By Dusty Henry, Sevan Locks & Doors
When you consider occupational safety, there are a lot of different occupations that may come to mind first for needing protective equipment – construction workers, welders, etc. Being a locksmith can actually be rather hazardous work for your health as well. There is, of course, the inherent danger of dealing with going into a stranger’s home, business, or locked car. But there are even more dangers than this to consider. Protective equipment is a must, as with any occupation using powerful tools to shape and cut materials.
Metal shavings can be produced by many of the different tasks done by a locksmith. This is one of the biggest dangers that a locksmith faces during their schedule. Their small sizes make them likely to be brushed off without thinking. Metal shavings are a small annoyance, but ask anyone that has to deal with them, and they’ll tell you that they can be painful if you get them in your eye, under your nails, or embedded in your skin. Speed is an important factor in getting any job done, and this can cause metal shavings to fly. Protective gear like gloves or eyewear can be a good investment that keeps these pesky shavings at bay while still being able to work efficiently.
Just like metal shavings, splinters are another hazard that doesn’t seem like a very big deal until you get one stuck under your skin. Locksmiths that are installing new locks and equipment in buildings will potentially come into contact with cut wood. This means that splinters will be a likely possibility.
The metal shavings that locksmiths come into contact with may have an added detriment – lead. Brass keys that are machined to fit into client’s locks often contain 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent lead. This small amount of lead can have some serious health consequences when locksmiths come into contact with it. Some may scoff that this small amount is nothing to be concerned about, but participants in a research study found that they had elevated levels of lead in their system and they urged for further investigation on this issue.
Lead at high enough levels can result in death, and medical professionals note that even small amounts can be bad for a person’s health. There’s a lot of attention given to the symptoms that can happen to infants and children from lead exposure, but this can also have negative health consequences to adults as well. There are some symptoms that can occur to adults from exposure to lead, such as reproductive health issues, high blood pressure, pain in your muscles and joints, mood disorders, headaches, and memory issues.
Equipment Must Haves
For locksmiths, there are three areas of protective equipment that should be addressed if it’s not already: eye protection, hand protection, and skin protection. Eye protection through safety glasses is necessary to protect eyes from any flying debris that comes from cutting and drilling through materials or machining keys. There are a variety of glasses available that have the options that will work best for the particular tasks at hand.
Hand protection through gloves will help to protect the sensitive skin of your hands and the nail beds. A good choice here is cut resistant gloves that fit the hand closely allowing for an easy freedom of movement for handling any task.
The final aspect is protective clothing. This is probably the easiest to convince anyone to wear since they’ll be wearing shirts and pants anyway. This clothing is useful because it can give that extra protection to sensitive areas of the body. In addition, you can find reinforced elbows and knees that can help make this clothing last, compared to clothing that isn’t reinforced. In an occupation that can result in a lot of arm movements and kneeling, this can truly come in handy. This is especially true in the case where you’ll be kneeling right where the metal shavings and splinters are located.
The safety and security of a locksmith are more than just ensuring that they have personal safety in their surroundings. There are innate dangers that exist in this line of business that may be overlooked by some, but the best way to handle these issues is by getting the proper protective gear necessary for the job. The safety glasses, protective gloves, and protective clothing can be beneficial in providing you and your locksmiths a better working condition.
Sevan Locks & Doors is an award-winning locksmith and garage door company based out of Seattle, Wash. They offer fast response times, reasonable rates, and crucial security services for homes and businesses.
Mold remediation is the process of removing mold and repairing mold-related damage in buildings. There are two important things to remember when dealing with mold: it is easier to prevent mold by controlling moisture and monitoring humidity levels; and when you face the mold danger, it is urgent that you take care of it immediately since it is harmful and is able to spread very fast. Studies have found that mold grows on materials that remain wet for 48 hours. A simple and easy way of preventing mold buildup is keeping moisture away by ventilating, ensuring there are no water leaks, and that the plumbing system is functioning well. Sinks, toilets, tubs, hot water heaters, roofs, and attics need to be checked for leaks. Windows and doors on exterior walls have to be tightly sealed. If the basement smells damp or musty, use a dehumidifier to prevent mold.
