flickr

The goals of any audit are simple, and achieving these goals is especially easy if you continue to carry out regular safety audits. A truly productive safety audit should:

  • identify the risks, and the levels of severity of said risks, within the workplace
  • identify strengths and weaknesses in your safety procedures
  • assess whether your safety procedures are legally compliant
  • compare current documentation and practices against best practice and legal obligations
  • recommend improvements in your safety procedures
  • ensure that there adequate resources available to manage Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)
  • ensure that the resources devoted to health and safety are being utilized effectively

A safety audit can focus on one single activity, one segment of the organization or the overall status of the organization as a whole. It all depends on how you want to approach it.

How often should safety audits be held?

A full-on safety audit should be completed about once every 3 months. Since the process is a bit more in depth than a general safety check it doesn’t need to be done every month. However, a general safety inspection of work stations should be held weekly to ensure there are no minor safety hazards.

What specifically should you look for in a safety audit?

While you may want to add an item or two onto your site’s own safety audit list, a good audit will always check for each of the following common work hazards:

  • Safety hazards such as faulty machinery, unsafe work practices, unsafe conditions, etc.
  • Biological hazards such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.
  • Chemical hazards. This is especially important if you are frequently handling chemicals and other dangerous liquids.
  • Physical demands/conditions on the worker such as continuous repetitions of a single action, awkward posture, weather, pressure, etc.

What sorts of things should I have written up after a safety audit?

At the end of a successful audit, you should have:

  • An updated tool inventory that highlights anyh tools or machinery at your worksite, and where they are each located; this helps to keep things in their correct place and make sure that they don’t go missing.
  • An updated chemical inventory that confirms chemicals are being stored safely, securely, and in a proper location on-site, where they won’t react to the other chemicals stored around. This is imperative since a chemical reaction can be one of the most dangerous accidents in the workplace.

While not necessarily a requirement, it’s also very helpful to have an updated diagram of the workplace at the end of every safety audit. A mapping of where everything is located can help mark where certain hazards are while moving through the facilities. That way, staff and coworkers alike have to waste time struggling to remember the location of certain safety hazards while on the job.

Safety audits are necessary for every business from office jobs to garages to factories. Every workplace should complete periodic safety checks to ensure that there are no hazards that could hurt someone or even damage expensive equipment. If you continue to complete these safety audits at regular intervals, you will breeze through them and reduce on-site injuries for your workers. However, if you become lax and neglect them for a while, they become harder to complete. Keep up to date on your safety and you definitely won’t regret it.

Sources Consulted

CCOHS

Health and Safety Handbook

7 Questions You Need To Ask About Safety Procedures And Protocols At Work

Image courtesy of B3D_ on Flickr

Image courtesy of B3D_ on Flickr

Are you comfortable with the working conditions at your job? Do you go into work every day knowing your basic safety needs are met, or do you stress about when the next harmful incident will occur?

A safe workplace is an ideal workplace, in more ways than one. For example, knowing how to both spot and address potential safety issues within your own workplace could help save you, fellow coworkers, or even your superiors from a potentially dangerous situation; this protects everyone on site from serious injury or death. In addition to protecting the lives of those involved, addressing safety issues is also likely to save companies money. After all, safer workers are focused and productive workers – and safer workplaces are less likely to experiences fines or costs of damage in the event of a worksite accident.

Unfortunately, too often people find themselves afraid to have a serious discussion about workplace safety. However, it’s a conversation that needs to happen. To help get it started at your own company, trying asking yourself these simple questions and jumpstarting a real conversation about workplace safety with your coworkers.

  1. Do you know the greatest risks in your industry?

Are you aware of the risks that go hand in hand with your industry? Although it varies between jobs and during different times and scenarios, supervisors should be clear from the beginning, even from the interview, about what kind of risky situations workers could be required to put themselves into in order to perform their job correctly. Understanding exactly what they need to watch for can help staff members better prepare for potential on-site accidents.

  1. Does everyone who needs it have the appropriate licensing?

A proper license or certification means that the worker has learned and passed training classes to work in certain situations. For example, you may need certification to handle specific equipment or even dangerous materials. If an unlicensed worker is doing a job that is meant for a certified professional, it puts not only that person at risk, but also puts everyone around them – and an entire company’s operating abilities – at risk.

  1. Is training being done periodically?

As time progresses, new safety standards evolve based on industry needs. Having regular safety meetings to inform employees of new safety policies and laws will ensure that everyone within a company is being kept up to date on these developments, thereby reducing the risk of an out-of-date procedure creating an unsafe scenario at work.

  1. Are procedures set in place in the event of an emergency?

Emergencies can happen any time – and to ensure that they can be handled, every single employee needs to know what should be done in the event of an emergency situation. Not only should emergency procedures be written and posted at your workplace in an easy to understand and readily accessible fashion – they should also be practiced during training and drill sessions, so that employees are already briefed on what to do in an actual emergency. Policies should also be revisited and reviewed every couple of months to ensure the safety standards laid out in them are up to date.

  1. Are proper safety gear and equipment provided?

Basic safety gear should be stored safely and kept on hand for all employees who may need them to handle an emergency. Some examples of essential tools include hard hats, goggles, gloves, and an easy to use spill absorbent product. However, it’s important to remember that additional basic items may be needed, and a complete list of “must have” safety gear can vary between different organizations and even between different departments of the same organizations. Because of this, n assessment should be completed by each department in the organization to determine what specific safety equipment is required.

  1. Are safety audits performed on a regular basis?

Think that safety audits aren’t necessary at your place of work? Think again. Regularly scheduled safety issues provide much-needed time to examine worksites for problems that need to be addressed ASAP. This is especially important when dealing with large or heavy machinery, and other types of equipment that could injure employees or create environmental hazards during a spill. If safety audits are not part of your regular workplace overhaul, it’s time to add them to your list of protocols.

