Dirty Dirt: The hazards of soil pollution, and what to do about it

SoilcontamSoil pollution is the build-up of toxic substances in concentrations high enough to be hazardous to human health, wildlife and the natural ecosystem. Contaminated soil can have serious health effects on humans, as well as the environment.

Health effects on humans include organ damage, increased risk of cancer, and bioaccumulation, or the transfer of pollution throughout the food chain. Regular monitoring of soil quality can help prevent exposure to dangerous contaminants.

But what do you do if you think your soil might be polluted? EFS provides complete and innovative remediation services for addressing contaminated sites. Our remediation services include: demolition, excavation, transportation and disposal of contaminated soil, construction and installation of in-situ remediation systems, and more. Click here to see how EFS can help you remove contaminated soil.

 

What We Do – Part 3: Operation and Maintenance

#1 pressure washing AlphaEFS has experience with the installation, operation and maintenance of remediation and pollution control systems. EFS is capable of taking designs prepared by others and constructing remediation systems in accordance with client specifications. Following installation, EFS personnel will operate and maintain these systems during their operating life. In the area of pollution control, we provide inspection, monitoring and maintenance services for all types of industrial, air, water and wastewater pollution control systems.

Our Operation and Maintenance Services include:

  • Remediation System Start-Up and O&M
  • Facility Decontamination/Industrial Cleaning
  • AST & UST Cleaning
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Operation
  • Groundwater Monitoring
  • Drum Sampling, Overpacking, & Removal

To learn more about our services, click here.

OSHA launches occupational hearing safety competition

ear plugThe U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration, in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, have launched a competition “…with the dual goals of inspiring creative ideas and raising business awareness of the market for workplace safety innovation,” according to a recent OSHA press release.

Twenty-two million workers risk losing their hearing from workplace noise hazards, costing businesses an estimated $242 million annually in workers’ compensation, according to the press release. The “Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge” campaign aims to help decrease those numbers. The competition, open to the general public, encourages participants to create technology that will improve occupational hearing protection. Suggested topics detailed in the press release include:

  • Technology that will enhance employer training and improve effective use of hearing protection.
  • Technology that alerts workers when hearing protection is not blocking enough noise to prevent hearing loss.
  • Technology that allows workers to hear important alerts or human voices while remaining protected from harmful noise.

Ten finalists of the competition will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of judges on October 27 in Washington D.C. Idea submissions are due by September 30. To learn more about the competition, or submit ideas, click here.

Using safe chemicals in the workplace

Chemicals_in_flasksWorkers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Analyzing chemicals present in the workplace, using appropriate precautions and transitioning to safer alternatives can aid in preventing chemical-related injuries.

OSHA suggests six steps to transitioning to safer chemicals. They are: engage, inventory and prioritize, identify, access and compare, select, test and evaluate. To access the OSHA chemical transitioning toolkit, click here.

Workers can further protect themselves from chemical exposure by understanding and analyzing the chemicals present in facilities, and by following all appropriate safety procedures.

Summer Safety Tips

summerThe summer season brings cookouts, pool parties and other celebrations, as well as a new set of safety hazards. This year, keep these safety tips in mind as you enjoy the season on the job and at home.

Heat

Temperatures rise in the summer months. Being exposed to warm weather can cause health issues, such as dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To avoid these, drink plenty of water throughout the day, and take frequent breaks in shaded areas to cool off. Try to complete outdoor work during cool hours, such as in the early morning or at night. Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache, fatigue, confusion, pale skin and rapid heartbeat. If you, or someone near you, exhibits the symptoms of heat exhaustion, it is important to find a cool, shaded area, drink fluids and cool off with fans or water.

Sunburn

Whether it’s a cookout at home, or a day at the beach, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Always wear sunscreen while enjoying the outdoors. Exposure to UVB and UVA rays can increase the risk of burns and skin cancer. Sunburns can be treated by applying a cool compress to the area, and rubbing creams such as aloe, menthol and camphor to the burn.  It is recommended to wear a minimum of SPF 30 daily when exposed to the sun and reapply as directed on the bottle.  Skin cancer is the most common cancer found in young adults and is highly preventable with the proper use of sunscreen and clothing.

Stings and bites

Along with high temperatures, summer also brings bees and other stinging insects. Bee stings are merely annoying and painful to most, but can be life-threatening for some. If you get stung, first remove the stinger if it remains in your skin. Wash the area with soap and water, and apply ice or a cool compress to reduce swelling. If the area itches, you can apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. Avoiding heavy perfumes, wearing insect repellent and guarding food and drinks can help you avoid stings.

Mowing

Mowing: it’s the summer chore most of us have to do. To avoid lawn mower-related injuries, be sure to practice safe handling. Follow these tips:

  • Pick up all sticks, stones and other objects from the lawn before mowing
  • Wear fitting clothes and sturdy shoes (no sandals or sneakers)
  • Mow advancing forward
  • Turn the mower off every time you leave it
  • Keep all people and pets away from the mower
  • Do not allow extra riders on riding lawn mowers
  • Do not use riding mowers on slopes

Remember to practice safety mindfulness to enjoy a summer free of seasonal injuries and illnesses on the job and at home.

 

OSHA Penalties Set to Increase After August 1st

money-40015_960_720#Didyouknow that maximum penalties for OSHA violations are set to increase after August 1st? This is the first time since 1990 that an increase has taken place. Maximum penalties for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471 while maximum penalties for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709. To learn more about the new mandate and how it could affect your company, click here.

Save a Coworker’s Life and Learn First Aid!

June is national safety month.  Companies around the country will be reminding workers to practice safe habits in the workplace and at home, but are you also keeping the health of your coworkers in mind?

Learning basic first aid techniques can save the lives of your family members, friends and coworkers, and can be fun! Practicing these techniques can make homes and workplaces safer for everyone:

CPR and Defibrillators

To administer CPR on an unresponsive person who is not breathing or whose heart has stopped beating due to a heart attack, drowning or other medical emergency, follow the steps of CAB (compression, airway, and breathing.) Dial 911 before beginning, and follow the instructions on an AED defibrillator if one is available.  If you are not trained in CPR, then administer hands-only CPR.

Compression

Place the heel of one hand atop the chest and between the nipples, and the other on top of the first hand. Use your upper body to push down on the chest, approximately two inches. Begin pumping about 100 compressions per minute. After 30 compressions, move to the next step.

Airway

Tilt the person’s head back and lift the chin forward. Check for rising chest motion, listen for breathing sounds and feel for the person’s breath on your cheek and ears. If the person is not breathing normally, move to the next step.

Breathing

Pinch the person’s nostrils shut and cover his or her mouth with yours. Blow one breath, lasting for about one second, into the person’s mouth and check for breathing. Administer a second breath. If the person still is not breathing normally, begin the cycle over. Continue until the person is breathing normally or emergency medical help arrives.

Choking

If a person is experiencing inability to breath due to choking, begin the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the blockage. The universal sign for choking is the hands clutching the neck.

Steps

  1. Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around the waist.
  2. Make a fist with one hand and place it slightly above the person’s navel.
  3. Grab the fist with the other hand, and press hard into the abdomen in an upward thrust. Continue until the blockage is dislodged or emergency medical personnel arrive.

Heat Exhaustion and Hypothermia

Working in extreme weather conditions can cause heat exhaustion- or the opposite, hypothermia. Understand the signs of both, and what to do when they occur.

Heat Exhaustion

Signs: Dizziness, nausea or vomiting, heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, muscle cramps, flushed face, weakness or fatigue

How to treat: Immediately remove the person from the source of heat and into a cool environment, or the heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke. Lay the person down and elevate the legs. Give the person water to drink, and spray them with cool water. Call 911.

Hypothermia

Signs: Shivering, slurred speech, shallow breathing, weak pulse, clumsiness, drowsiness, confusion

How to treat: Remove the person from the cold, if possible. Protect the person from the cold, especially around the neck and head. Gradually warm the person, beginning with the center of the body. DO NOT warm the person with a hot bath, and do not attempt to warm or massage the arms or legs. Call 911.

Knowing basic first aid techniques can help protect ourselves and those around us. This month, take time to practice these methods, and always be aware of your surroundings.

To have emergency first aid information with you at all times, you can download theAmerican Red Cross First Aid app for your phone. A full list of first aid techniques for other medical emergencies can be found here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid