Update: The Ministry of Labour has extended the Working at Heights training compliance deadline to Oct. 1, 2017.
If your employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals, it is IMPERATIVE that you do everything you can to ensure that your emergency eye wash stations meet the required safety standards to protect workers. Chemical eye injuries are a painful and frightening experience that may leave a person BLINDED for life and should be AVOIDED at all costs.
Did you know that over 2,000 eye injuries occur on job sites daily and roughly 10% of them require missed days to recover? OR that of the total amount of work-related eye injuries, 10 to 20% will result in temporary or permanent vision loss in the affected employees? If your employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals, it is IMPERATIVE that you do everything you can to ensure that your emergency eye wash stations meet the required safety standards in order to protect your employees. Chemical eye injuries are a painful and frightening experience that may leave a person BLINDED for life and should be AVOIDED at all costs.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has two different types of regulations, general and specific, which apply to emergency eye wash station equipment which are designed in order to promote eye safety under certain work conditions. The first is a general requirement for eye wash stations. The second is determined based upon the industry which your business operates in. OSHA’s general regulation is applicable to all facilities that require the installation of eye wash station equipment as a form of first aid, it is contained in 29 CFR 1910.151. It states that:
“…where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.”
This blog post will go over 10 tips to ensure that YOUR eye was stations meet the REQUIRED safety standards:
- Don’t block access. AVOID storing anything in front of or below an eye wash unit that could block an injured employees’s ability to stand comfortably or reach the station.
- Don’t hold the unit at an angle. If the unit is held on an angle it can INTERFERE with the correct flow of flushing fluid, which may result in an injured employee having to stand in an uncomfortable position to flush properly for up to 20 minutes.
- Keep the doors open. NEVER place an emergency eye wash station behind a closed or even worse locked door. Even though the station may not be used on a regular basis, when it is needed your employees vision is on the line and every second matters.
- Fill the unit properly. According to ANSI, the unit MUST be filled with flushing fluid or pre-packed fluid provided by the manufacturer. Avoid errors when mixing flushing fluid by always following manufacturers instructions.
- Watch the unit’s temperature. It is imperative that the flushing fluid never become too hot or too cold. Flushing eyes with extremely hot or ice cold solution can cause further damage to an already injured eye. According to ANSI fluid temperature must be ‘TEPID’. Tepid is defined at between 60°F (16°C) and 100°F (38°C). However, in circumstances where a chemical reaction is accelerated by flushing fluid temperature, a facilities safety/health advisor should be consulted to determine the optimum water temperature for each application.
- Install the unit correctly. NEVER install an eyewash unit without carefully following the manufacturers instructions. Being that stations vary, each one will have specific installation instructions to ensure proper performance. For example, installation height, the rate of fluid flow, and required spray pattern to name a few.
- Don’t alter or tamper with the unit. It is imperative that manufacturers instructions are ALWAYS followed. Things such as re-routing hoses or changing nozzles will compromise the unit’s performance.
- Keep in mind the unit’s shelf life. ALWAYS avoid using expired flushing fluid. Like any standing water, eye wash fluid has the ability to grow bacteria that is harmful to eyes. Ensure that you have a designated person to check the unit’s expiration dates and to refill/replace fluid as needed. According to ANSI Z358.1-2009, weekly flushing is required for plumbed stations, every three to six months for tank-style fluid stations and every two to three years for sealed-fluid cartridges and bottles.
- Clean thoroughly after use. Any lingering cleaning chemicals or cleaning particles could HARM the next user’s eyes. When the wrong chemicals come into contact, the fluid may turn brown or another colour and coloured fluid is NEVER usable. Never forget to clean, disinfect and completely dry the unit after each activation, this includes nozzles, hoses and nozzle covers.
- Do not cover the unit. Covering the unit with a makeshift cover like a plastic bag to keep dust or particles out can hinder an injured employees’ ability to properly activate the unit in a single motion. Preventing them to start the flow in one second or less which, is required by ANSI/OSHA.
By understanding how to use emergency eye wash stations properly, your facility can ENSURE greater workplace eye safety. Eye are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body and the benefits of understanding these tips are endless.
To learn more about eye wash requirements specific to your industry check out the link below:
One of the main focuses of schools, and more specifically a school’s athletic department should be focusing on helping students achieve their highest athletic aspirations. But in order to truly do this schools need to provide a safe environment, and more specifically safe equipment to practise with.
Accidents, property damage and fatalities occur every year due to improper use of cranes and equipment failure. Identifying hazards and adhering to simple inspection can safety guidelines reduce the probability of these unfortunate occurrences.
Hand Chain Hoists are ideal for construction, maintenance and industrial applications. They provide unmatched durability and reliability but this does not mean that they are indestructible. If proper technique is not used during a lift, a Hand Chain Hoist can be very susceptible to damage. This blog post will go into detail about the most common ways to misuse a Hand Chain Hoist.
FORE! A high quality netting system is a great investment for your golf course or range. Golf Ball Barrier Netting is an essential piece of athletic equipment to ensure that golf balls stay where they belong; within the range or course.
The retention of human resources is a key factor in the competitiveness of Canadian companies. In the Canadian workforce alone it is estimated that time loss occupational injuries arising from MSI’s resulted in a direct cost of 3.2 billion dollars to the Canadian economy. Ergonomic program elements include things such as: stretch programs, ergonomic workstation design, formal job rotation, job matching and documented ergonomic risk identifications. The benefits of ergonomic training in any industry are endless.
The retention of human resources is a key factor in the competitiveness of Canadian companies. Therefore, it is relevant to identify and address one of the major barriers to productivity, Musculokeletal Injuries (MSIs). These sprains, strains and overuse injuries affect the joints, muscles and nerves and often result in consequences ranging from reduced productivity to significant time loss or long term disability with it’s associated costs.
In the Canadian workforce alone it is estimated that time loss occupational injuries arising from MSI’s resulted in a direct cost of 3.2 billion dollars to the Canadian economy in 1998. Creating a safe, productive and positive workplace is critical to the success of all stakeholders in any given industry. Ergonomics seek to eliminate risk factors that lead to musculosketal disorders and other types of injury. Ergonomics training can empower companies and individual workers to identify potential sources of injury, prevent potential hazards, and optimize working conditions.
In Canada, each province has its own occupational health and safety legislation and organizations under federal jurisdiction are governed by the Canada Labor Code. Specific acts and regulation can vary but the general principles will always remain the same: employers are responsible for maintaining the health and safety of employees at their work sites. Each employee also has the responsibility to work safely and protect the safety of themselves, their co-workers and the general public where applicable. When employees are taught to recognize risk factors that may cause injury it leads to a safer and more productive work environment.
Ergonomic program elements include things such as: stretch programs, ergonomic workstation design, formal job rotation, job matching, and documented ergonomic risk identifications. A successfully implemented ergonomic program help to:
- Reduce the incidence and severity of musculoskeletal injuries.
- Keep skilled and valuable people at work.
- Reduce absenteeism.
- Achieve greater production consistency.
- Achieve higher levels of quality management.
- Improve operating profits by lowering injury costs and improving production levels.
The National Seafood Sector Council conducted a survey of ergonomics within the workplace. The purpose of the survey was to implement strategies to meet the long-term human resource needs of the Canadian seafood processing industry as well as review current practices and demand for training in: new employee development and skills training, employee refresher training, occupational health and safety training, and specific ergonomics training.
Some noteworthy findings from this survey include:
- Only 26 percent of respondent companies currently provide ergonomic prevention training to the general production and maintenance workforce.
- The majority of respondents indicated the use of a joint health and safety committee but 50% of the health and safety committees surveyed never conduct ergonomic training.
- 66 percent of respondents have monthly meetings regarding health and safety issues.
- New hires make up almost 25 percent of respondent’s total workforce. This high percentage indicates the necessity of ensuring effective, targeted education for individuals at the orientation/training stage.
- Throughout Canada almost 110,000 young people were seriously injured on the job in one year alone. These statistics mean injured young people represent one in every four injured workers.
- In regards to safety training 52 percent of companies have a verbal orientation but only 39% of respondent’s safety training includes ergonomics. This makes it one of the most common challenges associated with the administration of Occupational Health and Safety Programs.
- When asked directly about the level of ergonomic education, 89 percent of respondents had not received in-depth training in this area.
- 38 percent of respondents had specific strategies to deal with MSI’s, meaning that 62 percent do not.
- 46 percent of respondents said that workers are never consulted regarding changes in tools, equipment and processes.
Based on the results of this survey there is a demonstrated need for ergonomic training within the seafood-processing sector. The benefits of ergonomic training in any industry are endless. These benefits include: reducing costs, improving productivity, improving quality, improving employee engagement and creating a better safety culture. More industries need to be studied to see if there is a common theme of the need to be more educated on the topic of ergonomics!
What are some of the benefits you’ve seen at your facility?
Do you plan on spending increased time, attention and resources on ergonomics this year?
How do you make the case for your ergonomic processes?
Do you believe that there will be a common theme across industries if a similar study was conducted?