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.

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

6 Things to Consider When Storing Chemicals

When you work in an industry that handles chemicals, there are safety precautions that need to be taken. As we’ve discussed previously, having a full spill kit on hand is imperative when dealing with dangerous chemicals. However, the handling of those chemicals is equally as important. In addition to ensuring that you are meeting national and local legal requirements, exercising caution and care while managing chemicals can help protect your employees and your bottom line from the effects of a harmful spill.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

While your company may find that additional requirements will help make your workplaces safer, at least following these 6 tips will help to keep any chemicals and liquids you might be working with contained and safely stored:

  1. Use labels and keep paperwork in order. Chemical manufacturers are required Under OSHA’s Hazard Communication standards to label chemicals in the workplace based on any hazards they might pose. A Material Safety Data Sheet must also be provided for each and every chemical.
  2. Keep inventory. Keeping an updated inventory on any on-site chemicals, as well as any safety information needed for individual chemicals, will help keep track of what is stored in your facility and ensure that your staff knows how best to handle each chemical. An inventory is also needed in the event of a fire or chemical spill where the fire department has to be called. Emergency personnel will need an updated list of the chemicals in the facility to better assess how to handle the situation.
  3. Use a well organized storage system. The best storage method for keeping chemicals is to store them by type. Storing them alphabetically could cause a problem if some of the chemicals are incompatible with each other. Flammables, corrosives, and toxic chemicals are a few types of chemicals that commonly cause problems when stored with other chemicals. Storing by type can prevent any accidental contact that could cause a fire or worse, an explosion. Make sure each chemical family is separated by either a non-combustible partition or at least 20 feet of space.
  4. Use safe storage materials. Any corrosive liquids should be kept in acid containers to ensure that mutually reactive chemicals can’t accidentally come in contact with one another. They should also be kept within secondary corrosive-resistant containers.
  5. Schedule safety checks. Frequently do checkups of any containers or drums of oil and chemicals. Over time, containers or drums could develop leaks. If left unmended these can cause serious damage and possibly result in injury. In the event of a leak, use a drip pan to catch the leaked chemical until the storage unit can be properly mended or replaced entirely.
  6. Create a Chemical Hygiene Plan. A Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is another must for chemical-handling organizations. A CHP is “a written program stating the policies, procedures and responsibilities that protect workers from the health hazards associated with the hazardous chemicals used in that particular workplace.” Keeping a CHP updated and keeping everyone informed on them will prevent an unnecessary injury.

By keeping chemicals safely contained and stored, and making it easy for employees to handle and address them, you can prevent dangerous spills that could cause serious problems. Proper containment is important for preventing dangerous spills which could lead to fires and explosions. The safety of those working in the facility is of the utmost importance, therefore preventing a hazardous emergency should be the priority.

Sources Cited:

OSHA

University of California Berkley

Eye Injuries And How To Prevent Them

Eye injuries are very common injuries in the workplace. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that around 2,000 people are affected by work related eye injuries that need treatment every day in the United States. And out of these 2,000 injuries, more than 100 require at least 1 day of recuperation before an employee is able to go back to work.

This is bad news for a number of reasons. Any work injuries are problematic, as they reflect an unsafe work environment. This is particularly unfortunate when it comes to eye injuries since most, if not all, of them can be avoided. Fortunately, if proper precautions are taken, there are fewer chances for accidents, which will create a safer work environment (and this will ultimately help a company maintain a more profitable bottom line, by keeping workers on the job and out of the hospital).

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled a checklist to follow to ensure the safety of all workers in your facility. All of these checkpoints work towards one final ultimate goal – accident prevention:

  1. Create a safe work environment. Check to make sure there are no hazards in your company’s workspace, such as loose debris, which could fall and get into someone’s eyes. Schedule regular checkups of tools to ensure quality and safety of all equipment used. Also, make sure that all workers handling the machinery are properly educated in the operation of each piece of equipment.
  2. Check for safety hazards. Evaluate your facility for any potential hazards. Also look in the surrounding area at nearby machinery, workers or any falling or shifting debris.
  3. Wear proper eye safety wear. When using any tools or machinery it’s important to have eye and face coverings to protect yourself from any flying material. Be especially sure that you choose the appropriate eye coverings. Your equipment should be comfortable but still snug to prevent anything from sneaking in. If you’re unsure of the fitness of your equipment, consult with OSHA before using it. You should also make sure to clean and disinfect all equipment in between uses. Finally, perform routine checks of the safety equipment to ensure nothing has broken or cracked.
  4. Practice safe technique at work. In the event that there is any debris falling or flying through the air at work, make sure to brush off your head, hat, safety helmet and safety glasses before removing the glasses. Otherwise, debris may fall from your hair or hat into your eyes and cause an injury. Make sure that safety glasses are cleaned in between each use to prevent debris from settling inside the glasses/goggles and entering the eyes once they are put on. Store all safety equipment in a cabinet to prevent debris or dust from accumulating in any glasses or goggles.
  5. Prepare ahead of time. In the event of an accident, workers need to be prepared and educated in the appropriate responses. Additionally, by having an eye washing station on site many eye injuries can be stopped from being permanently damaging.

