Monthly Archives: May 2016
“It’s A Ringer !”
It’s summer! And you know what that means-picnics! And when it comes to picnic fun, there’s only one sport for true aficionados. Horseshoes. But did you know that the game of horseshoes dates back to early Greek and Roman times? It’s true. Here’s the story.
The early Greeks held athletic contests, and one of the most hotly contested sports was the discus throw. According to legend, the many support personnel who followed the Greek armies could not afford to buy a discus. So they found discarded horseshoes, set up a stake, and began to throw, mimicking a variation of the discus throw known as quoits. The game of horseshoes was born, and its popularity spread.
After the Revolutionary War, England set up rules in 1869 to govern the game. The distance between the stakes was set at 19 yards. The ground around the stake was clay, and all measurements for points were taken between the nearest parts of the stake and the horseshoe. These and other rules stuck, creating the game we know today.
The first horseshoe tournament open to all comers was held in 1910 in Bronson, Kansas. The winner, Frank Johnson was awarded a world championship belt adorned with small horseshoes. Today the game of horseshoes has countless leagues, governing bodies and tournaments, but what really matters is the person who stands with the horseshoe in his or her hand, sensing its heft, and then makes a throw hoping for a ringer.
In a similar way, safety always comes down to the individual. We have the safety rules to guide us but the essence of safety is simple-awareness. This is especially true in the summer when disregard for the hot weather can lead to heat stress. Or when upcoming vacation plans or summer sports and activities can become a distraction and take your attention off the job. And remember, if planning any home repairs or improvements, safety rules apply at home too.
What really matters every day on the job is the worker who takes the measure of every task in order to be sure of how to do it safely. No one can do it for you. It’s up to you. That’s the way to be safe every day and all summer long so that you can play your part in summer fun.
AN INJURY IS NO PICNIC
Work Safely All Summer Long!
*Copyright Harkins Safety 2008
“Too Hot To Handle”
When a meteor falls to the earth, it burns to a cinder. Reentry temperatures can reach 3,000 degrees F. So what protects the Space Shuttle on reentry? The answer, as most of us know, is the thermal tiles. But do you know how the tiles do their job?
About the size of the adhesive tile you’d use on your kitchen floor, the Space Shuttle has 22,000 tiles, as well as thermal-protection blankets, that form a protective skin around the spacecraft.
About 70 percent of the Shuttle’s exterior consists of tiles made of a silica compound, a material derived from everyday sand. The silica fibers are mixed with deionized water and other chemicals, poured into a plastic mold, baked in a huge microwave oven, and then fused in a 2,350 degree oven. Because the silica is such an excellent insulator, and because it diffuses heat so well, you could hold a tile in your hand while you heat the center with a blowtorch.
The Space Shuttle tiles get their incredible insulation properties from the fact that they are as much as 93 percent porous. This, combined with the low thermal conductivity of the silica, keeps the heat, over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, from reaching the body of the Space Shuttle and its crew on re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
While the crew of the Space Shuttle relies on tiles to keep them safe, you have to depend on your judgement and good safety procedures to insulate yourself from heat.
To keep heat stress from reaching you on the job:
Stay Alert to the symptoms of heat stress. Look for chills, mental confusion, cool yet sweaty skin, and possibly nausea, vomiting, or headaches. If you see these signs, get the person to a cool place as soon as possible and call for help.
Follow smart safety rules about heat stress to avoid it. Make sure to drink plenty of water and other liquids, but stay away from caffeinated drinks, because they can be dehydrating. Also alternate work and rest periods. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Stay fit-you’ll be better able to handle the physical toll of high-heat environments. Most of all stay aware. Heat stress can sneak up on you while you’re focusing on getting the job done. Stay cool and you’ll stay safe.
STOP HEAT STRESS BEFORE IT STRIKES
*Copyright Harkins Safety 2005
One of America’s favorite summer snack foods isn’t American at all and was created purely out of necessity. Can you guess what it is?
The story begins at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, an event that drew thousands from countries all around the world to see the amazing attractions.
But our story takes us to a small food concession stand, run by a chef named Anton Feuchtwanger. Chef Anton had traveled all the way from his home in Bavaria to introduce America to the unique dishes of his homeland, including his specialty, sizzling hot sausage.
The irresistible aroma of the cooking sausage drew many fair-goers to Anton’s stand, but a problem soon emerged. Anton insisted that the sausage be served piping hot to enjoy its full flavor, but it was too hot to handle. Anton tried everything to entice people to try his specialty-he even tried giving out white gloves to protect the hands of his customers. Nothing seemed to work.
