Safe Operating Tips - Part 1


Summer is here! Now is the time many people working outdoors break out the sunglasses. While conventional sunglasses may protect the eyes from glare, they do a poor job of protecting your eyes from the industrial hazards of splashes, flying objects, and dust. In fact, conventional glasses can present their own hazards in the workplace.

It is a fact that the frame and lenses used in safety glasses are stronger than the frame and lenses used in conventional glasses. When an object strikes the lens of safety glasses it is very unlikely that the lens would dislodge. This is not true of conventional eye wear, especially those types with wire frames. When an object strikes the lens of conventional glasses, the lens can shatter, showering the wearer's eye with shards of glass. This can happen, and it has happened. With a pair of approved safety glasses, the lens may break, but it will not shatter back into the eye.

Safety glasses also have shields to reduce the risk of foreign objects reaching the eye from the sides, top or bottom. Sunglasses do not. In some parts of the country, glasses with leather side shields are popular among skiers and have found their way into general use. These types of sunglasses are never recommended for general or industrial use because they almost completely eliminate peripheral vision. In fact, in some parts of the country these glasses are illegal to wear while driving.

Because sunglasses have a darkened lens, some people mistakenly believe these glasses will provide the needed protection when welding, brazing, or cutting. This is far from the truth. A darkened lens will not protect your eyes from the infrared (IR) and ultra-violet (UV) radiation. Wearing glasses with darkened lenses which are not made for industrial applications can actually be more dangerous than wearing no glasses at all. This is because the eye attempts to compensate for less light by opening the pupil wider. In turn, this allows more of the damaging radiation in. For adequate protection from the visible light produced by welding, the lens must be of a specified shade. Sunglasses are not welding/cutting goggles.

What should you look for when selecting safety sunglasses? First, be sure the glasses are indeed safety eye wear, by checking to see if they comply with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, the organization which sets the criteria for safety eyewear. This will be stated on the packaging and on the frame of the glasses. Look for "Z87.1" or “Z87+”.  This is the ANSI designation identifying the glasses as approved safety eyewear.
Posted: June 13th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments
Types of heat-related illness:
  • Heat Rash. Heat rash is a series of red, blister-like marks with a burning or prickling sensation.
  • Heat Cramps. A heat cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle. It can also manifest itself as fibers of a muscle that don’t relax. Heat cramps are often caused by heavy sweating and large electrolyte losses.
  • Heat Exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is primarily caused by the failure to self-regulate body core temperature. Heat exhaustion is a more serious and advanced stage of heat-related illness. Untreated heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heat stroke.
  • Heat Stroke. In heat stroke, the body becomes so stressed that it can no longer regulate its own temperature. As a result, the body rapidly overheats.
Risk factors:
  • Direct Sun. The more direct sun you are working in, the hotter the environment.
  • Humidity.  Humidity (moisture in the air) interferes with sweat evaporating from the skin, thus interfering with the cooling of the body. The more humid it is, the less sweat can evaporate, and the less body cooling occurs. That’s why increased humidity increases the risk of heat-related illness.
  • Radiant Heat. Radiant heat is the transfer of heat energy through the air from sun and other sources such as asphalt, engines and dark surfaces. Heat can be reflected by these sources, increasing temperature.
  • Conductive Heat. Conductive heat transfers heat to the body by direct contact with heat sources such as tools, equipment and machinery.
  • Limited Air Movement. Limited air movement, such as when there is little or no wind, creates a hotter environment. Because less air is moving, less cooling of the body can occur.
  • Physical Exertion. The harder and longer you work, the hotter you become.
  • Protective Clothing. Wearing PPE such as rubber sleeves, gloves, switching suits, rain gear or respirators can hold heat to the body and inhibit cooling.
  • Personal Factors. Age, physical fitness, weight and overall health can impact the amount of heat your body can tolerate.
  • Medications. Some medications can make a person more sensitive to the effects of heat and many contribute to dehydration.
Posted: June 6th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments

As temps rise, it is important to keep cool and know the signs to look for when it comes to illnesses caused by the heat. Below are some factors that lead to heat stress.

