Friday, June 28, 2013

Ten Tips for Easy Ergonomics + Safety 2013 Conference!

I spent the week in Las Vegas, NV at Safety 2013, the professional development conference for the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) - I had a great time and will discuss all the exciting things I learned over the next month or so.

To wrap up National Safety Month, this last week's focus was on ergonomics.

National Safety Month - Week #4, Ergonomics Crossword Puzzle.

I completed my National Safety Council crossword puzzle on ergonomics and developed this list of "Ten Tips for Easy Ergonomics" from the puzzle and my own experience.

Ten Tips for Easy Ergonomics

1.) STRETCH! Stretching can relieve stress and help improve muscle fatigue.

2.) STRETCH MORE! Stretching reduces the risk of ergonomics issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.

3.) STRETCH CORRECTLY. To stretch out your neck, keep your head straight and in line with your shoulder, turn completely to the left and hold, then turn back to the center. Repeat on the right side. Hold for 5 to 30 seconds on each side.

4.) BREATHE WHEN STRETCHING.  Breathe deeply and slowly when performing stretches.

5.) DON'T STRETCH UNTIL IT HURTS. Pain is not gain - you should only stretch until you feel a mild tension that relaxes as you hold a stretch.

6.) EVALUATE YOUR WORKSPACE. Use the Mayo Clinic office ergonomics site to determine areas for improvement.

7.) DON'T STARE AT A COMPUTER ALL DAY. Periodically take time to close your eyes for a minute at a time and then focus on an object at least 20 feet away. (Or, as I posted previously, work from home and get a dog, preferably a giant Alaskan Malamute who will pester you until you get up and chase him around.)

8.) USE A BACKPACK OR ROLLING BAG. Get rid of your messenger bag and heavy laptop case - find ways to carry as little as possible. Men's Health magazine had some helpful tips on reducing the amount of stuff you carry around all day.

9.) TRY YOGA. It's awesome, just make sure that you honor any feeling of restriction in your body and don't freak out that you're not Gumby or Pokey overnight. I just found a funny blog post called "Yoga Yoda Helps Me Find Ergonomic Zen" (complete with pictures!).

10.) DON'T GO OUT AND SPEND A BUNCH OF MONEY ON "ERGONOMIC" EQUIPMENT. Ergonomics doesn't have to be expensive, and many problems can be solved with fairly simple solutions. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has "10 Tips for Effective Ergonomics" that is worth reading.

On a humorous note, the Safety 2013 bags we were given as part of the conference were messenger bags/laptop bags. After filling up my messenger bag each day with the various freebies and papers and other bags from the vendors, even though I switched shoulders every couple hours, my neck, shoulders, and thoracic vertebrae are not pleased with me. :)

See below for my complimentary bag and the ridiculousness that was my name badge.

My name badge *flair* and complimentary messenger bag from ASSE Safety 2013!

Friday, June 21, 2013

National Safety Council: 5 Daily Tips for Workplace Health

Hi all -

I am cross-posting the National Safety Council's 5 Daily Tips to "Stretch Your Way to Better Health" for this week's tips for improved workplace health.

Monday: Ergonomics involves designing the job environment to fit the person and is important to take into consideration at work and home.

Tuesday: When working, give your eyes a rest and periodically take time to close them for a minute at a time and then focus on an object at least 20 feet away.

Wednesday: Symptoms of some ergonomic issues include tingling, numbness, pain, swelling and loss of grip strength.

Thursday: Stretching should be gentle and controlled, not painful. Breathe deeply when you hold your stretch.

Friday: Stretching periodically throughout the day can reduce sprains, strains and your risk of ergonomic injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.

The Industrious Hygienist's PALA+ Challenge worksheet. 

Last week's focus for National Safety Month was on Employee Wellness. Here's how The Industrious Hygienist is doing so far (image), up to last Sunday.

The National Safety Council also provided the following links for more information about ergonomics:

Want even more information on ergonomics? Click on the following links:
Office Stretches from Mayo Clinic
CDC Ergonomics

A quick note - some of you may be aware that OSHA is still working on its proposed ergonomics standard. OSHA is still able to enforce ergonomics complaints or possible violations under the General Duty Clause, which is used to cite serious hazards where no specific OSHA standard exists to address the hazard. OSHA has established Regional Ergonomic Coordinators for questions related to ergonomics in the workplace. 

