DIS-TRAN Steel Blog

Steel Structures Can be a HOT Business

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Jul 17, 2015 3:00:00 PM

I just got back from vacation and it was HOT.  I started thinking that this must be the hottest time of the year for most of us.  It got me wondering about the Safety of all the folks out there in the manufacturing industry. I went to the best source I know, Tim Adam with DIS-TRAN Steel.  Grant it, I work in an office (thank goodness), but I work with a bunch who do not get the luxury of air conditions and fans.

In the Utility Industry you have a vast array of people doing outside labors.  Contractors erecting structures, truck drivers loading/unloading trucks, field project folks supervising as well as the steel fabricator and manufacture the steel structures (this one hits close to home).  It’s important to remember that Safety must come FIRST, no matter what you’re doing.

When it's hot, drink plenty of water!

 Below is a list of Heat Related Illnesses:

  1. Heat Stroke - is the most serious form of heat injury and is a medical emergency. Heat stroke often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat injury. Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Although heat stroke mainly affects people over age 50, it also takes a toll on healthy young athletes. The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105° Fahrenheit. But fainting may be the first sign.  If you suspect that someone has heat stroke -- also known as sunstroke -- you should call 911 immediately. Until help arrives, move the victim to a cool area and remove excess clothing. Fan and spray them with cool water. Offer sips of water if the victim is conscious.

    It is important to hydrate your body well prior to being subjected to hot work environment. Drink and eat a well-balanced meal the night before and have a good breakfast prior to a work shift. Fruit and fruit juices are good to help hydrate your body and restore electrolytes. Do not consume energy drinks as they are full of sugar and your body has to work harder to digest them. Gator aid and Power aid help restore electrolytes but need to be consumed in a 1 to 3 water bottle ratio to help prevent kidney stones. Watch the color of your urine. If it is bright yellow, you are not consuming enough water.

  2. Heat exhaustion - can occur after you've been exposed to high temperatures for several days and have become dehydrated. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, headache and fatigue.  Although heat exhaustion isn't as serious as heat stroke, it isn't something to be taken lightly. Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which can damage the brain and other vital organs, and even cause death. If you, or anyone else, have symptoms of heat exhaustion immediately get out of the heat and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned room. If you can't get inside, try to find the nearest cool and shady place.

  3. Heat cramps - are painful, brief muscle cramps. Muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily. Heat cramps can occur during exercise or work in a hot environment or begin a few hours later. Heat cramps usually involve muscles that are fatigued by heavy work, such as calves, thighs, and shoulders.  Painful cramps occur in the arms, legs, or stomach while on the job, or later at home. Move to a cool area at once if cramping is experienced. Loosen clothing and drink cool water or an electrolyte replacement beverage, such as Gatorade®. Seek medical aid if the cramps are severe, or don't go away.

  4. Dehydration - occurs when the loss of body fluids exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of our cells and bodies than what we take in through drinking.  Along with the water, small amounts of electrolytes are also lost. When we lose too much water, our bodies may become out of balance or dehydrated. Severe dehydration can lead to death.  See the Dehydration Urine Color Chart help identify whether you may be dehydrated or not.  Click here

As a quick resource OSHA has Quick Cards with valuable information for quick references.

Osha3154Card

Working or playing in a hot environment puts stress on the body and when combined with physical work, loss of fluids or fatigue it could have detrimental effects.  WATER is crucial and remember to not push yourself beyond your limits.

At DIS-TRAN Steel, we have made it a priority to educate and remind all of our employees the symptoms and prevention techniques.  Our Safety Manager keeps in contact with all the supervisors about weather conditions, heat indices, and conducts multiple heat related Tool Boxes.

How do you keep cool while working in a HOT environment?  We would love to hear from you so please use the comment section below.

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Tags: safety, contractors, steel fabricator

The Secret to Building Morale by Maintaining Your Plant

Posted by Brooke Barone on Oct 19, 2012 4:52:00 PM

If a potential customer does a walk-through at your plant and the first thing they notice is grease on the floor, trashcans overflowing or junk lying around, let’s face it, their first impression of you will not be a good one. describe the image

The way they see it, is that if a company doesn’t take care of their own equipment, then they for sure won’t care about you. It’s not only beneficial to maintain your plant for appearance sake, but also to ensure safety for your employees, as well as increase your productivity. When doing this, you might also find areas that need improvement that aren’t as obvious on the surface.

Over the years, plants have fallen victim to alternative cleaning methods that don’t thoroughly clean nor maintain their life spans. It’s important to have methods, strategies and procedures in place for plant maintenance in order to keep everything running efficiently. If somewhere down the line something goes wrong and machines stop working and production comes to a halt, it can be financially damaging.

No matter what type of shop you have, safety should be a top priority. If machines are leaking or wires and cables are on the ground, this can be a disaster waiting to happen. By showing employees that you care about them and their working conditions, it will boost the morale and employees will feel appreciated, valued and a part of a team.

Also, by including your employees in the upgrading process, they will have more pride and want to take care of the equipment. They treat it as if it was their own.

Even if you don’t have the finances or the need to purchase a new machine, you can still do an upgrade by cleaning it or innovating new ways to improve productivity and safety. When getting things ready, having a Pre-Plan List in place will make the process run much smoother.

Here are a few things to include in the Pre-Plan Checklist:

  • How long it will take to clean or upgrade
  • How many shifts you will need
  • The number of people per shift
  • What needs to be accomplished by the end of each shift
  • Leaders who can give direction
  • Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

If you are repainting, don’t take the easy way out by choosing a dark color like black. Instead, choose a color like light grey or white so that the dirt won’t go unnoticed. Also, bright colors like yellow will help safety areas standout.

Also while you’re doing the upgrades think outside the box and come up with new solutions to see where the leaks are coming from or how to safely store wires or anything lying on the ground. It’s important to use this time to iron out all the kinks so that your plant will run faster and more efficient.

Having a clean and thoroughly marked facility allows for a safe working environment, which in turn causes increased efficiency, less accidents and a higher morale that could ultimately increase profits to the bottom line.

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Tags: safety, Plant Maintenance, equipment upgrade, plant upgrade, pre-plan checklist

How do we ensure safety?

Posted by Brooke Barone on Oct 5, 2012 12:59:00 PM

Shortcuts can be killers. So, in every endeavor, DIS-TRAN makes sure to provide the highest level of integrity and safety that our employees deserve so they can return home each day to their loved ones. Safety 1 resized 600

With the quantity and types of materials that we deal with on an everyday basis, our safety processes need to be focused and detailed in order to make our employees feel secure. Our finished products can weigh from one pound to upwards of 50,000 pounds, so handling material in a safe manner is paramount.

Over the past five years, the number of man-hours worked has more than doubled at our plant, while the number of accidents has gone down. To achieve this success, we implement several safety processes on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.

What do we do to protect our employees?

DIS-TRAN Steel uses an Accident Prevention Process to keep employees from being injured.

  • Full-time Safety Coordinator at our plant
  • Aggressive orientation program for all new employees
  • Job Safety Analysis are reviewed prior to every shift
  • Stretches prior to every shift to focus our employees on injury prevention
  • An external safety consultant visits the plant once a month to further train employees
  • Weekly “Tool Box Talks” which is internal training on every topic pertinent to our industry
  • Monthly leader training
  • Audit system to help recognize hazards and correct them before they become an injury
  • PPE worn at all times

Our employees come to work each day ready for whatever task is at hand, and so in return, we owe them a safe and hazard free work environment. To uphold our commitment, we also control hazards using Engineer Control, Administrative Control and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Engineer Control is our intent to engineer all hazards out. Administrative Control is our procedure to change processes in order to make safe. PPE is required to be worn every day, at all times of the day, such as steel toe boots, safety glasses or ear protection.

Fall protection that has a body harness and a self protracting lifeline, is also used at our plant to protect our employees rain or shine.

We also work hand-in-hand with our loss prevention specialist, who works for our insurance company, and visits on a regular basis. This not only ensures that we are in compliance with state and federal guidelines, but it is taking the extra step to guarantee the safety of our employees.

 

Tags: DIS-TRAN Steel, safety, Accident Prevention Process, engineer control, PPE, administrative control

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