Fermilab Safety Tip of
the Week Archive

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 - 2005

  December 19, 2005
 Watch out for Snow and Ice
maintenance Even though Fermilab has a very good program for dealing with snow and ice, it is simply impossible to immediately clear every surface that is intended for walking or driving. Dr. Foxen of Fermilab's Medical Office notes that a day with falling snow usually means that one or two people will show up in the Medical Department with slip injuries. In most cases, they are minor bumps and bruises, but sometimes we see fractures and dislocations.

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  December 12, 2005
 Deaths Rise During Holidays
Deaths Phillips, et al used the National Center for Health Statistics database to review 53 million U.S. death certificates. The investigators were primarily interested in cardiac fatalities, but also looked at deaths from all natural causes over the period 1973 through 2001. The graph shows their results for cardiac deaths by the day of year (10 days/large tick mark).

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  December 5, 2005
 Super glue in the eyes
Glue An experimenter at another DOE facility recently attempted to dispense some super glue from a container with a clogged applicator. The container burst, sending glue onto his face and eyes. A coworker called an ambulance and rinsed the experimenter's eyes with water. The experimenter's eyelids were glued shut and he experienced burning eye pain.

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  November 28, 2005
 Stay Safe: Use the Right Tool For Maintenance Activities
Maintenance Maintenance activities at Fermilab are often open-ended and unpredictable. This complicates work planning and places greater demands on an employee's ability to recognize and deal with hazards.

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  November 21, 2005
 Want to Quit Smoking? Medical Office Can Help
smoking We all know that smoking is a big health risk--a factor in nearly twenty percent of deaths. Cigarettes alone kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined. Even so, twenty-one percent of adults, twenty-two percent of high school students and eight percent of middle school students smoke.

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  November 14, 2005
 ES&H perspectives with Jack Hawkins: People are the Key
Jack Hawkins Jack Hawkins has been the Accommodations Manager in Laboratory Services Section for about five years. This assignment carries responsibility for the Housing Office, Daycare, Users' Center/Office and Food Service.

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  November 7, 2005
 Avian Flu
hands An employee suggested that we run an article on the avian flu. This seems like a reasonable topic given the near-daily predictions of dire consequences, the international nature of our workforce and the large number of birds onsite.

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  October 31, 2005
 ES&H Perspectives with John Kent
John Kent If you're in the right place at the right time, you might be able to catch a glimpse of John Kent. He describes a typical day of the Wilson Hall building manager as "filled with checking, meetings and inspections, but always response-oriented to occupant needs." John tries to walk through all of Wilson Hall every two days. "I go early or late in the day so I can get through the building; otherwise, I get stopped a lot."

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  October 24, 2005
 ES&H Quiz
Quiz This week we offer an eight-question multiple-choice ES&H quiz. Go through the questions and note your answer for each. Then click on the link at the bottom to see the correct answers and explanatory text.

1. In most cases, the first person I should talk to about an ES&H matter is my _________.
a) senior safety officer b) mother-in-law c) supervisor d)division/section head

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  October 17, 2005
 Celebrate Ergonomics
George Santayana It seems as if there is a month for everything. Among other things, October is National Ergonomics Month . In case you've been living under an accelerator magnet, ergonomics is defined as "the applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort."

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  October 10, 2005
 Use Candles with Care
Richard Ruthe October 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week. This year's theme is "Use Candles with Care." The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that 85 percent of fire deaths occur in the home. Though candles account for only 5 percent of home fire deaths, the number of candle fires has been increasing with time.

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  October 3, 2005
 Distracted Driving
Richard Ruthe We all hope that everyone on the road is focused and attentive to the safe operation of their vehicles. Unfortunately, distractions are unavoidable. Drivers interact with others, adjust things, groom themselves, gawk, eat and smoke. And what about their mental state? When operating a vehicle, any distraction can be problematic and we need to take appropriate care. However, today's article is limited to one particular distraction - cell phone use.
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  September 26, 2005
 ES&H Perspectives With Rich Ruthe
Richard Ruthe Rich Ruthe has worked in the ES&H field for 25 years. This includes the EPA, OSHA and the chemical industry. For the past eight years, Ruthe has been the Senior Safety Officer for the Technical Division. As a result of this broad experience, Ruthe has identified the following guidelines for preventing injuries.