In desperation, he finally hit upon a solution. Anton began serving the sausage between the halves of a long roll of bread. His sizzling hot sausage with bread was an immediate hit-one that we enjoy to this day as the American hot dog.
Hot dogs are as much a part of summer as sunshine and vacations. But there’s one more very important part of summer-safety.
Whether you’re on the job or off, don’t let the excitement of the summer cause you to lose sight of safety. All the safety rules and regulations still apply-especially in the summer. For example, if you have a vacation planned, be extra careful during the days leading up to your time off. You don’t want to risk an accident because your attention is elsewhere.
If your work takes you outdoors, pay extra attention to the warning signs of heat stress. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes. Take frequent breaks in the shade. And stay fit year-round to withstand stresses more easily.
Of course, take care to drive safely during the summer when traffic is at its peak. And be careful when using ladders, lawn mowers and other tools around the house.
It’s up to you to know and follow these and other summer safety guidelines. Remember….
Summer Fun Ahead!
*Copyright Harkins Safety 2006
You know that the hottest days of summer are called the “dog days.” But do know where that phrase originated? It’s a fascinating story.
The term “dog days” refers to those hot, humid days of oppressive heat between July and September when all you want to do is find some shade and relax with a big glass of iced tea.
The term has its roots in ancient Rome. Keen watchers of the sky, the Romans took particular note of the constellation Canis Major (which means the big dog). In this group of stars, one stands as the brightest-the star Sirius. In fact, it’s so bright that the Romans believed that the earth received heat from it.
In the summer, Sirius rises and sets around the same time as the sun. But in July, Sirius rises and sets almost exactly with the sun. The ancient Romans believed that the heat of Sirius, added to that of the sun, created a stretch of hot weather. And because Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major, they called this period of time caniculares dies, which in Latin means “days of the dog”
Today of course we know that Sirius is much too far from the earth to add any heat, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down when temperatures climb. In fact, we need to be extra vigilant because heat stress can sneak up on you. Some initial symptoms include:
*Headaches, dizziness, light headedness and fainting.
*Weakness and moist skin.
*Irritability or confusion.
*Upset stomach or vomiting.
If you notice these signs in yourself or coworkers, seek help immediately. To protect yourself from the heat, always drink plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and cola; they can be dehydrating. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes. Take regular breaks. And stay alert to the warning signs of heat stress.
The dog days of summer last for 40 days, usually beginning on July 3 and ending on August 11. But we have to be on guard against heat stress every day that we are working in high temperatures. Why risk injury because of inattention or lack of knowledge? Instead, be smart about heat stress, and stay safe.
HEAT CAN HURT — PROTECT YOURSELF
*Copyright Harkins Safety 2008
“Is It Hot Enough For You ?”
If you think it’s hot where you are, just imagine what it’s like in the hottest place on earth. This is the place that boasts the highest temperature ever recorded in the entire nation—the mercury skyrocketed to a blistering 134 degrees F.
This is the place that gets the least rainfall of anywhere in the nation—a mere 2 inches per year. This is the place where you’ll find regions marked with ominous sounding names like Suicide Pass and Hell’s Gate and Tombstone Pass.
The place is Death Valley, and even though it is perhaps one of the harshest climates on earth, there is still abundant life. Over 60 varieties of plants, 230 species of birds, and 40 kinds of animals thrive there.
Just as these plants and animals have adapted to the harsh surroundings of Death Valley, we have to adapt and be smart about dealing with extreme high temperatures on and off the job.
When temperatures rise, your body circulates blood to the skin and begins to sweat. But if it’s too hot for sweat to evaporate and your fluid intake is low, your body will store heat. As your core temperature increases, you could lose concentration, become irritable or sick and possibly collapse. Heat stress is dangerous and potentially fatal.
Know your limits. Especially for the first two to three weeks of hot weather, give yourself some time to adjust. Work within your limits, and take breaks if you need to. Shorter, more frequent work/rest cycles are best.
Stay Hydrated. Taking in sufficient water or fluid replacement drinks is vital. To replace the four to eight quarts of fluids lost through sweating in a hot environment, experts say you need to drink at least a cup of cool water every 20 minutes.
Wear lightweight clothing. Light-weight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing won’t trap as much heat. Change when clothes become saturated.
WHEN THE TEMPERATURE CLIMBS…..YOUR SAFETY IS ON THE LINE!
* Copyright Harkins Safety 2002