Accidents can happen, but they can also be prevented. Preparation is the best way to prevent one from happening, but if one does occur it’s important to know how to react to it. By knowing the proper procedure in the event of an emergency you can cut down on the time it takes to correct the problem. Educated workers will know what to do and how to react in an emergency situation so regularly holding training sessions to teach proper procedures keeps everyone informed. It’s important to always wear eye protection when on a job site and it also helps to keep a first aid kit accessible. Encourage workers to take precaution and to always wear eye protection and you can save them from serious injury.

Can You Beat the Heat? 6 Tips for Staying Cool This Summer

Summer is finally rearing its head. Temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and it’s a great time to be outside. However, even if you love being out in the sun, working outside in extreme heat can be incredibly dangerous and can even lead to on-the-job accidents. Don’t think you’re safe if you live further north, either! Extreme heat isn’t reserved for those working in tropical climates. And as the temperatures heat up it could be a long, dangerous summer for workers.

There are many health problems that can arise through heat and sun exposure. Fainting, dehydration, heat stroke, heat rash and heat exhaustion are just a few of the problems that can show themselves when outside in the heat for too long. The key to avoiding issues like these, then, is to understand why they happen – and to get the answers you need about safety in the heat before heading out to work:

Question 1: How hot is too hot to be outside?

That depends upon a couple of factors. The type of work that is being done is one of the most important aspects to consider. If heavy physical labor is being done, then it’s not safe to be outside in the sun for very long. Another factor is your physical fitness. The more physically fit someone is, the longer they will be able to stand labor intensive work out in the heat. Normally, our bodies attempt to keep our internal core temperatures at around 98.6 degrees. That means that we are able to comfortably work in temperatures of about 73 degrees without feeling too fatigued. However, this temperature could be lower if the labor performed is physically demanding.

Question 2: What can be done to stay safe?

There are many easy ways to keep yourself protected from the sun and the heat on sunny days, including:

  • Start early in the day. The early hours are cooler and the sun hasn’t reached its peak yet so the air is cooler and the sun not as harsh.
  • Work in the shade if possible. If you cannot, take short frequent breaks in the shade to refresh.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen and a hat! Use a sunblock with at least SPF 30 for the most effectiveness.
  • Wear loose long sleeves to protect yourself from getting sunburn. The loose fabric will still allow for air circulation.
  • Stick to wearing light colors that reflect the sun. Dark colors like black and blue will absorb the sunlight and cause you to heat up faster.
  • Take breaks for water frequently. Stick to cool water instead of ice cold water.
  • For more tips head to OSHA’s website.


It’s best to avoid being out in the extreme heat for long stretches of time. If you must be out in the heat, remember to stay hydrated and dress smart. Heat related injuries are serious and in some cases deadly. Staying safe in the heat is simple and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from the dangers of the sun exposure.

3 Causes Of Back Pain At Work – And How To Prevent It

Persistent back pain can make it impossible to focus when at work. It can also make it impossible to actually complete your tasks. Unfortunately, many industries put a lot of strain on the back, increasing the chances of workers suffering from a range of issues, including minor aches to severe injury. Whether minor or severe, though, back pain is not something anyone wants. Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid it, thereby helping to make your job safer and more enjoyable for you.

 

What causes back pain?

There are many things that can lead to back pain. The most common sources of back pain are:

  • lifting loads that are too heavy
  • lifting loads or items improperly
  • repeating improper movements over and over; by doing movements repetitively, you can cause inflammation to your joints and tendons, contributing to your risk of developing tendonitis or bursitis.

If you think something else is causing your back pain at work, take some time to evaluate that possibility as well. Once you understand what is causing your pain, you can usually easily change your actions or work with your employer to ensure you aren’t inflicting that pain upon yourself.

 

How can you avoid causing pain?

If you find that improper lifting, posture or other bad habits are the cause of your back pain, you can get to work on addressing this issue by doing the following:

Keep your body in good shape. By incorporating strength building exercises into your daily routine, you can train your body to better handle the force of lifting heavy objects. The tricks you pick up at the gym will also come in handy at work. Before lifting an object on the job, you should warm your body up with some stretches. This will increase your flexibility, your range of motion and your ability to lift and carry objects in the moment. These stretches are not only good to perform before strenuous activity, but also after, to help keep your muscles in good form.

