Why a Safety Handbook is Needed - Especially Right Now!
The safety handbook is needed in an organization so that you can communicate and train employees in essential safety rules and guidelines required to comply with OSHA requirements and to create a safe work environment.
Benefits of Ensuring compliance within your organization:
*OSHA recordkeeping, injury reporting requirements, process and forms
*Safety committee guidelines
*Injury reporting and corrective action guidelines
*Guidelines that communicate safety rules and good practices.
*Create a safe work environment.
*Control worker’s compensation insurance costs.
Safety Includes Protection and Proper Equipment that Fits Correctly
Although negative pressure respirators are an accepted way to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants, engineering controls should always be your first choice. Sometimes strategies such as adequate ventilation can reduce contaminants to levels where personal protection is not required. However, if you do choose this equipment, you must be certain of two things: Have you selected the proper respirator with the correct filtering media, and does it fit properly?
No amount of training or respiratory equipment will provide the protection you need unless a good seal is made. Prior to entering a contaminated atmosphere, you must perform a test to guarantee that you have a proper seal between your face and the facepiece of the respirator. A “Fit Check” provides proof that an adequate seal exists. The fit check consists of both a negative and a positive pressure seal test.
This test can be conducted by following the manufacturers’ instructions or by using the guidelines listed below. NOTE: These test are easily performed on respirators that are equipped with valves but may be difficult to do on “valveless” respirators and disposable respirators.
Negative Pressure Test:
Don the respirator according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Cover and seal the filter cartridge(s) using the palm of your hand(s).
Gently inhale through the respirator and hold your breath approximately 10 seconds.
The respirator should collapse slightly. Check, feel and listen for leaks around the facepiece.
If there are no leaks, it can be reasonably assumed that there is a good seal and the respirator is not leaking.
Positive Pressure Test:
Cover the exhalation valve with the palm of your hand.
Gently exhale but do not break the seal around the facepiece.
The respirator should expand slightly with a slight positive pressure increase in the facepiece.
If there are no leaks and no loss of pressure, it can be reasonably assumed that there is a good seal.
The only way to take full advantage of any negative pressure respirator you use is to be sure that you have a good facial seal. Conducting a fit check prior to entering a contaminated atmosphere provides that assurance. It only takes a minute, and it can save your life.
OSHA's Commandments of Safety
- Set Your Own Standards. Don’t be influenced by others around you who are negative.
- If you fail to wear safety glasses because others don’t, remember the blindness you may suffer will be yours alone to live with.
- Operate Equipment Only if Qualified. Your supervisor may not realize you have never done the job before. You have the responsibility to let your supervisor know, so the necessary training can be provided.
- Respect Machinery. If you put something in a machine’s way, it will crush it, pinch it, or cut it. Make sure all guards are in place. Never hurry beyond your ability to think and act safely.
- Remember to de-energize the power first before placing your hands in a point of operation.
- Use Your Own Initiative for Safety Protection. You are in the best position to see problems when they arise.
- Ask for the personal protective equipment or additional guidance you need.
- Ask Questions. If you are uncertain, ask.
- Do not accept answers that contain, “I think, I assume, I guess.” Be sure. Use Care and Caution When Lifting. Most muscle and spinal injuries are from overstraining. Know your limits. Do not attempt to exceed them. The few minutes it takes to get help will prevent weeks of being off work and in pain.
- Practice Good Housekeeping. Disorganized work areas are the breeding grounds for accidents. You may not be the only victim. Don’t be a cause.
- Wear Proper and Sensible Work Clothes.
- Wear sturdy and appropriate footwear. These should enclose the foot fully. Avoid loose clothing, dangling jewelry, and be sure that long hair is tied back and cannot become entangled in the machinery.
- Practice Good Personal Cleanliness. Avoid touching eyes, face, and mouth with gloves or hands that are dirty. Wash well and use barrier creams when necessary. Most industrial rashes are the result of poor hygiene practices.
- Be a Positive Part of the Safety Team.
- Willingly accept and follow safety rules. Encourage others to do so. Your attitude can play a major role in the prevention of accidents and injuries.