Sleep Deprivation at Work

sleep deprivation at work blog post

The National Sleep Foundation found that 50 million Americans suffer from lack of sleep on a regular basis. On any given night, only 27% of Americans fulfill the recommended amount of sleep of 7 to 9 hours. It is no wonder the CDC declares sleep disorders a public health epidemic. Fatigued workers are 70% more likely to be in accidents at work compared to someone who slept 8 hours. Getting 4 hours of sleep is akin to drinking six beers. Although safety issues may be lessened for office workers, the effects of poor sleep hygiene are still pronounced.

Lack of sleep can be ground zero for other health issues.

Those without sufficient sleep are at a higher risk for heart disease, obesity, and decreased cognitive performance.

For busy professionals, it is vital to prioritize sleep for one’s long term well-being.

Insufficient sleep can drive people to reevaluate the demands of their job. A negotiated work schedule that allows for a balanced life that prioritizes sleep will enhance a worker’s well-being and productivity. 

Flexible schedules, work from home options, and in-office naps all contribute to a more productive and happy workers. Employees should work with managers by emphasizing the productivity benefits that will be achieved through employer-supported sleep initiatives. Shorter shift times, bright lights, and healthy food options all contribute to a worker’s productivity.  

Companies that do not address sleep deprivation contribute to the United State’s $411 billion in economic losses per year, the highest of any nation by far. The Rand Corporation estimates over 1 million lost working days per year solely due to the effects of sleep deprivation on companies. Even for small businesses, one fatigued worker costs employers upwards of $3100 annually. 

How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Work?

Decreased Immunity

Lack of sleep compromises the body’s ability to fend off diseases. Research found that the flu vaccine is less effective when the patient had gotten less than 7 hours of sleep at some time in the last week. Sleep is critical for the production and release of cytokines, which provide signals to cells that regulate and mediate immunity and inflammation. One night of lessened sleep can down-regulate one’s immune response when injected with a flu virus.

Sleeping one hour less may increase your body’s chance of developing a cold or flu by 30%.

Decreased Productivity

Research at Hult Business School found that even 30 minutes of extra sleep affects work performance. Even beyond a general lethargy and lack of focus, it takes sleep deprived workers longer to finish tasks and solve problems.

People who sleep at least 7 hours can expect to perform 10% better than sleep deprived colleagues. 

Emotional Instability

Sleep loss causes irritability and an inability to self-regulate behavior. Displays of negative emotions increase with chronic fatigue. Psychologists recommend patients to set a consistent sleep schedule and eat a fatty, protein rich breakfast in order to curb one’s emotional instability. A consistent waking time is more important for emotional regulation than a consistent sleeping time. Blue light in the morning is critical to wake up the body and mind, whereas that same blue light at night sabotages sleep. 

Lack of sleep affects the body’s ability to fight disease and the mind’s ability to regulate itself. Mood shifts downward, along with one’s productivity at work. However, there are strategies that can be used to lessen the effects of sleep deprivation. The most obvious is to get more sleep at the first available opportunity. 

How can you function with little to no sleep?

Without the use of caffeine and other stimulants, there are simple ways to increase alertness. However, each method is not a replacement for actual sleep and its effects are temporary. The only way to address chronic fatigue is by practicing good sleep hygiene by setting a consistent sleep schedule. 

  1. Ice water | Cold Shower
    • Drinking ice water temporarily decreases fatigue, however, cold showers or an ice bath are the is a temporary way to function with little to no sleep. Submersion in cold water for over 2 minutes increases the body’s immune function and the mind’s ability to regulate mood. 
    • To effectively use a cold shower, slowly lower the temperature of the water to not shock the body. Continue to breathe normally. Finish the shower as cold as you can handle for at least thirty seconds.
  2. Sunlight or Artificial Blue Light
    • Artificial blue light and sunlight both decrease melatonin production and signal wakefulness to the mind. To effectively prepare to work sleep deprived, expose yourself to light as soon as possible after waking up. 
    • Natural sunlight breaks during work will provide a mood boost. You may find newfound energy after a short, brisk walk in the fresh air. If napping is not allowed, sunlight may be your savior. 
  3. 20 Minute Power Naps
    • Many companies recognize that employee performance suffers when sleep deprived. To respond to this, on-site napping is no longer taboo at companies such as Nike, Zappos,  and Google. Quiet spaces for employees to nap increase productivity and general health and wellness. 
    • To most effectively nap at work, limit the nap time to 20 minutes. Because a full sleep cycle is 90 minutes, 20 minutes is not deep enough into the cycle to not be interrupted. One 20 minute nap can temporarily act as a full sleep cycle and provide wakefulness, as long as it is not a long term solution to chronic fatigue. 
  4. Physical Activity
    • A small increase in heart rate associated with physical activity decreases the effects of sleep deprivation and increases wakefulness. A sustained increase in heart rate is most effective and can be achieved through a walking desk, or frequent physical activity breaks. Bodyweight exercises can be substituted for an under the desk elliptical or a standing desk. Thirty squats every 15 minutes mimic the effects of caffeine without any negative side effects. 
  5. Eat Small Meals
    • Large carbohydrate dense meals increase drowsiness. To combat sleep deprivation, small protein and fat rich meals provide sustained energy all day. Small meals every 2.5 to 3 hours are the most effective regimen for performance. Four ounces of protein with vegetables and an omega rich oil will sustain your body until a full night’s sleep can be achieved. 

How can you Identify Chronic Sleep Issue?

Losing a few hours of sleep a week is not enough to qualify for chronic insomnia. Most sleep issues people experience are short term. Stressing about a meeting on monday generally leads to better sleep on  monday night. However, for people who experience consistent sleep problems, they may be diagnosed with chronic insomnia.

Signs to Look out For

  1. Difficulty falling asleep
    • The average person takes 14 minutes to fall asleep. 
  2. Waking up and being unable to fall back asleep
  3. Waking up too early
  4. Relying on Caffeine to wake up
  5. Relying on Alcohol to fall asleep 

Chronic sleep issues generally is a self-fulfilling cycle. Anxiety around sleep can cause you to take longer to fall asleep, be unable to fall back asleep if awoken, and cause you to take up early. Once you feel tired, you may lean on caffeine to help with the symptoms, further causing poor sleep and a reliance on the substance emerges. To avoid chronic sleep issues keep a consistent wake up time and talk to your doctor if problems continue for an extended period of time.

Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies

How To Improve Workplace Safety

How To Improve Workplace Safety

Safety training should be included in any business’ monthly meeting agendas. During safety meetings, the person in charge should talk about workplace safety precautions or train employees about new safety measures to observe.

Many people retain only a small percentage of what they hear or read. Therefore, the person in charge needs to do more than read the safety procedures from a manual. He needs proper planning if he wants the meeting to be exciting and achieve the intended goal.

To ensure the success of the meeting, the meeting materials should be presented appropriately. That way, the meeting attendees will be able to retain the information after the session is over. However, holding a successful safety meeting is not always easy, and many people find it boring.

OSHA Training Guidance

Since its formation by the federal government in 1971, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has helped decrease the number of workplace injuries by 65%. The success rate can be attributed to the comprehensiveness of the organization’s training requirements. These requirements ensure that only people who are knowledgeable about workplace safety get certified.

The main objective of OSHA training guidelines is to ensure that employees understand how to stay safe in their workplaces. As many researchers have confirmed, most workplace injuries happen to new employees who have little to no knowledge of the OSHA safety requirements. These requirements affect every company that has employees, although not every business is subject to the Act.

Businesses that are exempt from OSHA requirements include;

  • Those with less than ten employees.
  • Have more than ten employees but are in a less hazardous industry.
  • Those that employ immediate family members.
  • Those offering domestic services.

Additionally, businesses that are under federal agencies, churches, and other religious institutions are not under OSHA requirements.

How to Run a Successful Safety Meeting

It’s always essential to ensure that employees understand the risks associated with their workplace. Such risk information is passed to employees during well-organized safety meetings whereby they’re allowed to ask questions. Follow the tips below to hold such a meeting.

Ensure the Right Ambience

It’s necessary to ensure the comfort of the attendees during the meeting. Organize for the required equipment, such as a pa address, early in advance. Doing this avoids experiencing inconveniences caused by broken equipment.

The event organizer should confirm that the lighting system is working properly and that the temperatures are at a comfortable level. The projector overhead and speakers should be set and tested prior to the meeting to confirm their functionality.

Having the attendees seated during the meeting ensures maximum participation. Consider using round tables or arranging the chairs in a U shape where there are no round tables. Creating a favorable atmosphere increases the concentration of the attendees and the retention of the topics.

Take Minutes

Just like any other meeting, there should be someone taking minutes to help keep a record of what the group has learned. Also, encourage the attendees to take notes or record the safety meeting proceedings for accuracy purposes.

