How to Recognize, Treat, and Prevent Silicosis

We talk a lot about switching your absorbent products from clay to natural alternatives in order to reduce the risk of silicosis. But do you know exactly what silicosis is, or how to identify the disease and how to protect your workers from developing it? We’re here to help you answer these questions with our guide to silicosis.

What is silicosis?

Silicosis is described as a chronic, incurable lung disease which can develop after individuals breathe in silica dust. Silica is a mineral originating in the earth’s crust. Silica, and the dust associated with it, is often present in many blue-collar work industries such as mining or construction, as well as in clay spill absorbents.

Silica dust has been linked to three types of silicosis:

  1. Chronic silicosis, which occurs 10 or more years after low exposure to silica dust
  2. Accelerated silicosis, which occurs 5 to 10 years after high exposure to silica dust
  3. Acute silicosis, which occurs weeks to months after high exposure to silica dust

Although each diagnosis presents differently, they are all very damaging to a worker’s health.

What are the symptoms of silicosis?

Common symptoms of silicosis include but are not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe coughing
  • Overall body weakness

Sometimes, due to silica in the lungs, the body loses the ability to fight off infections. Some symptoms of these infections include…

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest pains
  • Respiratory failure

How do doctors recognize silicosis?

The main tool for doctors to recognize silicosis is patient history. If men or women have worked in an area or been involved with hobbies that made the lungs more susceptible to silica exposure, doctors can use this knowledge to schedule further tests such as chest x-rays or pulmonary function tests. These tests will ultimately confirm a diagnosis.

How is silicosis treated?

Although silicosis is technically incurable, doctors can prescribe medicine to make life more comfortable with the disease. Medicinal options for patients include:

  • Prescription strength cough medicine
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Various antibiotics (for infections)

To keep the disease from progressing further after diagnosis, doctors also encourage patients to stay away from sites with high exposure to silica and to stop smoking.

How can workers protect themselves from silicosis?

Due to the severity of silicosis, employers and businesses should make every effort to reduce their workers’ on-site exposure to silica dust. Workers and employers can help in these efforts by:

  1. Avoiding work in dusty areas and worksites whenever possible
  2. Wetting down loose dust on machines, which will prevent this dust from spreading in the air during a busy workday
  3. Switching clay spill absorbent products with more natural alternatives
  4. Wearing respiratory masks when contact with dust can’t be avoided
  5. Practicing good hygiene and changing clothing after working in dusty areas

It is our hope that workers and employers alike are doing what they can to prevent silicosis. By following these simple safety steps, workers and managers can start to actively prevent and identify any on-site silicosis risks that should be avoided and addressed.

 

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Can You SpillFix That Spill?

Hopefully, by now you know that SpillFix is a great, all-natural spill absorbent product made from renewable resources. Most people know that you can use SpillFix to clean fuel spills and oil spills. But did you know that you can also use the very same SpillFix product that can tackle grimy oil and fuel spills to clean other industrial messes like paint, cooking oil, and even battery acid?

We designed SpillFix specifically to handle a range of spills and clean-up situations because we understand just how many different accidents may require an emergency cleanup. For example, a lot of business keep paint cans in their garages. This is a common occurrence since many offices need to repaint their walls often in order to keep them looking professional. The garage is normally a good place for them because it is cool, dry, and out of the way of regular business practices. However, previously opened and used paint cans are likely to spill, and if the matter isn’t addressed quickly you could find yourself with an oddly stained floor. Additionally, the odor that spilled paint gives off can be harmful to the respiratory system. Fortunately, SpillFix’s coconut husk base absorbs the spill and makes for a safe and easy clean-up. SpillFix can also clean out the inside of the cans so they can be reused as a storage containers.  065a94d

Businesses with storage garages aren’t the only ones who can benefit from SpillFix. Large, industrial kitchens have a lot going on every day. When cooking oil spills on the floor, it creates a dangerous, slick surface for workers. And in an area filled with hot stoves, hot fryers, and numerous hard corners and surfaces, slipping on said spills can cause nasty work injuries. The good news is that SpillFix can be used clean up these mishaps quickly and efficiently. The absorbent product quickly stops the spread and cleans any residue that remains, completely eliminating any chance of a slip or fall.

