Safety Training, Equipment, Supplies & Rentals

There used to be a time when safety training didn’t even exist. Employees could walk beams without fall protection, little to no protective equipment and gear was used when performing specific tasks, and even if there was a safety training program in place, it was rarely adhered to or it was simply a name, not something that was actually practiced or enforced on construction and job sites. Of course, nowadays this has all changed. OSHA has been in existence since 1970 and several other safety programs exist to not only protect workers, but also to protect companies. In fact, there are a number of reasons OSHA safety training, and just safety training in general, is important. A lot of people throughout the industry tend to forget the multiple reasons why safety training programs matter, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to point out EXACTLY why safety training programs are imperative, whether you are a low-level employee, a top-level executive, or a client of the company that is doing the work.

First of all, let’s point out the fact that a lot of workers can become lethargic or immune to safety requirements simply because they experience it day in and day out. They go through the same routine everyday (for the most part), and some will see it as unimportant because they’ve “been doing it forever” and don’t need to be reminded of standard safety procedures. This can obviously result in accidents, injury, or even death due to ignorance of safety procedures that are designed to protect multiple parties, especially the workers on the job site. Because of this, it is EXTREMELY important to constantly be reminding employees of not only the fact that safety requirements must be adhered to, but also WHY they need to be followed. To help you with this, we will spell out exactly WHY safety procedures are important.

OSHA safety training

  • Financial Reasons-How well you follow standard safety procedures can affect the company’s bottom line both directly and indirectly. Companies are obviously aiming to make a profit, but you run the risk of affecting this profit when rules are not followed. Great safety programs result in reduced workers’ comp claims, insurance costs, and legal fees. These are indirect expenses. They also reduce the risk of incidents happening on-site, which means there’s a reduced chance of losing manpower or productivity due to the investigation of on-site accidents. These are direct expenses.
  • Morale-If your site has a great safety program that is known and trusted by all employees and supervisors, then the general morale of ALL of your employees is going to significantly increase. Studies have actually shown that where morale is high, the chances of incidents or accidents happening is greatly reduced. High morale also means less absences from your employees which leads to greater productivity and a higher quality of work.
  • Reputation-This should be obvious, but you would be shocked how many companies don’t take this into consideration. Your company’s reputation is indelibly affected by its safety record. If you have a great safety training program and your employees and supervisors adhere to safety regulations and standards, your company’s reputation will be very positive and you will be given an advantage whenever bidding on future projects.
  • Worker “Buy In”-If your company has a great training program and your workers “buy in” to the program, not only will morale increase, but they will be more willing to follow safety standards and thus reduce accidents on-site. Studies have shown that companies that have implemented EFFECTIVE safety training programs can reduce their injury and sickness rates by up to 20% and get a return of $4-$6 for every dollar initially invested.

OSHA safety training

It should no surprise to anyone that safety training and OSHA safety training is important for EVERY job site. However, the reasons WHY these safety procedures are put in place are too often misunderstood or overlooked by employees and supervisors. The funny thing is, it’s not always their fault. Yes, they have a responsibility to know and follow all rules and regulations whenever entering or operating on a job site, but it is also the responsibility of supervisors, executives, and anyone else with authority to accurately convey and communicate not just the HOWs of safety training, but also WHY it is important. Once safety procedures are truly and accurately understood by ALL levels of an organization, worker “buy in” increases, your company’s reputation is positive, morale increases, and ultimately, your company’s bottom line is positively affected.

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Let’s imagine, one day you’re walking towards the the warehouse, or the maintenance shop, or your place of work, and you see smoke clouds rising and you smell something burning. As you walk closer, you can see a light gray smoke billowing out from the windows of the shop. You run inside and find contents burning inside of a plastic garbage can. Now what do you do? What’s burning in the garbage can? Where is the nearest fire extinguisher? What kind of fire extinguisher is it? Is the fire too big to be put out with an extinguisher? Will an extinguisher even work in this situation? Is there anyone else inside the building that needs to be alerted of the fire? If you don’t know your fire and fire extinguisher safety, you too could find yourself in a situation like this with a million questions and thoughts racing through your head.

A majority of fire incidents, injuries, and deaths occur from lack of preparation and knowledge when dealing with fires. If you are working in a dangerous work environment where the threat of a fire breaking out at any moment is significant, then you will want to ensure that you are well versed in fire and fire extinguisher safety. You also want to be able to recognize if the fire you are dealing with can be put out with a fire extinguisher, or if you are going to have to wait for help to arrive. If the fire is too big for an extinguisher to handle it, then you will want to evacuate everyone out of the area immediately and wait for the professionals to put it out. However, if the fire is small enough, you should be able to use the nearest fire extinguisher to eliminate the problem before it erupts into something much bigger and much more serious. Use this guide to help you recognize whether or not a fire can be fought with a fire extinguisher, and the types of fires that extinguishers are designed to combat.

fire extinguisher safety

Most portable or hand held fire extinguishers contain a dry chemical powder that will extinguish most fires that could flare up in your daily work environment. This powder, which tastes like sodium bicarbonate, is not toxic, but it will cause you to sneeze or cough if you were to accidentally inhale it. So be careful where you are spraying. Any portable or hand held extinguisher is designed to fight Class A, Class B, and Class C fires.

  • Class A fires will contain materials like plastic, paper, wood, or other common combustibles.
  • Class B fires contain oil, grease, or gasoline. A dry chemical extinguisher will still work on these types of fires, but we will warn you that it will be much tougher and should be approached with extreme caution.
  • Class C fires contain burning electrical motors or a transformer. Note that these types of fires can change from Class C to Class A or B once the power has been cut off or shorts out. You can use dry chemicals on these types of fires because they won’t conduct electricity and will put out Class A or Class B fires.

