Getting A Grip On Safety Click for full pdf article
Today’s biological hazards in the workplace have become increasingly more dangerous than in years past. As diseases like HIV and Hepatitis reach epidemic proportions and Avian Bird Flu begin to escalate, health and safety concerns have taken center stage with employers and employees alike. From the front lines of law enforcement, fire/rescue, Hazmat and military to the variety of risks commonly confronted by custodial and electrical workers, these hazards and others create fear for many involved.
From simple bruises and abrasions to more serious concerns such as cuts and sticks from various sharps like razors and needles that potentially harbor these deadly pathogens, workers should always remain alert and exercise every possible precaution to insure their safety. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as employees are either not properly educated on the seriousness of these risks or they simply choose not to take the necessary precautions when issued protective equipment.
Those employees that are "in the know" and take these threats seriously do so out of a genuine fear of potentially becoming infected by some blood borne pathogen which may lead to time off from work, numerous extremely unpleasant medical treatments and possibly even losing their lives. Additionally, they worry about how such an incident might affect their families. On the flip side of the coin, those employees that do not fall into this category are the ones that feel as though they are impervious to harm and that in the event they get injured that it will only affect them and only them. These individuals do not fully understand that when they become injured this becomes a serious problem for all of those around them such as their co-workers, employers and especially their family. This mindset has proven to be tremendously detrimental and costly on many levels.
As for employers, many fear the aftermath they must face following an employee injury, especially with regards to overall employee moral which may lead to decreased productivity, and more so, to the exorbitant financial costs commonly associated with each instance such as workmaní¢s compensation claims and potential legal actions.
In addition to the obvious threats workers face such as cuts, pricks, scrapes and abrasions, many endure such problems as electrical and chemical mishaps and in some industries sexual harassment claims. These are all very real concerns that plague a vast number of occupations both governmental and private sector alike. Fortunately, many of these injuries can be avoided if proper preventative measures are implemented and strictly enforced.
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Who do these concerns affect?
Virtually any job that requires workers to use their hands to search, clear or clean an individual, property or areas are at risk. Due to the fact that diseases like HIV and Hepatitis are running so rampant, employees these days must assume that anyone or anything they come into contact with might be a potential threat to their health and safety. Jobs like law enforcement that continuously conduct suspect pat downs, cell, baggage and vehicle searches are at extremely high risk. Years ago an officerí¢s biggest fear was being shot while in the field. Nowadays, that fear has been over shadowed by that of being stuck with an infected drug needle while conducting a routine pat down or search. The same fear holds true for those in other occupations such as custodial or clean up services. These workers never know what they may come into contact with while simply going about their jobs. For example, a maid service cleaning a hotel room reaches to change a pillow only to find that they have just been stuck by a diabeticí¢s needle that also happens to be Hepatitis positive. Or perhaps an EMT rushing to save an injured personí¢s life and while attempting to remove the victimí¢s shirt accidentally gets cut by a blood stained knife used in a recent assault. These examples are all too real and just some of the extremely dangerous risks workers face while simply doing their jobs.
How big is the problem?
According to the CDC, to date more than 1,000,000 people are HIV positive and of those over 440,000 are infected with AIDS. Just in 2004 alone, more than 40,000 people were diagnosed with HIV & AIDS and nearly 20,000 have died from the disease. With regards to Hepatitis, more then 450,000 new cases are reported each year and over 5,500 deaths resulting from Hepatitis A, B, C & D. Relate these numbers to various occupations like law enforcement and one can see just how serious of a problem is at hand. For instance, according to the Department of Criminal Justice, 31% of state inmates at the time of their arrest were using drugs and 28% of all deaths in state prisons were directly related to AIDS. Furthermore, there are over 18.5 million diabetics in the US alone. How many of them are also infected with HIV, Hepatitis or some other disease? This is but a small sampling of the potential biological hazards workers must contend with on a daily basis.
Is there a solution?
Much like with many problems that plague society, there is never simply one element that will eliminate any given problem, but more so a combination of things that together will provide a positive end result. The key to reducing, or possibly even eliminating, these types of problems, lie within structuring, implementing and enforcing preventive policies and procedures.
The solution must begin with proper education combined with real world applications. Workers must not only be made aware of these potential dangers, but also, they must change their way of thinking so that they approach their daily tasks with proper respect and precaution each and every time. One cannot "cherry pick" the scenario as to what they feel might pose a serious risk, but rather they should assume that there is always an extreme threat to their well being and approach each situation with great caution.
Once a worker is thoroughly educated as to what might present a danger and how they should combat that danger, they must then maximize their safety by arming themselves with optimal protection prior to engaging the threat at hand. At this point, responsibility should fall upon the employers to make certain that their employees are not only issued the necessary protective gear, but also enforce the use of such equipment.
