Safety equipment to wear when a hurricane hits

Did you know that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30? The National Weather Service defines a hurricane as a “tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.” Whether you find yourself in a hurricane, cyclone, flood or typhoon, all of these storms can cause disastrous damage.

Before any storm hits, all residents (especially coastal residents) should form evacuation plans to identify a safe shelter and a route to get there.

If the storm hits and you find yourself working as a response or cleanup worker after a hurricane, use this information to stay safe.

Make sure you use the following personal protection equipment (PPE): 

  • Eye and face protection: Goggles, full-face shields, or other suitable protection as needed to protect against flying objects and liquid splash hazards.
  • High-visibility apparel: High-visibility safety apparel and headwear compliant with ANSI/ISEA 107-2004, along with other traffic safety measures, in areas where vehicles or heavy equipment are used. This is especially important when working in temporary roadway work zones. (View this OSHA Fact Sheet for additional OSHA-published materials on work zone traffic safety.)
  • Hand protection: Appropriate gloves suitable for the tasks being performed (balancing dexterity with protection). Considerations include biological hazards (bloodborne pathogens), chemical hazards, and physical hazards (abrasions, cuts, punctures, and heat). Vibration-dampening gloves should be used when vibration hazards exist (e.g., during jackhammer use)
  • Work clothing and gear: Lanyards, harnesses, and supports for fall protection, and chemical protective clothing where contact with chemicals may occur.
  • Leg protection: Snake boots or snake gaiters to protect against snakebites in areas where snakes are indigenous. Chaps when using chain saws.
  • Respiratory protection: The mandatory use of respirators requires compliance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), including the development of a written respiratory protection program that describes how respirators will be cleaned, maintained, and stored; a filter or cartridge change out schedule based on the work expected; and how workers will receive medical evaluations, training, and fit testing. Voluntary use of respirators must conform to Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.134.

For more hurricane resources, visit:

Everyone working in flooded areas will need hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank).

Find all the major safety products listed above by downloading our free catalogue or calling 844-877-1700. To stay up-to-date on the latest in workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media: Google+ | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Do-It-Yourself Pest Control Tactics for the Workplace

Earlier this month, seven Kansas Department of Revenue employees were placed on administrative leave after a bed bug infestation was discovered in one of their office buildings. All employees were even required to inspect their homes for bedbugs before returning to work.

Believe it or not, pest infestations in the workplace are more common than you think. In fact, this year in the Central US, 87.1 percent of companies saw an increase in bed bug activity.

Beyond bed bugs, other pests to watch out for in the workplace include: ants, fruit flies, gnats, beetles, and moths. Pests like these are not only a potential health risk for everyone in the workplace, they cause a horrible first impression for guests or clients.

But, fear not, we’ve compiled a list of warning signs to watch out for, along with some of the best pest control solutions you can easily integrate into your own workplace.

Preventative Pest Control Measures

To prevent pest infestations from happening in the first place, consider implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. An IPM program can be used to manage pests anywhere—in urban, agricultural, wildland, or natural environments. Think of IPM as the strategy your workplace will use to solve any pest problems that might arise, while minimizing risks to staff and the environment.

IPM programs detect pests at the earliest stages and combat them before they can become a major problem. Simple preventative measures and do-it-yourself pest control tactics can be posted in common areas to educate staff. Here are some key points to include:
• Keep food in sealed containers, and clean dirty dishes at the end of each workday.
• Ensure trash cans have plastic liners, and empty them every night.
• Refrain from leaving fruit on your desk overnight. Instead, place it in the refrigerator or bring it home.
• Keep the workplace as clutter-free as possible. Store items in cabinets, racks, or bins.
• Be careful not to overwater plants, which can lead to gnat infestations.
Setting up an IPM program can be as simple as writing up a check list to review monthly and keeping records of any pest-causing problems.

Educate Your Staff on the Specifics

Local pest control services can end up costing your company thousands of dollars, so whether you already have an infestation or not, it’s best to train your workforce to take all preventative pest control measures seriously. Educating your entire staff is the easiest way to prevent an infestation.

Pests will enter buildings in many ways: through cracks and holes in the walls, gaps around pipes, or even on workers’ clothing. Some will target places with poor sanitation, while others move indoors to avoid the cold or locate vital resources.

Pests like bed bugs attach themselves to furniture or personal items—they suck blood at night and leave itchy bite marks on arms and shoulders. Cockroaches can come from dark, unsanitary places and carry bacteria that can contaminate food. Spiders feed on other pests, but also wander around before settling in undisturbed places. And depending on where you live, some invasive pests are venomous, so having a standard medical procedure in place is critical, should an issue ever arise.

If you see a pest crawling around your workplace, take care of it as quickly as possible, and inspect the rest of the office for potential causes.

Here are some basic tips for conducting pest inspections:

• Check potted plants, which attract a variety of major pests.
• Make sure there are no cracks and holes in the walls or vents—seal them if found.
• Properly contain or package food or other items.
• Make sure your custodian empties your trash bins regularly.
• Clean up any workplace spills, especially sticky or sugary substances.

Pest Control Supplies to Clean Your Workplace and Prevent Infestation

US Standard Products offers a full line of environmentally-friendly cleaning products for industrial and janitorial applications—read about these ready-to-use solutions, here.

In addition to a variety of cleaning products, US Standard Products also offers two insecticides that are safe to use inside the workplace:

1. The Haunt-II Residual can drive a wide variety of crawling insects from their hiding places and contaminate whole colonies with long-term residual control, making it an ideal product for industrial and institutional use.
2. The Eradicate Insecticide is a fast-acting, water-based formula with botanical insecticide pyrethrum that works without leaving any stain, residual, or objectionable odors. Able to control or kill crawling and flying insects on contact, the Eradicate is a bed bug’s worst nightmare.

Utilizing these insecticides is easy, just use a power-operated or hand-held spray to lightly cover areas. Make sure the surface is dry before allowing anyone into the treated area.

Start exploring your workplace pest control options by downloading our free catalogue or calling 844-877-1700. To stay up-to-date on the latest in workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media: Google+ | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

PPE for Lab Professionals

In a laboratory, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Taking steps to prevent exposure to hazards comes in many forms; establishing a culture of safety, administering regular inspections, and wearing protective gear, just to name a few. Personal protective equipment (PPE) comes in many different forms and varieties; knowing what equipment to wear and when to wear it is half the battle to keeping everyone in a workplace safe.

As part of a laboratory’s staff, you know that many of the chemicals and substances worked with in a lab are dangerous to handle. Accidental exposure to chemical solutions, biological agents, or other contaminated substances can cause extreme and permanent damage. Of course, taking precautionary steps such as working under a ventilation hood is a good start, but to increase lab safety, workers will also need to wear quality PPE.

Diving into Lab Safety Head-First

Starting at the top, protecting the eyes and face is a simple way to greatly increase safety in your lab. Not only do those working in the lab need protection from splash hazards, they need to increase their defenses against harmful fumes that can irritate and burn the eyes and other soft tissues. Properly using safety eyewear and face shields can significantly decrease these risks.

 Key Considerations
  • Anti-fog coating, or ventilated frames
  • Goggles that seal around the eyes
  • Compatibility with respirators
  • Compatibility with/prescription lens options
  • Heat-reflective face shield window
  • Removable or lift-front face shield design
 Recommended Gear

Photo of Verdict Goggles

2400 Verdict® Goggle

Getting a Grip on Safety with Gloves

Wearing gloves reduces the risk of contact with substances that you may not even know are there. Whether you’re pouring, mixing, or just cleaning up, gloves are an important piece of armor against accidental chemical contact. There are many qualities to think about when choosing the right gloves for the task at hand.

 Key Considerations
  • Reusability
  • Thickness or puncture resistance
  • Durability
  • Resistance to hazardous chemicals and substances
  • Coating
  • Extended or incidental contact coverage
Recommended Gear

Photo of NitriMed Glove
NitriShield Gloves

Dress for the Job

While wearing a hazmat suit should be more of the exception than the rule, being covered from head to toe in protective garments is still a good idea. Of course, clothing that is loose or provides inadequate coverage is never safe. Most, if not all, scientific labs will require hemlines below the knee, sleeves that come to the wrist, and closed-toe footwear. Some labs also require the use of shoe covers to prevent the spread of chemicals from work area to work area.

Key Considerations
  • Intensity of splash hazards
  • Resistance to chemicals and hazardous substances
  • Flame resistance
  • Tight cuffs around wrists and ankles
  • Ease of removability in case of contamination
Recommended Gear

Photo of Coveralls
12WPC Coveralls

PRO3 = PROfessional PROtection PROviders

US Standard Products has a wide selection of top quality protective equipment that provides safer and smarter protection in the lab. Start exploring your options by downloading our free catalog or calling 1-844-877-1700 today.

To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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Picking Proper Protection: Face Shields

In any workplace, there are a number of hazards that an employee might encounter and be injured by. Among these threats are several dangers to the eyes and face. But Prevent Blindness America has found that these injuries are some of the most preventable. In recent years, they have identified 86,000 work-related accidents that could have ended with a serious eye injury but were prevented by the proper use of eye protection. While many professionals are actively promoting the use of safety eyewear, civic and manual labor professionals often need the added protection of a face shield. While you should never wear a face shield by itself, knowing when to and what kind of face shield to wear for a task is essential when picking out protection for your employees.

When to Wear

OSHA requires all employers to, “ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.” But when exactly is the additional protection of a face shield necessary?

Put simply, face shields should be worn when safety eyewear offers insufficient protection for the potential hazards present in a situation. Since face shields do not seal in the face, safety eyewear should always be worn underneath. This ensures that workers are protected from hazards slipping behind the shield and into their eyes. See our blog about the basics of preventing eye injury for more information on safety glasses and goggles.

What to Wear

Three options to consider when picking out face shields for your worksite include window material, headgear, and operation design:

  • Window Material – There are three main materials used to make face shield windows: polycarbonate, Lexan, and wire mesh. Polycarbonate and Lexan shields are both advanced plastics and protect against impacts, but Lexan is more scratch resistant. Wire mesh windows offer less protection against fine particle and liquid splash hazards, but they never fog up.
  • Headgear – Wearing a face shield shouldn’t interfere with other protective equipment. When you need to be wearing head protection as well as a face shield, you can attach the shield to a hard hat with a bracket. Otherwise, face shields can be attached to their own, specialized headgear for a comfortable, safe fit.
  • Operation Design – Being able to operate safety equipment with minimal interruption to workflow is an important detail to consider. Face shields can operate in two ways: as removable windows or lift-front visors. Removable face shields are designed to be simple to replace while lift-front visors make it quick and easy to raise and lower the face shield during a task.

US Standard Products has a wide selection of face shields that provide safer and smarter protection for manual labor and civic maintenance professionals, including welders. Visit our website to download our free catalog and start exploring your options. To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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Reducing Eye Injury: The Basics

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that about 2,000 workers in the US sustain a work-related eye injury that requires medical attention each day. Prevent Blindness America and many other professional organizations maintain that 90% of these accidents could be prevented. As an employer, you are responsible for providing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for every person working under your supervision. You can do your part to prevent these injuries from happening by understanding when eye protection should be worn and what type of protection should be used for different tasks.

When to Wear

OSHA requires workers to wear eye protection when “exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.” If there is even a remote chance that an employee could be struck by an object, exposed to toxic fumes, or ultra-bright light, (like from a welding arc), they are required to protect their eyes to avoid eye injury.

Even with this defined list, however, eye injuries are still occurring in US workplaces at alarming rates. There are many factors that lead to the 20,000 workplace eye injuries reported each year,  including workers wearing old, worn out gear, wearing equipment improperly, and even not wearing any protection at all.

What to Wear

There are three main variables when deciding what eye protection is best for a task: lens color, lens thickness, and type of frame.

  • Lens Color – The lens color used with eye protection should be largely dependent upon the lighting condition. Generally, clear lenses will provide the proper protection. However, when working outdoors, in low-lit areas, or on welding tasks, different colored, coated, and filtering lenses are recommended. To learn more, read our blog dedicated specifically to colored lenses and their applications.

