Work Safe Kentucky: The KEMI Safety Blog

Near-Miss Reporting

Near-miss incidents may not result in an injury, but they are important and valuable events nonetheless.

As we all know, close calls or “near misses” are situations in which a worker has a narrow escape from getting hurt. The worker probably feels lucky about getting away uninjured, but if we pay attention, these incidents may be lucky in another way. Near misses often give us a preview of an injury that could potentially happen so measures can be taken to prevent it.

However, ignoring a close call means you could be paving the way for a serious injury to happen, if not to you then one of your coworkers. If there is a decline in near-miss reporting, does this mean that employees aren’t having any close calls? Or is this an indicator that we are becoming complacent?

We can’t allow ourselves to become complacent about near-miss reporting. All near misses should be investigated to find the root cause, and the hazard removed before an injury does occur. For every reported first aid or minor injury, it is very likely near misses may have occurred with very similar circumstances that have gone unreported.

The same things that cause accidents also cause near misses. If you have a near miss, consider yourself lucky on two counts: first, you didn’t get hurt, and second, you now have the chance to prevent a future accident for yourself or someone else.

Near-misses are a warning. Letting near-misses go unreported provides a perfect opportunity for a serious accident to occur. Correcting these actions or conditions will enhance the safety within your facility and provide a better working environment for everyone involved. Report all those near-misses!

 

KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.

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COVID-19: Keeping Manufacturing Employees Safe

The COVID-19 pandemic has many employers in the manufacturing industry wondering how to get work completed and keep their businesses going all while maintaining the safety of their workforce. Check out the tips below to help keep employees safe and reduce the risk of their exposure to COVID-19.

  • Ask workers to stay home if they fell sick
  • Consider taking temperatures of employees upon arrival to work
  • Educate workers on the signs/symptoms of COVID-19
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • Educate workers on what to do if they develop symptoms
  • Stagger work shifts and establish flexible work hours
  • Implement social distancing of six feet between workers
  • Install barriers between workstations or temporarily move workstations for those activities where social distancing is a challenge
  • Monitor local public health, state, and CDC communications about Coronavirus recommendations
  • Educate workers on your site-specific COVID-19 response/control plan
  • Provide PPE as necessary
    • Masks (covers both the nose and mouth, fits snuggly)
    • Gloves
  • Train employees how to properly put on, use/wear, take-off, and maintain PPE
  • Remind workers to cover their coughs and sneezes
  • Advise employees not to use coworker’s tools and equipment
  • Clean & disinfect common areas, work areas, offices, locker rooms, restrooms, and break areas with an EPA approved cleaning agent
  • Clean & disinfect frequently touched surfaces and tools/equipment with an EPA approved cleaning agent
  • Provide hand washing stations/areas and hand sanitizer
    • Use soap and running water
    • Scrub between fingers and around/under nailbeds
    • Wash for at least 20 seconds
    • Use a hand sanitizer, 60% alcohol-based, if soap and running water are not available
    • Provide disinfecting wipes
  • Encourage frequent hand washing
    • Before and after work shifts
    • Periodically during the work shift
    • Before and after breaks
  • Train employees how to properly wash their hands
  • Remind employees not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid contact with body fluids
  • Consider telecommuting for certain employees where appropriate/feasible
  • Limit travel/visits for employees that work between multiple company locations

 

KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.

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COVID-19: Protecting Workers in the Grocery & Retail Industries

The workers in grocery stores and various retail shops encounter many customers each day. Therefore, they are at risk of encountering customers who may have COVID-19. Also, it is possible co-workers may have the virus. These employees may have close contact for prolonged periods of time. They may touch their nose, mouth, or eyes after handling items, cash, or merchandise that customers with COVID-19 have touched. Therefore, it is important steps be taken to protect workers. Please see the safety tips below.

