A lot of times, an employee will get into trouble while working on the job site and, naturally, fellow coworkers will want to help them or save them. Sometimes, however, the person in question can be seriously injured or bleeding, so there is the risk of them spreading disease to the person who is helping, especially if the helping person is not properly trained in correct first aid procedures. It is normal to be more concerned about the already injured individual, but workers must also be aware of the fact that they will only be putting themselves in harm’s way if they have not been properly trained in these specific situations. Diseases such as AIDS and Hepatitis can spread through saliva to blood contact or through blood to blood contact, so injured, bleeding coworkers can easily transfer these diseases while being helped or when CPR is being performed. It’s also important to remember that a lot of workers who have these diseases are not yet aware of the fact that they do. Diseases that spread through the blood and saliva usually have a long incubation period before symptoms begin showing, so employees should treat every individual as if they are infected. Don’t compound the issue by helping someone else out unless you have taken first aid training and have experience and knowledge in the matter.
If someone becomes hurt, injured, or starts bleeding on the job, you will want to follow the “universal precautions” when there is a possibility of coming in contact with another’s body fluids. Restating what we said earlier, “All injured persons should be considered as if they are infected with a bloodborne pathogen when administering first aid or medial attention.”
- One of the most effective ways to protect yourself when you are administering first aid is by wearing protective rubber or latex gloves. This will protect both the person administering the first aid as well as the affected individual. Remember that even small cuts and abrasions on hands can open up channels for viruses or bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
- Every single first aid kit on the property should be fully stocked with the necessary amount of rubber gloves. These gloves should be packaged individually to maintain sanitation. NEVER, at any time, reuse gloves.
- First aid kits should also be fully stocked with glasses and face masks. If you are in a tight situation, you can use a dust mask or respirator, but when there is the potential of blood spattering, you will want to cover your mouth, nose, and eyes with goggles and a mask. Consider ANY hole or opening on your body a possible point of entry for any viruses or diseases that may be present.
- If CPR is being performed, then there is the risk of disease spreading through saliva. First aid kits should provide disposable microshields, or S-tubes that you can use to protect yourself. Microshields prevent the transfer of saliva and put limits on the possibility of infection.
- ANY and ALL gloves, clothing, bandages, or other absorbent materials that have blood on them should be IMMEDIATELY disposed of in leakproof containers. These containers need to be marked clearly with the red biohazard symbol.
- Once the whole incident is over, be sure to THOROUGHLY wash your hands and all other exposed skin with soap and warm water. If possible, we strongly recommend taking a full shower afterwards. You will also want to get yourself tested for pathogens.
- ANY and ALL blood spills need to be THOROUGHLY cleaned up. This means putting together a mild solution of water and household chlorine bleach at a 10-1 ratio. Use this solution to scrub and disinfect the affected area. Note that workers who come in touch with the spilled blood, even hours later, can possibly become infected.
Job sites and workplaces usually have someone who is designated to respond in these situations, but if that person isn’t present for some reason, having the correct first aid training under your belt could possibly allow you to save a life! Don’t underestimate first aid training even if you feel someone else will always be there in emergencies. Emergencies can pop up at any moment, regardless of who is present, so don’t take chances! Enroll yourself in a first aid training class today and give yourself, and your coworkers, a peace of mind.
A hand injury is literally the most common type of injury in the workplace. Hand injuries are even more prominent in the electric, gas, telecommunications construction, and construction industries. In fact, according to a study released in 2013 by the National Safety Council (NSC), injuries to the hands made up 16.5 percent of ALL workplace injuries in 2010. It has also been estimated that the average hand injury will cost around $3700, and that’s not including lost work days or loss in production for the company. When employees are working with heavy objects, chemicals, moving parts, electricity, and large machines, among other things, their hands can be exposed to very harsh conditions as well as the possibility of injury. The most unfortunate part of this is the fact that almost all hand injuries that occur in a given year could’ve been prevented had the workers been using the correct hand protection.
All workplaces and job sites should have some type of a hand safety program. This should include hazard analysis, hazard awareness training, assessment, and periodic evaluations of the program as well as all employees. With a great hand safety program in place, not only will your job site become much safer for workers, but employees will have much greater morale, and thus greater productivity, since they know their company is taking the necessary measures to protect them. Here, we will give you a basic rundown of what a hand safety program should constitute, which situations demand hand protection, and the appropriate type of protection to wear in each given situation.
For any job that requires extra hand protection, work gloves should be used. These types of jobs usually involve:
- Climbing poles or ladders.
- Handling any type of tools, materials, or equipment that have sharp, jagged, or splintered edges.
- Projects that could lead to heat or chemical burns. This could involve handling molten solder or compounds.
- Executing any tasks that could lead to cuts, burns, or abrasions to the hands.
