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Controlling indoor moisture

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

Controlling Indoor Moisture

When you see moisture accumulating, dry it promptly and deal with the source of the problem. Two basic elements of controlling moisture buildup are minimizing cool surfaces and reducing humidity.

Storm doors and windows minimize cool surfaces in the winter by separating the interior from cold, outside air. Double- and triple-pane windows also insulate interior glass from the cold. Pay attention to window treatments as well. Opening drapes and blinds in the winter allows warmth to reach the interior glass. Some condensation may occur, but the improved circulation makes it less likely to accumulate. Insulating cold-water pipes eliminates a common cool surface in warm weather. Straight and angled sleeves let you fit insulation to your pipes — just slide on the sleeves and seal the slits and joints with duct tape.

Your heating and cooling systems can also help control moisture in the home. Gas and electric furnaces reduce humidity with dry heat. Air conditioning lowers the moisture level in the air as it cools. Keep registers open and unblocked to allow good air flow, and have the systems inspected and serviced regularly to make sure they are functioning properly.

Caulking and weather stripping improve energy efficiency and prevent humid air from entering a home, but they also reduce the air exchange that allows moisture to move out of the house. Bathroom exhaust fans, dryer exhaust and ducted kitchen exhaust hoods that vent to the outside remove moisture that activities such as showering, bathing, clothes drying, dish washing and cooking create. Keep the devices free of dust, lint, grease or anything that could keep them from working efficiently.

Other simple ways to reduce air moisture include:

  • Covering pots while cooking, when possible
  • Leaving room doors open to allow good air circulation
  • Storing firewood outside
  • Covering aquariums

If high humidity is a problem you can't overcome by other methods, remove moisture from the air with a dehumidifier. They're effective in laundry rooms, basements, bathrooms and any room that isn't air-conditioned or has poor air circulation. Look for ENERGY STAR® qualified models, which consume less energy than conventional dehumidifiers.

Article source: https://www.lowes.com/projects/repair-and-maintain/controlling-moisture-and-humidity-in-the-home/project

How to use a space heater safely

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

How to use a space heater safely

Millions of people use space heaters to keep warm in winter. But according to a warning from the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are a leading cause of house fires.

According to Jamie Novak, a fire investigator with the St. Paul Fire Department in Minnesota, space heaters "are small, but they draw a lot of electricity." He stressed the importance of plugging your space heater directly into the wall, telling TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen in February that some people use cheap extension cords. The trouble is, many extension cords just can't handle that amount of electricity.

Novak said it was also important to keep your space heater 3 feet away from "anything that will burn — best to do it in the middle of the room."

Sometimes people accidentally let blankets fall right on top of space heaters. To show how quickly that can start a major fire, Novak set up a real-life demonstration inside a real house, with a team of firefighters standing by.

In mere minutes, the blanket caught fire. The flames quickly spread to a sofa, which sent out choking black smoke. Within just a few more minutes, the fire traveled from room to room to engulf the house in flames.

There are space heaters with an automatic shut-off switch in case the device gets too hot or is accidentally knocked over. But experts say even those heaters can be dangerous if used improperly, so you should still follow the 3-foot rule, and not plug them into extension cords.

It's also important to check the batteries in your smoke detectors, and to come up with a fire escape plan with your family.

Article source: https://www.today.com/home/space-heaters-can-cause-deadly-fires-what-you-need-know-t107848

5 Of The Most Common Causes Of Fire In The Workplace

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

  1. Faulty Electrics

Faulty electrics are the biggest cause of workplace1 fires, loose wires, plugs that are over loaded and old equipment can all make for a potential death trap. Every workplace is legally obliged to take good care of any electric al equipment, and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is an absolute must. These tests, undertaken every year, will ensure that your electrical goods stay in good working order and are fit for purpose.

  1. Flammable and Combustible Materials

Flammable and combustible materials represent a dangerous hazard to your employees as well as your business; whilst every workplace should place fire safety at the forefront of their risk assessments, this is particularly true of premises that hold any number of materials that are flammable or combustible. Appropriate storage, correct disposal and in-depth processes for handling these materials and or substances should be put in place.

  1. Human Error

Another common reason for fires in the workplace is down to human error, accidents such as knocking liquid onto electrical equipment, burning food in the kitchen or spilling flammable or combustible liquids.4

  1. General Negligence

Negligence can be differentiated from human error by the fact that such incidents are caused by proper procedures not being followed, or a member of staff undertaking an activity known as a potential fire hazard. Such instances are, again, easily avoided, and staff training on the dangers of certain areas within the workplace cannot be underestimated.

  1. Arson

While many may get alarmed when they hear that arson is a common cause of workplace fires, it is indeed a relatively frequent occurrence. Factories and industrial estates are particularly prone to vandals and fires can spread quickly from unit to unit if proper fire control features aren’t installed.

If suitable, work places should fit fireproof shutters and a water sprinkler system to protect their property as far as possible; and deterrents such as CCTV and gating can all indicate to the would be intruder that your property is far from ideal for trespassing.

Article source: https://rabidofficemonkey.com/5-common-causes-fire-workplace/ 

Storm Chasers

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Chasers

Majority of storm chasers are meteorologists who study and predict weather patterns. They forecast where and when a particular storm is likely to occur. They analyze past and current data to determine a precise location. They also use visualization by looking at the patterns of the clouds. They commonly use a variety of sources to predict weather, such as daily outlooks, satellite and radar maps, maps of temperatures and dewpoints, computer models, wind charts, and watches and warning information. Storm chasers use a variety of equipment, including computers, satellites, portable weather stations, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), video cameras, and anemometers to measure wind. Typically while in the field, storm chasers use cell phones with data connections to view the latest weather information. Depending on the area, there are certain storm chasing seasons where severe weather occurs more frequently.

Some storm chasers have even developed special vehicles that they believe can withstand the strength of a tornado. For example, the Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 (TIV2) weighs about 8 tons and has other special features that would make it hard — but not impossible! — for a tornado to lift it off the ground.

Once in the path of the storm, storm chasers place scientific equipment that they hope will be picked up by the tornado. Then they retreat as quickly as possible to a safe place. If the storm picks up the equipment, the scientists can use the data it records to better understand what happens inside these dangerous storms.

 Article Source: http://www.emergency-management-degree.org/faq/what-does-a-storm-chaser-do/ and https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-do-some-people-chase-storms

Asbestos

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

It’s hard to imagine another word that has caused more concern when uttered for such a long time. This word has caused more project delays and cost over runs than any other that comes to mind. We are still constantly bombarded with advertisements from personal injury lawyers, promising you monetary relief from a product that was for the most part banned from use in 1989. In 1989 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the manufacture, importation, processing and distribution of asbestos-containing products. The ruling was overturned in 1993, however, allowing for certain asbestos-containing products to be manufactured in the United States. Over 20-years later we are still dealing with government regulations to handle asbestos. Because asbestos presents a significant risk to human health when released to air, asbestos is considered a hazardous air pollutant regulated under the EPA National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations.

Employees' Rights to Protection From Asbestos Exposure

If you work with or around significant amounts of asbestos as part of your job -- or if you're worried about exposure to asbestos in the workplace -- talk to your supervisor or union about any health risks and the steps that are being taken to minimize those risks.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other workplace safety agencies are supposed to carefully regulate and monitor asbestos exposure on the job -- they even set permissible exposure limits for different kinds of industries. So chances are, if your job does involve exposure to significant levels of asbestos, your employer is legally required to take certain steps to protect you and your coworkers from any health risks involving asbestos.

Depending on the industry you work in and the specifics of your job, you may be legally entitled to receive -- and your employer may be legally obligated to provide -- the following kinds of on-the-job protections from asbestos exposure:

  • training of employees who will be working with and around asbestos
  • properly ventilated workspaces
  • monitoring of employees for asbestos exposure levels (including daily monitoring for workers involved in the removal of asbestos-containing materials)
  • warning signs and instructions in areas where asbestos-related work is performed
  • protective clothing like coveralls, gloves, foot coverings, face shields, and goggles
  • protective equipment like respirators
  • showers and other post-exposure precautions, and
  • medical examinations for certain workers who are exposed to high levels of asbestos.

In your home or your business it is important to test for asbestos. Your health is important

Article source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/asbestos-workplace-33066.html and https://thelawsongroup.com/asbestos-your-business-how-it-impacts-renovations/

Why businesses should go green

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

Why businesses should go green

Has your business gone green? It seems to be the popular thing to do now. and here's why

Legal and tax advantages: Florida businesses are also eligible for a sales tax exemption for using solar energy systems, equipment, machinery, and other renewable energy technologies. The Solar Energy System Incentives Program allows Florida companies to take rebates, and the Renewable Energy and Energy-Efficient Technologies Grants Program provides grants for Florida companies using solar and renewable energy sources to run the business. Additionally, the IRS allows businesses that use company cars such as Hybrids to take an alternative motor vehicle credit on federal taxes.

Public response: Companies such as Walmart and target have incorporated green changes such as composing and recycling, changing transportation routes to save gas, reducing packaging, and stocking their shelves with greener products. As a result, these companies have seen customers respond positively to the changes, with green product sales alone jumping somewhere around 20 percent as of 2010.  

Improved workplace: Green cleaning supplies can help employees. Some companies have taken going green a step further, by converting leftover food waste from the cafeteria into methane to supply the building with energy.

Reduced waste: Reducing unnecessary waste can trim operating costs for the business. Refilling ink cartridges instead of throwing then away. Which also reduces the amount of plastic being thrown away. Offering hybrid vehicles to company employees can also save money for companies that refund employee mileage on fuel prices.  

Article source: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/businesses-should-green-766.html

Mold and your business

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Mold and your business

Mold is a favored word among lawyers and a feared word among building owners, employers and landlords.

Lawsuits arising out of mold. Multi-million dollar verdicts are not unheard of. Mold, in the words of some, is becoming "the next asbestos."

Mold has even reached the attention of the U.S. Congress. Last year, Representative John Conyers of Detroit introduced a proposed bill, the "United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act of 2002," intended to set standards for indoor mold levels and to provide for related research.

Due to increased public awareness,

almost mounting to hysteria, the number of legal claims is sure to mount. Workers who believe they are being exposed to mold may not want to work, their productivity may decline and they may file worker's compensation and disability claims

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent excessive moisture in buildings. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices since the 1970s, which resulted in tightly sealed buildings with diminished ventilation, contributing to moisture vapor buildup. Other moisture problems may result from roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under a building, or unvented combustion appliance. Delayed or insufficient maintenance may contribute to moisture problems in buildings. Improper maintenance and design of building heating/ventilating/air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, such as insufficient cooling capacity for an air conditioning system, can result in elevated humidity levels in a building.

Mold prevention tips include:

  • Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
  • Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
  • Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
  • Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
  • Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 - 60%, if possible).
  • Venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
  • Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
  • Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
  • Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.

If you have Mold present call SERVPRO today. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly make it "Like it never even happened." 440-887-9000

Article source: http://www.ehstoday.com/mag/ehs_imp_36553 and https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html

Workplace safety

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Workplace safety

In the past 50 years, there has been a steady increase in workplace safety awareness and a steady decrease in workplace fatalities and injuries. Since 1970, work-related fatalities have decreased more than 66 percent, and occupational injuries and illnesses have dropped 67 percent, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). During that same period, the US workforce has nearly doubled.

But despite this evident progress, the rate of improvement has slowed in recent years. The one essential ingredient that can sustain the downward trend in workplace fatalities and injuries is complete commitment to safety in the workplace.

Safety is a Team Effort

Educate everyone in the workplace about the safety requirements and consider posting a list of workplace safety tips. A workplace safety training will help them reduce or eliminate injuries and illnesses from occurring in the workplace.

Always keep the communication lines open with your co-workers, employers, or employees in order to promote and maintain a safe environment.

Immediately notify others of any (new or old) hazards that you perceive.

Be alert to hazards that could affect anyone— not just yourself; in this respect, maintain a team mentality at all times.

Report a hazardous condition immediately to your manager or supervisor.

Be conscious as to what others are doing around you, and do your best to ensure you don’t pose a hazard to them (and vice versa).

Every workplace and job is different and that will vary on job safety protocols but one of the most important things is to talk to your employees, make sure they feel safe in there work environment. Here at SERVPRO we do daily training exercises along with equipment training to ensure that employees follow safety guidelines.

Article source: https://safety.grainger.com/people/building-commitment?gclid=CjwKCAiA693RBRAwEiwALCc3u9ZwUJK10wjtPgheA7TAxwKkAzX2cDLbs_rtBxdmuvfMGokvoLJB-xoC_nUQAvD_BwE&cm_mmc=PPC:+Google+PPC-_-WZLG3006&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!{creative}!{matchtype}!{placement}!{network}!!safety%20in%20the%20workplace%20tips&ef_id=WjfIpQAAAIj5knFi:20171218220819:s and http://www.atlantictraining.com/safety-tips/workplace-safety-tips.php

How to protect your business from being robbed

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Robbery prevention tips

If you own a business, particularly one that deals in cash, there is a good chance that one day it may be robbed. If you are lucky, the robbery will occur after the business is closed and all of your employees have gone home. If not, you, your employees and possibly your customers could be faced with a very dangerous situation.

There are effective measures that business owners, managers, and employees can take that will protect the assets of the business and make it safer for employees.

  • Always have two or more employees open and close the business.
  • Install an effective alarm system that is monitored.
  • Use surveillance cameras behind the cash register and facing out to the front of the counter.
  • Also, install surveillance cameras in areas where a person could hide.
  • Keep the outside doors in backrooms locked when not in use.
  • Have lockers or locked desks so employees can lock up any personal valuables, purses, or medications.
  • Do not release personal information about employees to strangers and shred all past employee records when trashing it.
  • Keep a low cash balance in the cash registers.
  • Make regular bank deposits of excess money or lock it in a safe.
  • Vary the times and the routes used to go to the bank to make deposits.
  • Avoid sending one person to the bank with a deposit.
  • Avoid making deposits late at night.
  • Do not carry the deposit openly in a deposit bag.
  • Avoid hanging signs or putting displays on windows or around the sales counter that will obstruct the view of the register.
  • In areas that are blocked by shelving, walls or other obstructions, hang concave mirrors.
  • Do careful reference checks on employees that are hired.
  • Have policies in place concerning employees' friends or relatives hanging around the business.
  • Customers should be greeted when they enter the business and train employees to make eye contact and engage with the customers. An alert staff can quickly deter a would-be robber.
  • Train employees not to take risks, but to call the police if they see suspicious people inside or lurking outside of the business.
  • Keep your business well lit both inside and out and focus on areas where someone could hide.
  • Trim trees and bushes so that they do not become hiding places for robbers by blocking light.
  • Become friends with the local police officers. Encourage them to stop by your business.
  • If possible, use only one cash register at night. Leave the drawers on the other cash registers opened and tilt the money tray so that it will show that it is empty.
  • Do not tempt robbers by balancing the cash register by the cash desk. Take it to a back office to count it.
  • Train employees to be alert when handling money. It is easy to make a one dollar bill look like a twenty dollar bill to an employee that is not paying attention.
  • Do not completely cover the windows of the business by closing blinds are pulling curtains at closing time. Always leave them only partially closed.

Article source: https://www.thoughtco.com/robbery-prevention-tips-for-businesses-972958

Fire safety tips for your business

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire safety tips for your business

Remove Clutter That Could Potentially Fuel a Fire

Keep your working areas clear of paper, trash and anything else that could act as kindling for a potential fire. You should make your garbage cans easily accessible, and be sure to empty them regularly. Similarly, you should make a conscious effort to ensure that there are no obstacles blocking access to emergency exits. Overall, you should perform a close inspection of your workspaces with an eye toward removing anything that could create sparks or fuel a fire.

Pay Special Attention to Extension Cords and Frayed Wiring

Extension cords are a common fire hazard because they're not intended for permanent use. The extension must be properly rated for the intended use, or it can cause frayed and exposed wires, thereby creating a fire hazard. Many local fire codes require extension cords to have surge protectors in case electrical circuits get overloaded. These surge protectors will automatically shut the power off if the electricity shorts out. To be on the safe side, you should always try to plug items directly into wall outlets, rather than relying on extension cords. And if you do have to use extension cords, you should inspect your wiring at least once a month to identify and fix any frayed wiring.

Escape Routes and Meeting Places: Determine and mark the fastest and safest paths to safety. Post maps (with “you are here” marks) in breakrooms and near exits — which should be clearly indicated with signs. Put up reminders that elevators cannot be used during most emergencies. Check emergency lighting in stairwells and make sure they aren’t used as storage areas. Create a procedure for evacuating employees and patrons with special needs, especially if the escape route includes stairs. Select a meeting place far enough away from the building to allow full access to the property by firefighters and other emergency personnel.

Emergency Procedures: Make sure employees know that the safety officer is in charge during emergencies. Identify by name and title (whenever possible) the people responsible for contacting the fire department, accounting for employees at the meeting place and assisting emergency personnel with information on equipment or chemicals housed in the building. Keep an up-to-date list of emergency contact information. Outline who notifies the next of kin of injured parties, and designate one person to notify emergency responders of people still in the office or unaccounted for.

Most “business and mercantile” fires occurred when the premises were less populated. One-third of the fires (31 percent) occurred between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am, but created two-thirds (67 percent) of the direct property damage. Nineteen percent occurred on weekends and created 31 percent of the damage. A lot of fires also broke out between noon and 2:00 pm.

Twenty-nine percent of commercial blazes were caused by cooking equipment and resulted in 6 percent of the direct property damage; 22 percent began in the kitchen or cooking area, causing just one percent of direct damage.

Prevent

  • Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for maximum volt/wattage load for surge protectors, power strips and adapters, and ask your electrician to periodically inspect these items and outlets for potential overload
  • Replace frayed power cords; never run them under rugs or carpeting, use cord protectors instead
  • Unplug appliances (coffeemakers, microwaves) and other equipment not in use at the end of the day and over the weekend
  • Replace appliances that feel warm or hot to touch
  • Ask the fire marshal to inspect chemical and equipment storage areas periodically to ensure proper ventilation and stowage
  • Store hazardous materials according to manufacturers’ instructions and OSHA regulations. Clearly mark these items to help emergency personnel identify and stabilize them
  • Don’t prop fire doors open or block exits with furniture or boxes
  • Don’t allow paper and other trash to accumulate outside of garbage or recycling receptacles, and never store this material near hot equipment, electrical outlets or the smoking areas
  • Don’t permit employees to burn candles, scented oils, etc., even in their personal work areas
  • Following the four P’s is the best way to protect your business and your employees.

Article source: https://www.adp.com/thrive/articles/5-fire-safety-tips-to-protect-your-business-1-1218.aspx and https://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/tech-services/explore-tips-and-advice/tech-articles/tips-for-fire-prevention-and-preparedness-at-the-office.html