Gwinnett County’s Movers and Makers 2016 Award goes to…

Congratulations to Mitsubishi Electric for being Gwinnett County’s 2016 Manufacturer of the Year Award recipient.

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Gwinnett County’s Movers and Makers 2016 Exhibit Sponsors included Safe Workforce Development and Industrial Mechanical, Inc.

Safe Workforce Development and Industrial Mechanical, Inc. were Exhibitor Sponsors for this year’s Movers and Makers event. Projections for road improvement projects indicate Gwinnett County is preparing for even more growth in the Logistic and Manufacturing sectors. Way to go Gwinnett County!

Time to start thawing the turkey!

When purchasing a turkey the rule of thumb suggests a pound per person.  A 12 pound turkey will feed 12 people.  Here’s a handy guide for thawing.  If you will be serving 20 or more people cooking one turkey you will need 6 days prior to cooking to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator.

Thawing a Turkey

 

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween will be here before you know it.  Safe Workforce Development has listed some safety tips and common sense reminders to help parents ensure their young one’s Big Night Out is a success and keep all Trick-or-Treaters safe.

Safe Workforce Halloween Safety Tips 2015

 

 

Power Tool Safety

The golden rule of power tool safety is always using the right tool for the job. Even if you’ve used the wrong tool in the past and “gotten away with it” or “it worked just fine.” Taking the time to locate the appropriate tool and inspect it to ensure it is safe to use will pay off in the long run.

Using portable power tools is one of the best time savers on the job. Because we use them so often, we tend to forget they have the potential to cause deep wounds with nerve damage, break bones, sever limbs, electrocute, and bring death. Here are some examples of incidents caused by power tools:

  • “A sheet metal man was installing flashing on a church roof. Using a power drill on the roof edge, he lost his balance when the drill cut through the material. Failing to use fall protection, he toppled 30 feet to his death.”
  • “A carpenter amputated three fingers using a portable circular saw incorrectly. He tried to adjust the blade depth with one hand, with the other on the grip handle. He accidentally hit the trigger.”

To avoid incidents keep in mind the following tips when using power tools:

  • Always use the right tool for the right job. No substitutions allowed!
  • Never rush what you are doing. Always pay close attention. Don’t let anything distract you. Think ahead!
  • Always wear safety goggles or safety glasses with side shields. Use a dust mask for dusty operations, and wear hearing protection if you’ll be using the tool for an extended period of time. Be sure all appropriate guards are in place and working.
  • Never overreach when using a power tool. Stay firmly planted on both feet. When using hand-held power tools, always keep a firm grip with both hands. Losing control creates a hazardous situation. Do not use any tool that is too heavy for you to easily control.
  • Before you plug in any power tool, make sure the power switch is off.
  • Make sure cutters or blades are clean, sharp and securely in place. Never use bent, broken, or warped blades or cutters. Never use a tool that is damaged or malfunctioning in any way.
  • Make sure your work area is neat and clean and free of any debris that might get in your way or be ignited by hot tools, chips or sparks.
  • Never use power tools in wet or damp conditions.
  • Need an extension cord? Make sure it’s a heavy duty cord and don’t use indoor rated cords outside. If the tool has a three-pronged plug, make sure you use a three-pronged extension cord plugged into a three-pronged outlet.
  • Always unplug, clean and store the tool in a safe, dry place when you are finished using it.

 

Don’t let these “famous last words” be YOUR last words:

  • “It’s only 110 —it can’t really hurt you.”
  • “Let me just stretch a little and drill this one hole.”
  • “I emptied this nail gun …”
  • “Let me pull this saw blade guard back just to finish this one cut.”

 

It’s not the fall that hurts. It’s the sudden stop!

Falls are one of the most common causes of injuries. And approximately one in five falls are fatal. Your employer has safeguards in place, such as guardrails and fall protection supplies and procedures, but there is a lot you can to do to reduce the chance of an incident. Here are some things to consider:

HOUSEKEEPING: Keep floors in work areas as clean and dry as possible. Good housekeeping habits are the best way to ensure good footing, which is essential to preventing falls. Scrap lumber, trash, wire, and slippery areas caused by water, grease, or oil can cause falls. Housekeeping is especially important in high traffic areas like hallways where pedestrians may not be paying close attention to where they put their feet.

LADDERS: Select a ladder that suits the purpose. Many workers believe that they can use any ladder for any job. Make sure your ladder is in good condition and that the foundation is secure. Use both hands when climbing and always face the ladder when going up or down. Do not carry tools with you.

SCAFFOLDS: Scaffolds need to be inspected daily by a competent person. Use a tagging system:

  • green – scaffold safe to use
  • yellow – use caution when using scaffolding. The tag should list the precautions needed for safe use.
  • red – do not use scaffold

Even if it will be used for only a short time, scaffolding should be constructed like a permanent structure. Provide guardrails and toe boards to help prevent falls. Whenever you’re on a single-point or a two-point suspended scaffold, wear appropriate fall protection. Be sure it’s tied to a secure independent life line.

FLOOR AND WALL OPENINGS: Cover floor openings or protect them with standard guardrails and toe boards. Protect wall openings, except for doorways and stairways through which persons could fall. This protection should be secured and substantial enough to prevent displacement.

STAIRS: Falls on stairways are usually caused by running, carrying objects that block your line of sight, failure to use handrails, or just not paying attention. Watch your step and pay attention to what you are doing.

Defensive Driving

Let’s face it. We all could improve our driving. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for humans under the age of 30, and only drops to second and third cause of death up to age 65. The top three causes of vehicle accidents are speeding, driving under influence, and distracted driving. With all the drunks and careless others texting and driving, it pays to have skills in your toolbox to get home safely. The most effective tool is Defensive Driving.

 

Defensive Driving is operating your vehicle in a manner to prevent accidents in spite of the actions of others or in the presence of adverse driving conditions. It requires a constant vigilance! You watch for the illegal acts and errors of other drivers, and make timely adjustments in your own actions so that the actions of other drivers will not involve you in an accident.

 

Driving defensively is a skill I mostly developed after I started riding motorcycles. Riding a motorcycle changed my perspective on driving. The dangers are too hard to ignore when you get out of the bubble of a car or truck. The pavement is RIGHT THERE! And, it looks like it would be painful to land on.

 

SEE (SEARCH, EVALUATE, EXECUTE) is a driving strategy that I learned at a class I attended with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.  This strategy has helped me reduce factors that contribute to accidents, and is applicable to operating any vehicle.  Below you will find a summarization of the process. We strongly encourage you to learn more, and to apply the strategy in your life.

 

The first stage is SEARCH. This means to actively scan and identify factors that could increase the chance of an accident. Scan the area directly in your path, not just directly in front of you, but far ahead of you as well. Look for the three primary categories of information that should be monitored:

  1. Traffic control devices and signs
  2. Road characteristics and surface conditions
  3. Other road users

Good searching technique applies to all directions. Yes, watch where you are going, but also frequently check your mirrors.

 

The next stage is EVALUATE. This means consider potential problems arising from the interaction of the factors discovered while SEARCHing. Put simply, you try to anticipate where problems could arise, and form a plan in the event the problems… well, cause a problem.

Consider the hazards that could arise from searching for traffic control devices and signs. Think about the big picture as you evaluate, and think about other people’s perspective and what they see. Understand that other drivers may not see control devices like stop signs and traffic lights, etc. Also evaluate other road users, not just other wheeled vehicles travelling at (potentially) high rates of speed, but also pedestrians and animals. Know the limitations of your abilities (did you forget to put your contacts in this morning?), and the limits of your vehicle. Compare these limitations to the traffic and road conditions.

EVALUATING is mostly about forming potential plans of action, based on the information you collected while SEARCHing your environment. This stage is a form of risk management; try to read the information discovered while SEARCHing to create a “cushion of safety.”

 

The last E is for EXECUTE. This refers to the motor skills used to prevent or avoid the hazards, and is the stage used when a hazard presents that could cause an accident. After EVALUATING or reading a situation, you decide on a course of action and EXECUTE it. Ideally, you decide on the best course of action, but try not to second guess or pause. In the event of a problem arising, time and space are typically at a premium.

Decisions are executed in a few different ways. The most passive is communication. Communicate your intentions as time allows. Use lights, horns, hands, eye contact, etc. You can also change your speed or position. The degree to which you adjust your speed or position depends mostly on the hazard that has arisen, so try to keep as much space as possible to react.

 

Driving defensively is about taking steps to actively manage your situation and attempting to prevent other driver’s actions from causing an accident. Driving defensively requires a serious commitment. A driver must commit their constant attention to the road. Also, SEE is a process. Ideally, you are constantly searching and evaluating your options to create a “cushion.” Then, you are prepared to execute quickly.

Unsafe Conditions and Actions

How many times have you burnt yourself on a kitchen stove or nicked your finger with a knife because you had grown complacent, or were not paying attention? Or perhaps you burned yourself because you were in a hurry, tired, or thought you would get away with it because you had “been cooking for years without incident.” These accidents can be prevented by identifying unsafe conditions and then choosing safe actions.

First, let’s address: what are unsafe conditions? Conditions are the existing state of the environment around you, and the circumstances affecting the way you live or work. An unsafe condition is a condition where something exists that varies from a normal accepted safe condition. If not acknowledged, unsafe conditions can result in injury, death, or property damage.

Our kitchens have sources of heat and sharpened objects. The existence of these conditions put us at risk of an accident. Most of the time, we recognize the hazardous conditions and can adjust our actions to complete our tasks safely.

An unsafe act is the performance of a task that is conducted in a manner that may threaten the safety of yourself or those around you.

Some unsafe acts are a result of flagrant disregard of established rules, and should be reported and handled with appropriate disciplinary action. However, the majority of the unsafe acts are unintentional, and directly related to our behavior. The causes generally fall into one of the following categories:  rushing to complete a task (the most common), complacency, fatigue, and frustration.

In the workplace, unsafe acts are often attributed to perceptions of pressure for production. Have you ever heard someone say they “ignore safety rules to get the job done?” What about “bending the rules that involve little or no risk?”

We all know that there must be a cause for an incident to happen. Causes of incidents are tied to both unsafe conditions and acts. Returning to the example in our kitchen, how many of us have stood on a narrow stool or chair to reach the top shelf in our cabinets, rather than take the time to get a step ladder? The unsafe act of standing on an unsteady chair would not exist if the condition (the height of the top shelf, or the lack of go-go-gadget human arms) did not exist.

Learning to properly identify unsafe conditions and adjusting our actions appropriately helps us safely navigate our homes and workplaces.

As always, talking about the safety of the conditions surrounding us reduces the chances for incidents. Work with your coworkers to identify unsafe conditions. And if you see an unsafe act performed, or about to be executed, please speak up!

Hazards of Acetylene

Acetylene is the most commonly used gas for fueling cutting and welding torches.  The very molecular structure of acetylene is what makes the gas both ideally useful and hazardous. Each molecule consists of two carbon atoms and two hydrogen atoms that are held together by a triple carbon bond. This unstable bond stores a lot of energy. When acetylene is mixed with oxygen and the bond is broken, the result is the high temperatures needed to melt metal alloys. The temperature of the flame from the mixture can reach over 5700°F!

Generally, the men and women who use acetylene torches are familiar with the fire hazards associated hot flames and the production of hot slag. However, there are many unique characteristics of acetylene itself that create special hazards compared to other fuel gases. This gas has the widest explosive range of any commonly used gas. When mixed with air, the explosive range is from 2.5% to 82%. Acetylene leaks, no matter how small, can have serious consequences.

Some tips for safely using and storing acetylene:

  • Always use acetylene in a well vented area, and never in a confined space.
  • When using around electrical equipment, research the National Electric Code’s special designation for using electrical equipment around acetylene.
  • Acetylene should never be allowed to come into contact with certain metals such as unalloyed copper.
  • Do not store or use acetylene at pressures greater than 15 psi. Cylinder pressures are rated for 250 psi but this is acceptable because the gas is dissolved in acetone.)
  • Bleed the gas from the regulator by closing the cylinder valve before shutting off the regulator, to permit gas to bleed from the regulator.
  • Always cap and secure stored cylinders upright to prevent them from falling over and damaging the valve or cylinder.
  • Acetylene cylinders are not hollow. They are packed with porous rock that is saturated with acetone. Acetylene is dissolved in the acetone. As a result, cylinders should only be used or stored in an upright position. This prevents possibility of the acetone leaking from the cylinder. If this is not possible, rest the cylinder upright for one-half hour before using. This prevents liquid acetone from running through your regulator during use.
  • Do not store cylinders near open flames or electrical equipment. Never store acetylene, or any other fuel gas, within 25 feet of oxygen cylinders. If this separation is not possible, erect a noncombustible (1/2-hour fire rated) partition, at least five feet high, between the two gases in storage.

Remember, improperly handling compressed gases can lead to serious fires, explosions, or releases due to pressure buildup in cylinders or reactions with other materials. Always use correct procedures for handling and using acetylene gas. Talking about the hazards and proper handling and storing procedures with your coworkers reduces the risk of an incident.