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.
Summer is right around the corner, are you adequately protected? Depending on your geographic locale, some insect borne illnesses that you may be at risk for are: Lyme disease, Heartland virus, West Nile disease, and more.There are many repellent ingredients and application types on the market. Depending on the work environment you need to use it in, there can be unique advantages and disadvantages for each of the products available. A few lesser known facts about these repellents include:
1. The well-known, longer lasting ingredients DEET and picaridin are not safe to use in flammable or arc flash risk areas such as industrial work environments because they contain flammable contaminants. DEET and picaridin also reduce the thermal protection of FR clothing.
2. A higher concentration of DEET doesn’t mean stronger. A higher concentration of DEET equates to a longer period of protection.
3. Two common non-flammable natural insect bug repellents include geranoil and Vitamin B1. Geranoil is applied as a topical while B1 may be consumed in supplement form or via a patch. Stick with natural solutions if applying to face or neck.
4. Permethrin treated clothing, such as these coveralls, offers insect repellent while staying flame resistant. It may be applied during production of a garment or afterwards by the consumer.
When you’re all finished working for the day wash your skin with soap and water, and wash treated clothing by itself before wearing again. If you develop symptoms of an insect related illness, see a doctor immediately.
PK Safety partners with you to meet OSHA regulations and stay safe all year round, see all of the repellents that we offer here. Work hard and stay safe!
While sunscreen towelettes are technically available through the end of this year, we’ve already sold out of these popular items. The folks who use them regularly are upset. Everybody loved those things. Easy application. You could keep ’em in your pocket. They might even survive one round in the washing machine. But as much as workers loved them, it wasn’t enough for the new FDA regulations to keep them as approved delivery devices for sunscreen. (Insert Bronx cheer here.)
As a safety company, you hate to see one of your most popular products go away, but that’s exactly what has happened with the sunscreen towelettes from Coretex. It’s basically a case of legislating to the lowest common denominator. Apparently the FDA was worried that some folks would use all the pre-saturated sunscreen from the towelette on one side of their body and have none left over for the other side. To be fair, we all know every team has one of these guys (and if you don’t know who it is, it might be you).
The FDA was worried we wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a towelette that still has some sunscreen, and one that doesn’t. Thanks for saving us FDA. It’s my position the folks who can’t tell if they’ve got any sunscreen left on their towelette likely have bigger problems in life.
At the end of the day, OSHA mandates outside workers must be protected from all environmental hazards. And that certainly includes the sun. Sunscreen products like Sun X SPF 30 Broad Spectrum packets still are available to protect workers from sunburn in the short-term and skin cancer in the long-term.
If you have questions about what to do now, and you really miss those towelettes, please give us a call at 800-829-9580 or click to chat and we’ll help you find a suitable substitute. If you’d like recommendations for protecting workers from the sun, click here for OSHA’s pocket card for sun exposure.
Spring has sprung in about two-thirds of the contiguous United States at this point. And while North Dakota and Montana are both shoveling snow and dreaming about a 45-degree day, in the southern states it’s time to stock up and start using sunblock.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent skin cancer is to prevent sunburn. The best way to prevent sunburn is to stay indoors or possibly underground. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for the millions of construction workers, site maintenance workers, tower climbers, and others whose work requires them to be out in the elements in all types of weather. And while it’s important to use skin protection any time the sun is shining, it’s especially important during these early days of sun to avoid sunburns. The best way to do that is by using high-quality sunscreen and lip balm that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Smart companies are setting up skin wellness programs for their employees who work outdoors. Whether that involves installing sunscreen dispenser units in convenient locations or filling their workers’ pockets or the cab of their trucks with sunscreen pouches, the most important thing is to find a way to encourage using the products provided.
Workers in a wide range of outdoor jobs have successfully avoided sunburns over the years with SunX products from Coretex. The SunX towelettes provide enough sunscreen to cover the arms, face, and legs of one worker. The low per-packet cost makes the towelettes affordable to employers while the portability makes them a favorite with workers because they can be kept in a back pocket or toolbox until they are needed.
If you are fortunate enough to be working outside in an area that already has abundant sunshine, be smart and protect your skin and your long-term health with quality sunscreen products from the skin wellness professionals at Coretex.
Regular readers of this blog may recognize the photo from a post on a similar topic about a year ago. Normally I wouldn’t use the same photo more than once, but this is my all-time-favorite. Thanks for reading.
Texas, Colorado, and New Jersey are all reporting record temperatures this week. However, warm temperatures don’t stop outdoor workers. Each summer hundreds of workers across the country are admitted to hospitals for heat-related illnesses. Companies need to protect workers by developing a skin wellness program. Here is what you need to know about a major element of that program – sunscreen.