California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Guam, and American Samoa are covered by Region IX, with Nancy McCormick listed as the Regional Ergonomic Coordinator. Her contact information is readily available on the OSHA website (email and phone) for more information. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Emergency Response Video Training from Yavapai College (Prescott, AZ)

This is the emergency response training video from my local community college system, Yavapai College (YC) in Yavapai County, Arizona. It's a helpful overview to provide guidance to YC students, staff and visitors. This video describes their steps of action in the event of an evacuation, shelter-in-place, or lock-down based on best practices and the college's emergency action plan (EAP). The Emergency Management Department at YC also provides mobile alerts for students and staff as shown in the video.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Doce Wildfire Evacuations - video and update

This video is courtesy of The Daily Courier - it describes the areas planned for evacuation and the emergency relief efforts by the American Red Cross - Grand Canyon Chapter for evacuees of the Doce Fire. Per the American Red Cross: "Red Cross volunteers have set up cots and blankets for overnight stays, and evacuated residents can come to the shelter for meals, snacks, water and coffee. Evacuated residents also can receive aid from Red Cross nurses and mental health volunteers."

A press release from the U.S. Forest Service about the Doce Fire explains that the fire is still 0% contained and that the Southwest Area Type I Incident Management Team led by Tony Sciacca will be taking over management of the fire today.

Residents in Williamson Valley and possibly Chino Valley have been put on notice that evacuations may be needed in their areas. So far there have been no reported injuries or structures lost. 

The Industrious Hygienist will be following the progress of the fire via the Yavapai County Emergency Management - Regional Alert website

Residents of the Prescott area can sign up to receive notification information for this and future regional alerts from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.  Messages can be received by phone, text or email. Click here to learn more and sign up for the Emergency Notification System.

For more Doce Fire information, call (928) 777-5682. 

How to Access Free NFPA Codes or Standards

In honor of National Safety Month - Emergency Preparedness Week, please take an opportunity to watch this video and learn how to access National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards for *free* from the NFPA website

I just downloaded a free pdf copy of the NFPA 1600, " Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs: and am excited to review it. 

Standard 1600 has chapters on program management, planning, implementation, training and education, exercises and tests, and program maintenance and improvement. My favorite parts (so far) are in Annex C: Self-Assessments for Conformity with NFPA 1600 and Annex D: Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle.

The PDCA cycle is particularly helpful in management systems. Here's how the NFPA depicts the PDCA cycle in Annex D. 

NFPA describes the PDCA cycle as a four-step process designed to improve business processes and quality assurance programs.

P = Plan
D = Do
C = Check
A = Act (or Adjust)

It's also referred to as the "change cycle."

ASQ, a global quality community, provides helpful case studies and descriptions about the PDCA cycle at their website. 

The procedure, as explained by ASQ, is:

  1. Plan. Recognize an opportunity and plan a change.
  2. Do. Test the change. Carry out a small-scale study.
  3. Check. Review the test, analyze the results and identify what you’ve learned.
  4. Act. Take action based on what you learned in the study step: If the change did not work, go through the cycle again with a different plan. If you were successful, incorporate what you learned from the test into wider changes. Use what you learned to plan new improvements, beginning the cycle again.

Hopefully you learned something useful about quality improvement and emergency preparedness in today's post. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Doce Fire in Prescott National Forest

Who: Residents of west Prescott, Arizona

View of the smoke from the Doce fire in Prescott, AZ from my backyard.

What: The Doce Fire

Where: Reportedly started near the Doce Pit (sometimes called the Dosie Pit) in the Prescott National Forest 

When: Today

Why: The source is unknown according to The Daily Courier, but was likely human-caused. No lightning strikes were reported in this area and the U.S. Forest Service has no reports of fallen power lines in this area.

Here in the Prescott area, we're experiencing high winds (as usual) and low humidity (also as usual). The Daily Courier and KPHO report approximately 250 firefighters are on the ground.

There have been evacuations for several hundred homes in the area, but it appears the fire is spreading closer to more densely populated areas in west Prescott. So far it's at 5,000 acres and spreading. The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at Yavapai College along East Sheldon Street for evacuees. I was reading through the comments on The Daily Courier article and was heartened by the outpouring of offers to help take in pets and livestock, or help get the elderly or ill from their houses. 