Finally, one of the most dangerous types of spills that workers encounter is battery acid. This is a risk that car garages and other industrial sites must be prepared for, as batteries can corrode and leak if they become too old or if they are not taken care of properly. Leaking battery acid causes serious problems in the industrial service due to its corrosive nature. Don’t worry, though: SpillFix can handle a corrosive battery acid leak. This means that when a worker proceeds with this absorbent product during the acid clean up, they can clear the dangerous substance without ever needing to get too close to the spill before it’s neutralized.

SpillFix’s versatility is exactly what makes it such a useful product for a range of industries and operations. Even if you are not in the car business, there are still many opportunities that warrant the use of a safe, all natural spill absorbent. You should SpillFix it!

The 4 Big Reasons You Should Switch From Your Absorbent Product To SpillFix

Chances are that if your company keeps an absorbent product stocked up on site, no one has given their absorbent product of choice a second thought in some time, opting instead to continue using the same one they always have. But if you haven’t changed your absorbent product in a year or so, now is the perfect time to ask yourself: are there better products out there that will do their job and also save me money? We’re happy to tell you: Yes, there are!

Products like SpillFix provide great, cost-effective alternatives to other popular absorbent products currently available on the market. Now you’re probably asking, why exactly should I even consider SpillFix? What makes it so special? The answer is that there are four big reasons to consider SpillFix above any other absorbent product:

  • SpillFix is a green and environmentally friendly absorbent product. We went all the way in our efforts to make SpillFix as green and environmentally safe as we could. For starters, we make SpillFix from a renewable resource: coconut husks. To cut down on any negative effects caused by transportation, we then built our production factories right next to the coconut farms that fuel our product. SpillFix then goes another extra mile or two by not only absorbing more spilled liquids than its clay counterparts, but absorbing them so well that they won’t leak back into the environment once they’re cleaned up. The final result? An eco-friendly, super effective absorbent product.
  • SpillFix is safer for your workers to use. Using SpillFix could save you time, money and hassle down the line related to worker health issues. How? Because SpillFix is made from coconut husks instead of clay, it’s more absorbent and less dusty than its clay counterparts. As a result, workers are less likely to slip on leaked spill residue during the clean-up process; they’re also less likely to develop health problems related to the silica dust that clay absorbent products contain.
  • SpillFix is a multi-purpose spill cleaning tool. Why buy multiple cleaning products for your worksite if just one could do the trick? SpillFix can absorb a range of liquid spills, and as a result will work on fuel spills, acid spills, oil spills, and more. This flexibility is why SpillFix will help your company save time, save space, and…
  • SpillFix will save your company money. SpillFix is so cost effective that it’s guaranteed to save you money. But how much money, exactly, will SpillFix leave in your company’s overhead? We did the math to find out how much money SpillFix could help the average plant save, and it turns out…SpillFix could save the average American plant $9,600 a year on absorbent product, shipping costs, and disposal costs combined.

Want to learn more about SpillFix and the benefits of using it? You can read more about the benefits of using a green product and about how SpillFix meets the requirements for “going green”, as well as check out our guest post with blog4Safety.com, in which we further discuss worker safety issues related to absorbent products.

Got a question? Want to say something about SpillFix or spill clean-ups? Leave your thoughts in the comments – we’d love to hear them!

The 10 Rules Of Effective Spill Response: An Infographic

Just how prepared is your worksite for a spill?

You can purchase and stock as many personalized spill kits as you want, but until employees and employers alike have developed an effective spill response plan and technique, the answer to that question is, “Not at all.”

Why? Because dealing with spill cleaning tools can be fairly well summarized by an old cliché: “It’s not what you have but how you use it.” While not entirely true – the absorbent product and tools you use to clean your mess do matter – this old saying does highlight how even a poor product being used well will outperform a good product being used improperly.

We’re not the only ones saying so, either. According to the EPA, “The key to effectively combating spills is careful selection and proper use of the equipment and materials best suited to the type of oil and the conditions at the spill site.” Depending on the type of spill being dealt with, skipping one single important spill response step could quickly lead to your company wasting precious spill cleaning resources while simultaneously barely cleaning any of the spill. When this happens, your company is more likely to experience serious issues, while a properly handled spill could be a relatively mundane event.

For example:

  • Without the proper safety gear, a spill can quickly became an expensive accident due to workers compensation.
  • Without an understanding of who is in charge of what, conflicting orders can create chaos when a singular, united response is needed.
  • If workers don’t know where spill response gear is stored, precious seconds and even minutes will be wasted in the scramble to locate them.
  • In some situations even neutralizing products like SpillFix can’t fully decontaminate an area after a spill. Companies need to fully prepare to do more than clean a spill if the material poses additional risks even after its clean-up.
  • Spills can’t be swept under the rug – they need to be reported and properly documented. Do you know what information you’ll need to gather before making this call?

Information like this and more all belongs in your spill response plan, so be sure to take the time to evaluate your strategy and make sure everything your worksite would need to do during a spill has been laid out and is understood by everyone involved. Not sure how to evaluate your spill response plan? This infographic is a great place to start, and can be minorly adjusted depending on what sort of spill your site needs to prepare to clean:

Questions? Concerns? Let us know in the comments!

Got Your Absorbent Product? Don’t Forget About These 5 Key Spill Control Tools

Chemical spills. Fuel spills. Acid spills. Oil spills.

While different spills may require slightly different approaches or spill kits during the clean-up process, these spills have at least once thing in common: if a spill is large enough, before it can be cleaned it needs to be contained. And to do this worksites need to ensure that they have more than a standard spill kit at the ready.

Typically spill kits contain three types of equipment: personal protective equipment, absorbents designed to clean-up small spills, and some additional equipment that helps clean larger spills. But while using the right absorbent product in a timely manner is very important, these kits do not help workers complete one of the first steps workers need to take in the event of a spill at work: properly confining and controlling a spill.

This is particularly important if the spill occurs on uneven ground or if it’s located near any potential draining areas, as this increases the chance that the spilled components will cause environmental problems or negatively affect a local community. An uncontrolled spill and an improper response to it can also result in expensive fines from a variety of safety organizations.

To properly contain and control a spill, work sites need to invest in the right equipment for the job. Currently there’s a range of spill control and containment tools out there that can help, including:

  • Socks and Dikes: Absorbent socks and non-absorbent dikes are highly recommended by many experts when containing a spill within a certain area. Ideally the height of any dikes or socks used will be twice that of a spill’s depth. Workers also need to provide plenty of width to their containment circle to prevent any potential overflow. Once a properly sealed containment area has been laid down, workers can begin applying their absorbent product of choice to soak up the contained spill.
  • Drain Covers and Plugs: If a spill is moving towards a drain, the #1 priority is to use a cover or non-permanent plug on any drains within the area; this will protect your company from a potential fine, but more importantly will ensure that any spilled acids, chemicals, gasoline and other industrial products can’t escape into the local drains and cause damage within a nearby community.
  • Berms: Got heavy duty machinery onsite? Consider looking into the use of berms. Berms are a great spill control tool that can be used to create a barrier of any shape around machinery or drum storage areas, both indoors or out. Think of them as a first or final line of defense in your spill cleaning efforts.
  • Booms: If you work on or near water it’s worth investing in booms, which are essential during an on-water spill response. It’s also good to practice booming tactics, from regular containment to diversion booming, so that employees are ready to respond in the event of a spill.
  • Tool Accessories: There’s no point in investing in control tools if you don’t take care of them. Spill control accessories include cases for socks and drain plugs, carry bags for drain covers, wall mount storage units, and more – all of which will ensure your control tools remain undamaged and ready for use.

Tools like these are a crucial part of your spill response system. Don’t forget to make sure that you have enough of them on stand-by for use in the event of a spill  and to schedule a routine practice drill!

Do You Have The Right Spillkit For The Job?

Let’s talk about spill kits.