When using a dry chemical fire extinguisher, (extinguishers you use for Class A, B, or C fires), use it like you would a can of spray paint, hair spray, or shaving cream cans. You do not have to turn it upside down to use it. When a fire breaks out, sweep the entire fire with the nozzle of the extinguisher in a back and forth motion. Remember to point the nozzle at what is actually burning, NOT the flames or the smoke. The entire point of using a fire extinguisher is to put a “barrier” between the fuel of the fire and the surrounding oxygen that keeps it alive. Do NOT empty out the rest of the extinguisher once you think all the flames and smoke are gone. There is a potential for the fire to flare back up, and if you empty out the extinguisher you will be left without anything to put out any fires that flare up again after the initial fire.

Always remember to have someone call the fire department before you attempt to put the fire out yourself. Firefighters are trained and paid to put fires out, don’t put yourself in any unnecessary dangerous situations when you can have professionals come in that know what to do before, during, and after a fire. There have been several injuries and deaths attributed to fires that rekindled or reignited hours after the initial flare up. Don’t fall victim to these types of fires simply because you tried to be the hero and didn’t allow trained professionals to take care of it.

fire extinguisher safety

Before ever starting work in the location you will be working, you want to be aware of where all fire extinguishers are and what types of fires they are designed to fight. Also, NEVER hang things like coats or stack materials in front of any fire extinguishers. Extinguishers have the tendency to be needed when you least expect it, so don’t fall victim to a fire because you couldn’t find a fire extinguisher that was hidden behind or under something. ALWAYS keep ALL fire extinguishers fully visible and easily accessible at ALL TIMES! Whenever a fire breaks out, a fire extinguisher should quickly and easily be found.

Again, this guide is meant for fire extinguisher use on SMALL fires. If the fire is too big or is too fast to control with an extinguisher, get everyone away from the fire and wait for the fire department to get there! Don’t be foolish and try to be the hero. You will likely end up seriously injured, or worse, dead. So , if the fire is small enough, use these fire extinguisher safety guidelines to help you put out the fire before it becomes bigger and more serious. If the fire is bigger and faster, be smart and allow professionally trained firefighters put out the fire. The main goal is to keep you and all of your coworkers safe and unharmed.

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OSHA estimates that about 30 million Americans every year are exposed to something called occupational noise exposure. Occupational noise exposure is a sound level that is extremely hazardous and requires some type of hearing protection. It is also important to note that OSHA has found that noise-related hearing loss is one of the most significant health and safety concerns of the last 25 years. If workers are exposed to high levels of noise without any hearing protection, they can very easily suffer permanent hearing damage, and there are no hearing aids or surgery that can reverse hearing damage once it has occurred. To combat this and prevent future incidents, we’ve gone ahead and compiled some important reasons why you should be taking hearing safety in the workplace seriously.

The sad truth is that hearing protection is too often overlooked and ignored compared to other potential hazards in the workplace. Workers frequently expose themselves to loud industrial noises without hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs, and they end up paying the price later. Don’t be one of these people. Know the damaging side effects of exposure to industrial sounds without hearing protection. We’ll help you out!

Heightened Annoyance and Mental Stress

Any worker who is constantly exposed to loud noises for hours on end every day they go to work will become easily annoyed. This not only leads to less productivity, but it also creates hostility within the workplace.

Along with becoming more easily annoyed with things, workers will also become much more stressed out than they normally would be. Correct hearing protection will eliminate these problems and allow your workers to work in a much quieter and less stressful atmosphere.

Trouble Communicating and Focusing

Logically, constantly working around loud noises all day is going to eventually affect the brain. You could experience headaches that could cause a loss of focus, especially if the exposure is for 8 hours or more a day. This creates problems, because once someone loses their ability to focus on the job and the tasks at hand, everything becomes more difficult and the chances of a workplace incident or injury occurring rises dramatically. Wearing the correct hearing protection will reduce both loud noises as well as the negative effects it has on workers’ brains and their ability to focus.

hearing safety in the workplace

Lowered Production Levels

It should be no surprise that neglecting to protect the hearing of your workers is going to affect their production levels. We already discussed how occupational noise exposure will make it harder for workers to focus and communicate. This only creates a domino effect; they are unable to focus, their production levels drop, and your company’s bottom line is ultimately affected. Simply protecting the hearing of your workers will eliminate ALL of these problems, so don’t neglect this!

Higher Probability of Workplace Incidents

Of all the problems we have covered in regards to the neglection of hearing protection in the workplace, the worst is easily the fact that it will dramatically raise the chances of your workers getting hurt, injured, or even killed on the job. When they’ve been exposed to loud noises for such extended periods of time, their hearing becomes affected and they will lose the ability to hear and follow instructions or warning signs. This leads to accidents that can harm your workers as well as affect your company’s safety record and bottom line. It doesn’t take much to protect the hearing of your employees, so just do it. You’ll be thankful later.

There are a number of ways to prevent hearing damage in the workplace. You can check out one of the many classes offered by Safety Partners, or you can simply supply your workers with the proper hearing protection equipment. Ideally, you will want to combine the two, but completely ignoring or neglecting the fact that your workers need hearing protection is only a recipe for disaster. Don’t allow something terrible to happen, or your company’s productivity levels to be affected just because you and your company didn’t take the correct preventive measures when it comes to hearing safety in the workplace.

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