How to Combat Heat-related Hazards

heat illness

Weather conditions can have a significant effect on our well-being and safety. A combination of heat, humidity, and strenuous physical activity can lead to dangerous outcomes when the body is unable to cool off by sweating. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat rash, cramps, and heat illness are examples of heat-related outcomes that can result in death. Fortunately, heat-related deaths are preventable when the symptoms and causes are understood and acted upon quickly.

Most common heat-related illnesses:

Heat Exhaustion:
Symptoms: Fatigue, profuse sweating, weak and rapid heartbeat, headaches, nausea, confusion, loss of coordination, muscle weakness, dizziness, or fainting.
Causes: Dehydration, lack of acclimatization to high temperatures, strain on the circulatory system, and reduced blood flow to the brain.
First aid: The affected individual must rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area. Cool the affected individual by fanning, misting with water, or applying ice packs. Give cool (not cold) water only if the individual is conscious.

Heat Stroke:
Symptoms: Core body temperature exceeding 104° F, hot skin with a lack of perspiration, strong and rapid pulse, nausea, confusion, dizziness, seizures or convulsions, or fainting.
Causes: Heat exhaustion was left untreated and the body’s cooling mechanisms have been exhausted.
First Aid: Heat stroke is immediately life-threatening. Notify a supervisor and follow the emergency action procedure. While waiting for medical personnel to arrive, the individual giving care should provide the same first aid measures as those for heat exhaustion. In addition, loosen or remove heavy clothing if necessary.

General Controls: The best way to prevent heat illnesses is to make the work environment cooler.

• Provide shaded areas large enough to accommodate all employees during meal, rest, or recovery periods. This can be achieved through rotation of employee breaks.
• Provide shaded areas and drinking water as close as feasible to work areas.
• Provide employees with one quart of water minimum per hour for the entirety of shift.
• Use fans or air-conditioning if possible.
• Employees should wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing.
• Urge employees to avoid consumption of alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and heavy meals.
• Acclimatize employees to heat by having them work for short periods of time and gradually increase their time in the heat over a two-week period.
• Train employees to recognize symptoms in themselves and others and report them.

In addition to heat illness, prolonged sun exposure can also result in permanent skin damage if consistently left unprotected. Outdoor workers are especially at a higher risk of developing skin cancer, along with other ailments.

According to a survey by the Deb Group, a skin care company, over 8,500 people in the U.S. contract skin cancer on a daily basis. And 71 percent of employees that work outdoors claim that their employers fail to provide sunscreen in the workplace.

To prevent skin cancer and sun damage, wear protective clothing including long sleeves and hats, use sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, and have a yearly mole check.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a Heat Stress Prevention online training course that describes the precautions to help protect employees from heat illnesses. Other related resources include toolbox talk documents on topics of: Basics of Heat Stress, Heat Illness, and a Heat Illness Prevention Plan. A safety video is also available on 5 tips for Protecting Employees from Heat Stress.

Memorial Day Brings a Higher Rate of Crashes for Teens

texting while driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the 100 days after Memorial Day, about 1,000 Americans will die in crashes with teenage drivers behind the wheel, based on data from the last five years. More teens are on the road, increasing the overall average number of deaths by 16% during the summer months. Based on past studies, nearly 60% of these crashes will likely be the result of distracted driving, such as talking on cell phones and texting (USA Today Article 6/1/16).

It is important for teens to stay hands-free behind the wheel. On average, a driver is four times more likely to be in an accident when using an electronic device. All drivers (and teens, especially) should regularly review accident prevention and response procedures. Doing so can lessen the chance that a driver will get into an accident, and also prepare them to respond safely should an accident occur.

5 Tips to minimize the chance of an accident:

• Eliminate distractions
• Pull over if it cannot wait: If you must make a call, text, or email, pull the vehicle over to a safe location, off of the road, before doing so.
• Have someone else make calls: If a passenger is present, allow them to make and answer calls for you.
• Driving at night: Monitor speed to assure that your required braking distance does not exceed the range of the headlights.
• Be considerate: Avoid aggressive driving and practice defensive driving tactics by being mindful of pedestrians, monitoring your following distance, and being in a healthy state of mind.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers toolbox talk resources on a variety of driver safety related topics such as: Accident Prevention, Accident Response, Electronic Devices, Driving at Night, an Emergency Supplies checklist and more.

Protecting Road Workers on the Job

construction safety

Spring and Summer are the peak times of year for construction and outdoor maintenance activities. Construction workers regularly engage in work that presents a range of hazards, such as falls, unguarded machinery, and being struck by heavy construction equipment (OSHA).

Work zones near the road can expose workers to high traffic areas, where they can be struck by passing drivers. The most recent data from 2014 reveals that drivers account for 82% of highway and road work zone fatalities (FHA, 4/11/2016). Driving distractions, reckless driving, and other factors can increase the risk of injuring a road worker.

Each person that encounters a highway work zone must stay alert and distraction-free to assure the safety of road workers.

Tips for Drivers:

• Follow traffic control devices. This includes signals and message boards that are used to direct traffic away from work sites. Cones, barricades, and barrels are also used to demarcate areas of work
• Do not speed. Always obey the posted speed limit, which can vary if a stretch of road is marked as a construction zone
• Expect delays and be patient
• Be alert and anticipate lane shifts and merging
• Avoid using phones and any other devices or activities that will cause distraction
• Allow a safe traveling distance between you and the vehicle in front of you

Employer Best Practices:

Provide correct PPE: Hard hats and high-visibility reflective clothing, can help keep employees safe (and much more visible to drivers). Reflective clothing should be ANSI approved and either class II or III depending on the situation

Use reliable communication devices between flaggers and construction crews (such as two-way radios) to assist in directing traffic and as a means of communication

Lighting: Flagger stations must be illuminated, and the amount of lighting should be based on the work being done. Outdoor lights can be used to provide at least 10-20 foot-candles of light, based on work requirements and the Traffic Control Plan.

Make time for safety: Take breaks to discuss safety procedures. Regularly reevaluate and update policies and procedures as required or needed.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a Work Zone Traffic Control Plan, a Traffic Control policy, Flagger Safety, and a Construction Safe Practices toolbox safety document series. There are also safety videos available on Personal Protective Equipment in Construction Environments, First Aid in Construction Environments, Heat Stress in Construction Environments, and more in both English and Spanish.

Don’t Forget: Deadline For Full GHS Compliance Is June 1!

GHS

Organizations must achieve full compliance with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) by June 1, 2016. Over 43 million workers and 5 million industries are affected by the Hazard Communication standard.

Full-compliance with GHS in the United States will help to achieve universal understanding of the classification of chemical hazards and safety data sheets. It also serves to improve the safety and health of employees. OSHA estimates the modified standard will prevent over 500 workplace injuries and illnesses and 43 fatalities annually (from OSHA Fact Sheet).

Chemical manufacturers and importers have the responsibility to provide the information to Employers prior to June 1 to allow them to have time achieve compliance.

By June 1, Employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces MUST:

Update alternative workplace labels and hazard communication program as necessary
Provide additional training to employees on newly identified physical or health hazards in the workplace
Apply the new format of Safety Data Sheets that require 16 specific sections
• Achieve FULL compliance with GHS including anything else required by the HazCom 2012 guidelines.

What are the benefits of the new standard?
• Universally improves communication and consistency of hazard information
• Improves employee comprehension of hazards and workplace safety
• More efficient access to information on the safety data sheets
• Minimizes the misuse of chemicals in the workplace
• Increases productivity for American businesses. Organizations are estimated to save more than $475 million due to productivity improvements, simpler training requirements and fewer label and SDS updates

Hazard Communication was the second most frequently cited standard by federal OSHA from October 2014 to September 2015. The top cited section within the standard is 1910.1200(h)(1): Employee information and training. Training employees on the hazardous chemicals they will encounter in their work area is crucial to truly improve safety and productivity in the workplace.

For specific questions and details on the modified standard, refer to the OSHA Q&A page.

Succeed offers a comprehensive GHS Training that assists organizations with their compliance efforts. This program includes the requirements needed to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), in particular hazard classification, Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), and chemical container labels.

How to Protect Your Organization from Cybercriminals

cybersecurity

No workplace is entirely immune to the threat of a security or data breach. The healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable and has become one of the largest targeted industries for cybercriminals. Medical records contain the most sensitive of personal information including Social Security Numbers, health records, and other contact information. As many as 90% of healthcare providers have experienced a breach in the last two years. Over half of these breaches are deemed to be criminal in nature, according to a study from the Penemon Institute, a privacy and security independent research firm (from Bloomberg, 05/07/2015).

Each member of a healthcare organization’s workforce has a responsibility to protect the privacy and security of all patient information. Implement the necessary safeguards by conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment within your organization.

Cybersecurity best practices:

Conduct an initial audit to determine potential exposures for your organization as well as to establish an action plan for identifying and implementing proper controls.

Establish written policies detailing your organization’s cybersecurity safeguards, including topics such as password protocols, guidelines for internet use, customer data control, and penalties for policy violations.

Keep hardware and software up-to-date to decrease risk from the latest malware or other security threats.

Secure your internet connection, including implementing a firewall and assuring that Wi-Fi signals are secure and encrypted.