Spill kits are fantastic tools for anyone working with oils, acids, fuels and other liquids that could be spilled in any number of locations, such as warehouses, factories, refineries, autoshops, garages, or laboratories and even hospitals. And that’s just to name a few locations that may deal with liquid spills!

Put simply, if your worksite handles liquids of some sort, particularly hazardous ones, then your worksite also needs a comprehensive spill kit – and to get that comprehensive spill kit, it’s good practice to develop your own spill response supply arsenal.

Why? Because pre-made spill kits don’t necessarily include all of the tools that your work site needs – or wants. Consider these points:

  • If your worksite is trying to become more environmentally friendly, then there’s a chance that the individual items in pre-made spill kits won’t match the goals you’ve set in an effort to become greener.
  • If your worksite is looking to improve worker safety, there’s a chance that some pre-made spill kits will contain products with harmful chemicals or by-products such as silica dust, which your company may not necessarily want on-site.
  • If your worksite deals with multiple types of liquids, buying multiple pre-made spill kits may not necessarily guarantee that every spill control product you want will be available when you need it; by making your own spill kits and restocking them with items deemed necessary by your specific company, your worksite will always have a customer spill kit that contains exactly what it needs on hand.

Though it’s tempting to just buy pre-made spill kits, your company will be better off if it invests the time, energy and money into researching and even developing custom-made spill kits containing spill products that will meet your work site’s specific needs when used. It may be that pre-made spill kits do in fact meet your company’s every need! Ultimately, though, your company can only benefit from taking the time to ensure that its spill kits are meeting their every need – and that those kits will be enough in a worse-case scenario spill or accident.

Need some tips to get started on evaluating your spill kit to decide what you need to include in it? Click here to read our own tips on restocking spill kits!

Going Green? Be Sure To Evaluate Your Absorbent Wipers And Rags!

From using certain light bulbs to investing in hybrid cars, trucks or buses, many companies across the country have found ways to make their business a little greener. But what about your company? How many green procedures, technologies or tools have you brought into the workplace?

Ideally, by 2014 your business or place of employment has begun implementing numerous initiatives to become a little greener. If this has not happened your company is missing out: as early as 2008 business owners were noting that green business practices often helped different companies compete in today’s global market, as well as strengthened a company’s bottom line. And of course, the obvious benefit of going green is lowering any negative impact your business may have on the environment.

Going green is something SpillFix takes very seriously; that’s why we make our absorbent product with a renewable resource. But absorbent products are just one of the tools the industries we often implement. Other tools we often see used along with our absorbent product include spill control toolssupplementary absorbent products, and a range of absorbent rags and wipers.

While absorbent rags and wipers have a number of uses in industrial businesses and are certainly necessary for certain parts of the job, these items often have major environmental and workplace safety drawbacks that businesses need to consider, particularly if they’re looking for ways to cut costs and “greenify” their workspace.

  • Shop towels: Chances are that your industrial business has several boxes of generic washable shop towels being used at any given moment. Shop towels serve a number of functions, from simply cleaning sweaty or greasy hands to wiping up small spills. However, these reusable and washable cloths are an imperfect tool. Shop towels cannot effectively handle every problem that arises because of their generic design; additionally, the washing machines typically used to clean these towels cannot remove all of the grease and potentially hazardous materials that collect on them. Worst of all, shop towels can pollute waterways throughout the nation, which is why the EPA is currently analyzing towel cleaning procedures and may one day begin to regulate towel washing and use.
  • Shop rags: Shop rags are commonly used in a wide range of shops. Unlike shop towels, shop rags are typically made from old jeans, t-shirts, sheets, and other articles of cloth materials. While recycling these items for cleaning purposes sounds green in nature, in practice shop rags can quickly become a problem – particularly if any rags used to clean solvents or other hazardous chemicals aren’t disposed of correctly. If this happens, the adsorbed products can quickly begin to leak, contaminating the soil and water supplies.
  •  Wipers: Unlike towels and rags, different wipers have been designed to meet a range of cleaning needs around the workplace. Like with rags and towels, any business using wipers needs to remember to dispose of used wipers properly, particularly if they come into contact with potentially hazardous materials. Unlike towels and rags, though, many wipers can be incinerated and used for fuel blending; these processes help to effectively minimize wipers’ wastefulness by recycling the used wipers and keeping them out of landfills across the country.

