General Safety: Safety Topics - April 2019 Week 3


If you’re an American football fan, you know the regular season is in Fall and Winter. If you’re a player, you know the season really begins in Spring. That’s when teams re-organize and start practice. And they usually start by getting back to the basics: blocking, tackling, passing, and catching.

Everyone wants their safety guaranteed when they go to work; however, hazards and triggers pose a risk to workers all the time. Often we just need to remember the basics and keep them in the front of our minds. This week’s safety topics will help you remember the basics. Pretend it’s spring football.

Monday, April 15

Safety Data Sheet

A safety data sheet, material safety data sheet, or product safety data sheet is a document that lists information relating to occupational safety and health for the use of various substances and products. SDSs are a widely used system for cataloging information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. They will also help guide you in choosing the proper PPE for a particular chemical or product.

Know where SDSs are kept before an emergency situation arises. They may be in binders in a central location or on a company server in electronic format.

If you have any questions ask your Supervisor, Safety Coordinator or EHS professional. 

Tuesday, April 16

Emergency Action Plan

An emergency action plan is a written plan outlining procedures for fire, severe weather, or a medical emergency. It explains exit routes for fires, shelter locations for severe weather, and how to report a medical emergency.  If you find yourself in a workplace emergency, an action plan can help you out of it.

If you have not already done so, get familiar with your facility EAP. Any questions should be directed to your facility’s Safety Action Team or EHS Coordinator.

What do you do if a fire happens in your work area?

Wednesday, April 17

Who Wants To Get Hurt Today?

No one starts their day off thinking “I want to get hurt at work today”. Nobody wants be involved in a workplace accident, it just happens. Many times, these accidents can be avoided.

Sometimes we’re not focused on the task at hand or feel like our work is routine. This allows for shortcuts or risky behavior to unconsciously slip into our work.  

Striving for safe working is beneficial to avoiding injury. Before starting daily tasks, consider “Is my work area and my tools clean?”, “Are my tools right for the job?”, “Do I need help lifting or operating this device?”, “Do I have the proper PPE and am I using them correctly?”. Going through this mental checklist can help you identify hazards and prevent injuries.

Having the right mindset about safety can go a long way. At the end of your shift you want to be able to go home injury free.

Safety starts with You!

Thursday, April 18


The warning signals of a chore or task potentially causing injury are not hard to notice: complaints, reoccurring hazards, minimum production, and excessive junk. “The Science of Ergonomics” covers strategies to help workers with the devices they daily utilize in the work-place. This can help the workers achieve more work without having to exert as much energy. 

Take the Problem Out of the Task

A good example of an ergonomic strategy is repositioning large containers and bins in a way that provides access without inducing straining or bending. One other option is incorporating a mechanical lifting-machine or readjusting the size of shelves, tables, or chairs. These ‘Ergonomic’ alterations will improve safety and reduce stressful situations. Such reorganization has shown to prevent back injuries significantly.

Simple Cures

There are many ways to make these tasks much safer and healthier. For instance: In the scenario that you are lifting objects and are twisting around while doing this, reorganize the area in order to make way for a more straight-forward path. Twisting while carrying something puts you at a greater risk for a back injury.  Make sure to alternate between tasks in a way that allows tasks involving a lot of standing and moving to alternate with sitting time. 

Remember, knee level is the optimum height for storing goods. Shallower shelves allow for less space to reach into.

Finally, Keep heavy loads and materials as close to the work station as possible. This prevents long, tedious, and sometimes dangerous walks back and forth.

Stretch Breaks Save Backs

The majority of employees’ compensation back injuries happen within the first several hours of work, before muscles have had time to warm up. Because of this, many corporations are giving employees stretching intermissions to get their muscles warmed up and to help increase flexibility. Even just 8 minutes of doing stretching exercises has proven to prevent 40% of accidents at some organizations. Some companies promote a healthy lifestyle outside of the work place as well. A routine of continuous exercise and stretching practices leads to a much safer and healthier environment. 

Friday, April 19


While your employer has the ultimate responsibility for providing a safe and clean workplace, you must do your part by paying close attention to housekeeping basics. Consider the following:

  • Correct unsafe conditions immediately or barricade the area so others are protected until the condition can be corrected. Report housekeeping problems to supervisors so corrective actions can be taken. Tell your supervisor if you need supplies to keep your work area neat and clean.
  • Keep walkways clear of obstructions and protrusions. This includes on the floor and at the entire body height. Boxes, briefcases, tools, trash, electrical cords, cabinet drawers and other similar items must be kept out of walkways to prevent slips, trips, falls, and bumps.
  • Put away unused tools in designated storage areas.
  • Replace or report burnt out light bulbs. 
  • Clean up liquid spills or grease on the floor or barricade the area until a clean-up can be completed.
  • During inclement weather, put absorbent mats on flooring that is slippery when wet. Icy sidewalks, steps and parking lots should be salted or sanded.
  • Fix wrinkled rugs and report damaged flooring.
  • Store and discard food properly to prevent rodent or bug infestations. 
  • Place trash in containers. If you see trash, pick it up even if it is not yours and put it into the trash container.
  • Store products in proper containers. Store oily rags in UL approved containers. Store flammable or hazardous wastes in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and dispose of them an approved manner.
  • Dispose of sharp items properly. Broken glass or other sharps items should be placed in a sealed box and marked appropriately. If nails are protruding from boards, remove the nails or bend them down.   

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