Monday, January 26, 2015

What is GHS?


The use of chemicals is key piece to businesses and economies worldwide. In fact, chemicals are all around us and directly affect our food, lifestyle, and health. It is because of their widespread use that the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), was developed. According to, the GHS is a system for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labeling of chemicals. In addition to the labels, (Material) Safety Data Sheets (SDS) may also be required to provide information on potential hazards and how to work safely with the chemical product.

Hazards or dangers associated with certain chemicals are classified into three main GHS classifications.  These are the GHS Physical Hazards (explosives, flammable gases, self-reacting substances, etc.), GHS Health and Environment Hazards (eye effects, skin irritation, sensitization, etc.), and environmental hazards such as chemicals hazardous to the Aquatic Environment. These are however very flexible and multiple classes can be administered to certain hazards or dangers.

The next step after classifying a chemical is to communicate the hazard(s) to the respective market. This is where the SDS and labels come into play. They provide the hazardous properties of chemicals that may pose a health, physical or environmental hazard during normal handling or use, according the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA also provides the following standardized label elements to be included in the GHS: 

  • Symbols (hazard pictograms): Convey health, physical and environmental hazard information, assigned to a GHS hazard class and category.
  • Signal Words: "Danger" or "Warning" are used to emphasize hazards and indicate the relative level of severity of the hazard, assigned to a GHS hazard class and category.
  • Hazard Statements: Standard phrases assigned to a hazard class and category that describe the nature of the hazard. 
  • Precautionary Statements and Pictograms: Measures to minimize or prevent adverse effects.
  • Product Identifier (ingredient disclosure): Name or number used for a hazardous product on a label or in the SDS. 
  • Supplier identification: The name, address and telephone number should be provided on the label.
  • Supplemental information: non-harmonized information.

There are a multitude of benefits that come from utilizing GHS in the chemical world such as reduced costs due to fewer accidents and illnesses, as well as improving a businesses image and credibility to list a couple. By having the information available on hazardous properties of chemicals, human health and the environment can be rightfully protected. There will be a greater understanding of potential hazards, which will result in safer use of chemicals in the workplace and home. 

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, January 19, 2015

Keep Your Garage Running Smooth


Does your workplace have a garage or vehicle service area? Garages can be extremely dangerous due to the many different types of hazards present. Large moving vehicles are only that start of the dangers that you might encounter in a typical garage. Most garages contain some form crushing hazard from lifting equipment such as a vehicle hoist or floor jack. Vehicles require maintenance on a regular basis to continue running properly which means there will be numerous chemicals such as motor oil, solvents, or gasoline.  Make sure you keep your employees and customers safe by following these simple tips.

Stay Organized: With an abundance of sharp, heavy, and flammable objects the lack of organization is the leading cause of garage injuries.

Keep Hazards Separated: Designate separate areas for operations such as welding, cleaning, painting, lubricating, and battery maintenance.   

Good Ventilation: Running engines produce carbon monoxide which can lead to headaches, sleepiness, and even death.

Adequate Lighting: A well-lit garage will make spotting dangerous objects and areas much easier. 

Emergency Response: Keep first aid kits fully stocked and easily accessible. Also have fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, and emergency showers available.

Take Out The Trash: Empty trash containers regularly and discard rags or towels soaked with flammable materials in approved metal containers.

Wash Your Hands: Provide a clean lunchroom and washroom that are separate from the work area to prevent harmful contaminants from your hands going into your mouth. 

Proper Tool Usage: Only use tools for their intended purpose and regularly inspected for damage and proper maintenance requirements. 

Attire: Requiring steel toed shoes, safety glasses, long sleeve shirts, and gloves in work areas can steeply reduce the amount of injuries reported. 

Garages can be a dangerous place, which is why it is important to practice garage safety. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive service technicians and mechanics have a much higher rate of injuries compared with the national average. If you follow these safety tips it will keep your garage and your vehicles running smooth.

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

Brad Lindemann
Sales Coordinator, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, January 5, 2015

It's Time For A Nap


When I was younger I always thought days off during the holidays were supposed to be a time to kick back, relax and catch up on some much needed sleep… I’m not sure about the rest of you but I feel like I need some time off to recover from my time off. Did anyone have last minute shopping to do in stores packed with other last minute shoppers? How many people had their in-laws stay with them a few too many days? Or did you take the family on an 8 hour road trip to Grandma’s house and needed to stop every 30 miles for a bathroom break? Holidays are a very stressful time and it is very likely that you’re more sleep deprived now than before they started. 

With the world more connected than ever, businesses are expected to operate around the clock. This means employees are expected to work longer hours, work from home at night, on weekends, and during holidays. This makes it difficult for individuals and families to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. When holidays are thrown into the mix our routines tend to get completely messed up. 

Certain jobs demand your alertness and full concentration. Operators of public transportation, airline pilots and truck drivers are just a few of the jobs that require you to be fully awake and aware. It has been determined by investigators that sleep deprivation played a major role in the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, Exxon Valdez oil spill and the space shuttle Challenger explosion. These three high profile incidents alone cost people their lives, billions in damages and incalculable environmental damage. Your job might not be as crucial as controlling a nuclear power plant, but a lack of sleep will have a major effect on your performance. Lack of concentration and memory lapses will increase the risk of accidents while decreasing your efficiency and output. You will be a less effective team member and your co-workers will notice your irritability level and mood swings.

There are ways to get back on track and achieve a better night’s rest. Grasping your circadian rhythm is one of the most important strategies for achieving a good night’s sleep. This means that you need to set a regular bed time and wake up time and adhere to it daily (this includes weekends). If you stick to a routine you’ll find that you’ll wake up naturally as opposed waking up to an alarm clock. If you still need an alarm and feel groggy in the morning you may need to set an earlier bed time. Make sure you get plenty of sun light during the day and try to exercise a little to tire yourself out. Avoiding large meals, caffeine and alcohol in the evenings might also help you avoid those restless nights.  You can easily educate yourself online by going to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) or National Sleep Foundation (NSF) websites.

Although January 1st has come and gone it’s never too late to make a 2015 resolution to get more sleep. Your friends, family and coworkers will appreciate your new restful attitude. By the holiday season next year you will be rested and ready to tackle those delightful in-laws, crowded shopping malls and long car rides.

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

Brad Lindemann
Sales Coordinator, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, December 29, 2014

Listen Up! Protect Your Hearing


Hearing injuries are often overlooked, being labeled insignificant and temporary. However, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration would say otherwise. According to, 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise each year. Thousands of these workers suffer from preventable hearing loss as a result of high workplace noise levels. 

The most common form of hearing loss is short term. Short-term exposure to loud noise typically results in only a temporary change in hearing. Your ears may begin to feel stuffed up or you may experience a constant ringing. For example, people commonly have these side effects after attending a rock concert without using anything to protect their hearing. These short-term problems tend to relieve themselves after a few minutes or hours after leaving the loud environment. 

However, the short term hearing loss becomes serious when repeated exposures to these loud noises take place, resulting in permanent hearing loss. Since 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss. Furthermore, they report that in 2009 alone there were more than 21,000 hearing loss cases. The good news is that the majority of these cases could have been prevented if they would have taken the appropriate cautionary measures. provides several options to control and reduce worker exposure to noise in a workplace. They define the following as:

1) Engineering Controls
These deal with modifying or replacing equipment, or making physical changes at the noise source or along the transmission path to reduce the noise level at the worker's ear. Some examples of these are utilizing low noise tools and machines, maintaining and lubricating machinery and equipment, placing a barrier between the noise source and employee, and enclosing or isolating the noise source.

2) Administrative Controls
These are defined as changes in the workplace that will reduce or eliminate a worker’s exposure to noise. Common examples of these are operating noisy machines during shifts when fewer people are exposed, limiting the amount of time a person spends at a noise source, or restricting worker presence to a suitable distance away from noisy equipment to name a few.

3) Hearing protection devices (HPDs)
These are the most common devices to the average person; however, in the workplace an employer should seek to utilize more engineering and administrative controls. Some examples of these are earmuffs and plugs.

Taking these listed controls and applying them will minimize the risk for hearing injuries at the workplace. By reducing the noise by only a few levels, communication can be significantly improved and lead to a more productive and healthy workforce.

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, December 22, 2014

You Are The Air You Breathe


Every day we all face a variety of risks to our health and our safety as we go about our day-to-day lives. Driving in cars, flying in planes, walking on ice, taking showers, etc. Most of these risks are simply unavoidable but there are some risks and safety hazards that despite being unavoidable, we can reduce the level of risk involved with them. Indoor air quality in both your home and your workplace is one risk that you can do something about.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Also, some specific diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants or indoor environments, like asthma with damp indoor environments. In addition, some exposures, such as asbestos and radon, do not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer after many years.

Some of the main causes of poor IAQ are, but are not limited to:

  • Poor Ventilation
  • Unregulated Temperatures.
  • High/Low Humidity.
  • Fumes from airborne chemicals in the workplace. 
  • Dust, Mold, Pesticides, Etc. 

It’s important to be aware of these potential hazards to your air quality and to consult with your building manager or employer about potential solutions. The most important step you can take to improve IAQ is having the right ventilation and building care. Also, if you work with any airborne chemicals or substances that you could breath in, it’s important to take extra precautions and wear masks when appropriate. 

Indoor air quality concerns are a fact of life for building owners, business owners, managers, and occupants. It’s almost impossible to make everyone completely happy with temperatures, humidity, etc., however, it is possible to provide a work environment that is healthy and safe. You should establish clear lines of communication so that IAQ issues can be detected and resolved as soon as possible. A building/company managed with an eye for preventing IAQ problems greatly reduces the likelihood of discomfort and will likely increase your employees’ productivity.

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, December 15, 2014

Oh My Back! 4 Ways Lift Hand Trucks Can Reduce Ergonomic & Safety Concerns | Cisco-Eagle


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, employers reported 3 million workplace nonfatal injuries and illnesses during 2013.

Due to stringent OSHA regulations, workplace safety inspections, and liability concerns, employee safety in industrial applications has become a primary concern for many companies.  Statistics demonstrate that warehouse workers are particularly susceptible to strains and injuries.  As a result, companies are working hard to promote more ergonomically-friendly workplaces for employees.

These progressive companies are looking at new processes, new technology, and equipment to help reduce the kind of long-term ergonomic issues that are both dangerous and costly.

Warehouse equipment such as lift hand trucks can greatly reduce safety concerns while driving increased efficiency and worker productivity. Here’s a look at how:

1) Weight Capacity
Lift hand trucks are used for stacking and transporting goods that are less than a pallet load. With the capacity to handle loads weighing up to 350 lbs and measuring 36”, they make getting heavy loads from floor level to workbenches, shelves, rack, or truck bed height easy.

In the world of material handling, heavy lifting safety is especially critical. Lift hand trucks shouldn't replace safety guidelines for heavy lifting; they should serve to enforce some of the ergonomic practices designed to make tasks safer for workers. Since workers who are younger and stronger (and typically in these types of jobs) tend to disregard safe lifting processes, lift-enabled hand trucks can help them work smarter. 

2) Maneuverability 
In addition to weight capacity, lift hand trucks also save on the need for a forklift by allowing pallets to be broken at the shipping area, then transported by hand.  Workers don’t need to send a forklift to different areas where it can elevate a pallet for carton or piece putaway. Lift hand trucks can also fit into areas forklifts can’t, like office areas, shelving aisles, and other cramped confines.  This maneuverability makes them suitable for a number of different warehouse tasks, including shipping & receiving and anywhere else with limited work space.

While traditional stackers can accommodate heavy loads, they can’t travel on uneven floors, in and out of trucks, up and down inclines, etc., all of which can hamper productivity. Lift hand trucks can go places powered stackers cannot, including tight areas such as elevators or narrow hallways.

3) Adjustable Height Platform
With the BLS estimating that musculoskeletal disorders account for roughly a third of all worker injuries and illnesses, finding ways to reduce worker strain and fatigue is crucial. An EHS Today article on workplace ergonomics states “Some things that can be done to reduce the risk factors related to injuries from receiving and shipping tasks include: 1) Using proper lifting techniques, and 2) Using mechanical assist when possible.”

Built with an adjustable height platform, lift hand trucks allow workers to lift and lower goods to the precise height needed to load and unload. This adjustable platform eliminates the need for workers to bend and lift, thus making the environment safer and more ergonomically friendly.

4) Simplicity & Efficiency
One of the best things about lift hand trucks is their simplicity. Workers can be up and running with little or no training, in no time, so they can spend more time loading and unloading materials  in a way that helps minimize strains and injuries.

How do they work? A simple button control fob is tethered to the main mast console and rests in a special holder until taken out for remote use at one side or the other of the lift. The controller manipulates the height of the platform smoothly and precisely, making work quicker and easier. Once goods have been loaded, the worker easily tips the entire load back somewhat and transports much like using a traditional hand truck. Once ready to unload, the controller can adjust height of platform and easily slide goods off onto new surface.

 Final Thoughts
“The primary injuries occurring in a warehouse stem from lifting, straining, and turning,” as noted by Joel Anderson, president and CEO of the International Warehouse Logistics Association. With so much at stake (employee safety, lost productivity, higher insurance bills, government fines, etc.), forward-thinking companies have invested in warehouse equipment such as lift hand trucks to promote workplace safety and drive warehouse efficiency.

Hand lift trucks are costlier than simple hand trucks, but companies shouldn’t treat them that way. They provide an ergonomic boost and a productivity shot in the arm for many types of loads and operations.

How is your organization making workplace safety a priority?

Scott Stone is the E-business manager for Cisco-Eagle, Inc, a provider of integrated material handling and storage systems for industrial operations. Scott has over 23 years experience in industrial operations and marketing.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Staying Safe on the Lakes this Winter


Now that this cold, winter like weather is finally upon us, it’s important to keep in mind some extra safety advice. During this winter season many of us will travel out onto frozen lakes and it’s important to remember the dangers of thin or unsafe ice. 

There is no such thing as 100% safe ice. It’s important that you don’t try to judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, the time of year, or the current temperature. Although these are important things to remember, the true strength of the ice is based off much more. All of the aforementioned factors are important, but other factors to take into consideration are, but are not limited to: the depth of the water under the ice, the size of the body of water, water currents, and the distribution of your weight. 

There are however, some general guidelines given by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the thickness of ice depending on your weight, as seen in the picture below.  

*Note: These are Rough guidelines; always use extreme caution with ice safety

However, if the unexpected happens and you do break through the ice, it’s important to not panic and to be as mentally prepared as possible. When you’re traveling on ice, always make sure you have some sort of ice picks to help you pull yourself out of the water if needed. As you pull yourself out, remember to spread your weight out as much as possible to reduce the odds of the ice breaking underneath you again. If you do manage to get out of the water, make sure to head back in the direction you originally came from; this is important because the ice you have already traveled on is the only path you know is safe.  Finally, get to shelter and warmth as soon as possible to avoid getting frostbite or hypothermia. 

Most importantly: never travel on ice alone, always be cautious, and always be prepared for the worst.  

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