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A Message About Hand Safety And Personal Protective Equipment

The Hand-Built Hot Rod

Gleaming chrome. Beautiful custom paint. Tufted leather upholstery. If that’s your idea of a hot rod, stand back and make way for the true, original, hand-built hot rod.

It’s called a rat rod and it harkens back to the early days of hot rodding in the 40s, 50s and 60s when enthusiast had more skill than money and built their creations by themselves…by hand.

Back in those days, hot rodders would find a Model T or a Model A, strip off everything  they  could-fenders, running boards, roof, bumpers- and drop a more powerful engine. It was often a Ford Flathead V8.They’d do all the work themselves. It was about having fun, not about who spent the most money. It was about getting your hands greasy. It was about building something unique.

The rat rod movement today is dedicated to bringing back that hand-built heritage.

In a rat rod, the parts are mismatched, cribbed from a variety of vehicles. The body proudly displays its rust and battle scars. Maltese crosses and skulls sit atop gearshifts in homage to biker and rockabilly cultures. The seats are often bare metal. There’s no carpeting and certainly no luxury-car amenities like air conditioning. An old style beam axle is out front, with leaf springs all around instead of modern coils.

To the uninitiated, a rat rod looks unfinished. That’s because it is. It’s a work in progress, an expression of the owners’ ever-changing vision. It is continuously altered, revised and rebuilt. For a rat rodder, nothing tops having a wrench in your hand.

Think about that the next time you’re on the job, and you’ll realize again why hand safety is so important. You should remind yourself every day to:

*Use gloves when the job calls for it, and choose the proper ones.

*Watch out for pinch points.

*Protect your hands from chemicals and burns.

*Beware of sharp objects like banding, saw blades and edges.

It can be easy to overlook hand safety when you’re on the job and trying to get a project finished. Especially if there is a deadline to meet. But if you allow yourself even a moment of inattention, you’re vulnerable to a potential injury. Why take the chance? It’s just not worth risking damage to your hands. They’re essential tools. Just ask any rat rodder with a hand-built creation and a workbench full of wrenches.

YOUR HANDS THE TOOLS YOU NEED FOR EVERY JOB!

*COPYRIGHT 2012 Harkins Safety (B279)

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A Message About Mobile Equipment Safety

Bigfoot

The name Bob Chandler might not mean anything to you, but you probably know his creation. It’s the meanest 4×4 truck anywhere.  It’s the show-stopping monster truck Bigfoot.

It all began in the mid 1970’s. Bob Chandler, a construction contractor, used his Ford pick-up truck on the job and for recreation. But when parts broke due to hard use, he often couldn’t find sturdier replacements. That led him to open Midwest Four Wheel Drive & Performance Center.

Partly to promote his new business, Chandler set out to make his truck bigger and stronger, with huge tires and a sky high suspension lift. In 1979, the truck with its jaw-dropping rear-wheel steering, appeared at a Denver car show, its first paid event. Truck pulls in arenas and stadiums soon followed, where Bigfoot was often the star of the show.

At a truck pull in 1981, Chandler tried something just for fun. He drove his beefed up 4×4 over two junk cars. The crowd went wild. He later duplicated the stunt at a stadium show, and in 1983 he began a sponsorship with Ford Motor Company. The legend of Bigfoot was born.

Through the 80s and 90s, Bigfoot got bigger, with massive 66” tires and a 572 cubic inch engine that pumps out 1,500 horsepower and 1,300 foot/pounds of torque. In truck pulls across the country, Bigfoot is always the crowd favorite, especially with Chandler behind the wheel.

Just like the driver of a monster truck, when you’re behind the wheel or at the controls of a forklift, crane, tractor or other mobile equipment. Remember that safety depends on you. Always carry loads properly. Operate the equipment at a safe speed. Keep your view unobstructed. Most important, stay alert for pedestrians—they have the right of way. When you operate mobile equipment, safety is your responsibility, a rule that Chandler follows himself.

Whether he’s racing or doing stunts, Chandler drives to win, but he always considers safety. In 1987, he founded the Monster Truck Racing Association, created solely to promote safety in the monster truck industry. He knows what’s at stake. That’s why he always thinks safety behind the wheel. You should too.

Forklifts and other mobile equipment are great labor saving devices, but with benefits come risks. Minimize and eliminate risk by knowing the rules, by sticking to your safety plan every time you operate equipment and by making safety a driving force every day.

CAUTION: MOBILE EQUIPMENT

OPERATORS TAKE CARE PEDESTRIANS STAY AWARE

*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety (B235)

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A Message About Holiday Safety, Driving & Slips, Trips And Falls

A Holiday Beauty

Did you know the poinsettia, one of America’s most colorful holiday decorations, is not technically a flower? It’s a fact. The poinsettia is an unusual plant that grows wild in Central America but got its American name from the man who brought it here from Mexico around 1830.

Since the plant normally reaches full bloom during the holiday season, it has been called the “flor de pascua”-Christmas flower by Spanish-speaking people for centuries.

The plant caught the attention of J.R. Poinsett when he was serving as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. He packed several of the plants in his belongings and brought them to the United States when his tour of duty in Mexico ended.  An enthusiastic gardener and horticulturist, Dr. Poinsett planted this holiday beauty in his garden in Charleston, S.C. The plant flourished and was later named in his honor.

The colorful leaf-like fronds at the top of the poinsettia are not the petals of a flower but are called bracts. They surround a central cluster of tiny bead-like flowers. Since Dr. Poinsett introduced the plant, it has been grown in many parts of North America and changed dramatically by horticulturists. Florists now cultivate white, pink mottled and striped poinsettias. Even so the brilliant red of the first poinsettias remain the favorite.

The timeless beauty of the poinsettia can remind us of the true meaning of the holidays. But we should also remember that the season brings distractions and hazards that demand special safety precautions.

Be aware that hazards increase during the holidays. Poinsettias and other holiday decorations must be kept clear of fireplaces and other sources of heat. Check all decorative lights for signs of frayed cords or exposed wires, and be sure to turn them off before leaving the house or going to bed.

Watch for hazards that could lead to a slip, trip, fall or pinch. Use your on-the –job safety know-how at home to inspect indoor and outdoor decorations for defects. Dispose of used wrappings safely to prevent fire.

Practice safe driving. Driving can be especially dangerous during the holidays because of the extra traffic and extra hours of darkness. Always allow plenty of time for your trip, buckle up and adjust your speed for weather and traffic conditions. Never drink and drive. Keep the joy in your holiday and the spirits under control.

Just as a centuries-old-holiday decoration still fits our modern lifestyle, we need to remember that safety is always in season. Keep the beauty and joy in your holidays this year by following the time-tested rules of accident prevention.

WISHING YOU A SAFE & JOYOUS HOLIDAY SEASON

*COPYRIGHT 2005 Harkins Safety B206

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A Message About The Holiday Season

Happy Holidays

Did you know that our word “holiday” actually comes to us from ancient times when it meant “holy day”, a time of rest and devotion?

In many cultures and in many lands, the beginning of winter-the winter solstice-is honored as a special holiday. This is the time when earth is the farthest from the sun, resulting in the shortest day of the year. Here are just some of the ways people around the world celebrate the winter solstice.

Some experts say that the Mesopotamians were the first to mark the winter solstice over 4,000 years ago. They took part in a 12-day festival to honor the god Marduk.

The native Americans also celebrated the winter solstice and they marked the event with rock paintings.  The paintings, by the Chumsuh Indians who occupied coastal California thousands of years before the Europeans arrived, still exist.

China and Tibet also observe the beginning of winter with merry-making and feasting in their winter solstice celebration. It’s part of their cultural heritage and has been for centuries.

The early Germans, in their winter solstice celebration, built a stone altar to Hertha, the goddess of domesticity and the home to mark the beginning of winter. When a fire was lit on the altar, Hertha was able to descend on the smoke and foretell the future of those assembled at the feast in her honor.

However you choose to celebrate the winter holidays you’re taking part in a tradition that is as old as the mists of history. At this time of year when we count our blessings and enjoy the company of family and friends, it’s vital to make safety a part of every day. That’s especially important in the days leading up to the holidays. You don’t want to ruin your celebration with an accident because your mind was elsewhere.

So pay extra attention to the safety rules and guidelines that you follow throughout the year. Stay alert, practice good housekeeping and keep an eye out for fire hazards, especially around holiday decorations. Take extra care when traveling home for the holidays. Watch for hazardous road conditions and don’t drink and drive. Also be courteous to other holiday travelers on the road so everyone can enjoy the holidays. Remember staying safe is the best way to keep your holidays happy.

CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS SAFELY

*COPYRIGHT 2006 HARKINS SAFETY  (B221)

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A Safety Message For The Holiday Season

The Gift of Giving

Did you know that the holiday tradition of collecting donations in the Salvation Army’s red kettles was started by a man who wanted to give a free holiday meal to the poor? Here’s the story.

In 1891 Salvation Army captain, Joseph McFee wanted to give a free Christmas dinner to the San Francisco area’s poor, but he had limited resources and needed a creative solution.  McFee remembered his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England where he recalled a large pot being displayed on the stage landing.  This pot was called a “Simpson’s Pot” and passers-by would toss in donations of a coin or two to help the poor.

With the city’s permission, McFee placed a similar kettle at the Oakland ferry landing at the foot of San Francisco’s Market Place with the sign ”Keep the Pot Boiling”.  In this busy spot, the kettle drew attention from the people going to and from the ferryboats. In no time at all, McFee had the funds to provide a free meal for the needy and a holiday tradition was born.

By 1895 some 30 Salvation Army Corps on the West Coast had adopted the practice.  When two Army officers, McIntyre and Lewis were transferred to the East Coast they took the idea with them.  Initially they were met with a lack of enthusiasm. Some of their fellow officers feared they would be “making a spectacle of themselves” and refused to support the idea.

Undaunted, William McIntyre, his wife and his sister set up three kettles at Washington Street in the heart of the city.  The idea was a success.  That year in Boston and other cities nationwide 150,000 holiday dinners were served for the needy.

In 1901, contributions in New York City funded the first great sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, a tradition that continued for many years.

Today the needy are still invited to share holiday dinners at the thousands of Salvation Army centers throughout the country.  In addition, many poor families are given grocery vouchers so they can prepare their own dinners at home.

Those familiar red kettles remind us of the spirit of giving we associate with the holidays.  The best gift you can give your family is your safety every day of the year.

As the holidays draw near, don’t become distracted on the job thinking about holiday parties, spending time with family and friends, buying gifts and putting up decorations.  That moment of inattention could lead to an accident.  Remember to take extra precautions when driving too.  The long hours of darkness, bad weather conditions and drivers who may have had too much to drink require special attention.  At home, look for possible fire hazards and use common sense when it comes to candles, fireplaces and holiday decorations. Keep your holidays happy by staying safe on and off the job.

SAFE WORK DAYS BRING HAPPY HOLIDAYS

*COPYRIGHT 2004 HARKINS SAFETY  (B190)

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A Message About Fire Safety, Housekeeping, MSDS’s & SDS’s

Wildfire!

In a state know for wildfires, this one was off the charts.  It caused the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.  It was responsible for millions in property damage.  It threatened entire cities.  It endangered over 6,000 firefighters.

The fire was first spotted on a Wednesday in a forest south of Prescott, Arizona.  Strong winds and dry terrain stoked the blaze as firefighters and forest crews sprang into action. The fire raged and within days it consumed 1,000 acres spreading to within three miles of downtown Prescott.  Over 1,500 residents evacuated as the fire waged war on southern Arizona.

Meanwhile in eastern Arizona another wildfire rose up in Show Low.  It roared across a 330,000 acre area. As firefighters and forest workers battled the blaze, their worst fear seemed unavoidable.  The two separate wildfires were heading toward each other and within eight days, they merged into one fearsome conflagration of flame, ash and smoke.

Devastation reigned.  The American Red Cross provided food and shelter to displaced residents.  The President came to witness the destruction and the federal government designated the site a disaster area as firefighters battled the blaze.  More voracious than ever, the fire continued its rampage of destruction.

Cooler weather and the firebreaks eventually began to have an effect. Five weeks after it began, the wildfire was starting to be contained. But the toll was sobering.  This fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history, decimated 517 square miles, an area larger than Los Angeles.  It reduced 423 homes to ash and cinder. It caused 30,000 evacuations.

Whether in a forest, at work or even in your own home, the power and fury of fire can destroy in minutes what took months or years to build.  Your best plan is to fight back with prevention.

*Dispose of trash, flammable fluids, oily rags and other waste properly.

*Handle extension cords and electrical equipment with care.

*Remove frayed cords, replace damaged plugs and don’t overload electrical circuits.

*Smoke only in designated areas, and make sure cigarettes, etc., are completely extinguished.

*Know where fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.

EXTINGUISH THE CAUSES OF FIRE

*Copyright 2002 Harkins Safety B157

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A Message About SDS, MSDS Electrical Safety And Housekeeping

Fire Watcher

Like the lighthouse operator and long-distance runner, the fire watcher is surrounded in romance and lore. These solitary figures spend hour after hour, day after day, month after month perched high atop our nation’s forests searching for any sign of impending forest fire.  How did the job of fire watcher begin? Here’s the story.

The first fire lookout was built in 1876 by the Southern Pacific Railroad on Red Mountain near Donner Summit to watch for train fires. Then in 1905, the U.S. Forest Service adopted the idea.  They followed the example of the railroad and began using fire watchers to create an organized fire prevention and detection system.

The Forest Service built a network of forest fire lookout stations across the U.S. At first, the stations were little more than campsites.  The fire watcher would ride there on horseback, make his observations and travel to the next site. Later, crow’s-nest platforms were built atop the highest trees.  The fire watcher would stand vigil, sometimes for hours or days at a time.  If a fire was spotted, the fire watcher often became a firefighter, jumping on his horse or hiking to the fire to help put it out. By 1914 the job of fire watcher was more defined and these solitary workers spent their days in live-in cabins built on top of huge towers.

In the 1930’s during the Great Depression, government programs to put people back to work included the Civilian Conservation Corps. With the help of the CCC, fire watch towers began springing up across the county; over 8,000 towers were built and staffed by full-time fire watchers.

During World War II, the fire watchers’ keen observation skills were used to look out for enemy aircraft.  The fire watchers staffed aircraft observation decks 365 days a year until the war ended.

Although many fire watchers were phased out in the 1970s in favor of airplane observation, we need to stay vigilant when it comes to fire prevention.  Being a fire watcher is just as important today as it was many years ago.

*Look for ways to prevent electrical fires.  Check for frayed wires and replace them.  Always use the correct fuses, check ground wires and keep combustibles away from machines.

*Look for ways to avoid chemical fires. Always read MSDS’s, SDS’s and labels, keep flammable liquids away from ignition sources, check compressed gas cylinders for leaks and always store cylinders securely. Practice welding only in areas with fire-resistant floors.

*Look for ways to keep your work area safe.  Keep machines free of dust and grease.  Dispose of combustibles like oily rags properly.  Keep walkways, stairs and fire doors free of debris.

GET FIRED UP ABOUT FIRE SAFETY

*Copyright 2005 Harkins Safety B204

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A Message About Environmental Safety, Chemicals And Hazardous Waste

Gusher in the Gulf

The name “Valdez” made people think of the worst oil spill ever.  No more.  Now that dubious honor goes to Deep Water Horizon, an offshore drilling platform operated in the Gulf of Mexico.

On April 20, 2010, the rig exploded, killing 11 workers and opening a gusher that released millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf waters.  What happened and why?

Floating on the Gulf waters, the Deep Water Horizon platform sent its drilling equipment 5,000 feet below the surface to reach the sea floor.  Beyond that depth, it drilled down another 18,000 feet into the earth to reach the oil reserve.  It’s an amazing feat of technology, one that has been compared to working on the surface of the moon.

On the sea floor, 5,000 feet below the water’s surface, sat the blowout preventer.  It’s a failsafe device.  Its purpose is to close off the well in an emergency.  But the fail safe device failed.

A dead battery kept the blowout preventer from signaling the rising pressure.  Worse, a leak in the hydraulic system stopped the valves from closing off the well and the main valve.  The shear ram was not strong enough to crush the well pipe and stop the oil flow.

Barrel after barrel of oil fouled the Gulf waters while technicians struggled to find a solution.  It’s a lesson for everyone about following procedures, staying aware, never cutting corners and protecting our precious environment.

That’s why on the job it’s vital for each of us to:

*Recycle.  It saves money, reduces waste and lessons the landfill load.

*Properly handle all chemicals and hazardous materials.  Even small amounts can be extremely dangerous.  Be smart when you’re around them.

*Conserve energy and natural resources.  Turn off lights, don’t waste water and look for other ways to conserve.  Using resources is okay; abusing them isn’t.

The responsibility is ours.  Taking that responsibility seriously and taking appropriate action can save resources and prevent terrible damage.

Thankfully, technicians did find a way to cap the oil flow from the Deep Water Horizon spill.  But by then the damage to the Gulf coast and its waters had been done.

This earth is the only one we have and we have to take care of it.  Always remember….

Let’s make it a requirement….

Protect The Environment!

*Copyright 2010 Harkins Safety  B-270

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A Message About Tool Safety And Using The Correct Tool

Tools of the Trade

A brilliant craftsman, possessed of a singular ability never matched before or since, produced the world’s most sought after musical instruments. Can you guess his name? Here’s a hint: he created his musical masterpieces over 300 years ago!

He is the maker of the famed Stradivarius violins, Antonio Stradivari.  But do you know what made Stradivari the master craftsman of the ages?

Maybe it was his training.  Born in Cremona, Italy, he apprenticed with noted instrument maker Nicolo Amati.  As a testament to his skill, Stradivari was permitted to make instruments under his own label while still a student.

Or perhaps it was the wood Stradivari chose for his instruments.  It is said that he scoured the forests for the perfect tree with the right look and feel and most important the right tone when the master tapped it while listening with his discerning ear.

Or maybe it was the tools he used that made Stradivari the best.  As a European Master, Stradivari used only hand tools-a dizzying variety of chisels, gouges, planes, knives, saws and scrapers in precisely graduated sizes. Some remove large curls of wood as the craftsman rough-cuts and shaves, while others slice away the smallest slivers in precise carving actions.  Again and again, Stradivari would “tap tune” the instrument and select the right tool to remove tiny sections of wood until the tone was perfect.

The tools themselves are works of art, their handles worn by the master’s grasp over a lifetime of dedication. They are preserved to this day in the Stradivarian Museum in Cremona, Italy.

Of course the tools that we use in our daily work may not be the implements of the artisan, but they are no less important to getting the job done. That’s why we should always treat them with respect, using them only for their intended application. We should always keep them well maintained and in good working order. Doing so ensures our safety and the effectiveness of the tool itself, a win-win situation that makes our work easier.

While the work of master Stradivari remains a mystery- no one knows for certain why his violins produce the sweetest music-one thing is sure.  The tools we use save time and effort, but they do presents hazards.  Using them properly helps secure our safety, so that at the end of the day, we can leave work whistling a carefree tune.

Choose the Right Tool….

Use it the Right Way

*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety  B-232

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A Message About Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared

It’s as American as apple pie.  A rite of passage for thousands of boys and girls and a source of pride for every parent.  It’s scouting.

You probably know the Boy Scout’s motto.  You may even know that scouting began in the U.S. in 1910.  But do you know why scouting was developed?

It’s a fascinating part of the scouting story.  In the early 1900s, with the Industrial Revolution, thousands migrated from rural areas to our nation’s cities.  This change brought concerns that young people, men in particular, were no longer learning patriotism, individualism and self-reliance—important values of American life.

In 1909, Chicago publisher W.D. Boyce while visiting London, England learned about scouting, which began in Britain around 1907.  Impressed with the idea, upon his return, Boyce started the Boy Scouts of America.

The aims of scouting remain to this day: character development, citizenship training and personal fitness.  Out of these values come the familiar Boy Scout’s motto—Be Prepared.

Scouting grew at a stunning pace.  Today there are 2,938,698 youth who are scouts, 1,146,130 leaders and 122,582 scouting units, which are Scouting organizations sponsored by a community, across the country.

Scouts earn merit badges in virtually every endeavor imaginable, from archery to fishing, wilderness survival to motor boating. They want to learn as much as they can so that, regardless of the situation, they will always be prepared.

Being prepared is good for us too.  If there were ever a fire, an explosion, a flood or even a terrorist attack, it would be invaluable—and possibly even lifesaving –for each and every one of us to be prepared.

And the best way to do that is to know our emergency plan inside and out.  Know where fire extinguishers are, for example.  Know the evacuation routes.  Know the proper emergency response authorities to contact, if necessary.  It’s important.  Because you never know when an emergency might strike.

If you have kids in Scouting, or if you were a Scout yourself, you know that Scouts pledge to “do a good turn daily.” Why not take a page from the Scouting manual and pledge to learn more about safety and emergency preparedness each day. It’s a good policy.  And should an emergency occur, you stay safe because you are prepared and know the right actions to take.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

KNOW THE PLAN, KNOW YOUR PART

*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety B-227

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