What are ASTM Standards?

What are ASTM Standards?

ASTM- American Society for Testing and Materials. In short, ASTM is one of the largest voluntary standards developing organizations in the world. Meaning they create Standards, which are documents that give manufacturers information about procedures and regulations in their specific industry. They provide guidance for individuals, companies and other institutions around the world.

Who uses ASTM Standards?

Many members of the scientific community have been using ASTM standards to guide them in their research and development in their laboratories and offices. Alongside them, architects, government agencies and many others have used ASTM standards to reference plans, regulations, laws and other useful information.

Saf-GardTM complies with all regulations set forth and with the help of ASTM and ANSI collaborate on the “American National Standard for Personal Protective Footwear” which sets clear specifications and performance requirements for all protective footwear.

Our Standards:

STEEL TOE

In 1995 OSHA began enforcing a new standard for personal protective equipment (PPE). As part of this standard, employers now require ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) rated safety footwear (steel toe boots, etc.) in areas where employees are exposed to injury as a result of falling or rolling objects. All steel toe shoes meet or exceed ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 C/75 standards.

METATARSAL GUARD (MG)

Metatarsal guard footwear protects both the toes and the metatarsal bone behind the toes. Metatarsal guard shoes are required in any environment where injuries can occur to the metatarsal bone. They are most commonly used in foundries,  air product distribution, and other heavy manufacturing. All styles marked with the “MG” icon meet the ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 C/75 standards.

STATIC DISSIPATIVE (SD)

SD shoes regulate the build-up of electrical charge in a person’s body. Electrostatic dissipative shoes are commonly used for those who work in the manufacturing of computer components, solvent-based paints, explosives, and plastics. SD products reduce the risk of static shock to people and to the manufactured product. All safety shoes marked with the “SD” icon meet the ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 C/75 SD.

CONDUCTIVE (CD)

Conductive shoes protect against the hazards of static electricity build-up. They are intended to protect the wearer in an environment where the accumulations of static electricity on the body is a hazard. These shoes should not be worn by people working near open electrical circuits. All styles marked with the “CD” icon meet the ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 C/75 CD.

COMPOSITE TOE

Compared to their steel toe counterparts the composite toes are manufactured using lightweight materials to make the shoe weigh less while meeting SEMC® safety-toes exceed both ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 and C/75 standards. The SEMC® safety-toes retain heat in severe cold, are 30% lighter than steel and are non-metallic for electronic security work environments.

ELECTRICAL HAZARD (EH)

ASTM F2413-05 Electrical Hazard safety footwear provides workers with a secondary source of protection from live circuits, wires or highly charged electrical equipment. The insulating properties of such footwear are measured under dry conditions and may deteriorate in wet environments with wear.

SLIP RESISTANT (SR)

Slip resistant safety footwear is the fastest-growing segment of the safety footwear industry. The reason: today’s slip resistant shoes work. For many employers with wet, oily, and/or greasy floors, it is common sense to require slip resistant safety footwear. Slip related injuries can be extremely costly. Employers who require slip resistant boots and shoes reduce workers’ compensation claims. This is good news for everyone.

 

Want to learn more about these standards, or the services we offer? Check us out at www.safgard.com today!

Dealing With Foot Pain (From Standing All Day)

In many of the industries that our customers work in, you’re required to be on your feet for eight hours a day or longer. People who work in factories, warehouses, outdoor construction sites and more are expected to stand nearly all day, and we understand that doing your best work sometimes gets a bit difficult when your feet and legs are screaming at you. So if standing on your feet all day is causing you to wish for a broken leg and eight weeks off of work, read on for some tips on how to keep the pain in your feet to a minimum after a long day.

Change how you stand

Yes, you’ve been standing since you learned how to walk, so we trust that you know how to do it fairly well by now. However, you may still be standing incorrectly while working. First, don’t lock your knees and stand in the same position for long periods of time. This puts stress on your joints and will cause pain and potential health problems later in life. Also, it might cause you to get light headed and pass out. And while that does get you out of work, good luck facing your coworkers the next day after you passed out on the roof and fell through a window.

Casually bounce on your knees often and do some simple leg stretches during your shift. Also, make sure that your weight is not always shifted more on one leg than the other. Balance your weight equally between both of your feet.

Take some “posture breaks”

When you do get quick breaks from work and you’re scarfing down as much food as you can before it ends, remember to use these times as a chance to change your poster a bit and do some easy foot exercises. A good one to try is rolling, and this is when you remove your shoes (away from your coworkers, please and thanks), and roll a tennis or lacrosse ball around under each foot for one to five minutes. This “massage” gives your feet some relief before standing again.

Lunges are also a great way to stretch out your thigh and hamstring muscles when you get a free minute or two. They get you out of your standing posture and give your leg muscles a chance to “breathe” by stretching them out. Also, ankle rolls are a great way to relieve some stress on your feet. Roll your foot clockwise and counterclockwise from the ankle down 10 to 15 times. These are best to do when you’re sitting down so that you don’t have to stand on one leg while doing them.

Did we say strrrreeeetch?

Do some foot stretches! The plantar muscle runs from the back of your feet to the toes, and it gets tight and painful after being used all day. You can stretch it out in a few different ways. You could simply cross one leg over the other while sitting and grab the big toe and pull on it to create a nice stretch. Or you could stretch your leg out and wrap a towel around the bottom of your foot and pull on it that way.

These stretches, combined with the rolling and lunges that we mentioned earlier, are a great way to relieve your feet and calves from the pain of standing and walking around all day.

Make sure you have on the proper footwear

If you’re trying to work on your feet for eight hours a day in shoes with little to no padding or cushioning, best of luck to you. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you when you’re laying in bed that night wondering if you’ll ever be able to walk again. Having shoes with extra padding and cushioning that actually support your feet make a world of difference during those long days on your feet.

Also, getting your feet and shoes properly sized is necessary if you don’t want them to pinch or rub the wrong way all day. You’d hate to be working on a construction site with blisters all over your feet by noon. The last thing we need is you in horrible pain with a drill in your hand. So follow these tips, get your feet properly measured, and enjoy the pain-free work days!

Looking for more tips and tricks when it comes to safety toe footwear? Learn more at www.safgard.com

Let’s Have a Fire Drill

Fire drills sure are annoying, aren’t they? You get your day (or night) interrupted by a wailing siren, and you’re then forced to drop whatever you’re doing and walk outside for a few minutes. And if you don’t find them annoying, you’ve obviously never had one happen while you’re in the shower.

Yes, these drills can be an inconvenience, but you have to do them for a reason. Fires can arise at any time, and these drills put a routine in your mind for what to do when your place of work or home gets set ablaze.

So let’s run through a fire drill of our own and lay out the steps that you should take during a fire at work.

First, don’t let it happen

Obviously, the best way to handle a fire is without the actual fire. Preventative measures should always be taken to ensure that there are no fire hazards at work. All electrical wiring and panels should be regularly inspected and checked to make sure that they are running properly and not cluttered together.

Also, all combustible waste should be properly disposed of in the correct location. All machines in your workplace should be properly maintained as well to avoid any overheating or explosions. And lastly, all emergency exits should be clear and all fire extinguishers should be fully loaded at all times.

Oh no, you let it happen

If you ignored that first section and actually set the place on fire, remain calm. The last thing that you should be doing is running around and screaming like a five-year-old who lost their mom in a grocery store. Let’s go through the steps that you should take to remain safe during a fire:

Step 1: Raise the alarm (not your blood pressure) and call the fire station

Fires can develop very quickly, so you should raise the workplace alarm as soon as possible. Also, call the Fire and Rescue service and give them the building name, address, and any other helpful information such as the size of the fire and location of it.

