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Lightning Safety for Outdoor Workers

lightning safetyLet’s look at lightning safety for your outdoor workforce. Although about 90 percent of people struck by lightning survive, these strikes can cause serious and permanent disabilities. And, even if employees aren’t hurt by lightning, they may be at risk from any fires, explosions or other hazards that result from a strike. Together, these facts outline the importance of protecting employees who work outdoors from lightning hazards.

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There are a number of ways to do this, including taking steps to reduce lightning hazards, creating an emergency
action plan and training your workforce.

All of your managers, supervisors and outdoor workers should collaborate on your plan to ensure it accounts for your business’s unique operations. Consider these tips when you’re drafting your plan:

Train all employees on lightning safety, including early warning systems for severe weather and the best locations to take shelter when working outdoors.

Post information on lightning safety around all of your outdoor work areas. These postings should indicate the location of safe shelters, when to stop and resume work after hearing thunder, and any other guidance that applies to your business or work sites.

Make sure employees check weather reports before working outside. Employees should also check the weather at each work site they’ll be visiting each day, as weather patterns can vary widely—even over short distances.

Require employees and supervisors to monitor weather reports regularly once they’re at an outdoor work site. Have employees stop work and seek shelter immediately if they hear any thunder.

For more resources to help keep your outdoor workers safe, contact Hardenbergh Insurance Group today.

Brian Blaston Hardenbergh

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The Dangers of Asbestos Inhalation

Let’s look at the dangers of asbestos inhalation. Even though most uses of asbestos have been banned, it can still be found in a variety of products, such as building materials. Employees can be exposed to this hazardous material in residential and nonresidential buildings, and during renovations and demolitions of properties. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious damage to the lungs and other organs that may not appear until years after exposure. Asbestos fibers associated with these health risks are too small to be seen with the naked eye, and smokers are at a higher risk for developing asbestos-related diseases if exposed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has standards to protect employees from exposure to asbestos in the workplace, as well as permissible exposure limits and exposure monitoring. OSHA regulations also exist for controlled zones and regulated areas that are designed to protect employees where certain work with asbestos is performed.

Avoid Asbestos Inhalation

The following tips are safety reminders for those who work near or with asbestos-containing materials:

• Never enter a controlled zone that the company has designated as a regulated area where asbestos work is being performed.
• If you are not wearing appropriate respiratory protection, do not enter an asbestos regulated area.
• Do not eat, smoke, drink, chew gum or apply cosmetics in an asbestos regulated area.
• Read and obey all warning signs displayed in asbestos regulated areas.
• When working with asbestos, keep the material wet and vacuum the dust using a HEPA vacuum. Immediately collect and close all waste in bags designed to hold asbestos.

Protect Yourself from Asbestos Inhalation

• Always wear required protective clothing such as coveralls or similar full-body clothing, head coverings, gloves and foot coverings when working with asbestos. Face shields, goggles and other protective equipment are also necessary.
• Make sure you receive proper training and medical clearance if your work requires use of a respirator for asbestos protection. Use the correct type of respirator for the level of exposure. If you are present during the removal of asbestos, you must wear at least a half-face respirator with N-, R- or P-100 (HEPA) cartridges. OSHA also requires the use of a respirator in some cases when performing roofing and flooring work. Talk to your supervisor regarding whether you have sufficient protection.
• Follow all required hygiene and decontamination practices after working with asbestos.
• Leave your work clothes and shoes at work and wash them at work if they are not disposable. Family members of employees exposed to asbestos can get sick from asbestos taken home on an employee’s clothing or shoes. If required, shower at work after working with asbestos.

For More information on Protecting Yourself from Asbestos Inhalation

Brian Blaston, Partner
Hardenbergh Insurance Group

phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
fax: 856.673.5955

email: brianb@hig.net

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