People can be exposed to mold through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. The majority of fungal spores have aerodynamic diameters of 2–10 µm, which allows particles to be deposited in the respiratory system. Prolonged exposure to high levels of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis – an immune-mediated disease also known as woodworker’s lung, malt worker’s lung and farmer’s lung disease.
The Department of Health has developed guidelines for cleaning up mold contamination. The following 4 basic steps are necessary for quickly remediating mold problems:
Step 1: Perform mold growth assessment
First, calculate the extent of the contamination. Assessing mold growth involves more than just looking at what is visible: mold can be an invisible threat. Behind any mold growth there is a moisture problem. Identifying the source of moisture will help you locate all mold, not just what is visible. Next, repair water leaks to prevent new growth by addressing the moisture source: fixing the plumbing system or sealing the windows, doors, and roofs.
Step 2: Remediate mold contamination
Remediation involves cleaning up existing mold-infected areas while avoiding exposure to mold. Calculating the scope of contamination is necessary: DIY project is possible for Level 1 (up to 10 square feet) and Level 2 remediation (from 10 to 30 square feet). For contamination areas larger than 30 square feet, only mold remediation specialists are qualified to perform the cleanup.
Step 3: Cleanup
The cleanup process is the same for Level 1 and Level 2 mold remediation and consists of these 5 steps:
1. Repair the water problem.
2. Isolate the contaminated area.
3. Clean. The cleaning process for Level 1 differs from Level 2 at this point. For Level 1, it is enough to clean the area with a damp cloth and a detergent solution. Level 2 requires vacuuming all the surfaces with a HEPA vacuum and then cleaning all surfaces with a damp cloth. Remove all wet and mold-damaged porous materials and discard them in plastic bags that are at least 6 millimeters thick, tie the bags closed. Wipe the outside of the bags with a damp cloth and a detergent solution prior to leaving the contamination area, and dispose of them in a regular trash can.
4. Visibility test. All areas should be visibly free of contamination and debris — no dust and dirt means no mold.
5. Dry. Cleaned materials should be dried to allow leftover moisture to evaporate. To speed up the drying process, use fans, dehumidifiers, or raise the indoor air temperature.
Step 4: Determine if the cleanup has been successful. The fact that there is no visible dust or dirt does not mean that you are done with your mold remediation project. The final step is to check if there are still signs of mold-damaged materials or moldy odors.
Minimizing exposure to mold involves administrative and engineering controls, and using PPE.
Administrative controls include identifying and restricting access to mold-contaminated areas and minimizing aerosol-generating activities by suppressing dust.
Engineering controls include ventilating mold-contaminated areas and using heavy equipment with sealed positive pressure, air-conditioned cabs that contain filtered air recirculation units to protect workers.
The main purpose of PPE in a mold-contaminated environment is the prevention of the inhalation and the ingestion of mold spores and eliminating the possibility of mold contact with skin and eyes. The minimum personal protection equipment for mold remediation includes goggles without vents, a respirator, a coverall, and rubber gloves.
Long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended. When using the chlorine bleach or a strong cleaning solution, gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC are an ideal solution. When using a mild detergent or plain water, household rubber gloves can be used. Latex or non-latex medical examination gloves should be used if hands are likely to be in contact with infectious materials. The appropriate personal protective clothing (reusable or disposable) is recommended to minimize cross-contamination between work areas and clean areas. Tyvek coverall suits with attached hood and booties are perfect for mold remediation since they protect your whole body and are easy to put on and take off.
Safety glasses or goggles with open vent holes are not a good choice for a mold remediation project. To protect eyes, a full face respirator or goggles designed to prevent the entry of small particles are needed.
The best respirators for mold remediation include full face and half mask models: an N-95 Respirator Mask, an N-99 Respirator Mask, an N-100 Respirator Mask, a half-face respirator, and a full-face respirator. Some of the most popular brands that offer good protection against mold are 3M and Moldex.
