Safety and Savings Tips for February 2013, From All Safety Products, Inc.Fire Watch
The ABCs of Fire Extinguishers
You're busy working when a co-worker notices smoke billowing out from behind some machinery. As you get closer, you see flames. You grab the nearest fire extinguisher and train it on the fire. Within minutes, the fire is under control, and you're a hero.
Sound too good to be true? It probably is.
- For instance, what if you couldn't locate a fire extinguisher quickly?
- What if you didn't know how to use it?
- What if you grabbed the wrong extinguisher, and the fire got bigger instead of going out?
And then, of course, you need to know about the different kinds of fire extinguishers and what they're used for. Using the wrong extinguisher can actually cause a fire to spread faster. Fires are categorized into four main classes, and all extinguishers are labeled to tell you which class of fire they're designed for.
Class A fires involve wood, paper, trash, rags, or cloth. The corresponding extinguisher controls fires by wetting down and cooling the flames.
Class B fires involve gases, grease, or flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil, paint, and solvents. The extinguisher cuts off oxygen or reduces flames.
Class C fires involve electrical equipment and wiring. Instead of using water, which conducts electricity and poses a dangerous electrocution hazard, these extinguishers contain carbon dioxide or a dry chemical. WARNING: Never use water on an electrical fire!
Class D fires involve combustible metals, such as aluminum, sodium, magnesium, or zinc.
Combination ABC or BC extinguishers are used for fires that involve combinations of the A, B, and C classes.
All Stressed Out? Master stress so it doesn't become your master!
Stress not only takes a toll on you emotionally and physically, it can also have a negative impact on your safety. When you're worried, irritated, or depressed, you can't concentrate as well on the job, and you're more likely to take risks and have accidents.
Keep these points in mind when you feel the walls starting to close in:
- Try to put matters in perspective. Every problem isn't a crisis.
- Approach situations like a problem solver, not a victim. You probably have a lot more power in most situations than you may realize at first.
- Forgive yourself and others for making mistakes. Accept that no one is perfect.
- When work seems overwhelming, reduce stress by setting priorities and tackling tasks in an organized way.
- Get plenty of rest and exercise. These are two of the best ways to help reduce physical stress levels. And once you do that, it's a lot easier to reduce emotional stress levels.
- Find a constructive way to express anger or concerns.
- Don't suffer in silence or blame others for your troubles. Talk things over with a trusted friend or get the help of a professional counselor.
- Laugh as much as possible. It eases stress.
- Don't take everything personally. Most of what's happening on the job isn't a negative response to you as an individual.
- Don't try to control everything and everyone. It's a losing battle, and it'll just add to your stress. Let go!
- The only thing you can control is how you respond to life.
When and How to Fight a Fire
Fire safety in the workplace involves knowledge, skill, and judgment on your part.
For example, you need to know when to try to fight a fire and when to evacuate. The general rule is that you should use a fireextinguisher to fight small, contained fires such as in a wastebasket, but evacuate if the fire is larger or out of control.
Don't be a hero: Even if you know how to use a fire extinguisher, never try to be a hero when it comes to fighting fires that are too big or spreading quickly. In that case, sound the alarm, evacuate and help others to evacuate, and let the firefighters handle the job.
On the other hand, when a fire is small and contained, your quick action can save the day. That's why everyone should know how to use a fire extinguisher.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises people to remember the word PASS. The
letters stand for the steps to take when using a fire extinguisher:
P ull the pin on the unit.
A im at the base of the fire, standing about 8 feet away.
S queeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
S weep from side to side until the fire is out.
NFPA also warns that you should never turn your back on a fire, even if it looks as if it is out. It could flare up again, so you might need to continue spraying. Make sure you have an escape route behind you in case you can't put the fire out and have to evacuate.
Hear Are the Answers: Important information about hearing protection
Occupational noise is a leading cause of hearing loss!
Here are some workers' thoughts and concerns about hearing protection, along with some good advice.
My hearing protection devices (HPD) are uncomfortable. Check with your supervisor to see if your hearing protection fits properly. Remember, you can remove your HPD when you finish work, but hearing loss is permanent.
I've been doing this job for years. I'm used to the noise: The only way to get used to noise is to lose more and more of your hearing!
If I wear hearing protection, I won't be able to hear people talking to me on the job. Not true. HPDs will actually help you to hear normal sounds because they reduce the effect of very loud noise.
I won't be able to hear sounds that might signal danger. Again, not true. You'll still be able to hear the forklift bearing down on you or a change in the sound of machinery that might signal trouble.
I've heard that earmuffs are better than earplugs. Every situation and every user is different. Your supervisor will help you choose the HPD that's right for you and your work environment.
I'm concerned that earplugs can give me infections or damage my ears. You have nothing to worry about on either account if you're careful to keep your HPDs clean and don't push them so far into your ear that you feel discomfort.
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