  • Employees feeling sick should stay home
  • Customers feeling sick should not enter the store
  • Limit close contact with others (6 feet social distancing)
  • Remind customers and employees of social distancing, cough and sneeze etiquette, good hand hygiene, and staying home when sick
    • Signage
    • Verbal announcements over the loudspeaker
  • Wear facemasks
    • Employees
    • Customers
  • Wear disposable gloves
  • Encourage customers to use touchless payment options
  • Minimize handling cash, credit cards, reward cards, and mobile devices
  • When handling paper and coin money
    • Do not touch your face, nose, or mouth afterward
    • Ask customers to place cash on the counter, not in your hand
    • Place change on the counter, not the customer’s hand
    • Disinfect the counter between each customer at checkout
  • Provide disinfectant wipes, cleaner, or spray to employees
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces
    • Workstations
    • Cash registers
    • Payment terminals
    • Door handles
    • Shelving
    • Displays
    • Reach-in refrigerator units
    • Tables
    • Countertops
    • Break rooms
    • Restrooms
    • Common areas
    • Shopping carts and baskets
  • Wash hands frequently
    • Use soap and running water
    • Wash hands for a least 20 seconds
    • Scrub between fingers and under nailbeds
    • Use a 60% alcohol hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available
    • Wash before and after work shifts
    • Wash periodically during work shifts
    • Wash before and after breaks
    • Wash after touching money or objects that have been handled by customers
  • Avoid contact with body fluids
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Provide hand washing areas and hand sanitizer for customers and employees
  • Implement methods to separate and increase the distance between employees, coworkers, and customers
    • Install barriers with a small opening at the bottom in checkout lanes to pass items and payments
    • Open only every other check-out lane
    • Place credit card readers farther away from the cashier if possible
    • Mark floors every six feet to show customers where to stand during check out
    • Conduct restocking after hours or during off-peak hours
    • Arrange chairs and tables in break areas to allow for 6 feet of social distancing
  • Offer remote shopping options for customers
  • Set up designated pick-up areas for on-line shopping customers
  • Control the number of customers in the store
  • Provide no touch trash receptacles
  • Develop a COVID-19 response plan
  • Provide employees with information and educate them on the COVID-19 response plan
  • Implement flexible worksites for office staff where possible
  • Limit travel/visits for employees that work between multiple store locations
  • Consider reducing hours of operation for more frequent deep cleans

 

KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.

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COVID-19: Keeping Custodial & Environmental Service Workers Safe

All places of employment require regular cleaning. A clean workplace and good housekeeping are an important component of maintaining a safe work environment. It is best to clean work areas when other employees are not present. Employers may use their employees or contracted employees/services to perform custodial work. These employees perform duties such as taking out the trash, cleaning restrooms, disinfecting work stations, cleaning break rooms, etc.

It is important to protect your custodial and environmental service workers from potential exposure to COVID-19. Employers need to conduct a hazard assessment to determine what hazards may be present in the workplace. The employer should evaluate the risk of exposure then choose, implement, and ensure custodial workers use controls to prevent exposure.

  • Evaluate the Exposure Risk Level
    • Low-Risk
      • Routine cleaning in low-volume offices, manufacturing, and industrial facilities.
      • Routine cleaning in spaces not occupied by members of the general public.
    • Medium-Risk
      • Routine cleaning in offices, manufacturing facilities, industrial facilities, and other spaces frequented by staff/employees.
      • Routine cleaning in spaces occupied/frequented by members of the general public.
    • High-Risk
      • Cleaning up visible blood, body fluids, respiratory secretions, or mucous that came from individuals suspected of having or known to have COVID-19.
      • Cleaning up any other potentially infectious materials that came from individuals suspected of having or known to have COVID-19.
  • Choose and Implement Engineering and Administrative Controls/Safe Work Practices
    • Ensure the area being cleaned is well ventilated.
    • Wait 24 hours before cleaning the contaminated area if possible.
    • Restrict access to the area.
    • Post DO NOT ENTER signs.
    • Avoid cleaning procedures that could re-aerosolize infectious particles.
      • Dry sweeping
      • High-pressure cleaning
    • Avoid touching the face, eyes, nose, or mouth.
    • Practice thorough hand washing after completion of the cleaning/disinfecting work or removing PPE.
    • Provide and encourage the use of hand sanitizers (60% alcohol base).
  • Provide and Require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Gloves (all risk levels)
    • Masks (covering both the mouth and nose, snug fit) (all risk levels)
    • Gowns (high-risk levels)
    • Eye/face protection (high-risk levels)
  • Educate Custodial and Environmental Service Workers
    • To recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
    • On what to do if they develop symptoms.
    • How to use, put on, take off, and when to use PPE.
    • On the hazards of the cleaning chemicals.
    • On Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030).
    • On proper disposal of regulated waste & PPE (29 CFR 1910.132).

KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.

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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Use for the COVID-19 Pandemic

As businesses are starting to reopen and employees are getting back to work, it is important to understand what personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed to protect employees against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Gloves, N95 respirators, surgical masks, and cloth masks are some personal protective equipment that many companies and organizations are starting to put in place for employees to wear. Employers need to make sure these items are needed for their operations. Employers should first perform a hazard assessment of the workplace to identify and determine what PPE is needed.

The employer and employees must follow all OSHA standards and company guidelines when identifying, selecting, maintaining, training, and wearing PPE.