You also need additional equipment for your mold remediation project: a vacuum with a HEPA filter and large sheets of heavy plastic to tape over doorways and air vents to prevent the spread of mold spores to other areas of the building. A negative air machine is also recommended to help with removing airborne mold.
When it comes to mold, the key is to implement a comprehensive moisture management strategy. For more info go to: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup.htm
Doing a regular maintenance check on your HVAC unit is critical in preventing major problems from affecting your home or business. Now is the perfect time to check on your system if you haven’t been doing so regularly.
By performing regular HVAC maintenance, you can potentially lower your utility costs and extend the service life of your unit. Here’s a look at different parts of your HVAC system and why they need to be cleaned or replaced periodically according to HVACMaintenance.org.
Inspect Filters Monthly
Filters prevent dirt and grime from clogging your HVAC systems. Also, it’s crucial to use filters that specifically fit your system. They can be replaced every 90 days, but it’s good to check them monthly. If they look dark and/or clogged, it’s a good idea to change them. If you are extremely sensitive to allergens, filters help remove a greater amount of particulate matter from the air, including those carrying bacteria.
Examine Condensate Drain
Once a year, try pouring a cup of bleach mixed with water down the condensate drain to prevent buildup of mold and algae, which can cause a clog.
Maintain, Replace Fans & Belts Twice a Year
Poorly operating fans or belts not only can result in less cooling and heating efficiency, but also an excessively noisy unit or constant vibration while running. HVAC maintenance should be completed right away if you notice any problems.
Keep Coils Clean
Since they are often damp, wet and in contact with humid moist air, it’s common for coils to grow mold and bacteria. If they are left dirty for extended periods of time, coils can grow a sticky film on them that is difficult to clean and eventually become inefficient. Cleaning the mold with the necessary chemicals tends to damage and pit the coils, requiring them to be replaced.
Clean & Lubricate Dampers
Dampers keep compressors running when the temperature dips below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If they are not properly cleaned and lubricated, they will begin to stick, causing a loss of cooling and heating efficiency in your HVAC unit. Keep the dampers well serviced to avoid this issue.
In addition, make sure there’s at least two feet of space around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps. Now is the perfect time to regularly remove debris such as leaves, pollen, and twigs from top and sides of these outdoor units. Summer is also the perfect time to shut down the water supply to the furnace humidifier.
We offer home and HVAC gas detection units ideal for professional technicians or home repair persons. Got questions about these units? Please give us a call at 800-829-9580.
Landscaping is a job that many DIYers who love to work outdoors take upon themselves. There are obvious dangers to this kind of work when operating heavy automatic machinery (rototillers, mowers, weed wackers, Bobcats, tractors, trenchers and blowers) that we will cover below. Many creative home improvement enthusiasts, and even some professional contractors, are unaware of the potential hazards of landscaping.
“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.” (Benjamin Franklin)
Top 8 Landscaping Dangers and Preventive Measures:
1. Learn how to use your equipment before working with it. Study the user manual, read the safety instructions carefully, and if possible, ask a fully-trained professional to show you how to use the tool for the first time. Do not attempt to repair equipment that is malfunctioning or jammed. Numerous tragic cases of injures that happen while operating various tools are reported every year. It is important to keep tools in excellent working condition – sharp and clean – to help prevent repetitive stress injuries. After the landscaping work is done, make sure that your equipment is properly cleaned and ready for your next landscaping job. Do not leave machinery unattended. Properly secure and store any equipment, chemicals, or materials that will be left at the site.
2. Wearing PPE is required for landscaping work: protective gloves and glasses, ear muffs or ear plugs, face masks and shields, respirators, helmets, non-slip sturdy shoes, and the appropriate workwear – long sleeve loose-fitting shirts and long pants. Last but not least: absolutely no jewelry, as it may get caught in the machinery while performing the work.
3. Wear high-visibility clothing to be easily spotted on the street: vehicle accidents are the leading cause of fatal incidents among landscapers. Exposure to extreme temperatures may result in heat stress, so dress according to the weather conditions. Take the shade with you by wearing the Evaporative Cooling Ranger Hat. To protect yourself against the harmful ultraviolet radiation, use a sunscreen lotion with at least SPF30, wear sunglasses that block 99-100% UVA and UVB radiation. Limit your sun exposure time by taking frequent breaks and staying in the shadow. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine to prevent heat cramps and exhaustion. In wet conditions, don’t forget to put on the appropriate rainwear.
4. Proper eye and respiratory protective equipment – goggles and respirators – must be used while working with toxic chemicals, such as Roundup and other glyphosate-containing herbicides for weed and grass control, that are very dangerous. Clean water supply and a space where workers can wash themselves in the event of chemical splashes should be located in close proximity to working areas where chemicals are handled. One more safety reminder: chemicals must be transported properly via truck or trailer in special containers.
5. Prevent falls from ladders by making sure the ladder is placed on a stable, leveled surface, and by not loading it beyond the maximum load capacity stated in the manufacturer’s brochure. Make sure the top and the bottom of the ladder are free of tools or any debris, and use ladder safety and fall safety systems for extra protection.
6. The main source of injury for tree care professionals and the DIY-trimmers is that tree branches fall in unexpected direction. Falls from high trees, ladders or aerial lifts are extremely dangerous, and should be prevented with Fall Safety equipment. In addition, electrocution due to tree trimming performed near utility lines, or improper handling of outdoor lighting systems can result in major injury or death. When working near the electrical lines, wear Arc Flash Rated clothing and avoid the danger of electrical shock and electrocution by remaining at least 10 feet from electric lines to perform tree care operations, or contact the utility company to de-energize and ground the lines. Do not operate electrical equipment in humid conditions, and use special cut–resistant rubber gloves and boots.
7. Other easily-preventable dangers include: allergic reaction to plants or insect bites and stings, Histoplasmosis from bird droppings, Hantavirus from mouse droppings. Wearing the appropriate PPE will completely eliminate these risks. Wearing HazMat suit, gloves and booties will protect you from exposure to the hazardous substances.
8. To protect from fire danger, wear flame resistant clothes, and make sure your electrical equipment does not cause a fire by keeping it in perfect working condition, especially in severe drought conditions and in high fire risk environments.
Be aware of hidden dangers at your work environment at all times, and be safe by following Landscaping and Horticultural Safety Guidelines and best practices provided by OSHA.
If you have questions or need help finding the right landscaping safety equipment, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
Many different types of work require repetitive motion or lack of movement altogether. Workers who frequently shift from standing to sitting can damage their knees. Others stand for long periods with little variety of movement, causing lower back stress and joint pain. If they experience muscular, nerve, or joint pain regularly, and believe that it’s work related, the cause may be repetitive strain injury (RSI). RSI is generally caused by performing a particular activity repeatedly or for a long period of time.
RSI may be prevented by designing a workplace that’s ergonomically planned out with the worker in mind. The goal of ergonomics is to ‘fit the job to the person,’ rather than making the person fit the job. Most people have heard about computers, desks, and chairs needing to be adjusted to the person to prevent strain. There are also ergonomic tools and solutions for individuals performing outdoor and physical labor.
Flat, firm, and stable surfaces (like concrete) coupled with static work, cause lower back pain due to atrophy of the muscles that provide support for tissue of the lumbar spine. For workers that stand for long periods, the solution may be Extreme Standing Mats from Working Concepts. Some applications include: barbershops, auto service centers, bars/restaurants (behind the bar and food preparation areas), and tool shops.
Kneeling mats offer similar but unique protection. Imagine kneeling for a long period of time. Your body weight forces your body’s natural lubricant out of its contact points. The pain signals excess fluid to the joints which can lead to arthritis over the long term. Knee pads may be a better fit than a kneeling mat for workers who frequently kneel for short periods of time. Examples include: electrical, welding, plumbing, construction, service, and painting professionals. Knee pads may be worn either inside garments with double layers of fabric on the knees, or strapped on externally depending on preference as the video below illustrates. Your knees will thank you.