Excessive exposure to heat can cause a number of health issues including sunburn, heat stroke, heat rash, cramps, heat exhaustion and dehydration. One of the most important steps next to regular hydration is protecting your skin. To do this, a quality sunscreen product is recommended.
Only products that protect against the full spectrum of the sun’s rays can claim to help prevent skin cancer. That means it’s important to read your sunscreen labels and make sure the products you choose have the words “broad spectrum” or “UVA and UVB protection”.
UVA rays cause wrinkles and leathery skin. In large doses they can cause cancer, but it’s the UVB rays that are more commonly to blame for that.
In the past folks who really wanted to protect their skin would use zinc oxide, the lotion that stays white and creates a barrier. And while it does create an effective block to the sun’s rays, it’s also only on the surface, acting as a physical barrier. If it gets wiped away, there is no more protection.
Sunscreen also has to protect for the entire time you are out in the elements. It is a common mistake to assume that the effectiveness of a sunscreen can be calculated simply by multiplying the SPF by the length of time it takes a person to suffer a burn without sunscreen. But the amount of sun exposure received is dependent upon more than just the length of time spent in the sun.
SPF is related to the total amount of sun exposure rather than simply the length of sun exposure. The amount of sun exposure depends upon a number of factors including the length of exposure, time of day, geographic location, and weather conditions. Most sunscreens have an SPF of at least 15, but that doesn’t take into account instances where the skin protection is wiped off accidentally, or when it fades because of sweat or water.
It’s recommended that workers reapply sunscreen every two to three hours. While most good products will last for longer, it’s rare in our experience that it stays on while moving and working in the sun for the full amount of time.
We recommend products that are sweat-resistant and will last longer for workers who are constantly working in the sun like the SunX SPF30 Lotion.
For easy reapplying options, individually wrapped SunX SPF30 Sunscreen packets are popular with workers because you can easily carry one or two in your pocket or toolbox and use them when you need them.
For the most effective sunscreen protection, make sure to read your labels and get a full-spectrum lotion. But even the most powerful sunscreen in the world can’t protect workers from within the bottle. Require workers to apply sunscreen before work and to reapply every few hours while they are in the sun. This will do the most to help save their skin and fulfill your responsibilities as an employer during this long, hot summer.
With summer fast approaching, we all know we need sunscreen to protect our skin. We also know that if we want to keep away those pesky mosquitoes that like to snack on us this time of year and protect against insect-born disease, bug repellent is a great idea, too. So, wouldn’t a sunscreen that includes an insect repellent be perfect? Actually, no.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not recommend using a combination sunscreen-insect repellent. Rather they suggest you apply sunscreen first, followed by a separate insect repellant. The primary reason for this is because sunscreen gets absorbed into skin, while the repellent generally sits on top of the skin’s surface.
Additionally, the instructions for each product are different. Sunscreen often needs to be reapplied in large, thick amounts a few times throughout the day. Insect repellent, on the other hand, should be applied using just enough product to cover exposed skin, only needing to be reapplied if you notice you are being bitten. So, you can see how applying large amounts of a combination sunscreen-insect repellent multiple times a day would add extra chemicals to your skin unnecessarily.
Sunscreen needs to be applied at least 15 minutes before going outside by rubbing it thoroughly into the skin. This allows for maximum absorption and makes it less likely to wash off when perspiring. Once sunscreen has been applied and time for absorption has passed, you should then apply the repellant over top to exposed areas.
Take special care to avoid the eyes, mouth, and any open cuts or wounds when applying repellant. The CDC recommends spraying the product onto your hands first and then applying to your face as opposed to spraying the repellant directly onto your face. Repellant should be washed off once no longer needed.
We recommend sunscreen and insect repellant products from Coretex Products, Inc. Their products, when correctly applied, will keep you and your crew safe from both the rays and the bugs!
For your sun protection needs, we like the Coretex SunX SPF30 Sunscreen in the gallon size with a pump for an economic choice. It’s great for companies that use a lot of sunscreen allowing for quick and easy application without having to deal with tearing open individual packages. That being said, we also like the convenience of Coretex SunX SPF30 Sunscreen pouches and Coretex SunX SPF30 Sunscreen foil packets, both available in 100 and 300 quantities. You can keep a few in your pocket or purse for easy application wherever you may be, without having to carry around a bulky bottle.
SunX products are rated “Very Water and Very Sweat” resistant which is ideal for folks working in labor intense industries. No matter which SunX product you choose, you can rest assured knowing that you have full UVA and UVB protection and the highest Sun Protection Factor rating allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.
BugX30’s new EPA registered formula allows for maximum protection against bugs while containing a lower DEET concentration than bug repellants of old. What does that mean to you? With the new water-based formula, you get the same great 7+ hours of protection you have come to expect with higher DEET concentrated formulas but with less odor, no staining or greasy feeling while also being water and sweat resistant.