Mighty Spouse and I are looking into what we can do and how we can help evacuees this week. This would be terrifying to experience first-hand. is also covering the fire from an engineering and forest preservation perspective. 

View of the smoke from the Doce Fire in west Prescott, AZ from my front yard.
It's intriguing that this occurred during Emergency Preparedness Week in National Safety Month. Mighty Spouse and I have our emergency kits prepared and ready - we repacked them before we moved up here from Phoenix. We have enough food, water, entertainment, money, and pet supplies/carriers to last three days if needed.

Fore more information about personal and family emergency preparedness, visit the FEMA website, The basic recommendations are:

1.) Be Informed - Do you know what hazards and emergencies you could face?
2.) Make a Plan - Do you know how to contact your loved ones? Do you have an evacuation plan? Do you know the best routes from home to work to where your family will gather?
3.) Build a Kit - For at least 72 hours of survival, and don't forget medications or your pets' needs. 
4.) Get Involved - Volunteer, be part of the community planning process, join a Citizen Corps. 

More updates on the fire and how you can help in future posts.

Get Ready Video from American Public Health Association

A cute video from the American Public Health Association about individual emergency preparedness. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

National Safety Month - What Does OSHA Say About Emergency Preparedness?

For Week #3 of National Safety Month, I decided to do a short run-down of the various emergency preparedness regulations (and recommendations) from OSHA, USEPA, FEMA, SBA, USDHS, and others. 

Disclaimer: I am not covering anything about OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations - it's not my area of expertise. 

So what does OSHA say about emergency preparedness? Lots.

Some helpful references to get you started:
- OSHA's FactSheet on "Planning and Responding to Workplace Emergencies."
- OSHA's Compliance Directive # CPL 2-1.037 "Compliance Policy for Emergency Action Plans and Fire Prevention Plans."
- OSHA's e-Tool for Emergency Evacuation Plans and Procedures.

Let's do a *theoretical* Q&A using the OSHA references provided above.

Q: Do I need an emergency action plan (EAP)?
A: More than likely. Certain workplaces require an EAP, like those using PSM, grain handling, ethylene oxide, and other hazardous chemicals. Almost every business is required to have an emergency action plan (EAP)If fire extinguishers are required or provided in your workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA's 29 CFR 1910.157 requires you to have an EAP.

Q: What needs to be in the EAP?
A: If you have less than 10 employees, be aware that you can communicate the EAP verbally and still be in compliance. 

Your EAP must at least cover the following:

1. Escape procedures and emergency escape route assignments.
2. Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate.
3. Procedures to account for all employees after emergency evacuation has been completed.
4. Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them.
5. Means of reporting fires and other emergencies.
6. Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan.

Where can you find an EAP template? The CDC has a Word document template downloadable here. OSHA also has a Emergency Action Plan Expert System that you can use to have a customized EAP for your business. 

Q: How often should I evaluate my EAP?
A. You hopefully reviewed the EAP with employees when the EAP was put in place. The only requirement is to re-evaluate the plan periodically when the plan itself changes, employee responsibilities change, or the exit routes change (i.e. during a building renovation). 

Q: Do I have to train my employees in using fire extinguishers and providing first aid or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)?
A: First aid and CPR must be available to employees within 3 to 4 minutes of an emergency. Workplaces that are more than 3 to 4 minutes from an infirmary, clinic, or hospital should have first aid and CPR trained staff on site for all shifts. If there are first aid trained people on staff, you must have first aid supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and a bloodborne pathogen program for the designated first responders at your site.

If you require employees to attempt to put out incipient fires using supplied fire extinguishers, then you have to train them how to use the fire extinguishers properly. If your EAP requires all employees to evacuate to safety in case of a fire (no employee fire-fighting required), you can skip the requirement for training in portable fire extinguishers; however, there are still maintenance, inspection, and testing requirements for portable fire extinguishers that must be met. 

Hopefully this helps get your brain ready and excited to learn more about emergency preparedness. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

National Safety Council: Safety Starts With Your Health

The National Safety Council (NSC) has provided the following daily tips to help engage your employees about their own wellness. I changed the dates to be Monday through Friday rather than actual dates.

Daily Tips

Monday: Scheduling time in your calendar for physical activity will make you more inclined to stick to it.
Tuesday: Opt for healthy substitutes in combo meals, such as a side salad or baked potato instead of fries or onion rings.
Wednesday: If possible, use the same pharmacy for all your prescriptions. The pharmacist may catch incompatible drug combinations.
Thursday: Properly disposing medications will help protect the environment as well as pets, children and anyone who might find medication in your trash. 
Friday: A healthy breakfast is important for everyone. Instant oatmeal is a quick and healthy option; toss in fruit, raisins or nuts to add extra nutrients. 

Additional Resources

Want even more information on Employee Wellness? Check out the following links courtesy of NSC:  
Next week is about Emergency Preparedness, so be prepared to be inundated with useful information. :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

National Safety Month: Top 5 Tips for Employee Wellness

Since this week of National Safety Month was all about employee wellness, I completed the National Safety Council's crossword puzzle* on employee wellness.

So what did we learn about this week?

Top 5 Tips for Employee Wellness*: 

1.) Take frequent, short breaks to stretch and get your blood flowing throughout the day. (See my previous post about "How to Lose Weight? Get a dog!" and my experience with frequent breaks on his behalf.)

2.) Exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week can significantly improve your metabolism and prevent weight gain. (e.g., Buy A Dog.)

3.) Making slight adjustments to your diet may give you more energy and prevent weight gain or illness. (See below re: being a vegetarian.)

4.) When shopping (for food), look for products that name a whole-grain ingredient first on the list. (See below re: ramen noodles.)

5) Plant-based proteins like beans and soy add variety to your meal.

* tips from the National Safety Council crossword puzzle referenced above.

And now? My tale of being vegetarian for 5 months.

Mighty Spouse and I decided (after watching one of those "where does your food REALLY come from?" documentaries to become vegetarian. It didn't last very long, about five months. The reason we stopped? We were both gaining weight again. When we first went veggie, we lost 15-20 pounds each over the first two months. It was awesome. Gaining it back was less awesome.

After we moved to Prescott and realized it would be dang tricky to be vegetarian in rural-ish Arizona, and evaluated how much extra money we spent on groceries every week buying the non-meat food, we decided a compromise was in order. Moderation in all things and all that. Now we eat LESS meat than before, we juice tasty greens and fruits, and we're back to the simple, cheap, fast and easy meals we used to eat. 

A couple juice recipes we like:

1.) 3 green/granny smith apples + 1 pineapple, diced + 1 bunch of kale
2.) 4 gala apples + 1 bunch of parsley + half bunch of spinach

Also, Mighty Spouse forbade me from ever eating ramen noodles again - we used to eat it frequently when we were in high school and college. I bought a few packages on a lark, read the back of them when I got home, and now am pretty sure I will have to feed them to Shadow. 

It looks so tasty even now. Mmmm. Oriental flavor ramen noodle soup. But then you flip it over and think "ZOMG I can't eat that!" 

I especially love that it says "0 grams Trans Fat" in the corner and the packaging has been the same for as long as I remember. Small print below the "0 grams Trans Fat" states: SEE NUTRITION FACTS FOR SODIUM INFO. Uh oh.

I'd like to point out that, prior to turning 25, I never looked at labels on food. In the nutrition facts, it notes that the serving size is 1/2 block of noodles with seasoning. I can't imagine who would be sated by a half package of ramen (yes, I know, it's supposed to be an appetizer or side or something). 

So a total prepared package of ramen noodles will give you:

380 calories (140 from fat)
22% of your daily value of fat (14 grams)

36% of your daily value of saturated fat (7 grams)
74% of your daily value of sodium (1.8 grams)
18% of your daily value of carbohydrates (52 grams)
8% of your daily value of  fiber (2 grams)
10 grams of protein

On the (sort of) plus side, the first ingredient in the noodles is enriched wheat flour. On the down side, the first ingredient in the soup mix is salt. At approximately 10 cents a package (or less) when on sale, this unassuming food item helped me not die of starvation during college.

I'll confess - I ate a package of prepared ramen last week. It was still pretty darn tasty. 

