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Monthly Archives: January 2016

  • Burn Awareness

    Tomorrow begins Burn Awareness Week.

    All week we will be sharing Fire & Burn Safety information for you to read, learn and share.

    Burn Awareness Week, observed the first full week in February, is designed to provide an opportunity for burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities. Burn Awareness Week, celebrated early in the year, is an excellent opportunity to “kick off” a year full of burn awareness education.

    Burn

  • Cold Stress & Related Illness

    When we discuss Cold Stress, and the related issues of Hypothermia, Frostbite and Trench Foot, the main concerns are:

    • The Causes of Cold Stress
    • Major Risk Factors for Cold Related Stresses
    • Harmful Effects of Cold
    • Preventing Cold related Disorders
    • Safe Work Practices

    Employees who must brave the outdoor conditions face the occupational hazard of exposure to the cold. Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can result in health problems as serious as trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia. Workers in such industries as construction, commercial fishing and agriculture need to be especially mindful of the weather, its effects on the body, proper prevention techniques, and treatment of cold-related disorders.

    Causes of Cold Stress

    An individual gains body heat from food and muscular activity and loses it through convection, conduction, radiation and sweating to maintain a constant body temperature. When body temperature drops even a few degrees below its normal temperature of 98.6°F (37°C), the blood vessels constrict, decreasing peripheral blood flow to reduce heat loss from the surface of the skin. Shivering generates heat by increasing the body's metabolic rate.

    The four environmental conditions that cause cold-related stress are low temperatures, high/cool winds, dampness and cold water. Wind chill, a combination of temperature and velocity, is a crucial factor to evaluate when working outside. For example, when the actual air temperature of the wind is 40°F (4°C) and its velocity is 35 mph, the exposed skin receives conditions equivalent to the still-air temperature being 11°F (-11°C)! A dangerous situation of rapid heat loss may arise for any individual exposed to high winds and cold temperatures.

    Major Risk Factors for Cold Related Stresses

    • Wearing inadequate or wet clothing increases the effects of cold on the body.
    • Taking certain drugs or medications such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and medication that inhibits the body's response to the cold or impairs judgment.
    • Having a cold or certain diseases, such as diabetes, heart, vascular, and thyroid problems, may make a person more susceptible to the winter elements.
    • Being a male increases a person's risk to cold-related stresses. Sad, but true, men experience far greater death rates due to cold exposure than women, perhaps due to inherent risk-taking activities, body-fat composition or other physiological differences.
    • Becoming exhausted or immobilized, especially due to injury or entrapment, may speed up the effects of cold weather.
    • Aging -- the elderly are more vulnerable to the effects of harsh winter weather.

    Harmful Effects of Cold

    Trench Foot is caused by long, continuous exposure to a wet, cold environment, or actual immersion in water. Commercial fishermen, who experience these types of cold, wet environments daily, need to be especially cautious.

    Symptoms:

    Symptoms include a tingling and/or itching sensation, burning, pain, and swelling, sometimes forming blisters in more extreme cases.

    Treatment:

    Move individuals with trench foot to a warm, dry area, where the affected tissue can be treated with careful washing and drying, re-warming and slight elevation. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

    Frostbite occurs when the skin tissue actually freezes, causing ice crystals to form between cells and draw water from them, which leads to cellular dehydration. Although this typically occurs at temperatures below 30°F (-1°C), wind chill effects can cause frostbite at above-freezing temperatures.

    Symptoms:

    Initial effects of frostbite include uncomfortable sensations of coldness- tingling, stinging or aching feeling of the exposed area followed by numbness. Ears, fingers, toes, cheeks, and noses are primarily affected. Frostbitten areas appear white and cold to the touch. The appearance of frostbite varies depending on whether re-warming has occurred.

    Deeper frostbite involves freezing of deeper tissues (muscles, tendons, etc.) causing exposed areas to become numb, painless, and hard to the touch.

    Treatment:

    If you suspect frostbite, you should seek medical assistance immediately. Any existing hypothermia should be treated first (See Hypothermia below). Frostbitten parts should be covered with dry, sterile gauze or soft, clean cloth bandages. Do not massage frostbitten tissue because this sometimes causes greater injury. Severe cases may require hospitalization and even amputation of affected tissue. Take measures to prevent further cold injury. If formal medical treatment will be delayed, consult with a licensed health care professional for training on re-warming techniques.

