Monthly Archives: April 2017

A Message About Respirator Safety and Personal Protective Gear (PPE)

Free Diving

Take a deep breath.  Now hold it as long as you can underwater.  That’s the essence of free diving.  It’s one of the new breed of extreme sports—filled with challenges and dangers.  But this extreme sport is actually over 2,000 years old.

The pearl divers of ancient Japan would dive underwater to great depths for minutes on end searching for pearls.  Ama divers, as they were called, didn’t have the benefits of scuba tanks, so they trained their bodies and minds to go for long periods without breath.

Free divers today do much the same.  As a modern competitive sport, free diving is the invention of the Bottom Scratchers, a dive club in San Diego that started in the 30s.  But what’s really fascinating is the variety of free diving competitions.

There’s underwater rugby, hockey and spear fishing, even synchronized underwater swimming and so-called mermaid shows.  The premier free diving sport, though is breath-hold diving .  In this sport, highly trained competitors attempt great depths on a single breath.

These elite athletes train their bodies to adapt.  The pulse rate drops.  Blood vessels shrink as blood rushes to the heart and lungs. And the spleen releases oxygen rich red blood cells.  Free divers start with a one-minute breath hold while at rest and progress to holding the breath while walking. Gradually they test themselves underwater at greater and greater depths.  The body is a marvel of adaptation and free divers make use of that in their training.

While training may help divers increase lung capacity, no amount of physical training can protect your lungs from the chemicals, dust particles and other hazardous inhalants that we might encounter on the job. That’s why it is crucial to choose the right respirator when one is called for, make sure it fits properly, and be sure to store it properly for optimum protection.

Workers sometimes make the mistake of going without a respirator, thinking that they will be able to smell airborne hazards. But the fact is, many dangerous and even deadly chemicals are odorless.  If you think that your nose always knows, you might make a tragic mistake.

Why take the risk?  Let’s leave life threatening exploits to the daredevils. On the job, our priority is safety and that means using a respirator.  Arguing otherwise is just wasting your breath.

Save Your Breath…

Keep Your Respirator Ready!

*Copyright 2008   Harkins Safety  (B-241)

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A Message About Machine Guards, Lock Out – Tag Out and PPE

Pack A Punch

Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazer, October 1, 1975.  The Philippine Coliseum. It was the greatest fight of all time.  It was the Thrilla in Manilla.

Ali had been taunting Frazer and calling him names.  Each had defeated the other once before, Frazer winning in 1971 and Ali in 1973.  They were angry. By 10:45 a.m., 28,000 spectators had filled the Coliseum and the battle was on.

Ali came out flat-footed, no dancing, confident of victory. He swung powerfully, and Frazer’s legs buckled three times in the first round.  By the third round, Frazer was twice badly shaken, his head snapping back from Ali’s long lefts.

But in the fourth, Frazer seemed to find his range.  He pummeled Ali.  Ali spent the fifth round in his own corner taking Frazer’s body shots.  By the sixth, Frazer was in close, pounding Ali’s body and unleashing his left hook on Ali’s head.  Two of them caught Ali’s jaw, staggering him.  Frazer beat on Ali for four more rounds.  At the end of the tenth, they were even.  Then in the eleventh, Frazer blasted Ali with blow after blow.  It looked like the end.

But Ali dug down.  He tagged Frazer with long right punches until blood trickled from Frazer’s mouth and bumps rose above his eyes. He sent Frazer’s mouthpiece flying in the thirteenth and nearly KO’ed him with a snapping right.  In the fourteenth, Ali delivered nine straight right punches to Frazer’s head.  When the bell sounded for the fifteenth Frazer didn’t answer.  His manager told him, “Sit down, son. It’s all over. No one will ever forget what you did here today.”

Ali had retained his title and won the toughest fight of his life.  “It was like death,” he said. “The closest thing to dying that I know of.”

Professional boxers know never to let their guard down.  On the job, you need to do the same; an unguarded moment can result in an injury.  That’s why, when you’re working with machines, you need to be extra cautious.  They pack a punch, here’s how to block it:

*Always use machine guards, and never reach over or around them.

*Never reach blindly into a machine-you could reach an energized part.

*Keep watches, belts, necklaces and other conductive items away from machinery.

*Always wear the right PPE.

*Perform frequent safety checks.

*Lock out/tag out for repairs or maintenance.

*Stay alert-a deadly punch can come out of nowhere.

Machines Can Pack a Punch

*Copyright 2004  Harkins Safety (B-180)

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