Bottom line, whether for work or for play, remember to correctly apply your sunscreen first, followed by bug repellent. This will provide the highest degree of protection by letting the products each do what they do best.
Last week Jim Boone of Coretex came to our office to talk with us about his product, SunX Sunscreen. We loved how Jim’s company is taking a wonderful product and making it available and affordable for the outdoor worker. Here’s a quick video that we put together with Jim that highlights the benefits and affordability of SunX.
Hi, this is Rick Pedley and welcome to PK Safety. Today I’m here with Jim Boone of Coretex manufacturing and we’re talking about SunX sunscreen.
00:13 Jim: This is our biggest selling package for sunscreen, it’s a single-dose foil pack of sunscreen and upper arms, face, and legs. That allowed the employer to look at this and say, “We can afford now to implement a skin wellness program, because the packaging makes us able to do that.” That’s one application, that’s the most convenient—hang this on the wall, or put it on the counters, or exit in the maintenance shack, one or two of these in your pocket and you have sunscreen.
00:42 Jim: The other way we looked at it is we took the wet wipes concept, and just took pre-moistened towelettes, sixteen of them, put them into a package that’s resealable, now if you can monitor that or if the employer can monitor this, that’s enough sunscreen for the outside worker for about two weeks. So obviously that reduced the application cost dramatically by putting sixteen instead of the individual.
01:06 Jim: The ultimate way for cost of application would be this dispenser, this is a standard soap dispenser you’d see in any commercial washroom and this is a bladder of sunscreen, about 500 milliliters, about sixteen or seventeen ounces, put the bladder in the dispenser, one or two, and that’s enough sunscreen for arms, face, and legs, and that’s the least expensive way to get sunscreen on the outside worker.
01:30 Jim: We don’t have a retail interest, we don’t have an ax to grind in that industry, we are in the industrial first aid safety supply industry, and we’re protecting those outside workers.
01:40 Rick: And so employers, when they have workers outside, they have an interest, legal and otherwise, to make sure the workers don’t get skin cancer.
Jim: Absolutely. We’ve found, talking to human resource management teams and risk management teams, you’re not only protecting the outside worker, it’s really a morale booster too. They like their companies being concerned with their welfare and their wellbeing. And skin cancer being on the rise two to three hundred percent in this country, outdoor workers feel fortunate that their companies actually care about them by issuing them sunscreen and making sure that they’re protected from the sun’s harmful rays. So it’s a twofold, threefold issue, supplying those workers with skin protection makes a lot of sense.
PK is excited to offer a ten percent discount on the Coretex Outdoor Skin Protection Kit between now and January 29, 2012. This is one of those things I wish I would have had on any number of my outdoor (mis)adventures when I was a kid. For instance, one summer I went on a canoeing trip on the Sugar River in Wisconsin. I managed to acquire what was known as the “triple threat,” that is, poison ivy, oak, and sumac! I got poison oak from touching the bow of a canoe, which did not seem fair. Add to that a healthy helping of mosquito bites and I was one unhappy camper!
After looking through what this little pack has to offer, it really struck me how much better that canoe trip would have been if I had packed one of these kits. Not only are there packets of repellant for the triple threat, but also cleansing wipes for things like canoes, fishing poles, boots, or whatever else that may have touched the itch weed. And what outdoors pack would be complete without bug repellant? This packet comes with it, of course, but it also comes with anti-itch cream. If you forget to put on the repellant, then at least you have a backup in case fate catches up with you.
Other packets include sunscreen, relief for burns and stings, and hand sanitizer. This would be a perfect gift for anyone who does anything outdoors, whether that is hardcore wilderness camping, beach cookouts, summerhouse entertaining, sailing, hiking, etc. The list could go on endlessly, because this little pack has so many possible applications. Repellants and relief creams spoil just like anything else, so if you have some of this stuff and it is more than a few months old, then it is time to clean house! It can easily be stowed in the glove box, golf bag, or tackle box. When it’s needed, this packet of protection is a sight for sore eyes. To get this offer simply enter the coupon code CORETEX10 at checkout between now and January 29, 2012 to receive your discount.
If you have been following the news recently, you might have noticed an increase in the number of articles about sunscreen. This increase in coverage follows the announcement by the FDA of new rules and regulations placed on sunscreen manufacturer’s labeling requirements.
For additional historical information on this topic, I have provided links to our blog and YouTube channel below in case you are interested in learning more.
Meanwhile, let’s start with some of the basics. Sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from UV rays from the sun. UV rays are a kind of radiation. There are two types: UVB and UVA. UVB rays cause sunburns and can cause cancer. UVA rays cause wrinkles and the more deadly types of skin cancer, like melanoma. Currently, the SPF rating you see on your sunscreen bottle refers ONLY to the amount of protection that you are getting from UVB rays.