  • High temperature and humidity
  • Direct sun
  • Limited air movement
  • Physical exertion
  • Poor physical condition
  • Certain medications

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • Headaches, dizziness, lightheaded or fainting
  • Weakness and moist skin
  • Mood changes such as irritability or confusion
  • Upset stomach or vomiting

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Dry, hot skin with no sweating
  • Mental confusion or losing consciousness
  • Seizures or convulsions

Preventing Heat Stress

  • Know signs/symptoms of heat-related illnesses
  • Monitor yourself and coworkers
  • Block out direct sun or other heat sources
  • Use cooling fans/air-conditioning and rest regularly
  • Drink lots of water - about 1 cup every 15 minutes
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothing
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or heavy meals.

What to Do for Heat-Related Illness

  • Move to a cool, shaded area
  • Loosen or remove heavy clothing
  • Provide cool drinking water
  • Fan and mist with cool water.

If symptoms are life threatening call 911 immediately.

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments
  • Get comfortable - Adjust your seat so that you are high enough to see the road, yet can still reach all of the vehicle's controls. Many newer vehicles feature tilt and telescoping steering columns to help you get more comfortable. Some new Ford Motor Company products (Ford, Mercury, and Jaguar) offer electrically adjustable foot pedals that allow short, medium, and tall drivers a comfortable driving experience.
  • Interior rearview mirror - The positioning for the inside rearview mirror is fairly obvious; you should be able to see out of the rear window from the driver's seat. Be sure the day/night switch found on most rearview mirrors is in the day position during daytime operation. The night setting reduces the headlight glare from cars behind you and helps you see well.
  • Exterior rearview mirrors - As for the side view mirror or mirrors, most people adjust them so they can see the side of the car on the inside edge of the mirror. If you adjust your mirrors using those criteria, are you aware of the huge blind spots that you've created? (Now is the time to take another look at the animated diagram at the top of the page.) Consider the view when the side view mirrors are set up as just described. Essentially, you have created "tunnel vision" to the rear. Your side view mirrors overlap much of what you’re inside rearview mirrors sees and you've also created blind spots. What in the solution to tunnel vision and blind spots? Simply adjust the side view mirrors just beyond the point where you could see the side of the car on the inside edge of the mirror. With this setup, you almost completely solve the blind spot problem. It takes a little while to get used to, but it is an improvement. Some quick tips: For the driver's side mirror: Place the side of your head against the window, then adjust the mirror until the side of your vehicle comes into view. For the passenger's side mirror: While sitting in the driver's seat, lean to the right so that your head is in the car's centerline. Adjust the mirror until the side of your vehicle comes into view.
  • Stay safe- With this in mind adjust your mirrors to help prevent the blind spots that so many of us have.
Posted: May 16th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments
Employees are paid for production, and there can be no quarrel with the worker who gives his or her all toward this end.  However, this does not mean you have to take safety shortcuts. Statistics indicate that accident prevention and high production can coexist with the right mindset.

Accidents cost money and must be paid for by the company.  This cost is not like the cost of materials, equipment, or wages.  It is a total loss, to say nothing of the loss and suffering of the injured employee.  There is no return for the company or the injured employee on money spent as the result of an accident.  Look at it this way:  An accident-free business is a profitable business.

An important part of a good safety attitude is to set an example for others.  If you see unsafe conditions make others aware and take steps to eliminate them.  This may sound too simple to work, but it really does.  Safe attitudes are contagious.  If you run into a problem that you’re not sure you can handle safely on your own, report it to your supervisor or manager.

A good safety attitude toward policies, procedures and housekeeping practices is the best way to protect yourself and your fellow employees from accidents.  People with lackadaisical attitudes about safety blame accidents on the "law of averages" or “stuff happens”.  But accidents don’t just happen -- they are caused.  Most accidents happen as a result of an unsafe condition, a poor attitude, or both. Do your part to keep yourself and your coworkers safe.
Posted: May 9th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments
Are you taking the proper precautions in your daily work duties? Are you following our formula for accident prevention?  
Active Engagement + Preparation + Proper Orientation =
A Safe, Successful, Incident-Free Day

We’ve discussed where it is found – in each and every one of us, and we’ve discussed what 'Active Engagement' is. When do we engage?  It starts NOW.  We must keep our mind on task. 
For inherent danger to become an undesired event, it must be triggered by a human factor – an action or inaction by you or someone else.  Let’s review some examples:
  • Motor vehicle accidents by drivers who choose to multi-task, drive too close or too aggressively, or fail to continually monitor their surroundings.
  • Twisted ankles by those who fail to assess their path or wear proper footwear.
  • Electrical burns caused by not wearing the proper PPE.
  • Disfiguring chainsaw lacerations suffered when the operator fails to situate themselves properly, fails to anticipate the path of potential kick-back, or chooses to disregard a safe rigging or tree felling practice.

