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Every Monday, a new Safety Tip of the Week appears in Fermilab Today, Fermilab's daily email publication for employees, users and subscribers. Safety Tips of the Week remind employees and users of ways to prevent injuries and illnesses. We hope that these safety tips will encourage you to work safely all week.

Fermilab Safety Tip of the Week Archive - 2006


 December 18, 2006
 CO: New monitor law
Illinois has a new CO detector law that goes into effect on January 1, 2007. All buildings that use fossil fuel and have sleeping rooms or an attached garage must have an approved, operating CO detector installed within 15 feet of any sleeping area.

 December 11, 2006
 Snow shoveling
Winter is still eleven days away and many of us have already had all the snow we can handle. Unless you just got a new snow blower, the idea of shoveling is like getting a root canal.

 December 4, 2006
 Where did you get that?
When you procure something, how do you know you'll get a good fit to your needs? Will regulations be violated, hazards introduced, benefits overlooked? At Fermilab, most procurement actions are reviewed for environmental, safety and health issues at the division and section level....

 November 27, 2006
 How slippery is it?
The aspect of winter weather that has the greatest impact on Fermilab's accident rates is reduced traction. Despite our aggressive snow and ice removal program, a day with falling snow usually means one or two people showing up in the Medical Department with slip injuries.

 November 20, 2006
 Holiday safety
This special time of year carries with it some special hazards. As we plan our activities, we should keep a few things in mind so our memories can all be good ones. Here are some tips for having a safe and happy holiday season...

 November 13, 2006
 Supervisory skills
Although everyone at Fermilab is responsible for conducting themselves in a safe and environmentally sound manner, supervisors are often required to do the "heavy lifting" of ES&H implementation....

 November 6, 2006
 Lessons Learned
As our injury rates continue to fall, we must look to other sources of information to guide our injury prevention strategies. One alternative is to improve communication of ES&H successes and failures via a lessons learned program....

 October 30, 2006
 Strain and pain
The safety tip a couple weeks ago noted that one-third of Fermilab's occupational injuries resulted in strain or pain to some part of the body....

 October 23, 2006
 Hand injuries
Last week's safety tip pointed out that one-third of Fermilab's occupational injuries have affected some part of the hand. Over the past 20 years, this part of the body was involved in 578 recordable injuries....

 October 16, 2006
 Beware the everyday injury
Given all the technology at Fermilab, you might expect that exotic hazards are the primary cause of injuries at the lab. In contrast to this, our new Site Occupational Medical Director, Dr. Brian Svazas, recently commented that the injuries he has seen at the Lab tend to be just like those encountered in every other workplace or even at home....

 October 9, 2006
 Cooking fires
October 8-15 is Fire Prevention Week. This year's campaign focuses on cooking fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that more fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home....

 October 2, 2006
 Electrical glove testing due
Are you a Fermilab employee who uses electrical insulating gloves as part of your job? If so, you have likely been provided both a black and blue pair. The black pair of gloves that you have been using must now be re-tested. October 2 is the date established by the Fermilab Glove Testing Program to submit your black pair for testing. It's also time to start using your blue pair from now until the end of March 2007.

 September 25, 2006
 Dumpster violations
Fermilab uses dumpsters to collect waste. Right before a dumpster is emptied, an ES&H Section employee inspects the contents of the dumpster to verify that no liquid, chemical or radioactive wastes are present. If any are found, the dumpster is locked until the offending material has been removed by the division or section responsible for the dumpster.

 September 18, 2006
 Feeling sick?
Everyone has days when they don't feel well. When this happens, you need to decide whether it's best to get extra rest and/or to obtain professional help. According to Fermilab's Site Occupational Medical Director, Dr. Brian Svazas, "it all comes down to communicability, debilitation or need for follow up." Here are guidelines for managing some of the more common infectious conditions.

 September 11, 2006
 New dosimeter
On October 1, Fermilab will adopt a new type of radiation dosimeter. With the old badge, beta/gamma radiation is detected with thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD) made of lithium fluoride. In the new badge, this function is accomplished using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) from aluminum oxide. Both old and new badges use CR-39 polycarbonate to measure neutron exposure.
read more...

 August 28, 2006
 Accident investigation
Last week, 25 Fermilab employees participated in a one-day accident investigation course with Jerry Harbour, manager of Defense Technologies at DOE's Idaho National Laboratory. Harbour stressed the importance of not interpreting an accidents until all the facts are known.
read more...

 August 21, 2006
 Ergonomic hand tools
A hand tool only becomes "ergonomic" when it suits the task you are performing, and when it fits your hand without causing awkward postures or harmful contact pressures. If it does not meet these conditions, you may develop an injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or muscle strain.
read more...

 August 14, 2006
 Fermilab daycare
Fermilab operates a daycare center that has about 70 children and 14 teachers. According to facility administrator Patti Hedrick, "we have addressed the obvious hazards since safety is a priority at the lab and we have had time to work things out." Below are some of the measures the center staff has taken to avoid injuries. You may find their ideas useful in your work or home environments, especially if you have children.
read more...

 August 7, 2006
 Pre-work review
When most people start out on a new task, they tend to assume that things will go right. It's human nature to be optimistic and focus on how things will get done, rather than to think about what could go wrong.
read more...

 July 31, 2006
 Sitewide Emergency Warning System
Fermilab's Sitewide Emergency Warning System, dubbed "SEWS," is composed of various devices. Out of doors, the lab has a number of sirens like those used in nearby communities. These outdoor sirens are sounded only for tornado warnings or national emergencies.
read more...

 July 24, 2006
 Attentiveness
As our lab director pointed out in his column last week, "most accidents at Fermilab are the result of poor work practices, lack of focus or complacency. " This observation is consistent with the results of numerous accident prevention studies. In general, attentiveness is a major factor in more than half of all accidents. But why is this so?
read more...

 July 17, 2006
 Poison ivy
The component in poison ivy that causes an allergic reaction is an oil called urushiol. It's present in all parts of the plant and can maintain its toxic properties for more than a year. It's best to avoid all contact, even if you have never had a reaction. If you've been exposed to poison ivy, stay outdoors until you complete the first two steps below...
read more...

 July 10, 2006
 Wasps
As noted in a recent safety tip, injury rates are highest in the summer and wasp stings are the number one contributor to this spike. Gary Konen of FESS Roads & Grounds remarked, "Wasps are everywhere this year....[you often find nests] anywhere they will stay dry, such as doorways, eaves and gas cylinder caps."
read more...

 June 26, 2006
 Summer injury peak
Based on 20 years of data, summer is the peak season for occupational injuries at Fermilab. The summer average is 49 cases, which is 23 percent greater than the combined average for winter, spring and fall. About 10 percent of the increase is due to wasp stings, 6 percent from mechanical skin injuries and 3 percent from burns.
read more...

 June 19, 2006
 West Nile Virus
In North America, West Nile Virus has become a reappearing disease of the summer and fall months. This year it has already appeared in mosquitoes collected from five Illinois counties including Cook and Dupage. Fortunately, about 80 percent of people infected with WNV have no symptoms at all. Most of the rest experience a flu-like condition with fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting that lasts a few days to a few weeks.
read more...

 June 12, 2006
 Ticks
Ticks seem to be unusually numerous this year. Common in northern Illinois, the American dog tick can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Recent surveys also found scattered populations of blacklegged (deer) ticks that are associated with Lyme disease. Though the risk of infection is slight, you should minimize tick bites due to the seriousness of these diseases, as well as simple unpleasantness of being food.
read more...

 June 5, 2006
 Got heat?
Though June has only just begun, we've already seen several days over 90 degrees this year. Uncomfortable? You bet. But keep in mind that extreme heat can be dangerous as well. It's a good idea to review the warning signs and proper treatments for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
read more...

 May 22, 2006
 Cumulative Trauma Disorder
Most injuries occur in an instant. However, some arise gradually due to an accumulation of small stresses that may take weeks, months or years before symptoms appear.
read more...

 May 15, 2006
 Chemical exposures
A lot of companies with the word laboratory in their names are major users of chemicals. Though this does not apply to Fermilab, we are not immune from injuries due to chemical exposures.
read more...

 May 8, 2006
 Back to backs
In a previous article, we examined hand injuries since they are the most common type occurring at Fermilab. In this article we review the second most frequent injury: those affecting the back. Of the 4661 total injuries that have occurred at Fermilab over the past 25 years, 12 percent have involved the back.
read more...

 May 1, 2006
 Aging workforce
Like the population as a whole, Fermilab's labor force is aging. What effect will this have on injuries and illnesses?
read more...

 April 24, 2006
 Hand Safety
Looking over the past 25 years of Fermilab's work injury data, one thing that stands out is the number of hand injuries. Of the 4650 total injuries, 32 percent involved fingers, thumbs, hands or wrists. Lacerations and contusions figure prominently with hand cases at 38 percent and 13 percent respectively. The immediate causes of most hand injuries include using the wrong tool for the job and not wearing the appropriate kind of hand protection, as well as periods of inattention. Here are some things to remember to help prevent injuries to your hands.
read more...

 April 17, 2006
 Uneven surfaces
A Fermilab technician recently stepped into a shallow depression while walking along an Accelerator Division passageway. This caused the employee's right ankle to twist and fracture. The injury was managed with an air splint and work restrictions.
read more...

 April 10, 2006
 Watch out for the geese
Poet Alfred Lord Tennyson said, "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." Well, why should Canada Geese be any different? All around the lab at this time of year, goose pairs are tending to mates and nests full of eggs. Their responsibilities include protecting against all threats, real or imagined. Those perceived threats often come from Fermilab employees.
read more...

 April 3, 2006
 Insulating gloves
Bob Ducar, Chair of Fermilab's Electrical Safety Subcommittee, notes that insulating gloves are a critical component in protecting workers from electrical shocks, the most common electrical hazard. If you attended one of the recent NFPA 70E training sessions, you learned that insulating gloves are almost always required when the worker is within the Restricted Approach Boundary of exposed energized conductors or parts.
read more...

 March 27, 2006
 Tornado season
The local persistence of cold weather may make it hard to believe, but nearly two-thirds of Illinois' tornadoes occur from March through May. If you needed proof, storms on the weekend of March 11 produced numerous tornadoes in Missouri and central Illinois. Damage was widespread with Missouri suffering the greater impact, including all nine of the associated deaths.
read more...

 March 20, 2006
 Improving procedures
Work carried out by Fermilab employees, as well as work done by experimenters and subcontractors while onsite, is subject to hazard analysis (see FESHM 2060, 7010, 7011 and 7020). An option to this requirement is to work under an operating procedure that addresses the applicable hazards and controls. This seems reasonable, but what experience has industry had with procedures?
read more...

 March 13, 2006
 Crosswalks
Marked crosswalks are a great safety concept: paint the road and pedestrians have a safe place to cross. Unfortunately, this kind of traffic control depends on the active participation of vehicle operators (to yield the right-of-way) as well as pedestrians (to use the crosswalk).
read more...

 March 6, 2006
 Shutdown Safety
Fermilab's 2006 accelerator shutdown has been underway for a week. As usual, much work needs to be done and schedules are tight. Accelerator Division again employed careful planning to guide the activities of some 600 workers, about half of whom will need to access underground accelerator enclosures sometime during the shutdown.
read more...

 February 27, 2006
 ES&H Crossword
Games are a way to heighten awareness about safety. Click on the above image to open an online ES&H crossword puzzle. In addition to filling in your keyed-in guesses, the application allows you to check on your accuracy.
read more...

 February 20, 2006
 Water cooler bottles
A Fermilab employee recently sustained a minor back injury from lifting a 5-gallon water bottle. This seems like it should be a fairly common injury. A full 5-gallon bottle weighs 48 pounds and Procurement's Bob Johnson noted we use about 310 bottles per week. However, the recent injury is the first such case to be entered into the Lab's occupational injury database.
read more...

 February 13, 2006
 Deep Vein Thrombosis
Radiation Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower limbs. Pulmonary embolism can result if a fragment of the clot breaks loose and migrates to the lungs. This can lead to severe breathing difficulty and even death.
read more...

 February 6, 2006
 Eye Safety Month
Radiation The American Academy of Ophthalmology has declared February as Workplace Eye Safety Month. Though Fermilab has an effective eye safety program, we can do more to prevent eye injuries. Over the past ten years 98 eye injuries were reported to the Fermilab Medical Department, 67 of which were OSHA recordable.
read more...

 January 30, 2006
 Radiation Limits for Minors
Radiation Given Fermilab's commitment to education, it is not unusual to encounter persons under the age of 18 at the Lab. Though hands-on experiences are highly desirable, we must not forget that special ES&H requirements may apply to this group.
read more...

 January 23, 2006
 Hierarchy of Controls
Arc Flash We often have a choice regarding the way a hazard will be addressed. Factors such as effectiveness, cost and schedule all need to be considered.

read more...


 January 9, 2006
 Arc Flash: Hidden Danger
Arc Flash Electrical safety precautions generally focus on the harmful effects of direct contact with energized components. This makes sense because relatively little electrical power is needed to initiate a startle response, upset heart rhythm, "freeze" muscle movements or burn tissues; these are the electrical hazards that most people can expect to encounter in their day-to-day lives. However, there is another kind of electrical hazard called "arc flash" that does not require direct contact to cause serious injury, but can only occur in high power circuits.

read more...



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