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

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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

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6012 NitriMed TM 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.

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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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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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All Aboard: Nautical Safety Checklist

When it comes to keeping your crew safe out on the deep blue sea, having life preservers, emergency rafts, and other floatation devices readily available is a no brainer. You’re prepared for the worst, and that’s a great start—but your ship safety precautions shouldn’t stop there. Ensuring a safe work environment is critical, both on land and sea. Do you have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) on hand to keep your workers safe through the day-to-day rigors of working aboard the ship? We’ve put together a quick checklist to help you find out.

Non-Slip, Steel-Toed Boots – Wet, metal walkways—as often found on ship decks—are the perfect recipe for slips, trips, and falls. To ensure maximum safety on deck, it’s crucial for all workers to be equipped with boots designed to enhance traction on slippery surfaces.

Ear Plugs or Muffs – Ship engines can produce upwards of 110-120 db of sound—about as loud as a jet plane taking off—which makes engine rooms and other mechanical areas dangerously loud for human ears. Ear plugs or ear muffs should always be on hand to protect workers’ ears from the noise of the ship.

Glasses, Gloves, and Hard Hats – For work that requires any sort of manual labor, it’s important to make sure all workers are wearing safety glasses, protective gloves, and well-fitting hard hats. They’re classic PPE items, but they’re common practice for a reason—to keep workers safe.

Role-Specific Gear – Depending on the size and the type of ship, there might be specialized workers on board, such as welders, window washers, waste management staff, chefs, and a wide range of other roles. Each of these workers should be equipped with proper safety gear (i.e. welding shields, harnesses, chemical-resistant suits, cut-protection gloves, etc.) to protect them from the hazards they might face within their role.

Whether you’re looking to ramp up your on-board safety efforts, or are just looking to restock your arsenal of safety equipment, US Standard Products has what you’re looking for. Call us toll-free today at 844-877-1700 to learn more.

About US Standard Products

At US Standard Products’ core, we believe in keeping workers—both on the water and off—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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How to Ensure Your Workers Stay Safe While Operating Machinery

More than 4,500 fatal injuries occur in the workplace per year. Prevention is key; know your employees are in the safest possible environment when it comes to preventing future machinery mishaps on the job. In this blog, we have compiled some ways to keep your workers safe, including being up-to-date with the lockout/tagout (LOTO) process, knowing what safety gear to have on hand, and understanding what extra precautions to take while operating machinery.

Revisit Your LOTO Procedure Frequently

In 2016, the lock out tag out procedure was specified as one of OSHA’s top 5 workplace hazards. Training workers the steps that are involved in the lockout/tagout procedure is crucial in order to ensure worker safety. To make sure employees both understand and follow the lockout/tagout program include:

  • Conducting weekly, annual, and random inspections. This keeps a routine in place and the constant reminder to keep using the lockout/tagout procedure.
  • Providing quick and easy access to LOTO kits. Lockout/tagout is a procedure that includes locks and tags to warn workers that there is something wrong with a machine or equipment; should not be used until the machine or equipment has been fixed and unlocked or untagged. Having quick and easy access to LOTO kits can make the procedure more efficient.
  • Providing colored tags in lock out tag out kit. Color-coding tags is not required by OSHA but it is a quick and easy way to differentiate warnings and dangers.
  • Encouraging communication between co-workers. It is best to have everyone on the same page; communication is one of the main components to keeping workers safe. Reassuring your workers to have conversations about safety daily can have a positive effect for your employees.

Have the Right Safety Gear on Hand

When it comes to machine safety, you never know what is going to happen on the job. Being prepared with the right safety gear is important regarding safety. Here is a list of essential personal protective equipment to ensure the best protection for your workers as they operate machinery.

  • Protective eyewear
  • Cut-and impact-resistant gloves
  • Steel-toed boots
  • Ear muffs or plugs

Take Extra Safety Precautions

When it comes to working in dangerous conditions, there is no such thing as being too prepared or safe; safety is key. Here are some ways to make sure your workers are getting the best protection:

  • Provide protective safety gear to all workers
  • Have a first aid kit available in case of minor injuries
  • Have machines thoroughly checked before restarting a machine/equipment
  • All employees should stay approximately 30ft away from the machine or equipment that is being worked on or restarted
  • Make sure everyone on site knows the company’s emergency plan

Awareness of potential hazards—from machine malfunctions to slips, trips and falls—helps reduce future injuries and accidents, which can help save lives. Here at US Standard Products, we have what you need to keep your workers safe and protected. Check out our product catalog for quality, affordable safety gear.

Fall Protection Cited as #1 Workplace Hazard in 2016

According to new research released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, fall protection takes the top spot as the most frequently cited workplace safety and health violation in 2016. The data was compiled from nearly 32,000 workplace inspections, and indicates several startling trends when it comes to on-the-job safety.

The entire list of top 10 workplace hazards for 2016 includes:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

With approximately three million workplace injuries, and more than 4,500 workplace deaths every year, this data is critical in helping organizations across the country hone in on the most predominant safety hazards and identify new ways to make workplaces safer.

One of the most important things companies should take away from the research is the fact that fall protection, along with scaffold and ladder safety, continues to be a major workplace hazard, as it has taken the top spot on the list year after year. Sure, accidents will happen, but with the proper training, safety equipment and adherence to the rules, organizations can make a difference in the number of fall-related injuries and deaths that occur each year. Check out our blog on how to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace for more tips on how to minimize the dangers of this common hazard.

Additionally, industrial and manufacturing companies need to take protective gear more seriously. With all of the technology available, both to make machines safer and to protect appendages from harm, there’s no excuse for lockout/tagout or machine-guarding injuries. To brush up on some of the most critical personal protective equipment, see our comprehensive PPE checklist.

As companies head into the new year, those in charge of safety programs should keep this list of hazards on hand. By keeping the most common dangers top-of-mind, they can adequately prepare their staff with the proper safety training and stock up on the necessary protective equipment. Together, let’s make 2017 a safer year in the workplace!

U.S. Standard Products is an industrial supplies distributor based in New Jersey, providing operational and safety necessities ranging from ice melt to work gloves, and so much more. To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow U.S. Standard Products on social media:

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