See you next week. DFTBA

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Favorite Quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Movie)

Here's the original movie trailer and my favorite quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005 movie):

Ghostly Image: It is most gratifying that your enthusiasm for our planet continues unabated. As a token of our appreciation, we hope you will enjoy the two thermonuclear missiles we've just sent to converge with your craft. To ensure ongoing quality of service, your death may be monitored for training purposes. Thank you.

The Book: It's an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, Man had always assumed that he was the most intelligent species occupying the planet, instead of the *third* most intelligent. The second most intelligent creatures were of course dolphins who, curiously enough, had long known of the impending destruction of the planet earth. They had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger, but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for titbits. So they eventually decided they would leave earth by their own means. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backward somersault through a hoop while whistling the star-spangled banner, but in fact the message was this: So long and thanks for all the fish.

Here's a link to YouTube video of this quote and the song "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish." I dare you not to get it stuck in your head.

Marvin: I've been talking to the main computer.
Arthur: And?
Marvin: It hates me.

The Book: Vogons. They are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy. Not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious, and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the ravenous Bug-Blatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, lost, found, queried, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighter. On no account should you allow a Vogon to read poetry to you.

Ah, Vogons. I would link a video, but I haven't found one with decent resolution. Watch the movie if you enjoy British humor, heavy sarcasm, word play, imagination, and general awesomeness.

OSHA Training Blog - GHS Label Signal Words: The Distinction between DANGER and WARNING

Lazy post, sorry! I am cross-posting more helpful information from the OSHA Training Blog.

OSHA Training Blog- GHS Label Signal Words: The Distinction between DANGER and WARNING: 
"June 1, 2013 -  No need to panic, at least not yet. But let me remind you that the deadline for training all employees on the changes brought about by OSHA’s adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) into the Hazard Communication standard is getting closer by the day. And while the December 1, 2013 deadline for getting all mandatory employee training completed may seem a long way off, just remember that it was more than fourteen (14) months ago that the revised OSHA Haz-Com standard was published and the deadline was first announced! [...]"
[read more of this cross-post on the website]
Image courtesy of

FIRST, mad props for the possible (intentional or not) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy shout-out. I can never decide if I prefer the books or the 2005 film.
SECOND, find the full version of the GHS "purple book" on the OSHA website if you want to learn more about OSHA's implementation of GHS.
Happy learning!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Free Online OSHA Training Tutorials

In the spirit of National Safety Month, I'd like to share/cross-post some information about free online OSHA training tutorials from another safety blogger, Curtis Chambers, CSP.

Per the website:

"This free tutorial explains the new GHS labeling system adopted by OSHA when they revised their hazard communication standard in 2012. Employers must provide training on this particular topic to their workers by no later than December 1, 2013. Free for employers to use for worker training, compliments of OSHA Training Services Inc."

They also have "Understanding OSHA's Definition of  Confined Space" as a free tutorial on the website linked above.

Monday, June 10, 2013

How to Lose Weight? Get a Dog!

Howdy Loyal Readers - this week's focus for National Safety Month is "Employee Wellness."

Since moving to Prescott (and not commuting 45 minutes - 1 hour each way to the office), I've found I have much more free time. As promised to Mighty Spouse, I began exercising more frequently. We go to the gym (Snap Fitness 24-7) together at least twice a week and I have been using our StairMaster of Death at least twice a week. We have other, less-PC* terms for the StairMaster, but I won't share them in polite company. 

(* politically correct)

Meet my exercise partner:
Shadow the Arizona-Alaskan Malamute
This is Shadow. He's been featured before on the blog, but he is my constant workout partner.

Shadow's Rules for his Humans:

1.) We MUST got for at least one walk (40 minute minimum) per day.

2.) If we don't go on at least one walk, I will punish you.

3.) If you are doing yoga, I will push you off the mat and show you how it is supposed to be done. My downward-facing dog is excellent.

4.) If you have just come back from exercising at the gym, I will lick all the excess sweat off your face and arms, in efforts to assist you in being clean again.

5.) If you do not take me on my walk, I will make sure to bark/howl/cry/scratch the living daylights out of you at the most inopportune moment until you give me a cookie (or two).

6.) When you use the StairMaster of Death, please make sure I am asleep or in another room, it freaks me out to see you walking above the ground but not going anywhere.

