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!

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!

3 Major Health (And Work-Related) Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Did you know that the average American sleeps less than 7 hours each night? This may sound normal to many people, but it falls short of the nationally recommended amount of sleep. As a result of their sleep patterns, 37% of adults have stated that they were so tired that it affected their daily activities – and that includes when they’re at work.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Being fatigued at work can seriously affect your performance. And being sleepy at work doesn’t just stop you from getting your job done: it can cost your organization major money, too. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine estimated that sleep deprivation can cost an organization $3,156 per worker in productivity.

And your work performance will ultimately be affected by more than feeling sleepy and groggy. When you’re sleep deprived you’ll likely experience other symptoms of sleep loss, including:

  • An increased risk of getting sick
  • Clumsiness
  • Weepiness
  • Extreme hunger
  • Inability to focus and remember things

Worse still, the effects of going without enough sleep go deeper than just a loss of productivity at work. Sleep loss can seriously affect your health in the long term. These common illnesses and issues are possible effects of losing sleep.

Increased risk of stroke

The risk of strokes increases by almost 4 times when only getting 6 hours of sleep as compared to 7-8 hours of sleep as shown by a 3 year study of almost 6,000 adults. By losing that extra hour or two of sleep you increase your risk of suffering from a stroke in the future.

Increased risk of obesity

Since you feel hungrier when you are tired, you may indulge in a little extra eating than you normally would. You may also make poorer food selections than you would if you were fully rested. This is all due to a change in the hormones that regulate your food intake which occurs when you get 6 or fewer hours of sleep.

Increased memory loss

Running low on sleep can definitely make you feel unfocused and unable to concentrate but it can also lead to long term cognitive problems and memory loss. While we sleep, our brain is busy storing away your day into long term memory. When you don’t get an appropriate amount of sleep, your brain doesn’t have an opportunity to do that. Not getting enough sleep can lead to brain deterioration which can affect you for the rest of your life.

Those are only a few of the serious risks associated with sleep deprivation. Some other dangers include:

  • A higher risk of getting diabetes
  • Damage to bones
  • A higher risk of cancer
  • A heightened risk of heart disease

When you wake up and you’re already feeling groggy, try a few of these tips to keep yourself peppy and awake so that you’re not falling asleep on the job:

  • Don’t skip breakfast! Your brain will be more alert if you start off the day well with a good breakfast.
  • Opt for a lighter lunch. Heavy foods will bog you down and make you feel like you need an afternoon nap.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Listen to some upbeat music to get you going. (Make sure to check with your supervisor or Human Resources first to make sure it’s allowed.)
  • Get some fresh air and take a quick, brisk walk to get your blood flowing. The fresh air will help wake you up and the increase in blood flow will keep you alert.
  • When all else fails: coffee.

Ultimately, while there are things you can do to keep yourself going for a day here and there, the best remedy for staying awake during the day is always getting a good amount of sleep each night. Going to sleep early can help if you have trouble falling asleep. By getting enough sleep you are not only helping yourself, but you are helping your organization. Getting enough sleep can prevent you from losing productivity. A well rested mind is better equipped to focus on the work that needs to be done.

Sources Cited

The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

USA Today

Huffington Post

Chemical Absorbents: What You Should Know

When you work in an industry that deals with chemicals it’s imperative that you also have the means to clean up those chemicals in the event of a spill. If you have a chemical absorbent on hand, you will protect those working with chemicals. Not only that, but you will meet legal requirements for safety and cut down on the time it would take to clean up the spill.

SpillFix

What is needed in the event of a major spill? There are many different kinds of absorbent products that can be used to clean up a spill, from pads to rolls to sorbents. Each type of product serves a different purpose and performs a different job in the event of a spill. Here at SpillFix, we offer two forms of absorbent products: boom socks and a bagged product.

Boom socks are perfect for corralling a spill before it can spread out. These long, absorbent socks can be placed in the path of a moving spill to halt the spread, preventing it from growing larger and causing bigger problems. Plus, the material used to make absorbent socks has unique wicking properties that stop the flow of the spill while absorbing the chemical up.

With two size bags of absorbent, you have the ability to soak up any size spill. The 50 litre bag has the capacity to absorb spills of up to 26 litres while the 15 litre bag has the capacity to absorb 9.5 litres. With our bags of absorbent material you can quickly soak up a spill

What to do in the event of a spill? It’s important to have an emergency procedure in place for when a chemical spill occurs.

  • Remove all nonessential personnel from the area. Anyone not involved in the cleanup should leave the area of the spill to prevent them from getting in the away and heightening the problem.
  • Do not touch the chemical spill. Until the chemical has been identified as being not harmful, it’s important not to come in contact with the spill.
  • Anyone cleaning up the spill should don the proper coverings and safety equipment.
  • Decontaminate any equipment, tools and employees who may have gotten chemicals on them or their person.

Chemical spills are serious and could be incredibly harmful to people and the environment if it makes its way down a drain. The most important thing is to be prepared. By having the right absorbent products on hand you will always be prepared for a big spill.

3 Small Things That Make A Big Difference At Work

Springtime is strongly associated with an annual cleaning and clearing out of our homes. But our living area isn’t the only space that deserves a little extra attention. Given that we spend much of our lives in our workspace, it makes sense to give our place of employment a “spring cleaning” lookover, too.

This isn’t just something trendy that you can take part in, either. It’s important to do frequent checkups of your business and suss out any problem areas that need work. When small issue are left unattended, they can grow into bigger issues in the long run. But periodic reviews can keep quality up and prevent larger concerns from seeing the light of day. These are 3 simple things that you can examine during these reviews to upkeep the order in your workplace.

Value Worker Safety

First things first. Start with yourself. Make sure that you are following any and all safety procedures laid out by the company, by the manufacturers of the tools you use, and by overhead organizations such as OSHA. If you demonstrate that you take workplace safety seriously, your colleagues will follow your example. By making it a big deal you can establish that your organization is active in its workers’ safety which will encourage others to follow suit.

Find Ways to Improve Safety Measures

Even if you’re meeting safety requirements, that doesn’t mean you can’t do more to improve safety around your workplace overall. One thing you can do is assess your surroundings by taking a walk around the perimeter of your work floor. Are there things hiding in corners that shouldn’t be? Take a moment to notice obstructions and clutter. When you take notice of these things, your coworkers will take that into consideration and will take note themselves in the future.

You should also spend time with your employees and coworkers to brainstorm solutions to safety concerns. There might be something that you may not have thought of or a problem that you hadn’t noticed. By getting others’ perspectives, you can give yourself a different mindset, which can help you solve safety issues that you might not have even realized were a problem.

Praise Your Team

From a management standpoint, a happy team is a productive one. Take time out of each week or month to meet with the leaders of each team, or with each of the teams as a whole, and get reports on how they are progressing. Give commendation when it is deserved and give advice when it is necessary. Remember: when workers are acknowledged for their hard work, they are more likely to continue the good work in the future.


While you may feel that these 3 things would be a waste of company time, we believe scheduling time to evaluations such as these will save both time and money. When allowed to deteriorate, the state of your organization can easily fall out of tune.  But regularly following these 3 pieces of advice, and taking recurrent reviews of the workspace, you can can often prevent problems that may arise from neglect down the line. Ultimately, it’s much simpler to keep the quality of work high by investing more in it now than later.

4 Common Workplace Distractions That Can Cause Injuries

The average worker in the U.S. loses 2.1 hours per workday due to distractions. And once interrupted it takes the average worker 23 minutes to fully get back into the task they were trying to complete. That is valuable time that could benefit the company and worker alike, but is instead wasted due to distractions and interferences.

While some distractions can’t be helped, such as important company meetings, other distractions can actually be controlled and kept to a minimum. The trick is knowing what might be keeping you from focusing on your work, and eliminating it from your work area. While we can’t account for every distraction you may be experiencing, we’re willing to bet that the following three distractions have plagued you or a coworker at some point. Our advice? Stay vigilant while on the job and know how to avoid these common attention stealers:

  1. Music: Even though listening to your iPod makes the day go faster and your work more enjoyable, it can present some serious hazards while on the job. Because of this, be sure to consult with your supervisor before donning those headphones, to make sure they won’t interfere with your ability to hear potential hazards in your work space. One alternative to headphones, if they would be problematic, is to  try playing a radio station quietly in the background. Having it at a lower volume will keep it from being a serious distraction, but will provide a little bit of background music to make the day more pleasant.
  1. Bothersome Noises: Four million workers deal with damaging or distracting noise levels or sounds at work. If your problem is that coworkers are playing their music too loudly, or that machinery is cranking away near your workstation, maybe earplugs or noise cancelling headphones would be beneficial to you. Not only would they limit your exposure to distractions, but they could also benefit your health. Consider this: the noise from a power saw is 95 decibels which is capable of causing damage to your eardrums after only 4 hours. This means that having ear plugs at the ready could prevent serious hearing loss and help you do a better job at work.
  1. Cluttered Mind and Inattentiveness: Maybe you have some exciting plans this weekend and you’re imagining all the fun you might have. Perhaps something embarrassing happened to you last night and you’re replaying it over in your mind. Both of those things can pull your attention away from the task at hand and possibly contribute to you or a coworker getting hurt at work. If you find your attention wandering back to those kinds of thoughts, consider taking a “micro-break”. Take a walk outside for a few minutes or just stand up and stretch. By taking those few minutes to pull away from your work, you can gather yourself and refocus your attention so that you are refreshed enough to focus on what you need to be doing.
  1. Messy Workspace: Workspace clutter is problematic for a number of reasons. It can be emotionally draining and stressful, but most of all, it can be dangerous. Piles of clutter can actually hide potential safety issues and, if toppled over at the wrong moment, can become a tripping hazard for you and your coworkers. To minimize clutter and the dangers associated with it, begin taking some time to clean off your workspace at the end of each day. By ending the day with a clean area, you will be able to start the next day with a clean area, which will help you focus and make your work space a safer space.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Pixabay