These days it is very common for a worker to use protective gloves as part of their normal routine. From the simple latex or plastic style to more specialized gloves such as Kevlar, these are all a very good start, but are far from adequate protection. Gloves are not 100% effective from such things as very small fragments or needles sticks and the user must be conscious of this fact at all times. The only way to ensure one does not get injured in such a manner is to either abstain from interaction with the object in question or employ a device that offers sufficient "stand off distance" between the users hands and with whatever potential hazard they may come into contact.
In order to overcome such a problem, implementation of a device that not only offers adequate protection, but also allows the user to conduct their job efficiently and effectively is required. Many modern day health directors consider the Ampel Probe to be a mandatory instrument in their efforts to help protect personnel. The Ampel Probe is a hand held safety device specifically designed with these types of concerns in mind and offers many benefits to the user such as:
- Easy to use by both right and left-handed people
- Helps protect your hands from injury and exposure to blood borne pathogens by providing critical stand off distance
- Neutralizes sexual harassment incidences during individual pat downs
- Prevents evidence cross contamination for those working in the forensics field
- Highly sensitive thermoplastic construction provides tactile feedback
- Precision interlocking teeth securely grip objects
- Heat tolerant up to 325F degrees
- Non-conductive, non-sparking
- Exceeds OSHA requirements
- Lightweight and extremely durable
- Low maintenance
- Lifetime warranty
- Saves you time and money
- Places the power to control one’s safety back in the user’s hands
Does the Ampel Probe work?
The Ampel Probe is currently being used by professionals around the world to help protect their health and safety as it has been doing so since its invention. Originally designed for use by law enforcement, the Ampel Probe has been proven time and time again to be a valuable instrument for those in the field. A Missouri law enforcement officer told Ampel Probe that the Probe is not another gadget to wear or store in your box but an essential tool to protect your life in so many ways, everyday. Personally, during my years in Special Operations and as a First Responder in the medical field, I wish I could have had access to at least one Ampel Probe tool. The manipulation and especially the stand off distance provided by the tool is essential to the peace officer, bomb technician, investigator and paramedic whether you are collecting evidence or using them to conduct personal pat down searches." Same holds true for the custodial and clean up industries as a leading California based clean up company CEO said, "The Ampel Probe is the smart choice... it’s easy to use, reduces the number of glove changes, ití¢s the fastest way to get a new employee online without having to worry about them, and it’s a one-time cost write off that can be charged as a supply item for critical jobs. Bottom line... it does what it claims." Finally, a national insurance company stated that, "we do not endorse" any products for our law enforcement clients, however, when we find a unique product such as yours, we feel comfortable in recommending they consider adapting the product to prevent and reduce losses."
About Protective Outfitters
With all of these concerns at hand, Protective Outfitters has made its mission to provide safety solutions to those that desperately need protection on the job. We at Protective Outfitters realize that the world is not a safe place to live. Although we cannot always control the various elements each of us may face on a day-to-day basis, we can do something to greatly reduce the risks one takes. Since Protective Outfitters began, we have spent extensive time working with a wide variety of industry experts in order to gain a greater understanding of the risks closely associated with the various job markets. In doing so, we have been able to apply our findings to help guide Protective Outfitters towards improving safety related solutions for its customers both current and future alike. The Protective Outfitters family encourages everyone to do all that they can in order to help protect themselves and in turn protect their families.
More about the Ampel Probe
The Ampel Probe is a safe, effective device to protect law enforcement, public safety, military, hazardous waste and custodial personnel, as well as, a variety of other professionals from health hazards involved in handling potentially harmful and / or infectious materials. The Ampel Probe safety tool acts as an extension of the user's hand. This device provides valuable stand off distance, in essence, a life barrier between the user and potential harm. The Ampel Probe allows the user to pat, grip or move objects or materials without risking direct contact with their hand. Utilizing the Ampel Probe adds up to two very important points. First, by properly protecting the user and allowing them to safely and efficiently do their job, the Ampel Probe reduces personnel downtime, workmaní¢s compensation claims, and a number of other costly factors that can add up in a hurry. The Ampel Probe has been proven to save users time and money. Secondly, and most importantly, the Ampel Probe does exactly what it was designed to do and that is to help save lives. There is absolutely no reason to use your hands and risk exposure to harmful or infectious materials. The Ampel Probe, helps to insure your safety and inevitably the safety of your family. Let the Ampel Probe take the risks!
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Call Protective Outfitters at 772-242-3345 to gain a better understanding on how the Ampel Probe may specifically improve work environment health and safety conditions for your personnel.