Every Organization Needs a Safety Plan

If you have never had a serious accident in your company headquarters or meeting place, count yourself lucky. In the United States, we live in a litigious society, and if someone is injured while away from home, that injured person may very well file a lawsuit against the company owning or running a building or piece of equipment. Even meeting or event organizers can be at risk. Insurance companies and courts look more kindly on organizations that have a written safety plan. Having a plan in place shows you have considered potential safety hazards, and are doing your best to follow all regulations, educate all participants, and thus prevent an accident.

If you do not have a plan, or if you have one that is poorly written or if nobody in your organization knows a plan exists, you are at greater risk of lawsuit or victims being awarded larger settlements in court. In many situations, such as on building sites, safety plans are mandated by the authorities. In any case, having a written safety plan is always a good idea and knowing the laws that pertain to your work location are a must.

The goals of a safety plan are basically two-fold: to explain the responsibilities of management and employees (including all legal regulations that must be obeyed); and to describe all safety rules that pertain to the site, the activity, and the audience in question.

So what should go into a safety plan? First of all, check federal and local statutes to determine what your legal responsibilities are.

Next, consider the site where you are meeting or doing business. You should always know where to find an accurate blueprint or map in case you or the authorities need one. Then think about all the activities that take normally place on that site and all the people, vehicles, and machinery that may be present, and imagine the accidents that could happen there. Unless you work for Homeland Security or a specialty security firm, you probably do not need to plan for terrorist attacks or aircraft falling out of the sky; your due diligence is simply to address the most common emergency situations for your site. If you are leasing a space for business purposes or even for meetings or other events, be sure to check with the building owner or management to review their safety plan.

Inside any building, you must always consider the possibility of fire. So every safety plan should explain how to evacuate the building, include a map of all exits, and contain an explanation of what should happen in the case of a fire. Will an alarm sound? Will overhead sprinklers come on? Will the fire department automatically be notified by the alarm system, or do you need to specifically assign someone to call them? Are there fire doors that should be closed? The plan should include a diagram marking the location of fire extinguishers as well as instructions on how to use them (or better yet, make sure those instructions are attached to each extinguisher). If you keep different types of fire extinguishers for different types of fires, the safety plan should explain that. Does your organization keep chemicals or pressurized containers that could explode or release noxious gasses during a fire? Be sure to note those, too.

Another situation to consider in a building safety plan is electrical failure. If all the power suddenly goes out, what should people do? Will emergency lights or backup generators automatically come on, or must someone turn them on? Will phones and smoke alarms work? How about security systems? You should provide a plan of what to do in the case of a sudden blackout. You may also need to provide instructions about procedures to follow when the power comes back on. Will machinery and computers require a startup procedure or need to be reset in some way? Do you have mission critical equipment that must not fail in a power outage such as medical devices?

Are you situated in an earthquake zone? If yes, you need to account for that possibility, instructing people to move outside or get under desks and tables if they can’t safely get to doorways. Often earthquakes will cause electrical failures or water and gas leaks, so you need to include instructions on what to do about all those problems, too.

Your type of business or activity will determine other potential dangers that you need to address in a safety plan. Do your personnel work with hazardous chemicals? You need to identify each chemical, state the possible hazards and spell out the appropriate precautions for working with it. (The use of hazardous chemicals generally requires posting MSDS sheets that contain all this information.)

Do your employees or volunteers operate potentially dangerous equipment? Your plan should discuss how to turn each piece of equipment on and off and describe any procedures and warnings needed to work safely with it. These two issues are especially important on any construction site, even if it’s only a small remodel job. Other important issues to address in a safety plan are hazards associated with earthmoving, such as ditch cave-ins or accidentally cutting electrical, gas, or water lines. The way that materials are stored can be hazardous, too – each year workers suffer crush injuries or die after being buried under hundreds of pounds of plasterboard or lumber that slid from a stack.

Is vehicle traffic a safety consideration? For those working on construction sites, it certainly can be. How about pedestrians? You need to consider everything you need to do to keep not only your employees safe, but also any passers-by who may wander through a hazardous area.

Construction sites may also need to deal with noise hazards and issues with dust of all kinds.

If you work in extreme climates, you may need to include instructions for preventing and dealing with hypothermia or heat exhaustion.

Security is another area nobody likes to think about, but all managers and organizers should. What should happen if an armed intruder comes into your area? Of course someone should call the police, but are there also doors that need to be locked or checked? Are there places employees should hide? What do you want an employee to do if she discovers an unlocked door or suspects suspicious activity after normal business hours?

Everyone who is routinely present on your site also needs to know what to do in the case of medical emergency. If you have defibrillators available, make sure everyone knows where they are and how to use them. Do you have first aid kits on hand? Be sure your plan specifies their locations, too.

All staff should know the numbers to call in the case of emergency, as well as what to say. Keep in mind that people often cannot think clearly during an emergency situation. Make sure the emergency number (even if it’s always 9-1-1) and address of your building or site is posted where it can easily be seen (having a quick reference card in every room can help). If there are supervisors or insurance personnel who must be notified, be sure to list their contact information, too.

Creating a safety plan might sound daunting, but you will find all sorts of safety information available on the internet and more in the hands of authorities; you can plug all the appropriate information into your own plan and customize it to fit your particular situation.

You do not need to figure out how to assemble a safety plan from scratch, either. Specialized template packages like Proposal Kits contain instructions, and have pages that have already been formatted for you; all you need to do is fill in the pertinent information for your actual plan. A good Proposal Kit has thousands of templates to fit any situation you might need to describe.

After you’ve created your plan, don’t just file it away in a cabinet. Your employees (or members or volunteers) need to learn about what’s in the plan. You may need to hold periodic training sessions so everyone concerned can learn how to work safely together. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Safety Storage Cabinets – Why Having the Right Cabinets is Vital For Safe Storage and EPA Compliance

Where are you storing your hazardous materials? Many use safety storage cabinets. Read on for how to select the right safety storage cabinets for your facility.

One major reason why you must have safety storage cabinets: unauthorized individuals won’t be able to access your dangerous chemicals. But that’s just one reason.

Another reason is the fact that any leaks or spills inside the safety storage cabinets are quickly contained.

But which cabinets are right for your situation?

There is a wide variety of safety storage cabinets to choose from. First there’s size. You can choose a cabinet that stores as little as 2 gallons and as much as 120 gallons.

Next, there’s the matter of quality construction.

Most cabinets are made out of steel and meet NFPA Code 30 and OSHA requirements.

When storing such substances as pesticides and aggressive acids, however, you’ll need polyethylene cabinets. They will provide the protection needed to keep these harmful substances from escaping and causing damage.

You’ll also find that a high quality powder coating finish is corrosion resistant and should be used on all internal and external surfaces.

There should be adjustable shelves have poly shelf and bottom trays to contain small spills and provide extra corrosion protection.

Here’s why cabinets are so important:

They provide the first layer of protection towards preventing industrial fires, which are usually caused by the improper storage of flammable liquids.

But flammable liquids are not all you can store. You can also store the following types of items, each of which requires a specialized cabinet:

1) Paint and ink – These cabinets come in 30 to 96 gallon sizes.

2) Acids and corrosives – These cabinets use the corrosion resistant powder and are available in sizes from 2 gallons to 120 gallons.

3) Drums – Drum safety cabinets come in both regular and Hazmat styles with 55, 60, and 110 gallon capacities.

4) Pesticides – You have your choice between steel and polyethylene models, depending on which specific types of pesticides you’re planning to store.

Safety storage cabinets generally come in the form of steel cabinets that can withstand almost anything. The 18-gauge steel and double walling makes the cabinets hard to compromise. The cabinets also come in bright colors so that those coming around them understand that they contain substances that are harmful.

The bright coloring of the cabinets also ensure that they are seen so that they are not bumped. Bumping the cabinets can cause a container within them to spill if it is not closed correctly or if the container has been compromised in some way.

Fortunately, with their anti-corrosive properties, the cabinets can contain the spill for easy cleanup. This containment means people won’t accidentally come into contact with the spilled substance and the spilled substance won’t find its way into the environment.

So when you need to comply with government environmental regulations and you want to keep yourself and everyone who enters your facility safe, safety storage cabinets are a must have. You will eliminate a lot of worries through this small investment.

Forklift Safety Training

Forklift safety training is imperative for any forklift operator. With the proper training, a forklift operator does his or her job efficiently, and most importantly, he or she does it safely. With the proper forklift safety training, a forklift operator becomes a valued asset to his or her company.

Safety is extremely important when operating a forklift. Without the proper forklift safety training, accidents can occur. Damage can be done to the machine itself, costing the company thousands of dollars in repairs, or someone could get hurt or even killed. Accidents can always happen, but if properly trained in forklift safety training, accidents can are less likely.

Not just anyone can hop up on a forklift and start working. Specific training and skills are needed to use one. Most operators are specifically trained in the operation of a forklift and they earn a certificate to show they have the proper training to wield such a powerful tool. It’s best that the operator be trained in the basic mechanics of forklifts and having a background in mechanical engineering is a plus.

There are a few key elements in forklift safety training that must be followed. There is first, a mandatory age limit that is enforced by labor laws. All forklift operators must be at least 18 years of age or older. Safety gear must be worn at all times. An operator should check to make sure the machine is in good working order. Take for instance, ensuring the hoist is correctly fitted. If there are any mechanical issues, reporting it right away to the company.

Another important part of forklift safety training is to familiarize and follow the guidelines set forth by OSHA. There is even a checklist from OSHA that all forklift operators must follow to ensure proper safety procedures have been taken. All operators must perform a daily, pre-start inspection, as required by OSHA standards. This includes checking all fluid levels, checking for leaks and cracks, or any other defects, check the tires and the pressure, general condition of the forklift, load backrest extension, finger guards, ensuring safety decals and nameplates are correct, the operators manual is accessible and legible, checking for grease and debris in the operators compartment, and that all safety devices are working properly, seatbelt included.

