Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

Falls in the workplace are nothing to mess around with. In 2009, the Bureau of Labor estimated that 212,760 workers were seriously injured by a fall, and even worse, 605 workers were killed. And according to the National Safety Council, 25,000 slip, trip and fall accidents occur daily in the U.S. While workers across all trades face the risk of falling, the most dangerous trades of them all often involve working six or more feet from the ground, such as construction, roofing, tree trimming, utility repair, etc.

Here at U.S. Standard Products, we advocate strongly for fall prevention—both on the same level and to a lower level. We’ve compiled our top six tips for identifying fall risks and preventing fall-related injuries in the workplace.

  1. Be a pro; proactivity is the best protection – Implement regularly scheduled safety walkthroughs to ensure that all hazards are clearly marked, and your premises are kept in safe condition. Educate employees of the dangers and risks, and properly train them on how to properly use safety equipment. Not only will proactive risk mitigation activities help keep your employees safe, but they will also help you secure the best insurance at the best price.
  2. Don’t cry over spilled milk, just clean it up ASAP! – Spills, leaks, drips… they’re all dangerous the minute they hit the floor. Be sure that you have cleanup supplies readily available, including “wet floor” signs. Also consider applying a slip-resistant treatment to floors that are prone to getting wet.
  3. Say yes to yellow – Yellow is the color of choice for marking hazards that could result in accidents from slipping, falling or striking against something, according to OSHA Standards. Be sure all steps, corners, trip hazards are marked clearly in yellow to minimize risk. Learn more about color coding in the workplace.
  4. Light it up – Proper lighting is key for maximizing visibility and minimizing slips, trips and falls. All walkways, staircases, etc. should be well lit at all working hours. If working in a heavy industrial environment, consider investing in specialized rough service lighting fixtures to extend the longevity of the lamps.
  5. Ice, ice, maybe? – Snow and ice melt: your ultimate weapon against winter slipping. Stock up on more snow and ice melt than you think you’ll need before the first freeze so that you’re prepared when you need it.
  6. Boots and ladders – Workers who are exposed to vertical drops of six or more feet from the ground are at risk of injury or death in the event of a fall. It’s imperative, and required by OSHA, to provide these workers with proper fall protection equipment—whether that is the appropriate ladder or scaffold for the job, non-slip shoes, or personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).

U.S. Standard Products provides a wide range of safety products to help you and your team stay safe on the job. For more tips on safety in the workplace, follow U.S. Standard Products on social media:

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Colored Safety Glasses: More than Just a Fashion Statement

While lens tints on safety glasses look fashion-forward, the primary purpose of the colored lenses is actually to enhance a worker’s vision under various lighting conditions. In this blog, we’re exploring different lens options, their applications and the percentage of visible light transmission (VLT), which refers to the amount of visible light that can pass through the lens.

Popular Lens Colors

Whether you work primarily indoors, outdoors, or require specific color enhancement there’s a lens color out there that’s ideal for your situation. Here’s a look at some of the most common lens colors and their uses:

Clear: Provides excellent optics for general applications where impact protection is required. 85% VLT

Gray: Use for outdoor applications where light and glare can cause eye strain and fatigue. 12% VLT

Light Gray: Serves the same purpose as gray lens, yet allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 62% VLT

Amber: Blocks the blue portion of the visible light spectrum, creating maximum contrast enhancement, particularly in low light. 85% VLT

Orange: Excellent for indoor and low light areas as well as cloudy or hazy days. Blocks out the blue and green light portion of the visible light spectrum. 57% VLT

Fire, Blue Diamond, Emerald, Rainbow, Blue, Silver, Banana Mirror and Copper: For outdoor use where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. A mirror coating reflects light, reducing the amount of light that passes through the lens. 9% VLT

Brown: Outdoor applications where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. Meets color traffic signal recognition requirements. 12% VLT

Indoor/Outdoor Clear Mirror: Allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 55% VLT

Vermilion: Enhances contrast while reducing all colors equally for optimum color recognition. Ideal for indoor inspection. 55% VLT

Light Blue: Allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 70% VLT

Bonus Features

Sometimes workers need a little extra oomph when it comes to their colored safety glasses. Here are some additional features that are available:

Duramass® AF4 Anti-Fog Coating: Exclusive Duramass scratch resistant coating with anti-fog provides excellent fog prevention in high humidity environments where sudden shifts in temperature occur.

Polarized: For use outdoors to protect from excessive glare that can cause eye fatigue.

Filter Shades: Protects against ultra-violet and infrared radiation generated when working with molten metal, and in welding, cutting, soldering and brazing. See guide below for applications and recommendations for filter shades.

Operation Recommended Filter Shade
Torch Soldering 2
Torch Brazing 3
Light Cutting up to 1”* 3
Medium Cutting 1” to 6”* 5
Heavy Cutting more than 6”* 5
Gas Welding, light, up to 1/8”* 5
Gas Welding, medium, 1/8” to 1/2″* 5

*Indicates thickness of material to be cut

For more information about colored safety glasses and to browse our selection of eye protection, download the U.S. Standard Products Safety Catalog today. All glasses available in the catalog pass the ANSI Z87+ standard for coverage, impact protection and optical clarity, while many also meet the EN166 (Europe), CSA Z94.3 (Canada) and AS/NZS 1337.1 (Australia and New Zealand) standards.

The definitions provided above are general descriptions only. Consult your workplace safety director to ensure the proper application.

 

Finding the Right Gloves for the Job: Drivers, Welders and Landscaping Professionals

Whether you spend your profession behind the wheel, in the metal shop or in the dirt, you require quality gloves that can keep your hands in working condition. There are different types of gloves for different types of jobs to give you the balance flexibility and protection you need to work efficiently and safely. We’ve outlined which features to look for when shopping.

Gloves for Drivers

Driving gloves provide drivers in the transportation industry with better grip of the steering wheel, with the ultimate goal of improving control of the vehicle and safety. There is a wide range of glove types available that are designed to enhance hand tactility while driving. Often, it’s the driver’s personal preference that helps them decide which type of glove is best suited for them.

Most commonly, leather is the preferred material for driving gloves, as it provides a soft, pliable feel, with pores and grain to improve gripping capabilities. Popular types of leather for driving gloves include cow, pig, goat and deer leather. Synthetic leather is also available.

Another important feature to consider when selecting driving gloves is the construction of thumb. A keystone thumb, the most ergonomic design, is sewn separately onto the palm area for maximum flexibility. A wing thumb is angled without a seam to increase durability and comfortability. The straight thumb is the most traditional design, which places the thumb perpendicular to the wrist.

Welding Gloves

Different types of welding require different types of gloves for maximum hand and wrist protection. Professionals who are involved with stick welding, for example, should consider the thickest material glove to protect from the high level of spatter. They might also consider a glove that features aluminum reinforcement on the back of the thumb to help deflect radiant heat. MIG/TIG welders might consider a lighter-duty welding glove.

Welding gloves in general are constructed of leather and feature a lining such as a foam, wool, fleece, cotton or Kevlar® for added heat protection. Welders should always wear flame-resistant gloves that feature cuffs to protect their wrists from potential spatter.

Knits for Landscapers

Landscapers rely on their hands for everything they do—it’s critical to keep them safe on the job. Knit gloves are an ideal product to provide landscapers breathable, flexible and grippable hand protection.

String knits are a popular cotton/polyester blend glove used in the landscaping profession. They’re breathable and comfortable, and are available in different gauges for varying levels of protection. Cotton knits are another great option for lighter-duty protection and can include features such as dots and coating for enhanced gripping and heat resistant lining for added safety.

Gunn pattern gloves, which feature a seamless back and a single “gunn” seam at the base of the middle finger, are a very comfortable option for landscapers. They can feature materials such as a leather and Kevlar® and often include rubberization and cuffs for enhanced safety. Gunn cut gloves are also available with insulation.

Finding the Perfect Fit

Start by measuring the circumference of your dominant hand by pulling a body measuring tape around your palm, just above your thumb. Measure three times to make sure you have the correct calculation before you select your size.