In addition to kneeling mats and knee pads, also consider anti-vibration gloves if appropriate for the application. Natural and man-made vibrations are amplified by concrete and steel floors leading to pain in the load bearing joints. These gloves will minimize the risk of hand or wrist injury.
On a final note, OSHA classifies repetitive strain injuries as “no-fault”. This means employers can’t say RSIs were the employees’ fault. Employers generally can’t deny benefits for injuries based on old injuries/illnesses being a contributing factor. This is because employers take employees “as-is” when hiring them. Employers bear all of the cost of workers compensation claims so it’s in their best interest to prevent them. Make the simple and inexpensive decision now to protect your workforce before it becomes a costly headache down the line.
On average, there are more than 800 construction worker fatalities per year. Falls are the number one cause of fatalities among construction workers. Harnesses, self-retracting lifelines, and lanyards don’t always provide enough protection. What you may not know is that OSHA regulation 1910.23(a) requires protection for floor openings.
Garlock Safety Systems has been addressing fall protection and roofing needs since 1959. Garlock’s manufacturing facility features a highly skilled American workforce based out of Plymouth, Minnesota. Some of their innovative solutions include the: Roof Hatch Protector, VersaGate, SkyGuard, and ScreenGuard.
Roof Hatch Protector and VersaGate
The Roof Hatch Protector features three walls of double tiered railings securing the perimeter against people or objects falling through an open hatch. The VersaGate, included, completes the Roof Hatch Protector forming the fourth wall. Though the VersaGate may also be ordered separately in a variety of sizes with a universal fit for attaching to surfaces besides the Roof Hatch Protector. This item meets OSHA 1910.23(a) (8) and 1926.501 (b) (4) pertaining to securing holes that can be walked through.
The Skyguard sets up easily around skylights and floor openings. It’s ideal for venting or smoke-hatch skylight protection. It’s easy to transport between job sites or temporary situations. This item meets OSHA 1910.23(a) (4) and 1926.501 (b) (4) pertaining to securing skylights and holes.
ScreenGuards come in seven standard sizes though custom sizes may be made to order. They prevent objects or workers from damaging or falling through the skylight with a minimum load rating of 500 lbs. (may be greater depending on size of ScreenGuard).
The unit may be attached with a compression fit and doesn’t require penetrating fasteners, adhesive or tape. This item meets OSHA 1910.23(a) (4) and 1926.501 (b) (4) pertaining to securing skylights and holes.
One in three construction fatalities is caused by a fall. Safety doesn’t happen by accident. By securing hatches, holes, and skylights, you aren’t just being OSHA compliant. You are also ensuring that your workforce returns home safe and mitigating the potential for injury related lawsuits and fines.
We get lots of people contacting us wanting to know how to properly remove asbestos from their homes. The questions, and our answers, generally center around removal of asbestos from four main areas: furnace ducting, floor tiles, exterior siding, and the old popcorn ceiling. They are not all the same, and there are varying levels of success for the DIY homeowners.
Almost everyone knows they are digging into a dangerous mess when they start any project dealing with asbestos. Professional services however, are often prohibitively expensive. But while they may be expensive, they are also highly regulated and it’s extremely rare for a DIYer to be able to effectively eliminate asbestos up to their standards.
This is especially true when dealing with old heating systems (this also goes for boilers and their insulation). The ducting is often covered with a crumbling coating called friable asbestos. The particles from this can be quite small, and if they make it to your lungs, can cause mesothelioma.
While the price for professional removal is high, so are the prices of legal disputes that arise later down the road when testing reveals inadequate mitigation of the asbestos particles.
Homeowners taking on the pre-1972 popcorn ceilings on the other hand, can often have a fairly high degree of success. Now, the same hazards apply, but properly maintained, these projects can be cleaned up fairly quickly.
We recommend heavy plastic polyethylene sheeting (known as visqueen or poly/visqueen) from 6 to 10 mm thickness be used on the floor and reaching up the side of the wall about two feet, where it is then taped off. Lighter weight plastic sheeting can be used on the walls to completely enclose the area.
For personal protection we carry an inexpensive lead and asbestos removal kit to protect each worker in the area. It includes a Tyvek suit with attached booties and hood, respirator mask with P-100 rated filters, safety goggles, and gloves.
Once the area is taped and sealed off, a pump-style water sprayer can wet the ceiling and keep dust to a minimum. An assistant who keeps spraying as pieces fall is helpful, and will continue to work to keep the particulate matter clumped together. A
Once the material is all scraped off, bag everything, then bag the polyethylene sheeting. Finally, bag and properly dispose of your protective clothing. Even the gloves, goggles, and filters should be disposed of. The kits are fairly inexpensive, and the suits and other protective clothing will keep the residual particles on them. Get rid of it all.
Old asbestos tile floors and the black mastic adhesive, like the heater ducting, are difficult and create persistent problems. If at all possible, let sleeping dogs lie, and put new flooring over the top.
Finally the exterior asbestos siding. There are plenty of houses around that still have these siding shingles. They are quite durable, and only become a problem when they are cracked or broken, or when plumbing or other tasks make working with them necessary.
Clean-up of these siding shingles is done regularly, and careful removal with the proper protective gear and disposal isn’t terribly difficult. However, if you live in a town like ours, every neighbor on the block will call the City to check and see if you have a permit. If you don’t, the professional asbestos removal companies tend to be fairly expensive.
The need to wear the right protective gear while working with this dangerous material cannot be overstated. If you have more questions about what products to use, please call us or contact us online at www.pksafety.com.
Thanks for reading.
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s high time to start thinking about costume and party ideas! PK Safety receives quite a bit of business from Halloween party-goers during this time of the year, and we’re always amazed by the creative uses people find for our products. In this post, we’ll review a handful of items that have been popular in the past.
Construction worker costumes seem to be a hit because they’re comfortable and can be put together right out of the box. Start with a work shirt and jeans, then pick your favorite model from our wide selection of safety vests. Top it off with the hard hat of your choice and a pair of safety boots and you’ll wind up with the most authentic costume at the party with minimal fuss.
If you’re a little more crafty and a little less rushed, a DuPont 1414 Tyvek Coverall Suit is the only way to go. Though these white plastic jumpsuits can get warm, their built-in hoods and gray booties make them ideal for astronaut costumes. Creative customers have also re-purposed this suit into a Hazmat crew costume, and we’re sure that there are many other possibilities.
If you should decide to assemble a Hazmat suit or are looking for a novel Halloween party decoration, be sure to have a look at our caution and biohazard tapes. This stuff can be incorporated into everything from zombie costumes to punch table centerpieces. We also enjoy using it around the office.
PK Safety wishes you a safe and happy Halloween! Be sure to drop us a line if you use any of these ideas or come up with new ones!
In the weeks leading up to Halloween, we received lots of orders for DuPont 1414 Tyvek Coverall Suits. These make great costumes for everything from space explorers to hazmat clean up crews. Over the years we have seen some really creative uses! With all of these orders have come many questions about sizing.
This size chart is fairly straightforward, just find your height and your weight, and where the two intersect will be your size. It is important to keep in mind that if you are using Tyvek suits for industrial purposes you may want a little extra breathing room for moving around. For the purposes of a costume, you may want them to be a little more form fitting.
When discussing the sizing of Tyvek suits for the purposes of Halloween costumes, it is important to note that DuPont only makes adult sizes. They do not come in kid’s sizes and the smallest size made is a small. That being said, we have had customers order the DuPont Standard 1412 Tyvek Coverall Suits to make kid’s space suit costumes. This typically requires quite a bit of modification like cutting the arms and legs shorter and duct taping some of the extra material together. It is possible, just know that they are not made for kids.
When you receive your Tyvek suit order, you’ll want to check the size.To do so, unzip the suit. Sewn into the seem will be a tag with the size printed on it. This way you know that you have the right size! Usually, our customers find that their suit fits well if they have ordered from the sizing chart.
If you have any further questions about sizing, feel free to contact us and ask! I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween!