Safety Apparel Overview

Safety apparel appropriate for your workplace.

In any given work environment, safety is one of the biggest concerns. How do you keep your employees safe from any dangers or hazards at work? One of the best ways is by appropriately incorporating safety apparel into their uniform.

What is Safety Apparel?

Safety apparel is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE). While personal protective equipment ranges from protective eyewear to hard hats and safety apparel. Safety apparel by definition is clothing designed to protect from injury or infection.

Do Your Employees Need Safety Apparel?

If you are having to ask yourself, “do my employees need safety apparel?,” chances are they do. Safety apparel is very important for employees who are working in low visibility areas. This can be construction sites, doing roadwork, rescue workers, fisherman and more.

How to use Safety Apparel Properly

Whenever you or one of your employees are stepping into a space  considered dangerous, it is important to have on safety apparel. This clothing should be comfortable and not too loose on the body. The fit of the safety apparel is incredibly important. If safety apparel does not fit properly, in either extreme, it could lead to dangerous exposure and contamination or machine snag hazards. It is important to properly train your employees on how to wear this safety apparel properly in accordance to your work environment.

It is important that the color of your safety apparel provides contrast to your work environment. If you are working on the side of a highway it might not be the best idea to get a green or blue colored safety apparel. Something like yellow or orange would be better for higher visibility. There are proven studies that if a person has on a fluorescent garment that can be seen at a distance,it draws attention to that person and makes them stand out from the rest of the background.

American National Standards Institute Safety Apparel Standards

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) classifies safety apparel into three categories:

  1. Class 1 garments: These class 1 garments are for employees working directly with traffic and moving vehicles that are moving no faster than 25 mph. For example, parking lot attendants, employees working in a warehouse where equipment is present or employees retrieving items from parking lots.
  2. Class 2 garments: These class 2 garments are for employees who are involved in work activities with aggressive weather conditions or conditions more elevated then class 1. For example, forest rangers, construction on a highway with cars going faster than 25 mph, airports attendees and emergency responders.
  3. Class 3 garments: These class 3 garments are for employees who need high visibility and might be involved with extremely hazardous situations. For example, survey crews, towing operators and working in extremely dangerous weather.

Safety Apparel Outerwear

Safety pants (for thermal or rain use), safety sweatshirts, windbreakers, and insulated bomber jackets are parimy safety supplies for many industries and companies. Keep warm, safe, and seen with HiVizGard Safety Apparel and workplace outerwear.

­­­­­­­­­­­­Where Can I get Safety Apparel?

Harmony Business Supplies can assist with your safety apparel needs. You can shop our selection of ANSI compliant safety apparel on our store.

Our Class 3 apparel is water-resistant, with retro-reflective stripes on the front, back and sleeves so your employees can be seen at all times. Our safety apparel comes in a selection of colors and sizes range from M-4XL. Call us at (800) 899-1255 or chat with us today to place your safety apparel order or learn more.

 

Eyewash Station Infection Risks

Eyewash Station Infection Risks

Health Effects from Contaminated Water in Eyewash Stations

Eyewash Station Risks for Infection

Eyewash stations are used in workplace environments where potential irritants could lead to eye injuries. By law, research laboratories, production facilities, and medical environments are required to have eyewash stations in place. While designed to keep workers safe, they could pose serious health risks if maintained improperly.

Contaminated Eyewash Stations

Pseudomonas
Pseudomonas. Photo Credit: CDC

According to OSHA, eyewash stations that aren’t being regularly maintained could contain potentially dangerous organisms. This puts employees at risk for developing eye and full body infections.

Pseudomonas, for instance, is a deadly bacteria species known for causing serious health complications. An infection that begins in the eye could spread through an individual’s bloodstream to the other tissue, including the skin and lungs. This is just one type of harmful substance which could be lurking in your eyewash station.

Can You Prevent Eyewash Contamination?

First, it’s important to identify the type of eyewash system your company uses. Plumbed eyewash stations feature plumbing components like spouts. They should be activated each week to ensure proper working order. And to clear away any buildup that could accumulate over time.

There are also eyewash solutions that don’t require any plumbing. Called self-contained eyewash stations, these systems can provide a stream of eyewash to the user for 15 minutes, as mandated by OSHA. They can also be installed quickly and easily in a convenient location. There are also durable self-contained stations. These are ideal in a wide variety of settings, including remote plant areas and construction sites.

Pureflow 1000 Replacement Cartridges
Pureflow 1000 Replacement Cartridges

To ensure compliance, self-contained eyewash stations should be serviced according to manufacturer instructions. One of the most important factors to remember is that the saline solution they contain does have an expiration date.

Some have 24-month shelf lives. Others can be stored safely for up to 36 months. The expiration date will vary from one type of solution to the next.

A final way to provide employees with eye solution is to simply have a small emergency eyewash wall station in place. Many low-risk environments  don’t fall under OSHA’s requirement of a steady stream of 1.5 liters per minute available for 15 minutes.  These facilities will use a wall station with 16 oz or 32 oz bottles  of eyewash.   Others may just have eyewash included with their first aid supplies. These too must be changed regularly to provide employees with access to fresh, contaminant-free eyewash.

Tips for Safe Eyewash Practices

Eyewash should generally be stored at a temperature between 60 and 100 degrees. Different solutions may have more specific storage requirements. To effectively clean or service the station, be sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions.

It’s important to use only solutions appropriate for eye flushing in your stations. Avoid risk of serious injury by using the proper solution.

Eyesaline Eyewash
Eyesaline Eyewash

If you have a need for eyewash stations or refill cartridges/bottles, Harmony Business Supplies can help. Take a look at our selection of eyewash equipment on our website. Or contact a product specialist for assistance.

The 5 OSHA Workplace Hazards

Under the right circumstances, virtually anything could become hazardous in the workplace. With sensible employee behavior and workplace conditions, however, the workplace hazards that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warn against fall into just five main categories. We’ll review them below, and provide suggestions for mitigating dangers for each.

#1: Safety Hazards

(slips, trips and falls, faulty
equipment, etc.)

Safety risks refer to the conditions or substances found in the work environment which can pose danger of injuries. From falling objects to wet floors, these seemingly innocuous everyday risks have the potential to cause serious bodily harm. To minimize these hazards, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Never leave machinery unattended while in use
  2. Practice safety while working from heights
  3. Mandate the use of safety gear and safety apparel, like hardhats, and safety glasses
  4. Have your electrical wiring inspected regularly
  5. Provide the proper signage (like wet floor signs) to notify employees of spills, and clean them up promptly

Safety Hazards include:

  • Spills on floors or tripping hazards,
    such as blocked aisles or cords
    running across the floor
  • Working from heights, including
    ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any
    raised work area
  • Unguarded machinery and moving
    machinery parts; guards removed or
    moving parts that a worker can
    accidentally touch
  • Electrical hazards like frayed cords,
    missing ground pins, improper
    wiring
  • Confined spaces
  • Machinery-related hazards
    (lockout/tagout, boiler safety,
    forklifts, etc.)

#2: Biological Hazards

(mold, insects/pests,
communicable diseases, etc.)

These types of hazards tend to be exclusive to specific work environments. Particularly, anyone who works with infectious plants, people, or animals may be regularly exposed to biological hazards. Examples of occupations could include laboratory workers, daycare assistants, and personnel in hospitals, doctor’s offices, or nursing homes.

Coming into contact with substances like blood and other bodily fluids, animal droppings, bacteria and viruses, or fungi can put an individual at risk of becoming ill. To minimize these risks, it’s essential that you establish a protocol for handling biohazards and potentially infectious material. Additionally, make sure necessary supplies like disposable gloves are easily accessible. Sorbents can be used to clean up bio-hazards.  These powerful granules absorb the liquid, making them easy to clean-up.

Types of things you may be exposed to
include:

  • Blood and other body fluids
  • Fungi/mold
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Plants
  • Insect bites
  • Animal and bird droppings

#3: Physical Hazards

(noise, temperature extremes,
radiation, etc.)

Physical hazards are environmental factors which can cause injury without direct contact. For instance, radiation, temperature extremes, consistent loudness, and prolonged exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays all fall into this category. These are commonly considered the most difficult to detect, because signs don’t always present themselves right away.Like the other hazards listed here, reducing your employees’ risk of being exposed to physical hazards comes down to providing protection.

Hearing protection, for instance, should be considered mandatory for any individuals working around loud machinery. In settings where MEFs and microwaves are routinely emitted, employers must develop practices their teams can follow to limit exposure.

Physical Hazards include:

  • Radiation: including ionizing, nonionizing
    (EMF’s, microwaves,
    radiowaves, etc.)
  • High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet
    rays
  • Temperature extremes – hot and cold
  • Constant loud noise

#4: Ergonomic Hazards

(repetition, lifting, awkward
postures, etc.)

Like physical hazards, ergonomic hazards may develop over time. Back strain and similar musculoskeletal disorders are often attributed to repetitive workplace motions. Even individuals who work desk jobs aren’t immune to suffering from back pain.

