The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Graham Marshall - Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday the 28th April will mark the International Labour Organizations' (ILOs) World Day for Safety and Health at Work which is an integral part of the Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health of the ILO.

The ILO campaign promotes the creation of a global preventative safety and health culture.

The day is designed to promote the global prevention of workplace accidents and diseases.

Also on the 28th April, the world's Trade Union movement holds its International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers.

So the 28th April is also is designed  to honour the memory of victims of workplace accidents and diseases.

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work and the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers serve to raise attention on the impact of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.

At the Risk Management Toolbox, we encourage all businesses - big and small - to contribute to global efforts to reduce occupational injuries and fatalities.

The ILO theme for World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2014 is "safety and health in the use of hazardous substances at work".

Research shows that somewhere between two and eight per cent of all cancers experienced in the population result from workplace exposure to harmful chemicals.

So on the World Day for Safety and Health at Work - 28th April 2014 - why not organize a specific chemical safety event?

Here are some suggestions:

+   Conduct an audit of the use of hazardous substances in your workplace;

+   Review your chemical register;

+   Check that your Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are in current date for all chemicals on site; or

+   Select a hazardous substance and run a tool-box talk on the possible health effects it may have.

USA Workplace Fatalities in 2011

Graham Marshall - Saturday, May 18, 2013
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4,693 workers died on the job in the USA during 2011, three more than in 2010. 

The fatal injury rate for 2011, the most recent year with complete data, was 3.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. 

That is down slightly from 2010.

According to the BLS, 1,937 workers died in transportation incidents; 710 through “contact with objects and equipment”; 681 from “slips, trips and falls”; and 419 from “exposure to harmful substances or environments.” 

There were also 468 workplace homicide victims that year, according to the BLS. 

On average, 13 workers a day are killed on the job in the United States and many more are injured. 

This year, for the first time, the BLS fatality report has a separate category for contract workers, who may not be afforded the same protections as regular employees. 

Five hundred forty-two died in 2011, the bureau found, accounting for 12 percent of all fatal injuries.

Texas had the highest number of contractor deaths – 56 – followed by Florida (51) and California (42). 

Looking through the BLS data, you see some really simple, easily preventable causes of death: people falling off roofs, people dying in trench cave-ins, people falling off ladders, people dying in confined spaces. 

It seems that the public in the USA just sort of accepts that as a risk of going to work.

Safety Alert - Texting When Working

Graham Marshall - Monday, November 19, 2012

This safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum highlights the potential conflict between concentrating on a work task and being distracted by a mobile telephone when talking or texting.

The safety alert makes some really good points and could be a good discussion aid for a tool box talk.

To access the Safety Alert, simply click here.


Preventing Electrical Fires

Graham Marshall - Sunday, November 18, 2012

This is the final post in our week-long special focus on electrical hazards.  We're finishing-up the campaign with a focus on the danger associated with electrical fires; and to prevent them and manage them if they do occur.  So read on for the tips of the day: 

 ●  If any of your  tools give off any mild electric shocks, replace them immedaitely; 
●  Replace light switches that cause flickering; 
●  It's generally OK for switches to feel warm, but if they feel hot they need to be replaced; 
●  Replace all damaged power cables and extension cords; 
●  Never attempt to push a three-prong plug into a two-holed socket; 
●  If you don’t have the expertise and certification for electrical work, don't attempt DIY repairs; 
●  Fight any electrical fire with an appropriate fire extinguisher; 

●  Learn how to use a fire extinguisher effectively;

 ●  If your circuit breaker trips-out after you’ve reset it, it's a warning that there’s a short-circuit in your home or office; 
●  Turn off electrical appliances when they’re not in use; and

●  Keep all flammable and combustible materials away from heaters and any appliances that get hot.

Electrical Safety in the Outdoors

Graham Marshall - Saturday, November 17, 2012

Making sure that you're safe when using or working near electrical power sources is just as important when you're outside your home or office as it is for when you're working or relaxing indoors.

As part of our focus on electrical safety this week, today we're providing some tips on protecting yourself from electricity in the great outdoors.  So here are the tips of the day:

●  Always keep a safe distance from overhead power lines;

●  Check for underground buried electrical services before digging ("dial before you dig");
●  Keep garden trees pruned and far away from the power lines which may enter your home as well;

●  Never fly kites, balloons, or model airplanes near overhead power lines;

●  Never situate or climb on a ladder that could fall on or very close to a power line;

●  Be on the lookout for power lines when using a chainsaw or other outdoor equipment;

●  Never swim in your pool (or other water body) during an electrical storm;

●  If a power line is knocked down to street level, do not touch it;

●  If you see fallen power lines, contact your local authorities immediately;

●  Never climb the fence that surrounds any electrical substation;
●  If your pet, ball or other property  finds its way inside a fenced sub-station, call the electric company;

●  Keep electrical appliances and out of the rain, off of wet surfaces, and away from pools, ponds, or water: and
●  Only allow outdoor outlets on a circuit guarded by a Residual Current Device (RCD) or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).

Light Globe Safety Tips

Graham Marshall - Friday, November 16, 2012

Question: How many psychologists does it take to change a light globe?

Answer: Only one - but the globe really has to want to change!

It's an old joke; but getting a shock or being killed when messing with electricity is not so funny.  So here are some tips as part of our electrical safety campaign which relate to the use of light globes around your home and office:

●  Use bulbs with the correct wattage. Higher wattage bulbs may cause overheating;

●  Always screw bulbs tightly; beware loose bulbs, which could cause shorts-circuits leading to electrical fires;

●  Always unplug or switch off the light or lamp before replacing a light bulb;
●  Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL);

●  CFL globes provide the same level of light at a lower wattage level.  So they're safer and better for the environment.  They'll also save you some money in the longer-term; and
●  If a CFL bulb breaks, open the windows and evacuate the room for 15 minutes before cleaning up the breakage.

Power Socket Safety Tips

Graham Marshall - Thursday, November 15, 2012

Today's focus as part of our electrical safety campaign is on the safe use of  power sockets.  Read below for the key tips on this topic:

●  Block unused outlets with a solid cover plate or childproof caps. Few electrical safety tips are more important when you have young children in the house;

●  Ensure that all wall-mounted power sockets ("outlets") are encased with solid, secure plates so that all the wiring is enclosed;
●  Do not overloading power sockets or outlets with large numbers of extension cables and temporary power box's;;
●  Never place anything into the power socket holes except for the appropriately-sized plug; and
●  Always install a residual current device (RCD) or ground fault circuit interrupter in your home and office.

Extention Cable Safety

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Today's focus is on the safe use of electrical extension cables.  Please see below for some further tips provided by Matthew Pelletier,  Director of Public Relations at Compliance and Safety in the USA. 

●  Replace frayed, splinted, or damaged electrical extension cables;

●  Use electrical appliances and tools only in dry locations and situations;

●  Take your electrically-charged environment into account when outdoors;

●  In case of an electric fire, use an appropriately rated fire extinguisher;

●  Be familiar with your homes fuses board; where it is, how it operates, and label the switches;

●  Regularly check extension cables for cranks, kinks, splints, or frays before each use;
●  Ensure extension cables are firmly plugged;

●  If the plug is too loose (or the holes are too snug), choose another power point outlet with a better fit;

●  Use extension cables for the right purpose. Extension cables aren’t clothes lines, leashes, or skipping ropes;
●  Never staple or nail an extension cable in place;

●  If you need to secure a cable, tape it in place or apply twist-ties as needed;
●  Never modify an extension cable;
●  Use extension cables sparingly around your home;
●  Make sure you’re using the right cable; use the correct length, proper weight, and type (indoor or outdoor);

●  Pull on the plug at the outlet when unplugging—never on the cable itself;

●  Don’t allow cables to meander under carpets where they become a tripping trigger; and

●   Don't run extension cables above other appliances;

Electrical Appliance Safety Tips

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Matthew Pelletier,  Director of Public Relations at Compliance and Safety got in touch with us via the Risk Tool Box  blog and suggested we advertise the following electrical appliance safety tips to our regular readers.  We think they're all excellent tips and we're happy to commend them to any home-owner wanting a safer home environment.  Here they are:

●  Appliances should only be purchased which have been approved by a reputable testing body such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL);

●  Read all safety warnings which come with new appliances;

●  Unplug unused appliance;
●  Put unused cables out of the reach of children, pets, and walk ways;

●  Never cover warm appliances with clothes, toys, or other household items;
●  Allow for air circulation around heat-generating appliances;

●  If overheated, allow appliances time to cool down;
●  If faulty, enlist the help of professionals and never attempt amateur repairs;
●  Do not poke things into toasters, outlets, or any other electrical appliances openings;

●  Make sure to touch appliances with dry hands;

●  Ensure that exhaust fans are clean, and remove the lint regularly; and
●  Always turn off power before you plug or unplug the appliances.

Electrical Safety in the Kitchen
●  Keep range hood filters as clean as possible;

●  clean hot plates and ovens to prevent the build-up of potential fire hazards (e.g., fats);

●  Clean the oven and toaster regularly to avoid a dangerous build-up of crumbs;

●  Remove fumes by using a ventilation system or exhaust fan; and

●  Never leave a turned-on electrical appliance unattended, especially when cooking!

Electrical Safety in the Bathroom.
●  Don’t use extension or power leads in wet areas;

●  Refrain from touching anything electrical when you’ve got wet hands or bare feet;

●  Switch off and unplug appliances that aren’t in use (hairdryers, styling irons, electric razors, etc.);

●  In the event that an electrical appliance is immersed in water, discard it at once; and
●  Never reach to pull a submerged appliance out of the water—even if it’s off. Turn off the power source at the circuit breaker box, then unplug the appliance.

Fog and Ice don't mix with driving too fast in North Dakota

Graham Marshall - Friday, November 09, 2012

We're seeing too many senseless road traffic accidents on roads in the Bakken in North Dakota.

Folks just need to slow down, concentrate a little harder and stop talking so much on the cell-phone when driving.

A colleague sent through these pictures he took the other day showing the results when a car hit a truck on a foggy and icy road.


You can judge for yourself who came off second best; but the message has to be to avoid this carnage as much as possible.

Slow down, take your time, concentrate on what you're doing.  Think of your kids every time you get behind the wheel. 


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