Monday, July 13, 2015

Power Line Safety & Awareness

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There is no question that electricity powers the world around us. It provides energy for our lights, televisions, a wide range of tools, and even our cars to name a few! These are things that we commonly take for granted and may become blind to the dangers of electricity over time. With so many people and workers outdoors, not fully understanding the dangers of high voltage power lines or failing to notice them can become a fatal mistake.

Every year, fifty-five constructions workers are killed by electrocutions from overhead and underground power lines according to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (ELCOSH). This doesn’t include the hundreds of others that are injured across other industries or in the general public. They go further and state that the average claim cost for power line electrocutions is well over $550,000. It is crucial to be aware of power lines and the dangers associated with them in order to prevent serious injury (and cost) to yourself and others!

The greatest danger is when one comes in contact with an overhead power line, the ones that run through the neighborhoods as well as the jobsites that we work at. There is a common belief that power lines don’t carry enough power to hurt oneself or that they are insulated. However, power lines do carry enough energy to kill and are NOT insulated any more than for weather protection. If one touches the line, coated or not, there is a serious risk for death or serious injury. Also, a significant amount of injuries occur on the jobsite when heavy machinery (cranes, drilling rigs, backhoes, etc.) comes into contact with a power line. The most effective way to prevent this from happening is to inspect the job site for the power lines and surroundings before utilizing any machinery, and making sure all operators are at a safe working clearance and constantly aware of their surroundings.


As many people prepare for spring work this time of the year, it is also important to be aware of the common dangers within neighborhoods. The biggest thing before starting any work or anything is to “LOOK UP!” It is crucial to always be aware of power line locations when using long metal equipment such as tree trimmers and ladders. Always lower the equipment before moving it and try your best to carry them horizontally. Never go up on the roof when the weather is not stable, and always use caution when installing TV dishes, cleaning gutters, repairs, etc. If there is a need to trim trees near power lines, call a professional tree trimmer as they are trained in power line safety and will keep you out of risk. Also, before performing any digging it is advised to call the local underground utility locator as it can save you from serious harm and the service is free!

Another one of the big myths in regards to power line safety is during vehicle crashes when the vehicle comes in contact with the power lines. The common belief is to escape from the danger, however, it is important to STAY in the car and call for help. If one must escape from the car due to a fire or other risks, jump clear away from the vehicle and never come in contact with the ground while still being with in contact with the car as this is where electrocution can occur.
If you witness someone that is in danger after coming in contact with a power line, do not leave your vehicle to approach the accident until after the utility company has turned off the power once you call for help. It is important that you wait for trained assistance to arrive, or you could become an additional victim in need of rescue! Remember, before starting any outdoors work this spring, “LOOK UP!” to be aware, and not a victim.

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday!

Kolton Larson
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, June 29, 2015

Reduce Material Handling Injuries...NOW!

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Material handling injuries are very common among construction workers and other workers that have to do similar physical work.  Back, hip, and shoulder injuries are commonly associated with workers that have to handle materials.  The job the workers do needs to be done, but immediate and long term safety are very important to keep in mind while working.  Proper lifting and carrying procedures will help dramatically with reducing injuries in the long term while working. 


Workers that have to lift heavy objects, awkwardly shaped objects, or repetitively lift objects are at higher risk for injury.  Many construction workers have to move and carry materials such as concrete blocks, lumber, sheetrock, cement mixes, shingles and many other things.

The back is one of the main places that worked are injured when handling materials.  The back can be injured when lifting or carrying items.  It is important to bend at your knees and lift with your legs when handling materials that are heavy.  When lifting things like long wooden boards or sheets of metal or sheetrock using a partner is highly advised. 

Accidents causing injury in the workplaceThe shoulders are another common area that material workers may be injured.  This is due to them holding things above their heads like boards or sheetrock when fastening them to the ceiling or toward the top of the wall.  Shoulders can also be injured when you are moving heavy objects with one arm repeatedly, for example laying concreate blocks.  When workers lay concreate blocks they usually grab the blocks off the ground and lift them with one hand to the desired location.  That doesn’t seem like a problem, but doing it over and over could strain the muscles that make up your shoulder. To reduce shoulder injuries involving lifting materials over your head, a lift is advised so you don’t have to hold it and fasten it at the same time.  To reduce shoulder injuries when laying brick or other similar jobs that require repetitive shoulder movements it is suggested that you place materials close to where you will be using them so you don’t have to move too far or spin around to grab them.  You can also have the materials lifted up on a table or an automated lift so the workers don’t have to bend down all the time. It is also important to take a short break every once in a while to rest the joints and muscles.


Manual handling injuriesInjuries can also occur when workers are moving materials to higher locations such as onto roofs while using a ladder or lifts.  When you are climbing ladders don’t carry heaving things with you that could cause you to become off balance or cause you not to have both hands on the ladder while climbing.  Also, making sure the ladder is sturdy and will not fall as you make your way up it.  When lifting really heavy objects a crane or other machine lift is suggested for ease and safety of workers.