    General Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls to a level where normal muscular and cerebral functions are impaired. While hypothermia is generally associated with freezing temperatures, it may occur in any climate where a person's body temperature falls below normal. For instance, hypothermia is common among the elderly who live in cold houses.

    Symptoms:

    The first symptoms of hypothermia, shivering, an inability to do complex motor functions, lethargy, and mild confusion, occur as the core body temperature decreases to around 95°F (35°C). As body temperature continues to fall, hypothermia becomes more severe. The individual falls into a state of dazed consciousness, failing to complete even simple motor functions. The victim's speech becomes slurred and his or her behavior may become irrational.

    The most severe state of hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls below 90°F (32°C). As a result, the body moves into a state of hibernation, slowing the heart rate, blood flow, and breathing. Unconsciousness and full heart failure can occur in the severely hypothermic state.

    Treatment:

    Treatment of hypothermia involves conserving the victim's remaining body heat and providing additional heat sources. Specific measures will vary depending upon the severity and setting (field or hospital). Handle hypothermic people very carefully because of the increased irritability of the cold heart. Seek medical assistance for persons suspected of being moderately or severely hypothermic.

    If the person is unresponsive and not shivering, assume he or she is suffering from severe hypothermia. Reduction of heat loss can be accomplished by various means: obtaining shelter, removal of wet clothing, adding layers of dry clothing, blankets, or using a pre-warmed sleeping bag.

    For mildly hypothermic cases or those more severe cases where medical treatment will be significantly delayed, external re-warming techniques may be applied. This includes body-to-body contact (e.g., placing the person in a pre-warmed sleeping bag with a person of normal body temperature), chemical heat packs, or insulated hot water bottles. Good areas to place these packs are the armpits, neck, chest, and groin. It is best to have the person lying down when applying external re-warming. You also may give mildly hypothermic people warm fluids orally, but avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.

    Preventing Cold Related Disorders

    Personal Protective Clothing is perhaps the most important step in fighting the elements is providing adequate layers of insulation from them. Wear at least three layers of clothing:

    -- An outer layer to break the wind and allow some ventilation (like Gore-Tex® or nylon);

    -- A middle layer of wool or synthetic fabric to absorb sweat and retain insulation in a damp environment. Down is a useful lightweight insulator; however, it is ineffective once it becomes wet.

    -- An inner layer of cotton or synthetic weave to allow ventilation.

    Pay special attention to protecting feet, hands, face and head. Warmers are an ideal preventative measure. Up to 40 percent of body heat can be lost when the head is exposed. Footgear should be insulated to protect against cold and dampness. Keep a change of clothing available in case work garments become wet.

    hand_body_warmersEngineering Controls in the workplace through a variety of practices help reduce the risk of cold-related injuries.

    • Use an on-site source of heat, such as air jets, radiant heaters, or contact warm plates.
    • Shield work areas from drafty or windy conditions.
    • Provide a heated shelter for employees who experience prolonged exposure to equivalent wind-chill temperatures of 20°F (-6°C) or less.
    • Use thermal insulating material on equipment handles when temperatures drop below 30°F (-1°C).

    Safe Work Practices, such as changes in work schedules and practices, are necessary to combat the effects of exceedingly cold weather.

    • Allow a period of adjustment to the cold before embarking on a full work schedule.
    • Always permit employees to set their own pace and take extra work breaks when needed.
    • Reduce, as much as possible, the number of activities performed outdoors. When employees must brave the cold, select the warmest hours of the day and minimize activities that reduce circulation.
    • Ensure that employees remain hydrated.
    • Establish a buddy system for working outdoors.
    • Educate employees to the symptoms of cold-related stresses -- heavy shivering, uncomfortable coldness, severe fatigue, drowsiness, or euphoria.
    • Avoid activities, whenever possible that leads to heavy perspiration.
    • Minimize activities that reduce circulation, such as sitting or standing in a cold environment for prolonged periods of time.
    • Keep energy levels up and prevent dehydration by consuming warm, sweet, caffeine-free, nonalcoholic drinks and soup.
    • Avoid working alone in very cold weather use a buddy system.

    The quiet symptoms of potentially deadly cold-related ailments often go undetected until the victim's health is endangered. Knowing the facts on cold exposure and following a few simple guidelines can ensure that this season is a safe and healthy one.