7.) You never sleep enough. You should alternate periods of high activity (i.e. chasing tails and sprinting around the house) with long naps. 

So I guess, in a way, I am doing my part to stay active, thanks to my dog.

That's The Industrious Hygienist's secret to weight loss: get a dog. And be a good pet owner, don't just leave them in the backyard to go stark raving mad from boredom. I mean, if you were forced to be in the same place, every day, with nothing you really want to be doing, and forced to obey all the silly rules of whomever, you would start being destructive too. Wait, I think I just summarized the majority of my adult life as a "productive member of society." Dangit. 

So what is The Industrious Hygienist doing for week #2 of National Safety Month? I'll be sitting in a chair in a classroom most of the week, in OSHA 501 class at the Arizona Safety Education Center. BUT...after class? The place I am staying has a pool. :)

I'm tracking my physical activity for the next few weeks as part of National Safety Month. Apparently there's a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) that the National Safety Council is mentioning as a low-cost employee wellness emphasis program. The "+" is there because it's not just about getting active, it's about eating well too. 

For adults, the goals of PALA+ are:

1.) Physical Activity, 30 minutes a day, for 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks. 

2.) Achieving a healthy eating goal each week (i.e. more fruits and veggies, choose lean cuts of meat, choose low-fat or low sodium options, drink more water, etc.). 

If you finish the PALA+ challenge, you can get this lovely, fill-in-able certificate:

Why care about wellness? Well, it's your life, don't you want to feel good? Why care about employee wellness? Unhealthy and/or obese employees can be expensive on the indirect expenses side of a business. 

Examples of employee wellness programs that are currently in use include: tobacco cessation programs, obesity management and nutrition counseling, online health assessments and other maintenance-style programs that put the onus on the employee.

More on Wednesday and Friday of this week: eating more veggies (i.e. the tale of my 5 months of being vegetarian) and eating less sodium. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Vintage National Safety Council Video on Distracted Driving

Aside from the fact that I want this to have a female manager and a "tough" male secretary, :) this vintage (1953) video from the National Safety Council amused me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Falls from a Ladder

As part of the Industrious Hygienist's participation in National Safety Month, I signed up to receive the free posters, fact sheets, and references from the National Safety Council (NSC). I like free stuff!

The "free stuff" includes weekly crossword puzzles to test your knowledge of what you were supposed to learn this week. Alternatively, you could provide your employees with the crossword puzzles to test their knowledge of industry standard safety practices. 
Week 1 of National Safety Month: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
 From the crossword puzzle I completed by NSC, here are the Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Falls From a Ladder:
  1. Place the base of a ladder on a firm, solid surface.
  2. A ladder should not be used as a bridge or scaffold.
  3. Always keep at least three points of contact with a ladder.
  4. When climbing a ladder, always face it and grip the rungs, not the siderails.
  5. Don't stand higher than the third rung from the top of a ladder.
  6. Make sure you know the weight limits of a ladder you are using.
  7. Don't jump off a ladder.
  8. Instead of leaning or over-reaching, reposition a ladder closer to the work you are doing.
  9. Check the area you will be working in for hazards, such as cords or objects in the walkway.
  10. Use a tool belt instead of carrying tools in hand.
Next week's focus for National Safety Month is employee wellness.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What is OSHA doing about fall prevention?

OSHA's outreach program includes images, posters, wallet cards, etc. that employers can use to educate themselves and their employees.

OSHA has developed a nationwide outreach program for fall prevention. They firmly believe that falls can be prevented and lives can be saved using the simple three steps listed above:
  • Plan - ahead to get the job done safely
  • Provide - the right equipment
  • Train - everyone to use the equipment safely

Here's how OSHA says to do it:

(Don't mind the copy-paste from OSHA's website...they say it better than I could.)

PLAN ahead to get the job done safely

"When working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.

When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include safety equipment, and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site. For example, in a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)."

PROVIDE the right equipment

"Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
Different ladders and scaffolds are appropriate for different jobs. Always provide workers with the kind they need to get the job done safely. For roof work, there are many ways to prevent falls. If workers use [PFAS], provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect all fall protection equipment to ensure it's still in good condition and safe to use."

TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely

"Falls can be prevented when workers understand proper set-up and safe use of equipment, so they need training on the specific equipment they will use to complete the job. Employers must train workers in hazard recognition and in the care and safe use ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other equipment they'll be using on the job."

OSHA has provided a bunch of educational materials and resources, training resources, and media resources (images, press releases, etc.) so that employers can be aware of their responsibilities to their employees regarding falls.

Another example of the media available for use from OSHA to train and educate employees, or just serve as a visual reminder on a job site.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What are some common locations for falls? Plus, fall prevention tips!

It's week 1 of National Safety Month, and the theme for this week is "Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls."

Some common locations for falls include:

  • Doorways
  • Ramps
  • Cluttered hallways
  • Areas with heavy traffic
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Areas prone to wetness or spills
  • Unguarded heights
  • Unstable work surfaces
  • Ladders
  • Stairs

Fall prevention tips from the National Safety Council (NSC) include:

  • Keeping floors clean and clear of clutter.
  • Maintaining good lighting both indoors and on outdoor walkways.
  • Installing handrails on all stairways.
  • Using a sturdy stepstool when climbing or reaching for high places.
  • Wearing sensible footwear.
  • Never standing on a chair, table or surface on wheels.
  • Arranging furniture to provide open pathways to walk through.
  • Periodically checking the condition of outdoor walkways and steps and repairing as necessary.
  • Removing fallen leaves or snow from outdoor walkways.
  • Being aware that alcohol or drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicine, can affect your balance and increase your risk of falling.
  • Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas.
  • Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats to keep them from slipping.
  • Remove tripping hazards (paper, boxes, toys, clothes, shoes) from stairs and walkways.
  • Clean up all spills immediately.
Visit the NSC website for a downloadable fact sheet on slips, trips, and falls.

Why do we care about slips, trips, and falls?

  1. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
  2. Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, (~8.9 million visits to the emergency department annually).
  3. Falls are (for the most part) preventable.    

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Industrious Hygienist is celebrating National Safety Month!

Just a heads up that the Industrious Hygienist will be celebrating National Safety Month with other occupational safety and health professionals, including more frequent and more educational blog posts related to the National Safety Council focus areas.

This year's focus areas are:

Week 1: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
Week 2: Employee Wellness
Week 3: Emergency Preparedness
Week 4: Ergonomics

There will be videos, posters/images, fact sheets, and how-to's. Stay posted and  follow me if you want to learn more.

How to Use Stormwater in Green Infrastructure

This is a *late* shout-out to one of my alma maters, the University of Arizona (U of A) in Tucson.

Congratulations to Rayka Robrecht and Micaela Machado, both landscape architecture graduate students at U of A - they designed one of the winning stormwater harvesting systems in the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Campus RainWorks Challenge. They achieved second place for large institutions in the nationwide competition.

The system, shown in the image below, was designed to re-use stormwater, roof drain water from surrounding building roofs, and air-conditioning condensate water.

The second-place-winning design from U of A for large institutions in the USEPA Campus RainWorks challenge.
Stormwater collected in this green infrastructure design is collected in underground cisterns. The spiral shape is supposed to evoke an agave, petroglyphs, or the monsoon storm patterns in Tucson. The water is funneled to the center of the basin. The designers anticipate that the design, if implemented, could save U of A almost 2 millions gallons of water each year.

The spiffiest feature is at the center of the design - a view window that shows the collected water in the cisterns or chambers. If U of A really decides to modify the existing parking lot into green infrastructure like what was proposed by the designers in the Campus RainWorks Challenge, it would be a very pleasant place for students and faculty/staff to enjoy the tactile benefits of sustainability.

According to the USEPA Press Release:
"The University of Arizona team’s design plan centers on the redevelopment of a 70,000-square-foot parking lot located within a cluster of academic buildings. The design will replace the parking lot with a campus common area featuring two rings of retention basins to infiltrate stormwater runoff, five underground cisterns to harvest runoff and HVAC condensate from the adjacent buildings, and a translucent shade structure with an ephemeral water feature. Water collected in the underground cisterns is used to irrigate the landscape, reducing potable water use from 700,000 to 90,000 gallons/year."
More images of their project design posters:

The Industrious Hygienist is a HUGE fan of practical methods of implementing sustainability. Well done, Rayka, Micaela, and faculty advisor Ron Stoltz.