While some of these things might be easy to let slide, if you do, they could quickly cause a safety hazard for you and your coworkers. Taking the time to address these distractions will be much more beneficial for you in the long run. By working to stay  focused on your tasks and blocking out both mental and physical clutter, you can stay stress-free and most importantly, safe.

How To Prepare Yourself For An Incident Free Work Day

The process of preparing yourself for a day of work shouldn’t be just a five minute process of grabbing your lunch and walking out the door. Making sure you have the stamina and mind set to put in eight hours (or possibly more) of work takes a lot more planning and effort. At SpillFix, we suggest following these steps for an incident free day at work.

1. Prepare Your Things The Night Before: Whether you need to take a briefcase, tools or some extra safety gear with you to work, make sure you lay those things out in the same spot every night before you go to bed. Running around in the morning searching for your things could cause you unneeded stress before the work day. This stress sometimes negatively affects the memory of workers, which can contribute to the likelihood of people participating in poor (or even dangerous) working methods.

2. Get A Good Night’s Sleep: Recently, the National Sleep Foundation released its newest study outlining an updated amount of hours people should sleep at night in order to fully function during the day. For people ages 18 to 64, experts recommend sleeping about seven to nine hours a night. Those who don’t get enough sleep at night are at risk of causing accidents at work due to slower motor functions and an impaired depth perception.

3. Eat A Healthy Breakfast:

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Although it may be tempting to skip breakfast every now and then, numerous resources and research have stressed the importance of always eating a morning meal. In fact, those who skip out on breakfast could have issues with their problem solving skills, as well as experience a dip in moods. Eating a balanced breakfast in the morning (such as a bowl of multigrain cereal and a piece of fruit) can give workers the boost they need make it through their day safely.

These simple tips can help set the tone for how you’ll approach your day at work. The next time you get home from work, take the time to plan out your next day. By taking a moment to organize, you could save yourself from a stress filled morning or even a dangerous day at work.

3 Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy At Work

In America, heart disease is the most prevalent illness in both men and women. In fact, heart disease causes about 600,000 deaths per year. And while genetics can play a big role in the development of heart disease, people can also lower their risk of developing the condition by making changes in their routine that allow them to live a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re a person who’s looking for ways to reduce your risk of heart disease, a key element to remember to include in your healthy lifestyle adjustments is your place of work.  With 40 hours (or more) of your week devoted to working, maintaining healthy goals during this part of the day can have a major impact on your cardiac health. To help you stay on track, we came up with our top three ways to lower your risk of heart disease while you’re at work.

1. Eat Your Breakfast

For those who start work early, we can understand the desire to skip breakfast and sleep a bit longer before heading off to work. However, eating a heart friendly breakfast is the first thing you can do in the morning to curb your risk of heart disease. In fact, eating a good breakfast in the morning could reduce your chance of heart disease by almost 27 percent. If you experience problems getting up in the morning, we suggest going to bed a little earlier at night so you wake up in time to eat a good breakfast – and still make it to work on time.

2. Drink Lots Of Water

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Instead of reaching for a morning coffee or an afternoon soda, try drinking water instead. In one study mentioned in by the Jacksonville Business Journal, men who drank five or more glasses of water a day saw their risk for a fatal heart disease reduced by 54 percent. Women, on the other hand, showed a reduced risk of about 41 percent. To get closer to seeing these results for yourself, we advise drinking the recommended 64 ounces of water per day.

3. Relax On Your Break

It’s certainly easy to rush through your breaks after getting caught up in your job. However, taking the time to relax on your breaks is an important tool in relieving stress – a big factor for developing heart diseases. Instead of working on the line or in the garage during your breaks, try sitting down with a book or taking a short walk outside. The small reset will do a world of good for your thoughts, your work, and your heart.

If you’re aiming to improve your heart’s health, you should take steps to protect your heart at all times – not just at home. By taking steps in every aspect of your life, you can work at strengthening your heart and lowering your risk of cardiac disease so that you can do a better job at work and live your life to the fullest.

 

3 Key Reasons To Develop Your Own Health & Safety Policy Template

Here at SpillFix we’ve chosen to focus on helping companies obtain one particular health and safety tool: your absorbent product of choice. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about all of the other things that play into a safe work environment – and we always tell our clients that if they haven’t developed their own health and safety policy that addresses all of their safety needs, then they have a lot of work to do.