  • Lens Thickness – Some jobs have an increased risk for high-impact hazards. Machinists, millwrights, carpenters, plumbers, and pipe fitters are all positions that should have more than just basic impact protection. High-impact lenses may still require the use of additional protective measures like side or face shields.

  • Type of Frame – While mostly interchangeable, there are some differences that should be considered when choosing what protection to provide workers. Goggles are more prone to fogging up than glasses due to their sealing fit around the eyes, and may require frequent removal to clean the lens. Glasses may not fog as easily, but they leave the wearer open to splash contamination and should be worn with side shields when impact hazards are present.

Eye Protection from the Pros

As an employer, it is your responsibility to create a culture of safety and ensure that all your employees are properly wearing the protection that you’ve provided them. Take the time to train your employees about what tasks in your workplace require which kinds of safety gear. Additionally, when a worker reports that their safety equipment, including eye protection, is worn out, it is your duty to replace the old equipment.

US Standard Products has a wide selection of top quality protective eyewear that provides safer and smarter eye protection. Start exploring your options by downloading our free catalogue or calling 1-844-877-1700 today.

To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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Listen Up! 5 Guidelines to Protect Your Employees’ Hearing

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that about 22 million US employees are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, making occupational hearing loss one of the most common work-related injuries in the country. With OSHA’s recommended “danger zone” starting at just 85 decibels, chances are that your industrial or construction workplace requires the use of hearing protection.

Common Sounds Measured in DecibelsSource: Chevy Chase ENT

1. Choose the Right Noise Reduction Rating

Having the gear doesn’t help if it isn’t the right quality. If crew members are using earplugs that don’t have the right noise reduction rating (NRR), hearing damage could still occur. Even though most hearing protection products come with a NRR on the packaging, you will still need to ensure your earplugs have the correct rating for the environment. If you’re not sure where to start, the CDC published a helpful guide to calculate and use the correct NRR for your work environment.

2. Keep Communication Lines Open

Protecting your hearing is good, but being able to communicate while working with proper protection in place can be challenging. To ensure clear lines of communication, despite the use of hearing protection, you might consider developing hand signals to help your employees get the message across. Another option is designating a place to step away from the noise and remove hearing protection safely. Digital earmuffs with radio capabilities are also a safe bet. These “walkie-talkie” earmuffs allow communication to continue without having to shut down machinery or move away from the work area.

3. Get Tested

OSHA standard 1910.95 requires employers to provide workers with annual hearing tests. While having an audiometric testing program is mandatory, the benefits of tracking employees’ hearing are worth the expense. Together, the baseline test and the annual test results allow employers to see if their hearing conservation efforts are working. If hearing loss is detected, employers can take follow-up measures to prevent further damage. For additional employer responsibilities, see OSHA’s hearing conservation guide.

4. Know When to Wear

As the old adage goes, knowing is half the battle. Educating employees about hearing protection and when it is necessary is the best way to strengthen your safety culture. Some key points to communicate include when and where to wear hearing protection, which protection to use in different situations, and the lasting damage that results from failing to use the proper protection.

5. Replace When Ready

Worn-out equipment should be thrown away. Following the manufacturer’s care instructions helps to keep the hearing protection working at their best. You’ll know that it’s time to replace earmuffs when the headband is no longer able to keep the muffs snugly against the head. To get the full benefit of the equipment, conduct regular inspections, checking that the earplugs and muffs are still flexible and safe to use.

Stock Up on Gear that Protects the Ears

At US Standard Products’ core, we believe in keeping workers across all industries safe from the dangers of the job, and do so by providing the highest quality operational and safety products. To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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Staying Energized and Increasing Productivity on the Job

The ExxonMobil oil spill, Three Mile Island accident, Challenger Explosion, and Chernobyl were all disasters in their own right. They have each been studied extensively to isolate what caused them, and it’s been found there are many factors that worked together to cause these events to occur. What’s interesting is that one factor, in particular, was common among all of these crises—and it’s a factor that impacts every work site operating today: sleep deprivation.

Without the enough sleep, a worker becomes slower to react to hazards, sluggish in completing work, and more likely to make mistakes. These employees are up to 70 percent more likely to be involved in an accident while on the job. And although each individual is responsible for his or her own sleep schedule, it’s your company’s responsibility to ensure that workers remain safe on the job—whether that takes diligent observation, extra training, or regular drills and inspections. Now, especially with the dog days of winter upon us, you’re going to need more than personal protective equipment to maintain a safe, productive, and non-drowsy work site. Keep your workforce well rested, energized, and ultimately safer with our three tips for avoiding drowsy workplace disasters.

1. Stay Hydrated

More than a summertime problem, workers without enough fluids in their system become lethargic and irritable. They may not even recognize that they are dehydrated because the body’s thirst sensation decreases by about 40% in cold weather conditions. Not only does staying hydrated keep energy levels high during the day, thus increasing productivity, but it also promotes better sleep at night. A study published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS) found that as subjects increased their liquid intake, especially in the hours before going to bed, they were more positive, satisfied, and calm. Encourage your leadership to implement a wellness program that provides education about healthy sleeping and hydration habits.

2. Avoid Sugar

Another part of that wellness program could include education about healthy eating habits and the effects of eating sugar. Many people don’t know that the effects of a “sugar rush” will last only for a short time, usually just 30 minutes. Then, they crash, leaving them feeling even more sluggish than before. A zombie-like crew isn’t one you want working in any environment, especially an extreme one. If possible, provide more low-sugar snacks, such as trail mix, whole grain cereal bars, and fruit with peanut butter packs, in the vending machines and lunch areas.

3. Get Some Fresh Air

If your crew isn’t already working outside, allowing them to step out for a breath of fresh air on their breaks can be really invigorating. The increased oxygen and vitamin D are good for both short-term and long-term health, helping your crew to stay healthy and alert on the job. The fresh air helps to clear the lungs, which in turn increases oxygen intake and flow to vital regions of the body such as the brain and heart. It also strengthens white blood cells whose job it is to fight off disease. Increasing productivity and general workforce health, an outdoor break is worth the extra minute or two it might take.

Bonus Tip: Provide Top Quality Safety Gear

Even when at their best, the most energized, well-rested crews can still have accidents. Always ensure that your gear is up to par by replacing old and damaged safety gear regularly. US Standard Products, a nation-wide provider of quality operational and safety products, has the personal protection equipment that you need to keep your employees safe. Call 1-844-877-1700 today to learn how we can help you get the right equipment at the right price.

Keep up with the latest industrial workplace trends by following US Standard Products on social media.

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When to Replace Safety Equipment

There might be more than calendars that need to be replaced in your workplace this January. As an industrial workplace employer, the safety of your workforce falls to you. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is considered the last line of defense for workplace safety. No matter the industry, knowing when to replace safety equipment minimizes failure of worn-out devices and resulting injuries. Here are some ways to know if it’s time to discard the old PPE and bring in some new gear.

Fall Arrest Systems

The number one workplace hazard is fall protection, so it should be at the top of your list when looking at what safety equipment needs replacing. The most important time to inspect a personal fall protection system is after it has been part of a fall event. OSHA guidelines state that these systems should be, “immediately removed from service and shall not be used again for employee protection unless inspected and determined by a competent person to be undamaged and suitable for reuse.”

OSHA-certified inspectors should inspect fall arrest systems yearly. Often, the equipment will have a suggested inspection date instead of an expiration date, as it is no longer required for manufacturers to incorporate one on the label. Any system that fails inspection, “must be withdrawn from service immediately, and should be tagged or marked as unusable, or destroyed,” per OSHA regulations.

Hard Hats

Without a mandated lifespan from OSHA or ANSI, it can be difficult to know when hard hats need replacing. Obviously, if there is visible damage on the exterior or interior, the hard hat needs to be removed from use. Many manufacturers recommend replacing hard hats every five years, regardless of outward appearance, and the interior suspension every 12 months.

A hard hat’s usability also depends on what sort of environment the user is working in. Extreme environments with elements such as increased heat, exposure to chemicals, or sunlight reduce the lifespan of hard hats, making them suitable for only approximately two years before needing replacement.