It is also important to be aware if you are working around heavy machinery, or any type of machinery with moving parts, in which your gloves could get caught and lead to disastrous consequences.
One of the most important, yet most underlooked, parts of wearing hand protection is sizing the glove correctly. Gloves that are too big will affect the worker’s gripping ability and dexterity. If the glove is too small, then the hands will tire easily and the glove will wear out quicker than usual. Make sure your glove fits! You also want to make sure that you are using the correct glove for the given task or situation. Workers should be aware of the following things when choosing which type of glove they will be wearing:
- Grip ability.
- Flexibility and dexterity.
- Abrasions, punctures, and resistance to tears.
- Comfort level.
- Chemical permeability.
- Thermal conditions, heat, and cold.
- High and low voltage.
There are specific situations in which wearing gloves would not be logical since they would affect the clean application of some types of materials. If you are working in one of these situations, you will still want to make sure that you are wearing the correct type of hand protection if you are working on a de-energized conductor. The situations we are speaking of include:
- Working with waterproofing materials.
- Working with stress relief materials.
- Installing any kind of tape including varnished cambric oil tapes and vinyl tapes.
- Working with mastics or Hi-K putty.
- Locating oil-insulated papers or insulation of cables.
- Pre-insulating paper and lead splices.
- Cleaning cable insulation.
- Confined areas like the junction of a three-conductor splice.
- Cleaning cable insulation.
It goes without telling that your hands are the most important tools you will ever work with. You only get two and you use them in almost literally every facet of life, inside as well as outside of the workplace. Don’t be foolish and injure or lose them simply because your are being ignorant about hand safety. Use the proper hand protection and keep your hands working and productive for a lifetime.
04 Dec 2013
Every year, too many workers are injured or killed due to scaffolding incidents that either had to do with worker error, or the scaffolding was improperly built and ended up collapsing or falling down in some way. The most unfortunate part of these incidents is the fact that a majority of them could’ve been prevented had the workers or scaffold builders taken scaffolding safety training. Scaffolding safety training will train workers, supervisors, and managers the correct and proper scaffolding safety techniques and methods. With over 2 million workers operating on scaffolds on a regular basis, OSHA approximates that appropriate scaffolding safety measures would eliminate up to 4500 accidents and 50 fatalities a year! Not only that, it is estimated that companies would save close to $90 million in lost work days and productivity. Scaffolding safety training matters at all levels of an organization!
The first element of scaffolding safety is being able to recognize potential hazards. Hazards are usually one of the following:
- Falls from the scaffolding platform due to lack of, or poorly set up, fall protection.
- Collapsing of the scaffold due to overloading of the scaffold or just poor stability.
- Being hit by falling tools, debris, and other work related materials.
- Electrocution on scaffolds that are set up too close to power lines.
OSHA also requires that any and all workers who will be working on a scaffold be educated by a “qualified” employee who is knowledgeable and experienced in scaffold safety. Workers who are working on scaffolds also need to be able to identify and recognize all potential hazards and know what measures need to be taken to address these hazards. However, workers will still need scaffold safety training on top of this to teach them:
- The nature of fall hazards, electrical hazards, and falling object hazards within and around the work area.
- The proper methods for addressing hazards and correct usage of personal fall arrest mechanisms and falling object protection devices.
- Correct usage of scaffolds and the proper management of materials that will be used on scaffolds.
- Maximum load capacity and load carrying volumes of scaffolds being used.
Along with the employees who will be working on the scaffolding platform, there will also be workers who will be erecting, disassembling, operating, maintaining, moving, inspecting, or repairing scaffolds. These workers must be well trained in:
- The proper methods if disassembling, erecting, moving, operating, maintaining, inspecting, or repairing of the particular scaffold being used.
- Design regulations, maximum expected load carrying capacities, and meant use of the particular scaffold.
Even if a worker is trained in all the above areas, they still may need a refresher whenever:
- There are changes at the job site that create new dangers in which employees have not yet been properly trained in.
- New dangers are created due to new scaffolding, falling object protection, or other types of equipment.
- There is evidence in workers’ performances that indicates that they have not retained the scaffolding safety information they were educated in.
As you can see, there are a lot of different things that go into scaffolding safety training and workers can oftentimes ignore or simply forget simple rules and regulations that are designed to protect them. Assuming that you, or your coworkers, know everything that needs to be known about scaffold safety can be dangerous. Even if you have been well versed in scaffold safety, how to properly erect and disassemble scaffolds, and how to correctly identify and address potential threats near and around the scaffold, you still want to refresh yourself on a regular basis to better retain the information and learn of any new developments related to scaffolding and scaffolding safety. Scaffolding incidents, much like any type of incident in the workplace, is usually due to worker negligence, ignorance, or simple lack of knowledge or education. Don’t be one of these types of workers! Sign up for a scaffolding safety class today and give yourself and your coworkers peace of mind.