Safety+Health spoke with Melissa Black, president of consulting firm MsR3 LLC and an adjunct professor in occupational safety and health at Orange Beach, AL-based Columbia Southern University, to get her thoughts on what’s new in the fall protection field, how workers can avoid misuse and how workers can best stay safe.
Properly working, easily accessible emergency eyewashes and showers are vital to on-the-job safety. That’s because “the first 10 to 15 seconds after exposure to a hazardous substance, especially a corrosive substance, are critical,” the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety states. “Delaying treatment, even for a few seconds, may cause serious injury.”
Cuts, chemical burns, broken fingers and amputations are some of the hand injuries that commonly occur on the job. In fact, 121,860 nonfatal hand injuries involving days away from work were recorded in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Safety+Health, with help from the International Safety Equipment Association, recently reached out to PPE manufacturers to ask about the latest trends, as well as innovations and new technologies that are here or on the horizon.
Punctures and lacerations, sprains and strains, crushed and broken bones, electric shock, and amputations are some of the foot injuries that can occur at work. And aside from injuries, standing for long periods can lead to tired, aching feet.
From gas detectors and volatile organic compound monitors, to flame detectors and noise dosimeters, on-the-job instruments and monitors are designed to provide an extra layer of protection against unseen hazards.
If a worker becomes ill or experiences an injury on the job, chances are a co-worker or supervisor will see what’s going on and take action. Lone workers, however, don’t have the benefit of extra eyes on them.
In relation to the workplace, what does the term “wearables” mean? According to Safety+Health Associate Editor Alan Ferguson’s March 2019 article:
“In the safety world, ‘wearables’ can include ‘smart’ personal protective equipment, glasses with heads-up displays and hard hats with sensors. What most of these devices have in common is they give safety professionals and other employees a set of watchful eyes to help ensure the health and well-being of the workforce, particularly lone workers.”
Are you concerned about on-the-job hearing loss? It’s a common problem among workers in the United States. In fact, every year, roughly 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, according to NIOSH.
OSHA estimates that 5 million workers in 1.3 million workplaces are required to wear respirators. These devices protect workers from “insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays,” the agency notes, adding that compliance with its Respiratory Protection Standard “could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually.”