Archive for the ‘Personal Safety’ Category

I was recently flying to the west coast on one of American Airlines new 737’s.   I normally try to get an aisle seat but this was a fairly full flight and I ended up with a window seat one row behind the emergency exit.   I had the window closed most of the flight until we were descending.   I opened the window and was looking out – at nothing in particular – when I noticed that American had painted the escape path on the wing for anyone having to leave through the EMERGENCY EXIT.  Further, I noticed that the escape path was painted with anti-slip paint (you know the gritty stuff).   I thought to myself – that’s a brilliant idea – American Airlines went the extra mile!

I applaud American Airlines for making the EMERGENCY EXIT more safe by having anti-skid paint.   How can you make the EMERGENCY EXIT at your workplace more safe?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

Last saturday morning I attended my son’s middle school football scrimmage.   There was a parent that was filming the scrimmage for our coach from the top row of the stands.    Evidently, the stands were not tall enough or there was a better angle to film the scrimmage from the roof of the adjacent gym.   The “film crew” from both teams managed to move and set up their cameras from the roof the the gym.   Now there were 6 guys standing on the roof – two filming and four helping.    I looked at these guys and immediately thought of FALL PROTECTION.   My first thought was not “That’s great that these guys are helping out the team” or “That’s going to be a great angle for the coach to review the scrimmage”.  No, my first thought was “There are these guys up 30 feet in the air with no railing or no safety harness – where is their FALL PROTECTION!”.   Further, I even pointed out to my daughter that these guys, the “film crew”, were taking unnecessary risks and breaking the new fall protection rules.   My daughter rolled her eyes and tuned me out – typical 19 year old!

Do you always think about safety?    Are you aware of risky behavior of others?   Do you look at safety outside of work?

Isn’t this what we are trying to achieve in the safety world?   I am proud of myself for thinking like this – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

I have looked at our historical safety statistics and see a trend that I don’t like – the SUMMER BLUES.   Each year we have experienced our most incidents during the months of July and August.   We still conduct our new hire safety orientation, our weekly safety training, and enforce all of our safety policies and procedures.   Why do we have the SUMMER BLUES?   When you peel back the onion, the type of incident is all over the board – Slip Trip and Fall, Ergonomics, Cuts, etc. – there is no one type of incident that is driving this.   Incidents are occurring at facilities in the North as well as the South, East as well as the West – there is no specific geographic location that is driving this.   Incidents are occurring at facilities that are not working overtime along with facilities that are working overtime.

The only way I can explain this is safety awareness.   We have become distracted with increased volumes, vacations, heat, etc,  that we create a self-induced SUMMER BLUES.   We need to double our efforts to heighten safety awareness.   We need to work safety awareness into everything that we do.   We want each of our employees to think about safety as much as they are thinking about their vacation!

I will ensure that we eliminate SUMMER BLUES and heighten safety awareness – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

It’s definitely summertime and it’s definitely hot!  Every year, thousands of workers become sick from occupational heat exposure.  These illnesses are completely preventable and everyone must recognize the symptoms of HEAT RELATED ILLNESS during hot weather.    The types of HEAT RELATED ILLNESS are Heat Stress, Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke.   Below is a description of the symptoms of each and treatment recommendations:

  1.  Heat stress is a buildup of body heat.   Heat stress, without proper precautions, can develop into heat exhaustion or heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition. As the internal body temperature increases, the heart rate rises and the body becomes overwhelmed.
  2.  Heat cramps are caused by dehydration and are the mildest form of HEAT RELATED ILLNESS.  Symptoms include muscle cramps, which can lead to muscle spasms.  Dehydration is usually coupled with heat exhaustion.  Treating heat cramps is as simple as drinking water and getting to a cooler area.
  3. Heat exhaustion is caused by strenuous activity, like working outdoors in the heat.  Symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration include headaches, sweating, irritability, nausea, chills, weakness, vomiting, fainting, a rapid weak pulse, flushed or pale skin, confusion, blurred vision, and dizziness.  The best way to prevent and treat heat exhaustion and dehydration is to avoid it from happening in the first place by drinking enough water throughout the day that you never become thirsty. Approximately 1 cup every 15 – 20 minutes is recommended, even if you are not thirsty. Avoid large amounts of caffeine or sugar in sports drinks because they can accelerate dehydration if not properly balanced with water. Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity and take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible. To treat severe heat exhaustion, elevate legs, pour cool water over the skin and drink water or other liquids that will replace electrolytes.
  4. Heat stroke is the most serious HEAT RELATED ILLNESS.  It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down.  Symptoms include red hot dry skin, confusion, fainting, or convulsions.  Treatment for heat stroke is similar to the other heat-related injuries, but emergency paramedic services should be contacted and efforts made to cool the person’s body temperature. One quick effective way to bring the body temperature down is to put a cool wet cloth behind the neck and soak their clothes with cool water.