After the pre-start inspection is complete, the operator must then do an operational inspection which is done while the forklift is turned on. This inspection requires you to check the accelerator linkage, inch control, brakes, steering, drive and tilt control, hoist and lowering control, attachment control. Horn, lights back-up alarm, and hour meter.

So, where does one get forklift safety training? There are many companies that offer classes in this subject and it is up to the employer to keep their operators up to date on all standards and practices of forklift safety training, as well as many other subjects on forklift operations.

Basic Work Place Safety Tips To Prevent Injury or Fatality

Though most people take the issue lightly, workplace safety is quite important. Any number of accidents can happen if one is not careful. This may result in painful surgeries and long recovery periods. The importance of safety in the workplace cannot be overstated. It is crucial that each and every employee, regardless of where they work, remember these essential safety tips in the workplace.

Safety with Ladders

The statistics regarding ladder-related falls and accidents are quite astounding. Every year, in the United States alone, thousands of employees are rushed into the emergency room having suffered serious back and spinal related injuries. To prevent this, proper measures must be taken. Employees should be taught how to prop and use the ladder properly. Moreover, a protective circle should be provided round the ladder to prevent anyone from bumping into it.

Electrical Safety

Managers should ensure that their employees are well aware of the importance of electrical safety. Electrical safety is one of the most important safety tips in the workplace. Often, inexperienced employees may attempt to change fuses in the fuse box and get a really bad shock as a result. Such appliances should be left to the experience electrician. Moreover, employees should be enlightened on the dangers of water and these electrical appliances. Though it is a well known fact, that electricity and water do not mix, some people may cause accidents out of plain carelessness.

Biohazard Signs

If your place of work is in a laboratory or hospital there are many different hazard signs posted all over. These are there to help protect both employees and users of these facilities against the spreading of bacteria and viruses. It is extremely important to pay close attention to each and every sign you encounter in any of these places.

These Biohazard labels and signs help warn and protect against deadly and often hidden hazards.

- Place biohazard signs on containers containing hazardous material or containers for storing harzardous items (for example, any type of storage containers, waste bags, waste containers, bags containing evidence, freezers or refrigerators containing harzardous materials) that might contain organisms that can cause diseases or toxin.

- Biohazard signs assist in preventing workers from placing drinks or food in refrigerators, countertops or anywhere where potentially infectious substances could be present such as blood.

- Biohazard Signs should be placed on doors where biohazards materials are contained which will warn both visitors as well as workers of impending danger.

Enlightening Employees on Safety Tips in the Workplace

As stated, it is the responsibility of any manager to ensure that their employees are responsible for their own lives by knowing the basic safety tips in the workplace. This is best implemented through having scheduled safety talks with the employees so as to ensure everyone is in the know regarding electrical and other safety issues.

Stay Safe Having Safety Knives Within the Workplace

Safety knives can considerably lessen the risks of injuries through cuts which are commonly triggered with a conventional knife sliding throughout the cutting action. Most injuries will be to the fingers, hands and arms.

It’s fair to express that safety knives haven’t been cordially welcomed within the place of work with customers thinking that cutting performance is jeopardized. However, technology certainly moved on when it comes to safety knife design and development, and fortunately, this really is being a view of the past. But regardless of this, you will find still individuals who continue using open bladed knives for manual cutting procedures, not just a risk to themselves, but additionally, potentially to others nearby.

You will get safety knives, the type having a ‘concealed’ edge, to ensure that there’s no possibility of accidentally stabbing anybody (including yourself) by using it. Prison officials carry these on their belt pouch and utilize them for cutting down individuals who hang themselves, hopefully before they die.

Some safety knives possess a finger-safe gap and blade casing to safeguard the consumer from having direct contact with the sharp edge. Others might have a auto-retracting blade (usually much more of a utility type of knife) – the edge simply springs back once it’s removed from the material it’s cutting.

Before buying knives, you should conduct a complete risk assessment and knife audit. Safety knives vary greatly in design and performance. Direct communication with other people in the various locations/departments within the place of work is the initial step in evaluating precise needs of these types of knives. Then precisely listing the particular materials (for example card board, shrink wrapping, plastic strapping, netting) which are regularly handled in each area. For example, not every safety knife will cut cardboard well, so it’s worth going through each special option that comes with each knife design. A knife that works well is going to be far better received through the user, and goes along way to produce a safe knife culture within the place of work.

Certain conditions, such as with the food packaging industry, have very specific needs for safety knives. Some insist upon a knife being 100% metal detectable and can be completely clean within an autoclave, while some prefer a disposable knife to prevent the chance of mix-contamination.

There’s also the opportunity for conventional knives and blades to quite literally ‘fall in to the wrong hands’ especially when they are taken off their workplace. Safety knives once again, reduces the opportunity of accidental injuries along with the rather more serious problem of knife crime.