While towels, rags and wipers are a necessary part of business operations, knowing the weaknesses of each of these tools can help you decide which ones to use and which ones to weed out of your workplace. Here are a few things you can do to help as you consider which items to keep and which ones to remove from your workplace.

  • Evaluate how many wipers, towels and rags are used each month.
  • Consider the costs of each of them – not just the financial costs, but the cost of shipping, of disposal, and of any potential hazard that could be caused by improper disposal techniques. Remember: if your company works with chemicals that could leak from any used products, your business will be held accountable for accidental contamination in local areas and waterways.
  • Develop a plan that will help “greenify” your absorbent tool usage.

Does your business use too many towels, rags or wipers? Did you successfully reduce the number of these items being used around work? Tell us your thoughts and stories in the comments!

It’s Time To Choose An Environmentally Friendly Absorbent Product

Has your business begun to go green yet?

The term “going green” is everywhere these days, usually referring to how consumers adopt environmentally friendly lifestyles and make eco-friendly choices when they shop. While different people “go green” in different ways and to varying degrees, the sentiment behind the movement has become very popular.

How popular? 82% of Americans want to make their lives greener in some way. While some will succeed in their efforts and some will not, public opinion like this cannot be overlooked by any business or any industry. Remember – this ideal does not just apply to individual lifestyles. People are more likely to use and recommend brands that support good causes, such as being more environmentally friendly. And with media headlines constantly reminding the public about pollution and dwindling resources, no business should put off making the strategic decision to go green.

Still not convinced? Consider this: going green as a business is good for two reasons. As we already touched on, in this day and age the public image of a business is more important than ever; one wrong move and you’ll come under intense scrutiny, as well as be remembered by the public for the wrong reasons. Plus going green actually delivers better results for your business! It makes good business sense to be friendly to the environment in 2014.

There are many ways a business can begin becoming greener; for some companies, using an environmentally friendly absorbent product at work is just one action that can be taken. We highly recommend making the switch, for three major reasons:

  • Environmentally friendly absorbents often use both renewable resources and recycled materials, and are still as effective (if not more effective) as their clay-based counterparts.
  • Environmentally friendly absorbent products like SpillFix actually absorb more spilled product than other spill products on the market. This provides two major benefits – there’s less waste material to dispose of, and a business saves money as a result of having to buy less of an absorbent product over time.
  • Many environmentally friendly absorbent products are easier to dispose of than their clay counterparts. Unlike clay, nature-based products are fantastic at holding in and even degrading the very liquids they absorb. This means that if a used product ends up in landfill, it’s less likely to leak dangerous materials into the local area. Some environmentally friendly absorbents, like SpillFix, meet disposal requirements, meaning that unlike clay-based absorbents it may not be illegal to just throw out a used absorbent product! But remember: always check manufacturer details and local laws before disposing of any used product.

If your business has not made the change to green absorbent products, now is the time to do so. Remember – not only are environmentally friendly absorbent products good for the Earth: they’re also good for business. Ignoring either of these factors is silly enough. But to ignore both now would actually slow your business down on its path to success.

What Makes SpillFix The Better Absorbent Product?

What is your go-to absorbent product?

For many people working at garages or on industrial sites, when looking to clean up a liquid spill their go-to absorbent product is one of the popular brand clay based solutions. However, the truth is that clay absorbent products are usually not easy to use and pose a number of safety-related risks when used improperly.

We believe that when it comes to dealing with fuel spills, chemical spills, paint spills, and other spills, it’s time for us to switch to a better absorbent product. One such alternative product is SpillFix.

SpillFix is a non-carcinogenic industrial absorbent that is totally organic, is safe to use in the workplace, and safe for the environment. So how does SpillFix compare to other common absorbents?

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  • While 1 pound of most clay-based absorbents can deal with about 0.879 pints of oil, the same amount of SpillFix can handle 3.43 pints of oil, making SpillFix the more absorbent product by far.
  • As clay absorbents often leak their contents after use they pose a major environmental risk when the used absorbent product is disposed of incorrectly. By contrast when used SpillFix is disposed of, it provides a perfect environment for the development of bio-degrading organisms that can oxidize the adsorbed content faster than the biodegradation of the organic SpillFix itself. In short, the contents that SpillFix was used to clean will degrade before the SpillFix itself. And while local laws still apply to a final disposal procedure, SpillFix Industrial Organic Absorbent has been tested to the USEPA Leachate standards for landfill disposal.
  • The resources used to create clay absorbents are often difficult and even dangerous to obtain. SpillFix, on the other hand, is made from an entirely renewable resource: coconut husks. No trees are cut down, nor are any pulping or mining processes required to produce it, making it the most ecologically sustainable absorbent product available.
  • SpillFix allows for more eco-friendly opportunities than many other absorbents. For example, used SpillFix that contains hydrocarbon spills can be utilised as a fuel source for the production of energy. Additionally, SpillFix can be used to clean out old paint cans and make them recyclable. The absorbed paint will be rendered harmless, and can be disposed of as solid waste that will not leach any toxins into the environment.

Examples like these highlight just how SpillFix functions better as an absorbent product than its clay counterparts. Interested in learning more about SpillFix? Click here to do just that, or ask your questions about it in the comments below!

It’s Time To Switch To A Better Absorbent Product – And Here’s How You Can Do Just That

Did you know that clay is the most common spill absorbent product and that the use of clay clean-up products is a source of several major problems today?

In addition to ordinary consumers, clay spill clean-up products are also used in many other walks of life including but not limited to government agencies; fleet managers; auto mechanics; gas and service stations; and engineers.

Though clay clean-up products have been the most popular item on the absorbent market for many years, over time, a couple major drawbacks in their use have been uncovered:

  • It often requires a large amount of clay absorbent product to clean up even the simplest of spills. This is because clay does not properly absorb a spill; instead the contents of the spill such as oil, merely sticks to the surface of the clay, according to Environmental Expert.
  • Clay absorbents actually leak the spill due to a lack of true absorbency. As many worksites either accidentally or intentionally dispose of their used absorbents in a way that is not environmentally friendly (and under EPA guidelines is also illegal) this means that oil, fuels, and chemicals are frequently leaked into landfills. The original spill product then quickly becomes a pollutant that will often run into nearby land and water supplies, where it becomes a potential danger to nearby residents.

Despite the inefficiencies and dangers of using clay absorbents, their popularity remains strong, in part because of the lack of knowledge of their downsides as spill clean-up products.

There are a number of other products on the market that are able to properly absorb oil, fuel, and other spilled products, as highlighted by this SpillFix demo video:

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Sadly many companies continue to use dangerous, sub-par absorbents despite the ready availability of safer alternatives. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways consumers and employees like us can make the benefits of products like SpillFix known to the agencies, garages, and other local resources that we use. Here are Environmental Expert’s guidelines to making a difference:

Ask the owner of the garage that works on your car or truck what they use to clean up their spilled oil. If they continue to use clay ask them to change and if they persist, change your mechanic. Ask your legislators to make the appropriate inquiries of state agencies and municipal officials to make the same inquiry of local agencies.

Ask your legislator to sponsor or co-sponsor a ban on the use of clay-based products for oil spill cleanup and to require manufacturers to include a label that properly makes it clear that Hazardous Waste Disposal is Required for Clay-based absorbents.

When you buy oil spill cleanup products for your own household, make sure that you are purchasing sustainable products containing that do not contain clay or chemicals. Through the moral authority of our example we can create a ripple of change that will eventually become a tsunami.

If properly disposed at a hazardous waste facility, the cost of clay will be up to 10 times more than other alternatives. As citizens we can strike a blow for the environment  and our respective wallets by boycotting clay-based products right now and demand that state and local governments themselves come into compliance with the law.

Want to learn more about clay products, or about absorbents such as SpillFix? Ask away in the comments – or even better, share your own story about how you made the switch to a true absorbent product!

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