A Message from the CEO

28. March 2014

Julius Griggs, CEO

Hello and welcome back.

So our Safety Matters Weekly Blog is picking up momentum and more people are signing up to receive these valuable weekly tools.

If you’re not familiar with this tool, let Seymour Safety Introduce you to what we can offer to you for FREE.

For those of you who are already participating, we would love to hear some feedback on how you like it.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

 Julius P Griggs

Julius P. Griggs

President and CEO

Safety Unlimited, Inc.

A Message from the CEO ,

Disposing of Household Hazardous Waste

12. March 2014
Household Chemicals

When Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1976--the act that authorized the EPA to develop management standards for the generation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste--it was recognized that it is impractical to try to regulate hazardous waste generated in individual households and public buildings. Nonetheless, this waste can pose a threat to both health and the environment.

Because they contain ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic ingredients, the disposal of leftover household products such as paints, cleaners, used oil, batteries, pesticides, rodenticides, and fertilizers requires special care. In addition, medical waste, pharmaceuticals, mercury containing products, antifreeze, light bulbs, lamps, and consumer electronics, including computers, can all, if improperly disposed, endanger health and the environment.

Improper disposal of household waste includes pouring liquids down the drain, on or into the ground, into storm drains, or putting them out with the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but these methods can cause pollution of the environment and pose a health risk.

So what’s the best way to manage this household hazardous waste? The EPA has a waste management hierarchy consisting of, in preferred order, reduction, reuse, recycling, and disposal. Use of these means of managing hazardous waste, even on the scale of the individual household, can mitigate the hazards of this waste:

  • Reduce the purchase of products that contain hazardous ingredients, using alternative methods or products for common household needs.
  • Keep hazardous products in their original containers that are designed not to corrode and spill, and don’t remove labels;
  • Don’t mix leftover hazardous household waste products with any other products since incompatible ingredients might react, ignite, or explode and the contaminated waste might not be recyclable;
  • Pay attention to disposal instructions provided by product labels; and
  • Learn about hazardous household waste drop off programs and collection days and recycling centers that accept hazardous household waste.

For more information on handling hazardous waste in the home and garden, check out these resources put out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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Getting the Right Training Software

10. March 2014

Online Training

Having the right software is critical to taking our courses. Fortunately, determining whether you have the appropriate software or not is as simple as clicking the Analyze My System button on our system analysis page. If your computer doesn't check out, the links to the sites where you can download the free software are provided. If you do check out, you're ready to go!

Before you can start your online training, you need to make sure you have the right software to take it. Most computers are pre-fitted with the appropriate software requirements, but it's important to be sure you have the appropriate and most up-to-date version of that software.

In order to start you on that path, we've developed a tool that can Analyze Your System to determine whether or not you have the correct software. This tool not only identifies the software, but it also ensures you have a version that is recent enough to allow the course to function properly. If you do not have the required software, or a recent enough version, it will direct you to the place on the internet where you can get that software--it's all free.

Only a small handful of software packages are required to run our courses. Let's look at what they are, what they do, and where you can find them.

Your Browser

Your browser is what you use to surf the internet, take our courses, and read instructive and helpful safety training newsletter articles. You're using it right now.

There are a variety of browsers available for use and which one you use usually comes down to what your computer has installed and your own preferences. For example, Windows machines are typically preloaded with Internet Explorer while Apple machines are preloaded with Safari. Other browsers you can download from the internet, such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. These constitute the four most prominent browser types and the ones to which our courses are best suited.

Often, if you're having difficulty with a course opening, playing, or being generally problematic (it's rare, but it happens), switching to a different browser solves that problem.

It's important to keep your browser up-to-date. Usually browsers have features that allow them to update themselves automatically.

Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Flash Player is essentially what runs the majority of our courses. While you don't need Adobe Reader to take a course, without Adobe Flash Player you will be unable to open your training. In most cases, Adobe Flash Player is not pre-installed on your machine. You'll have to visit the Adobe website, download the software to your desktop, then doubleclick the file and follow the prompts to install the software.

If you do not have a current version of Flash installed, this may be the most complicated step in the entire training process (and it really isn't that difficult). If you have difficulty installing this product, you can always contact our support line for assistance.

Adobe Reader

Adobe reader is used to open your certificate of completion as a portable document file (pdf). Like Adobe Flash, this software is not always pre-installed on your computer. Some computers do have it pre-installed, while others have their own pdf readers that work just as well. If the System Analysis tool does not detect a pdf reader of any kind on your computer, you can download it from the Adobe Reader site.

Get Started Training!

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Noise Safety

10. March 2014
Noise Safety

Every year, approximately 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise. Noise-related hearing loss has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more than 25 years. Thousands of workers every year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. Since 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss. In 2009 alone, BLS reported more than 21,000 hearing loss cases.

Common sounds that may be louder than you think include:

  • Dripping faucet – 20dB (decibels);
  • Conversation – 60dB;
  • Power tools – (damage at > 1 hr per day) – 100dB;
  • Earphones (vol > 5) (damage at > 1 hr per day) – 110dB; and
  • Thunderclap (near) (damage immediate) – 120dB.