The good news is it is entirely up to you to alter the outcome.  More next time.  Practice safety and follow the formula for accident prevention!

Posted: April 25th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments
Response-ability is vital to our safety and the safety of others.  Nearly every accident may be tied to someone’s shortfall in Response-ability.  Taking Response-ability is a core expectation of everyone in our organization. SAFETY MATTERS!
We found out last week that each of us already have it for the taking. But what does this mean exactly?
Active Engagement:
It all starts here. If we are disengaged from what we are doing or where we are at, we are destined for an unpleasant and often painful experience. 'Going Passive' during any task, large or small exposes us to serious harm. No other safety factor will help us if we are not 'Actively Engaged'. Danger has a way of seeking out and striking the unsuspecting. In all tasks, we must anticipate the dangers and deal with them on the spot.
The best preparation is to show up for work well-rested and with a positive mental attitude.  If we are fatigued, impaired, distraught or distracted, it may be best that we take the day off or at least slow to a safer pace. We must take it upon ourselves never to perform tasks that are beyond our physical or mental capabilities, our level of training, or beyond our scope of authority.  We must ALWAYS be in clear communication with one another. Go from unaware to aware, then to alert and finally engaged before doing anything. We appreciate your commitment and contribution to safety. 
More on Response-ability next time.
Posted: April 18th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments
To be Response-Able is to be aware, prepared, and situated at all times to succeed in such a way that accidents are prevented.
  • Be actively engaged with your environment.
  • Recognize your limits and understand the limitations of the tools and equipment you are using.
  • Anticipate all the hazards associated with your task.
  • Choose your work practices wisely.
  • Adjust your speed, distance, placement and orientation to your work accordingly.

You have heard many reasons why Safety is vital to you, your family and the success of our organization.  Remember...Safety is our #1 Core Value.
Yet, accidents can happen. The fact is:
The Root Cause of the vast majority of injuries, motor vehicle accidents, property damages and unplanned outages is a Failure to ‘take Response-Ability’ for our actions.
Response-ability is a core expectation of each one of us.  It cannot be bought, sold or issued to you.  The good news is each of us already have it for the taking.  It is found between our ears, in our chests and in our guts.  It is a gift to be used for good. Re-read the above definition and think about it this week.  We will elaborate upon its meaning in future Safety Matters.
Posted: April 11th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments

Sprains and strains can occur anywhere, including the workplace, during recreational and sporting events, and at home. A sprain occurs when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit. In our industry, there are many opportunities sprains and strains to occur. The most common situation for these to happen is during material handling. We all handle material in one way or another. Even an office worker is involved with material handling when picking up a package, box, etc. Other movements that can cause sprains and strains are overreaching or overextending.

What can we do to minimize these injuries? If you understand what causes sprains and strains, we will be better equipped to prevent them.

A few basic rules to remember are:
  1. Understand your limitations. Don't charge into a job cold. Warm up to it. Take a lesson from athletes and try to keep yourself in good condition and at your proper weight.
  2. Don't overextend yourself and use a stepstool or a ladder when necessary.
  3. Lift with your legs, not with your back. Keep the load close. Don't twist your body while carrying a load.
  4. Be sure there are no slipping or tripping hazards in your work area or around your home. The sudden jerk caused by a slip or trip can cause a sprain or strain.
  5. Don't shy away from hard work because you fear a strain. Condition your body to do what is necessary.
  6. Look into ways to eliminate lifting and carrying or to keep it to a minimum. Is there a better way? Work smarter, not harder; it's easier and safer.
  7. Use the proper tool in the proper way.
Posted: April 4th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments

As we wrap up our series on safe material handling, the tips and practices we have discussed will only help improve your work functions and your health and well being, as well as those around you. Loading and stacking can cause injury if not done properly. The tips below are essential in our shops and warehouses.

