Toolbox Talk: Cuts and Burns

Nicks, cuts, scratches and burns. Minor injuries that can occur to any one of us no matter how careful we are. Minor injuries to the skin that are often ignored. But it must be remembered that skin is a vital organ; one that should not be ignored. Not only is skin the largest bodily organ, it also keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. So what do you do when you get a minor injury? If you are like many, you realize a doctor’s visit is not necessary and try to treat the injury yourself. How do you know when to seek professional treatment? How do you treat injuries that do not require a doctor’s visit?


Cuts require immediate professional attention if:

  • There is severe bleeding, especially arterial wounds, which literally pump blood from the body.
  • Puncture wounds, such as those caused by a rusty nail or animal bite. These will require a tetanus booster shot.
  • Cuts more than one half inch long and one quarter inch deep, which will require stitches.

To treat any cuts, first stop the bleeding and then treat to prevent infection. Place a sterile gauze (or if you do not have any gauze, a clean cloth) over the wound and hold it until the bleeding stops. Apply pressure continuously. If the gauze or cloth soaks through, simply place another cloth over the first and resume the pressure. When the bleeding has stopped, wash the cut with soap and water, followed by a disinfectant. If the bleeding does not stop, get professional treatment. After the cut is clean, look for any foreign object(s) in the cut and remove them. If you do not, a threatening infection may set in. To aid in keeping the wound clean while it heals, you can cover it with a bandage. However, if you use a bandage, remember it will need attention too. Change it twice daily and use an antibiotic cream to prevent further infection. Keep in mind that wounds exposed to air heal faster. But it is also very important to keep a wound clean and dry to prevent infection. Treatment for a scrape is the same, except you do not have to worry about stopping blood flow as there is very little.


Burns are classified as first, second, or third degree. A first degree burn causes redness. Blistering is caused by a second degree burn. Charred, blackened or blanched skin are signs of a third degree burn. Furthermore, burns can be caused by heat (thermal burns) or by contact with chemicals. Seek professional,medical treatment for:

  • All third degree burns.
  • Second degree burns involving more than one fifth of the body or if the burn has affected the face, hands, feet, or genitalia.

First aid treatment for a burn involves relief of pain, infection prevention and treatment or prevention of shock. If a burn begins to blister, cool it by placing your hand or foot in cold, still (not running) water. You will need to use an ice pack on any other part of the body. Gently clean the burn and cover the area with sterile, non-stick gauze. Change the dressing twice a day. Never puncture a blister. This just opens the door for infection. Never use butter, oils, or petroleum jelly on burns.

If the burn is due to a chemical exposure, flush the burned area with running water for at least 15 minutes. While you flush, remove any contaminated clothing, especially clothing in the area of the burn. Check the first aid instructions for the chemical. These are found on the container and/or Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Treat as specified. Cover the burn with a clean dressing and call a doctor.

If a third degree burn is involved, get professional medical treatment quickly. Call an ambulance first. While awaiting professional help, make sure any fire is out and/or remove the victim from the burn source. DO NOT REMOVE ANY CLOTHING OR APPLY ANY DRESSINGS. Treat for shock and make sure the victim is still breathing.

Use common sense in all situations. Maintain a well stocked first aid kit and be familiar with first aid procedures. Being knowledgeable and prepared may be the smartest first step of all.

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Toolbox Talk: Federated Insurance – The Unpleasant Side of Cyberspace

How much do you know about data breaches? They could be dangerous and costly to your business. Click below to learn more about how data breaches happen and how you can prevent them.

The Unpleasant Side of Cyberspace

This information is brought to you by Federated Insurance.

Federated Insurance FB

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Toolbox Talk: Having a Safety Attitude

Humans instinctively seek to avoid pain and death. And yet, we may behave in a manner that is a threat to our well-being. There are a couple of reasons why this occurs. The first is lack of knowledge. What you do not know can hurt you!. The second reason we may act in a risky manner is attitude. Now might be a good time to do a quick self-analysis. What is your attitude toward safety?

When asked, some may say they are all for it. Others may complain about any safety effort being made. The difference between the two is one of attitude. Your attitude affects almost all that you do and how you do it.

Have you ever noticed that people who are successful in life, or are just happy, tend to have a positive attitude? And so it is with safety. Look at it this way: safety rules and procedures are written to protect you from harm. They are not written to make your work life more uncomfortable or inconvenient. After all, safety equipment and training costs your employer additional up front money.

If you cooperate in safety matters, not only is there a lesser likelihood of you getting hurt, you will not be doing battle with the boss who is just trying to do his job by enforcing the safety rules. In addition, you should feel more confident on the job knowing you have a better chance of making it thorough the day without injury. Less fear of injury and the boss no longer on your back has to brighten your day!

We are not perfect. Even the best of us can forget or make errors in judgment. To maximize our safety efforts, we must look out for one another. If someone tells you that you are not working in a safe manner, do not become angry or defensive. They are just looking out for your well-being. If you did not know you were doing something wrong, be thankful your errors were noted before someone got hurt. If you simply forgot or got a little careless, be grateful that someone cares enough to get you back on track. If you see someone doing something unsafe, speak up, but do so diplomatically. Treat others just as you would like to be treated in the same situation.

Remember, attitude affects behavior. If you have a positive attitude, odds are you will exhibit safe behavior. A negative attitude toward safety will only cause conflict, stress and, ultimately, an accident.

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Toolbox Talk: Unsafe Acts

Most of us know that accidents are caused by only two things – unsafe acts or practices, and unsafe conditions. Some of us even know that 9 out of 10 accidents are the result of unsafe acts, or things we do when we know better. This is kind of strange if you think about it:

 We have more to fear from our own actions than from any other job hazards around us.

Why do we deliberately expose ourselves to injury every day?

“It Won’t Happen To Me”

Basically, most of us are just thinking about getting the job done and we tend to rationalize the risk of getting injured. We think to ourselves that we have done this job many, many times this way and nothing bad has happened. Therefore, nothing bad will happen to us today. On an intellectual level, we realize there is a potential danger but decide that the risk of being injured is low. Because we have not been injured so far, we actually think of ourselves as being very safety conscious. We know the right way to do it, we realize that it is hazardous to do it this way, but what we are really thinking to ourselves is “it won’t happen to me.”

We Take Short Cuts

Some of us are fairly meticulous about following safe work practices, but because a job “will only take a minute” we use an unsafe method or tool. For example, not putting on our safety glasses because the job will only take a minute, or not locking out a machine because an adjustment will only take a second.

Usually we think about it just before we do something a little unsafe, or maybe quite a bit unsafe. We know better, we know the safe way to do it, but we take that little chance. In effect we are saying, “I know that this could result in an injury, but “it can’t happen to me.” Maybe it’s human nature to think that accidents always happen to someone else, but they can happen to you too. What makes you different?

Why take a chance in the first place? Only you can decide to take the time to do your job safely and correctly the first time.

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July Newsletter Now Available

The IEC-KYIN July Newsletter is here!

Click the link below to access it.

IEC Newlsetter July 2016

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Toolbox Talk: Gasoline Safety

Gasoline is the most common flammable liquid manufactured and used. Because virtually everyone uses gasoline it is often assumed that everyone is familiar with it’s dangerous properties. However, as familiarity breeds contempt (or at least carelessness) it may be a good idea to review this highly hazardous material. Here are some brief but important items to remember when dealing with gasoline.

  • Gasoline as a liquid does not burn. It is the vapors that the liquid gives off that burns.

  • Vapors usually can not be seen but frequently travel long distances to a source of ignition. Thus the gasoline can be located a great distance from an actual ignition source.

  • Gasoline gives off enough vapor to flash, when exposed to an external ignition source at temperatures as low as -45°F! In other words, hazardous vapors are almost always being released-unless you work in temperatures colder than -45°F.

  • Gasoline vapors are heavier than air. Vapors will settle to the ground and flow similar to a liquid. This is why gasoline vapors tend to find their way into drains, sewer lines, basements and other low spots.

  • Gasoline must be mixed with air before it can burn. It does not take much gasoline to make an ignitable mixture. If the gas-to-air mixture contains as little as 1.4% gasoline by volume, it can be ignited with explosive force.

  • It has been said that the potential energy in a one gallon can of gasoline is equal to numerous sticks of dynamite.

  • A gasoline/air mixture can be ignited by a hot surface, a smoldering object such as a cigarette, an open flame, or even a static spark.

  • Practice good hygiene after handling gasoline. Wash hands and other areas that may have come in contact with gasoline. Avoid prolonged inhalation of vapors as gasoline contains benzene, a known carcinogen.

What can you do to avoid a gasoline disaster? The following tips are good advice when handling or using gasoline.

  • Never use gasoline for anything other than it’s intended purpose, as a fuel. Never use it as a cleaning solvent!

  • Store gasoline in approved safety containers.

  • Never smoke when anywhere near gasoline. Shut off all equipment before refueling and allow it to cool off first. Inspect all fuel hoses, pipes and pumps frequently. Fix leaks now!

Gasoline was chosen as a fuel for the same reasons that make it so dangerous. It is easily vaporized, easy to ignite and explodes powerfully when ignited. Never let yourself become complacent around this volatile liquid that we use everyday.

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Toolbox Talk: House-Keeping is Safe-Keeping at Work

“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Never has this phrase been so true as when it comes to housekeeping at work. The negative impressions and implications of poor housekeeping can affect you and co-workers for a long time to come. Morale is lowered for most people who must function every day in a messy, disorderly work environment, although they may not be aware of the cause. Safety is an even more critical issue. If your housekeeping habits are poor, the result may be employee injuries-or even death, citations by OSHA (or another regulatory agency), and even difficulty in securing future work. How can such a “minor” issue have such serious consequences?

Here are some results of poor housekeeping practices:

  • Injuries, when employees trip, fall, strike or are struck by out-of-place objects;

  • Injuries from using improper tools because the correct tool can’t be found;

  • Lowered production because of the time spent maneuvering over and around someone else’s mess, and time spent looking for proper tools and materials;

  • Time spent investigating and reporting accidents that could have been avoided;

  • Fires due to improper storage and disposal of flammable or combustible materials and wastes;

  • Substandard quality of finished products because of production schedule delays, damaged or defective finishes, ill-equipped employees, etc.;

  • Lack of future work due to a reputation for poor quality;

  • “Wall-to-wall” OSHA inspections due to the “first impression” of the compliance officer.

General housekeeping rules to remember are:

  • Clean up after yourself. Pick up your trash and debris and dispose of it properly, or place it where it will not pose a hazard to others. Institute a routine cleaning schedule.

  • Keep your work area clean throughout the day. This will minimize the amount of time needed to clean a “larger mess” at the end of the day.

  • Dispose of combustibles and flammables properly. If improperly discarded, they will increase the potential for a fire.

  • Remove protruding nails and other sharp objects or hammer them flat to prevent someone from stepping on them or snagging themselves.

  • Stack materials and supplies orderly and secure them so they won’t topple.

Do you value your health and safety, your work reputation, as well as your future employment? If you do, practice these general housekeeping rules.An uncluttered workplace shows respect for those who work there. Help keep it that way!

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