Loud noise can also create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals. Noise-induced hearing loss limits your ability to hear high frequency sounds, understand speech, and seriously impairs your ability to communicate. The effects of hearing loss can be profound, as hearing loss can interfere with your ability to enjoy socializing with friends, playing with your children or grandchildren, or participating in other social activities you enjoy, and can lead to psychological and social isolation.

There are several ways to control and reduce worker exposure to noise in a workplace. These include:

  • Engineering controls (modifying or replacing equipment);
  • Administrative Controls (Limiting the amount of time a person spends at a noise source, and providing quiet areas where workers can gain relief from hazardous noise sources); and
  • Hearing protection devices (HPDs).

An effective hearing conservation program must be implemented by employers in general industry whenever worker noise exposure is equal to or greater than 85 dB for an 8 hour exposure, or in the construction industry when exposures exceed 90 dB for an 8 hour exposure. 

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Lightning Safety

10. March 2014
Lightning Safety

Lightning is a capricious, random, and unpredictable event. It is estimated that lightning causes 50 to 300 deaths per year in the United States, with four to five times as many victims suffering non-lethal injuries. In typical years, lightning kills more people than any other natural disaster except flash floods, and is consistently among the top four weather-related killers.

Being indoors is often the safest way to avoid being struck by lightning; however, if lightning strikes a building or electrical line directly, you can still become electrocuted if you are in contact with any item that conducts electricity. To protect yourself from lightning when indoors, you should avoid performing certain activities that can lead to electrocution and any other fatal injuries.

Lightning safety should be practiced by everyone during thunderstorms.

Preparedness includes:

  • Getting indoors or in a car;
  • Avoiding water and all metal objects;
  • Getting off the high ground;
  • Avoiding solitary trees; and
  • Staying off the telephone.

If caught outdoors during nearby lightning, adopt the Lightning Safety Position (LSP). LSP means staying away from other people, taking off all metal objects, crouching with feet together, head bowed, and placing hands on ears to reduce acoustic shock.

Lightning Facts and Fiction

Fiction: You can tell the distance to lightning by counting one second per mile between the flash and the thunder.

Fact: The sound of thunder travels about one mile in five seconds. So, count five seconds for one mile, 10 seconds for two miles, and so on. For example, if you see a lightning flash and hear thunder 15 seconds later, the storm is about three miles away.

Fiction: If it isn’t raining, you don’t have to worry about lightning.

Fact: Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles from the nearest rainfall.

Fiction: More people are killed at the peak of a lightning storm’s intensity than at any other time during the storm.

Fact: While the peak of a thunderstorm may produce a greater number of lightning strikes than less intense times, it is still dangerous to be exposed during the beginning and end of a thunderstorm. In fact, more people are struck toward the start and end of a thunderstorm than at any other time.

There is no Utopia in lightning protection. Lightning may ignore every defense man can conceive. A systematic hazard mitigation approach to lightning safety is the best course of action.

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A Message from the CEO

25. February 2014

Julius Griggs, CEO

Hello and welcome back.

We have a new blog called Safety Matters Weekly, where we post a Safety Tip of the Week and Weekly Safety Meeting. Both documents are great tools for you to use and share with your team.

Subscribe to the Safety Matters Weekly mailer here.

We will release our first safety tip and meeting on March 3, followed each week by another, so stay tuned.

Be safe and see you next month.

Sincerely,

 Julius P Griggs

Julius P. Griggs

President and CEO

Safety Unlimited, Inc.

 

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February is American Heart Month: Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

18. February 2014

During the month of February, Americans see the human heart as the symbol of love. February is American Heart Month, a time to show yourself the love. Learn about your risks for heart disease and stroke and stay "heart healthy" for yourself and your loved ones.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number 1 killer of women and men in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities. CVD costs the United States over $300 billion each year, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

You can control a number of risk factors for CVD, including:

  • Diet;
  • Physical activity;
  • Tobacco use;
  • Obesity;
  • High blood pressure;
  • High blood cholesterol; and
  • Diabetes.

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease often go hand-in-hand. Persons with diabetes are at a much greater risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Other vascular problems due to diabetes include poor circulation to the legs and feet. Unfortunately, many cardiovascular problems can go undetected and can start early in life.

When risk factors are eliminated (or reduced) in a person with diabetes, the risk for heart disease may be reduced. Taking care of yourself and controlling your blood sugar can often slow down or prevent the onset of complications.

The following are the most common symptoms of heart disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of diabetes and cardiovascular disease may include:

  • Chest pain;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Irregular heartbeat; and
  • Swollen ankles.

Need more inspiration? The "28 Days to a Healthier Heart" tips can inspire you throughout February and all year long. Follow Million Hearts on Facebook and Twitter  for even more ways to protect your heart and live a longer, healthier life. Million Hearts® is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

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Preventing Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities during Winter Storms

18. February 2014

Winter weather creates a variety of hazards that can significantly impact everyday tasks and work activities. These hazards include slippery roads or surfaces, strong winds, and environmental cold.

Learning how to prepare for work during the winter – and to protect workers from the cold and other hazards that can cause illnesses, injuries, or fatalities – is essential to maintaining a safe work environment and completing tasks successfully.

Environmental cold can affect any worker exposed to cold air temperatures and puts workers at risk of cold stress. As wind speed increases, it causes the cold air temperature to feel even colder, increasing the risk of cold stress to exposed workers, especially those working outdoors, such as recreational workers, snow cleanup crews, construction workers, police officers, and firefighters. Other workers who may be affected by exposure to environmental cold conditions include those in transit, baggage handlers, water transportation, landscaping services, and support activities for oil and gas operations.

Risk factors for cold stress include:

  • Wetness/dampness, dressing improperly, and exhaustion;
  • Predisposing health conditions such as hypertension, hypothyroidism, and diabetes; and
  • Poor physical conditioning.

What constitutes cold stress and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions that are not used to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for "cold stress." Employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized hazards, including cold stress hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm in the workplace.

Types of cold stress include:

  • Immersion/Trench foot;
  • Frostbite; and
  • Hypothermia.

Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer. Do not drink alcoholic beverages—they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet beverages such as hot chocolate to help maintain your body temperature. If you have any dietary restrictions, ask your doctor.

Find out what winter weather preparations are being made in your area, and what are the appropriate steps to take that will ensure your winter weather safety. Make sure your homes and cars are ready for the worst conditions winter has to offer.

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Worker Safety in Hospitals

11. February 2014

Did you know that, according to OSHA, a hospital is one of the most hazardous places to work? In 2011, U.S. hospitals recorded more than a quarter of a million work-related injuries and illnesses. Almost 7% of full-time hospital employees suffered a work-related injury or illness. That’s about twice the rate for private industry as a whole.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the likelihood of injury or illness resulting in days away from work is higher in hospitals than in construction and manufacturing, two industries usually considered hazardous.

Over 50% of hospital worker injuries resulting in days away from work consist of sprains and strains. In fact, nearly 50% of injuries and illnesses reported in 2011 among nurses and support staff were musculoskeletal disorders. In order of frequency, these disorders are followed by bruises, soreness and pain, fractures, cuts and punctures, and multiple trauma.

Generally, worker hazards at a hospital fall into the following categories:

  • Manual lifting and moving patients and mechanical equipment;
  • Working with sharp instruments;
  • Proximity to potentially contagious patients and blood borne pathogens;
  • Slips, trips, and falls;
  • Working with agitated and combative patients and visitors; and
  • Fatigue and stress (which increase the likelihood of injuries).

Work in hospitals can be dynamic and unpredictable. Workers must be prepared to respond or react to a variety of situations with split-second decisions. In addition to these challenges, hospitals face diverse safety challenges associated with food services, materials handling, maintenance, and cleaning.

OSHA has developed a number of resources for hospitals and their employees to help them understand the problems of worker safety, develop a safety and health management system, and handle patients safely.

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Browser Tips for Trouble-free Online Training

10. February 2014

Online training is an excellent way to build skills and receive required job training for your position. However, online training can occasionally run afoul of technical issues, and because everyone's computer is different (e.g., different operating systems, different internet browsers, different hardware, different Internet Service Providers, etc.) these problems can differ from one student-and-computer combination to another. Fortunately, the vast majority of these issues are relatively easy to work out.

Clear Your Cookies and Browsing History Regularly

Your browser is the vehicle you use to navigate the boundless waters of the internet. In the process of this journey, you pick up a lot of debris that marks where you've traveled. Virtually every time you visit a website, the website essentially sticks a refrigerator magnet to you. Over time this can make your browser a bit unwieldy. Clearing your cookies and history is easy, but the process varies depending on your browser.

Clear Your Cache

Your browser has a cache that remembers portions of each page you have loaded, allowing it to load faster when you return. Sometimes the cache only saves part of the page, usually because the internet connection was interrupted while loading. Unfortunately, the cache doesn't know it doesn't have the entire page, so each time you return it loads the partial information it obtained rather than the entire page--this becomes an issue when a page contains a lot of information, because it takes longer to load and random internet interruptions are more likely to occur in that space of time.

This issue can be resolved by clearing your cache. It's a relatively simple process, though the process depends upon the browser you use. Follow the link and click on your browser to learn how to clear your cache. If you're unsure about your browser, you can follow this link to find out which browser you are using.

Change Browsers

If a browser repeatedly gives you problems, you can also use a different browser--there are plenty out there to choose from, and they're all relatively stable. The most common are Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

Other Issues

If you still have trouble taking online training after exploring each of these tips, there may be other issues at work. Your computer (if it is older) may not be powerful enough to run the software; your internet service provider might not be strong enough; or your wireless signal may not be providing a sufficient connection.

Fortunately, you can visit our Technical Support page or contact customer support and we can diagnose and resolve any issues you might have.

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