Did you see this recent article in Facility Safety Management Magazine? It’s a stark reminder about employers’ responsibilities for protecting agricultural workers with proper PPE when they’re using pesticides. The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) reminds us all that the EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) covers use of personal protective equipment, requirements for pesticide safety training, care and cleaning of PPE and emergency procedures, among other topics.
The WPS PPE regulations cover protective clothing, respirators, and, of course, protective eyewear. Here are a few reminders from the experts at WSSA and Defog It.
- How do you know when safety eyewear is required? By EPA regulation, it will be listed on the pesticide label. Always double-check as different pesticide products and different formulations of the same product may have different requirements.
- Who’s at risk? Be aware that safety eyewear requirements may cover personnel who mix or clean up pesticides, not just those who apply it.
- What’s the right eyewear for the job? That’s on the pesticide label, too, and could include safety glasses, goggles, splash-proof safety glasses or full-face protection.
- What about fogging problems? Both OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control note that “Exposure to heat can also increase the risk of injuries because of…fogged-up safety glasses.” Making an anti-fog product available can increase safety and compliance.
- What if a worker forgets? Compliance is the employer’s responsibility. Training plays a key role in success, supported by on-going monitoring and 100% enforcement. Ensure the correct fit of the PPE, too, which is required by WPS and may help increase compliance.
- Is it contaminated? Reusable PPE must be properly cleaned, maintained, replaced and stored. It should never go home with workers.
- Do employees know the risk? Central posting is required for certain information, including a safety poster with WPS-specified information, emergency medical information and other facts.
Download a 15-point safety memo from the Weed Science Society experts for more info or refer to the EPA’s How To Comply With the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides: What Employers Need To Know for a full information and additional resources.
Grown-up safety through a child’s eyes. North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, May 5-11
One of our favorite parts of the North American Occupational Safety and Health Week is their “Safety on the Job” poster contests for kids. This year is no different. From the mouths (and the crayons, markers and paints) of children come ideas that remind us to wear our safety eyewear and other safety gear...and remember why we want every worker to get home safe.
Of course, NAOSH Week is more than kid stuff. The American Society of Safety Engineers and the Canadian Society of Engineers partner to raise safety awareness at work, home and in the community.
ASSE President Richard Pollock makes the goal clear: “It is alarming that 13 people a day are lost to work-related injuries – incidents that can be prevented. ASSE looks forward…to providing resources, best practices and success stories during NAOSH Week. Together we can help reduce workplace tragedies.”
This year’s organizers are taking safety concerns to legislators, recognizing safety leaders across the country and challenging professionals to come up with new ways to raise awareness of occupational safety and health.
Get involved. Make a difference.
Many local ASSE chapters and members take safety awareness out into the community as part of the program. What could you do during the celebration week?
- Include an article on NAOSH in your company newsletter.
- Hold a PPE fashion show.
- Donate PPE to organizations like Habitat for Humanity.
- Brochures on teen worker safety are easily available. One team even presented a teen worker safety course.
Download a logo or banner, more information and all the kids’ safety posters at www.asse.org/naosh.
The forgotten 25%?
A report we got from inside a confection company in the Southeast U.S. got us thinking about the nature of the fogging problem in the food processing industry, that there may be a “hidden” problem. “I don’t think our management knows how many of us have a problem,” says this maintenance mechanic. “It’s bigger than they think.”
Here’s a breakdown of his thinking. Of the 300 employees, he estimates:
- 5-10% have an everyday, all-day fogging issue. These are the workers in the kitchen where temperatures and steam are highest. They’re most likely to have an anti-fog solution.
- 25-30% have a regular problem. “There’s hot water steam when we clean up the manufacturing lines to changeover products. And when maintenance is working in the kitchens, there’s a problem.” These are the situations that may be overlooked.
- 50-60% have an occasional problem. These are managers and others who are only occasionally in hot, humid areas.
“We’re not supposed to take off our safety eyewear to work, of course – or even to clean off the fog,” he says, “but it’s not easy. There are safety issues, insurance issues, policy issues.
Here’s what food processing eye injury statistics say.
Take a look at some eye injury data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Animal processing and slaughtering posts the highest numbers, with poultry processing accounting for the vast majority.
- Seafood processing eye injuries are about the same as meat.
- Dairy processing comes in #2 for incidents.
- Fruit and vegetable preservation and canning – whether frozen, canned or dried – start the next tier.
- Bakeries come next, with the focus on commercial rather than retail locations.