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  September 19, 2005
 Aggressive Driving
Agressive Driving Aggressive driving can be characterized by excessive speed, frequent or unsafe lane changes, failing to signal, tailgating, failing to yield the right of way, disregarding traffic controls, driving impaired as well as the ever-popular, rude gesturing. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that one-third of traffic crashes and two-thirds of resulting deaths can be attributed to aggressive driving. Small wonder that the public has identified it as the number one problem on the nation's roadways.
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  September 12, 2005
 ES&H perspectives David Cathey
David Cathey For a change of pace, we will be including articles that contain ES&H advice from selected individuals from around the Lab. The first person to be interviewed is David Cathey. Here are some items that he regularly finds in his inspections and would like to share with others. If you are unsure how to address these issues, please consult your supervisor or division/section ES&H organization.
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  August 29, 2005
 West Nile Virus
Mosquito Trap Even though this has been an extremely dry summer, and mosquito numbers have been down, the threat of West Nile Virus is still with us. The picture above shows a mosquito trap, like several located around the Fermilab site, that captures mosquitoes for testing. Recently, we recorded the first instance of a mosquito testing positive for the virus at Fermilab.
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  August 22, 2005
 Safety Performance Goals
Target It's that time of year when Fermilab employees are busy with performance reviews. According to the published schedule, we should all be well into the goal development stage for the next review period. When planning for the coming year, don't forget about ES&H. Here are some topics that may be amenable to inclusion.
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  August 15, 2005
 Beware of Electricity
Electrical Outlet Almost everyone has received an electrical shock. One such experience is usually enough to learn this is a bad thing. However, electrical power is ubiquitous and inadvertent contact is bound to occur. Indeed, 300-400 people die each year in the U.S. about equally split between household and workplace settings. As recent history reveals, electrical incidents occur in even the most regulated and knowledge-rich environments.
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  August 8, 2005
 Colon cancer screening
Caduceus Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Often called colon cancer for short, it is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. It is estimated that 56,000 Americans will die from this disease in 2005.
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  August 1, 2005
 Sting First Aid
EpiPen Last week's safety tip dealt with avoidance of bee and wasp stings. This week we cover first aid measures. Most often, symptoms include sharp pain, swelling, itching and redness at the sting site. An allergic response, if it occurs, will appear within an hour. Such reactions tend to be minor, though a head/neck sting can block an airway through localized swelling. Symptoms that appear over the entire body signal an anaphylactic reaction that can be deadly within minutes. Watch for hives, swelling over major body parts, difficulty breathing, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, racing heartbeat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
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  July 25, 2005
 Watch Out for Wasps!
Wasps Wasp season is here. Fermilab's Medical Department has seen a dozen sting cases in the past two weeks. Most victims experience a few days of pain and swelling, though allergic response or infection are possible. Though there are many types of bees and wasps at Fermilab, yellow jackets and paper wasps are the main offenders. These tend to nest in people places and become aggressive when disturbed.
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  July 18, 2005
 Work planning
Work Planning A common theme of this column has been that ES&H depends on effective work planning. This principle is reflected in the recent revision to chapter 2060 of Fermilab's ES&H Manual, Work Planning and Hazard Analysis. The previous version of this document focused on hazard analysis, while the revised version has a broader scope. A pre-job inspection (job site walk down), pre-job briefing and post-job critique are now required.
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  July 11, 2005
 ES&H Concern?
Shakespeare Fermilab's management has set high standards for ES&H performance. One key to success is the prompt resolution of ES&H concerns that are identified by the people who work here. In most cases, such matters can be satisfactorily addressed through interactions at the work-group level -- co-workers and supervisors. Sometimes, though, the involvement of ES&H professionals, or people further up the management chain, may be needed to get issues resolved.
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  June 27, 2005
 Summer Heat
Summer Heat This summer is turning out to be hotter than normal. You have probably noticed the excessive number of 90 degree days. On the other hand, you probably missed the fact that the average temperature at Fermilab's weather station is running four degrees ahead of last year for the months of May and June.
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  June 20, 2005
 Latex Allergy
Latex Allergy In recent years, latex allergy has been recognized as a significant problem. Some of this is due to the increased use of gloves in the prevention of blood-borne disease and some is due to the improved methods for diagnosing the allergy. It is estimated that 1% to 6% of the general population has latex allergy. For regularly exposed individuals the rate is 8% to 17%.
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 June 13, 2005
 Confined Spaces
Working in Confined Spaces Spaces are considered confined if their configurations hinder the activities of people who must enter, work in, and exit them. This confinement increases the risk of entrapment, keeps workers close to hazards (e.g., moving machinery, electrical conductors), and makes it easier to create an asphyxiating atmosphere. A common scenario involves workers in a confined space being overcome by an atmospheric hazard, then having unprepared co-workers attempt a rescue only to be overcome themselves. This chain of events then continues until no one is left.
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 June 6, 2005
 Energized Circuits
Leaders in Electrical Safety As a general rule, work on energized electrical circuits is dangerous and something to be avoided. The associated hazards can include electrical shock, electrocution, arc flash and even explosion depending on the level of available hazardous electrical energy. While it is necessary at times to measure, test and troubleshoot energized circuits, the vast majority of electrical work at Fermilab is performed on de-energized circuits.
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 May 23, 2005
 Parking Lot Survival
Parking Lot Did you know that one of the likeliest places to be involved in a fender bender accident is in a parking lot? People seem to have their minds on everything but driving. Some consider the traffic signs as optional, while others ignore traffic lanes to cut diagonally across the lot. Pedestrians are especially at risk since most lots do not have separate walkways; people must walk in the traffic lanes, often with small children in tow.
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 May 16, 2005
 Safety Feedback
Safety Tip When giving someone feedback about safety performance, it's pretty easy to establish a confrontational style. For example, one person tells another that they are working unsafely and need to do something about it. With such an approach, the recipient quickly learns that they can expect safety advice to be an opportunity for criticism. Here are five ways to improve your effectiveness in providing safety feedback.
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 May 9, 2005
 Toxicodendron Radicans
Safety Tip Even if your conversational Latin is a bit rusty, you immediately sense there is something about these words that makes them a good topic for a safety tip. Toxicondendron radicans is the scientific name for poison ivy. This plant is just beginning to leaf-out, so you should have little difficulty finding examples to practice your identification skills.
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 April 25, 2005
 Digital Safety
Safety Tip Given the amount of work we do with our hands every day, it's no surprise they get hurt so often. Injuries can range from minor cuts to amputations. A recent study found that metal items, such as nails, metal stock, and burrs accounted for 38% of the injuries. Hand tools with blades and powered machinery accounted for another 24% and 12%, respectively.
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 April 18, 2005
 Solar UV
Safety Tip Spring is here, and we are finally getting the warm sunny days we deserve. Consequently, most of us are feeling the urge to shed some of our heavy winter clothes and get some quality outdoor time. In the rush for fresh air, let's not forget that sun exposure also means ultraviolet (UV) exposure. So you need to think about protecting your skin and your eyes.
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 April 11, 2005
 Bicycle Accidents
Safety Tip In 2001, collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles in the United States resulted in 728 fatalities and 45,000 injuries. Fortunately, collision rates have been declining, about 2% per year. Hopefully we can continue this trend by examining causes and taking preventive actions. The Federal Highway Administration found that there are five major causes for bicycle-motor vehicle accidents.
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 April 4, 2005
 Watch that Goose!
Goose 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.
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 March 28, 2005
 Hearing Protection
Safety Tip At low levels noise can be irritating, but at high levels hearing can be damaged. As you might expect, hearing loss gets worse with exposures that are louder or longer. How loud is too loud? If you need to raise your voice to be understood at a distance of three feet, you should think about doing something. The typical hearing loss victim has been exposed on a daily basis to very loud noises (yelling-level plus) for a number of years without using hearing protection.
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 March 21, 2005
 Break Down Your Work Assignments
Toolbelt An effective tool toward eliminating mishaps is to routinely think through your assignments. Break them down into individual components, think about what could go wrong, and take steps to make sure they go right. The questions below are provided to help you develop the thought process needed to accomplish this.
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 March 14, 2005
 Material Handling
Safety Tip As a general rule, particle physics is a science that employs big heavy components. Unfortunately for the people involved, the manual movement of heavy and awkward loads by lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling continues to account for a significant fraction of our injuries.
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 March 7, 2005
 Personal Protective Equipment
Safety Tip Controlling a hazard at its source should always be the preferred approach. When this is not possible, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can be a good option. However, the PPE must be matched to the hazard. A good system for matching hazards and controls is the Hazard Analysis (HA) chapter in our ES&H manual. In fact, many detailed PPE requirements can be found in HAs. If additional information is needed, check out the PPE chapter. Other sources include your supervisor, your division/section ES&H organization, hazard-specific ES&H manual chapters and material safety data sheets.
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 February 28, 2005
 Material Safety Data Sheets
MSDS Need some quick information about the chemical hazards of an industrial product? Start with its Material Safety Data Sheet. An MSDS contains information about product characteristics (names, hazardous ingredients, physical data), hazards (fire, explosion, reactivity, health) and procedures (spill, leak, special protection, special precautions). Fermilab's procedures regarding the use of these documents can be found in Chapter 5051 of the Lab's ES&H Manual. In addition, we have a searchable online library that contains a scanned MSDS image for every product known to be onsite.
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 February 21, 2005
 New Approaches to Accident Prevention
Safety Tip Although significant progress has been made in preventing accidents at Fermilab, we should always be thinking about novel approaches to meet the demands of new work practices and ever-increasing expectations. Three interesting ideas that have emerged in recent years are zero-accident vision, generalization of safety, and globalization.
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 February 14, 2005
 Speak Up Again
Safety Tip Safety Tip Last week's Safety Tip discussed the process for delivering cautionary statements when something doesn't look quite right. This article provides personal perspectives from two of Fermilab's Senior Safety Officers.
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 February 7, 2005
 Speak Up
Safety Tip Previous Safety Tips have discussed the benefits of watching out for each other. But to be successful, we must be prepared to do more than just watch; we must be prepared to take action. Helping behavior can be broken down into five steps: (1) notice the problem, (2) determine that help is required, (3) decide to act, (4) identify the action to take and, finally, (5) take the action. For most of us, steps (1) and (2) are easy while steps (3) through (5) can be difficult.
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 January 31, 2005
 Ergonomic Hand Tools
Safety Tip Safety Tip 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. These conditions do not usually result from a single sudden event. Instead, they are caused by repetitive movements over time that damage muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, joints, cartilage, spinal discs, or blood vessels.
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 January 24, 2005
 Winter Heart Attacks
Safety Tip According to a report from the American College of Cardiology released last fall, the number of heart attacks peaks during the winter months. In fact, there were 53% more heart attacks in the winter than in the summer. January was worst with more than twice the number of heart attacks in July. Not only were winter attacks more frequent, they were also more severe. Overall, one-third more deaths occurred in winter than in summer. These patterns appeared in both men and women, and across different age groups.
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 January 10, 2005
Teamwork Inattentiveness is a major factor in most accidents. As noted in a previous article, this is due to the mental shortcuts that we all use to selectively block out normally unneeded information. What can we do to deal with inattentiveness? We can encourage workers to watch out for each other. This approach is often applied in structured or high hazard situations. However, it can also be used wherever two or more people work in proximity to each other.
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 January 3, 2005
Winter Coat What is layering? It's a good way to stay warm in cold weather. Basically, you put on a number of light- to medium-weight articles of clothing topped with a breathable shell. For times when you are less active, you can put on a heavier layer to stay warm. If you heat up, you can remove a layer to cool down.
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