To help reduce some of the injuries above regular stretching of legs, arms, neck, and back will help strengthen the muscles and lower the risk for injury.  There are many sites that demonstrate stretching and other workouts to keep your muscles loose and strong.  

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dust & Fume Safety

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When it comes to proper ventilation in the workplace, it’s important to address dust and fume safety. When it comes to industrial ventilation equipment, it can be difficult to properly evaluate a dust collector’s capabilities. It’s important to achieve high air-quality in the workplace and there is a wide range of variables that you should consider when purchasing a dust and fume collector. Today, let us focus on five specific things you can consider when purchasing ventilation equipment.


1. Durability and Usability

A well-designed dust collector should come ready to use with nothing more than on site electricity and compressed air. Choosing a complete package dust collector eliminates the need to coordinate a complex installation.

2. Controls and Wiring

For years, the best way to improve the performance of a dust and fume collector was to hire an electrician to wire and install an add-on control panel to automate specific functions. These days, companies are designing ventilation equipment that comes equipped with an intuitive electronic control panel to automate the entire process. When you’re purchasing a new dust collector be sure to look for machines that start and stop instantaneously as a welder or machine operator works.

3. Efficiency

It’s important to look into the efficiency of the dust collector and how long it can perform before the efficiency starts decreasing. Some collectors have advanced pulse-cleaning technology that utilizes a more highly engineered filter mechanism to help increase peak efficiency for a longer period of time.


4. Longevity

This one is simple, how long are the filters projected to last? Three months? A year? Will they be simple to replace when the time does come?

5. Manufacturer 

This one is also straightforward; does the manufacturer have a good reputation and customer service? You need to be confident that if something does go wrong with your ventilation equipment that the manufacturer will be cooperative and will help resolve the issue as quickly as possible. 

Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.


Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, April 20, 2015

Prevention Workouts: Back Strength and Stretching

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Back injuries can be very devastating, not only for the person that is experiencing them, but also the company that employs the injured person.  The person with a back injury is usually out from work and the company has to pay for the workers compensation if the injury happened while on the job.  There are ways to help prevent back injuries on the job, but there are ways to help strengthen your back at home.  Preventions workouts can be done at home every day to help stretch and strengthen your back to help prevent injuries.

There are some workouts and stretches that can help strengthen your back.  The first one will start with you lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.  You will lift one knee toward your chest and pull it closer with both of your hands.  Then switch legs and do the same thing.  Finally, do both legs at the same time.  Repeat this stretch two to three times.

Another stretch starts off in the same position as the last one.  This time keep both of your knees and ankles together, and shoulders flat on the floor.  Twist your back so that your right side of your right knee is touching the floor.  Hold for ten seconds and then do the same thing for the left side.  Switch sides for a three to five times.

This next stretch starts off in the same position as the last two.  For this one keep your feet and shoulders flat on the floor with your knees together.  Start by lifting your lower back while keeping your hips on the floor.  Hold this for five seconds and go back to the original position.  Next lift your hips off the floor as well as your lower back.  Hold for five seconds and then return to the original position.  Go through this cycle three to five times.


This next stretch will require a different starting position.  Start with your hands and both of your knees on the floor.  Have your body positioned so that your arms and legs are parallel to each other and are perpendicular to the floor.  Once you are in this position start the stretch by arching your back up and hold for five seconds.  Then curve your back downward and hold for five seconds.  Keep your head looking at the floor and repeat the cycle three to five times.

Now sit in a chair that allows you sit up straight.  An armless chair works best for this exercise.   Sit up straight with your feet on the floor.  Fold your right leg over your left and twist your back to the right.  Hold this position for five seconds and then repeat for the left.  Repeat this exercise three to five times.

To finish off your back exercises for the day continue sitting straight up in the chair.  While maintaining good posture pull your shoulder blades together and hold for five seconds.  Relax and then repeat three to five times.


After doing all those stretches your back should be loose and stronger.  It is important to do them ideally once a day, but at least a few times a week.  Make sure you are physically able to do some of the floor exercises before you try them.  Doing these more often, and doing more repetitions when you are doing them, will only strengthen your back more.  



Thank you for your time and attention! Let's make it safe this Monday!

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, April 13, 2015

What is NIOSH?

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If you’re someone who is currently reading this blog you’re probably very familiar with what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is. However, OSHA has a less known counterpart in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  Today we are going to look at the difference between OSHA and NIOSH, what NIOSH is, and the importance/purpose that it serves.


On December 29th, 1970, President Nixon created both NIOSH and OSHA under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. According to OSHA.gov, its mission is to “assure safe and healthy working conditions for both men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance." OSHA is charged with creating and enforcing health and safety laws whereas NIOSH is more focused on developing recommendations for health and safety standards and conducting extensive research on new health and safety concepts. Simply speaking, OSHA is the lawmaker whereas NIOSH is the researcher.

As seen on cdc.gov, NIOSH’s vision is “Delivering on the nation's promise—safety and health at work for all people through research and prevention.” With the mission to “provide national and world leadership to prevent work-related illnesses and injuries.” NIOSH is a research center institution with three primary goals:

1.      Conduct research to reduce work-related illnesses and injuries.
2.      Promote safe and healthy workplaces through interventions, recommendations and capacity building.
3.      Enhance international workplace safety and health through global collaborations.

NIOSH is part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and lacks the authority to establish laws and regulations that OSHA has. However, OSHA tends to listen to any recommendations that NIOSH discover through their research. To learn more about what NIOSH is, visit the website at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/.



NIOSH has played a crucial part in creating the safety that is found in workplaces throughout the U.S. today and will continue to serve an important purpose for many years to come. It’s important to recognize the importance of NIOSH and to keep up with the safety research they might be doing in your field.

Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.


Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, March 23, 2015

Aerial Lift Safety

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According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, every year an average of 26 constructor workers die while using aerial lifts. These fatalities most commonly occur from falls, electrocutions, or collapses / tip-overs. Around 70% of these fatalities occur while using boom lifts, while 25% occur while using scissor lifts. It’s important to realize what the potential dangers are while operating aerial lift equipment and to take the necessary precautions to minimize any potential risks. 

There are some basic safety recommendations given by the Center for Construction Research and Training that are important to remember while operating aerial lifts. When working with or near electricity it’s important that you abide by the following guidelines:

  • Anyone not electrically trained should stay at least 10 feet away from any live overhead power lines. 
  • Avoid any sudden movements while controlling the aerial lift to avoid accidental contact with live power lines.
  • Always follow OSHA guidelines for both wearing the proper electrical safety gear and using the properly insulated tools when necessary. 

When it comes to the safe operational use of aerial lifts, OSHA has an extensive list of proper safety requirements and recommendations. Some of the main requirements and recommendations are listed below:

  • Every worked involved in the operation of an aerial lift must be trained by a properly qualified individual.
  • Workers shall always stand firmly on the floor of the lift basket, and shall not sit or climb on the edge of the basket. 
  • A body belt shall be worn and attached to the basket while working in a lift. 
  • The aerial lift truck shall not be moved when the lift is in an elevated position with workers in the basket. 
  • All manufacturer set weight and load limits shall not be exceeded. 

For more extensive rules and regulations visit the following OSHA webpage: (https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=10754)

It’s important to remember that no matter how confident you feel, that there is always a chance of making a mistake. When operating aerial lifts or other construction equipment, overconfidence can very quickly result in injury or death. Always follow the proper safety procedures and remember that your well-being is more important than spending a few less minutes accomplishing the task at hand.

Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, March 16, 2015

Heavy Lifting Techniques and Tips

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Improper lifting techniques may result in many health issues, but the most common is back related injuries. Back injuries can be extremely painful and once they occur, they can be hard to heal and leave long lasting effects. The best option is avoiding situations that could put unnecessary strain on your back. One way of doing that is using proper lifting techniques. 

Proper lifting techniques are extremely important when lifting heavy, bulky, or awkwardly shaped objects.  There are several things you can do while lifting to ensure the minimum chance of injury. One of these things is keeping a wide base of support.  Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and one of your feet should be slightly ahead of the other.  This will ensure that you disperse the weight of the object evenly to your feet and that you don’t fall or stumble when picking it up.


Another tip is to keep proper posture when lifting the object. Your posture starts when you bend down to initially get a hold of the object. When bending down it is important to bend with your knees and keep your back straight, when bending down and when actually lifting the object.  Your legs have some of the strongest muscles in them. If you use these muscles rather than your back muscles it will take a huge amount of stress off your back. A tip when bending down is to keep your head up and looking forward. This will greatly help with keeping your back straight and forcing you to bend with your knees.

When lifting the object you have to make sure you have a solid grip on it in a position that will not hurt your hands. Also, lifting slowly helps you from jerking up and causing the object to slip away or causing harm to your back. If an object could cut or put undistributed pressure on your hands, it is best to use gloves with good grips to help protect them. There is also no shame in asking for help when lifting an object.  Some things are just too much to handle for one person, just make sure your partner uses proper lifting techniques too. 

When carrying the object it is important to move at a safe pace.  Don’t run or move too quickly, this could result in dropping the object or tripping. When walking with the object try your best to hold it as closely as possible to you.  This usually happens without even thinking about it, but when you do it, it keeps your center of balance closer to normal. When carrying, avoid twisting your torso. 
Twisting adds extra stress on your lower back and could cause injury.  

When setting down the object it is important to use similar techniques to when you picked it up. Bend with your knees again, while having your feet shoulder-width apart and one slightly ahead of the other.  Be careful when setting the object down not to squish your fingers. When setting down an object with a partner, make sure you are moving at the same time to ensure no one drops it. Following these techniques and tips will greatly help reduce injury and keep you lifting healthier longer.      

Thank you for your time and attention! Let's make it safe this Monday!

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company