- Finishing out the list is the “other foods” category. From spices to coffee manufacturing to breweries, eye injuries accounts for more than half of all head injuries.
You can see all the numbers at Bureau of Labor Statistics website. And download our whitepaper Five Fogging Danger Zones that can help you find the “forgotten 25%” fogging problems in your workplace. We’d like to hear your insights, too. Share your experiences with us and we’ll share them here.
Not you! We’re talking about the dummy -- uh, mannequin -- we’re using to demonstrate Defog It’s all-day, all-condition effectiveness. Check the photo. Our hero is wearing safety glasses; one lens is protected by Defog It, the other isn’t. That black oval in the foreground is blowing a continuous stream of hot steam in his face. The results are obvious: the worker who uses Defog It is no dummy!
This good-looking guy turned heads at Vision Expo East in New York City last month – where 20,000+ eyecare professionals find new product ideas. Defog It will be showing up in an optical store near you soon! Many buyers are thinking sports eyewear, but quite a few handle prescription safety eyewear as part of insurance or corporate programs. Have you talked to your safety eyewear provider about Defog It?
Meet the Demo Dude at AIHce, May 21-23, Montreal. Booth 1708.
A handful of safety professionals got a sneak preview at Vision East -- customers, distributors, rep groups and safety eyewear brands. The rest of you get to see the new demo in Montreal at the AIHce show, May 21-23. Stop by Booth 1708 and let’s talk about how Defog It can make your workplace safer. Be sure to pick up a sample to test in your work environment.
Can’t wait? Check out the video on our website. It’s impressive.
Eye safety is a priority at work – with plans, policies and equipment. But what about at play? Tens of thousands of sports eye injuries happen every year – to kids and adults. April is Sports Eye Safety Month, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has the facts and vision-saving ideas to take to home (or the ballpark or the hockey rink). Whether you’re a player, a coach or a parent, get in the game – safely.
Prevent 90% of injuries? Gear up!
It’s that simple. Proper eyewear can prevent up to 90% of eye injuries. In fact, the AAO’s Eye Injury Snapshot reports only about 1% of victims were wearing safety or sports glasses.
Let’s start with this obvious advice from eye doctors: Regular eyeglasses or sunglasses do not offer proper eye protection. Even if lenses are impact resistant, they’re not made to withstand an 80 mph fastball, and the frames aren’t engineered to block impact to the eye.
So, what do they recommend?
- Eye protectors for racket sports, women's lacrosse, field hockey, baseball, basketball
- Eye and face protective equipment for hockey players
- A helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield for baseball, men’s lacrosse, and ice hockey.
- Eye protectors for paintball sports
- Protective glasses or goggles with UV protection for snow or water skiing
- Never recommend eyeguards without lenses.
And, like your workplace PPE, there may be an ASTM standard. Find the information for your sport online and look for the rating on the eyewear package.
Keep eyewear on – not on the bench.
Just like at work, “compliance” is an issue. Try these ideas from the AAO and Prevent Blindness America.
- Uncomfortable? Sports eyeguards should be padded or cushioned along the brow and bridge of the nose. That will keep them from rubbing or cutting into the skin.
- Fogged lenses can be a problem – especially in active sports where athletes are sweating. Anti fog treatments and coatings keep lenses clear. Some have vents for additional air flow.
- Try on different styles and types to choose the most comfortable. Adjust straps to be sure they’re not too tight or loose.
Make this the month you play it safe. For more resources, check the American Academy of Ophthalmology or Prevent Blindness America.
If so, you can get some well-deserved credit for your success and share your best practices, thanks to the editors of EHS Today magazine. The entry application for EHS Today’s America’s Safest Companies program, available now, starts with some simple questions about lost-time injuries and number of EHS professionals in your company. Then come the tough ones:
- What is the company/management philosophy regarding safety?
- Please offer at least one example that is indicative of management’s dedication to safe production.
The deadline for entries is July 15, 2013. Come to think of it, these are questions worth thinking about whether you’re entering the competition or not! Either way, good luck and be safe.
Want to see how Defog It keeps eyewear clear against a hot steam machine? Looking for eye safety whitepapers, case studies and tips? Or care to take home a Defog It sample to put to the test in your own work environment? Then stop by Booth 1708 at The American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition. This is Defog It’s first time to exhibit at AIHce, and we’re looking forward to face-to-face networking with some of the 5000 EH&S professionals who’ll be on hand. Bring us your toughest fogging challenge, and let us get to work solving it.
Much of the U.S. has experienced some pretty tough weather this winter – from three feet of snow in New England to February windstorms and rain in the South and West. Chances are, you’re looking up at broken branches that need clean-up, or maybe you’re simply realizing that it’s time to thin and trim an overgrown oak or maple.
Want to know how it’s done? Check out this video. Defog It was on site for the North American Tree Climbing Champions in Savannah, Georgia, in 2011, and saw the best arborists in the U.S. and Canada work their magic. This year’s competition is coming up in April in Newark, New Jersey. Part strength competition, part endurance test, part gymnastics performance, the competition challenges professionals to climbing, cutting, and swinging from a rope harness some 50 feet above the ground.
Safety is a crucial element in the competition, of course, and every piece of mandated safety equipment is inspected and approved by judges for the arborists go to work. Do-it-yourselfers should follow a smart safety regimen as well. Here are some basic tips on tree trimming and safe chainsaw use from OHSA and chainsaw manufacturers that make sense for everyone.
- Don’t climb a tree without proper fall protection. If you don’t have it, call professionals who do.
- When using a chainsaw, always wear protective gear, including work gloves, eye and ear protection, protective pants or chaps, a helmet and boots. No loose-fitting clothing.
- Clear away anything that will be in the chainsaw’s path, such as dirt, debris and small limbs. Remember to check for nails or other metal in the tree that could become a flying projectile.
- Have the saw on the ground or on some other firm support when you start it.
- Keep your hands on the saw's handles and maintain secure footing on firm ground while operating the saw. Turn the saw off if you’re moving to another location
- Never use a chainsaw above shoulder height.
- Avoid cutting with the “kickback zone”, the upper part of the bar’s nose. In spite of the anti-kickback device on all chainsaws built since 1995, even accidental contact with that area of the bar can be hazardous.
- Plan an escape route in case the tree suddenly shifts or rolls.
- A single touch of a power line can be deadly. Always use extreme caution; if lines are close by, contact a utility company to discuss turning off the power.
Be sure to check your chainsaw owner’s manual for more complete safety information.
It’s Computer Vision Syndrome found among computer users, according to the American Optometric Association. Millions are affected by the symptoms: tired, sore eyes; headaches; blurred vision; dry eyes; neck and shoulder pain.
March is Save Your Vision Month and the American Optometric Association offers a wide variety of resources to help address the problem. Here are a few tips.
- Glare is a major cause of CVS. Lighting in the work area is often part of the problem; glasses with anti-reflective lenses can also make a big difference.
- Beware bifocal wearers! For bifocal wearers, the different focal distances between the eye and the computer, reference materials, and distant objects may be part of the problem. Computer glasses can be a solution.
- Get a clean view. Dirty lenses or a dirty screen can interfere with clear vision. Clarity lens care is as safe for computer screens as it is for lenses.
- Adjust the work area for better ergonomics. You’ll find a photo and complete measurements on the AOA CVS webpage. They recommend that the computer screen be about 4 or 5 inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes. Reference materials? Above the keyboard and below the monitor, probably on a document holder, so the user doesn’t need to move his head to shift focus.
- A higher screen resolution and screen contrast can help. Resolution improves the clarity of the characters on the monitor. Adjusting the contrast between the screen image and background can make type easier to read. Adjusting the brightness can reduce eyestrain, too.
- Dry eye is a nagging problem. When we stare at computer screens, we blink less often — about five times less than normal, according to AllAboutVision.com. Less blinking, fewer tears, more discomfort. Looking away from the screen can help lubricate the eyes; eye drops can be helpful, too.
That’s the title of an article in this month’s Occupational Health and Safety Magazine by Defog It’s Jodi Groh and Certified Safety Professional, John Olesky. It’s all about what it will take to see safe and be safe as summer temperatures rise.
The starting point? A reminder from OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control that “Exposure to heat can also increase the risk of injuries because of … fogged-up safety glasses.” This means hot weather fogging needs to be integrated into heat stress safety planning. Read the full article that covers a wide range of helpful advice.
- The two risks of fogged eyewear
- Fogging as a root cause of eyewear noncompliance
- The physics of fogging in high heat and humidity
- How to prepare for hot weather fogging with training, solutions and policies
- Case studies of successful programs
Looking for more ways to increase safety eyewear compliance and protect workers? Download our whitepaper, Seven Tips on Workplace Eye Safety