The following are tips to help with utilizing personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Gloves

  • Gloves may not be necessary for you to wear for the job you are going to do, if they are needed then make sure they are worn properly and not used to cross-contaminate yourself and work areas.  
  • Keep hands away from face. 
  • Limit the surfaces that are touched.
  • Make sure you change gloves when they are torn or heavily contaminated. 
  • Perform proper hand hygiene once gloves are removed by washing hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available. 
  • It is important to take off gloves properly, so you do not contaminate yourself:
    • Using a gloved hand, grasp the palm are of the other gloved hand and remove the glove. 
    • Roll the removed glove up into the palm of the gloved hand. 
    • Slide fingers of ungloved hand under the remaining glove at the wrist and remove the glove turning it inside out, trapping the other glove inside the glove you are removing.  
    • Grasp the inside part of the glove and discard into a biohazard container. 

N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirator

  • N95 respirators are used to protect employees from both airborne and fluid hazards such as splashes or sprays. If available, use a face shield over an N95 respirator for added protection and to try prolonging the use of the respirator (due to low supply).
  • Use NIOSH approved N95 respirators. 
  • The respirator must fit snugly against the user’s face to ensure there are no gaps between the user’s skin and the seal of the respirator. 
  • The respirator should filter out 95% of the particles in the air that passes through it. 
  • Make sure employees are properly trained over the proper use, putting on, and taking off of the N95 respirator.
  • Here are tips to putting on and taking off an N95 respirator:
    • Wash your hands thoroughly before putting on and taking off the respirator.
    • Inspect the respirator for damage and if damaged, Do Not Use. Replace with a new one. 
    • Make sure facial hair, hair, jewelry, glasses, or other items do not prevent proper placement and come between your face and respirator. 
    • Make sure you are complying with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard and all manufacturer’s recommendations. 
    • Putting On:
      • Position the respirator in your hands, nose piece should be at your fingertips. 
      • Cup the respirator in your hand around your face. The headbands should hang below your hand. Hold the respirator under your chin with the nosepiece up. 
  • Position the bottom strap over your head and around the neck below the ears. 
    • Position the top strap over your head and let it rest at the top back part of your head. A single strap should go over your head and rest at the top back part of your head. 
    • Place fingertips with both hands over the metal nose clip. Slide and push down metal clip forming a seal around the nose. 
    • Check the seal by placing both hands over the respirator, take a quick breath in, and exhale. Make sure there is not any leakage. If air leakage, then re-adjust straps and nosepiece. If you cannot get a proper seal, then ask for help or try a different size or model if available. 
    • Removing:
      • Do not touch the front of the respirator. 
  • Remove by pulling the bottom strap over the head, followed by the top strap. 
    • Make sure you do not touch the respirator. 
    • Discard and Wash Your Hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer until soap and water is available. 

Surgical and Cloth Masks

  • Surgical and cloth masks help protect against large-particle droplets, splashes, and sprays, but offer limited to no protection against small airborne particles. 
  • The CDC recommends wearing a face-covering in public settings where other social distancing measures may be difficult to maintain.  
  • A surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable mask that creates a physical barrier for your mouth and nose from a possible contaminated environment. 
  • A cloth mask can be made and worn by employees. 
  • The CDC has information on quick and easy steps to make sew and no-sew cloth masks. 
  • Here are some tips on wearing surgical or cloth masks/face coverings:
    • Make sure they fit snugly but comfortable against the face. 
    • Secure with ties or ear loops. 
    • Make sure you can breathe without restriction. 
    • Surgical masks are generally disposable after use, but shortages may cause them to be reused multiple times. Cloth masks can be and should be laundered. 
  • Here are some tips to putting on and taking off a surgical and cloth mask:
    • Wash your hands thoroughly before putting on and taking off the mask.
    • Inspect the mask for damage or contamination and if found, Do Not Use. Replace with a new one or launder. 
    • Putting on:
      • Grasp the ties or ear loops of the mask with your hands and place loops over ears or secure the ties in the middle of the head and neck. 
      • Fit the flexible band to the nose bridge and push down to create less of an opening between the mask and skin. (You will not be able to create an airtight seal.)
      • Make sure the bottom part of the mask fits under the face and chin for a snug fit. 
    • Removing:
      • Do not touch the front of the mask when removing. 
      • Remove by untying the straps or grasping the ear loops. Make sure you do not touch the front of the mask. 
      • Discard (if disposable) or launder for a cloth mask. 
      • Make sure to Wash Your Hands or use a hand sanitizer (if hand washing is not available) after removal.   
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