The emergency fire services will arrive quickly to snuff out the fire and sweep through the building to check for any stranded people. They do the hard part; you just need to get out of the building, which leads us to…

Step 2: Evacuate

Here’s where all of those annoying fire drills come in handy! As we said earlier, remain calm as you make your way to the nearest exit. Do not attempt to retrieve any personal belongings on your way out of the building. Your precious iPhone and and credit cards can be replaced at some point. You, on the other hand, can not be.

Also, never try to use elevators of any kind during a fire. They’ll likely stop working, and then you’ll be trapped inside a smoke box. On your way out of the building, make sure that someone puts their hand on all closed doors before entering them to feel if they’re warm or not. Also, the last person through should close all doors behind them to keep the fire from spreading too quickly.

If you’re finding that your escape route is full of smoke, get down on the ground and crawl to safety. The air will be cleaner down there.

Step 3: Get to the meeting point

When you complete those fire drills, you go outside to a certain location to meet up with everyone else. This meeting point should be a safe distance away from the burning building. You’d hate to escape the roaring fire only to have it blow up and get you outside.

Here, a headcount can be done, and you can wait for the Fire and Rescue service to arrive.

If you do end up trapped inside…

If you are unable to get outside or you just didn’t feel like paying attention during those fire drills, try to get to a room with a window. You should use some towels or clothes to block the cracks under the doors to prevent smoke from entering. And if your clothes ever do happen to catch fire, always remember to stop, drop and roll (it really does work!).

Hopefully, the closest you’ll ever come to a real fire is those pesky fire drills. As inconvenient as they might seem, pay attention during them and remember these tips. They might just save your life!

For more helpful tips and information, you can always visit us at www.safgard.com/education

Staying Safe in an Electric Environment

It’s getting electric in here.

Actually though, electricity is everywhere. It’s in our homes, at work, in the sky, underground; and it’s not very fun when it shocks us. Many people working in the trade industry work with electricity on a daily basis, and it’s important to know how to be safe around it. Electrical hazards can cause shocks, burns, and even workplace fires if the hazard is too large.

So let’s simmer things down in here and learn how to be safe in a “lit” environment.

How does electricity actually work?

We know that science might not be your forte, but bare with us for a second…

Electricity flows through conductors, and these are surfaces that offer very little resistance to the flow of electricity (such as metals). Insulators stop the flow of electricity, and these can be surfaces like glass, plastic, clay, dry wood, etc. However, water can turn these insulators into conductors very quickly. You know the dry wood that you’re using to cover up some wires? Well, it just rained and now it’s a giant lightning rod. Zap.

The shocking facts

Electricity travels in closed circuits, typically through conductors. However, when you decide to come into contact with one of these conductors, then congratulations! Your own body is now a conductor, and you’re being shocked.

What happens when this electricity jolts through your body? If it’s a small amount of electricity, you’ll only feel a slight, albeit annoying, shock. If the amount increases, your muscles will contract and your body will “freeze” due to the shock. If the electricity levels rise above this, you’re flirting with heart failure and death. So let’s not try that.

Staying safe

According to OSHA, most electrical accidents result from either unsafe equipment, an unsafe work environment, or unsafe work practices. The best ways to prevent electrical injuries is through the use of insulation, guarding, grounding, circuit protection devices, and safe work practices.

Insulators, like we mentioned earlier, are materials used to coat metals and other conductors to stop them from, well, conducting. Insulation on conductors is often color coded as well.

Guarding involves enclosing or hiding electric equipment to ensure that people don’t accidentally come into contact with it. If you’re using electric equipment with exposed parts that could be dangerous, hide this equipment away in a separate room or vault and place adequate warning signs around it. Only qualified professionals should have access to this hidden area.

Grounding means intentionally creating a low-resistance path that connects the tool or electrical system to the earth. This prevents a buildup of voltages, but doesn’t completely remove the risk of electric shock. Grounding should be combined with other methods that we’ve mentioned.

Circuit protection devices limit or stop the flow of an electric current automatically in a necessary situation like a short circuit or overload of a system. Examples of these devices are fuses and circuit breakers. Essentially, these are your best friends in a highly electric environment.

While all of the methods that we’ve mentioned will help with electrical hazards, the best way to prevent electrical accidents is through safe work practices. De-energize all electric equipment before inspections or repairs, keep all electric tools properly maintained, exercise caution when working near electric lines, and always wear appropriate protective equipment.

Looking for some safety shoes that reduce the risk of electric hazards? Feel free to check us out at https://www.safgard.com/mens-shoes/features/electrical-hazard

Factory Safety

Working in a factory, warehouse, or any other type of industrial manufacturing setting is obviously much different than an office job. And while these challenging but exciting positions are extremely rewarding, there are potential hazards almost everywhere while on the job.

That means it’s your job to take all of the extra precautions and time to ensure that you and your coworkers remain safe every day. So strap in, tighten your laces, double-check that the forklift is parked, and let’s take a trip through Factory Safety 101!

Use all equipment properly, and wear the required safety attire

When working in factories or any manufacturing setting, you’re almost guaranteed to have to use some type of machinery, tools, or other equipment. These machines are usually a lot stronger and more powerful than we are, so make sure that you actually take the time to learn how to use it properly.

Hint hint: As lame as it is, take the time to read the instruction manual thoroughly. Don’t just assume that the way your coworker does it is correct.

And don’t forget about the required equipment to keep you safe either. Whether this is a pair of safety goggles, a mandatory hard hat, or your own pair of steel-toed boots, make sure that you have all of your PPE (personal protective equipment) on and take care of it as well. Damaged safety equipment is as effective as a leaky roof during a thunderstorm. Neither gets the job done, so take care of your equipment!

Keep work areas and emergency exits clear

Emergencies can arise at any time and are typically never expected. No one checks their daily calendar after arriving at work and sees: “Large factory fire, 2 p.m. today.” Therefore, it’s your job to ensure that all work areas and emergency exits are clear at all times during the day.

A cluttered work area can mean that you don’t have the space to do your job or use large machinery and tools. So make sure that everything is put on its proper shelf as soon as possible, and make sure that it’s secure up there. You’d hate to be walking next to a shelf and get crushed by a stocked dishwasher plummeting toward the earth. Besides, heavier objects should be kept on lower shelves anyway.

And never leave large objects or machines in front of emergency exits. Remember, you have that large fire scheduled for today at 2.

Now, let’s prevent that fire!

After you see a fire on your calendar, you decide that you’re just not feeling like running from the building today, so let’s prevent it from happening. To eliminate fire hazards, you need to use caution with all combustible materials in your workplace. If you are using these materials, only keep the amount that you need for the task at hand. When you aren’t using these materials, store them in assigned storage spaces away from all possible points of ignition

If you’ve worked in a factory long enough, you know that dust is everywhere. All it takes is a single spark to turn this dust into a fire-breathing monster, so use industrial vacuums to frequently clean areas that accumulate dust. Your lungs will thank you, too!

Lift correctly, take breaks, and if you see something…say something

No one wants a back injury, so keep your back straight when picking up a heavy item. No twisting, turning or stooping while lifting. And you can always make life easier on yourself by using a machine or forklift to do the work for you.

When you feel tired, take a short break. If you were alert earlier, you would have noticed that dishwasher hurtling down toward you at light speed. Most workplace injuries occur because the employee is too tired to adequately get the job done in a safe manner.

And lastly, if you see an unsafe condition anywhere that you are unable to clear safely, inform your supervisor. They’re legally obligated to keep you and your coworkers safe, so they’ll take care of it!

Looking for more info on how to protect yourself on the job? Check us out at www.safgard.com to learn more!

12 Safety Tips for Any Industry

Warehouses, foundries, construction sites and factories can be some of the most dangerous places to work when it comes to accidents and injury: large and moving machinery such as forklifts, carrying heavy loads such as pallets and heavy equipment can be hazardous for you and your workers.

With the holidays approaching, we decided it was time to create our own little holiday. Check out our 12 Tips for Safety and get inspired to help make your own work environments safer and more productive:

Day 1. Know your safety protocols– Make sure emergency exits are clearly marked and you know the quickest route to safety from any location in the facility. In addition to knowing where your emergency exits are located, it is important to know where first-aid kits and supplies are kept. In an emergency, you don’t want to be faced with the task of locating the first aid kit.

Day 2. Perfect Posture – If you work at a desk, make sure that your shoulders are in line with your hips to avoid back problems. When picking things up, use correct form so your back doesn’t get hurt, and whatever you do, avoid stooping and twisting. If you have access to ergonomically designed furniture and safety equipment so that everything you need is comfortably within reach.

Day 3. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings – This tip requires that you first know what particular hazards your job or workplace can entail. Once you’ve learned about the risks, you will be able to steer clear of any potentially hazardous areas or situations.

 

Day 4. Take regular breaks – There are many work-related injuries and illnesses that occur because of fatigue. Taking regular breaks helps you stay fresh and alert on the job. One useful tip for staying alert is to schedule the most difficult tasks when your concentration is at it’s best, like first thing in the morning, or later in the afternoon depending on your own workflow.

Day 5. Report Unsafe Conditions to Your Supervisor – It’s your job to make sure that your work environment stays safe for you and your fellow employees. It’s your supervisor’s job to provide you with the resources and materials to make that happen. They need to be informed about any workplace safety hazards or risks. Your supervisor is legally obligated to ensure that employees have a safe working environment. Help keep them informed and keep your work environment safe!

Day 6. Keep Emergency Exits Easily Accessible – Quick, easy access to exits are necessary for any work environment. Keep the pathways to these exits clear and free of debris in order to ensure a quick and hasty escape, should you need one. It’s also recommended to keep clear access to equipment shutoffs in case you need to quickly stop them from functioning.

Day 7. Don’t Try to Impress – We can’t stress this enough, use mechanical aids whenever possible. If you are faced with lifting and moving heavy objects all day long, don’t try and show off in front of your coworkers by lifting heavy materials improperly, or by trying to lift something that you shouldn’t be lifting in the first place. Use the dollies, forklifts and hand trucks that you have available to make your job easier and prevent injuries. Also remember to wear protective clothing including hard hats, gloves, vests, masks, belts, eyewear and proper safety footwear.

Day 8. Reduce stress in the workplace – Stress can lead to depression and concentration problems. Common causes of workplace stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity and conflicts with coworkers or managers. Take your concerns about workplace stress to your supervisor to see how they might help you address them.

Day 9. Dress for Safety and Success– Avoid wearing baggy or excessively loose-fitting clothing. As with any job, it is important to dress the part. That means wearing comfortable clothing that is not too baggy. This will help protect you from getting caught anything that might be on the side of your path or line of walking. Proper safety toe footwear is also important in your line of work.

Day 10. Use Tools and Machines Properly – Take the proper precautions when using tools, and never take shortcuts. Taking shortcuts is the leading cause of workplace injury. It’s a huge safety risk to use scaffolding as a ladder or one tool in place of another for a specific job. Using tools the right way greatly reduces the chance of workplace injury.

Day 11. Stay Sober–  This one seems like a no-brainer, yet around three percent of workplace fatalities occur due to alcohol and drugs. When a worker’s ability to exercise judgment, coordination, motor control, concentration or alertness is compromised, this leads to any number of risks for workplace injury and fatalities.

Day 12. Keep the Lines of Communication Open – It’s important to be aware of the government and company safety regulations that your company and industry need to abide by. However, it is just as important to create and foster clear lines of communication when it comes to the details surrounding the implementation of these rules and regulations within your company. This includes taking the time to properly train new hires, as well as communicate up to date information regarding safety protocols and plans of action.

Hopefully, the 12 Tips for Safety gave you some ideas and inspiration on how to improve your own company’s safety culture. For more tips, tricks, and other questions check us out at www.safgard.com