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Monthly Archives: July 2014

  • Cell Phones in the Workplace: Bad Call

    cell phones in the workplaceWith the never-ending rise in technology over the last 15 years, cell phones have rapidly adapted into something we seemingly cannot live without. What began as crude portable contraptions has evolved into to sleek and powerful devices offering access to a plethora of information combined with multiple platforms for instant global communication at the convenience of your fingertips. However, this rise in technology brings with it an unfortunate downside - personal safety.
     
    We've all heard the horror stories, usually involving motor vehicle accidents due to talking and/or texting while driving. While those are most definitely legitimate dangers and a true cause for concern, we might tend to overlook another dangerous aspect of advanced technology - cell phones in the workplace.
     
    There are not quite any concrete numbers available, but this is a very real hazard. Reports claim that since 2006, the number of cell phone related accidents involving injury and death have nearly doubled each year. This is an important concern for the workplace, even more so for industries and occupations that already pose above average hazards.
     

    Accidents Happen Quickly

    Consider the following examples of life-changing accidents that were directly related to cellular phone use in the workplace.
     
    Forklift operator Ramon Jamison discusses what happened the day he was distracted by texting and struck a co-worker:
    “I usually keep my phone in my locker every morning, but my wife was having an ultrasound that morning and I wanted to know if we were having a little boy or a little girl, so I kept my phone with me,” says Ramon.
     
    “I was moving stacks of pallets in the storage yard when I heard the message alert go off,” he adds. Ramon says he was so excited to find out that he didn’t even think about not checking his text. He looked down and had to focus on his phone for a moment to select and read the text.
     
    “That’s when Ronnie suddenly walked in front of the forklift and I didn’t see him until I heard him shout,” he continues. “The thought of anyone walking in front of my forklift was the furthest thing from my mind.”
     
    What should have been one of the best days of his life ended up being one of the worst. Not only did Ramon lose his job for violating his company’s rules on cell phone use, his actions caused the death of a friend and a co-worker.
     
    Machine operator's split-second decision results in traumatic injury:
    Believe it or not, even though you may want to stay in constant contact with your social and family life, very few things really require that you do so. Machine operator Iris McMurray explains how her desire for instant access to information led to an instant injury as well.
     
    “During lunch, my boyfriend and I were texting each other about our last minute weekend trip to the beach. He was trying to find a nice hotel that still had a vacancy,” says Iris.
     
    “We’re not supposed to take our phones into the production area, but everybody does it, so I figured it would be okay. Plus, I was really eager to find out if he found a place to stay,” she adds.
     
    Iris said she worked for a while and then noticed she had a text from her boyfriend concerning their hotel room.
     
    “It happened so fast! As I tried to reply, I somehow dropped the phone right into my machine,” she says. “My first reaction was to grab it before it got eaten by the machine, or worse yet, jam up the production line.” When Iris dropped her phone, she tried to grab it off of the machine’s conveyor, but her hand was crushed when it was caught between the conveyor belt and the roller.
     
    "I’ll have to live with that split second decision for the rest of my life. If I had just followed company policy, and just waited until my afternoon break. If I had just thought about how dangerous texting around that machine was. Now, every time I look at my hand, I wonder, what if?” Iris concludes.
     
    Iris could have waited to correspond with her boyfriend; it really would not have made any difference other than her eagerness to know the weekend plans. We’ve all heard the expression, “Curiosity killed the cat.” In this case, a desire for instant information injured Iris.
     
    Also, consider the following recent accidents involving cellphone usage while working.
     
    • A N.B worker steps in front of a truck while talking on his cell phone and dies
    • A major Metrolink rail crash that kills 18 people is directly related to an engineer text messaging on the job
    • A truck driver slams into a completely stopped car while using his cell phone and kills a woman
     
    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
     

    Create Awareness, Adopt a Policy

    Many employers have strict restrictions in place for using cell phones in the workplace, especially while performing duties. However, it's one of those things that's often ignored by workers and even management. While it's nice to have the ability to be in constant contact with family and friends, we have to understand that it can cost us our health, our life, or the life of an innocent co-worker.
     
    If you're working on a ladder, a lift, with heavy equipment, potentially dangerous machinery or hazardous materials, this risk is exponentially multiplied. When performing any of those duties, your top priority needs to be safety - and that's not possible when you're distracted. Even if you're standing safely in place on the ground, the temporary distraction of a text or phone call may render you incapable of seeing and avoiding a falling object that could cause injury or death.
     
    Be sure to consider this next time you're on the job. If you're an employer, take the time to have a serious talk with your employees and implement rules for using cell phones in the workplace. If you're an employee, speak to your employer about this hazard and ask them to address your concerns in an effort to educate your co-workers and create a safer and more efficient workplace for everyone.

