Air Tool Safety 101

Compressed Air SignAir tools offer a wealth of benefits over electrical tools. They’re lighter, cheaper, and generally more efficient. The one thing that they haven’t quite improved upon however is safety.

Despite the lack of an electrical current, they are just as dangerous when used incorrectly. And in some cases, they can even be more dangerous. Regardless of whether you work at home or in a factory, here are five simple tips for staying safe when using air tools.

Follow the Guidelines

Read the instructions for all tools before you use them. Know exactly how they work, how to deal with malfunctions and most importantly each tools limitations. Tools guidelines are in place for no other reason than to keep you safe.

Use a Suitable Compressor

Don’t take risks when powering your tools. Use a well maintained compressor and avoid exceeding the maximum PSI. Turn your compressor off when not in use and disconnect all tools. If your compressor is showing signs of wear, read a few air compressor reviews and get it replaced.

Replace Faulty Tools

Never use a faulty air tool. Malfunctions can be both unpredictable and dangerous. Excess air pressure can cause injury. Conversely, a lack of air pressure can cause you to push your tools harder than normal which can prove equally dangerous.

Clean at 30 PSI

When using an air tool for cleaning, stick to 30 PSI. This is more enough for cleaning sawdust or flakes of any kind. Cleaning at higher pressures greatly increases the danger of flying debris.

Use in Ventilated Areas Where Possible

Where possible, air tools should be used in well ventilated areas. This is because in some cases, the air coming out of them may not be safe for inhalation. Potential problems include anti freeze and oil contamination. If you notice a lot of either, replace the tool sooner rather than later.

Keep a Clear Work Space

Keep your work space as clear as possible to minimize the risk of tripping. Only work on dry surfaces and take special care when working around electrical hazards.

Watch the Cord

One hazard that isn’t present with electrical tool is that of a hose whipping about. If you tear an electrical cord, it will just fall to the ground. But if you tear an air cord, it will whip around violently until the air is shut off. It’s therefore very important to keep an eye on the cord at all times, making sure not to step on it or otherwise damage it.

Wear Protective Gear

Finally, if there’s an air tool in your hand, there should be safety glasses on your head. Compressed air is more than fast enough to cause injury and that’s before we even talk about the particles released when sanding, hammering, or drilling. Whether you need glasses for filling a tire is debatable but for any other activity, there’s just no excuse. A respirator should also be used when using a blower or paint sprayer.

How to Avoid CO Poisoning

Carbon MonoxideCarbon monoxide poisoning is a very real threat that kills hundreds of people each year. According to the NHS, 50 people die each year in the UK alone.

In most cases, CO poisoning can be completely avoided by following a few common sense safety tips.

Here are three easy ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.

Inspect Gas Appliances Annually

Faulty gas appliances are major contributing sources of carbon monoxide poisonings and even deaths each year. People, unfortunately, tend to assume that if an appliance is working, it’s working correctly.

However, gas appliances may leak, they may be burning inefficiently, or there may be some other problem that is creating carbon monoxide build up that you might not be able to detect on your own. If your house uses gas for the furnace, water heater or stove, these items should be inspected each year.

Sometimes your gas provider may offer inspection services, but home inspectors and general contractors are generally qualified to inspect gas appliances in your home.

Ensure Adequate Ventilation When Using Fuel Burning Appliances

Another major source for carbon monoxide poisoning is fuel-burning items being used in enclosed spaces. For instance, this can include using a gas or charcoal grill in an enclosed garage or shed, running a lawn mower, generator or even vehicle inside a closed garage. Even using a kerosene or butane heater inside your garage or shed can be seriously dangerous unless you have adequate fresh air ventilation.

While many people understand that using fuel-burning appliances and running combustible engines indoors probably isn’t safe, what can happen is somebody will plan an outdoor cookout only to have it start raining, the power will go out, or there’s a spur-of-the-moment need for heat or light.

In these situations, we’re not thinking about the potential dangers of using gas-burning appliances indoors, rather we’re thinking about getting our grill out of the rain, keeping our generator dry when it’s raining and the power’s out, or even letting our car warm up in the garage before heading out into the cold.

Use Carbon Monoxide Detectors Throughout Your Home

Keeping carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home is one of the best ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. However, if you have a garage or shed where you may occasionally use a grill, generator or gas lighting or heat, it’s certainly worth the small extra expense to add a carbon monoxide alarm to your additional buildings.