  • Don’t overload your shelves. High stacks must be stable and sufficiently clear of overhead lights, heaters, pipes or fixtures.
  • When loading or unloading trucks, use all proper safety equipment and observe safe loading dock practices.  Pedestrians must take great caution when working around docks or bays.
  • Loose or unstable materials are prohibited on shelves or surfaces greater than 72 inches.
  • With layered materials, pick from the topmost layer before digging into layers below.  Otherwise you create unstable vertical stacks.  Start with the front pieces and work your way around to the back.  With wrapped pallets, cut away shrink-wrap only as much as necessary, leaving the rest to secure the lower layers.
  • When you see an unstable load or dangerous situation, take it upon yourself to immediately correct it.  There should be no pallets, boards, trash or debris left on your shelves or surrounding areas.  Trash or debris not only obstructs one’s line of sight, but also acts to disrupt or push loads off the other side into adjoining aisles.  It is also a tripping and fire hazard.
  • Stay clear of fall radiuses and adjoining aisles while loads are being placed onto or off of racks. 
  • Materials may only be stacked if you can ensure instability or crushing of product.  Pay attention to the guidance printed on containers, such as, “Do Not Stack” or “This End Up”.  Operators are required to immediately correct any unstable load they may come upon. 
  • These include loads easily rocked, leaning to one side, skids not stacked square atop one another, crushed or sagging corners, damaged pallets and unwrapped loads.  Maintain proper access aisles between every other row of product.  This is necessary for both order pickers and emergency responders alike.
  • Do not walk atop loads or climb the sides of stacks or racks.  This could result in a serious injury or damage of products.
  • Do not leave your utility knives laying around. 

As you see, everyone plays an important role in Safe Materials Handling Practices.  Be Proud of your workplace and use best practices to keep it neat and injury and damage free.

Posted: March 21st, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments

Continuing our discussion series on Safe Operating Tips, it is imperative that you remember the following:

  • Level and stabilize your hoisting equipment before a lift is made.  You may lose your load otherwise.
  • Maintain rolling stock in a stable condition.  Use chocks or blocks when necessary.  Leave forks and buckets down when parked.
  • Banding straps, boards, spills or other materials must be picked up to prevent slip or trip hazards.  You, as the operator, must ensure good housekeeping in your shop and yard at all times.
  • Shut down your equipment, set the parking brake and chock your wheels before refueling, oiling or lubricating it.
  • Proper methods and PPE must be utilized when refueling, changing tanks or charging batteries.
  • Lubrication and preventative maintenance must be observed closely.
  • Particular attention must be paid to overhead utilities, nearby structures and vehicles.
  • Attention must also be paid to attachments, hydraulics, tires and load capacity.
  • When loading or unloading trucks, great care shall be taken to prevent damage to persons, materials or machinery. Proper load securement methods will be utilized.
  • The use of Internal Combustion Lift Trucks inside of buildings should be minimized wherever possible due to the hazard of Carbon Monoxide.  Where I.C. Fork Lifts are used inside, ensure that adequate exchange of air is available and working CO detectors present in all high traffic areas.
  • Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.  Operators must exercise good judgment in preventing damage to buildings, racks, equipment or materials.  You must immediately report damaged components to your supervisor.
  • Be acutely aware of any potential pedestrians in the area, especially in confined areas or blind corners.
    Do not park your equipment or place materials where they may block exits or egress, shut off valves, power panels or emergency equipment.

Next week we wrap up this series by talking about Loading and Stacking. Until then...practice and remember these safety tips, making sure they are part of your daily work routine. 

Posted: March 14th, 2014 by Townsend Corporation | with 0 comments

Sometimes we become so familiar with what we are doing that we tend to tune out the possibility that there are dangers in our surroundings or others who may ‘step into the line of fire’.  We need to be more aware.  When operating material handling equipment, whether it is a forklift in the shop or tractor in the yard, it is VITAL that you are tuned into your environment and aware of all persons around you.  This talk is the first of a series of safety tips not only for operators, but everyone who enters the workplace.
Things to keep in mind:

  • Never operate equipment that you are not trained, authorized, familiar, nor physically up to operating.
  • Equipment shall only be operated in a manner consistent with its intended use. The Operator’s Manual should be readily available for reference. Equipment may not be altered without the expressed permission of the manufacturer.
  • Equipment must be inspected daily prior to use and maintained at its recommended intervals. Defects must be reported immediately to your supervisor.
  • Equipment with defects that compromise safe operation must be tagged and placed out of service until repairs are made.
  • Pedestrians need to take particular caution around material handling equipment. Understand that visibility is restricted and spaces are often confined. NEVER walk under a load or between fixed objects and the equipment being operated.
  • NEVER ride on the forks, fenders, pallets or on any platform not explicitly designed to do so.
  • Personnel will be elevated only on approved secured platforms and Personal Fall Arrest Systems utilized.

More on this next time.  Meanwhile, THINK SAFETY! 

Posted: 3/7/2016 2:06:45 PM by Townsend Editor