Use Different Training Techniques

Different people have varying ways levels of understanding, depending on how the information was passed. You can increase the retention levels by combining different training techniques such as group discussions and video presentations.

Spice It Up

Eliminate boredom during the lessons by involving in activities such as games and contests. Ensure that the attendees understand the experience by using teaching materials such as PowerPoint presentations. Make sure the slides are updated for that particular lesson and not old slides from a previous meeting.

Distinguish the Literacy Level of the Attendees

The literacy levels of different employees and their understanding of the English language should help determine the best training method. If some employees are not fluent in English, consider having handouts written in their respective languages in addition to the visual presentations. Giving examples in each case further helps the topics to sink in; analogies help the audience relate to the subject better.

Ending the safety meeting on light note helps reinforce the topics before closing the meeting. Some good ways to end it is by holding a question and answer session, giving a quiz, or filling feedback forms.

OSHA Safety Meeting Requirements

Having safety committees help businesses put in place safety measures and procedures that minimize work-related injuries and deaths. Also, OSHA requires every company to provide its employees with a safe working environment. The organization goes ahead to provide employers with the right leadership to spearhead the creation of workplace safety awareness.

Businesses can ensure these measures are followed by holding safety meetings between its owners and the employees. During these meetings, the following topics should be discussed;

Workplace Hazards

There’re a wide array of workplace hazards ranging from chemicals to technology materials that cause injuries and sometimes death in workplaces. Any business can be exposed to these dangers, whether dealing with them directly or indirectly. The person in charge of safety meetings needs to ensure that the company employees have access to material safety data sheets.

Ensure that the employees understand;

  • Specific hazards in each item.
  • How to handle hazardous materials and chemicals.
  • Clean-up procedure in case of spills.
  • Medical procedures in case of exposure.

Strain Injuries

Sometimes an employee may be working in a place that calls for a repetitive physical position. Such a situation results in Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) such as tendinitis. RSI mostly affect employees who work behind the desk for long hours, using the telephone for long hours, and repetitive actions at the warehouse.

In this case, the safety meeting can handle topics such as:

  • Workstation evaluation and assigned tasks.
  • Measures to help reduce strain injuries.
  • Regulation of laws that will ensure the employer institutes ergonomic precautions.

Emergency Preparedness

 During safety meetings, employees should be taught how to prepare in case of emergencies such as safety system failure, natural disasters, and theft. Employees should be equipped with comprehensive safety planning by discussing topics such as;

  • Evacuation plans.
  • Use of first aid kits.
  • How to use AED devices in case of heart problems.
  • Giving CPR.
  • Dealing with natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes.

Safety Rules and Regulations

Each business has its safety rules and regulations set in place. Remind employees about those rules during the regular safety meetings. Confirm that;

  • OSHA safety standards are met.
  • Employees wear the right safety gear while at work.
  • Workstations and areas are kept clean and safe.

Housekeeping and Sanitation

Working in a clean environment reduces some unnecessary workplace hazards. Remind the employees about the importance of;

  • Disposing of the trash properly.
  • Not obstructing the walkways and passageways.
  • Maintaining proper lighting inside and outside the buildings.
  • Having clean filtered drinking water.
  • Working in properly ventilated rooms.

Fire Prevention

To avoid and protect against fire accidents in workplaces, ensure;

  • ‘No smoking’ signs are appropriately placed.
  • Fire extinguishers are adequately charged and placed in the right positions.
  • Exit and evacuation routes are adequately labeled.
  • Proper labeling and storage of flammable materials.

Bottom Line

Following OSHA safety requirements help reduce work-related injuries and accidents. The organization offers free and confidential safety advice to small businesses, which employers should consider. Small businesses can further comply with starting a safety program in their workplace. They can use the program to teach employees about potential work hazards and appropriate precautionary measures to take.

It’s important to note that violating OSHA safety requirements attracts penalties. The size of the business determines the penalties. Small companies are exempt from some of OSHA regulations but are liable to others, but either way, observing employee safety is paramount.

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards [and how to avoid them]

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards

Cannabis Industry Safety is more critical now than ever. At a time when other industries seem to be struggling to keep afloat, the marijuana industry is the fastest growing industry that hires more and more employees every day. According to the BLS, 5.5 million jobs in the manufacturing industry were lost between 2000 and 2017. However, the legal cannabis market is expected to have over a quarter-million jobs by the year 2020.

While other industries struggle to keep afloat, the marijuana industry is the fastest-growing. Hiring more and more employees every day. According to the BLS, 5.5 million jobs in the manufacturing industry were lost between 2000 and 2017. Yet, the legal cannabis market expects to have over a quarter-million jobs by the year 2020.

Despite high employment, the industry faces some safety hazards, just like other industries. OSHA General Duty Clause – in Section 5 (a) (1) states that you as an employer should provide your employees with a workplace free from identifiable hazards that have the potentiality to cause serious harm or even death to your workers.

Cannabis Industry Safety

The Cannabis Industry includes:

  • Cultivation
  • Distribution
  • Laboratory testing
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail

Marijuana Industry Safety Hazard Breakdown

Meanwhile, Most of the hazards in the marijuana industry are like those experienced in other industries. Be aware of Grow House Hazards to avoid disasters. These hazards break down into three main categories: biological, physical, and chemical.

Biological Hazards

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards biological hazards

For instance, these types of hazards can arise from working with marijuana plants. Some of the common biological agents include bacteria and fungi. Meanwhile, these agents can affect the health of your workers by causing the throat, skin and eye irritation, nasal congestion, and other physical health effects.

Some of the most likely biological hazards that your employees may encounter include:

Mold

Employees assigned to cultivating and trimming of marijuana can be exposed to mold. Mold growth and mold spores are most likely to occur due to the high humidity levels that are required for the production of marijuana. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the production of marijuana requires humidity levels of 70 percent.

Also, the presence of mold and mold spores in the air can cause breathing problems, coughing, wheezing, exacerbation of asthmatic conditions, and other respiratory infections.

In other words, to protect your employees from mold, you need to control moisture levels. Standing water may increase the humidity levels, and you may have to invest in proper irrigation methods.

You can also combat moisture by vacuuming instead of sweeping and increasing ventilation. Yet, you may not always know the mold spore levels after using the recommended control strategies. Ensure that your workers always wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE).

The right PPE will provide your employees with skin, eye, and respiratory protection.

Sensitizer and Allergens

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards respiratory hazards

As a result, several reported cases describing episodes of employees in the marijuana industry experiencing allergic reactions. Including anaphylaxis, and hypersensitivity to marijuana. For example, employees whose skin gets into direct contact may experience itchy skin, hives, and puffy or swollen eyes.

Like many other sensitizers, initial exposure to the plant may result in a normal response. But, repeated exposure may lead to an abnormal response. As a result, Allergens can cause itchiness, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.
If it’s not possible to cut exposure to these allergens, start by improving the ventilation. Also consider job rotation, worker training, and using the right PPE.

Physical Hazards

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards electrical hazards

Likewise, the marijuana industry shares several physical hazards from other industries.
Some of the common physical hazards include:

Compressed Gas

In the production of marijuana, you have to use various gases such as carbon dioxide for enrichment purposes. The use of large quantities of these gases can be a threat to your employee’s safety. Compressed gases are dangerous due to the high pressure inside the cylinders. So to prevent injuries, ensure that your employees understand and use the right safety precautions.

Electrical

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards fire hazards

But for marijuana to grow, it needs a great deal of energy. Several hazards can emanate from temporary wiring, blocked electrical panels, missing breakers. And the use of electricity at high humidity levels, overloaded circuits, and lack of electrical training, among other electrical hazards.

Apart from electrical hazards, the law requires protecting your employees from dangerous energy sources.

Avoid grow house fires! Review Cannabis Industry Safety hazards present in all these areas:

  • Lighting hazards
  • Flammable or combustible liquids
  • Noise
  • Occupational injuries
  • Confined spaces

Chemical Hazards

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards chemical hazards

Further, chemicals used in the production of marijuana pose several health and safety hazards. To keep your workers safe, it’s important to provide information on any harmful substances. The best way to inform your employees is through training and information about various chemicals. You can do this through SDSs (Safety Data Sheets).

Some Cannabis Industry Safety chemical hazards in the marijuana industry include:

Carbon Dioxide

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards carbon dioxide

Also, Employees in the marijuana industry who work in cultivation may encounter carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is often used in dry ice or liquid gas to speed up plant growth. And in the extraction process for the production of concentrates. Carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant, which means that it displaces oxygen.

Symptoms of carbon dioxide exposure include dizziness, headache, increased heart rate, rapid breathing. And in extreme cases, it can cause unconsciousness and death.

This explains why most industries that face carbon dioxide hazards have monitoring devices.

To protect your employees, it is important that you know about the health and safety hazards of carbon dioxide. Install carbon dioxide monitors and also maintain them. Avoid using dry ice in confined places, and when your employees are handling it, they should always use the right PPE.

The right PPE may include safety glasses and disposable gloves. Additionally, it’s also important to train your employees on the harmful effects of carbon dioxide and symptoms of exposure.

Carbon Monoxide

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards carbon monoxide

Your employees are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide during the production of marijuana. The high levels of carbon monoxide can overcome your employees without warning. The CDC reported a total of 2,244 deaths resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning. This affects employees that work in spaces with limited ventilation. 

Subsequently, Carbon dioxide can cause illness, coma, neurological damage, and death. Keep your employees safe by installing carbon monoxide monitors. And ensure that you have a ventilation system that can remove carbon monoxide.

Pesticides

Production of marijuana requires the use of insecticides and fungicides. Yet, some pesticides can cause skin and respiratory hazards. Employees cultivating or harvesting marijuana, loading or applying pesticides, cleaning equipment used in the application of pesticides can be affected.

According to the EPA Agricultural Worker Protection Standards, it’s mandatory for all employees applying pesticides or fungicides to be aware of the risks as indicated by the manufacturer. It is also important for your employees to wear the right PPE to protect them against exposure.

Protect Your Workers

Cannabis Industry Safety and Hazards PPE

In short, your workers are the lifeblood of your cannabis cultivation business. However, like other industries, your facility has the potential to expose your workers to several hazards. Such as dust, pesticides, UV light, marijuana resin, and mold spores among other hazards.

Exposure to these hazards has both short-term and long-term negative effects.

Additionally, the cleanliness of items used in the production of marijuana is important in the result of the product.

These circumstances affect indoor marijuana cultivation where conditions tend to be warm and damp, and have inadequate ventilation.

To sum up, given the unique Cannabis Industry Safety hazards, you should be familiar with the potential risks. Mitigate these hazards that can affect you, your product, and your employees. Use the right safety equipment and procedures.

Take a look at personal protective equipment, especially respiratory protection for cannabis industries and others.

For more Cannabis Industry Safety regulations and training specific to California, head to Cal/OSHA.

Biohazard Waste Bags – What Goes In Which Bag?

BioHazard Waste Bags are an important part of medical and healthcare. Be safe, medical procedures also generate significant amounts of waste, which can pose a threat to humans.

Whereever you work, a dental office, veterinary practice, laboratory, or a hospital, it is imperative to take necessary precautions when disposing of medical waste.  

For this, health care facilities must understand the classification of medical biohazard waste bags, as well as the appropriate ways of using different hazardous trash bags.

Not all waste can be handled in the same manner.   

What Is Medical Waste?

First, it is important to understand what qualifies as medical waste. It comprises all materials that may be infectious or toxic.

Medical bio-hazard waste is any waste that is generated during research, testing, sampling or treatment of animals and humans.

Use BioHazard Waste Bags for any waste that is generated during research, testing, sampling or treatment of animals and humans.
Identifying and segregating biohazard waste is a key part to healthcare waste management. Infectious Waste Bags are a critical piece in the handling, treatment, and disposal of medical waste.

It can contain numerous types of contaminants, including body fluids and blood. Some examples are: bandages, petri dishes, glassware, used needles, scalpels, gloves, and leftover organic material on tissues and swabs.

Reasons for Strict Hazardous Waste Bags Rules

Medical waste poses if not handled properly can cause grave harm to our society.Items that might be contaminated with bodily fluids can result in the spread of disease.

Items like scalpels and needles are sharp and may carry pathogens and lead to spreading infections and illness.

You must properly dispose of these items and materials.

Hazardous waste may also include chemicals such as: heavy metals, disinfectants, solvents, and mercury.

These have high potential to cause organ damage, poisoning, and birth defects. More so, waste with radiation can lead to the enhanced risk of cancer, or cause burns.

In comparison to household waste, the disposal and collection of medical waste is rather costly.

Minimize medical waste generation to reduce costs.

Improper disposal of medical waste can result in increased health risks, including:

  • Used syringes on the seashores
  • Infectious blood being dumped in numerous landfills, thereby damaging the soil
  • Pathogens contaminating air, water, and drinking supplies
  • Animals and humans getting deadly diseases when accidentally making contact with medical waste
  • Sharp objects resulting in injuries, not to mention the spread of infections

Since millions of surgeries are performed every day, it is the cleaning staff’s duty to thoroughly clean out operation theaters after every operation. And dispose of medical waste properly, and sanitize the area.

The challenging part is the staff has to decide what waste belongs in which type of hazardous trash bag category.

Red and Yellow: What Items Go in Which Bio-hazard Can Liner?

All waste items that have been generated from immunization, treatment, or diagnosis of animals and human beings must be regarded as medical waste.

Non-medical waste that has been contaminated with bio-hazardous material, is also considered to be medical waste.

These waste items have different ways of disposal, which is why there are different categories of medical waste bags.

The two most common types of hazardous trash bags are red plastic bags and yellow plastic bags.

Red Hazardous Waste Bags

Red biohazard waste bags are utilized to gather anatomic waste and bodily fluids.

These bags can be used for the disposal of:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Blood-soaked cloths and drapes
  • specimen swabs
  • medical apparatus
  • any item that has been contaminated visibly with bodily fluids or blood

Bodily fluids include saliva with blood (dental procedure), amniotic fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, pleural fluid, synovial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, vaginal secretions, and semen.

Red Infectious BioHazard Waste Bags Liner, 15 Gal., 24x32, 250/case
Red Medical Waste Bags

Anything that has a visible amount of blood or other bodily fluid, even if it is difficult to determine what fluid it is, must be disposed of in red plastic bags. Any unfixed human organ or human tissue must also be disposed of in this bag.

Yellow Infectious Waste Liners

Yellow medical waste bags are utilized for disposing of clinical wastes, which include nappies, pads, aprons, soiled gloves, tissues, dressings, and swabs.

These bags must also be utilized for collecting fluid bags and IV lines, which are utilized for pharmaceutical medicines, syringe bodies, and disposable metallic parts.

It is important to note that yellow plastic bags must only be utilized for disposing of infectious and clinical waste, which contains pharmaceutical medicines and chemicals.

Avoid getting rid of placental waste, non-infectious waste, domestic waste, anatomical waste and pathological waste in these bags.

Red and Yellow BioHazard Waste Bags and Can Liners
Use Bio-Hazard Can Liners for Effective and safe healthcare waste management.

This shows how important it is for medical facilities to dispose of any waste that contains potentially contaminated by-products of medical treatment, research, or other medical activity. Whether it is from research laboratories, veterinary clinics, dentists, physician’s offices, or even funeral homes.

All types of medical waste must be disposed of in the right hazardous trash bags. Segregating medical waste allows medical staff to handle the waste easily and send the right items to the right disposal. Moreover, this is a great environmental practice that prevents the spread of diseases.

Bio-Hazard trash can liners and waste receptacles keep infectious waste separated from your other trash.

Also Consider Biohazard Specimen Transport Bags

When you need to take a biohazard sample from point A to point B, you need specialized pouches to do the job right.

Great for labs to keep staff, documents, and specimens safe during transport to testing.

Specimen Transport Bags, 100/pack
Zip-Style Biohazard Specimen Transport Bags for samples of swabs, urine, and other biohazard material that you need to safely transport.

If you are looking for such medical waste bags, then visit us Harmony as a distributor of lab and safety supplies that has been in the business for 15 years.


More useful information for healthcare professionals and more:

Do you know the difference between nitrile gloves and latex gloves?

Latex vs Nitrile Gloves | What’s the Difference?

Foam Swabs 101: Everything You Need to Know About Foam Tipped Applicators

Foam swabs are a better solution for critical industries like cleanroom, medical device assembly, PCB assembly, and electronic manufacturing. Most people view swabs as common cotton fiber wrapped on a stick.

However, while cotton is commonly used, Foam applicator swabs are also used by technicians to perform meticulous tasks like repair, precision cleaning, and assembly.

Made of polyurethane foam, these swabs are open-celled foam that contains 100 pores per every square inch.

The pore-and-open-cell structure makes the foam swab extremely effective in trapping particles. Additionally, they thermally bonded, non-abrasive, and durable.

You can also use them with most cleaning compounds and organic compounds. Available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, which means there is swab for every cleaning application.

More Cleaning Power

Excellent Cleaning Capabilities

Foam swabs have great cleaning properties than cotton swabs. The foam swabs have ESD-safe handles that are thermally bonded and help prevent separation during use.

