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Cell Phone Distraction

It is estimated at the end of 2008 there were 4 billion cell phone users worldwide. Can you hear me now?, the catchphrase used by Verizon, has become part of our culture. Cell phone use has expanded into every activity in our lives, from emergency communication to picking products from a grocery shelf. It sometimes seems people have no idea what to do with a spare moment other than make a cell phone call.

Whether you are in the presence of a user or you use a cell phone personally, using the phone is a significant distraction. Being distracted while driving, while operating tools and equipment, when walking across the street, when in public or at work, increases the risk of injuries and crashes.

Researchers have compared the level of distraction to a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Research also has shown that a cell phone conversation while driving is a greater distraction than conversing with a passenger. Drivers reacted significantly slower to unexpected events in the first two minutes of the phone conversation and are, for a large part of the conversation, unaware of traffic movements around them.

Many states have banned the use of cell phones without a hands-free device. Although that may help a little, the distraction is still present. Your best bet is to pull over to the side of the road or pull into a parking lot if you must have the conversation.

Additionally, never utilize your cell phone out on our production floor. Go to an office, outside or the cafeteria to make the call.

WHMIS 2015 Pictograms

The graphic below shows hazard pictograms. The bold type is the name given to the pictogram; the words in the brackets describe the hazard.

WHMIS

Taking Short Cuts

What is a shortcut??

The dictionary defines it as:

  • A path between two points that is faster than the commonly used paths.
  • A method to accomplish something that omits one or more steps.

At ABC Company, there was an employee that took a shortcut and didn’t turn off their machine prior to reaching into a running nip. They knew better, they were taught different, but they did it anyway. For that shortcut they will pay with months of pain and agony as their crushed hand heals. They will pay by not being able to do some of the things they love to do. We don’t know if the employee had done that before and gotten away with it. The fact is that this time he didn’t and the machine caught him. The machine will always win.

How about you? What shortcuts do you take? What danger are you putting yourself in?

This week we’ll be taking a look at shortcuts. I ask that you think about the actions you’re taking. Is it a shortcut? What price are you willing to pay?

Heat Disorders – Dehydration

During the summer, we must all take precautions to ensure our bodies don’t get over heated.

Let’s look at dehydration. Although it is technically not a heat disorder, it is certainly related.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If lost fluid remains un-replenished, you may suffer serious consequences.

Common causes of dehydration include intense bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, fever or excessive sweating. Inadequate intake of water during hot weather or exercise also may deplete your body’s water stores. Anyone may become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk.

Mild dehydration can cause symptoms such as:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or light-headedness

Dehydration can be treated by replenishing the lost fluids your body has lost. Drink at least 32 ounces of water or sports drinks slowly and steadily. Rest, if you don’t feel better, drink more slowly and steadily.

Dangers of Saw Kickbacks

Kickback from table saws and other rotating equipment is a real danger as emphasized in a recent fatal incident that took the life of a worker. In October 2016, a 37-year-old man was fatally injured by a piece of wood, which kicked back while he was operating a piece of saw mill equipment.

We don’t know all the details nor what specific type of equipment the man was utilizing but even the common table saw that many of us use can be a source of kickback. Kickback is dangerous, and it happens when the wood hits the back of the blade or the wood binds. Common causes of kickback are:

  • The kerf closes behind the cut pinching the blade
  • A board is warped, cupped, twisted, etc. and binds against the blade
  • The side of the wood against the table saw fence isn’t straight
  • The blade isn’t parallel to the fence
  • A cross cut is made without properly supporting the board and it twists into the blade
  • A cut-off gets trapped between blade and fence.

In each case, the velocity of the spinning blade can lift the board and send it flying. I’ve seen a piece of wood fly so hard it stuck in a plywood wall. You don’t want to be hit by that!

Kickback is over before even know it happened, so don’t think you can react in time to pull your hand out of the way. You can’t.

Here are some tips to prevent getting injured by saw kickback on a table saw:

  1. The best way of preventing kickback is to use a riving knife or splitter and an anti-kickback device on your table saw. The riving knife and splitter will hold the kerf open behind the blade so the wood can’t close on the cut.
  2. Don’t pull the workpiece from the back side of the table saw, a kickback can yank your hand right into the blade. People do serious injury to their hands when the blade grabs the board pulling it and their hand into the blade.
  3. Don’t use the fence when cross cutting narrow stock. There isn’t enough wood against the fence to control the cut. Instead use the miter gauge to push the wood and leave your table saw fence to the side.
  4. Kickback often occurs when you’re cutting large sheets of material. If you let the sheet sag down, the kerf can close and pinch the blade as you near the end of the cut.
  5. Keep your hands and body to one side of the line of cut.
  6. When using portable saws always maintain a firm grip on the saw and don’t stretch so far over the workpiece that you’re left in an awkward, unbalanced position.
  7. Make sure your wood is flat and the side against the fence is straight.
  8. Keep your blade parallel to the fence.
  9. Never try to free hand a cut.