  1. Do your managers and coworkers take safety seriously?

Employers and superiors should always take your safety very seriously. Worker safety should always be a top priority. If your managers joke around about general safety, that may be a sign that they have the potential to jeopardize your well being by not taking safety in general seriously. The same goes for your coworkers. If a coworker is goofing around in a dangerous situation, they can harm themselves and those around them. If an employee isn’t taking safety matters seriously, they should be reported to their supervisor.
Each of questions can help get an important conversation going about safety in the workplace, and each question is designed to address a different but equally important safety issue. By discussing each of them in-depth, you can begin to locate lapses in the safety procedures of your workplace, as well as a lack of knowledge in the employees. Most importantly, once you have identified these gaps, you can improve and address them before they lead to a serious accident or injury.

What SpillFix Product Is Right For Your Business?

Image courtesy of SpillFix

Image courtesy of SpillFix

Whenever we talk about an absorbent product, we should always think of that absorbent product as a tool. Like any other tool, when it comes to cleaning up spills at work most of the time one kind of absorbent product will do a better job than another. And as with any other type of tool, different absorbent products will work better on different spills than another type of absorbent product might. Not only that, but the type of absorbent product you use will impact your company’s effectiveness, overall safety, and performance.

SpillFix is just one kind of absorbent product that you may decide to use to clean up fuel spills, chemical spills, or a range of other types of spills. But when exactly is it appropriate to use SpillFix? Today we’ll answer those questions so you can make sure you’re cleaning up spills to the best of your abilities.

What is SpillFix?

SpillFix Industrial Absorbent is a organic, non-toxic absorbent made from coir which is a renewable resource extracted from coconut husks. SpillFix is currently available in both loose, bagged form and boom sock form.

When should I use loose SpillFix absorbent product?

Loose absorbent products are used to clean up most liquid spills at work, and are particularly helpful when you need to clean up a spill that has leaked into cracks and seams that a larger, solid absorbent product couldn’t reach. While some types of loose absorbent products have a bad reputation for containing dangerous crystalline silica and for being dusty and difficult to sweep or shovel up afterwards and generally cumbersome to use, SpillFix removes dust from the equation and, as demonstrations show, is quick and easy to pick up and dispose of.

When should I use SpillFix booms?

If you have a large liquid spill quickly spreading that needs to be simultaneously contained and absorbed, a boom will help you get the job done. Commonly used to contain water-based oil spills, booms are also very effective to use on other kinds of spills that happen at your place of work – both indoors and outdoors. SpillFix booms are especially useful since no spill can be cleaned before it’s been properly contained, meaning that in the event of a spill a boom is a necessity.

As you can see, every worksite needs different spill products to address different spill-related needs. Assessing your workplace and deciding which products meet your safety needs is critical in determining which products to purchase to keep your worksite safe at all times.
Questions? Comments? Interested in learning more about SpillFix’s products? Find us on Facebook and Twitter!

How To Protect Yourself And Your Power Tools At Work

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

When working in industries like construction or manufacturing, it’s probable that you’ll come into contact, and have to work, with a number of power tools and equipment. Working with power tools every day can make the tool feel like an extension of your arm. However, that thinking can result a lapse in concentration, which could lead to mistakes – and even to injuries.

One survey estimates that power tools cause an average of 400,000 visits to the emergency room annually. That’s one statistic that you can’t afford to be a part of. Fortunately, following a few basic safety guidelines will help you stay safe on the job:

  1. Always wear safety goggles while working with tools. If you work around a lot of dust at your worksite, wear a dust mask to prevent the inhalation of dust particles and other debris. Debris and dust getting into the lungs can cause severe lung illnesses. Also, if working for prolonged periods of time with loud tools, be sure to wear earplugs or protective headphones to prevent injury to the ear drums.
  2. Dress appropriately. No loose fitting clothing should be worn when working with or around power tools. Anything that can be caught in a power tool or spinning apparatus should be taken off or tied back. That also means no jewelry or neck ties. Long hair should also always be tied back tightly to prevent it getting snagged on anything.
  3. Never use power tools when tired. Being sleepy or groggy on the job will hinder concentration and make it harder to focus on the task at hand. Falling asleep near dangerous power tools can cause serious injuries to you and others working with you and in your proximity. Make sure to take frequent breaks for fresh air if you find your concentration lapsing.
  4. When cutting something, be sure to clamp down your work. Do not try to freehand a cut. Even the most experienced and steady workman can slip or lose concentration. That interruption of concentration can result in the loss of a limb or appendage. Clamping down the object you are cutting, however, will stop it from slipping and sliding while cutting.

In addition to preparing yourself for working with the power tools, it’s also important to upkeep the tools you will be handling.

  • Continuously perform proper maintenance. Keeping up with a maintenance schedule reduces the risk of rust buildup and outdated parts damaging the tool. To keep your power tools working well, purchase new parts on a regular basis. Also remember to regularly clean the device to prevent premature damage due to worksite byproduct buildup.
  • Properly mark unsafe tools. If a power tool is found to be unsafe – frayed cords, outdated parts, etc. – clearly mark it as such and store it away from other tools until it can be disposed of properly.
  • Read over the instruction manual if you are unsure. If you are unfamiliar with a tool that you are charged with handling, make sure to read  any instructions that come with the tool. Even if the tool seems self-explanatory, the instructions could impart some knowledge about using the tools that could help you use it more safely.

As you can see, properly caring for your tools is easy for people in all occupations. It’s as simple as wearing the proper attire, protecting your eyes and ears and taking care of your tools. By following these simple tips, anyone can care for their power tools and safely reduce the risk of injury to employees.

Sources Consulted

Forbes

Power Tools Institute

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