Articles by Month: February 2017
Am I in Danger?
- Unguarded protruding steel
reinforcing bars are hazardous. Even if you just stumble onto an unguarded
rebar you can impale yourself, resulting in serious internal injuries or death.
SAFETY REMINDER – ALL EMPLOYEES MUST BE PROTECTED FROM THE HAZARDS OF IMPALEMENT OR CURS AND SCRAPES FROM REBAR
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE PRESCRIBED AN OPIOID
If your health care provider believes a prescription opioid such as hydrocodone, oxycodone or codeine is the most effective way to manage your pain, it is important to understand that these medication are highly addictive. In 2015, overdose deaths from prescription opioids killed more than 20,000 people in the U.S. alone.
As you should with any new medication, if your health care provider wants to prescribe an opioid, it is important to ask questions before you get it filled.
Questions You Should Ask:
Why do I need this medication? Ask if there are non-opioid options you could take instead.
What if I have a history of addiction? Make sure your health care provider knows you have had issues with drugs or alcohol and if you have a history of smoking. This could change your treatment plan.
How long should I take this medication? Ask for the lowest effective dose in the smallest quantity so you don’t have leftover medication.
How can I reduce the risk of side effects? Take your medication as prescribed and make sure you are aware of potential side effects such as excessive sleepiness or craving more of the medication. Alert your health care provider immediately if you experience them.
What if I am taking other medications? You can reduce your risk for dangerous interactions by making sure your health care provider is aware of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you take.
Write your questions down ahead of time and write down necessary information during your visit. If you think of something else after your appointment is over, don’t be afraid to call back. Most medical offices have staff on hand who can help if your health care provider is not available and you need answers right away. Your pharmacist can also be a valuable resource.
Don’t assume your health care provider will automatically tell you everything you should know about an opioid medication on any other treatment. Not asking questions can have serious consequences on your health and your life.
Use of Opioid Medication
Where should I keep my opioid medication? If you have children at home, including teenagers, store it where it cannot be seen or reached.
What if I have unused opioid medication? Don’t keep it. Leftover opioids can be found and used by others. Ask your pharmacist how best to dispose of leftover medication – the answer may depend on the specific medication. Further information on safe drug disposal is available from the Food and Drug Administration at www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers
Should I have naloxone in my house? Naloxone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available over-the-counter in many state and in all over Canada. Your health care provider can also prescribe naloxone if you want it in your home and live in a place where a prescription is required.
Information taken from material originally written by Janet Lubman Rathner of the Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America.
WHAT IS ON A METERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET (MSDS)
An MSDS is broken into several sections
General Company Information Section
Emergency Telephone Number
Address (Number, Street, City, State, and Zip Code)
Hazard Ingredients Section
Chemical and Common Name(s)
OSHA PEL – Regulation
ACGIH – TLV – Recommendation
Physical Characteristics Section
Specific Gravity (H20=1)
> 1 Sinks in water
< 1 Floats on water
Vapor Density (AIR=1)
> 1 Sinks in Air
< 1 Floats on Air
Evaporation Rate (Butyl Acetate = 1)
> 1 Fast Evaporation
< 1 Slow Evaporation
Appearance and Odor
Safe Handling and Use Section
Steps to be Taken in Case Material is Released or Spilled
Precautions to be Taken in Handling and Storing
Fire and Explosion Hazard Section
Below 100 Degrees
At or Above 100 Degrees
Flammable Limits LEL or UEL
Unusual Fire and Explosion Hazards
Reactivity Data Section
Health Hazard Data Section
Route(s) of Entry:
Acute (Short Term)
Chronic (Long Term)
National Toxicology Program
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
Signs and Symptoms of Exposure
Medical Conditions Generally Aggravated by Exposure
Emergency and First Aid Procedures
Methods to Protect Employees
SAFETY REMINDER – YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW, SO IF YOU DON’T KNOW, ASK
Communication Standard States:
Every company which produces and
uses hazardous materials must provide their employees with information and
training on the proper handling and use of these materials.
You, as an employee, have a Right
to Know about the hazardous materials used in your work area and the potential
effects of these materials upon your health and safety.
Key Elements of the
Osha Hazard Communication Standard
Materials Inventory – A list of the hazardous
materials present in your work area.
Material Safety Data Sheets – A detailed description of each
hazardous material listed in the Materials Inventory.
Labeling – Containers of hazardous
materials must have labels which identify the material and warn of its
potential hazard to employees.
Training – All employees must be trained
to identify and work safely with hazardous materials.
Written Program – A written program must be
developed which ties all of the above together.
Controlling Physical and Health Hazards
Because many chemicals do similar jobs, it
is important to select chemicals that do a good job, while being less toxic.
Well-designed work areas minimize exposure
to materials which are hazardous. Examples of engineering controls would
include exhaust systems and wetting systems to control dust.
Safe work practices will insure that
chemicals are used correctly and safely.
Masks, eye protection, gloves, aprons, and
other protective equipment and clothing are designed to protect you while you
work. USE THEM!
Knowing how to work safely with chemicals
that pose a hazard is an important activity. You have a right to know, but you
also have a responsibility to use the knowledge and skills to work safely.
Industrial hygiene personnel regularly
sample the air and collect other samples to insure that hazardous chemicals do
not exceed established acceptable exposure limits.
Monitor yourself and others. Be on the
lookout for any physical symptoms which would indicate that you or your
coworkers have been overexposed to any hazardous chemical. Symptoms, such as
skin rashes, dizziness, eye or throat irritations or strong odors, should be
reported to your supervisor.
SAFETY REMINDER – YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW, SO IF YOU DON’T KNOW, ASK
About 26 construction workers die each year from using aerial
lifts. More than half of the deaths involve boom-supported lifts, such as
bucket trucks and cherry pickers; most of the other deaths involve scissor
lifts. Electrocutions, falls, and tip-overs cause most of the deaths. Other
causes include being caught between the lift bucket or guardrail and object
(such as steel beams or joists) and being struck by falling objects. (A worker
can also be catapulted out of a bucket, if the boom or bucket is struck by something.)
Most of the workers killed are electrical workers, laborers, painters,
ironworkers, or carpenters.
On Oct. 12 in downtown Philadelphia, a 41-year-old employee was
using the 125-ft-tall AWP to inspect the façade of the city’s First
Presbyterian Church. Investigators believe the employee, who was running the
unit on an urban sidewalk, drove over a vault lid with the boom extended. The
lid collapsed under the weight of the 20-ton machine, throwing the machine off
balance and causing it to tip over. “He was very experienced,” says the owner
of Masonry Preservation Group Inc. The lid that collapsed is a common sidewalk covering
made of “a composite fiberglass” material, says Al D’Imperio, Philadelphia-area
director of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “We are
looking at all aspects of the site,” he adds. City officials say the vault
cover, about 1 ft. wide, 2 ft. long and owned by cable company Comcast, was up
Before Operating an Aerial Lift
YOU MUST BE AN AUTHORIZED OPERATOR!
Check operating and emergency controls, safety
devices (such as, outriggers and guardrails), personal fall protection
gear, wheels and tires, and other items
specified by the manufacturer.
Look for possible leaks (air, hydraulic fluid,
and fuel-system) and loose or missing parts.
Check the area the lift will travel and be
Look for a level surface that won’t shift.
Check the slope of the ground or floor; do not
work on steep slopes that exceed slope limits listed by the manufacturer.
Look for hazards, such as, holes, drop-offs,
bumps, and debris, and overhead power lines and other obstructions.
Set outriggers, brakes, and wheel chocks – even
if you’re working on a level slope.
Check the wind speed. Are
you above the manufacturer’s maximum wind speed