Pay attention to your posture before you begin lifting. Bad posture is a common cause of back pain. Keeping your back straight and your head up will prevent you from arching your back which can cause injury. You should also avoid twisting while lifting, which can strain the back. Additionally, ifpossible, start with the object between your feet so that you won’t have to reach in order to lift the object. Finally, always keep the load close to your waist while lifting. This lessens the force placed on your back which lessens the possibility of injury.

Take frequent, short breaks in between activity. Taking short and frequent breaks  is better for your muscles than resting for longer periods of time. This is because your body needs some time to recuperate after lifting heavy things. By giving your muscles more opportunities to recover, you’ll be better able to lift more heavy objects.


While you may think these steps are too much hassle, remember that back pain is a common ailment in every industry, even office workers. That means these tricks are appropriate for any worker, in any industry. By preparing yourself beforehand and exhibiting proper technique, you can prevent serious injuries. (And remember, no matter where you work, the most important thing you can do is to listen to your body. If you notice discomfort, address it immediately to determine what the problem is and fix it before it can cause a serious problem.)

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.

On the Job Respiratory Problems: How Can They Be Prevented?

You have to be able to breathe in order to work, right? That’s common sense. The average person breathes in about 2,800 litres of air each workday, more if they are undergoing more physical labor. With so much of your oxygen intake being met at work, the air quality of your workplace is an important aspect of your work environment to consider and keep in mind.

While any workspace can suffer from air quality issues, many common air related problems come with working in construction, factories and warehouses. If there is poor air quality in your workplace, particularly in these three environments, steps need to be taken in order to improve it. While some problems may be harder to address than others, the following three  air quality issues are actually easily preventable if precautions are taken:

1) Allergies

An allergy is defined as “an abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact.” Over 36 million people suffer from allergies in the United States. Individuals who work indoors in offices are usually affected by dust, but those working in factories and warehouses should also be wary of dust mites. Twenty-two million Americans suffer from asthma and that can be easily exacerbated by dust mites.

If your allergies are distracting you from work and making it difficult to concentrate, follow these tips to help clear the air:

  • Dust your workspace frequently. By keeping your station free of dust, you can reduce your risk of being affected by malicious dust particles and dust mites.
  • Are there films of pollen coating the window panes at work? Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from infiltrating the building. Use an air filter and regularly clean the filter to counter pollen build up.
  • Mold spores thrive in damp areas. Check often for puddles and immediately mend any leaks found to halt any mold spore intrusions.
  • Consider wearing a face mask when performing any work outdoors during windy days or peak pollen times (between 10 AM and 4 PM).

2) Poor Ventilation

Do you notice a musty smell at work? Do you suffer from symptoms, like headaches or tiredness, that start in the workplace but dissipate once you leave work? Your workplace could have poor ventilation. To address this problem, try doing the following:

  • Regularly change filters on air purifiers and air filters. If an air filter is left to collect too much build-up, it won’t be able to properly do its job. If you regularly clean your workspace you can cut down on the number of times you need to replace your filter.
  • Make sure each fuel burning device is ventilated separately.
  • If allergies aren’t a problem, open windows and let fresh air into the room.

3) Inhalation of Chemicals

Working with and alongside heavy chemicals can cause serious health issues. Chemicals can be inhaled into the body in the form of gases, mists and dusts. Symptoms of chemical inhalation include irritation of the eyes and nose, a cough, or shortness of breath – and in some cases, the ingredients in certain chemicals can contribute to the development of serious health ailments. Follow these steps to prevent inhaling harmful chemicals while at work:

  • Gas masks should be readily available on-site in the event of a chemical spill. All workers should be trained on the proper use and when to use a gas mask.
  • Always use extreme care when handling dangerous chemicals. Remember, the best way to avoid inhalation is to follow safety protocols for the handling and transportation of hazardous substances – and it’s better to be careful and safe than reckless and sorry!
  • Knowledge is power! Be sure to educate workers on the types of chemicals they are working with, as well as about the appropriate ways of handling each one. This will help to prevent any problems or misunderstandings among the people who have been designated to handle chemicals on-site.

These are just three examples of how anyone can begin to address common and likely air quality issues at their place of work. It’s important to remember, however, that while some issues can be handled in-house, other problems may require additional outside assistance before being addressed. Because of this, it’s important for every staff member at a company to be on-board with supporting air quality procedures at their place of work.

Don’t wait for problems to develop before bringing up your concerns with management. And if you feel like there is a problem in your workplace with poor air quality that has not been properly managed until now you should bring it up with your supervisor or with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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.

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