When it comes to workplace safety, there’s a lot for people to keep track of – that’s exactly why one company’s safety policy isn’t necessarily a good fit for another. Different companies face different types of risks; combine this with different schedules, different internal employee structures and different procedures, and it becomes clear why one safety policy for one organization simply won’t work at another company.

These differences are exactly why different companies should always go through the important process of developing their own health and safety policy template to use and build on, rather than simply using a sister company’s. Building your own health and safety policy will allow to you to do three important things:

 

  • Access your specific company’s risk factors. Everything from the items being stored to the layout of the building or the schedules your employees work can contribute to the risk factors your company must address. Good health and safety policies are built on a company’s risk assessment findings, since (as rospaworkplacesafety.com points out) a risk assessment allows you to see “what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.” To learn more about the importance of and how to carry out a risk assessment, click here.
  • Organize and prepare your staff, worksite and company overall for a potential health and safety issue. If something were to go wrong right now, what would you and your coworkers do? Who would be responsible for getting what done? Where’s the equipment you need to address the problem? Who needs to know about the problem first so they can help? Questions like these need to be answered before a problem arises, and developing and health and safety policy beforehand is the #1 way to make sure this happens.
  • Build on your current health and safety policy in the future. Things change at work – your safety policy needs to change with them. A template gives you a flexible baseline to build on now and into the future, making it the perfect long-term health and safety tool.

These three key reasons are exactly why now’s the perfect time to develop your own health and safety policy template, if you haven’t already. Not sure how to get started? Rospaworkplacesafety.com has put together a simple checklist illustrating the sort of things that need to be included in a personalized health and safety policy. If you’re looking for ways to build a safer company, the list and template they’ve offered is a great place to start!

Do you have one of these in place already, or will you be building one now? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments!

3 Ways You Can Protect Your Eyesight At Work (And At Home)

In the time spent reading this sentence you’ve blinked once or twice and never even thought about it. You’re not alone; many of us don’t think twice about our eyes throughout the day, and as a result we may overlook a range of things that could harm them. Overlooking any risk factors at work or home, however, is a huge mistake.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Eye injuries of all types occur at a rate of more than 2,000 per day. In particular, an estimated 1,000 eye injuries [per day] occur in American workplaces alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that almost 70% of the eye injuries studied occur from falling or flying objects, or sparks striking the eye.”

These statistics have led to July being recognized as Eye Injury Prevention Month, when we’re all asked to evaluate our environments and see if we’re protecting our eyes from the hazardous materials or situations we encounter. It’s not hard to do, either – there are just three safety steps to take to protect our eyes each day:

1. Wear the proper eye protection at work. Wearing the correct safety goggles for the work you’re doing is the easiest and simplest way to protect your eyesight; in fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “It is estimated that over 90% of eye injuries are preventable with the use of proper safety eyewear. The Occupational Safety Health Administration, OSHA, has standards that require employers to provide their workers with the appropriate eye protection.” You can read more about when to – and how to – protect your eyes at work here.

2. Wear proper eye protection at home, too. Many people think of eye injuries as a workplace injury, but the reality is that we can also damage our eyes at home. Children may get eye injuries while playing sports; chemicals in our garages or basements can get splashed into our eyes by mistake; and debris and other air-born irritants can cause trouble in the house or in our backyards. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services you “should always wear properly fitted eye protective gear, such as safety glasses with side protection/shields,” especially when you’re:

 

  • Doing work that may produce particles, slivers, or dust from materials like wood, metal, plastic, cement, and drywall
  • Hammering, sanding, grinding, or doing masonry work
  • Working with power tools
  • Working with chemicals, including common household chemicals like ammonia, oven cleaners, and bleach
  • Using a lawnmower, riding mower, or other motorized gardening devices like string trimmers (also called “weed wacker” or “weed whip”)
  • Working with wet or powdered cement
  • Welding (which requires extra protection like a welding mask or helmet from sparks and UV radiation)
  • “Jumping” the battery of a motor vehicle
  • Being a bystander to any of the above

 

3. Visit an eye doctor regularly – and don’t ignore developing issues. Accidents aren’t the only ways our eyes can become damaged; old age, diseases and other problems can create eyesight issues if they’re ignored or left undiagnosed. If your family has a history of vision problems it’s especially important to visit an ophthalmologist on a regular basis; for adults aged 40 – 65 this is every two to four years, and every one to two years after that. And no matter how old you are, if you experience visual changes, pain, flashes of light, seeing spots, excessive tearing, and excessive dryness, you need to visit an eye doctor as soon as possible.

As we enter the second half of summer we should all take our eyesight’s health into consideration. Don’t limit your healthy and safety precautions to wearing sunglasses and hats to protect your eyes from the sunlight – take every safety precaution you can to ensure that your eyes will remain healthy and functional for many years to come.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

%d bloggers like this: