Category Archives: Our Blogs

Workplace Ergonomics

Workplace Ergonomics

Ergonomic health in the workplace refers to foundations and systems that keep employees healthy and safe while on duty. This includes addressing how positions and situations affect the body, from sitting at a desk all day to lifting multiple heavy boxes. Poor ergonomics can create musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which affect muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. There are three main risk factors that cause MSDs—posture, force, and frequency. Case Western Reserve University describes these risk factors below:

  • Posture– Joints can absorb force more easily when in neutral posture. Awkward and extreme postures increase susceptibility to injury because they may stress joint components and reduce or block blood flow.
  • Force – Placing additional force on the body’s joints by gripping, pinching, pushing, pulling, and lifting objects requires additional muscle exertion and loads joints and connective tissues. This can cause fatigue and may contribute to MSD if there is inadequate time for rest and recovery.
  • Frequency– Higher frequency of awkward postures and/or forces increases the potential for damage to a joint.

Common MSDs seen in the workplace include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, epicondylitis, trigger finger, muscle strains, and low back injuries. OHSA states these work-related MSDs can be prevented by fitting the right jobs to the right people and making sure employers are creating the safest workplace for their employees. Here are some ways employers can make that happen:

  • Provide Training – Training on ergonomics goes beyond teaching employees about safe practices. It includes open communication about concerns, coming up with solutions for reducing risk factors, and instructing on properly reporting early signs of MSDs or any other issues. It’s important employees and employers both know how to identify potential problems.
  • Support from Management – Management teams need to define clear objectives in regard to ergonomic health and discuss them clearly with employees. Management teams need to ensure job duties are assigned to the appropriate staff members as well as communicate expectations clearly.
  • Make Sure Workers are on Board – Management teams can get feedback from workers on what hazards they typically encounter and what processes are consistently strenuous on their bodies. By listening to employees, employers can evaluate appropriate changes. This keeps everyone safe while also showing employees that their health is a top priority.
  • Encourage Early Reporting of Issues – Often employees are nervous to report a concern. They don’t want pushback from other employees or their management. But the opposite needs to be true. Employees should not only feel safe to report any concern but also encouraged to do so. This provides confidence in the worker as well as helps prevent lost time claims due to more serious injuries.
  • Implement Solutions and Monitor Progress – Once solutions have been implemented, assign someone in the management team to monitor the results. Sometimes an initial solution may not end up being the best option, and that’s okay. It’s likely adjustments will need to be made to make sure healthy changes are successful.

A safe workplace is a productive workplace. For help with training on ergonomic health for your employees, contact Shield-Safety.

Social Media Safety in the Workplace

Social Media Safety in the Workplace

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. Research shows that over 302 million people in the US actively use social media today, which is about 90% of the total population. Facebook is the biggest platform, followed by Instagram then Tik Tok and Twitter. Because social media impacts us greatly, both in our time management and our mental health, there are some ground rules that you’ll want to implement while your employees are on the clock.

It’s Not All Bad

Of course, social media usage at work isn’t all bad. Allowing employees to take reasonable mental breaks throughout the day with access to their social media accounts can be a welcome respite from their duties. It also shows you trust them by providing moments to take a breather how they want. Social media is also a great way for your employees to communicate and connect during work and outside of work hours. People often become better friends through social media because of the easy access. Additionally, some social media platforms such as LinkedIn can help employees boost their personal development. They can connect with other professionals, providing them with more chances to learn new ideas and grow. Companies can also use social media as a way to boost their brand. You can encourage your employees to share positive information about the company on their personal pages, which is a form of free advertising. So, don’t squash all usage of social media, but also take some steps to ensure it’s not getting out of hand.

Guidelines are a Must

Social media usage at work shouldn’t be a free for all. There are some dangers such as employees leaking confidential information, which is serious, even if it’s an accident. You also want to make sure people aren’t looking at inappropriate matter while on the clock. The most effective way to address social media usage is through a written policy and direct, consistent communication. Communicate your expectations with your employees so they know they’re allowed some freedom if honesty and integrity are being displayed. You may also want to train your employees on how to use social media appropriately when representing the company and inform them on exactly what is allowed and what is not. Depending on your field, educating your employees on copyright laws or data protection may be necessary. If your employees seem to be overstepping the bounds of the allowances you’ve given, you’ll want to rein it back in quickly through trainings and updated policies.

Because there are privacy concerns when it comes to management of employee social media use, it’s important to know your rights as a business owner as well as the rights of your employees. Jackson Lewis, P.C. states: “While private sector employees have no inherent constitutional right to privacy, employer conduct is limited by common-law principles and federal and state privacy laws.”

If you need assistance creating and implementing a social media safety policy manual, Shield-Safety has got you covered. With constantly changing technology, it’s imperative for employers to stay ahead of the game.

Specific Safety for Young Workers

Specific Safety for Young Workers

For young workers entering the workforce, there are likely many questions or concerns you may have. (And some concerns you may not even know to have.) OSHA has a lot of information just for young workers to check out to ensure they’re not getting taken advantage of. The basic idea to OSHA is that “employers must follow all OSHA safety and health standards to prevent you from being injured or becoming ill on the job. If you are under age 18, there may be limits on the hours you work, the jobs you do and the equipment you use.”

Basic Rights All Workers

If you’re starting your first job, you don’t have to take whatever is handed to you because you’re at the “bottom of the ladder.” You have the right to work in a safe environment, to receive appropriate training for your job duties in a way that you understand it (i.e., in your language), to ask questions if you need further clarification or if something seems unsafe, to receive appropriate PPE, and to exercise your rights without discrimination or retaliation.

Your employer should provide you with a safe workplace and follow OSHA safety and health standards. They should provide proper training about potential hazards and give you the required gear to do your job well and in safety. They should respond to your questions and inform you of what to do if you get hurt on the job. If you feel your employer is not providing the above necessities, you have the right to file a confidential complaint with OSHA.

Parents of New Workers

If you’re a parent of a child that is getting their first job, you’re probably excited and nervous at the same time. This is completely normal. You can be an advocate for your child even though you’re not at the work site with them. They probably want their independence and may not be willing to share certain information with you, but it’s still important to get an idea of how they’re treated at work. Be aware of where your children are working and what their roles are. Ask questions about their training and what they’ve been up to at work. You may want to question them about their supervisors and how they interact with your child. If you see signs of concerns such as the job taking an unhealthy mental or physical toll on their body, you may need to step in. Notice if their school performance has dropped or if they’ve lost interest in activities they used to love. These are signs that the job may be demanding, and it may be time to look somewhere else for work. However, you feel there is a true safety issue, make sure you also report these hazards to OSHA to make sure appropriate measures will take place.

OSHA has several resources for young worker safety and health. Shield-Safety is also passionate about protecting our workers here in Utah, but even more so with our youth. Education is key to a safe workplace for everyone.

Hazard Communication

Hazard Communication

In the 1980s, OSHA adopted the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to protect workers from chemical hazards. The purpose of this standard is to ensure appropriate labeling is present and communication is relayed to workers regarding any chemical hazards they may be exposed to in the workplace. OSHA states that with the updated system including classifications and labeling, employees now not only have the right to know about these possible dangers, but they also have the right to understand:

“The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. This update will also help reduce trade barriers and result in productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals while providing cost savings for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the hazard communication standard.”

This means that workers need training, guidance, and thorough explanations about identities and hazards of the chemicals to ensure they understand fully what they are dealing with. OSHA’s HCS requires chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the possible hazards for their produced or imported chemicals and labels them accordingly for the customers. It also requires employers to have labels and safety data sheets for their workers that are exposed to any chemicals and ensure they’re trained appropriately.

Employers should provide specifics regarding health hazards as well as classifications of hazards. Labels must be provided that include signal words, pictures, and statements for hazard classes or categories. These labels are also required to have precautionary statements. Further, OSHA’s standard requires a specific 16-section safety data sheet for these chemicals in addition to the in-depth training in order to “facilitate recognition and understanding.”

Employees Have a Role

Although training, labeling, and relaying information are up to the employer, employees still play a role in safety around the workplace. Employees are expected to adhere to the policies and requirements of the standard and must attend and participate in necessary training sessions. Employees must take these hazards seriously and keep open communication with their safety management team. If employees aren’t understanding particular hazards in a training session, they must speak up and get further clarification. And, if employees notice problems with the chemical labeling or storage, they must also address that with their safety management team. (This includes any safety hazard, not just chemicals.) An employer provides the information and the safest space for their employees, but employees must return that practice with understanding what’s required and implementing the safety measures.

When dealing with exposures to chemicals or any other potentially hazardous situation, proper training is a must. For the best training in Utah, contact Shield-Safety. We are up to date on all OSHA requirements, and we are passionate about building a safe workforce no matter the industry or practice.

Important Safety Topics for Your Next Meeting

Important Safety Topics for Your Next Meeting
Shield-Safety provides on-site training for businesses of any size in any industry. Safety is important for the health of your employees and for the productivity of your business. If you haven’t started safety training for your employees, reach out to us today for assistance. Here are some main safety topics to consider:

Issues that Impact Your Workforce

General issues for every business should be addressed consistently and refreshed as necessary. Consider safety discussions regarding appropriate incident/accident investigation, alcohol and drugs on the job (and off the job, if necessary), workplace violence and harassment, general first aid and CPR, fire safety and evacuation procedures, worker fatigue, and mental health needs. Every employee, not just managers, needs to be trained on these topics and understand the protocols and procedures for your business.

OSHA Compliance

OSHA is crystal clear on what they expect from businesses and what they will cite on. It’s important you know and understand what you need to be complaint with. You also need your employees to know these items. OSHA’s top 10 violations over the last four years are:

  1. Fall protection – General requirements, construction
  2. Respiratory protection – General industry
  3. Ladders – Construction
  4. Hazard communication – General industry
  5. Scaffolding – Construction
  6. Fall protection – Training requirements, construction
  7. Control of hazardous energy (Lockout/tagout) – General industry
  8. PPE – Eye and face protection – Construction
  9. Powered industrial trucks – General industry
  10. Machinery and machine guarding – General industry

Let’s just discuss just the top three. Fall protections are so bad they show up twice on their list: once for general requirements and again for training problems. Slips, trips, and falls could be the first safety topic to discuss. Uneven pavement, wet and slick tile, or exposed and loose chords are examples of tripping hazards for your employees. The second on the list includes contaminated air in your facility that can cause issues such as bronchitis, emphysema, cognitive problems, and cancers. Employees must understand these potential invisible dangers and be provided with the proper equipment while they’re at the work site. The third item refers to ladder safety, which is a common hazard for employees as well as homeowners. Employees must know how to safely use extension ladders, wooden ladders, and step ladders for use in a variety of settings.

Environmental Factors

This topic includes your business’s impact on the environment and the impact the environment has on your employees while working. Your training topics may include heat illness or stress in high-impact jobs, seasonal safety such as excessive heat or extreme cold, driving safety in rainy or snowy conditions, chemical spills or leaks, and hazardous waste management. The EPA has a lot of requirements for companies to comply with in regard to handling hazardous waste. Employees need to know these requirements. Chemical spills should be prevented at all costs, but employees also need to know how to quickly, yet safely, address an emergency spill.

For help with your office’s safety trainings, contact the knowledgeable experts at Shield-Safety.

Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
We’ve received our first snowfall here in Utah, and we are a state of divided people—half of us love it, half of us hate it. The winter season may have a lot of wonderful aspects to it, especially in Utah with the greatest snow on earth, but it also has some not-so-wonderful aspects to it, such as the dreaded cold and flu season. Here are some tips to help keep colds and flus at bay this year so you can enjoy the snow and holidays without stress:

  1. Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently. Surfaces that get touched often should be the first to be cleaned and disinfected. Schools are always asking for donations of Clorox wipes because they need to wipe surfaces so often. But take this idea to the office and home, too. Don’t forget doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, cabinet handles, and cell phones.
  2. Practice healthy habits. Your immune system can’t do its job well if it’s not nourished. It’s important to get adequate sleep, be as physically active as you can, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods, and manage your stress. For many of us, the winter season is a stressful time with pressure from the holidays, so it’s important to factor in some time for self-care.
  3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Make sure to use a quality soap and apply enough to cover your hands, washing for 20 seconds minimum. Get in between the fingers and don’t forget the back of your hands. If you work with the public or in a school setting, washing hands often is even more important. You may want to carry a hand sanitizer with you, too.
  4. Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, and eyes. It’s estimated that people touch their face about 23 times per hour, but this should be avoided as much as possible. The mouth, nose, and eyes are entry points into your body, and when you touch these areas with dirty hands, you’re asking for germs to come on in.
  5. Get a flu shot and stay up on vaccines. This is even more critical for people who are immunocompromised. If you’re able to receive the flu shot and other important vaccines, get yourself a boost of protection as soon as possible.
  6. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have one and must use your hands, be sure to wash them right away. Transmitting germs is easy through a sneeze or a cough.
  7. If you have any cold or flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours, unless you need medical care. Many of us try to “power through” a sickness, but we’ve learned the hard way that this is not good. It’s a safety factor for business and it should be taken seriously. For a person’s individual health, they should stay home when sick, but for the betterment of the work team or community, staying home will help prevent the spread of the flu or cold onto others.

Firearm Safety

Firearm Safety

No matter how comfortable you are with a firearm, they always require a special set of safety guidelines. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) says if you own it, respect it, and secure it. Their website goes into depth on the ten rules of firearm safety, but this blog will discuss the four major ones. Avoid irreparable mistakes by following these four safety rules:

  1. Always Point the Muzzle in a Safe Direction – NSSF states that this is the most basic rule of all. They tell us: “If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they didn’t intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearms accidents. It’s as simple as that, and it’s up to you.” Pay particular attention to this rule when loading and unloading a firearm. When we say safe direction, we mean in a position that can’t strike a person or ricochet off something or be able to shoot through a wall or ceiling. Even if you’re dry firing, you want to point it at a safe target. Stay in control while you’re holding the firearm so you know exactly where the bullet will go.
  2. Keep Firearms Unloaded When not in Use – The only time a firearm should be loaded is when you are target practicing or in the field. When you are finished with the firearm, unload it immediately, not after you’ve packed up your vehicle and driven back home. As you’re handing a firearm to someone else, open the action and visually check the chamber, receiver, and magazine to ensure there is no ammunition. It’s important to never assume that a gun is unloaded; you always need to check this for yourself. And firearms and ammunition should be stored separate from each other in a safe place. (For quality gun cases, click here.) It is the gun owner’s responsibility to prevent unauthorized people or children from accessing a firearm.
  3. Don’t Rely on the Firearm’s Safety – The safety on a firearm is an additional insurance but should not be relied on as a sure bet. NSSF states: “treat every gun as though it can fire at any time.” People often think the safety is on only to find out too late that it was off. You also never want to hold a gun with a finger on the trigger until you are fully ready to shoot. Even if the safety is on, sometimes a jolt to a gun, such as getting dropped, can cause it to fire. The only time a gun won’t fire for certain is when the action is open and contains no ammunition.
  4. Prepare Your Target and Know What’s Behind It – Assess the area before starting target practice. Make sure you are confident in your target and that you know what’s beyond the area. Once that gun is fired, there is nothing you can do to take that bullet back.

Firearm safety is for everyone. If you want personal safety training on firearms, Shield-Safety can get you in touch with the right people.

Addressing Harassment in the Workplace

Addressing Harassment in the Workplace

An unfortunate hazard in the workplace that can’t be ignored is harassment. You already know harassment is not accepted anywhere, but you may be asking why harassment is a safety issue that involved workplace training. When you consider the common safety topics for businesses today, physical injuries are not the only areas that can be potentially problematic. Mental health is also a safety issue, and harassment of any kind can greatly affect a person’s emotional and psychological wellness. The mental toll alone is worth the safety topic coverage at the office, but additionally this strain actually leads to physical issues over time. Physical injuries include stress and fatigue, something that harassment contributes to. In the end, harassment, bullying, and threats have deeply negative impacts on human beings and it should never be tolerated in any setting.

As an employer, tackling harassment as a safety topic is critical to the success of your employees and the overall morale within the company. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers harassment to be any unwelcome behavior toward a person based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or sexual orientation), pregnancy, national origin, older age (particularly anyone over 40), disability, or genetic information (including family history). The EEOC states: “Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”

Dealing with harassment should be a proactive approach. New hires need to know from the start that harassment is not tolerated, and it’s important to clarify exactly what harassment is. Every employee should have a training on appropriate and respectful behavior, and updates to this training need to be a priority. If harassment is suspected, action needs to be taken immediately, and each complaint needs to be handled honestly. Employer responsibilities include not engaging in harassment, developing a written policy and action plan for harassment prevention, developing and implementing reporting procedures, and ensuring all workers and supervisors know the policies and are following them. Worker responsibilities include acting is a respectful and reasonable manner in the workplace, reporting harassment as necessary (see something, say something), and complying with the company’s policies on harassment.

Some work environments have previously been lax about harassment issues, and this makes for a tricky process to get through. However, new training and policies must be put in place and executed in order to provide not only a safe workspace but a respectful one as well. Many companies opt to bring in a professional third-party company to come up with polices and manage the necessary trainings. This method is beneficial because employees realize quickly that management is serious about implementing the new policies and that they want their workplace to be a safe haven for all their employees. If you have any training needs on any topic, Shield-Safety is the most experienced source in Utah. We know how to handle all safety topics, including sensitive ones.

Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

Your employees may not be emergency responders, but that doesn’t mean you can’t train them like one. Especially in high-risk industries such as construction and agriculture, employees need to know how to assess and respond to hazards around the workplace. At a minimum, employees should be confident they can identify unexpected situations, evaluate the hazards, and know when and how to take control of the situation safely. Training is never a waste of time, and if it’s put on the backburner, it’s a disservice to the entire company.

Most companies have a basic set of safety protocols and training sessions. And most employees have a general idea of these basics. For many industries, this may not be enough. So, how do you prepare employees for possibilities outside of the typical ideas of potential accidents? The answer is additional, appropriate, and customized training. Safety training essentially is helping people know how to expect the unexpected and providing them with the proper tools to address the unexpected in an effective way.

Cross-Train Employees

One way to help employees be prepared for unexpected events is to cross-train them on other duties. Learning the skills of other departments, even on a small scale, provides a better understanding of operations and offers more support to each employee. This doesn’t mean every employee needs to be an expert in every skill a company offers, but rather a general idea of how various operations are handled in order to be on guard for potential issues. Plus, broadening employees’ skill base is a benefit to the employer, the employee, and the customer.

Cross-training often builds a better team framework, encouraging everyone to work together and value each responsibility. When employees understand what different departments are accountable for, it promotes healthier collaboration and can even increase productivity. Not only are roles extra covered if someone is out, but the functions of these roles are understood at a deeper level. This means if something goes wrong, everyone will have some knowledge of how to respond appropriately.

Understand and Apply

Employers are charged with the responsibility of training their staff. This can’t happen effectively if they don’t understand their staff’s needs. Information that is too broad may be ineffective and staff members may lose interest quickly, yet information that is too detailed or not applicable to the team’s scope may feel overwhelming and cause stress. With a more customized approach, you can ensure you’re training on topics that are really necessary and that employees walk away feeling educated and valued. Everyone in the office should be accountable for training. When management shows engagement, the rest of the company typically follows suit. It’s also important to monitor training sessions and adapt to the needs and responses of the team.

When it comes to additional, specific training, it’s important to implement it professionally so your team doesn’t feel like management is overreacting with an unreasonable approach. Rather, tailor the training to promote a desire to be ready for possibilities that are truly likely in your workplace.

Back-to-School Safety

Back-to-School Safety

Many emotions surround going back to school. Some kids are excited, others are nervous. Some parents are heartbroken, others are thrilled. Wherever you are on the gamut, it’s important to be prepared with some back-to-school safety information.

It’s a Community Effort

Even if you don’t have children going to school, the new schedule affects the whole community. Everyone needs to drive more alert during school drop off and pick up hours, especially around bus stops and cross walks. Remember, a bus with flashing red lights and stop signs extended means you must stop—regardless of the direction you are traveling. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, all drivers must wait until the lights stop flashing and the signs have been withdrawn to proceed. Pay attention to crossing guards, watch for children running out between parked cars, and follow traffic rules in school zones. It’s also important to teach children to follow safety protocols when walking or riding bikes to and from school. A good rule of thumb is to wait until you have made eye contact with the driver before crossing the street.

Parent Involvement

Even though parents are very busy, some involvement with the school is necessary. Make sure your child’s information is up to date and includes important details. Most schools require updated forms each year with the basics, so be sure these get filled out. Additionally, make sure you’ve notified teachers and staff of critical information such as learning disabilities, allergies, guardianship complications, etc. It’s also wise to get to know a few other parents at the school. You don’t need to get fully involved with the PTA to be effective, just a handful of parents that can be relied on in case of emergencies will do. Know what emergency procedures the school has in the case of natural disasters as well as other emergencies that are uncomfortable to think about.

Don’t Carry Too Much Weight

It may sound silly at first, but backpack design and usage also need to be monitored. Many kids suffer from back pain, strain, and fatigue due to heavy backpacks and misuse. Too much weight can also create long-term issues with posture. Ensure your child’s backpack doesn’t hang more than a couple inches below their waist, try to get packs with wide padded shoulder straps, and encourage your child to wear the pack tightly on both shoulders. In general, a backpack shouldn’t exceed about 15-20% of their body weight.

At School

Finally, talk to your children about safety during school. Discuss bullying and how there is a no-tolerance policy for such behavior. If your child feels they are being bullied, address it with the school as soon as possible. The playground needs to be a topic as well, and if you’re child loves the monkey bars, make sure they leave scarves, necklaces, or hoodies with drawstrings on the ground. We want our children to have fun and get a few bumps and bruises along the way. But being a little aware can keep the fun in a healthy zone.

Emergency Preparedness Plans

Emergency Preparedness Plans

Emergencies are not usually predictable, however being prepared and trained for any possibility is an important part of safety in the workplace. It’s critical your employees know how to respond to an emergency and where to go to stay safe. OSHA’s website provides extensive information with recommendations on how to prepare for a variety of hazards, but it may be a good idea to bring in Shield-Safety’s professionals to train your staff on procedures specific to your business and location.

General Preparedness Tips

The best way to handle a disaster is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Of course, this only counts for potential problems within your control. Training your employees on being proactive with safety measures is critical for a safe work environment. Implement procedures such as regularly performing system checks on fire and safety systems and ensuring all safety products are accessible and in working order. Revisit these procedures on a regular basis to keep everyone up to date.

Every business needs an evacuation plan. There should be a primary and a secondary evacuation route, if possible, that every employee knows well and practices. Designate a meeting place outside and have a team responsible to take roll to ensure everyone got out safely. If you have an employee in need of assistance, make sure their needs are addressed and understood in order to create a specific plan for their situation.

Another important aspect of emergency planning is to keep a list of important contacts, such as emergency personnel, disaster relief agencies, family members, applicable customers, and possibly distributors or suppliers. Keep a copy of this list offsite as well. Insurance contacts may also be included in this list, as contacting them quickly will help expedite any potential claims.

No business should be operating without an effective first aid kit. Keep this in an easily accessible place and make sure your employees know where it is. In addition to medical necessities, the kit should include water, flashlights, batteries, a tool kit, a battery powered radio, and some non-perishable foods. Along with this first aid kit, training for your employees on how to implement first aid is also imperative, including how to operate an AED machine (which is a specific, additional training).

Different businesses have different risks and may need to train accordingly. For example, a consultant business on the 15th floor of a high-rise in downtown Salt Lake City will need to prep for different strategies in the event of an earthquake or fire than a single-story office supply warehouse in Magna. It’s important to know the particular risks of your business and prepare for the unique challenges that could come your way.

Shield-Safety is Utah’s leading safety experts. We train businesses for any situation and can create a plan that is specific to your needs. Many employees we train are so satisfied with our information that they take their newly gained knowledge home to their family and friends and implement strategies in their personal lives. For all your training needs, contact us today.

Feds Investigate Workplace Safety at Amazon Warehouses

Feds Investigate Workplace Safety at Amazon Warehouses

Some jobs are just naturally more hazardous than others, but there are still protections in place to ensure the safety of employees. Employers need to follow certain laws and regulations through the US Department of Labor and OSHA to provide a safe workplace for employees. It’s not uncommon to see an employer taking advantage of their employees, but that’s where the Justice Department steps in. NBC News reported in July that Amazon is being investigated for possible worker hazards at many of their warehouses. A U.S. official stated: “Federal workplace inspectors went to Amazon warehouses in several cities … as the Justice Department investigates possible safety issues and whether injuries were hidden.” These warehouses in question were located in New York City, Chicago, and Orlando. One concern is that the pace required from these workers is too extreme, while another concern is that injuries on the job have been hidden. An Amazon spokesperson commented on the investigation in their defense, saying: We’ll of course cooperate with OSHA in their investigation, and we believe it will ultimately show that these concerns are unfounded.” Another Amazon spokesperson did confirm a death of one employee at a New Jersey warehouse, which Amazon said has been properly managed with their family.

Earlier this year, Washington state’s Department of Labor released a statement saying Amazon calls for “strenuous work at an unsafe pace” at their Kent fulfillment center. Amazon disagrees and intends to appeal the labor agency. In response to these concerns, the U.S. Attorney’s office has created ways for former and current workers to report issues related to pace of work, failure to report injuries, and failure to receive proper care at Amazon’s first-aid center, which is provided by the retail giant.

Many Amazon workers from warehouses around the country have tried to form unions, citing working conditions and pace are unfair. Last year, there were reports that Amazon workers were being treated like robots, but Jeff Bezos combated that in his final shareholder letter saying: “that’s simply not accurate.” He stated that employees get designated breaks and often take additional casual breaks. In the letter he also said that Amazon does not set “unreasonable performance goals.” Employees at a Staten Island warehouse voted to join the Amazon Labor Union—formed by current and former employees of Amazon, yet other workers at a second facility voted against joining the union.

Whatever the outcome of these investigations, the demand on Amazon workers must be intense given the massive amount of business they do. It’s estimated that Amazon ships over 66,000 orders per hour and about 18 orders per second. No matter how many employees they have, that’s a lot to keep up with. Providing a safe work environment for employees should be on the top of any business’s priority list. If you need help with training or implementing safety strategies for your office, Shield-Safety is your best bet. We can provide consultation on your businesses needs as well as help bring in better practices for your office.

Summer Safety Suggestions – Part 2

Summer Safety Suggestions – Part 2

Thanks for checking out Part 1 of our summer safety suggestions blog series. Here are some more tips on how to have a great summer without incident:

Sun Protection

The US sees about 600 heat-related deaths each year. Strokes, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related issues are a concern for many, but they most often affect those under the age of 4 and over the age of 65. It’s important to stay hydrated and cool and to pay attention to any heat advisories in the area. You will also want to apply sun protection to avoid harmful sunburns. The sun’s rays are at their highest levels between the hours of 10am and 4pm, which means you’ll want to be the most cautious during those times. Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lightweight long sleeves are good options to combat the sweltering sun.

Swimming Safety

It probably comes as no surprise that swimming is one of the most popular activities throughout the summer. Swimming lessons are important for kids (and adults that never learned) and at the very least, everyone should learn how to tread water and keep afloat for survival in case of an emergency. Drowning is a silent killer—nothing like in the movies. Stay alert while at the pool or on the lake, don’t mix alcohol with swimming, and wear a life jacket while on a boat (this is required for kids 12 and under, and it’s required for everyone on the boat to have a jacket accessible). In addition to drowning, consideration needs to be taken to prevent chemical injuries from chlorine or other pool-cleaning chemicals. If you own a pool, do some research on the proper usage of the size of pool you have. You can also research public pools’ methods to ensure you’re not entering into an unsafe situation.

Traveling Safely Abroad

Summer is a high travel time, and you want to have a great vacation. Ensure you have the best time by doing a little research first. Get the vaccines that you need in the right amount of time (most places require about 4 to 6 weeks prior to travel) and check for safety risks at your destination. Drinking water, environmental factors, and animal illnesses may be very different from what you’ve been exposed to, which can make you sick. Even pollens and grasses from other locations can affect your allergies, which is something many of us don’t consider before flying away from home. Do some research, go prepared, and stay alert to prevent struggles while on vacation.

Safety at a Summer Job or Camps

Many younger kids take on a summer job or go to camps during their school break. Job-related injuries are common in youth between 15 and 24 years old from summer hazards usually stemming from exhaustion or working too long in conditions that are too hot. Young workers need to be careful during their summer camps or outside summer jobs to keep them active and safe, and adults need to pay attention to warning signs of over exertion.

Stay safe this summer with a few proactive steps and enjoy the great outdoors!

Summer Safety Suggestions – Part 1

Summer Safety Suggestions – Part 1

Summer is fun in the sun time, and you can keep the party going by being safe and prepared. With a few careful considerations, you can fully enjoy the summer months while avoiding any injury or inconvenience with a few of our helpful tips.

Protect Against Insects and Bites

Most insects here in Utah are pretty harmless, but there are a few you’ll want to steer clear of. Choose an EPA-registered insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET to protect against unwanted mosquito bites as well as ticks. Bites from these bugs are uncomfortable for everyone, but if you’re allergic, it’s even worse. You’ll also want to watch out for brown recluse spiders and black widows to avoid getting a severe and painful spider bite. While you’re on the trails, be mindful of rattlesnakes and other creatures that can bite you, your kids, or your furry friends. If you do get a rattlesnake bite, remove rings, bracelets, and watches before swelling starts, wash it with soap and water quickly, cover the bite with a clean dressing, and seek out medical aid within about 30 minutes.

Safe Food Practices

You’ve probably been to a family BBQ where that mayo-based macaroni salad has sat out a bit too long. Food poisoning generally peaks in the summer months due to the hot temperatures. Be careful around raw meats when you’re in the grilling mood and don’t let food sit out in the heat for too long. In general, try to get food back in the refrigerator after it’s been on the picnic table for about two hours. Additionally, minimize the amount of touching that happens at the party. Try to keep foods covered, consider designating a server to avoid too many hands in the potato salad, and make sure to have hand washing areas wherever possible. If you get done with the BBQ and you’re not sure if something has been out for too long, throw it out. It’s not worth risking food poisoning.

Don’t Slack on Children’s Safety

Bike rides, skateboarding, and roller skating (which has surprisingly made a comeback) all require helmets. Even though it’s hot, kids should still be wearing helmets. Head injuries can be life threatening and life changing, and it’s simply not worth the risk. Make sure kids are buckled in safely in the vehicle on your road trips and adventures. Properly buckling your kids reduces the risk of serious or fatal injuries by almost 80 percent. And remember, kids under the age of 13 are safest in the back seat

Keep up on Vaccines

Whether you’re planning to travel out of the country or not, immunizing your kids is the best way to protect them from serious diseases. Summer is a good time to catch up on these vaccines. The CDC also recommends three vaccines for 11- to 12-year-old kids to protect against meningitis, HPV cancers, and whooping cough. Check with your pediatrician if you have concerns or questions about vaccines.

More summer safety suggestions are found in Part 2 of this blog series.

Stop Bleeding, Save a Life

Stop Bleeding, Save a Life

Cuts and wounds can be scary, but with a quick and effective response they can often be taken care of without panic. Small and even moderate cuts can often be handled at home with a good first aid kit, a trained helper, and immediate attention. But with a large hemorrhaging wound in a critical area, a person can bleed to death in under five minutes if it’s not quickly stopped. If someone loses more than 40 percent of their blood, which is about 2,000 mL, they will die. It’s imperative to get the bleeding to stop as quickly as possible and to rush to the hospital for blood transfusions.

Always call 911 if bleeding is severe, if you suspect there is internal bleeding, if you notice an abdominal or chest wound, if you cannot stop the bleeding after ten minutes of firm and steady pressure, or if blood is spurting out of the wound. Even if you call 911, you should do what you can to stop the bleeding while you wait for responders to show up.

Here are some ways to try and get a severe wound to stop bleeding in an urgent situation:

  • Apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth, tissue, or piece of gauze until you notice the bleeding stop. A good first aid kit should have the appropriate cloth or gauze for this application.
  • If blood soaks through the material, do not remove it. Place more gauze or cloth on top while continuing to apply pressure.
  • If the wound is on someone’s leg or arm, lift the limb above the heart, if possible, to help the bleeding slow down.
  • Wash your hands before and after giving first aid and, if possible, before you clean and dress the wound.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet unless the bleeding is severe and has not stopped with the pressure you’ve been applying.

If the wound doesn’t look serious, try these options to help take care of the wound carefully:

  • Clean the wound initially with soap and warm water only. Rinse the soap completely to prevent irritation.
  • Do not use hydrogen peroxide or iodine. These products can cause tissue damage.
  • Protect the wound with antibiotic cream to reduce infection risks and cover with a sterile bandage from your first aid kit.

If you’re not in emergency status, but the wound is a bit more than you can handle, here is when you should call a doctor:

  • If the wound is deep or has jagged edges or is gaping open.
  • If the wound is on someone’s face.
  • If the wound has debris or dirt in it and you cannot safely get it out.
  • If you see signs of infection such as redness, a discharge, tenderness, red streaks around it or the person is running a fever.
  • If the area feels numb.
  • If the area is from an animal or human bite.
  • If a person gets a deep cut or puncture and has not had their tetanus shot in the past five years.

Education and training is key to helping injured people get what they need in an emergency. Contact Shield-Safety for all your safety needs.

Injuries at Work

Injuries at Work

If you’re a full-time worker, did you know these hours take up roughly one third of your life? If you’re at work that often, an accident is highly likely to occur at some point. All employers are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance to protect their employees, with very few exceptions. But sometimes workers comp claims can get sticky and you may need to hire legal help to get your benefits. KSL.com reported last month on a Utah man that lost both his legs on the job and his struggle to get compensation for his injuries. This gentleman worked for a railroad routing company when he tripped and fell under the wheels of a freight car. He lost both legs just above his knees. For a few years, workers comp paid out for his medical treatment and the many necessities as well as a monthly pension. His employer found him a light-duty job to keep him on as a full-time employee so he could continue to provide for his family. He also needed to work for his mental wellbeing and stability of life.

At some point, another insurer took over his claim and noticed he was working full time. They said that if he was permanently disabled, he shouldn’t be able to work at all. KSL.com states that the insurer “cited a statute which allows an insurer to cut disability benefits in half if a so-called permanently and totally disabled worker is employed and earns a salary above a certain threshold. They argued that he could not be permanently and totally disabled and still work a full-time job.” Because of this, the gentleman had to seek legal help to restore his lost benefits. Under Utah law, losing two limbs is considered a “permanently and totally disabling condition” and states that working with such a disability may not be considered in reducing a person’s benefit. Because of this law and the help from legal representation, he can continue working his light-duty job to support his family while also receiving necessary disability benefits.

Reporting Your Injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2019, about 2.8 out of 100 full-time workers were injured on the job. These injuries consisted mostly of sprains, strains, and tears. However, out of the many injuries that occur on the job, a lot of them don’t get reported. Worker’s compensation is in place to protect employees, even if it can be tricky to navigate. If you’re injured on the job, don’t keep it hush. Report it and get legal help if needed.

Workplace injuries can be lessened if employees are trained in safety best practices and in basic first aid response. Safety training should be a top priority so your staff can be proactive when performing their duties. But when an injury does occur, it’s not only helpful if employees know how to administer medical aid before medical professionals show up, but it can also save a life. For all your safety needs in the office and in the home, from training resources to quality products, visit Shield-Safety.

Precautions in Yard Work

Precautions in Yard Work

This time of year, we’re all coming out of hibernation and tackling many projects in our yards. It’s important to take some safety precautions before you get excited and rush out to check off all the to-do lists that are waiting. Consumer Reports states that each year about 100 Americans die while performing various yard work tasks and another 140,000 plus people are sent to the emergency rooms with injuries. These are usually a result of ladder mishaps, power equipment accidents, and sunstroke or overexertion. Take a few proactive measures to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

Dress Right, Stress Less

If you’re working in the yard, it’s important to wear the right gear. Be sure you’re in closed-toed shoes or boots that will protect from cuts or falling heavy items. Wear high quality gloves that fit properly to avoid blisters, bug bits, or chemical contact on the skin. Protect your eyes and ears with safety glasses and ear plugs if you’re using loud equipment. Apply sunscreen if you’re out working during the day to avoid painful burns. And use bug spray whenever necessary and watch out for ticks. If you’re getting up on the ladder, avoid loose clothing that can get snagged and force you to lose your balance.

Body Movin’ and Groovin’

Even if you’re in great shape, you’ll want to be careful when performing strenuous yard work. You’ll likely be using different muscles than normal, and tears or strains are common. Stretch a little before you head out and take breaks especially when doing repetitive motions. Use your legs when lifting rather than straining your back or ask for help when lifting heavy items. Taking breaks is important, and make sure you’re drinking water or hydrating drinks other than energy drinks or soda. You may be tempted to finish everything in one day, but it’s okay to space it over a few days if that’s safer for your body.

Be Smart with Tools

Power tools can make yardwork so much easier, but you have to familiarize yourself with them to make sure you know what you’re doing. Never use power tools while under the influence, if you’re drowsy, or if you’re distracted and struggling to stay alert. Store your equipment securely and educate and supervise your children if they’re starting to take on some yard work tasks. Make sure your tools are in good working order and do not have cracks, frayed or damaged wires, or other issues. Lawn mowers alone sent over 87,000 people to the ER in 2019. String trimmers put about 16,000 people in ambulances, pressure washers injured about 7,500 people, and chain saw accidents caused 27,000 wounds that year.

Have some Emergency Care On Hand

With all the hours spent outside and working, it’s a good idea to have some emergency care handy at your house. A good first aid kit with burn care, splints, bandages, scissors, cleaning agents, gauze pads, and more will be a good first step for treating injuries while waiting for EMTs. For the best selection of high quality first aid products, come see us today. We can help you design a custom first aid kit for your home.

Vehicle Safety Tips

Vehicle Safety Tips

Its road trip season! The Utah Department of Transportation considers the time between Memorial Day and Labor the most dangerous time to be on the roads because many of us are heading out for vacations, activities, long weekends, and fun. Stay safe out there with the following tips:

  1. Drive aware and offensively: We may sound like your driving instructor here but we’re going to say it anyway – keep your eyes on the road at all times. If you need to pull over to handle something, do that. Be prepared for issues and be aware of what’s going on the road. Watch signs and drive alert. Don’t drive drowsy or intoxicated.
  2. Keep your speed down: You’ve heard the phrase “arrive alive” and this means slowing down. We’re all anxious to get to our destinations and it’s tempting to speed. Avoid this, especially at rush hour times where emotions are tense for most drivers. Set a cruise control on long trips if that helps you maintain your speed.
  3. Have an escape route: When traffic is tight, try to have an out in case of an emergency. This may not always be possible, but it’s a goal to keep in mind and something to watch out for. Don’t get stuck between semitrucks, and don’t sit a car’s blind spot.
  4. Limit distractions: This one you already know, but it’s so important, it’s good to get a reminder. Don’t text and drive and don’t mess with the radio or reach around in the back seat for a lost binky or toy. Hang up the phone and keep focused on the important task of driving.
  5. Be aware of surroundings: This goes along with being alert, but take it a step further by paying special attention to your surroundings. Did the people pull over and you can’t figure out why? Look around, maybe an emergency vehicle is coming and you didn’t hear it. Maybe everyone stayed stopped at a light when it turned green. Be alert, maybe they see someone is flying through the intersection’s red light.
  6. Keep a first aid kit in the vehicle: You never know when an emergency will happen but it’s always good to be prepared. A vehicle-specific first aid kit will come in handy at some point, and when that moment arrives, you’ll be glad you have it.
  7. Keep an emergency kit in the vehicle: Like a first aid kit, a vehicle emergency kit will come in handy at some point. This kit should have jumper cables, basic tools, a flashlight, reflective triangles, and extra batteries at a minimum.
  8. Always wear a seatbelt and have children secured properly: Many deaths from car accidents occur because people were not properly restrained. Keep your seatbelt on and make sure your children have the proper restraint systems as well.
  9. Inspect equipment and tools and keep up on car maintenance: Invest in your car in a way that keeps you safe on the road. Keep current on oil changes, tire rotations, and other maintenance issues.

Stay safe on the road this summer and stop in to Shield-Safety for first aid and vehicle safety kits.

Medication Safety Basics

Medication Safety Basics

With so many medications available, it’s important to be aware of the risks of overdosing or harmful side effects. The CDC reports that about 82% of American adults take at least one medication daily. They estimate that about 1.3 million emergency department visits and 350,000 hospitalizations take place each year in the US due to adverse drug effects (ADEs). Americans also spend about $3.5 billion dollars on medical costs due to ADEs, and about 40% of those costs are thought to be preventable with proper drug administration practices. However, it’s likely ADEs will grow in the coming years because of the many new developments with medicines, the discovery of new uses for older medications, the increased use of medications for disease prevention and treatments, and the expansion of insurance coverage for prescription medications. While there is a lot of good that comes from proper medications, we still need to be careful and make sure we’re taking them as our doctor prescribes. This is especially true with opioids or narcotics. These may be necessary after a surgery or major injury, but they should never be prescribed or used for a long period of time due to dependence, addiction, and overdose risks. If you or someone you know has been taking a narcotic and you notice shifts in mood, that you’re taking more than you were prescribed, that you’re feeling sedated or high, or need too much or too little sleep, reach out to your doctor right away.

FDA Monitoring

The FDA has to approve any drugs sold in the US, and this includes over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs. The FDA evaluates the safety of a drug in addition to its effectiveness. The way they assess these factors is by looking at side effects, how the drug affects a medical condition, the way the drug is manufactured, and what the label says. This thorough check tells us that we can trust the drug will do what we want it to do but also provides us warnings and what to look for in case there’s a problem. The FDA also monitors the drug after the approval has taken place. When someone reports an ADE, health care providers and patients can report it on the FDA’s MedWatch website. Be sure you’re buying medications only from licensed pharmacies in the US and that you know how and to take your medications correctly.

Storing and Disposing of Medications

Always store medications appropriately and out of reach from little kids or from those that may take advantage of them. Some medications may even need to be locked away. If you have unused medicines at the end of your treatment, there are usually local places you can take them to for proper disposal. Some pharmacies have a mail-back program, but if you’re unsure, give your local police department a call and they’ll know how to handle is appropriately. Never sell your medications, and if you think you’ve had a narcotic or other potentially dangerous medication stolen, report it to your local police.

Safety First

Shield-Safety may not be a pharmacy, but we take safety seriously. We put educating the public about best practices on the top of our priority list. For the best in safety training and products, contact us today.

Safety at Home

Safety at Home

Our goal is to provide people with the confidence to respond to injuries effectively in the workplace and at home. Through our training programs and our wide range of products, our clients and customers walk away with valuable knowledge to get through emergency situations. Our workplace trainings include information on how to think safely outside of work as well as on the job, making us a critical resource for your employees and their families.

Home Safety Tips

There are few basics safety items to be aware of that often get overlooked in our busy day-to-day lives. Prevention is key. We recommend you check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors about one a month. Test them by holding down the test button for a few seconds, then wait for the alarm. If it doesn’t sound or it’s too quiet, replace the batteries and try again. You should have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and garage or next to a fireplace. We also recommend being ready for climate disasters. Have some ice melt tucked away to tackle slick spots and prevent falls, clear gutters in preparation for heavy rainfall and to avoid leaks in the home, and invest in a generator in the event of a long-term power failure.

For home structure safety, ensure you have handrails that are up to code, especially if you have small children or elderly people in the home or as frequent visitors. Add grip products to slippery surfaces for added security, and consider motion-sensor lighting for especially dark areas. Falls are common injuries, and you can help prevent them by removing hazards and providing these helpful tools. Also consider anchoring furniture that could topple over onto a child. Bookcases, dressers, and entertainment centers can be top heavy, and with the right leverage they can come down on a child easily. Avoid this by anchoring it to the wall right as you set it up.

We’ve heard many firefighters say that home fires frequently start with lint-filled dryer vents. Clean this about once a year and make sure you’re cleaning out the dryer lint trap every time you use it. Also avoid calling 911 by clearly marking toxic products such as cleaning supplies and paint products as well as medications. Keep hazardous products out of reach, and make sure your medicines are stored and labeled so that mistakenly taking the wrong item is not going to occur.

Prevention is the best practice, but since we’re only human, there are bound to be mistakes. Keep first aid kits stocked, current, and handy for a quick response to bodily injuries. Shield-Safety carries an impressive selection of first aid products, and we can help set up the best kit for your needs.

Proactive businesses owners will benefit by bringing us in for training of employees to provide invaluable information for your team. We discuss the importance of and provide the support tools necessary for safety at home in addition the safety on the job. This added attention shows each employee that you care about them even when they’re off the clock.

Safe Work Environments

Safe Work Environments

Create a safe work environment by providing your employees with important knowledge of safe practices and safe responses. Sometimes a person’s intervention is not the best choice in an emergency. Training your employees how to respond is critical, but when to respond is just as important. Your employees need to know how to administer basic first aid and the primary goals of first aid.

Goals of First Aid

The primary goals of first aid are to preserve life, prevent further injury, and promote recovery. It is NOT a medical treatment but rather a way to support an injured individual until professionals can arrive. Untrained employees should not attempt to do more than they know in an effort to help. Employees need to know how to assess the situation and know what to do in the moment. They will need to survey the situation for danger around the injured person as well as themselves or other staff members. If the scene is dangerous, it will not help to rush in and make rash decisions. They also need to be able to see the cause of the injury before they start to act. They should know when to move an injured person and when not to. Once they have assessed all these factors, then they can prepare to administer the basic first aid requirements. Part of first aid is trying to keep the injured person calm, which can’t be done if the first aid responder is not calm. Calling 911 needs to be done even if the employee thinks they can help. A bystander can call if they know what’s going on while another person administers the necessary first aid treatments. Some cases may not require 911 and basic first aid can handle the issue at hand, but when in doubt, don’t wait and don’t risk it.

Know Common Medical Conditions

Our training will help employees be able to recognize common medical conditions. These include seizures, shock, stroke, heart attacks, choking, and respiratory distress. Recognizing and understanding these different medical episodes will provide employees will important knowledge that will help them better assess how to respond.

Always be Proactive and Protect Yourself

In emergency situations, it’s easy for emotions to take over and for people to make rash decisions. Take a deep breath and remain calm. In some cases, you may need to wear protective equipment such as gloves, masks, face shields or goggles, or maybe even a disposable gown. If the scene is unsafe, don’t play the hero. This makes it harder for first responders, even if your intentions are good. Also, don’t let pride get in in the way. If someone on scene has more medical training than you do, let them take over. Keep the area clear instead and be the one that stays on the phone with emergency responders.

There are many ways to handle emergency situations. The more you know, the better you can respond. Provide your employees with as many beneficial tools as possible by implementing thorough, high-quality training. Contact Shield-Safety for all your training questions for the best selection of emergency products on the market.

Workplace Disasters Throughout US History – Part 2

Workplace Disasters Throughout US History – Part 2

If you thought our previous blog was interesting, keep on reading. Here are some more workplace disaster stories that have occurred throughout the US:

Scofield, Utah Mine Disaster

This story is likely one you’ve already heard before since it happened here in our backyard. The first day of May in 1900 was a terrible one for Winter Quarters coal mine and all of Carbon County. Black powder exploded unexpectedly in the No. 4 mine shaft. It ignited coal dust which helped spread the fire quickly to other parts of the mine. Some miners died immediately from the blast, many with their tools still in their hands when they were discovered. Many others died from asphyxiation from the toxic fumes. Some miners headed toward the source as a rescue effort and died from the gases, and others were stuck deep in the mine and couldn’t escape. Over 200 men were killed, and it took almost 20 minutes to get through the debris just to reach the entrance. One miner was blasted 820 feet away from the mine opening, showing how massive the impact was. Safety wasn’t a top priority at this time for coal mining, luckily this is no longer the case.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Another story you probably remember is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. In April 2010, a natural gas surge sparked an explosion in a newly installed concrete core. The natural gas traveled up to the platform and ignited, killing 11 people and injuring 17. Shortly after, on April 22, the rig capsized and sank. The result was the creation of the largest marine oil spill in history. US government officials estimated the leak to have peaked at about 60,000 barrels of spilled oil each day, forming a slick that extended over 57,000 square miles and polluting over 1,100 miles of shoreline. It took about 3 months to stop the flow of oil.

Collapse of Pemberton Mill

January of 1860 was devastating for Lawrence, Massachusetts residents. The tragedy started off with textile workers at the Pemberton Mill hearing odd rattling noises then a massive and long crashing sound. A part of the building’s wall buckled and exploded causing the mill to collapse in seconds. Machinery weighing tons fell through the floors, bringing terrified workers with it. The Boston Journal reported that the collapse formed at 50-foot-high pyramid of debris. Almost the entire community rushed to the site to help the hundreds of workers, which included many women and children. Over 140 people were killed and about 300 more were severely injured. The mill has been completely rebuilt and still stands today.

Accidents on the job can and do happen. Tragedies like these are not common occurrences, but our goal is to prevent them at all costs. Proper training for your employees and keeping in compliance with rules and regulations are must-dos for all businesses in order to stay as safe as possible. Shield-Safety is Utah’s leading resource for the most up-to-date and applicable workplace training.

Workplace Disasters Throughout US History – Part 1

Workplace Disasters Throughout US History – Part 1

Feeling safe on the job is critical, and it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure their employees are up to date on applicable trainings for their position and duties. Today, safety is generally taken seriously in the country and most businesses do a great job to keep their staff safe. If your business needs safety training or assistance related to safety in the workplace, Shield-Safety is ready to deliver. Accidents unfortunately do happen, no matter how much training we do. Here are some of the most tragic workplace disasters that have happened in the US:

Explosion at a Texas Fertilizer Company

In April of 2013, West Fertilizer Company reported a fire inside their West, Texas plant. Emergency crews showed up and as they frantically fought to contain the flames, the unit exploded. The ammonium nitrate explosion killed 15 people, including first responders and volunteers. More than 200 people were injured and hundreds of buildings and homes were damaged or destroyed. The blast also left a 93-foot-wide crater. Experts said the explosive force was equivalent to about 8 tons of TNT and a magnitude 2.1 earthquake. About a month later, investigations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives showed the fire was deliberately set as a “criminal act.” The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board called it “one of the most destructive incidents ever investigated” by the board.

SS Grandcamp Explosion and Fire

It seems fertilizer in April in Texas was a bad combination. In April of 1947, an explosion in Texas City that was sparked by a fire on the SS Grandcamp, a French-owned ship, rocked the area. Crews were finishing loading ammonium nitrate fertilizer when they noticed smoke in the cargo area where 2,300 tons of fertilizer was stored. Crews attempted to snuff out the fire, but they were unsuccessful. The massive explosion was heard over 150 miles away, and a mushroom cloud shot up 2,000 feet in the sky, destroying two small planes passing over. The SS High Flyer, a nearby ship carrying sulfur, also caught fire and exploded. The chain of fires caused crude oil tankers to burn for days. More than 2,000 homes were destroyed, a 15-foot tidal wave was set off, and between 400 and 600 people were killed with more than 4,000 injured.

Molasses Flood in Massachusetts

Slow as molasses was not applicable to this event. In January of 1919, a giant tank of molasses broke open in northern Boston. Over two million gallons came gushing down the streets at 35 miles per hour like a huge sticky tsunami wave. Twenty-one people were killed and over 150 more were injured. It may seem like a silly story at first, but the results were devastating. Theories about how the tank burst started circulating, some thought the molasses fermented and caused too much pressure. Some thought anarchists set up a bomb. The trial lasted for years and included thousands of witnesses, creating over 20,000 pages of conflicting statements. More recent investigations, however, discovered the tank was flawed. It took decades for the smell of molasses to dissipate.

Check out our next blog for more interesting stories.

4 Ways MSM Can Help You

4 Ways MSM Can Help You

Many Americans suffer from consistent ailments throughout their lifetime. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a chemical found naturally throughout the planet that can be used for a number of troublesome issues. Organosulfur compounds are found in the foods we eat, but it’s rarely enough to give us what we need. Here are four big reasons we suggest getting some of this creamy golden goodness:

Arthritic Relief

MSM has an anti-inflammatory effect and is full of antioxidants. Sulphur is a main component of the cream, and it plays an important role in the making of glucosamine and collagen—both of which are crucial for healthy joints and bones. Sulphur also aids in the production of immunoglobulins, which support your body’s immune system. This cream can be a dream for those suffering from arthritic pain. Apply the oil-free lotion to your joints throughout the day and/or you can add tablets to you supplement regimen.

Smooth Out Dry Skin

Dry skin may not necessarily be painful, but MSM can still help out with the effects of dry skin. Wrinkles and other signs of aging are typically caused by dry skin, which is where MSM comes in. MSM improves skin elasticity and hydration, resulting in smoother, firmer skin. This is a plus for anyone of any age. MSM is so effective, it soothes excessively dry skin that is irritating and itchy. It also decreases the breakdown of collage beneath the skin, helping your skin stay healthy for longer. If your feet or fingers crack in the cold winter months, you’ll want to try out our MSM lotion.

Tackle Uncomfortable Eczema

MSM is often called a skincare miracle. If you suffer for eczema, it’s worth it to give MSM a try. It’s common for eczema to flare up in the winter around Utah when it’s especially dry and cold, so strengthen your skin barrier with MSM cream particularly right now. The ingredients in this cream physically locks in the moisture that your skin desperately needs, creating a better natural barrier from the harsh winter cold. If you have sensitive skin or eczema on your face, this product is completely free of harmful ingredients and safe for application on your face and neck and around your eyes.

Treat Painful Shingles

Shingles can be extremely painful. With MSM lotions and/or tablets, you can alleviate the symptoms of shingles with their healing effects. You don’t have to worry about applying too much, studies have not shown any detrimental effects of MSM even when applied liberally. For tablets, be sure to read the label to ensure you’re taking the correct amount. Many people suffering from shingles struggled to find any relief from the painful rash until they tried MSM.

The FDA has placed MSM into the GRAS category meaning it’s “generally recognized as safe.” Many people use MSM to help with sunburns, stretch marks, gout, muscle cramps, and even PMS symptoms in addition to the ailments mentioned above. We carry MSM tablets, water drops, creams, and lotions, and our knowledgeable staff can answer any questions you may have regarding MSM products.