Shoe Safety

There is one piece of equipment that employees are almost sure to wear home: their shoes or boots. As an employer, the fact that work shoes are worn off-site makes it difficult to ensure that each worker’s footwear is up to snuff. So how do you make sure that what’s being worn complies OSHA and ANSI’s standards?

Regular shoe and boot inspections are a good start. Educating your employees on proper boot maintenance, care, and disposal is another way of ensuring proper protection. Some companies go as far as instituting shoe subsidy programs to encourage workers to replace footwear regularly. Since employees are sometimes responsible for providing their own safety gear, like boots, these subsidy programs ease or erase any potential financial burdens on workers that are associated with having new, appropriate shoes on hand.

Safety Gloves

Different jobs demand different kinds of protection—and that especially applies to hand protection. Once your employees have the right gloves for the job, you’ll also need to ensure that the gloves are in working order before each use.

Start by checking for tears, cuts, holes, or other defects before and after each task. Since gloves can get caught on tools and equipment easily, loose-fitting gloves and gloves with hanging strings should not be worn. Before starting any job, hands and gloves should be clean and dry, and for gloves that may have been contaminated, follow proper disposal procedures. Always keep extra gloves handy for when used ones need replacing.

Protection Provided by US Standard Products

Fully functional safety equipment is the key to keeping your workers well protected. US Standard Products, a nation-wide provider of quality operational and safety products, has the personal protection equipment that you need to keep your employees safe. Call 1-844-877-1700 today to learn how we can help equip your team with the gear necessary to meet OSHA standards.

Keep up with the latest industrial workplace trends by following US Standard Products on social media.

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Food Safety at Holiday Parties

After you’ve finished decorating the office, you’re ready for the event of the year: the holiday party. This year-end celebration brings the team together for a fun morale boost full of festive drinks, treats, and cuisine. There are a number of ways you can handle the food aspect of your holiday party each with their own set of pros and cons. We’ve listed below some the considerations for a few of your options, as well as the safety precautions that will need to be addressed.

Catering

Probably the quickest and easiest option, hiring a caterer takes away a lot of the stress of party preparation.

But how can you be sure you’re hiring a caterer that will use food handling best practices? Reading reviews and asking for referrals are a great way to make sure that your caterer has a history of providing their services safely before you ever meet them. You can also check to see if they are licensed at local and state levels, which helps to ensure that they are certified in food safety and if they have any past violations. If your caterer ever becomes unresponsive, doesn’t have a clear cancellation process, or neglects to provide tastings, just be aware that you are taking a shot in the dark as to what you can expect from them on the big day.

You may also want to walk through the venue with them to make sure they have everything that they need. An experienced chef and staff will know better than anyone what to do to pull off the perfect party menu.

Pre-Prepared

To be a little more hands-on, you could always choose to pick up pre-prepared appetizers from the local grocery store. Check that your selections are sealed and fresh. Be sure to keep hot things hot and cold things cold as you transport, serve, and store food to decrease the risk of bacterial growth. Before you set out your spread, wash your hands. Wearing food handling gloves is another way to prevent the spread of germs. If you decide to forego paper products, wash all dishes, cups, and utensils with hot and soapy water to get them squeaky clean for the party.

On-Site Cooking

Even though your co-workers may feel like a second family to you, the way you prepare food should be held to a different standard than how you might do so at home. On top of everything that was mentioned for a pre-prepared party, if you’re cooking on-site, you’ll want to clean your cooking area. Using paper towels and green cleaning products help to keep your cooking and eating areas clean while using fewer toxic chemicals. Make sure that these areas are completely dry before you start to cook or put any food items on them.

In this scenario, food-handling gloves should be worn not just for serving the food, but throughout the entire meal-making process. This includes changing your gloves at least once between the preparation and serving phases. You should change your food-handling gloves as frequently as necessary to avoid cross-contamination.

Microwaves can be used to cook food, just be sure that it’s heated evenly by stirring and rotating it often. Make sure that all food reaches a safe internal temperature with a cooking thermometer before serving it. There is no “close enough” in food safety.

Off-Site Cooking

Entering into an unfamiliar space makes it all the more important to follow safe food handling procedures. Knowing how big of a space you have to work with allows you to be sure that the cooking area isn’t overcrowded and food is safe from cross-contamination. You’ll also need to know what equipment is provided on-site and what you’ll need to bring with you. Since you can’t be sure what sanitation state the site will be in, leave extra time for set-up including a scrub down of the cooking area. It’s better to do a little extra cleaning up front, instead of not cleaning and wishing you had.

Party Now, Party Later

In any of these situations, there might be some leftovers. Refrigerate any leftover food as soon as possible; the longer food sits out, the more likely it will grow bacteria. If perishable food like meat, eggs, or casseroles are left out at room temperature for longer than two hours, don’t save it, discard it. If you don’t send the leftovers home with your party-goers, make sure there’s enough room in the company fridge to allow air to circulate, keeping it cool and ready to reheat on Monday.

Party with US Standard Products

No matter where your party food is made, employee safety should always be a top priority. US Standard Products, a nation-wide provider of quality operational and safety products, has the food handling gloves, green cleaning products, and other food safety equipment you need to throw a safe and happy holiday party. Contact us today at 844-877-1700 to learn how we can help you prepare for the holidays and holiday parties in the safest way possible.

To stay up-to-date on the latest industrial workplace trends, follow US Standard Products on social media.

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How to Decorate Your Office for the Holidays Safely

From hanging lights outside, to decorating around the department, the holiday spirit is likely to take over your office this season. While many large businesses opt to hire a professional decorating company, smaller organizations often choose to decorate themselves. Along with a fun and easy team-building activity, decorating your office yourself also means that the final product will have a more personal touch. As you and your co-workers deck the cubicle walls, keep in mind the following five safety tips.

1. Refrain from Decorating Safety Equipment

It may seem harmless to spruce up those safety fixtures you never seem to use like emergency lights or exit signs, but it’s best to leave them untouched. Not only could your decorations violate OSHA regulations, they might stop the systems from functioning properly. All alarms, detectors, sprinklers, extinguishers, and signs should be easily visible and accessible. Plus, you never know when those dusty lights might spring into action and be needed.

2. Stay Steady on Ladders

With ladders in OSHA’s top 10 workplace hazards, there’s never a bad time to review and practice ladder safety. Make sure ladders are tall enough so that you don’t have to stand on the top step or your tiptoes to complete the job. It might take a little longer, but it’s important to move the ladder often so that you are not leaning or off-balance. Have someone secure the bottom of the ladder so that it’s steady. This way, everyone gets to enjoy the season without any holiday hospital bills.

3. Leave Exits and Pathways Clear

You might get carried away with holiday cheer as you are decorating, but you don’t want to trip under the mistletoe, especially in the event of an emergency. Make sure to leave doorways and main walkways clear of larger items like Christmas trees, but also smaller ones to avoid any blockages, trips, or other workplace accidents. These might include trinkets such as gifts or ornaments that passersby might bump into accidentally. Leaving room for people to come and go allows for the fun to flow freely as you celebrate with holiday activities.

4. Secure all Wires and Cords

You wouldn’t choose for anyone to get tangled up in your decorations even if they are caught up in the joy of the holidays. To keep everyone safe and decorations where you placed them, fasten loose cords and wires to appropriate surfaces. Ensure that cables lie flat on all surfaces so that no one accidentally pulls them away from where they should be. Wrapping up an extra long cord also helps to make clean up easier, not that we’re anywhere near ready to be done with the festivities!

5. Fireproof your Decor

Keep that fire extinguisher on the shelf this year by making sure that all electronic elements are away from flammable items like curtains, chairs, or coats. Check wires to ensure that they are not fraying or worn thin. Make sure to turn off electronic decorations overnight to prevent them from overheating and potentially melting nearby or encasing plastic. Also use battery-powered candles instead of open flames to ensure that nothing but ice will be melting this holiday season.

As you decorate your office this winter, US Standard Products, a nationwide provider of quality operational and safety products, has the gear you need to do so safely. Contact us today at 844-877-1700 to learn how we can help you prepare for the holidays in the safest way possible.

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