• Levitt-Safety Wins HR Reporter Readers Choice Award

    I wanted to take a moment to recognize our achievement of being awarded with 2017 Best Safety Training Services Award by Canadian HR Reporter.

    First and foremost, I’d like to thank all the readers who voted for us. I’d like to believe it is a testament to the commitment and hard work our Training division has made to deliver excellent quality courses and content. So a big “thank you” to them and all our associates across the country who promote our training offering day-to-day – not because they have to, but because we all have been trained (ironic), how important training is in Health and Safety.

    Of course thank you to HR Reporter for putting a spotlight on safety and well-being in the workplace. Cheers. Be safe.

    Bruce Levitt

    Bruce Levitt | President
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • Glove Myths. What is Real and What is Not? Test Your Knowledge.

    Gloves are one of those topics that appears easy on the surface but they aren’t! Tons of options out there. Tons of marketing about the greatest performing glove since someone strapped a leaf to their hand.

    ANSI Glove Cut Protection Levels.jpg

    Click to enlarge

    So what’s to believe?

    Let’s start off by addressing the biggest myths out there in the hand protection world.

    Myth – Leather is cut resistant

    Let’s think about this one. Leather is dried skin. Why should cow or goat skin perform any better stopping a knife than your own?
    For leather gloves to be cut resistant, they need to have something like a Kevlar cut resistant liner.

    Myth – Cut gloves are cut proof

    I hear this one a lot. Anything can be cut if you try hard enough.
    This is why gloves are tested and use the ANSI rating system from A1 to A9. The higher the number, the more it will resist a razor blade. Click here for more detail on the rating system and choosing a cut glove.

    Myth – Gloves last forever

    Even Everlasting Gobstoppers don’t last forever. Gloves are the same. As the glove wears away, so does the protection. Chemicals permeate through chemical resistant gloves over time. Cut resistance is reduced as the outer layer wears away so they cannot protect against the same cutting force. Even gloves that were once waterproof may start to leak.
    Inspect and replace them before these issues pop up. Indicators to replace gloves vary. Nitrile or latex disposables should have no wear signs, cut gloves should be replaced when 1/3 of the thickness has worn away, and chemical gloves should have no discoloration, cuts or scratches.

    Myth – Chemical gloves protect against all chemicals

    Chemicals do weird things. Want proof? Pure sodium in water creates a fireball. Seriously. YouTube link here.
    There are a lot of nasty chemicals out there and there are two concerns with chemical gloves. Either they can eat away and break down the glove material or the chemical molecules work their way through the material (called permeation).
    We are most concerned with permeation when it comes to chemical gloves and each material type performs differently. Look at the ASTM test data which will show permeation times for different chemicals to ensure you’re protected.

    Myth – Higher protection ratings mean better gloves

    Congrats, your metal gauntlet can take a hit from a steel broadsword… Great! Now pass me that needle… Oh, you can’t?

    High cut, puncture, or chemical protective gloves tend to be much thicker than their lower protection rated siblings. Some jobs demand dexterity and feel so defaulting to a higher rating glove will sacrifice job performance and comfort.
    Match the protection level to the task which has the bonus of not having workers take off gloves to perform them.

    If you were stumped by any of these, you aren’t alone. The good news is we are here to help. You can register for our live webinar Hand Protection 101 on July 18th for more info.
    Or you can skip it and go straight into scheduling a Glove Review at your facility to ensure you have the proper hand protection. Click here or email me at Eric.Huard@Levitt-Safety.com for more info.

    Eric Huard

    Eric Huard | Market Segment Manager: Personal Safety
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot?

    Recently I wrote about wearing the proper clothing or base layer as an important part of staying comfortable in the workplace and avoiding feeling like a sticky, hot mess. No matter how you look at it, no one wants to feel that way.

    Heat Stress towel clothingWhat I didn’t touch on was heat stroke, an even more important topic that can have deadly consequences.

    Hot, humid weather mixed in with physical exertion is extremely stressful on our bodies. We sweat to regulate our body temperature – but if we overexert ourselves in the heat, our bodies build more heat than they can lose. The World Health Organization recommends that your body’s temperature should remain below 38 degrees Celsius, which is only one degree higher than normal.

    What are the signs of heat stroke? You’ll start feeling exhausted. Dizziness, mental confusion, headaches, and general weakness will set in next. If your core body temperature isn’t cooled down, then unconsciousness, organ failure, and even death will result.

    Instead of boring everyone, click here if you want more information on body temperatures and setting up a monitoring program.

    So what can be done? Hydration is an often overlooked piece (recent blog post). Proper clothing goes a long way. There are many lightweight fabrics now that are available like in Hi-Viz that will help. Cooling towels, headbands, or vest are great pieces of tech that can provide up to four hours of cooling.

    Monitoring weather conditions (temperature, wind, and humidity) can also give us insight into when it might be too hot. And no, I don’t mean the weather app on your phone! Use a WBGT (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature) monitor and the associated index to provide you with work/rest guidelines. Click here to learn more about setting up a heat stress program.

    And as always, if you’ve got any burning hot questions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

    Eric Huard

    Eric Huard | Market Segment Manager: Personal Safety
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • Dehydration Could Be Affecting Your WORKPLACE Performance

    Proper hydration is important; just ask any athlete. They pay special attention to hydration to maintain peak performance levels, but they’re not the only ones who should be paying attention to it. As temperatures start to rise, everyone becomes at risk for dehydration – especially in the workplace.

    Workplace Heat StressWhat are the symptoms? Dehydration starts off with thirst and dry mouth, then changes to headaches, general discomfort, loss of appetite, confusion, and unexplained tiredness. A good test is to pinch your skin. Dehydration will decrease your skin’s elasticity, so the pinched skin will remain “tented” and not snap back into place. As dehydration worsens you might notice purple fingernails, fainting, seizures, irregular heartbeat, and even cardiac arrest.

    So first, what is this liquid we call sweat? It’ll probably come as no surprise that it is mainly water. It also contains salt, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which is why sweat has that amazing taste…but I digress. These minerals are commonly referred to as electrolytes, and it’s just as important to replace them as it is to replace the water you’ve lost.

    I guess that means that electrolytes are human…batteries? Did the Matrix get this right? Maybe that’s a topic for another time.

    These electrolytes do play a huge role in how our bodies function, however. Our cells, particularly those in our muscles, pump and push these ions in and out, essentially creating electrical charges used to create a molecule that allows for the transfer and storage of energy called Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP.

    When these electrolytes get really low, it prevents our muscles from functioning properly due to the lack of energy. And what’s our most important muscle? The heart, of course.

    So what can you do to avoid dehydration? Drinking water is a good start. Try to avoid caffeine, since it makes our blood vessels smaller and affects our circulation.

    Ideally, you want something with electrolytes mixed in. Pretty much everyone has heard of Gatorade, but my personal suggestion for electrolyte replacement in the workplaces is Sqwincher. It doesn’t contain the carbs or sugars that Gatorade does, and let’s face it – I don’t need help packing on the pounds these days!

    Have you got any ideas for my blog? Unanswered questions? Send me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

    Eric Huard

    Eric Huard | Market Segment Manager: Personal Safety
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • Industrial Heat Stress Starter

    Our Body temperatures are typically at 37 degrees and should be maintained below 38 degrees as recommended by the World Health Organization and only allowed to be around 38.5 when monitored closely.

    Thermoregulation Balance:

    37°C98.6°F - Normal
    38°C100.4°F - Long Exposure
    38.5°C101.3°F
    39°C102.2o F - Short Exposure
    41°C105.8°F - Life Threatening

    Wet Bulb Globe Temperature WBGTDietitians of Canada state that you can lose anywhere from 0.3L to 2.4L of sweat per hour depending on the weather and your activity level. Dehydration is a serious contributing factor to heat stress.

    WBGT Monitors will accurately measure temperatures that the body is experiencing by taken into account temperature, radiant heat, evaporative potential (relative humidity), and air movement.

    You may need to apply correction factors for clothing above single layer pants and long sleeve shirt and consider the employee’s work load.

     

     

     

     

     

    WBGT Clothing Correction Factors:

    Clothing TypeWBGT Correction
    Work clothes (long sleeve shirt and pants)
    Cloth (woven Material) Coveralls
    Double-layer woven clothing+3°
    SMS polypropylene coveralls+0.5°
    Polyolefin coveralls +1°
    Limited-use vapor-barrier coveralls+11°

    Questions?