To combat ergonomic hazards, employers can offer training from specialists to help employees understand the importance of proper lifting techniques and posture. More and more employers are also exploring standing desk options to prevent associates from experiencing health complications associated with prolonged sitting.

Ergonomic Hazards include:

  • Improperly adjusted workstations and
    chairs
  • Frequent lifting
  • Poor posture
  • Awkward movements, especially if
    they are repetitive
  • Repeating the same movements over
    and over
  • Having to use too much force,
    especially if you have to do it
    frequently
  • Vibration

#5: Chemical/Dust Hazards

(cleaning products, pesticides,
asbestos, etc.)

Some chemicals are naturally more potent than others. While certain types are only dangerous when ingested or a person comes into direct contact with them, others are dangerous when simply inhaled. If your workforce uses chemicals regularly, you can keep employees safe by:

  1. Clearly labeling all chemicals
  2. Developing a protocol for handling chemicals
  3. Providing employees with the proper safety gear (respirators and gloves, for instance) to wear while in the presence of chemicals

Beware of:

  • Liquids like cleaning products, paints,
    acids, solvents – ESPECIALLY if
    chemicals are in an unlabeled
    container!
  • Vapors and fumes that come from
    welding or exposure to solvents
  • Gases like acetylene, propane, carbon
    monoxide and helium
  • Flammable materials like gasoline,
    solvents, and explosive chemicals.
  • Pesticides

 

No matter which types of hazards your workplace has, Harmony Business Supplies has all of the safety gear and products your team needs to stay healthy and injury-free. Browse through their supplies online now, or contact a product specialist to learn more.

3 Common Respirator Myths Debunked

3 Common Respirator Myths Debunked

Respirators are used to protect the wearer from inhaling harmful substances, including infectious particles and chemical vapors. With varying degrees of protection, respirators are available in many different types. While particulate respirators are used to filter only particles (dust and mist, for instance), chemical cartridge respirators (also known as “gas masks”) actually purify the air while you inhale.

Finding the right respirator to suit your needs will depend on the nature of your application. Just as importantly, you’ll also need to carefully follow the device’s guidelines to ensure full protection during use. There are some myths surrounding the proper ways to wear, use, and enforce respirators, many of which can actually be dangerous if believed. Here, we’ve collected and debunked some of the most common respirator myths:

3 Safety Respirator Myths:

 

MYTH: My company doesn’t need a respiratory protection program if employees wear masks voluntarily.

MYTH: My company doesn’t need a respiratory protection program if employees wear masks voluntarily.

 

TRUTH: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth requirements which employers must follow to keep individuals safe against the exposure of harmful air pollutants. Specifically, OHSA has a Respiratory Protection Standard which enforces respirator regulations. For instance, in settings where employees could be exposed to harmful fumes, vapors, smokes, sprays, and mists, the company must have a documented plan to explain how their respiratory protection program will be governed. This should also include procedures, specific types of equipment to be worn, care and use of the equipment, and medical evaluations for employees to verify their ability to wear respirators. Thus, even if your employees willingly wear respirators, government regulations still require you to have a plan in place.

 

 

MYTH: My facial hair won’t hinder respirator effectiveness.

MYTH: My facial hair won’t hinder respirator effectiveness.

 

TRUTH: It’s possible beards and mustaches could leave you more exposed to air pollutants. Here’s why: in order to keep you fully protected, the respirator needs to form an air-tight seal against your skin. Beards, clothing, and any other blockage preventing the seal from coming into direct contact with your skin can become an issue. By preventing a tight seal or blocking the exhalation valve, facial hair can allow contaminated air to leak into your respirator.

 

 

MYTH: I don’t need to change my respirator’s cartridge until I can smell the chemical while wearing it

MYTH: I don’t need to change my respirator’s cartridge until I can smell the chemical while wearing it.

TRUTH: Certain types of respirators use cartridges to purify the air. While they offer a high level of protection, they become less effective over time as the cartridge wears out. Thus, waiting until the cartridge is no longer working essentially defeats the purpose of wearing a respirator, as it no longer protects the wearer effectively. Moreover, using employees’ ability to detect smells is an unreliable method for changing cartridges, as they may be less sensitive to the fumes after working with them for a long time. OHSA mandates that employers should have a cartridge change schedule in place, so they can be replaced prior to losing their effectiveness.

 

If you’re in need of reusable respirators and cartridges to keep your employees protected, look no further than Harmony Business Supplies. Dozens of options are available online to accommodate every application, and a product specialist can help you if you’re not sure which model is right for your needs.