Avoid traffic headaches and traffic tickets this long weekend!

There are two things you can bank on when there’s a long weekend: traffic and a heavy police presence on the roads. At Levert, we want you to enjoy your time, kick off summer and relax. With this, please remember:

Don’t drink and drive — The same rules which govern drinking and driving also apply to driving and boating.

But also, here are some safe driving tips so that you don’t get caught this long weekend…in traffic or by police:

• To avoid the mass exodus, plan to leave earlier or later than everyone else and budget time to stop and stretch.
• Be patient and accept that what’s typically a two hour drive may be three hours (or more).
• Look for less travelled routes, listen to traffic reports before you leave and while on the road, and always have a back-up route in case of a collision or road block
• Driver fatigue can result in poor decisions and aggressive driving – only drive when well rested
• Always give emergency personnel the space they need – they may be saving a life
• Don’t drive distracted. Put your phones on “Do Not Disturb,” let your passengers select the music, and if you get hungry, eat at a rest stop.
• Leave a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you and always signal before you change lanes.
• While driving the boat, always remember to wear your life-jacket – if you don’t wear it, it won’t work

This long weekend, take care when getting to where you want to go – it’s about more than just “getting there,” it’s also about returning home safely.

Propane Grill Safety

Barbecue grill fires and domestic propane tank explosions are a major source of personal injury in the United States each year. According to recent statistics some 6,500 barbecue grill fires injure people accounting for property loss of over $27 million annually. Nearly two third of these gas grill fires occur in the backyard on a patio or terrace. Here are some tips when using a propane grill:

• Always check for leaks every time you disconnect or reconnect the regulator to the LP tank. If you find a leak, immediately turn off the gas at the tank and don’t attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed. Until it is repaired, keep lighted cigarettes, matches or open flames away from it.
• Check the valve connections and hoses to be sure they are in good working order. The hoses should have no cracks, holes or leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
• Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders or food grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockage and push it through to the main part of the burner.
• Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
• Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease. If you can’t move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.
• Never Ever start a gas grill with the cover closed.
• If the burner doesn’t light, turn off the gas and try it again in about 5 minutes.
• When not in use, the LP tank valve must be turned to OFF. The tanks should always be stored in an upright position and in a place where the temperature will never reach 125 degrees F.
• Never keep a filled fuel container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, causing the relief valve to open and allowing gas to escape.

Fighting Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the leading causes for any workplace injury, studies have shown that incident rates increase during extended periods of work, with incident rates rising after 9 hours, doubling after 12 consecutive hours, and tripling by 16 consecutive hours of work

7 Steps to Fighting Fatigue

  • Get eight hours of sleep before starting work.
  • Sleep at the same time each day.
  • Take all scheduled work breaks. A snack or exercise during the break will refresh you.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet beginning the “day” with high protein foods and ending with carbohydrates. Do not eat great quantities before bedtime; this may cause trouble sleeping.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. These substances cause sleep disturbances.
  • Walking, stretching, and aerobics can help. Exercise will give you stamina and help you to fall asleep later.
  • Work carefully and very methodically, always following proper procedures.

Eye Protection

Every day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in North American workplaces. No matter where we work, flying particles, dusts, splashes or flying objects are apt to expose us to potential eye injury. Fortunately, we can protect against these hazards by using the appropriate protective eyewear for our jobs.

Here are different types of eye protection you can use.

  • SAFETY GLASSES with side shields are a good form of eye protection for general use.
  • SAFETY GOGGLES offer superior protection from small flying debris and particles as well as chemical splashes.
  • When grinding, changing propane or changing batteries we need to wear a FACE SHIELD along with our safety glasses or goggles.
  • When welding, you have the risk of harmful rays impacting your eyes from a short distance WELDING HELMETS protects your face from flying objects, and your eyes from the rays.

Walking at Night

When you are out for a walk in the evening, wear bright clothing so motorists can still see you in the dark. Carry a flashlight or wear reflective gear. If you are walking your pet, consider a reflective collar or leash. It is safer to walk in a group – there is greater visibility in numbers. Don’t text or talk on your cell phone while walking. Give the traffic and your surroundings your full attention.