    Have any questions about the above? Looking to modernize how you approach hear stress in the workplace? Please contact us below and we’ll have one of our heath and safety associates contact you.

    Eric Huard

    Eric Huard | Market Segment Manager: Personal Safety
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • Top 3 Ways iAssign Beacons Improve Workplace Safety

    We recently had Industrial Scientific in our Ontario Fire Chiefs Conference (OAFC) booth, and I was really blown away by their new iAssign beacons. With their permission, I’ve reprinted an article from their blog in an effort to educate reader on this exciting new technology:

    Top 3 Ways iAssign Beacons Improve Workplace Safety

    What are Bluetooth beacons? Most people today are using Bluetooth technology in their daily lives. Bluetooth (also known as Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE) is embedded in many of our favorite consumer products and does a great job of making our lives more convenient and efficient. It’s likely that your car, computer, smartphone, and entertainment center all employ Bluetooth technology to wirelessly transmit information. Just walking around town, you’ll notice people talking on headsets, listening to music as they exercise, or checking their daily fitness stats on their wearable fitness tracker, all using Bluetooth. It’s simply a part of our everyday routines.

    While you are likely familiar with the devices mentioned above, you may not be quite as familiar with Bluetooth beacons. In simple terms, a beacon is a device that continuously transmits a radio signal that identifies itself based on your location. Beacons are being used at ballparks, malls, and museums and provide useful information to patrons in near proximity. Using an app on your smartphone, these beacons can help direct you to certain stores, provide coupons and special deals, and even give you links to more information on the piece of artwork you’ve been admiring.

    Bluetooth and Bluetooth beacons can make our personal lives easier and more enjoyable, but how can this technology be used in our work lives? Specifically, how can beacons be paired with gas detectors to keep workers safe from dangers on the job? Read on to learn about the top 3 industrial uses for Bluetooth beacons.

    1. Beacons tell you where an incident happened

    Knowing where your people were, es­pecially when there was potential for a safety incident, is invaluable in the quest for eliminating death on the job. Beacons provide a cost-effective and scalable solution. Beacons, while simple to install, allow for a wide range in location monitoring, from 100 feet all the way down to a few feet, depending on the application.
    Much like the retail application with your phone, a gas detector will listen to the broadcasts from beacons in the area and use those messages to determine where the beacon is located. Now the gas monitor data will be tagged with a location. Here is a comparison of gas detector data with and without information from Industrial Scientific’s iAssign™ Beacons.


    What a difference knowing the location makes! You can now see that Chris K. was exposed to a high H2S alarm for 3 minutes at Storage Tank A, making it much easier to investigate the area, determine the root cause of the exposure, and eliminate the hazard before a potentially tragic incident occurs.

    2. Beacons notify workers when they have entered restricted areas

    In addition to beacons helping us know where alarms are occurring within a facility, they can also be valuable in ensuring that untrained personnel are not gaining access to areas of the facility where they should not be. Since beacons know if an operator with a monitor is within a specified distance of it, it can send the monitor into alarm if an operator without sufficient permission has entered a restricted area. This Proximity Alarm feature ensures that everyone within an area has the proper training and is authorized to be in that area. Beacons can also be used to activate or deactivate particular instrument functions, control settings, or send a message that other particular safety equipment is required to be used in a given area.

    3. Beacons can be deployed almost anywhere

    Beacons can be deployed and function almost anywhere—inside or out, hazardous location or safe zone. Beacons are low cost, rated for any Class I area, are weather resistant, and operate up to four years on two AA batteries. They can provide location accuracy down to 1 meter, depending on the settings and number of beacons deployed, without the need for a GPS receiver or a complex triangulation algorithm and other costly wireless infrastructure. Data that tells you the “what” and the “when” without telling you the “where” leaves you wandering in the dark and unable to determine the why of any event. Beaconing shines light on your data and allows you to recognize the full value of the data that your gas monitoring program can provide. Want to learn more about the iAssign™ Beacon from Industrial Scientific? Click here to visit the iAssign web page.

    Michael Douglas

    Michael Douglas | Market Segment Manager: Confined Space, Working at Heights & Respiratory Protection
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville