A decade in South Florida may not have gotten me a tan, but it did something even better: desensitized me to the presence of reptiles. A random gecko or two in the house? No problem. An iguana lumbering across my front walk? Bring it on. And a giant, bright-green anole in the backyard mango tree? Awesome!
I feel so liberated that I can now sleep at night, even knowing that there may be a lizard loose in the house (true, those geckos may be tiny, but still: progress is progress). There’s just one problem: even though I’m finally able to harmoniously coexist with lizards, I still have a major aversion to snakes. I’m not even talking about the various Asian and African pythons that are slowly strangling the life out of the Everglades. I’m taking about garter snakes. They’re generally puny and pathetic as far as slithering wildlife goes, but they keep trying to sneak into the house through my side door, and at that I take great offense.
Ever since I found that baby garter snake hanging out in the middle of my hallway late one Friday night, I’ve begun cringing involuntarily at the sight of anything that’s black and yellow striped and has a tendency to arrange itself in a wavy, s-like shape. I shiver to imagine such things. But I think I may have found something that will get me over that…
Strangely enough, it’s a cord cover, but one of a most peculiar sort. You know how garter snakes are slithery and striped with black and yellow in a bad way? Well, the SideWinder Cable Protection System is both of those things as well, but in a very, very good way.
Most cord protectors are rigid, and have the tendency to run only in straight lines unless you connect them with specially-manufactured angles and bends. Every twist and turn you make is extremely deliberate, and you have to plan ahead and purchase accordingly for them. But what if you could protect ground cables with something that was both incredibly tough and flexible, that you could just snake around obstructions as needed, without any special planning or parts. You can, with the SideWinder.
The SideWinder system is made up of a long line of articulating 1.5″ segments, which are hinged together to form a single, continuous cord protector. Need to round a corner or work around a column, platform, or other obstruction? No problem – just bend the SideWinder to follow any path, no matter how full of turns it may be. It can even be customized for length: just snap on or remove extra pieces, and you won’t be stuck with too much or too little coverage. Talk about great cable protection that won’t cramp your style…
Ever wonder why it is that you generally never see people slipping and falling at the beach, or while they’re walking across nice, rough asphalt? Easy: traction. Sand and the rougher forms of concrete/cement are heavily textured (albeit in a low-profile sort of way). Because their surfaces are so varied, they’re able to grab onto the soles of your shoes and create gentle friction as you walk, so it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll go head-over-heels unless you really try to (but why would you even want to do that?).
But things are different as soon as you set foot on smooth surfaces. Because they have a higher polish and are generally far less porous, surfaces like tile, linoleum and sealed concrete allow your feet to almost slide over them, and can become downright dangerous with the addition of water, oil, and other liquids.
Common sense and careful foot placement are usually enough to prevent many slipping accidents from happening, but sometimes they’re just not enough. In environments like warehouses, loading docks, industrial facilities and stages, sometimes you have to just focus on the job at hand, without screening every single step you take. Fast-paced environments in which people are often rushing around while carrying things are in particular need of slip-proofing, and I know just the product for it: Pro-15 Anti-Slip Tape.
Best described as adhesive-backed sandpaper on a roll, Pro-15′s anti-skid tape is made up of abrasive-coated plastic film that’s backed by a super-aggressive adhesive. When you lay strips of this down along spill-prone walkways and the leading edges of stairs, it provides much-needed extra traction that helps to counter the risks of walking with your arms full, or not looking where you’re going. And while it’s not absolutely guaranteed to keep anyone right-side up, it does such a good job that it fits the bill for OSHA’s “slip protection in hazardous work areas” guidelines.
But don’t get the idea that this stuff is only good for workplace safety. If you’re in the habit of regularly puttering around the garage or descending into your basement with armloads of laundry, this may prevent a few painful and embarrassing mishaps. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking about laying down a few pieces on my tough-to-negotiate-by-feel basement steps, because as the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.
Filed under: Electrical, Power and Data Distribution, Workplace Safety
I spend an awful lot of time researching different products, and when it comes to those oriented toward workplace safety, I oftentimes end up reading excerpts from OSHA reports that go into all the gruesome details of on-the-job electricity-related deaths. It always seems that at the root of each tragedy was some simple and ridiculous oversight, and that the fatality could have easily prevented if only the victims had been a little more aware of their surroundings. More than a few of these cases involved power tools or electrical appliances that came into contact with water while they were being operated. It makes you wonder: would these people still be alive if the tools that they were using had been plugged into a GFCI?
One could feasibly argue that GFCI receptacles may not be available at all jobsites, and that work must continue with or without them. But throwing your safety at the mercy of chance is never a good idea, especially when you can bring your own portable GFCI along, wherever the job takes you. A portable GFCI, you ask? Why, yes – meet ReelCraft’s GFCI Outlet Box Reel.
This GFCI-on-a-reel is a lot like a standard reeled industrial-grade extension cord, but with an added bonus: the GFCI-equipped outlet box that happens to be wired onto it. Just plug the extension cord into a wall outlet, and then plug your power tools or appliances into the outlet box’s GFCI receptacles. In addition to providing a safe power source, this reel also eliminates the problem of annoying (and potentially dangerous) cord slack – you don’t have to unroll more extension cord than you need, so there’s much less chance of tripping over it.
Filed under: Test Equipment, Tools and Cases, Workplace Safety
I hate to break it to you, but it looks like the Hard Way, as we know it, is about to go the way of trans fats and non-recyclable grocery bags – that is to say, waaaaaaaay out of style. At least when it comes to gauging the temperature of hot objects, that is. There will be no more hesitant outstretching of shaking hands as you wince in anticipation of singed fingertips. There will be no more blisters or reddened skin to announce to the world, “I should have known better.” So sit up straight and listen up, kids – it’s time to meet the Triplett ProTemp 12.
So what exactly is the ProTemp 12, anyway? Five fun words to pique your excitement: a gun-style infrared thermometer. That’s right. You just pick it up, aim, pull the trigger, and get an instant and precise temperature reading on whatever the thermometer’s laser pointer happens to be resting on. Pretty cool, right? When there’s no need to get too close to hot engine components or pressurized pipes, that automatically means fewer burns for you.
The ProTemp 12 is perfect for use in industrial plants, boiler plants, and garages, but it’s also great for cooking. Specifically, measuring the surface temps of pots and pans. This may sound crazy, but as soon as I found that out, I though of someone who could have really used one of these about 20 years ago. I grew up watching cooking shows on PBS, and mixed in somewhere amongst Julia Child, The Frugal Gourmet, and Yan Can Cook was a show called Madeleine Cooks, hosted by a petite and charming French lady by the name of Madeleine. Now, Madeleine made great stuff and I loved the show, but she did one thing that even I, a kid, considered un peu crazy (albeit extremely amusing). She tested the temperature of her pans with her knuckles. C’est dangereux, non?
I, of course, intend no offense or disrespect to the chef – I just wished she wouldn’t have sacrificed her poor knuckles for perfectly cooked crepes. So this one’s for you, Madeleine – may you let infrared rays do the dirty work, and enjoy life without peeling knuckles.
Filed under: Electrical, Energy Conservation, Workplace Safety
A lot of us worry about carbon monoxide silently and invisibly building up inside our homes, so naturally, we make sure to stay safe with carbon monoxide detectors. But from the business/public safety standpoint, have you ever realized that CO can easily reach dangerous levels in garages and warehouses, too? Any enclosed area that plays host to vehicles and machinery that run on (read: burn) natural gas, wood, coal, or petroleum products can develop deadly high concentrations of carbon monoxide.
In these settings, one answer is to keep ventilation fans running at all times, constantly circulating air so that CO doesn’t have the chance to build up. This generally does the job, but it can also leave facility owners with hefty electric bills, as well as cause an undue amount of wear and tear on the vent fans, which will inevitably need to be replaced every few years when they burn out.
So it’s sort of a Catch 22. If you don’t monitor and control carbon monoxide levels, you put yourself, your employees, and your customers at risk for CO poisoning – or even death. But if you responsibly keep tabs on things and take measures toward maintaining safely breathable air, you’re going to significantly lighten your wallet, as well as consume a lot more electricity than you probably need to. What’s a business owner/property manager to do?
Check out this 3M™ Macurco™ Carbon Monoxide Detector and Fan Controller, that’s what. This CO detection unit actually wires into your fan control system, so that your ventilation units only need to run when a certain level of carbon monoxide is detected in the ambient air. As long as levels remain safe, your fans stay off. But as soon as elevated CO levels are detected, this unit automatically fires up the fans, and leaves them running until the air has been adequately cleared. As a result, the 3M™ Macurco™ control system not only saves lives, but your utilities budget and fan components as well.
How’s that for a happy medium?
Sorry, this item has been discontinued.
Running heavy duty cord covers in closed construction zones or private warehouses is one thing, but if you’re planning on using them in public places, you’re going to have to think about ADA compliance. Heavy duty polyurethane cord covers are no problem for your average pedestrian to step over, but can be tricky, if not impossible, for individuals in wheelchairs to traverse. Because of this, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires high-capacity cord covers to be fitted with ramps and rails that ensure safe crossings for people who are physically disabled.
Luckily, these modular ramps aren’t just easy to obtain, they’re also very simple to install. Take Cross-Guard™ Modular ADA Compliant Access Ramps, for instance. They come in pairs ( to cover both the “up” and “down” slopes), and can be installed by just one person, no tools needed. The ramp sections just snap onto the cord covers, and stay in place. You’re left with smooth, gradual, high-traction slopes that provide smooth crossings for wheelchairs, strollers, carts, and pedestrians, too.
Just like the Linebacker® and Guard Dog® cord covers that they’re compatible with, Cross-Guard™ ADA ramps come in 36″ (3 foot) lengths, which makes things really easy, because you just have to order one set of ramps for every cord cover you need to make compliant – no extra measuring or calculations needed. As a finishing touch, the ramps can be bordered with accessory rails, which keep wheels (and feet) from slipping over the edges during crossings.
When it comes to working on high voltage lines, heavy duty rubber gloves are one of the most important types of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) you can use to prevent shock, electrocution, and burns. With the power to insulate your hands and forearms from deadly electrical current, dielectric rubber gloves can be the difference between life and death if you should come into contact with live electrical circuitry.
But in order to be fully effective, lineworker’s gloves need to be completely intact and free from damage – even a very small hole or tear can compromise a glove’s protective qualities. For this reason, it’s a must for electrical workers to routinely, and very carefully, inspect their rubber gloves for even the smallest signs of damage or deterioration. In the interest of making potentially dangerous flaws easier to notice, Salisbury has created Bashlin PPE Rubber Gloves, which, unlike many other protective gloves on the market, are made up of multiple layers of different colored rubber.
These multicolored layers make it easier for the eye to spot breaches in the electrically-insulating rubber – if there’s a hole in the outer yellow layer, the color below it shows through. Bashlin rubber gloves are made from natural latex, are “cement-dipped” for extra insulation and resistance to liquid permeation, and are available in different lengths and classes to fit different jobs.
Once upon a time, before I landed this cushy desk job in which I just sit on my rear end, writing at a computer all day, I spent 6½ years working in the foodservice industry. If you’ve never experienced that line of work, let me tell you that while it’s far better exercise than your average office job, spending 8-10 hours a day on your feet can take a real toll on your knees and ankle joints. Although it’s always stressed that supportive shoes are key (and they are extremely important), they’re not always enough – sometimes you just need anti-stress floor mats.
While your mind may reason that a floor is a floor, your lower extremities will tell a completely different story. Try walking across different surfaces; you’ll find that carpet and wood flooring have a lot more “give” than concrete and tile floors, both of which are so hard and dense that they have a way of “pushing back” at your body, causing your joints to absorb all of the shock that’s generated from footsteps. Work environments like manufacturing facilities, industrial plants, restaurant kitchens and foodservice stations almost always have hard tile and concrete floors, and need to be treated with cushioned floor mats not only to increase workers’ comfort, but also to prevent long-term injuries and disability.
From line cooks and bartenders to machinists and assembly line workers, individuals who work on their feet need the protection of slip-resistant, anti-fatigue floor mats like the Cushion-Lok™ series by NOTRAX®. These solid PVC vinyl mats stand up to liquid and chemical spills while absorbing footfall impact and increasing traction (and preventing slip-and-fall accidents) with their Grip-Step top abrasive coating. They even have a diamond porthole system that facilitates the drainage of accumulated liquids. Available in solid black, or in black with a highly-visible yellow border.
Until recently, whenever qualified personnel had the task of repairing or performing maintenance on electrical panels, they were required to put the entire thing back together each time they needed to walk away from it, whether or not the task was complete. While this ensured that other workers wouldn’t come along and tamper with the worksite or sustain accidental electrical or mechanical injury while the repair person was away, it meant that, overall, repair jobs took much longer – imagine having to repeatedly screw on and unscrew the protective cover, every single time you stepped away and returned. It could add hours to the job!
But now, thanks to TempCovers™ from Grace Engineering, work can be paused and resumed without wasting precious time fiddling with bolts and screws. Thanks to the fact that they’re bordered with magnetic strips, TempCovers™ protective placards instantly grip onto electrical boxes, and stay firmly in place while you’re away. And just so there are no misunderstandings with other personnel, the entire cover is emblazoned with danger signs and detailed warnings, so that even if you’re not there to fend them off, they’ll be fully aware of the potential danger of the situation. And when you return and are ready to pick up where you left off, all you need to do is pull off the cover and get back to work.
For additional protection, TempCovers™ are made of a UL classified flame-retardant material, and meet all applicable OSHA requirements.