    • Older workers, or those with certain medical problems, need to be extra alert about the effects of cold stress. Check with a doctor about special needs and precautions.
    • Avoid using alcohol or drugs that may impair judgment while working in a cold environment. Hypothermia commonly occurs in association with alcohol abuse. In addition to its effects on judgment, alcohol increases heat loss through vasodilatation and may impair shivering.
    • Educate new workers on the hazards of working in a cold environment.
    • Prevent chapped skin by the frequent application of protective lotions.
    • Stay in good physical condition.

    With a little caution and common sense, you can avoid cold illnesses.

    • 29CFR 1926.20(b)-Accident Reduction,
    • 29CFR 1926.21- Safety Training & Education
    • 29CFR 1926.20(a)-Unsafe Working Conditions
  • What to do if Exposed to Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials

    IF AN EXPOSURE OCCURS

    Two types of exposures include a superficial exposure, and an exposure incident. A superficial exposure may involve blood or OPIM coming into contact with an individual’s intact skin. An exposure incident means that blood or OPIM have entered the body through the skin
    or mucous membranes. Although there have been no reported cases of infected blood transmitting disease through intact skin, you should treat both types of exposure with caution.

    blood-in-vessel• Once you have removed your PPE, thoroughly wash your hands and all other affected body parts with anti-bacterial soap and warm water.

    • If your eyes are exposed, flush thoroughly with a constant stream of moving water for approximately 15 minutes.

    • Do not allow runoff to drain into the other eye or into any open wounds or mucous membranes.

    • Do not eat, smoke, or touch your face until you have removed all PPE and completely cleaned all exposed skin surfaces.

    • If you suspect that contaminated blood or OPIM have entered your bloodstream, wash the affected area thoroughly, then immediately seek medical attention.

    • Finally, make sure that any exposure is reported to your supervisor and the Human Resources Dept. This is an important step in controlling the spread of the pathogen, and in providing medical evaluation and counseling to an exposed individual.

    • A medical evaluation usually involves testing the exposed individual’s blood for antibodies. The results of these tests are kept confidential, even from the employer.

    If there is a spill of blood or OPIM in the workplace that does not involve exposure to any individuals, sterilize the contaminated area with a mixture of 1:10 bleach and water.

    Follow the concepts of Universal Precautions when cleaning and sterilizing a spill site. This includes:
    • The use of proper PPE and tools,
    • Proper disposal techniques, and
    • Reporting the incident to a supervisor.

    From Bodily Fluid Cleanup and Personal Protection, to Safe disposal of  items contaminated with Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) - We've got you covered!From Bodily Fluid Cleanup and Personal Protection, to Safe disposal of items contaminated with Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) - We've got you covered!

    Learn more"

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  • Early Defibrillation

    We've talked about the importance of AED use in the Chain of Survival, but what is it really about?

    Early Defibrillation

    AED-SignEarly defibrillation and entry into the Emergency Medical System is vital to the victim’s survival. Many public and private organizations are now equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Proper administration of an AED device to a victim of cardiac arrest within the first 1 to 5 minutes can raise a victim’s survival chances to as high as 74%.

    AED’s are becoming increasingly affordable and common, and AED use is thought by many to be easier than learning CPR. AEDs are lightweight, run on batteries, analyze the heart rhythm, and automatically indicate when to shock, and when to continue CPR.

    The AED unit should be retrieved right after the EMS are notified. Have someone else retrieve and begin setting the unit up while you attend to the victim.

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  • Safe Disposal

    SAFE DISPOSAL METHODS

    Equipment, cleaning materials, and personal protective equipment (PPE) that may have been contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) shall not be disposed of without proper safeguard procedures.

    SharpsObjects that may be contaminated must be carefully collected in specially marked biohazard bags, and removed from the premises by licensed Hazardous Waste contractors.

    • Biohazard bags are thick plastic bags, usually red in color, and are clearly marked with the biohazard label.

    • If temporarily stored on the premises, these biohazard bags must be securely fastened, double-bagged, and placed in a clearly labeled cardboard container.

    • Do not compress the contents.

    • Contaminated sharps (needles, broken glass, etc.) must be disposed of in specially designed sharps disposal containers.

    Sharps Disposal Containers are sealable containers, leakproof on 3 sides, puncture resistant, and clearly marked with the biohazard label.
    Biohazard bags and sharps disposal containers should be located in each first aid room at your facility.

  • When to Start and Stop CPR

    While CPR Training nearly always covers when to begin giving CPR (and quality CPR course will) many times students ask "When should I stop performing CPR?"