Considering the large number of carbon monoxide poisonings each year and how most are easily avoidable, using an inexpensive carbon monoxide detector is one of the best ways to keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

While carbon monoxide poisoning may affect tens of thousands of people this year, and devastate hundreds of families, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to avoid being a part of these unfortunate statistics.

Have your gas appliances inspected regularly, don’t run fuel-burning vehicles or heaters indoors without ventilation, and install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, and potentially in your garage or shed. While these few preventative tips do not take up much time or money, they do have the potential to save your life.

Is Your Diaper Bag Toxic?

Diaper Bag WarningNo parent would deliberately expose their child to dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately however, this is a mistake that many make accidentally.

Just because a product is designed for children doesn’t mean that toxins haven’t been used in its production. And one of the most common examples of this, is diaper bags.

Considering the fact that they’re designed to be used around babies, you might expect manufacturers to be extra careful. Unfortunately, you would be wrong.

When trying to figure out which company makes the best diaper bags, it’s therefore important to look past fashion. And to focus instead on the chemicals that have been used in their construction.

The two most dangerous chemicals used in the manufacturing of these products are phthalates and, surprisingly, lead.

PVC and Phthalates

PVC, or vinyl as it is also known, isn’t particularly dangerous on its own. When it’s melted however, phthalates are often used to bind it back together. And this is where the danger comes in.

At the time of writing, the danger of phthalates is still debatable. But more and more studies are starting to link them to problems as diverse as asthma and childhood obesity.

The use of phthalates has been banned in children’s toys since the nineties. Despite this fact, it is still used in many items that children come in contact with, most notably, changing pads and diaper bags.

If you’d like to protect your child from the potential danger of these chemicals, look for a diaper bag that’s both PVC and phthalate free. The reason I warn of PVC also is that even if phthalates aren’t used, some other kind of chemical has been.

And the alternatives don’t look particularly safe either.

Lead

While the dangers of PVC and phthalates are still debatable, the danger associated with lead exposure is scientific fact. Multiple studies have linked lead exposure to both brain damage and development problems, both of which are irreversible.

Because of these dangers, there are strict European regulations limiting just how much lead can be used in the production of consumer products. Unfortunately however, multiple tests have shown that many companies ignore these regulations.

In a similar fashion to avoiding phthalates, the responsibility for avoiding lead therefore falls to you, the parent. Do your research, and before you buy a diaper bag, make sure that it’s both lead and phthalate free.

Safety First with Steel Toe Work Boots

work boots signWhile the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) does require the use of protective footwear when working under risky conditions, I’ve also heard some pretty gruesome testimonies about steel toe work boots actually being more dangerous than regular, soft toe ones.

Picture this: You’re working in a tractor factory, when a 1000 lb chunk accidentally falls on your foot. The steel insert in your work boots, instead of deflecting the weight, yields to the pressure and curls in — cutting off your toes. In that case, the very piece of steel that’s supposed to protect your foot ironically becomes the cause of more injury.

The Verdict: Are Steel Toe Work Boots Still Advisable?

In search of a reasonable answer to this question, I surveyed both the testimonials of steel toe work boot horrors and actual experiments done to prove or disprove the reported dangers of wearing steel toe shoes. All things considered, more evidences still show that wearing steel-toed boots is a better bet than wearing regular boots. For instance, an arbor press test showed that the steel-toed shoe was able to withstand 6000 lbs of pressure before total failure, while the regular boot failed at about 1200 lbs.

As for the cited testimonies of amputation due to injury while wearing steel toe work boots, one could see that considering the degree of injury, there would still be amputation regardless of the type of boot used. As one argument rightly pointed out, all protective equipment has limitations, and severe injury should be avoided by better engineering controls and not merely by depending on protective footwear.

How to Choose the Right Boots for You

For maximum protection, and comfort, look for the following key features when buying steel toe work boots.

First, check for durable leather construction. The best ones are made of full-grain leather, which has the most fiber strength and durability and also allows for more breath-ability.

Also, look for boots that not only protect the top of your feet, but also the soles. Anti-skid, lightweight, rubber soles that are resistant to slips and punctures are ideal.

As for the inside of the shoes, look for padded insoles that absorb shock and water resistant linings that can keep your feet dry.

Most importantly, ensure that you get a pair of boots in the right size. Buy boots that aren’t too snugly fit. This will allow space for both air to circulate and for the swelling that typically occurs when you spend all day on your feet.

Keep in mind that you are the one in the best position to ensure your own safety. Now that you know what makes the best pair of steel-toed boots, you are better equipped to make informed choices. Steel toe work shoes are not a fail-safe guarantee against injury, but they are among the first steps.

Child Safety Seat Requirements

Child Car Seat SafetyAlthough it may not seem it, purchasing a car seat can often be a difficult and painful process when you don’t know what you need or where to start. Being such an important child safety item, it’s important to do your research before you buy.

It’s not enough to just have a car seat. While some seats do offer more safety and ease of use features then other seats might, no one seat is the “best” or “safest.” The most important aspects of choosing a restraint are that it:

  • fits your child
  • fits your vehicle
  • is a restraint you will install and use correctly every time you travel
  • fits your budget

How to Choose a Safe Car Seat for Your Child

  • Make sure you buy a restraint that comes with clear instructions on how to install it correctly.
  • Ensure that the restraint you are purchasing meets an approved standard accepted in Europe.
  • Keep in mind the steps necessary to correctly install and remove the restraint from your vehicle. This is especially important if you need to do this regularly as the seat will need to fit comfortably in both cars.
  • Make sure that the restraint purchased is suitable for your vehicle, particularly if you have a small car or older vehicle. Will there be enough room for other passengers? Not all child restraints fit in all cars so it’s a good idea to try before you buy.
  • Make sure that the seat you are buying is suitable for your child’s weight, height and age. Weigh your child and measure their height. The torso height is the most important measurement, measure from the child’s bottom to the tip of their head and also their shoulder height. Check the user manual for the seats weight and/or height limitations before you purchase your restraint to make sure it is suitable.
  • Don’t base your decision on what seat to get on price alone. A higher price does not always indicate that the seat is any better then others on the market.
  • Because it is recommended to have children in the rear-facing position till they are at least one year of age, you need to consider the maximum weight and height limitations of your capsule and/or convertible restraint. Too small a limitation and your child may have to be turned before they are one. Try and purchase a convertible car seat with a rear-facing weight limit of at least 12 kg, the majority of children should get to at least one year of age rear-facing at that weight. Though, the higher the rear-facing weight limit and the taller the seat the better of course.

If you have any further queries about these products then please contact the manufacturer of the child safety seat or child safety seat accessory that you are interested in.

Common Sense Forklift Safety

Forklift Safety TipsRoutinely handling loads of more than 1,000 pounds, forklifts have the potential to cause serious injury or death if an operator is not properly trained or acts in a less than cautious manner. Every year, about 100 deaths and 20,000 serious injuries can be attributed to forklift related incidents.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Surveillance System, vehicular accidents are one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. The top 4 causes of forklift related deaths were the forklift overturning, a worker being struck by the forklift, a person crushed by the forklift and a person falling from the forklift.

Why Is Forklift Safety Important?

With the inherent danger of operating such a vehicle, forklift safety is a priority. Despite all of the rules and regulations, people still are injured or die from forklift accidents. Most of those accidents could have been avoided if the proper attention to all safety precautions was followed.

Unfortunately, people are not perfect. They don’t always pay attention to forklift safety rules. Experienced operators often use the forks and an empty pallet to lift a worker twenty feet up in the air to pull something off of a shelf. More than a few workers have lost their balance and taken a serious or even deadly fall.

There is no excuse for racing forklifts or speeding around the warehouse. Anyone caught violating such basic forklift safety rules should be fired immediately. A forklift driver must undergo special training to be certified as a qualified forklift operator. Training includes formal classroom instruction, practical, hands-on training on the type of fork lift they will be operating and an evaluation of their performance under actual working conditions.

Forklift safety rules require the forklift operator to be at least 18 years of age. You should always be aware of your surroundings. Never drive a forklift with the forks above the operator’s head. Make sure the load you are picking up is well balanced and secured on the pallet. Don’t speed!

There are literally hundreds of rules to help keep fork lift operation safe. Common sense is really the most important. Do not attempt to pick up loads heavier than the forklift is rated to lift. This can cause the forklift to tip over. Do not lift people. Make sure that there is no gap between an empty truck and the loading platform.

Always keep the vehicle under tight control. Lower the forks when empty. Only use a fork lift for approved situations and do not add non-conforming parts or attachments that can throw the forklift out of balance.

Certified operators should know all the safety precautions and should always operate their forklift with those precautions in mind.