By changing work practices, such as increasing work/rest cycles, drinking more water, drinking an occasional sports drink to replace electrolytes, and knowing what to do in case of a HEAT RELATED ILLNESS, lives can be saved.    I will ensure that we cover HEAT RELATED ILLNESS at our next safety meeting – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

Someone recently asked me WHY BOTHER WITH SAFETY?    It hit a chord with me and I went on a rant….here we go:

1.   We, as employers, have an obligation and responsibility to provide a safe workplace

2.   It is unacceptable for anybody to be injured at work, no matter how minor it is

3.   Other than being tired, everyone should return home each day in the same condition that they came to work

4.   I can’t handle the sight of blood, broken bones, etc

5.   If you can get safety right, the rest of production and operations is easy

6.   Our employees should expect to be safe

7.   When we do safety right in the workplace, it carries over to employees personal lives

I am passionate about safety and truly feel that these items are the answer to WHY BOTHER WITH SAFETY?   I take safety very seriously and feel that it is a worthwhile cause.    It is unacceptable of any employee to be injured at work – regardless of the circumstances.   I think its pretty straight forward – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

It’s that time of year when the weather heats up and employees wonder why they cant wear SHORTS to work.   As an employer, we have an obligation to provide a safe working environment.   We have an responsibility to conduct a hazard assessment and protect our employees.   As such, many of our facilities handle thin aluminum and steel sheets and fabricated parts and we have determined that there exists a moderate cut hazard.   Therefore, SHORTS are not permitted.

I had a lengthy discussion with a couple of safety experts that have been in the safety field for over 20 years each.   Both of these individuals are in consulting roles and have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses.   In their opinion, only companies with weak safety programs allow SHORTS in the workplace.    Further, their recommendation is for us to not wear SHORTS  based upon the materials that we work with.

We have made some leadership changes in our Human Resources department over the past few months.   The new individuals in this department are traveling to all of the facilities learning about our business and talking to employees.   One of the items that has been coming up consistently is SHORTS.    After their first visit, we explained how we conducted a risk assessment and had discussions with safety professionals on the subject.    Rather than explaining this to the employees, the human resources leadership is telling employees that they will look into it.   Why?   They are providing a false hope to the employees and, in my opinion, undermining our safety program.

I take my obligation to provide a safe working environment seriously.    It is unacceptable of any employee to be injured at work.   Further, in conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace, it has been determined that SHORTS should not be worn.  I think its pretty straight forward – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

This past weekend I watched the special on Discovery Channel where Nik Wallenda walked across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope.   The 2 inch tightrope was 1,500 feet in the air (approximately 1/4 of a mile) and 1.400 feet long.   This was all done with no safety wire, parachute, or airbag.   This is the same guy who last year went across Niagara Falls from the US to Canada on a tightrope.   Last years event was televised by ABC and they required him to wear a safety harness – this year the event was televised by Discovery Channel and he was allowed to have NO SAFETY GEAR.

13.1 million people watched ABC to witness the Niagara Falls tightrope walk and 13 million people tuned in to Discovery Channel to witness the Grand Canyon trek.   He basically had the same number of viewers on Discovery Channel as he did on ABC.   According to experts in the entertainment industry – the ratings on the Discovery Channel were so high because he wore NO SAFETY GEAR.   

Do you think Discovery Channel would have shown him fall?    No – Discovery Channel would not have shown him fall.   There was a 7-8 minute television delay that was not announced.   Discovery Channel did not consider social media and the fact that people who were there in person were twittering 7-8 minutes before it was “live” on television.   Tweets like “Good luck – first steps have been taken”, “Oh my gosh – he is bending down on the rope”, and “He made it safely – congratulations” were out there before he started or finished on “live” TV.

I think it’s not wise to do any stunt with NO SAFETY GEAR.   I don’t think the ratings would have been impacted with or without safety gear.    Regardless if he is a trained professional or a rookie – one should always practice proper safety!   This is a great example of “being lucky” when it comes to PPE.  I am going to talk about it at a upcoming safety meeting – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434