Manage employee access to the internet or customer data by creating separate, password-protected user IDs for all employees and only granting employees access to systems needed to perform their job.

Keep systems used for payments separate from other potentially less secure systems.

Work with banks to make sure that the payment systems and services in place are trusted and secure.

Make regular backups of vital data, including internal documents and customer information.

Store data backups offsite, either at a remote location or in the cloud.

Implement physical security measures, such as keeping network equipment, servers, and other hardware in locked or restricted-access areas.

Secure mobile devices by requiring password protection and installing trusted security and anti-fraud systems.

Require employees to change their passwords at regular intervals, and consider implementing multi-factor authentication systems.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers toolbox talk resources on related topics, with titles such as: Cybersecurity for Small Businesses, Cyber Security Planning Guide, and Ten Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses, provided by the Federal Communications Commissions. For healthcare organizations, Succeed has released a new HIPAA training series on the Privacy, Security, and Breach and Noncompliance components of the HIPAA law, including an awareness-level course for the workforce.

Zika Virus – What You Need to Know

Zika virus

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which are most active during the day. Because the symptoms of the virus often go undetected, many people may not realize they are infected. Although people very rarely die of Zika, it can cause permanent damage to unborn infants which gives pregnant women the most cause for concern (CDC).

In addition to the bite by Aedes mosquitos, Zika has proven to be transmitted through blood transfusion, sexual contact, and from mother to child through pregnancy.

Outbreaks of Zika virus have previously been recorded in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Outbreaks are now present in the subtropical Americas, beginning in Brazil in 2015 and spreading to other countries in South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Learn how to identify the virus and reduce the chances of contracting Zika virus:

Symptoms
• About 1 in 5 people who contract Zika will develop symptoms, and the illness is generally mild. Hospitalization or death are very rare.
• Symptoms of Zika infection typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and last several days to a week.
• Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, headache, or conjunctivitis (red- or pink-eye).
• Zika virus usually remains detectable in the blood of an infected person for a week or longer.
• Zika virus is believed to be linked to some rare medical conditions, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and myelitis, but large-scale studies to prove this connection have yet to be completed.

Pregnancy Concerns
Current scientific studies have found the following:
• Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman could affect the fetus at any stage of gestation.
• In an infected fetus, there is increasing evidence of a link to microcephaly, placental damage, central nervous system injury, slow growth, a large range of other birth defects, miscarriage and still birth.

The CDC currently recommends the following for pregnant women:

• Do not travel to areas with ongoing local transmission of Zika virus. However, if you do, report this information to your doctor.
• If a male partner has travelled to areas with Zika infection, either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of the pregnancy.

Prevention
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika infection. Instead, prevent mosquito bites by:
• Using screens on windows and doors and sleeping under mosquito netting if necessary.
• Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and covering exposed skin.
• Using an EPA-registered insect repellant when outdoors.
• Use condoms and other contraception, especially for men in sexual contact with women who are pregnant.
• Postpone travel to areas where a Zika outbreak is growing.

Response
• If you suspect you have been infected, immediately contact your healthcare provider.
• Do not take aspirin or other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) until dengue can be ruled out.
• The CDC recommends taking acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
• Unfortunately, there are no specific medications used to treat the symptoms.
• Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
• Get plenty of rest.
• If you know you have contracted Zika, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of your illness to limit spread of the disease.

PLEASE NOTE:
Information about Zika virus disease is constantly evolving. For more information and current updates, please refer to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also launched a global response plan to aid the world’s response to the spread of Zika virus.

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month! Reevaluate your Eye Safety Programs

eye protection

Nearly 1 million Americans have lost some of their sight from an eye related injury, according to Prevent Blindness America (PBA). Eye wellness is important and something we may take for granted until a preventable accident occurs.

In light of Workplace Eye Wellness Month, make it a priority to review safety procedures and raise awareness about the importance of eye safety.

The Importance of Eye Protection

The majority of work-related eye injuries are a result of flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye.

Other common potential hazards include the following:

• Fumes
• Vapors
• Chemical splashes
• Extremely bright or hazardous light, such as from welding

Common Types of Eye Protection

A job hazard assessment should be performed prior to the start of a particular task to determine the type of eye protection required.

Safety glasses protect against low-to-moderate impacts and sparks from activities such as grinding and woodworking. Only use safety glasses with side shields.
Goggles form a protective seal around the eye area to better protect from hazardous chemical vapors, splashes, or dust or other small particles that may enter the eye. Make sure that your goggles include ventilation mechanisms to prevent fogging.
Face shields protect the entire face against flying particles, sparks, splashes, harmful mists, and other hazards.
Welding masks are specially designed to protect from radiant energy, sparks, and metal splatters from welding.

Proper Use

• Always wear proper eye protection where required, even if danger to your eyes seems remote.
• Before use, verify that your equipment is appropriate for the task.
• Inspect eye protection prior to each use.
• If you wear prescription eyewear, use eye protection that accommodates it. Prescription eyewear by itself is not a substitute for safety glasses or goggles.
• When welding or cutting, always wear safety glasses or goggles underneath face shields or welding helmets.
• When your work is complete, store eye protection properly and away from extreme temperatures or direct sunlight.

Those working in office settings are encouraged to follow the 20-20-20 rule to reduce the risk of digital eye strain: Take a 20-second break by looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers an Eye and Face Protection online training course that outlines a manager’s responsibility to educate employees on safe equipment use and controls. Other related toolbox talk safety documents include: PPE – Tinted Safety Glasses, PPE – Machines and Clothing, Digital Eye Strain and more. Safety videos are also available in English and Spanish on the topics of Eye Safety and Eye Safety in Construction Environments.

Is your Organization Prepared for an Earthquake?

earthquake map

This USGS map indicates potential earthquake strength, with darker areas indicating stronger quakes.

A 2015 U.S. Geological Survey revealed that nearly half of Americans living in the United States are in danger of experiencing potentially damaging earthquakes.

The Obama Administration has recently announced a new initiative aimed at strengthening the Nation’s resilience to earthquakes by increasing public safety and improving architecture and warning systems.

Ensure all employees know what to do when an earthquake occurs: incorporate earthquake safety procedures into your workplace Emergency Action Plan.

Workplace preparation:

• Your organization’s Emergency Action Plan should include the following:
‒ Evacuation procedures
‒ Instructions to follow during and after the event
‒ Medical and rescue duties for designated employees

• The plan must consider construction and the type of ground it is built upon, as certain ground types and structures are more susceptible to collapse and damage.

• Emergency supply kits should be placed throughout the workplace with such items as flashlights or light sticks, first aid kits and handbooks, blankets, bottled water, dust masks, and fire extinguishers.

• Assure that everyone completes the necessary training:
‒ Everyone should be trained in earthquake response procedures, designated safe places, evacuation plans, and the locations of emergency supply kits.
‒ Designated employees can be trained in first aid and fire extinguisher use.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a newly updated Emergency Action Plan online training that describes the process of deploying an emergency action plan in the workplace. Other related toolbox talk safety documents include: Emergency Preparedness for Businesses, an Emergency Action Plan policy, and an Emergency Preparedness policy. There is also a safety video available on Emergency Planning in both English and Spanish.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC Doubles Training Library in 2015

GIF of trainings

In 2015, Succeed Management Solutions, LLC released 37 new online training courses. These courses cover a diverse range of industry topics in both English and Spanish, including Trenching and Shoring, Active Shooter Preparedness, Patient and Resident Handling and many more. Also, 38 existing online training courses on general industry topics have received significant improvements to their content, appearance, and functionality, including Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention, Workplace Violence, and Bloodborne Pathogens.

The Succeed Risk Management Center® resource library has also grown to include over four hundred comprehensive safety training materials that have been updated and created to complement each online training course.

In the New Year, Succeed is continuing to expand their risk management library while focusing on the development of new online training courses that address several different industry topics and current anticipated OSHA rules including: Food processing, DOT/CDL, and Crystalline Silica Exposure.

Check out Succeed’s current list of Online Training Titles

Reminder: Post OSHA 300A Summary Form by February 1st

Employers with 11 or more employees (including temporary employees) are required to post the OSHA 300A Summary form in a public area of the workplace from February 1 through April 30, 2016, for the previous year. This form is a representation of the total number of injuries and illnesses recorded for the year, as documented in the OSHA 300 Log. The OSHA 300 Log is an ongoing list of all recordable injuries, illnesses, and fatalities at an organization.

There are exempt industries that are not required to post the OSHA 300A Summary, however since January 1, 2016, OSHA has decreed that additional industries are now required to post this form. These industries include automobile dealers, bakeries, beer, wine, and liquor stores, performing arts companies, special food services, building material and supplies dealers, and more. Even if your organization is exempt, you still have to complete the forms if there has been a fatality, in-person hospitalization, amputation, or if an employee lost an eye due to a work-related incident.

The OSHA 300 forms are requested in any OSHA visit. Citations and fines may result if your organization does not comply. Regardless of OSHA, it is a best practice to keep a record of all injuries, and perform investigations to assess the root causes, at risk behaviors, and other factors that can help organizations prevent injuries.

Please use these links below for more information on the OSHA 300 log process, or to sign up for a free webinar.

View a short introductory video on the OSHA 300 logs
Sign up for a free educational webinar on the OSHA 300 log process
View the pre-recorded educational webinar