Stay Safe with this Checklist for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

To reduce workplace accidents and shield workers from potential hazards, it’s important to have a thorough plan for equipping workers with personal protective equipment (PPE).

Without protective equipment plan, employees are at risk of injury and employers could be subject to fines or penalties. OSHA stipulates that employers must pay for personal protective equipment for employees with the exception of prescription safety glasses, safety-toe protective footwear and other equipment or clothing that is personal or worn outside of the job.

To help determine which protective gear is necessary for the job, we’ve prepared a checklist of commonly required personal protective equipment below.

Eye Protection

When thinking about eye protection, it’s important to consider any occupational risk to the eyes or face. Common hazards include dust, liquid or chemical splashes, abrasive particles, sparks or molten metals, and it’s also important to consider comfort and the visibility requirements of the job.

In any situation that involves the hazards above, workers should, at a minimum, have a trustworthy pair of safety glasses, while some jobs may require full face shields or welding helmets. In many instances, certain types and colors of safety glasses can help improve visibility and job performance, so it’s important to consider that as well.

Head & Face Protection

In addition to the eyes, head and face protection is one of the most important areas to consider to prevent significant injuries at the workplace. Generally, a safety helmet is essential in environments where a worker could be struck on the head by a falling or fixed object, if a worker could potentially fall or if they could come into contact with an electrical hazard.

Hearing Protection

Each year, roughly 30 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace. It’s estimated that about 125,000 workers suffer significant or permanent hearing loss each year while on the job. With these statistics in mind, employers are required to provide hearing protection to workers who are exposed to volume levels at or above 85 decibels for at least eight hours per day. However, even if workplace noises don’t reach 85 decibels, it’s still highly advise to provide hearing protection for workers.

Recommended hearing protection can vary by industry, though we previously outlined some of the best options for hearing protection in various work environments.

Hand Protection

In many professions, hand protection is absolutely essential when working with dangerous machinery or equipment or handling harmful substances or materials. However, there really is no one-size-fits-all glove for protecting the hands, so it’s important to identify the material and type of glove that works best for your industry.

Lucky for you, we’ve previously prepared guides on finding the right gloves for the job. You can find them listed below:

Foot Protection

Finding proper foot protection is essential, though between the protection offered, thickness of the material and the type of sole, it’s important to make the right choice based on your industry and work environment. All workers in laboratory, factory, workshop, construction or outdoor work environments should have enclosed footwear.

In workplaces with chemicals or harmful substances, all footwear should be resistant to hazardous substances. In workshops, construction sites or factory settings, boots with steel caps or increased protection are recommended. 

Skin Protection

Employers aren’t typically required to provide most methods of skin protection (long-sleeve shirts, pants, sunscreen, etc.), though it is still a very important area to consider. Especially in outdoor environments, workplaces with exposure to flames or electricity or environments with hazardous substances and chemicals, employees should have adequate skin protection to ensure they aren’t exposed to potential harm.

To protect your employees from common workplace injuries and accidents, consider all of the areas of protection above and verify that the equipment you are providing is adequate. If you’re in need of safety equipment to protect your team, check out the U.S. Standard Products catalog. We offer a wide range of cost-effective, protective safety gear to help minimize workplace accidents and injuries.

For the latest safety tips, stay tuned to the U.S. Standard Products blog, or follow us on social media:

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Stay Safe While Working Outdoors This Summer

Summer is peak season for construction and other outdoor work, and while the warm weather and sunshine is nice, it’s important to consider safety when working outdoors in extreme heat.

Hot temperatures may not seem particularly threatening, but heat stress injuries and heat strokes can be quite dangerous for outdoor workers. To stay safe while working outdoors this summer, keep these tips in mind:

Be Seen

Whether you’re laying the foundation for a new home or repaving a high-traffic road, every day you’re putting yourself in close proximity to potential harm. To stay safe on the job, it’s critical for you to be seen.

There are many garments and accessories available that can keep you cool, dry, and most importantly, visible while working outdoors. From vests, to gloves, to rainwear and more, U.S. Standard Products offers a wide range of brightly colored, reflective products that ensure maximum visibility.

Wear the Proper Protection

Wearing the right protective gear should be a no-brainer year-round, but it’s particularly important when working in an uncontrolled environment—like the outdoors. Road construction workers, for example, are perpetually at risk of being hit by a passing car.

Having the proper protection for the job, whether that be ear plugs, safety glasses, work gloves, head protection, etc., is critical for your safety. Browse the U.S. Standard Products catalog for a comprehensive offering of workplace safety products.

Don’t Forget To Stay Hydrated

It’s pretty simple: when you’re sweating more due to the warm weather, you need to replenish the fluids lost or you’ll risk becoming dehydrated. Steer clear of drinking a lot of soda and coffee, which can actually lead to dehydration—instead opt for water that’s kept between 50°F and 60°F.

In hot weather, you should be drinking water as often as every 15 minutes. See OSHA’s recommendations for preventing heat illness in extreme temperatures for more information on staying hydrated while working outdoors.

Slather on the SPF

Just a few years ago, going out on a job without wearing sunscreen was the norm. But, with all of the research emerging about the links between the sun’s rays and skin cancer, it’s been found that going SPF-free really is not worth the risk. To keep your skin safe, get in the routine of applying a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every morning before walking out the door.

Keep a tube in your workbag and re-apply every few hours to ensure maximum protection. If you’re not required to wear a hard hat on the job, consider wearing a ball cap to protect your head and help to shield your face and eyes from the sun.

working-outdoors

The general guidelines above should help your team to stay safe while working outdoors this summer. For equipment to help your team work safely and comfortably in the summer heat, check out the U.S. Standard Products catalog for high-quality, cost-effective apparel and gear.

For more workplace safety tips, follow U.S. Standard Products on social media:

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10 Essential Roofing Safety Tips

Winter has come and gone, and many professional roofers and homeowners are taking to the rooftops to inspect and repair any seasonal damage caused by the ice and cold.

Even the simplest repairs can be hazardous without proper precautions. Whether you’re a professional making a major roof replacement or just a DIY homeowner trying to make minor repairs, here are 10 roofing safety tips that everyone should consider when working on a roof.

10 Rules For Roofing Safety

1. Never Work On A Roof Alone

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If an accident was ever to happen while working on a roof, there needs to be someone to help. For that reason, we always suggest the “buddy system” when working on a rooftop, and it’s important that there are at least two people keeping an eye on one another.

2. Wear High-Visibility Clothing or Vests

Especially for commercial roofing sites where multiple types of construction may be happening at once, it’s important to wear high-visibility clothing for safety.

U.S. Standard Products offers a range of quality high-visibility vests and clothing ideal for roofing projects. Between the choice of color, material, coverage, weather protection and more, browse our catalog to find high-quality, cost-effective roofing vests and clothing for your team.

3. Wear Shoes or Boots With a Strong Grip

Always wear shoes or boots with great traction to prevent slips or falls, especially when working on roofs with a steep pitch,. Soft-soled footwear provides excellent grip on most roofing materials, though the boots also need to be durable as they will take quite a bit of abuse over time. The constant stress from shingles or tar can quickly put some wear and tear into even the sturdiest of boots.

4. Clean Up As You Go

One of the most important roofing safety tips is to keep the work site clear of any debris or loose objects. Remove any shingles, fasteners, nails and tools from walkways or other areas with foot traffic.

5. Be Cautious When Using Ladders

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Falls from portable ladders are a serious threat and are a leading cause of occupational injuries. To help prevent accidents, OSHA prepared an extensive guide on portable ladder safety.

Some of the most important tips from OSHA include using ladders on stable, level surfaces, and maintaining at least three points of contact (two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot) when climbing or descending on a ladder. Additionally, it’s important to exercise extra caution when near the top of the ladder, and avoid stepping on the top rung altogether.

6. Always Use Safety Glasses and Hardhats

To avoid injury from falling debris, or in the case of a fall, hardhats are always recommended when working on a roof. Safety glasses are also highly recommended to prevent any eye injuries from debris, especially during removal of shingles or the roof membrane.

If you’re in need of high-quality safety glasses or hardhats for your team that are ideal for roofing projects, check out the expansive selection in our catalog.

7. Exert Caution Around Power Lines

Especially for residential roofing sites, electrical lines can become quite an obstacle during roofing projects. Prior to climbing onto a roof, it’s important to scout for any electrical lines that may impede or approach the area you need to work in.

8. Be Careful When Transporting Materials

One of the most difficult tasks when roofing is transporting materials. Whether you’re transporting materials up a ladder or across a steep rooftop, do not carry more materials than you’re comfortable with, and be patient rather than trying to haul an excessive amount of weight.

9. Avoid Working On Roofs When It’s Wet

Roofing materials like asphalt, PVC, TPO and EPDM can be quite slippery when wet, so it’s often advised to avoid working on roofs during rainstorms. If time requirements demand otherwise, we recommend that every worker has a safety harness and takes extra precaution when navigating around the roof.

10. Be Aware of the Weather

Be sure to check the weather report prior to working on a roof to avoid being taken by surprise by an unexpected thunderstorm. It’s important to check the chance of precipitation and avoid strong gusts of wind by checking the wind speed as well.
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Whether you’re working on a residential or commercial site, these roofing safety tips can protect you from common rooftop hazards and prevent you and your team from experiencing any major injuries.

If you’re in need of high-quality roofing hardhats, safety glasses, vests, clothing or gloves that can stand up to even the most rigorous roofing jobs, U.S. Standard Products can help. Browse our product catalog here, or give us a call at 844-877-1700.

Protective Rainwear: Stay Sheltered From Spring Showers

With spring showers right around the corner, rain will soon become a major nuisance for outdoor workplaces. Is your team prepared for wet, dreary outdoor projects?

If you’re in an industry that consistently works outdoors, equipping your team with protective rainwear can dramatically boost employee productivity. While there are no federal mandates requiring employers to supply rainwear, it is highly recommended for employee safety and to ensure that projects will be completed on schedule.

Below, we’re exploring the importance of adequate protection from the rain as well as what qualities to look for in rainwear to ensure your team is properly protected from the weather.

Regulations and Recommendations

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. federal agency dedicated to assuring safe and healthful working conditions, does not set specific guidelines for working in the rain. However, there are many rain-related state laws and guidelines for specific industries (such as construction or logging), and storms accompanied by lightning or heavy wind can halt operations if workers are not adequately protected.

While there may not be federal guidelines requiring employers to provide rainwear, it can be downright dangerous if employees are not properly equipped for inclement weather. Ultimately, employees are often required to find their own protection, which may or may not be adequate.

When it comes to productivity, it’s unlikely that employees will be working at peak performance if they’re shivering in cold, damp clothes. Further, the adverse health effects of working long hours in the rain can be problematic, both for employees and safety regulators. Especially in the early spring or late fall, prolonged exposure to rain and chilly temperatures can cause cold stress, frostbite, hypothermia, trench foot and other ailments.

What Type of Protective Rainwear Should Employers Buy?

With so many options available, choosing the right rainwear for your team can be a challenge. Here are a few guidelines:

Complete Coverage

Employees should be equipped with rain-resistant gear from head-to-toe, including a hood or hat, gloves and boots. Having an overlap between the pants and coat (or a one-piece body suit) is recommended for labor-intensive jobs where water is more likely to seep through the gaps. Often, rainwear is equipped with snaps, zippers, elastic bands or detachable components to ensure water doesn’t slip through the cracks. Boots and leggings should also have a similar overlap.

Waterproof, Windproof and Breathable

Water resistance is one thing, but protective rainwear should be “waterproof” to ensure it can stand up to prolonged precipitation. Gear that is “water-resistant” can typically only handle moderate rain for a short period of time, so look out for these terms when shopping.

Additionally, rainstorms can also bring about heavy, bone-chilling winds. Because of this, rainwear should be windproof and able to offer protection from reasonably high wind speeds.

Another factor to consider is breathability. No one wants to work long hours in a wearable sauna, so look for qualities such as “breathable” or “ventilated” when searching for rainwear. This type of gear allows sweat vapor to exit the rainwear’s shell, allowing the body to remain at a reasonable temperature.

High Visibility

Considering how rainstorms can dramatically reduce visibility, it’s important to wear clothing that’s highly visible in order to minimize the chance of an accident. This is especially true for industries that work with heavy machinery, at high altitudes or with potential health hazards.

protective-rainwearFor affordable rainwear that offers all of the qualities listed above, check out the US Standard Products catalog. We offer more than a dozen different lines of durable, protective rainwear for all sorts of different applications, all available in an array of sizes and colors.

Whether you’re in need of full rain-resistant suits or just individual articles of clothing for modest projects, contact us for high-quality, cost-effective rainwear that is sure to protect your team from whatever Mother Nature has in store.

Tips for Working Across Generations

In many cases, a company’s employee base is its most valuable asset, especially in the skilled trade industries—and if organizations are going to thrive in the years to come, they’re going to need to learn how to attract and retain employees of future generations. As more and more of the baby boomer generation retire from the workforce, it’s time for companies to start accommodating the work preferences of Gen X and Millennial workers.

In this blog, we’ll identify the defining traits of employees from these two generations and explain how companies can best adapt to the changing workforce demographics.

Millennials

By 2025, it’s expected that Millennials, those employees roughly born between 1982 and 2004, will make up 75% of the workforce. As companies move forward, it’s critical to keep these employees’ work styles and preferences top of mind in order to retain skilled workers in this age range.

Defining Traits

  • Technologically-sophisticated
  • Dedicated
  • Confident
  • Tolerant
  • Impatient
  • Outspoken
  • Adaptable
  • Mission-driven

Tips for Working with Millennials

  • Convert paper-based training materials to a digital format
  • Consider implementing more flexible time-off policies (For example, offer comp time as an alternative to overtime.)
  • Offer opportunities for continuous self-improvement, skill building and growth
  • Facilitate an engaging, collaborative and fun work environment
  • Give employees a sense of purpose by emphasizing how your company is making a positive impact

Gen Xers

In the not-too-distant future, Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1984, will hold a majority of leadership roles in your company, if they don’t already. As this group of employees quickly moves into higher-level management and c-suite positions, companies can look at the generational characteristics to predict how the company will be run.

Defining Traits

  • Independent
  • Pragmatic
  • Tech-Savvy
  • Problem solvers
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Results-oriented
  • Hands-off managers

Tips for Working with Gen Xers

  • Give employees the autonomy and space to work independently if they choose
  • Facilitate a healthy work-life balance (For example, allow reasonable family and medical leave even if your company isn’t required to offer FMLA.)
  • Offer financial rewards (raises or bonuses) for a job well done
  • Give employees a sense of safety and security in both their role and work environment

Don’t Forget About Employee Safety!

No matter what generation you’re working with, employee safety should always be a top priority. Browse the U.S. Standard Products catalog for safety equipment to outfit your entire workforce. To stay up-to-date on the latest industrial workplace trends, follow U.S. Standard Products on social media.

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Resources

Future of Work

The Atlantic

USGS

The IRF

Five Ways to Amp Up Sidewalk Safety This Winter

Did you know that in most states across the country, the owner of the building is responsible for the safety of the people who use their parking lot AND sidewalks? It’s a potential legal and financial liability that’s important to address. Not to mention the productivity that’s lost if one of your key staff members suffers a slip and fall that takes them off duty for a few weeks (or months!)

Here are a few things you, as a property owner, should do to make sure you’re ready when the snow and ice start to fall.

Set Up Your Snow Patrol

Meet with your team and select some individuals to keep an eye on the snow and ice situation. Have a meeting and review what happened in the previous year, so you can properly plan for this year. Assign someone to mark areas that were hazardous last winter, so you can give them extra attention this year. Have someone else vet snow removal services, so you can select the one that has the best prices, strongest references and appropriate insurance coverage. Working as a team ensures that no one person has to handle it all and you don’t miss something that’s critical to the safety of your staff.

Get Your Services and Supplies Set Up Early

Winter can sneak up on you and if you don’t prepare ahead of time, you may find that the snow removal services have all filled their calendars or you can’t get the proper ice melt when you need it. Get everything set up now so you don’t run into an “out of stock” or “we’re booked solid” situation later in the season.

Watch the Weather

Paying attention to the weather conditions – by monitoring the weather channel or setting up weather alerts to come to your smart phone – can help you ensure that you and your maintenance team know far in advance when a storm is coming. Preparing your property early, by putting out ice melt products BEFORE the storm hits, is a good preemptive move.

Choose the Right Ice Melt and Use It Correctly

Ice melt comes in several formulas, typically including some blend of rock salt, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, acetates and other substances like urea and ammonium sulfate. These formulas vary in price, how well they work at different temperatures, toxicity and their impact on different surfaces like concrete or wood decking. Before purchasing, do your homework to ensure you’re getting a product that will work best for your unique business environment.

Don’t Forget the Details

Small things can make a big difference, like putting containers of ice melt in areas that frequently freeze up. Don’t forget the “Slippery Floor” signs and mats for internal areas that get wet when it snows. And even more importantly, ask your insurance agent to double check your coverage, to make sure you’re in the clear if someone does have a slip and fall on your property, in spite of your best intentions.

Don’t wait! Get started today. We can provide you with a wide range of ice melt product, for starters. Check out our catalog today!