    As a bystander, you must decide if you choose to provide voluntary assistance. If you choose to do so, first make sure the scene is safe for you as a rescuer, then you must follow these guidelines:

    Once care has been initiated, you are obligated to continue care until one of the following occurs:

    1. A qualified professional pronounces the victim dead.
    2. Observable signs of circulation return ~ Victim begins breathing on his or her own.
    3. Qualified personnel arrive who can render the same level of care or better.
    4. You become too exhausted to continue.

    CompressionOnlyCPR1

  • PPE for BBP

    While Employers have a responsibility to provide bloodborne pathogen safety training when exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials exists in the workplace (even when only as part of a collateral duty, like performing CPR or First Aid) and the further obligation to provide personal protective equipment for guarding against exposure - Employees have an obligation, too.

    See all types of PPE for BBP! See all types of PPE for BBP!

    Employees have the responsibility of using PPE whenever the possibility of exposure to blood or body fluids exists. This equipment must not allow blood or OPIM to pass through to the employee’s clothes, skin, eyes, or mouth.

    • When handling materials or individuals contaminated with blood or OPIM, rubber gloves must be worn. Hypoallergenic gloves must be made available for individuals with allergic reactions to latex products.

    • Single-use gloves must be replaced as soon as possible after they have been contaminated or if they become torn or punctured.

    • Latex or rubber gloves should never be washed for reuse.

    • Rubber gloves are not sufficient protection for the handling of contaminated sharp objects such as needles or broken glass. For these functions, use heavy gloves, tongs, or other appropriate equipment that eliminates the risk of puncture and exposure.

    Other examples of personal protective equipment can include:

    • PLASTIC VISORS

    • HALF-FACE MASKS

    • FULL BODY SUIT/GOWN

    • EYE GOGGLES

    • CPR MASKS

    The type and amount of Personal Protective Equipment used should be appropriate to the exposure risk. Although your employer is responsible for providing you with PPE, it is your responsibility as an employee to:
    • Use PPE correctly and whenever necessary,
    • Inform your employer of any PPE improvements that you feel must be made to ensure your safety on the job.

  • 5 Tips for a Safer Workplace

    A safe workplace is an important element in running a successful enterprise. Companies should put high priority in ensuring that their business space is free of safety risk elements. With this in mind, it is imperative that any workplace is kept safe for everyone in and around it.

    Accidents of any kind are a burden to a business. These can incur huge costs, impair productivity, and potentially cause hefty legal penalties. However, the fact remains that accidents occur. With consistent precautionary measures in place, these unfortunate mishaps may be better avoided.

    Listed below are some suggestions to keep the work environment a little less precarious.

    1. Thorough Housekeeping
    Needless to say, the presence of dust and dirt is not a good sign of a healthy workplace. Just like at home, Good safety housekeeping at work can significantly reduce accidents and injuries in any type of work environment. By developing good safety habits, and by being aware of their work environment and any hazards associated with it, employees can help to create a much safer workplace. Assigning regular general cleaning schedules apart from the daily housekeeping routine lessens harmful indoor substances. It is best to meticulously check every nook and cranny to rid the place of any unwanted guests that thrive in filthy environments.

    2. Organize for Safety
    Loose cables and cords are seemingly harmless until someone trips over. These unsightly tripping hazards may easily be evaded with simple cord management tricks. Cable ties are a convenient way to tidy up electronic wires lying on the floor. For wires bulked together, cord covers that can be mounted against the wall provide a seamless solution.

    Safety-Training3. Words of Warning
    The use of proper signage is often disregarded in many establishments. It is important to note that the installation of warning signs & safety posters helps prevent the occurrence of possibly serious injuries. Signs appropriately placed in high-risk areas alert employees to be cautious of safety threats. This effortless gesture also communicates the company’s mindfulness of their members’ well being.

    4. Regular Training
    Conducting regular training on safety keeps everyone’s knowledge updated. This is particularly relevant to personnel exposed to increased levels of risk. These helps employees respond better to unforeseen dangerous events. Having sufficient knowledge on safety measures also encourages everyone to help look out for each other’s welfare.

    5. Drills
    Safety knowledge is most effective when applied. There is no point in providing regular training when successful implementation of such theories is not guaranteed. A quarterly drill practice is recommended to ensure that everyone is well prepared when a crisis occurs.

    No employee or business owner should feel unsafe in their creative space. Office safety plans are important but prevention should always be the first course of action when it comes to workplace safety. Safeguarding the workplace is a good way to look after the employees’ welfare. After all, a healthy and safe workforce yields better business results.