Men’s sizing:

  • 7 in. (XS)
  • 5-8 in. (S)
  • 5-9 in. (M)
  • 5-10 in. (L)
  • 5-11 in. (XL)
  • 11+ in. (XXL)

Women’s sizing:

  • 6 in. (XS)
  • 5 in. (S)
  • 7 in. (M)
  • 5 in. (L)
  • 8 in. (XL)
  • 8+ in. (XXL)

If your gloves have adjustable wrist bands, make sure you pull them snug enough to prevent any material or debris from getting in, but loose enough that you don’t cut off any circulation. If you can force one pinky finger between your wrist and the band, you’re good to go.

US Standard Products has a wide selection of top quality gloves that provide safer and smarter protection for Manual Labor and Civic Maintenance Professionals. Visit our website and download our free catalogue to start exploring your options. See all the other ways US Standard Products is making your world a better place by visiting us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Workplace Hearing Protection: What to Wear in Your Work Environment

Did you know that 30 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s estimated that nearly 125,000 of these workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss due to workplace exposure in the last 12 years.

Exposure to high decibel levels for extended periods of time can cause permanent damage to the ear, which in some cases can’t be corrected with surgery or hearing aids. Other symptoms of high noise exposure include a “stuffed-up” feeling in the ears and a constant ringing, called tinnitus.

To combat this ear damage, OSHA outlines strict requirements for hearing protection in the workplace. In fact, employers are legally required to provide hearing protection to all workers who are exposed to time-weighted average (TWA) sound levels at or above 85 dB for eight continuous hours per day. However, for workers who aren’t continually exposed to high decibel levels, it’s still crucial to wear protection whenever they’re exposed to noises above 85 dB.

Here, we’re taking a look at some of the noisiest industries to work in and providing suggestions on the best hearing protection solutions for each work environment.

Landscaping

Workers in the landscaping industry deal with a lot of noisy tools including lawn mowers, leaf blowers, tractors and more—all of which operate in the 90-100 dB range. Since many landscapers aren’t necessarily supervised on-the-job, or are actually the business owners themselves, it can be easy for them to “get away” with not wearing ear protection. This mindset can be very harmful. Even though the decibel level typically encountered in the landscaping industry is on the lower scale of the danger zone, continued unprotected exposure can lead to chronic hearing problems later in life.

Recommended hearing protection: Landscapers should wear hearing protection that’s most comfortable for them, whether that’s roll down foam earplugs, custom molded devices or a range of other options. As tempting as it may be to stick a pair of ear buds in and listen to music, that will only increase the decibel level and risk of permanent hearing damage.

Construction

Common noise culprits in the construction industry include bulldozers, chainsaws and jackhammers, which operate at 100-110 decibels. It’s critical for construction workers to wear ear protection on top of their regular safety gear when operating loud, heavy machinery.

Recommended hearing protection: Since communication is a key safety component of construction work, we recommend that workers wear noise-cancelling electronic earmuffs—a type of high-tech hearing protection that screens out only noises over 85 dB. Electronic earmuffs allow workers to easily hear lower-decibel sounds, like voices, while blocking out damaging higher noises. For jobs that are less reliant on loud machinery, simple foam earplugs on a cord may be more appropriate.

Emergency Responders + Military

A siren from an ambulance, police car or fire truck can reach up to 120 decibels, but it’s not practical, or necessarily safe, for emergency responders to wear ear protection while they’re driving to an urgent situation. Fortunately, most emergency vehicles are soundproofed, with the siren projected away from the vehicle to minimize the interior decibel level. It’s police officers and military personnel, when practicing shooting at the range, who really should be concerned about noise levels, as a gunshot ranges from 150 to 165 decibels.

Recommended hearing protection: Often, on a shooting range, gunshots happen frequently and unexpectedly. Noise-cancelling electronic earmuffs allow men and women who are practicing to comfortably communicate with others, while ensuring non-stop, reliable protection from the constant high decibel shots.

Ready to equip yourself or your employees with high quality workplace hearing protection? Contact U.S. Standard Products for more information about our available hearing protection products today. Give us a call at (844) 877-1700 or send us an email at info@usstandardproducts.com.

Resources

OSHA Occupational Noise Exposure

CDC Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention