Archive for First Aid

The OSHA/NIOSH Guide to Nail Gun Safety

A Nail Gun is a common tool used by contractors and carpenters everyday at construction sites, especially in residential construction and every year, tens of thousands of painful injuries occur related to nail guns. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels said that nail gun injuries are responsible for approximately 37,000 emergency room visits annually.

In an effort to prevent nail gun injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a handbook for employers and self-employed contractors titled, “Nail Gun Safety – A Guide for Construction Contractors”.

Improving Nail Gun Safety in the Workplace
OSHA and NIOSH have developed six steps that employers can take to improve nail gun safety and prevent workers from injury or death.

  1. Use nail guns with a full sequential trigger – this type of trigger will reduce the risk of unintentional nail discharge and double fire, which includes bumping into co-workers.
  2. Provide adequate training – everyone benefits from training. Employers should provide hands on training, including operation, loading the nail gun, air compressor operation, awkward positions and what-to-do when the nail gun malfunctions.
  3. Establish work procedures – creating a step-by-step procedure for handling, operating and storing of nail guns will make the workplace safe and reduce employee injuries.
  4. Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – workers should be provided and required to wear steel toe boots, a hard hat, high impact safety glasses with ANSI Z87.1 protection, and earplugs or earmuffs while operating a nail gun.
  5. Encourage employees to discuss the importance of nail gun safety – employees should be active in making sure fellow employees are following proper nail gun operating procedures.
  6. Provide adequate first aid supplies and immediate medical treatment immediately following nail gun injuries.

Nail Gun Don’ts

  • Never bypass or disable nail gun safety features, including removing the spring from the safety-contact tip, or securing the trigger so it does not need to be pressed.
  • Never keep your finger on the trigger when holding or carrying a nail gun that is not in use.
  • Never lower the nail gun from above or drag it by the air hose.
  • Never operate a nail gun with your non-dominate hand.

Click Here to download OSHA’s “Nail Gun Safety – A Guide for Construction Contractors” handbook.

Basic First Aid at Work

Everyday, injuries occur at the workplace, even with the best accident prevention programs in place. Knowing basic first aid procedures in case of an emergency can go a long way. It is often the responsibilities of a Certified First Aid Provider to aid in the stabilization of an injured or ill co-worker on the job site, but when one is not available, it is the responsibilities of ordinary people to act accordingly.

What is a Certified First Aid Provider? 29 CFR 1910.151(b) states “In the absence of an infirmary, clinic or hospital in the near proximity of the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid.” CFAPs are certified and trained in various levels in CPR and first aid.

First Aid Basics

Open Wounds for small wounds it is best to place a sterile gauze pad firmly on the wound while wearing latex gloves and hold for at least 5 minutes. When bleeding subsides, wrap the wound and gauze using a conforming wrap. If bleeding does not stop, dial 9-1-1.

Heat and Electrical Burns – first use water to stop any burning of the skin. If the skin is not broken apply a cold pack or bag of cold water (not ice) to the area until the pain has subsided. If the burn has broken the skin, quickly cover the wound with a clean, dry cloth and dial 9-1-1. DO NOT attempt to clean the wound and DO NOT apply ointments or creams.

Chemical and Compressed Gas Burns – immediately use a faucet or emergency shower to clean away any chemicals for a minimum of 15 minutes. Then, loosely cover the wound with a dry cloth or burn dressing and dial 9-1-1 for immediate medial attention.

Shock – symptoms of shock include irregular breathing, chills, weak pulse, nausea, cold sweat and pale lips. Shock is potentially life threatening and should be treated with care. If you notice someone going into shock, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Then, lay the person on their back and do not move them. Raise the legs and feet with a pillow and keep the person warm with a blanket. DO NOT attempt to give the person anything to eat or drink.

Be Cautious of Infectious Diseases

When providing first aid, bloodborne and airborn pathogens are most commonly transmitted through touching, breathing and biting. Follow these guidelines to help reduce transmission of bodily fluids when administering first aid.

  • DO NOT eat, drink or touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
  • DO NOT touch objects that may be soiled with blood.
  • Make sure you cover any open wounds and scrapes you may have with the proper protective clothing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately following the first aid process.
  • Use a clean up kit for properly cleaning bodily fluids.
  • Properly dispose of all used first aid supplies in a hazardous waste bag.

and remember, always keep your First Aid Kit stocked and ready for use.

Health Problems Associated with Wildfire Smoke Inhilation

Wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico have burned a combine 1400 square miles of land, pumping billows of smoke into the atmosphere that contains a mixture of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor, particulate matter and other organic chemicals. Inhalation of smoke is damaging to your respiratory system and millions of people are affected by it every year. People living in a 5-10 mile radius of a wildfire are at the most risk and should limit prolonged outside activity.

Common health problems associated with smoke inhalation include coughing, itchy throat, dry eyes and headaches. More serious health issues that can arise include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pains, exacerbation of asthma and the development of bronchitis. Children, elderly and individuals with a history of asthma or respiratory diseases are the most at risk to develop health issues. Even the healthiest person can develop symptoms when exposed to high levels of wildfire smoke.

Residents living near wildfires should take precautions to ensure proper respiratory health. Hot and dry weather conditions cause smoke in the air to remain stagnate and settles at the ground level. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends staying indoors as the best way to avoid smoke inhalation. Keep windows and doors closed and remain indoors until smoke levels have decreased. If you have to drive somewhere, keep the windows rolled up the entire trip.

For those individuals looking to take more precautions, a full face respirator is recommended. The full face design seals around your forehead, cheeks and under your chin for an airtight fit. Full face respirators also come with adjustable straps so you can get a custom and secure fit. It is also recommended to use a pair of organic vapor cartridges or particulate filters for the best respiratory protection possible.

Fourth of July Safety Tips

It’s almost time to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day with family and friends, good old fashion hamburgers, and of course, fireworks.  Unfortunately, Fourth of July celebrations often end with injuries due to unsafe firework handling. Severe burns, amputations, blindness and in some cases, deaths can turn a joyful celebration to a medical nightmare.   Keep your loved ones injury free this holiday by following several safety tips.

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close-by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Have a first aid kit and a burn kit on hand
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Before using fireworks, make sure they are permitted in your area. Keep in mind,  illegal fireworks are often the cause of severe injuries and fires. These banned fireworks include large reloadable mortar shells, cherry bombs, aerial bombs, M-80 salutes, and larger firecrackers containing more than two grains of powder. Individuals found in possession of, or using, illegal fireworks can face fines, penalties and/or arrest.  By taking extra precautions, using wise judgment and obeying the laws, your Fourth of July celebration will go off with a bang!

Insect Protection

The arrival of summer not only brings hot and humid temperatures, but it also brings about insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and mites. Working outdoors, near forests or at construction sites with standing water are where workers are at the most risk to insect bites.  Protection form these bugs is a must since they carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Take Precaution!
Some basic insect bite protection includes; wearing light colored clothing (since mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors) and cover you body with as much clothing as possible, such as pants, long sleeve shirts, work boots, gloves, and hard hats. These easy tips are the first steps in preventing insect bites.

Which repellent is right for me?
There are literally hundreds of different types of insect repellents available in sprays, lotions and towelettes. When deciding which type of protection is right for you, make sure it contains the ingredient DEET (N,N-diethly-m-tolumide).  DEET-based insect repellents are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) for the prevention of insect bites and the spreading of infectious diseases.  Insect repellent that contains 24% DEET will provide about 5 hours of protection.

For more information about the active ingredients found in insect repellent, visit the cdc.gov website.

Insect Repellent Safety Tips

  • Apply only to areas of the skin that are not covered by clothes.
  • Never apply around your eyes.
  • DO NOT apply over your clothes as it may damage the fabric.
  • DO NOT apply over open wounds.
  • DO NOT apply more than 3 times per day.

Are you prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse?

The threat of a Zombie Apocalypse has many people stocking up on basic essentials like canned food, bottled water, and even weapons. But in order to survive a hoard of zombies, you will need more than that. A good emergency Zombie Survival Kit should also include items designed to protect you from environmental hazards, as well.

Lights: You need to be able to see the zombies to fight them. Flashlights can be unreliable. If the bulb blows out, or the batteries die, that leaves you in the dark, at the mercy of the zombies! We suggest glow sticks, instead. These 6″ SnapLight Glowsticks from Cyalume provide 360° and up to 12 hours of ultra-bright light. Glowsticks are compact for easy storage, and provide an affordable, reliable alternative to traditional flashlights.

Protective Clothing: Zombies are an oozing, dripping, disgusting mess. It is important to keep skin covered when fighting zombies, to avoid contact with the zombie ick. For everyday use, we highly recommend Tyvek Coveralls to keep your skin and clothing clean. They are abrasion resistant, and repel liquids. Best of all, they’re disposable! When you’re done chopping up zombies, simply remove the coveralls and throw them away. You will also need a good pair of gloves. HexArmor gloves provide excellent cut and abrasion resistance, which is important when a zombie is trying to bite off your finger! HexArmor gloves also feature the highest level of cut resistance available (ISEA Level 5), and are machine-washable. Choosing the right footwear is also important. Zombie butt-kicking requires a sturdy pair of boots, like these Tingley Boots. Tingley’s HazProof Boots, originally designed for HazMat cleanup, have been tested to Military Standard 282 and meet chemical permeation requirements of NFPA 1991 Standard on Vapor-Protective Ensembles for Hazardous Materials Emergencies 2005 Edition. Made from a special polymer material, these boots are 11″ tall and feature a sure-grip sole to provide excellent traction even in wet conditions.

Respiratory Protection: Zombies smell horrible. Protect yourself from nuisance-level airborne contaminants with this disposable N95 Respirator from 3M. The 8511 Mask filters out 95% of non oil-based particles, and features an adjustable nose clip and Cool-Flow exhalation valve for all-day comfort. For heavy duty respiratory protection, check out these half and full face 3M Respirators. These 3M respirators come in a variety of styles and sizes, ensuring the proper level of respiratory protection for any job.

First Aid: For the brave people who do battle with the living dead, injuries are inevitable. This Standard Trauma Kit from Medique contains 22 first aid items to treat minor to moderate injuries, such as burns, scrapes, and sprains. After a long day of fighting zombies, these Medi-First Pain Relief Tablets and Cold Packs will ease the pain of tired, aching muscles. Proper electrolyte balance is important to ensure maximum zombie destruction. Sqwincher Hydration Packs can replace electrolytes lost during battle, increasing alertness and productivity.

These are only a few suggestions. There are many more products to aid in the struggle against the army of the living dead. But the most important thing to remember is this – always be on guard.

The Zombie Apocalypse could happen at any time. When the undead come for you, will you be ready?

What Should Be In Your First Aid Kit?

Whether it’s for your home, car, or workplace, a properly constructed First Aid Kit is essential for emergencies. According to the American Red Cross, carrying a first aid kit with you or knowing where you can find one is very important. You can purchase a first aid kit or make one yourself. Some kits are specifically designed to fit different activities such as outdoor sports. Whatever your activities consist of, make sure you have the proper items you may need. Aside from the basic first aid essentials, make sure you include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers. Practicing regular upkeep to your First Aid Kit, such as checking expiration dates and replacing any used or out-of-date items, is essential. The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First Aid Instruction booklet

Whatever your daily activities include, whether at work or at play, make sure you have a First Aid Kit available and fully stocked to fit your needs.

Eye Wash Stations

Guardian Eye Wash StationMany people work in environments with hazardous chemicals on a daily basis but few are protected from accidental exposure to the eye. Anywhere there is chemical hazard, you need eyewash protection – paint shops, medical facilities, photo labs, auto maintenance shops, restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, mortuaries – not just in your standard lab.

If you have wall or counter space to spare and are going for a less expensive approach, a conventional eyewash station would be best. You can choose a wall mounted eyewash station or a deck mounted eyewash station, both ANSI compliant. “Stand-alone” eyewashes are also available and are usually combined with an emergency shower. Last but not least, you can go with a portable eyewash station. Portable eyewash stations do not require costly plumbing. These stations provide you with eyewash safety, reliability and value; usually lasting four times longer than primary self-contained eyewash devices.

Leaving an eyewash station out of your design puts a facility at risk for an OSHA citation. In addition, ANSI Z358.I requires locating an eyewash within 10 seconds of a hazard.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151,subpart k, section c
“Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick, drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work for immediate emergency use.”

The Importance of Sunscreen

SunX SunscreenProtect your skin!
The sun radiates light to the earth, and part of that light consists of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays. When these rays reach the skin, they cause tanning, burning, and other skin damage. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, and can even cause cancer.

If you can’t avoid being in the sun you can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen. Make sure you use a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 or higher. Sunscreens that say “broad-spectrum” can protect the skin from ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunscreen comes in lotions, gels, creams, ointments and towelettes.

■Apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going in the sun.
■Apply sunscreen to all the skin that will be exposed to the sun, including the nose, ears, neck, scalp, and lips. Sunscreen needs to be applied evenly over the skin and in the amount recommended on the label. Most sunscreens are not completely effective, because they are not applied correctly. It usually takes about 1 fl oz to cover an adult’s body.
■Apply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours while in the sun and after swimming or sweating a lot. The SPF value decreases if a person sweats heavily or is in water, because water on the skin reduces the amount of protection the sunscreen provides. Sunscreen effectiveness is also affected by the wind, humidity, and altitude.

Other ways of protecting yourself from the sun include wearing sun protective clothing and sunglasses with UV protection. Given the epidemic of skin cancer in this country, sun safety should now be an important part of our lives. Skin protection from UV rays should begin as soon as a baby is born and continue throughout life. Make your skin happy by taking the proper precautions when dealing with sun.

First Aid: Care for Burns

Before you care for a burn you must first identify the type of burn you are treating. Burns are classified according to the amount of tissue they affect and how deep they are.

First Degree Burns are the least severe. They are red and very sensitive to touch, and skin will appear blanched when light pressure is applied. First-degree burns involve minimal tissue damage and they involve the epidermis (skin surface). These burns affect the outer-layer of skin causing pain, redness and swelling. Sunburn is a good example of a first-degree burn.

First Aid for First Degree burns:
1. If the skin is not broken, run cool water over the burned area or soak it in a cool water (NOT ICE WATER) bath. Keep the area in the bath for five minutes. If the burn occurred in a cold environment, DO NOT apply water. A clean, cold, wet towel will also help reduce pain.
2. Burns can be extremely painful, reassure the victim and keep them calm.
3. After flushing or soaking the burn for several minutes, cover the burn with a sterile non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth.
4. Protect the burn from friction and pressure.
5. Over-the-counter pain medications may be used to help relieve pain; they may also help reduce inflammation and swelling.
6. Minor burns will usually heal without further treatment.

Second Degree Burns are deeper than first degree burns. They affect both the outer-layer (epidermis) and the under lying layer of skin (dermis). Second degree burns are distinguished by the blistery, red blotchy marks they leave on the skin. Blisters form in these burns because the burn penetrates deeper into the layers of skin, releasing body fluids that erupt and cause blisters on the surface. Sometimes the burned area will swell or ooze, and it is painful.

First Aid for Second Degree Burns:
1. Submerge the burned area in cold water (as cold as possible). If the burn occurred on the chest or back, apply a burn wrap or pour cold water from a bucket or a hose directly onto the burn.
2. Keep the cold water on the burn until medical help arrives. If the burns are minor, keep them in cold water for at least five minutes.
3. If the burns are extensive, you can apply a cool, wet cloth to the affected area, but only if the dressing is wrapped in plastic. Cloth tends to adhere to burns, and it can worsen the pain if a physician has to pull it off to treat the burn.
4. If the burns are minor, you can treat them in the same way you’d treat first-degree ones. You won’t need medical help. Simply pat the area dry and place a loose sterile cloth over it.

Third Degree Burns are the deepest and most severe. Skin with a third-degree burn may appear white or black and leathery on the surface. This severe burn destroys the nerves and blood vessels in the skin. Because the nerves are damaged, there is little or no pain at first. Healing from third-degree burns is very slow due the skin tissue and structures being destroyed. Third-degree burns usually result in extensive scarring. Third Degree Burns require emergency medical treatment.

First Aid for Third Degree Burns:
1. Call for medical attention if access is immediately available.
2. DO NOT remove burnt clothing (unless it comes off easily), but do ensure that the victim is not in contact with burning or smoldering materials.
3. Make sure the victim is breathing. If breathing has stopped or the victim’s airway is blocked then open the airway and if necessary begin CPR.
4. If the victim is breathing, cover the burn with a cool moist sterile bandage or clean cloth. DO NOT use a blanket or towel; a sheet is best for large burns. DO NOT apply any ointments and avoid breaking blisters.
5. If fingers or toes have been burned, separate them with dry sterile, non-adhesive dressings.
6. Elevate the burned area and protect it from pressure or friction.
7. Take steps to prevent shock. Lay the victim flat elevate the feet about 12 inches, and cover the victim with a coat or blanket. DO NOT place the victim in the shock position if a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected or if it makes the victim uncomfortable.
8. Continue to monitor the victim’s vital signs (breathing, pulse, blood pressure).

As with all safety issues, it is best to practice preventative measures to stop injuries from occurring in the first place. To avoid burns, be sure to suit up with the proper protective gear, from fire-resistant work gloves to fire-proof apparel.