  • ML Kishigo: The Brilliant Series Advantage

    ML Kishigo has been a trusted brand and an industry leading manufacturer of high visibility safety gear and apparel for over 40 years. Continued innovation and increased functionality are two critical factors that have allowed ML Kishigo to remain on the leading edge of workplace safety.
     
    Now, ML Kishigo has brought us the Brilliant Series. This line of safety gear reaches above and beyond the typical high visibility safety gear to deliver an unprecedented level of safety. Increased low-light and night time visibility coupled with improved features for added convenience and functionality make the Brilliant Series one of the most effective lines of safety gear available today. Take a look at the video below to see just how effective the Brilliant Series is at keeping you safe in the workplace.
     

     
    To view the complete line of Brilliant Series safety gear and shop ML Kishigo products at some of the lowest prices available, visit our website today. You can never be too safe, and the Brilliant Series lineup is a step in the right direction.

  • Accident Prevention: More Important than Accident Protection

    workplace accident preventionWhen one considers workplace accidents and workplace safety, they might agree that with the proper education and practices a good majority of injury incidents could be prevented. While there are surely a fair share of freak accidents, there's also a fair share that occur due to conditions such as sloppiness, carelessness, lack of safety education, lack of training and poorly maintained or faulty equipment.
     
    When you work the same job day after day, it's easy to become comfortable with your equipment and surroundings - sometimes too comfortable. In an effort to simplify things, meet deadlines, save money and sometimes simply because the risk just doesn't seem that serious, millions of American workers suffer serious injuries each year on the job. From slip & falls to burns, puncture wounds, concussions and broken bones, there's never any shortage of preventable incidents.
     
    If one actually took a minute to think about the risk involved, they might severely lower the chances of harming themselves or others. For example, aside from the standard risk that applies while performing a job or task by employing the proper safety protocols, there should be no additional risk. If you have to ask yourself "Is this going to be safe? Do I think this will work? Will this probably be okay? Is it safe enough to finish up this last little part?" then you're probably creating a risk for yourself that you shouldn't take. Gambling with safety in the workplace is definitely no game - especially considering you could be gambling with the safety of others who are now involuntarily exposed to the safety risks of your decision. Are you willing to make that decision for them? Are you willing to put their life or well-being on the line without their consent? Generally speaking, if you're taking shortcuts in safety then that's exactly what you're doing.
     
    It seems too often that people are relying on protection instead of prevention. How many times have you seem someone throw on a hard hat and immediately place themselves in a position or situation of high-risk because they're not properly educated on safety? How many times have you seen someone get hurt in their first month on the job, even though the were wearing the proper personal protective equipment? How many times have you seen a co-worker repeatedly yet unintentionally place themselves at severe risk of injury simply because they weren't fully aware of the potential dangers? We're pretty confident that at you've seen at least one of these situations before.
     
    While we won't deny that unfortunate circumstances can arise seemingly out of nowhere, we refuse to believe in a safety policy that's based solely on protection. Of course those steel-toed boots will help protect your toes from an impressive amount of bone-crushing force, but they won't help prevent you from losing a whole leg. And while that high visibility safety vest will provide added protection during low-visibility or in high traffic areas, it won't prevent you from dying on the scene should you be hit by a vehicle traveling at 60+ MPH or being ran over by an excavator.
     
    Safety is important. Protection is also important. But without the proper education and training in workplace accident prevention, the risk is never really diminished.
     
    Before diving headfirst into an empty swimming pool, wouldn't you check the depth of the pool first? Wait, an EMPTY pool? You shouldn't dive into an empty pool regardless of the depth, right? Right. So apply that idea to something in the workplace - let's say a frayed piece of cable. Wouldn't you test the strength of the frayed cable to ensure it's safe before using it to lift a massive piece of material? You might, but if you're even considering using the frayed cable to lift something, you're taking a serious gamble. Please, don't do it.
     
    Ask yourself, are you really aware of all the risks that exist in and around your workplace? Do you know how to minimize those risks? Do you have a plan of action should a freak accident occur? How about your co-workers? How about visitors? How about your employer? If you answered no, it's time to change things.
     
    For more information on accident prevention in the workplace, visit the OSHA Injury & Illness Prevention page today. Make a plan today. Don't wait until it's too late, and more importantly, don't rely on protection!

  • How to Treat Heat Stroke in an Emergency

    If you've suffered from heat stroke, you know how serious it can be. While heat stress or very minor cases of heat stroke can seem to be more debilitating than life threatening, we assure you that the situation can change rapidly and the victims condition can worsen without notice. When the body temperature rises to the point where the body can no longer cool itself, there is a great danger of serious damage and even death.
     
    Please, if you work in extremely hot environments, whether indoors or out, take a minute to watch this short video. It could help you save a life! If someone you know is showing symptoms of heat stroke, insist that they immediately rest while you begin to treat them. If you're unsure of they're condition or if the victim is unconscious, call for assistance immediately.
     

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