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Why Wear Protective Eyewear

Our eyes are perhaps our most important sensory organ. So it makes sense to take care of them at work with eye protection glasses. Yet, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), reports that around 2,000 workers suffer job-related eye injuries every day in the U.S. These injuries are serious enough to require medical treatment.

Lack of eye protection safety also has a major economic impact. Each year, eye injuries result in more than $300 million in medical costs, workers comp claims and lost time on the job. Plus, most on-the-job eye injuries occur for one of two reasons. Workers weren’t wearing any eye protection goggles or glasses. Or they were wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job.

Many eye injuries are minor. But even minor ones can result in long-term vision problems. Some can cause lasting damage. The most serious can disable a worker for life. OSHA estimates that up to 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented by wearing proper safety eyewear.

How and Why Eye Injuries Occur

Most job-related eye injuries occur when small objects land in the eye. These include things like dust, wood chips, metal slivers and more. Many are smaller than a pinhead. Other common causes of eye injuries include:

– Nails, staples or metal that pierce the eyeball

– Blunt force trauma from falling objects

– Workers running into something face first

– Getting splashed by chemicals or cleaning products

– Thermal or radiation burns while welding

– Working on a computer for long periods of time

OSHA requires workers to wear eye and face personal protection equipment (PPE) under two conditions. One is when eye safety hazards exist on the job site. The other is when there’s a good chance wearing eye safety PPE could prevent an injury.

Eye hazards that require wearing eye safety PPE include:

– Projectiles, including dust, metal and wood

– Chemicals in liquid or gas form

– Radiation, especially UV, infrared, and lasers

– Harmful pathogens from blood and body fluids

The PPE to be worn depends upon the type of hazard. Some work sites include more than one eye hazard. Proper eye safety protection takes all hazards into account. Some trades have a higher risk for eye injuries than others. These include:

– Construction

– Manufacturing

– Mining

– Welding

– Carpentry

– Electrical work

– Auto repair

– Plumbing

– Maintenance

Eye Safety Programs

Eye safety should be an integral part of every company safety program. The safety manual should cover all OSHA eye protection guidelines. It should also contain guidance on:

– When to wear eye safety protection

– What type of eye PPE to wear (based on the job)

– How and where workers can get the PPE eyewear they need

– Consequences of eye safety violations

To select the right eye safety PPE for each job, list all potential eye hazards. Then look at how workers are exposed to those hazards. Take into account the personal vision needs of each worker. Also consider whether other types of PPE are used.

PPE eyewear needs to fit snugly but comfortably. If not, it should be adjustable so it can provide full coverage. It should also allow good peripheral vision.

Different Types of Eye Safety PPE

Eye safety PPE ranges from basic safety glasses to special protection devices for high-risk jobs.

– Safety Glasses. These look a lot like everyday glasses. However, they use stronger frames and lenses to provide more eye protection. Safety glasses are well-suited for jobs that involve dust, chips or flying particles. Side shields and wraparound safety glasses can provide extra protection.

– Safety Goggles. These are designed to protect against impact, dust and chemical splash. Their secure shield around the entire eye protects against hazards coming from any direction. Goggles can be worn over contact lenses and regular glasses.

– Face Shields and Helmets. These are designed for high-risk jobs, such as exposure to chemicals, heat, or blood-borne pathogens. Some helmets are made just for welding or working with other molten materials. Protective eyewear should always be worn underneath shields and helmets. This helps protect the eyes when the shield is lifted or the helmet removed.

– Special Protection. Some helmets or goggles have special filters to protect against radiation exposure. These are used for welding or working with lasers. Safety glasses should be worn underneath for full protection.

Other eye safety protection methods include machine guards, screened or divided work stations, and other engineering controls.

Getting Workers to Buy Into Eye Safety

Many workers don’t like wearing protective eye gear. Some say it isn’t comfortable. Others feel it interferes with their vision. Still others think it looks “uncool.” Providing workers with comfortable and stylish eye safety PPE will increase the wear rate.

Eye safety PPE must be comfy enough to wear for an entire shift, even in hot weather. Features that enhance comfort include:

– Cushioned brows

– Soft gel nosepieces

– Padded nose bridges

– Vented frames

– Flexible temples

– Lenses that can be adjusted to different angles

Workers also like anti-fogging features and lenses surrounded by foam. These improve comfort and provide extra particle protection.

Workers are more likely to wear stylish eye safety glasses. Features such as bright colors, wraparound designs and mirrored lenses enable workers to look cool. This lowers their resistance to wearing eye safety PPE.

Style and comfort are important. But don’t overlook safety features such as lenses built to resist impact. Lenses should also protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Some workers need prescription safety lenses. Those made with tempered glass or acrylic plastic lenses should not be used in high-impact situations. Also, don’t use them in debris areas unless covered by goggles or a face shield. Polycarbonate lenses that resist scratching are the best choice for high-impact areas.

Taking good care of eye safety glasses will also encourage wearing them. A gentle cleaning at the end of the day is a good idea. To avoid scratches, don’t set the glasses down when not in use. Instead, workers should wear a retainer strap that keeps the glasses hanging around their neck. Eye safety glasses should be stored in a clean, dust-proof holder. Scratched or pitted glasses should be replaced.

Creating an Eye-Safe Work Site

Eye safety is a team effort. Employers are responsible for:

– Complying with all OSHA eye safety standards

– Conducting a workplace eye hazard assessment

– Removing or reducing eye hazards where possible

– Providing the right safety eyewear and making sure workers wear it

Workers are responsible for:

– Knowing the eye hazards of their jobs

– Wearing proper eye safety PPE to protect against those hazards

– Keeping their safety eyewear in good condition

– Replacing it when damaged

Both groups need to know what do when an eye injury occurs. This starts with seeking medical attention as soon as possible – especially if there is pain in the eye or blurred vision. Apply basic first aid until medical help arrives or the victim is taken to an emergency room.

For chemicals in the eye, flush with water for at least 15 minutes. (Remove any contact lenses before flushing.) Don’t attempt to neutralize the chemical with other substances, and don’t bandage the eye.

For particles in the eye, don’t rub it. Instead, see if tears can wash away the particle. If not, apply an over the counter tear solution. Gently lifting the upper eyelid out and down over the lower eyelid may remove the particle. If it remains, keep the eye closed and bandage it lightly. Then get medical help as soon as possible.

For blows to the eye, lightly apply a cold compress to reduce pain and swelling. For cuts or punctures to the eye, do not rinse it. Also, don’t try to remove an object stuck in the eye. Instead, cover the eye with a rigid shield. Then seek medical care right away.

When it’s time to focus on aerial lift safety, visit Certifymeonline.com. We offer fast, affordable training and certification on many types of aerial lifts, including scissor lifts.

What is a Safety Manager?

At warehouse work sites, safety is always the #1 priority. But safety doesn’t just happen by itself. In fact, maintaining a safe job site requires three key elements.  A commitment to safety from senior management. Training that complies with OSHA process safety management guidelines. And someone to make it all happen. That someone would be the safety manager – a trained professional who has full oversight of a company’s safety program.

The safety manager job description contains a long list of duties. First and foremost is protecting the safety of all workers by providing a safe work site. This broad goal includes:

– Setting clear safety guidelines. Every company needs safety guidelines for workers to follow. The safety manager has the task of installing an OSHA-approved safety program. This includes having a manual that outlines all safety policies and procedures.

– Self-education. The safety manager job description also calls for ongoing education. This helps managers stay current with new OSHA process safety management guidelines. It also keeps them up to date with new safety equipment and techniques.

– Management training. A well-trained management team supports a safer workplace. Safety managers provide health, safety, and accident prevention training for all senior execs.

– Employee training. Safety managers see that all workers are trained to OSHA safety standards. This includes basic safety guidelines and the hazards related to equipment workers use on the job. With some equipment, like aerial lifts, OSHA requires workers to be trained and certified.

– Workplace inspections. Once a year, the safety manager inspects the workplace to assure safe working conditions. He or she also conducts spot checks as needed.

– Safety promotion. Safety managers provide materials to keep workers up to date on safety guidelines. They also oversee recognition systems that reward workers who abide by company safety rules.

– Accident investigations. When accidents occur, safety managers first look for the cause. Then they create a detailed report of the incident. Afterward, they develop measures to prevent a repeat of the accident.

– Claims management. When workers get injured on the job, they file claims to cover the cost of medical care. Safety managers oversee the handling of these claims. They also ensure all injuries are posted in the OSHA logbook.

Creating A Safe Working Environment

On a daily basis, a top priority for safety managers is keeping the workplace free of hazards. If hazards can’t be removed, safety managers strive to reduce their risk. For example, adding extra lighting in dimly lit areas. Putting non-slip tread strips or anti-slip coating on slippery floors. Adding pallet rack guards in storage areas. Safety managers also need to make sure all hazards are clearly marked. This can be done with signs, posters, labels, floor markings, color codes, and more.

The next order of business is making sure workers adhere to company safety guidelines. All workers need to know the company’s safety procedures. They also need to have the training to safely operate equipment. This includes having the proper aerial lift certifications. It also involves enforcing lockout/tagout procedures. These help safeguard workers from the unexpected startup of machines or equipment.

Safety managers job also analyze job hazards to reduce risk. This starts with listing the hazards related to each job. The next step is to determine what triggers those hazards. Then the manager takes steps to improve safety. One of these is encouraging workers to report “near misses.” These are accidents that almost happened, but didn’t. These close calls reinforce the need to work safely.

Other common daily tasks for safety managers include:

Reinforce safety training. Safety managers can provide workers with daily reminders about safety. These can come in the form of booklets, brochures, fact sheets, posters, and more. Live workshops and online training courses also help keep safety top of mind with workers.

Keep the workplace clean and neat. OSHA states that all working surfaces should be free of hazards. These include sharp objects, loose floorboards, leaks, spills, snow, ice and more. “Clean” best practices include:

– Keeping all floor surfaces clean and well-maintained

– Seeing that storage areas are not crowded with items that belong elsewhere

– Discarding seldom-used and unnecessary tools

– Keeping frequently used tools in a common area

Enforce the wearing of safety equipment. First, safety managers see that the company provides the right personal protection equipment (PPE). This can include everything from hard hats and safety glasses to fall protection gear for aerial lifts. The safety manager also makes sure workers wear their PPE on the job.

Make sure floors and pipes are properly marked. Floor marking can increase warehouse safety and worker efficiency. Safe floor marking consists of:

– Having separate paths for forklifts and pedestrians

– Marking posts, speed bumps, and other hazards with reflective tape

– Using striped hazard tape around loading docks, curbs, and other exposed edges

– Having dedicated storage areas for inventory, machines, and other equipment

All pipes should have color-coded labels to indicate what’s inside them.

Conduct safety inspections and audits. A safety inspection looks for hazards and unsafe practices at the work site. It should also ensure safety measures are in place. A safety audit takes a big picture look at the entire safety program. This includes measuring the results to see if they meet the stated safety goals. Audits also identify:

– Outdated safety procedures

– Safety problems that keep recurring

– Best practices that aren’t being used

– Ways to improve safety training

Use signage to promote safety awareness. Safety managers should post hazard warnings in highly visible areas. Signs that remind workers to wear PPE should also be posted. Signs that direct floor traffic and point out emergency exits are also important.

Reward workplace safety. Workers that follow company safety practices should be recognized for their good work habits. This will reinforce the desired behaviors and encourage other workers to practice good safety habits.

How To Become A Safety Manager

Most companies require safety managers to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering. The discipline could be electrical, chemical, mechanical, industrial, or from some other area. Many employers will accept a degree in industrial hygiene or environmental safety. Employers also value real-world experience such as apprentice training programs during college.

High school students wondering how to become a safety manager would do well to take a heavy course load. It should include advanced math and science courses such as calculus, chemistry and physics. Entry level safety manager jobs require a B.S. degree. Higher level jobs usually require a Master’s degree.

Many safety manager jobs require certifications. For example: Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST), or Associate Safety Professional (ASP).

Be Safe: Train and Certify

You can’t over-emphasize safety in the workplace. One way to keep it top of mind is with refresher aerial lift training and certification courses. OSHA requires re-certification every three years. Workers who shift to a different type of aerial lift also need new training. Right after an accident is another good time for re-training.

Aerial lift certification improves safety. It can also help your company avoid OSHA penalties. The highest fine for serious violations is $13,260. Willful or repeated violations can cost more than $132,000. Why take a chance with worker safety or your bottom line? Get all your aerial lift workers certified the easy way with Certifymeonline.com.

In Case of Emergency: Smart, Safety-First Warehouse Management Techniques for Crisis Situations

Is your warehouse prepared for an emergency situation?

If not, you’re tempting fate. Should disaster strike, a bad situation could quickly become 100 times worse.

Having an emergency plan in place for anything that comes your way isn’t just a smart, sound safety practice – it’s literally the difference between injuries and serious injuries, or life and death!

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How Many Miles Does an Average Forklift Travel in a Year?

Have you ever wondered how many miles a forklift gets driven in a year? As the workhorse for many warehouses, they’re “on the road” eight hours a day, often more. They may not travel very far with each trip. But over time those small trips can add up to a lot of miles.

There’s only one problem with answering this question – forklifts don’t come with mileage indicators. So there’s no way of knowing how many miles they rack up each year. Instead, forklift “age” is measured in hours of use, not miles. And that can be easily tracked.

Assuming an 8-hour work day, the average forklift runs 2,000 hours per year. Throw in some overtime hours on a regular basis, and that number will increase. With the average lifespan of a forklift around 10,000 hours, that comes to about five years of reliable service. The best-made forklifts can last as long as 20,000 hours.

What Determines the Life Span of a Forklift?

As with autos, two forklifts of the same model can age at very different rates. Forklift types and their lifespan are determined by four basic factors.

Type of engine. One of the biggest factors is whether the forklift uses internal combustion (IC) or electricity as its source of power. The electrics have a real advantage in terms of longevity, mainly because they have fewer moving parts. The simpler mechanical setup and alternating current motor reduce the risk of fire. Electrics also tend to need fewer repairs. Their weakness is the batteries. They last for around 1,500 charging cycles, or about five years before they need to be replaced.

Forklift environment. Aside from the type of engine, where the forklift works have the biggest impact of aging. A truck that works indoors in clean conditions will have a much longer life span than one working outside in rough terrain and extreme weather. Consistently heavy loads can also speed up the aging process. If you use forklifts for inside and outside work, it’s a good idea to rotate them every few months. This will slow down the aging process. It will also help your trucks wear out at the same rate.

Other forklift environment factors that can lead to rapid aging include:

– Working in cold temperatures (i.e. freezers in food warehouses)

– Working multiple shifts on a daily basis

– Using attachments

– If you maintain your car on a regular basis, it will last longer. The same is true with forklift maintenance. Keep your trucks clean and well-tuned and they will provide many more hours of use. This means checking fluid levels before each shift. Tires, belts, and other parts that wear out should also be checked for wear-and-tear. Changing the oil and refilling water levels in the battery of an electric truck will also help it last longer. If you wait until a problem occurs to perform forklift maintenance, you can expect performance problems and shorter service life. You can also expect costly repairs and reduced productivity.

– Operational hours. On average, well-maintained forklift engines last 10,000 to 20,000 hours. Forklifts that work in extreme conditions will rack up fewer hours before needing replacement.

The Benefits of Forklift Maintenance

A complete forklift maintenance program includes the following:

Daily inspection. This involves checking tires pressure, fluid levels, brake performance and more. A daily inspection makes sure the forklift is safe to use before starting the shift. It helps spot small problems before they become big ones. And they’re required by OSHA. Using a standardized checklist will ensure you don’t overlook any safety elements.

Scheduled maintenance. This involves oil changes, replacing filters and spark plugs and other longer-term maintenance tasks. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule when performing these tasks. Some recommend service based on time. For example, change the oil every three months. Others schedule maintenance by hours of use. Either way, servicing your forklifts in a timely manner will help keep them safe and make them last longer. It will also save on repairs.

Regular cleaning. Clean your forklifts at least once a week. This does more than keep them looking good. It also improves safety by preventing the buildup of combustible materials on the truck. Cleaning should include blowing out the radiator, wiping down any dirty parts, and changing filters when needed.

The easiest way to stay on track is to sign up for a forklift maintenance plan. You pay an annual fee to a company that specializes in forklift maintenance. They service your forklifts as scheduled, using trained technicians. Your maintenance is performed on schedule. It is done right. The fee covers all necessary maintenance, but repairs cost extra. However, keeping your forklifts well maintained will reduce the need for repairs.

The company will also provide detailed records so that you know what procedures were done and when.

A good program of forklift maintenance does more than just extend the life of your trucks. It improves safety. It reduces downtime and lowers the cost of repairs. If an accident occurs, you can show that it wasn’t due to lack of maintenance. This can help avoid OSHA penalties. Finally, regular forklift maintenance also sends an important message to workers that, “We do things the right way in this company.” Conversely, slacking off of maintenance sends a message that it’s okay to cut corners in other parts of the business.

When to Replace A Forklift

Knowing when to replace a truck relies heavily on forklift types and their lifespan. Even when properly maintained, forklifts will become older and less efficient over time. This can impact fuel costs, productivity and result in more downtime. All of which increase operational costs and affect your bottom line. Knowing what to expect can help make the right decision for your business.

As forklifts begin to wear down, many companies continue to repair rather than replace them. Forklifts are a big capital expense, and even major repairs cost less than buying a new truck. So they continue using the aging forklift until it is no longer serviceable. In reality, this approach can cost more than replacing an aging truck. That’s why industry experts say the decision to replace should be based on the economic value of the truck rather than its age.

Once the cost of maintaining a forklift exceeds the cost of buying a new one, it’s time to replace it. This requires tracking all the costs involved: fuel, labor, maintenance, repairs, replacement parts, downtime, and more. The best approach is to have a planned replacement strategy. This involves tracking all costs related to forklift use throughout its lifetime. Then determine an “optimum replacement threshold” based on economic value, not the physical condition of the truck.

Forklift Safety

Whether your forklifts are old, new or in between – the safety of your workers always comes first. Proper forklift maintenance is a key safety factor, but safety starts with training and certification. You can have the best maintained fleet of trucks in the U.S. But if operators don’t know how to use the trucks properly, their safety will be compromised. CertifyMe.net offers fast, affordable online training for all types of forklifts. Our training is OSHA-approved. And you can take it anywhere you have Internet access. Visit us online, or call us at 888-699-4800 today.

History of Hard Hats

Hard hats are one of the most important safety items today’s industrial workers can wear. Mandated by OSHA to be worn on a variety of work sites, they help protect the head from a wide range of hazards. These include flying objects, collision impact, falling debris, electrical shock, and more. Every day, they save lives and prevent injuries on the job. Continue reading