  • Bloodborne Pathogen standard (29 CFR 1910.1030)

    The Bloodborne Pathogen standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) referred to in this literature is a performance-oriented standard, in that OSHA states what the required standards are and then allows the employer to “craft the most protective and cost effective programs possible.”

    BioThe Bloodborne Pathogen Standard affects any employee who may come into contact with blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM). The Standard is regulated by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It requires safety practices to be implemented and followed by employers and employees to reduce or eliminate the potential for exposure to bloodborne pathogens in the workplace.

    Bloodborne Pathogens are microorganisms that exist in blood and other bodily fluids, and can cause disease in humans. They include the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B (HBV), and Hepatitis C (HCV). Each of these diseases can be fatal, and each can be avoided by observing the concept of Universal Precautions.

    The Standard affects any employee who may come in contact with human blood or OPIM. Some identified populations at risk include workers in: Funeral Homes, Industrial Facilities, Research Labs, Linen Services, Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue Operations, Waste Removal, Lifesaving, Personnel Services, and any employee whose job designation requires them to render first aid, even as a collateral duty..

    Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM):
    OPIM includes semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, or any other body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, or where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids.

    EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES:
    1. Develop a written Exposure Control Plan designed to:

    a.) Identify employees or tasks at risk, and...
    b.) Document a schedule of implementation.

    2. Develop Engineering Controls designed to:
    Reduce or eliminate the risk of exposure to bloodborne disease. (Engineering Controls are controls (e.g., biohazard bags, sharps disposal containers, self-sheathing needles) that isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogens hazard from the workplace).

    3. Provide Personal Protective Equipment.
    (PPE) is specialized clothing or equipment worn or used by an employee for protection against a hazard. General work clothes (e.g., uniforms, pants, shirts, or blouses) are not considered to be personal protective equipment. (Learn about Universal Precautions)

    4. Offer training in and monitoring of proper work practices
    Work Practice Controls are controls that reduce the likelihood of exposure by altering the manner in which a task is performed (e.g., prohibiting the disposal of blood soaked material in unmarked trash receptacles).

    5. Develop procedures to evaluate circumstances
    surrounding Exposure Incidents.
    An “Exposure Incident” means a specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or piercing contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that results from the performance of an employee’s duties.

    6. Offer the Hepatitis B (HBV) vaccine to all employees with
    designated exposure risk.
    Employees who have been designated as having “Occupational
    Exposure” are given the opportunity to be vaccinated for the
    Hepatitis B virus. The vaccination will be given at no charge to the
    employee.

    7. Provide labels and signs.
    Labels must identify:

    a) Containers used to store, transport, ship
    or dispose of blood or other potentially infectious material.
    b) Contaminated equipment
    & Signs must be posted at entrances to research labs or production facilities where a person could come into contact with an infectious agent.

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    BLOODBORNE PATHOGEN PRODUCTS

    Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. Any type of sharp objects such as needles can expose you or your co-workers to these bloodborne pathogens. To limit you and your co-workers from potentially infectious materials we have Bloodborne protection and personal protection kits plus supplies to protect you from harmful and infectious materials. We have every type of antimicrobial, germicide, barrier making, disinfectant, and PPE product that you can dream of. We are here to block and protect you from any infectious material or critter that is out there and to make sure you keep safe at home or in your work place.

    From Bodily Fluid Cleanup and Personal Protection, to Safe disposal of items contaminated with Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) - We've got you covered! From Bodily Fluid Cleanup and Personal Protection, to Safe disposal of items contaminated with Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) - We've got you covered!
  • Universal Precautions

    What are Universal Precautions?

    See our Bloodborne Pathogen & Personal Protection Products See our Bloodborne Pathogen & Personal Protection Products

    Universal Precautions is an approach to infection control. Universal precautions should be taken in all forms of lifesaving actions and medical care, including rendering CPR and First Aid, or using an AED.

    According to the concept of Universal Precautions, all human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HCV, and other bloodborne pathogens.

    This means that precautionary methods should be used every time the potential for exposure to blood is present, even if you know the injured person, and even if the person looks healthy.

    Universal Precautions means:

    EVERY TIME… WITH EVERYBODY!

    From Bodily Fluid Cleanup and Personal Protection, to Safe disposal of items contaminated with Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) - We've got you covered! From Bodily Fluid Cleanup and Personal Protection, to Safe disposal of items contaminated with Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) - We've got you covered!

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