A bottle marked “Broad Spectrum” implies that it protects your skin from both UVB and UVA rays. However, until the new regulations were passed only recently, the sunscreen companies could claim their product was Broad Spectrum even if it provided little or no UVA protection. This means that, currently, you might not be getting the kind of UV protection you think you are.
Once the regulations take effect in 2012, sunscreen companies will only be allowed to say “Broad Spectrum” if it provides an equal amount of protection from UVA rays and UVB rays. This means that as long as you are being protected from UVB rays, you should also have protection from UVA rays.
Another change you will be seeing with the new regulations is sunscreen manufacturers are only allowed to state that their sunscreen protects you from skin cancer and sunburns if they have an SPF of 15 or higher.
This is a great triumph for consumers who want protection from the harmful effects of UV radiation. Until the new regulation takes effect, the only option consumers had was to research each sunscreen blend/manufacturer, and try to decipher on their own if a sunscreen would really protect them from both types of UV rays.
Thankfully, at least until the new laws take effect, we have taken the worry and stress out of choosing a sunscreen! We carefully consider all of our products before we choose to sell them, so you can rest assured that SunX sunscreen by Cortex protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
The best part is SunX rubs in completely, without leaving that sticky feeling many other brands can leave behind. It also smells great! It doesn’t have that sunscreen smell, or the heavy perfume most brands use to try to cover up the sunscreen smell. Needless to say, we think it’s the best brand out there.
SunX also comes in many easy to use and carry sizes. We sell sunscreen pouches that you can carry in your purse, pocket, work vest or on the go. These handy foil packets are easy to use and keep you protected anywhere. While on the job site, consider the gallon size. You can keep it on your tailgate or next to water cooler to ensure that you and your workers are protected from the sun all year long!
Remember to use sunscreen, and cover up whenever possible. On the job site, consider adding a hard hat shade to your outfit!
Video: Sunscreen: What Are UV Rays?
Video: Sunscreen: UVA and UVB Rays
Since sunscreen seems more and more essential these days, I thought it would be good to review some thoughts about protecting yourself from solar radiation. This has been a popular topic year after year. And since I have fair skin, it is one I take personally.
Here in sunny California, it may only be February, but with our drought conditions, the risk of sunburn starts early. In the weeks ahead, days will be growing longer and work on outdoor job sites is sure to increase. So thinking about sun safety can’t begin too soon. If you or your employees will be exposed on the job, it is essential to be educated about the impact the sun can have on you. Different methods of protection, such as sunscreen products or clothing options, can make a difference.
Beyond the heat of the sun and keeping cool in an outdoor work situation, there are harmful rays having an influence on your body. Frequent exposure to damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays causes sun damage. UV is a form of radiation emitted by the sun. UV rays fall into 2 types that you should be aware of; UVA and UVB. The role each play specifically in long-term sun damage is not fully understood, but it is believed that UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are the major source of early aging and skin cancer, while UVB rays primarily affect the surface of the skin and are the primary cause of sunburns. We are exposed to these rays every day, regardless of whether it is cloudy or not. Standard window glass won’t stop them either. That is why we recommend sun protection for use on a daily basis year-round and this is doubly important for those who work outside.
As an outdoor worker, particularly in the construction or utility fields, it is easy to neglect any type of sun protection. Often their lives are at risk from falls, electrical hazards and other hazards that require their more immediate attention. Who wants to be bothered by having to apply sunscreen; it takes time. For many of our customers, the new fast absorbing sunscreen sprays and sunscreen pouches make application complete in just moments – just wipe it on. Very little mess and the skin feel is almost unnoticeable. Be sure to apply to areas like behind the ears, the backs of hands, the neck and other spots not being protected by clothing or sun safety accessories such as sun flaps attached to hardhats.
Please beware of the idea that a deep tan is offering you some sort of protection from the sun. If this sounds familiar, please note that the UVA rays are still penetrating your skin and causing harmful reactions. The least problem is leathery skin as you get older, caused by a breakdown in the collagen of your skin cells. More serious are the cancers that may be caused. Basic rules of sunscreen use to follow are to be sure to use a sunscreen product that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. We recommend SPF 30. Apply about 30 minutes before sun exposure, make sure all exposed areas are covered, and reapply approximately every 2 hours. Where at all possible, work in the shade or during the non-peak hours of exposure from 10am – 4pm.
Although even sunscreen products will not completely block all of the sun’s harmful rays, by using it regularly in combination with sun protective clothing, outdoor workers should be able to minimize their risk of sun damage. An assortment of sunscreen products are available; single application packets, sunscreen towelettes, pump sprays or bulk sunscreen in gallon dispensers encourage workers to protect themselves in all ways possible. Education and awareness of the potential long-term danger, beyond just the threat of uncomfortable sunburn today is also often all that is needed to encourage these protective measures.