Another advantage of thermal bonding is that it eliminates the usage of contaminating adhesives, sprays, and coatings. Foam is free from amides, silicones, and DOP, which makes them compatible with most cleaning solvents.

Some foam applicators are even compatible with acetone.

Puritan Foam Swab, Round Tip, 5″, Polypropylene Shaft

Gentle for Delicate Surfaces

From cleaning printed circuit boards (PCB) assemblies to delicate CD’s, these swabs are soft and have low abrasion to protect delicate components.

PurSwab ESD Foam Pointed Tip Swab, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft

Uses of Foam Tipped Applicators

There are several areas in various environments that need to be cleaned regularly. However, most places are delicate or hard to reach, and most cleaning tools are either too large or cumbersome for the job.

Most people and businesses turn to foam tipped swabs for effective and precise cleaning.

Foam swabs are soft and non-abrasive, which makes them safe for use even in the most sensitive areas. This type of swabs also features thermal bonding, which helps prevent contamination.

They are not only soft for gentle cleaning, but also sturdy to avoid flexing, folding, and bending during regular use. You can also use them when they are wet or dry.

Puritan Foam Swab, Mini-Paddle Tip, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft

Removing Contaminants in Manufacturing Environments

If you produce pharmaceuticals, it’s important that your manufacturing environment remains free of any contaminants. Biological contaminants such as pathogens are often introduced by operators.

Fungi and mold may also develop or introduced during processing. Other contaminants include debris that may be introduced when handling some components like metal, fiber, glass pieces, lubricants, and plastic particles.

The best way to keep your pharmaceutical manufacturing environment clean is by using single-use foam tipped swabs.

Because they are only used once, you won’t have to worry about transferring contaminants to other surfaces.

Thanks to their low lint and super-absorbency properties, the swabs will clean all surfaces and equipment of industrial and biological contaminants without causing further issues.

Cleaning swabs for Printer cleaning and maintenance

Clog build up can damage your printer or ruin your work. However, you can use foam swabs to clean the capping stations, wiper blades, and printer heads during routine maintenance.

Unlike cotton swabs, soft foam tip swabs will leave no residue. Plus, they contain no contaminating adhesives.

Use the right foam printer cleaning swabs to maintain your equipment for clean and crisp images and avoid ink splotching and poor performance.

CleanTex Large Paddle Tip Foam Swab, Polypropylene Shaft, 100/bag

Precision cleaning with foam cleanroom swabs

While cotton swabs are more economical, when it comes to more precision cleaning, foam swabs are ideal, especially where lint should be avoided.

You can easily pair these swabs with disinfectants and cleaning fluids for unique applications.

Additionally, these swabs come in different sizes; they can be as small as 1.7mm with handles as short as 50mm or as long as 2.5 meters.

Tekniswab Conical Tip Foam Swab, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft, 500/bag

Foam gun cleaning swabs

Are you a gun enthusiast? You will want to keep your gun clean. Foam tip swabs are engineered to clean the action areas of your gun.

These swabs are lint-free and non-abrasive, washable and somewhat reusable during the same cleaning session.

Additionally, they are made in different sizes to make it easy to clean the rails, crowns, slides, trigger assemblies, and other hard to reach areas. These swabs have bendable handles that won’t easily break or splinter.

Puritan Cylindrical Tip Foam Swab, 2.7″, Polypropylene Shaft

Where to buy?

Are you in the market for the best swab that can help you reach those hard-to-reach areas? Depending on the area you want to clean, there are many different sizes and shapes available at Harmony.

Choose from Chemtonics, CleanTex, Coventry, Puritan Medical Products and Teknipure.

To start cleaning today, visit Foam Swabs at Harmony and see the broad assortment for your particular use.

foam swabs

Waffletechnology® Cleaning Cards: Everything You Need to Know

Unique Waffletechnology Cleans better than traditional flat cards.

Waffletechnology® by KICTeam is the king in cleaning cards technology worldwide. Regular use of card cleaners can eliminate the frustration of card failure due to a dirty card reader.

Waffletechnology® cleaning cards to prevent expensive maintenance, replacement cost, and reducing the results of failed transaction on your card; this ensures total efficiency and reliability to your customers. This product is designed to give you a five-star level unmatched cleanness of your card reader.

How do Waffletechnology® Cleaning Cards work?

You can place your bet on Waffletechnology® cleaning cards since they are engineered to flexibly assimilate dirt from the raised platform on both top and bottom surfaces. The cleaning platforms are basically loaded with springs, to increase the pressure significantly to the internal components as the card is passing through the mechanism.

When the cleaning pressure is increased the platforms springs up on the surface to clean the adjourned sensors, as well as cleaning thoroughly the leading and trailing surfaces surrounding the optical lenses.

Flat cleaning cards cannot clean the optical lenses perfectly since they do not touch the recessed sensors and at best they can only come into contact with tip if the convex tip. The engineering behind Waffletechnology® cleaning card is designed not to be flat, thus thoroughly cleaning all the sensors.

How to handle Waffletechnology® Cleaning Cards

Due to environmental conditions and a increased number of user’s transaction, devices gather a lot of dust, paper flash, oils, dirt and small sand particles that can cause your devices to underperform or fail.

Waffletechnology® works hand in hand with OEM to design products to clean their devices such as:

  • Card readers
  • Check scanners
  • Thermal printers
  • Currency counters
  • MICR or check readers
  • Bill acceptors

Cleaning a Card Reader with a Cleaning Card:

There are many types of card readers today such as EMV smart cards which can be either chip readers or pin readers, credit card reads and debit card readers, mobile payment methods and security control access doors to homes or lodging door locks.
The use of cleaning cards once in a week helps avoid card malfunction.

Risks of not cleaning your Card reader

  • Increased customer embarrassment because the reader fails to read the card properly.
  • Increased number of slower transactions and long lines that will frustrate your customers; this can cause your customers to look for better same services in other places.
  • Increased transaction fees and fraud due to manual entry.
  • Higher cost for maintenance services or exchange of your device
  • Poor first impression to your customers.

Cleaning Check Scanners:

This is a device used in banks and offices that process their payments by check internally. Use of cleaning cards helps remove dirt from lenses, check paths and, rollers leaving the device in perfect condition.

Check Scanner Cleaning Cards are used to remove sand particles oils that accumulate during normal operations in a day. The device requires to be cleaned after 2000, scans or once in a week to maintain credibility.

Effects of not cleaning your check scanners

  • Mis-Reads because of poor image quality.
  • Checks jamming.
  • Increased cost of maintenance.
  • Panic repair attempts.

Cleaning Thermal Printers:

Thermal printer can accumulate paper flash and label residue with each use.  This can cause more errors on your print on your print material as well as jams.
Using Waffletechnology® cleaning card to clean the print head and platen rollers regularly increases the life of your printer and reduces down time.

Risks of not cleaning your Thermal printer:

  • Reduce the life of your print head.
  • It can cause printing of faded receipts or poor barcodes prints.
  • Reprints and wasted labels or paper.
  • Increased cost of maintenance
  • Multiple self-troubleshooting attempts which could damage your printer

Cleaning Currency Counter Machines:

Did you know that money is dirty?  Currency leaves oil and soil particles in the device during normal operation. The accumulating dirt can cause rollers to slip and the sensors to fail.

It is wise to use Waffletechnology® cleaning cards to clean the device quickly and effectively.

Risks of not cleaning your Currency Counter Machines:

  • High and hidden service cost.
  • High cost of repairs.
  • Counting errors which can be costly.

Cleaning MICR or Check Reader Machine:

MICR use magnetic heads to read and determine the coded account number and bank routine number on a check. During normal operations the device can accumulate contaminants such dirt which can cause read errors.

Risk of not cleaning your MICR or Check Reader Machine:

  • Increased labor cost to research poor images.
  • Read errors and increased cases of jamming.

Cleaning Bill Acceptors:

Waffletechnology Cash Acceptor Cleaning Cards, 15/Box
Waffletechnology MICR / Check Reader Cleaning Card, 15/box
Unique Waffletechnology Cleans better than traditional flat cards.

Bill acceptors determines paper currency by use optical lenses and magnetic sensors. There are many models bill acceptors such as banknotes acceptors, self-checkouts, payment kiosk, bill validators, ATM deposit and counterfeit detectors.

Risks of not cleaning  your Bill Acceptor:

  • Customer lose confidence in your machine due to preventative maintenance issues.
  • Lost Sales because the machine will not accept the currency.
  • High cost of equipment replacement and parts and service expenses

Waffletechnology® Cleaning Cards Verdict

Regular use of cleaning cards using Waffletechnology® will result in increased sales, productivity, customer satisfaction and profits.  The benefits of regular maintenance using a cleaning card far out weight the costs.