Personal protective equipment, or PPE, has become an unlikely buzzword in the new era of pandemic and personal safety. However, for many different fields of work, it’s been a common practice for quite some time. PPE in the workplace is an effective tool and it has many different definitions, depending on the type of work you’re in. Whether you’re a doctor, firefighter, or even a server/bartender, PPE is key to a successful and safe work experience.
PPE in the Workplace: Not a Passing Fad
Quite obviously, those medical grade masks that we’ve been asked to wear in public spaces do have their origins in the medical field. When performing surgery, working with immunocompromised patients, or performing other duties— most nurses and doctors will have their handy dandy masks, gloves, and other equipment at the ready. PPE in the workplace for these doctors can often be the difference between life and death for others.
Speaking of life or death, PPE in the workplace for firefighters? That means protecting themselves more than others. Think oxygen masks, fireproof suits, and the like. While your definition of PPE has likely been reserved to what we are being asked to use ourselves, it has a pretty broad definition.
Another field where this gear has more impact on yourself than others is in construction. Steel-toed boots, glasses or eye shields, a harness, and gloves— these are all forms of personal protective equipment. When you’re working with heavy, slippery, sharp materials up on scaffolding, having PPE in the workplace is important. Not to mention when you are welding or working with chemical agents of some kind, protecting your eyes and skin can be a matter of serious injury or death. But, not only is it important, it is also (in many cases) a requirement.
Under OSHA regulations, you must have the necessary gear in certain work spaces. Furthermore, you must also provide training as to how they should be used properly. So, as an employer, you must address hazards to prevent accidents, provide training, and provide necessary equipment to make your workspace safe. In short, PPE in the workplace has many faces and purposes— each one as valuable as the next. When used properly they might just save an arm, a leg, or an eye.
If you’re facing an injury of some sort, whether it be related to work or play, the injury recovery process can be difficult. After all, it might require time off work, exercise, and a good amount of rest and relaxation. For some, the down time is a dream come true and for others it’s a nightmare. But when you throw COVID into the mix? Injury recovery during COVID requires special consideration for a few different reasons. But what are they? In many ways, things will remain the same but in others they will not…
Injury Recovery During COVID: How it’s Different
When recovering from an injury, you often have limited mobility in some way. Whether your leg is hurt, your arm, your head, or even your toe— it might be hard for you to go about your day normally. In normal circumstances, you might call your mom or dad or best friend and ask them to come lend a hand during the day or stay for a few.
But, with quarantine, you might worry about getting sick or getting others sick. Injury recovery during COVID might lead you to go at the process alone. If this is impossible in your state, consider asking someone to take a COVID test and then come spend the week with you. Or, maybe find someone who is able to quarantine with you, especially if you have doctor’s appointments that you’ll need a ride to. Which brings me to the two other difficulties you might face…
With a virus that seemingly won’t go away, getting the assistance you need to heal to 100% might be difficult. There might be fewer session available, lower capacity, or you might just not be able to meet with a PT at all. Injury recovery during COVID might look a bit more like virtual sessions, printouts to follow, or sent home equipment. Either way, it’s important to stay committed to the plan put forth for you. The goal is getting back to 100% and to your normal life, which starts with committing to your recovery plan.
Catching a ride
Another difficulty that COVID has brought along is getting home safely when you can’t drive! Uber and Lyft have been at a lowered capacity. It seems like catching a ride can take upwards of 20 minutes— if you can catch it at all. This can be challenging when you are unable to drive, especially when you don’t have extra help like we mentioned above. You have errands to run, places to be, and maybe a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. When catching a ride is getting in the way of your injury recovery during COVID— it can be helpful to have a backup plan. Then, backup your backup plan. Times are tough but getting through them is not impossible. We wish you luck and a quick healing process. Call if you need us.
Restaurants can have many hazards for employees. From waiters and buss-boys and kitchen staff and chefs, there are many ways to get hurt. If you work in a restaurant, you have to be careful so that you do not get into an accident at work. Restaurant staff safety is something that all restaurants should ensure.
How-to Ensure Restaurant Staff Safety: Safe at Work
Being a waitress or waiter has it’s risks. Restaurant floors can be slick, so make sure to wear appropriate shoes. Comfortable, non-slip shoes are a good option. This could keep you from falling. A way to help ensure restaurant staff safety is to make sure floors are not wet or slippery. Non-skid floor mats can help prevent someone from slipping and falling. Placing mirrors on blind corners can lower the risk of employees running into each other in a busy kitchen and work environment. Another risk that waitstaff face is walking with heavy trays full of food or drinks. These trays could actually block the view while the person carrying it is walking, not to mention strain put on your body. The heavy tray could actually fall and hit the employee or someone else on the head.
The kitchen staff are around many dangerous things while working. For example, they work with very sharp knives. There will also be very hot objects like stoves, deep fryers and ovens. This increases the risk for burns. Knives and sharp tools should be in good condition and also sharp. An important part of ensuring restaurant staff safety is to make sure that employees are all trained on the equipment. They should also know how to properly handle and store sharp objects.
Since restaurants are usually very fast-paced work environments, they are higher risk for accidents to occur. As an owner or manager, do not over expect and push workers to go faster than they should. If someone feels rushed, they are more likely to make a mistake. This is when an accident is more likely to occur.
As you can see, there are many hazards that can come along with working in a restaurant. By wearing the appropriate attire, not rushing, and being properly trained, there is a lower chance of an employee injury and a higher chance of restaurant staff safety.
There are workplace hazards that come with operating heavy machinery. Some examples of this type of equipment are cranes, front-end loaders, skid loaders, bulldozers, forklifts and tractors. Due to the size and weight of these pieces of equipment, they can be very dangerous. In fact, according to OSHA, about 404 people in America die each year in heavy equipment accidents. They also say the failure or misuse of heavy equipment is one of the top 10 causes of workplace fatalities. If you operate heavy machinery, it is important to know what to do and not do to best keep you safe.
Operating Heavy Machinery: Things to Know
The first step to safely operating heavy machinery is to be properly trained. This may be a long, involved process, but it is essential for safety. Each person using this equipment should be trained and certified on using the equipment. Even if it is just on how to do a simple task, training is so important due to the nature of the machines. Regular refresher training is good to do every few weeks.
Take it Slow
Another thing to consider when operating heavy machinery is to take it slow and safe. If you are on a tight deadline to finish a project, you may feel the need to go fast. Do not fall into a trap where you skip safety steps and rush. This could lead to you making mistakes. Employers should not try and rush workers while they are using these heavy machines. Errors when using big, heavy equipment could turn into life threatening mistakes. Rushing is not worth the risk of hurting yourself or someone else.
When operating heavy machinery, it is so important to communicate on the job site. For example, make sure that all workers in the area know when a vehicle is occupied and in use. Have others keep an eye out and keep any dangerous areas around the vehicle clear. Communication also applies to creating clear guidelines for operating procedures. This way everyone is on the same page.
Distractions bring in another dangerous element when operating heavy machinery. Phones and headphones should not be used or allowed while using these heavy machines. Construction sites can be dangerous on their own. There are many hazards, including people moving around. A distracted machinery operator may not pay attention or notice people around them, or other hazards.
By following these guidelines, you will be safer while operating heavy machinery. They are not hard steps to follow, but can make a huge difference in workplace safety.
A repetitive strain injury is an injury that occurs from doing the same motion over and over again. Examples of these include carpal tunnel, bursitis, and tennis elbow. This type of injury can occur from tasks at work. However, there are ways you can prevent or minimize the chance for this type of injury.
Repetitive Strain Injuries: What Are They
Carpal Tunnel is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand. This repetitive strain injury is caused by repetitive motions. These include motions like typing, or any wrist movements that you do over and over again. For example, people who work in dentistry have a high risk of carpal tunnel due to repetitive wrist movements while working. Also, you increase your risk when your hands are lower than your wrists while doing the movement.
The typical symptoms of carpal tunnel are not pleasant. For example, burning, tingling, or itching numbness in your palm and thumb or your index and middle fingers are symptoms. Other symptoms are weakness in your hand and trouble holding things, shock-like feelings that move into your fingers, and tingling that moves up into your arm. Proper ergonomics can help reduce the risk of this injury, but wrist braces are a good early treatment.
Bursitis is inflammation or irritation of a bursa sac. These are fluid filled sacs that are all over your body. Bursitis is common around major joints like your shoulder, elbow, hip, or knee. This repetitive strain injury can be caused from workplace activities including carpentry, painting, and scrubbing.
Common places for bursitis to happen are your elbow, shoulder, hip, thigh, buttocks, knee, achilles tendon or heel. This injury can cause pain, and you may notice your joint is red, stiff or swollen. Take breaks often when you’re making the same motions over and over again, and use good posture. If you start to have pain, stop, and see your doctor.
Another repetitive strain injury is tennis elbow. This is a painful condition that usually comes from repetitive use of the muscles and tendons of the forearm and the elbow joint. Surprisingly, only 5% of tennis elbow injuries come from tennis.
Some workplace activities that could lead to tennis elbow include painting, working on cars or on an assembly line or playing a musical instrument. Other examples include kitchen work, such as cutting with a knife, or cutting trees with a chainsaw. This may cause your elbow to be sore. Treatment usually includes rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications. However, if the problem gets really bad, surgery may be needed.
Nearly half a million workers work a job which involves welding. As a result, they’re also exposed to many different types of welding hazards. Knowing what the most common hazards are can help you better know what to watch for and how to stay safe…
Welding Hazards: Helpful Precautions
Many of the welding hazards can result in physical injuries. For instance, the intense light and heat created by the welding process can hurt your eyes and cause burns. You may also have to get into awkward positions to perform your welds properly. Doing this for an extended period can result in muscle fatigue and even permanent injuries.
Therefore, you need to make sure you both wear the right gear and give your body a break. Things such as welding helmets, gloves, aprons, and boots can help properly protect you as you weld. You should also make sure you stop welding should you begin to feel any pain. Take a break to stretch before going back to work in order to help keep your body nice and loose.
Fumes and gases
Toxic fumes and gases are also some common welding hazards. The welding process itself does release these types of fumes and gases. Constant exposure to high levels can result in respiratory issues, problems with movement, and even cancer. As such, you need to make sure you properly limit your exposure when working.
Having proper ventilation goes a long way in helping keep these fumes and gases under control. This will ensure that there’s plenty of airflow which will keep the fumes under acceptable levels. If you are working somewhere with poor ventilation, then wearing a respirator can also work.
Many people don’t realize that electric shock is perhaps the most serious of the welding hazards. A sudden discharge of electricity into the body can be fatal. With how suddenly this kind of injury can occur, it’s important that they take steps to prevent this sort of situation.
In general, it’s always key to inspect any equipment before using it. This will ensure that everything is working properly and won’t give off any electricity. Any parts of the electrode holder should also be kept away from the skin and anything wet.