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LabelTac Supplies: What You Need to Know

2 min read

Having a LabelTac printer in a facility makes it easy to create custom signs and labels for all around the workplace. Making labels in-house can keep your workplace OSHA compliant, safer, and more organized. The printer and LabelTac software gives the user freedom to design their own labels, anything from WARNING labels, GHS labels, way-finding labels, 5S labels, and so much more. The wide range of LabelTac supplies available to be used with the printer gives the user even more freedom.

The classic Premium Label Supply are fade and smudge resistant, UV and chemical resistant, includes a strong adhesive, and comes in 17 colors to choose from. There are supplies however, that are designed for specific environments, supplies with pre-printed components, and supplies with different types of backing.

LabelTac Supplies for Environments

LabelTac Supplies

LabelTac Printers and Supplies

In industrial workplaces there can be areas with extreme temperature, hazardous chemicals, and other areas that will require supply with more protection than the default. For instance, the LabelTac High Temperature Supply is designed to withstand surface temperatures up to 320°F. On the other end of the spectrum, the Cryogenic Label Supply can endure freezing cold temperatures, all the way down to -176°F.

Marine Supply is made specifically for marine conditions, like saltwater, and can tolerate harsh, wet environments. This supply is ideal for creating OSHA compliant signs, marine containers, and pipe marking on marine vessels.

Pre-printed LabelTac Supplies

If a facility is printing a mass quantity of labels, an effective timesaving option is to purchase supplies with pre-printed elements. There are die-cut rolls with a continuous stripe of color at the top, ideal for DANGER, WARNING, CAUTION, or NOTICE signs and labels. Another option, perfect for compliancy, there are both GHS die-cut labels and NFPA label supply. These supplies both have pre-printed diamonds that the user can choose facility specific hazard pictograms.

Another great pre-printed option is the Lockout/Tagout Supply. These labels include a red and white danger pattern and is impervious to tearing. There is also a blank, white panel for the user to print an issuer’s name, the tagout date, symbols, an any other necessary information.

Specialty adhesive/application supplies

Labels with the classic adhesive backing is not always ideal and there are a variety of adhesive and applications to choose from. Oily Surface Supply is engineered for greasy surfaces and is a fitting option for dirty work environments and on surfaces that are impossible to clean. Magnetic supply is designed with magnetic backing, ideal for industrial environments or when permanency of the label is unnecessary. There is also the option of LabelTac Static Cling Supply designed to specifically for temporary labeling or non-magnetic materials.

If a workplace is looking to implement custom-designed wall signs alongside labels, sign blanks are the perfect option. Made out of different materials like aluminum or PVC, these sign blanks come in multiple sizes and allowing labels to be applied directly onto the sign blank. Another option is blank, plastic valve tags which can also have labels directly applied to them.

 

Once someone masters the ins and outs of the LabelTac, consider taking it a step further with the variety of supplies offered for many different situations and workplaces. Whether it’s for safety or organizing, creating labels can be easy and work in a variety of environments.

Visual Communication 101

3 min read

Visual communication is one of the most effective and widely understood forms of communication, and that is especially true in facilities and warehouses. There is a plethora of places and spaces in a workplace to add visual cues: the wall, the floor, shelves and racks, pipes, wires, machines, and virtually any surface.

Why Go Visual?

Visual communication is the foundation for a safer workplace and is a crucial component to many Lean strategies. Hazards and risks can be marked, instructions communicated, and organization spaces created all with visual communication: not cones or barriers or complicated manuals employees have to memorize.

Visual cues like colors and symbols can be understood quicker and having a standardized system will help employees comprehend quicker. If your workplace is made up with employees speaking multiple languages, visual communication and the use of symbols and colors is a must. Have as much information you would like the worker to know communicated in a clear and easy-to-understand visual.

Although OSHA and ANSI have put forth standards on visual communication and safety signs, one of the biggest advantages of a visual workplace is the opportunity to customize. Order or create signs that are specific to your facility or certain hazards in the workplace. Choose from a variety of sizes, colors, and pictograms to ensure your messages are clearly communicated. Finally, ordering wall signs, posters, labels, and floor markings is typically inexpensive and work to prevent accidents and eliminate waste.

What’s included in a visual workplace?

There are four main types of visual cues to use in your facility; instead of just choosing one or two types of communication, consider using a mix of all four for the most effective visual communication strategy.

Wall signs: Probably the most common visual communication tool, wall signs come in almost any color or shape you can think of, with a variety of texts and symbols. Use “DANGER” safety signs near hazardous equipment and use “First Aid” signs to indicate to employees where the first aid station is located. Signs come in arrows, yield triangles, rectangles, squares, and you can order signs in multiple sizes to fit the area. You can also order wall sigs in a variety of materials that are suitable to most elements.

Floor signs: Floor signs often communicate the same information as wall signs, but their placement ensures communication on a factory floor. These types of signs are designed to handle heavy industrial traffic and can come in materials that are fade-resistant and can withstand both chemical and water damage. Use floor signs along with floor marking tape and shapes to create a complete floor marking system.

Label: Put a label on it! Your floor has signs and so does your wall, but labels give you the opportunity to add to your communication strategy by adding visuals in the form of labels on pipes, machines, doors, and so much more. Put a label on heavy machinery or put a small label to mark a wire; virtually anything can be labeled.

Floor marking tape and shapes: Both floor tape and floor marking shapes are made of durable self-adhesive vinyl meant to handle pedestrian and forklift traffic.  Use floor marking tape to create aisles, walkways, and lanes for traffic, creating a safer workspace for people and heavy machinery. Use different colors and patterns of tape to mark off hazards, or vehicle-specific lanes. Floor marking shapes come in a variety of shapes including corners, footprints, dots, arrows, and more. These are a wonderful addition to both tape and floor signs to round out your floor marking strategy. Use arrows to direct traffic, create holding spaces for pallets with the corner, or create pathways with a line of footprints to follow. 

Training for visual communication

Train existing workers on the new visual communication strategies you decide to implement in the facility. Go over the symbols, colors, and pictograms that are now standardized in the workplace. For instance, if you choose to have red floor to signify fire hazards, ensure everyone working in the facility understands that. Train employees on understanding different signal words, like why a “DANGER” sign is different than a “CAUTION” sign. It is important to train new hires of the visual communication standards as well as holding ongoing training classes to keep changes fresh on people’s minds.

 

The most important things to remember when creating a new visual communication strategy is to be clear not complicated, and to standardize it across the facility. Ensure your employees are trained and the visual cues make sense. Using these tools will increase safety but is also the perfect tool to aid your Lean or 5S efforts.

The Dangers of Shift Work

4 min read
Factory Lights

Shift workers who work the night shift are susceptible to fatigue and other health problems.

Shift work refers to any type of non-daytime work shift. Night workers, those who work very late or very early and workers who have a rotating work shift are all considered shift workers. According to the American Psychological Association, almost 15 million Americans work night shifts at least some of the time, which makes them susceptible to fatigue and other problems.

Shift work is common in many industries including manufacturing, health care, security, transportation, hospitality and emergency services. While some companies may be able to eliminate shift work depending on business needs, most of these industries will always require some shift workers. Police officers need to be available to respond to car accidents, crimes and anything else that arises during the night. If a person is injured in a car accident at night, hospital workers need to be available to provide treatment. Pilots and flight attendants need to staff the planes that carry people and shipped goods around the world. The list goes on.

Unfortunately, shift work has been shown to cause many problems, both for workers and businesses. Shift workers are at risk of developing a number of short and long-term health problems, and because of fatigue, their work may be compromised. Let’s examine some of these risks and the ways businesses can reduce them as much as possible.

Health Impacts of Shift Work

You’ve probably heard that you need to sleep so your body can repair itself, and there’s definitely some truth to that statement. Sleep controls many normal body processes, and sleeping outside of normal nighttime hours can interrupt those processes.

Your body’s natural cycle—called the circadian rhythm—is a 24-hour cycle that includes sleeping while it’s dark outside. You might think that completely switching this cycle and always sleeping during the day wouldn’t cause too much of a problem as long as you get enough hours of sleep, but this isn’t actually true. Light levels impact circadian rhythms, so workers who always work at night still face health problems associated with a disrupted circadian rhythm.

“Our bodies and brains evolved to relax and cool down after dark and to spring back into action come morning. People who work the night shift must combat their bodies’ natural rest period while trying to remain alert and high functioning. It doesn’t matter whether they get enough sleep during the daytime […] All the sleep in the world won’t make up for circadian misalignment.” – American Psychological Association

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) reports that body processes including digestion, secretion of adrenalin, blood pressure, pulse and body temperature are all governed by your circadian rhythm. Consequently, shift work can lead to digestive and cardiovascular problems.

Junk food

Shift workers are more likely to consume junk food because of irregular meal times.

Those who work shifts often eat a poorer diet as well because their meal times may be disrupted. These workers also tend to rely on caffeinated beverages to stay awake. The latter can contribute to trouble sleeping later on, which is why many shift workers end up relying on sleep aids to get to sleep.

Serious long-term health problems have also been linked to shift work. A recent study from Harvard Medical School found workers whose jobs included rotating night shifts had a higher risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease. Another study found that long-term shift work can lead to decreased cognitive performance. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers “shiftwork that involves a circadian disruption” to be a carcinogen and cites research that shows a higher incidence of breast cancer among flight attendants and nurses who work these shifts.

In addition to causing a variety of health issues, working an unusual shift can disrupt a worker’s social and family life, which can increase stress.

How Shift Work Impacts Businesses

Shift work can disrupt the lives of workers, but if you’re not careful, it can also disrupt your business operations. Tired workers tend to not perform as well, they make more mistakes and they are more likely to be involved in an accident.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be too surprising, since when we’re tired—especially over long periods of time—regular tasks can begin to feel more difficult.

As a business, you need to take all preventative measures you can to decrease these risks related to shift work.

Hospital, Nurses

Medical workers must often work irregular shifts.

The Best Ways to Deal with Shift Work

The first step is to educate yourself and your workers. To mitigate a hazard, you need to fully understand it. Provide workers with information about what shift work can do to the body and what individuals can do to improve the amount and quality of sleep they get.

Next, consider the way your business schedules workers who do shift work. More than one opinion exists about the best way to deal with shift work schedules. Some experts suggest switching shifts every few days is best because it disrupts body rhythms less and provides more normal time for social activities. Others point out that several weeks or more of the same work schedule would allow those working night shifts to adapt better.

EU-OSHA explains that when workers do work rotating shifts, it’s better to rotate their shifts forward. This means having them work a morning shift, then an afternoon shift and then a night shift. It’s easier for the body to adapt in than direction than it is for it to adapt going backwards.

In general, it’s also a good idea to consult with workers about their schedules to determine what works for them. Also keep in mind that trying to provide workers with a weekend helps them rest and spend time with others.

CCOHS also recommends workplaces provide rest areas (especially when workers have long shifts) and cafeterias with healthy food options. Workers should also try to maintain a healthy diet and exercise schedule, as this can prevent digestive and other problems.

Creative Safety Supply

Tired on the job? Take a look at these tips:

Infographic

Click to see entire infographic.


Would Emergency Responders Be Safe in Your Facility?

4 min read

When we think about emergency responders, we tend to assume they will arrive and take care of emergencies for us. We don’t often think about the safety of these police officers, firefighters and paramedics, though. If an emergency occurs at your business, these people will need to quickly enter your facility, find their way to the problem and perform their jobs.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for these workers to be injured in the line of duty. Burning buildings, chemical spills, robberies and confined space rescues are all dangerous situations. Ideally, you do not want your facility itself to contribute to a dangerous situation by being difficult to navigate. To help emergency responders perform their jobs safely, take these five steps.

5 Tips for Aiding Emergency Responders

Keep Walkways Clear

It’s important to keep walkways, aisles, hallways and other areas where people need to walk clear to prevent slips, trips and falls among your workers. Doing so will help emergency responders, too. If these people need to slow down and navigate around clutter and other obstacles, that means a fire could grow or someone in need of medical attention will have to wait.

Clutter may not seem like it could cause that much of a problem, but imagine if paramedics needed to wheel in medical equipment; that clutter could really get in the way. 

Post Way Signage

Your facility is required to post way signage such as emergency exit routes and directions to fire-fighting equipment, so you should already have a fair amount of way signage in place. (If you need assistance making sure you have all the signs you need, read Rules for Exit Routes – OSHA Standards 1910.36 and 1910.37).

Way Sigage

Additional signs pointing workers and visitors toward pertinent locations will help emergency responders, too. Signs that help people find the warehouse, break room and restrooms might all point someone in the right direction, depending on the type of emergency. Exit signs will also help responders quickly find their way out of the building once they’ve finished their work. If paramedics are trying to get an injured worker to an ambulance, for example, these signs will be critical.

If you want to go one step further and create clear aisles to help people navigate your workplace, you can also use floor marking tape to designate walkways.

Post Hazard Signs

Hazard Label

Hazard signs warning workers of dangerous machinery, hazardous chemicals, loud noises and other risks in the workplace will be useful for emergency responders, too, in some instances. For example, if a hazardous chemical leak occurred, posted labels could quickly communicate to responders what substances they’re dealing with.

It’s true that in some situations there might be people on hand to tell this information directly to responders, but you can’t assume that will always be the case. Making your workplace a visual one with signs and labels will increase emergency responders’ ability to deal with a situation quickly. 

Label Pipes

You might be wondering how labeling pipes is relevant to an emergency situation, but if an accident involving a pipe and its contents occurs, pipe labels can be the difference between a situation getting resolved quickly and a serious problem. When emergency responders don’t know what’s in a pipe that breaks or leaks, they may have to stop what they’re doing and figure out what substance they’re dealing with. If a pipe contains something dangerous, they could also be exposed to that substance without realizing it.

In a larger-scale accident such as a fire or earthquake, it’s possible many pipes will be damaged and emergency responders will need to determine if anything dangerous is leaking.

Pipe labels allow for quick communication of pipe contents, and implementing a pipe marking system will make life easier for your workers, too. (Not to mention, industry standards require you to mark those pipes.) Take a look at this SlideShare for more information about pipe marking:

Safeguard Holes, Openings and Edges

When people are hurrying through your facility, it’s possible they won’t notice obstacles such as openings and edges. Putting up guardrails, toe boards and other physical barriers around or next to these hazards will help protect visitors (and your workers!).

While you’re at it, consider making the walking surface safer, too, by making it less slippery. Ramps, loading docks and stairs can all pose slipping and tripping hazards, and applying anti-slip tape to the floor can help prevent an additional accident.

Plan and Communicate with Emergency Responders

You may have noticed most of the things you can do to assist emergency responders are things you should already be doing to protect your own workers. It’s worth thinking about these things with emergency responders in mind, though. A worker already has knowledge of your facility, but an emergency responder may not; that means you should think about walkways, signage and hazards from the perspective of a person who is new to your facility.

In addition to taking the above steps to make your facility easier for emergency responders to navigate, you can go one step further and communicate with local emergency response services ahead of time about your workplace. Passing important information about your business’ emergency plans to police and fire departments can make things go more smoothly during an emergency. If you workplace handles dangerous materials that could lead to spills and explosions or has many confined spaces where a worker could get trapped, it’s a good idea to share this information so responders will already have a sense of the type of situation they will be dealing with.

Creative Safety Supply

Learn more about emergency preparedness during natural disasters in our recent podcast.

Occupational Carcinogens

More than 50 substances are known or probable occupational carcinogens. A new campaign aims to raise awareness about these cancer-causing agents and reduce exposures.

Provide Safe Walking Surfaces

This time of year when floors can be slippery from ice and snow, take the necessary steps to prevent slip or trip accidents at work by providing safe walking surfaces.

More HazCom Updates on the Horizon?

Although new GHS requirements are still being phased in this year, OSHA has already indicated that we may see additional updates to HazCom in the future.
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