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Posted on: July 15, 2013 By: Trevor Atherton, Safety Mgr

Outdoor Summer Hazards

Gribbins Insulation - Toolbox Talk

This is a list of potential hazards from OSHA that employees may encounter during warm summer months along with ways to protect yourself.

UV Radiation

Ultraviolent (UV) radiation from sunlight causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts and skin cancer.  If you burn easily, spend a lot of time outdoors, or have numerous, irregular or large moles, freckles, fair skin or blond, red or light brown hair you should be especially careful in the sun.  The following are a list of ways to protect yourself from the sun:

  • Cover the skin.  Wear loose fitting, long sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use at least a SPF 30 sunscreen and follow application instructions.
  • Wear a hat that protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp.
  • Wear ultraviolet absorbent sunglasses.
  • Limit your exposure to sun if possible.  UV rays are most intense between 10 am and 4 pm.

Heat and Humidity

Heat and humidity can be a serious health threat during the summer.  The following are a list of ways to protect yourself from the heat:

  • Take frequent short breaks in cool areas and drink small amounts of water frequently.
  • Wear light colored, loose fitting, breathable clothing.
  • Eat smaller meals before work activity.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol or large amounts of sugar.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure medications will not increase the effect of exposure to heat.
  • Know that equipment such as respirators or work suits can increase heat stress.

Tick-borne Diseases

Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, are transmitted to people by bacteria from bites of infected deer ticks.  With Lyme disease, most victims develop a bulls-eye rash.  Other signs and symptoms may be non-specific and similar to flu-like symptoms such as fever, lymph node swelling, neck stiffness, headaches, generalized fatigue, migrating joint aches or muscle aches.  The following are a list of precautions to take to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases:

  • Wear light colored clothes to see ticks more easily.
  • Wear long sleeves, tuck pant legs into socks or boots, and wear a hat.
  • Wear high boots or closed shoes that cover feet completely.
  • Use tick repellants, but not on your face.
  • Shower after work.  Wash and dry your work clothes at high temperatures.
  • Examine your body for ticks after work.  Remove any attached ticks promptly and carefully with fine tipped tweezers by gripping the tick.  Do not use petroleum jelly, a hot match or nail polish to remove the tick.

Mosquitoes

The West Nile virus can be transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.  Mild symptoms include fever, headache, body aches and occasionally a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands.  Symptoms of severe infection include headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.  To protect yourself from mosquito bites follow these precautionary measures:

  • Apply Picaridin or insect repellent with DEET to exposed skin.
  • Spray clothing with repellants containing DEET or permethrin.  Do not spray permethrin directly onto exposed skin.
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks.
  • Be extra vigilant at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Get rid of sources of standing water to reduce or eliminate mosquito breeding areas.

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