July 3, 2013
As we work this summer we must remind all members to work safely. Take the time to identify all possible safety hazards in your workplace, including those you may not often think of such as insects, poison ivy and heat stroke. All members should review safety documentation given to them by their employers. Supplemental information on many safety related items can be found on OSHA’s website osha.gov.
In Illinois, there have been reports that brown recluse spider has been spotted and members have been treated for brown recluse spider bites. The spider can be identified by its golden brown color and dark violin/fiddle shape located on the top of the leg attachment region with the neck of the violin/fiddle pointing back toward the abdomen.
If you are bitten clean the bite area with soap, apply ice to absorb the venom, elevate and immobilize the extremity and seek medical attention. For more information read OSHA’s Fact Sheet on the brown recluse spider by clicking here.
Poison ivy identification is often summed up with the maxim, "Leaves of three, let it be!" Poison ivy, western poison oak and poison sumac have poisonous sap in their roots, stems, leaves and fruits. The sap is released when the plant is bruised, making it easier to contact Rhus-dermatitis in the early spring and summer when the leaves are tender. Approximately 85% of the general population will develop an allergy if exposed to these plants. When working outdoors make sure to scan your work areas for the presence of these plants. More information can be found here.
While most members this Fourth of July holiday are hoping for clear skies and the return of summer with it comes the increase risk of work related heat injuries. Heat illness can be deadly. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable. Remember water, rest, shade.
OSHA's nationwide Heat Illness Prevention Campaign aims to raise awareness and teach workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide valuable resources to address these concerns. More information on OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Campaign can be found here.
When you're working in the heat, safety comes first. With the OSHA Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need it - right on your mobile phone. You can download it here.
Hot summer months pose special hazards for outdoor workers who must protect themselves against heat, sun exposure, and other hazards. Employers and employees should know the potential hazards in their workplaces and how to manage them. Read OSHA’s fact sheet Working Outdoors in Warm Climates which contains information on other potential hazards by clicking here.
The Officers and Staff of IBEW Local 21 would like to wish our members and their families a safe and happy Independence Day. This holiday show your support for union men and women by picking the right products to serve your friends and family. Make sure to stock your barbeque with union-made products. A list from the Chicago Federation of Labor of some items available near you can be found by clicking here.