Coronavirus Talk

Coronavirus Talk

Amid a global pandemic, there are thousands of questions running through people’s minds. How do I protect my family? How do I protect my income? How do I filter through all the information being thrown at me? This is certainly not an easy time for anyone. As a safety professional, I wanted to share some thoughts about how to protect yourself and your business during the COVID-19 outbreak.

One important piece of information is to follow the CDC’s or Center for Disease Control’s guidelines. As social media and the news flood you with information, it can be hard to keep up with everything you hear. To cut out some of the pseudo-science, go to cdc.gov for accurate information that is approved by medical professionals and pandemic response teams. WHO or the World Health Organization is also a viable resource. Lastly, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html is a fantastic tool to monitor the virus on a daily basis. This site offers a global and U.S. map that you can reference. This is such a great tool because you can use the zoom function to check outbreaks in specific counties around the country to see exactly how the virus is affecting your immediate area. This is something I monitor daily and recommend everyone does as well.

Next, I wanted to discuss the importance of “doing the little things”. Obviously, there has been government mandates regarding shutting down non-essential businesses, cancelling sporting events, and other entities that promote large gatherings of people, but how can YOU make a difference? Through means such as social distancing, staying at home, washing your hands, and wearing a facemask when in public settings, we can help to flatten the curve. Yes, this may mean giving up some pleasures for a while or holding off on that Lowe’s run to renovate the bathroom, but these small decisions we make everyday are what is vital to saving countless lives. Before you enter a store, think to yourself, is what I’m purchasing essential? If the answer is no, then don’t go out. You may be in great health, but that is not necessarily the case for the people around you.

I wanted to close out the article with two more additional tips that have proven to be effective in fighting the novel coronavirus. These two tips are to eat healthy and exercise. Shocking, right? You’ve probably heard this a million times and will probably hear it a million more times throughout your lifetime. Why? Because it’s effective. I heard a great example on a Podcast I was listening to this week. Think of it like this, whenever your body is infected with the virus, your immune system is at war. The virus is made up of tiny particles that act as it’s “soldiers” to compromise your immune system. So how do you fight against the virus’s soldiers? How do you prevent them invading your territory? You enlist some troops of your own. These troops come in many forms such as vitamins, nutrients, exercise and hydration. By exercising your body, eating healthy foods and staying hydrated, you give your immune system a fighting chance. If you’re living a sedentary lifestyle, eating fast food everyday and neglecting your health – your immune system reflects that. Keep this in mind during the pandemic, and in the future as well. Take care of your body so your body can take care of you.

Important Notice – March 18th, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Dear Valued Customers,

Cee Kay Supply is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and helping our customers to do the same. Because of this, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and following CDC provided guidelines regarding social distancing and other preventative measures. We will be doing everything in our power to continue servicing your needs but will be taking some additional precautions during this trying time to ensure the well-being of both your employees and ours.

All Branch Locations

Starting tomorrow, March 19th, we are requiring all customers to enter through dock entrances only.

With this in mind, we are also encouraging all customers to call-ahead for all orders (Large or Small) in an attempt to limit the amount of interaction inside our stores. Branch hours will continue to be Monday – Friday from 7:30AM – 4:30PM. Below are the branch numbers to place your orders:

O’Fallon, MO – (636) 272-3400

Villa Ridge, MO – (636) 451-2185

O’Fallon, IL – (618) 624-9001

Wood River, IL – (618) 254-4090

 

St. Louis Headquarters

After this Saturday, March 21st, Cee Kay Supply will no longer be open on Saturdays for the foreseeable future. We will continue to be open Monday – Friday from 7AM – 5PM.

With this in mind, we are also encouraging all customers to call-ahead for all orders (Large or Small) in an attempt to limit the amount of interaction inside our headquarters. Please contact us at (314) 644-3500 to place your orders.

Important Notice – March 16th, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Valued Customers,

Cee Kay Supply is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and helping our customers to do the same. Because of this, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and following CDC provided guidelines regarding social distancing and other preventative measures. We will be doing everything in our power to continue servicing your needs but will be taking some additional precautions during this trying time to ensure the well-being of both your employees and ours.

Product delivery signatures

To limit close contact, Cee Kay Supply will no longer be requiring signatures for product deliveries until further notice. We will leave a delivery ticket with the product itself. If you need further proof of delivery, please reach out and we will be happy to accommodate.

Interactions at customers – location of delivery point

We are asking our drivers to use their best judgement when determining drop off points. We know many customers are limiting access to their normal drop off locations. It’s preferred that the delivery and pick up points are made at the loading dock or designated area, to limit any unnecessary contact. We ask that you assist in the transfer of goods at the loading dock, or designated area so we do not have to enter your facility. We understand this may not always be feasible. We ask that you please accommodate these requests in order to maintain the health and safety of all parties involved.

Quarantined Cylinders

If your workplace has experienced an outbreak anywhere in the facility, please communicate with us so potentially contaminated cylinders can be placed into quarantine. If these cylinders are in your possession, please clean them according to your SOP. We are not allowed to receive potentially contaminated goods. They will be re-cleaned again once they are in our possession.

Branch Locations
As a precaution, we are asking that anyone who is or may be infected with the corona virus (COVID-19) to please refrain from entering our stores. This includes anyone who has symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. We appreciate your cooperation to protect the health of our employees and others in the store.

If your business has any change in operations that we need to accommodate, please let us know as soon as possible. Cee Kay Supply is happy to do whatever is necessary to maintain business continuity while maintaining a safe environment. We thank you in advance for your understanding.

Thanks,

Cee Kay Management

Hierarchy of Controls

Hierarchy of Controls

What first comes to mind when you think safety in the workplace? The most common response I get is PPE, or personal protective equipment. The issue with this is that PPE is the acceptance of a known hazard. If PPE is required to perform a job function, you have accepted the fact that there is a level of risk present to require it. So, knowing this, what is the most effective way to control a hazard? The answer is eliminating the issue entirely. With technology being utilized in almost everything we do – eliminating a hazard completely isn’t unrealistic in most cases. For instance, in the gas and welding industry, robotic automated welders are a great way to remove a typical high-hazard job function. Robots aren’t susceptible to “welder’s flash” or other common issues we run into with a human driven work force. However, there will still be instances where eliminating a hazard is not possible. For this reason, Safety Engineers around the globe have adopted the hierarchy of controls, which we will now discuss further.

The hierarchy of controls is a unique take on mitigating risk in the workplace. Typically, it is depicted as a “reverse-pyramid”, with the model portraying the top level as the most effective control measure, and the bottom being the least effective. As mentioned, sitting on top of the pyramid is elimination. Eliminating a hazard entirely will always be the best option. For risks that cannot be removed completely, we turn to substitution. Substitution focuses in on replacing a hazardous substance with a product that offers no, or less risk than the original item being used. An industry-relevant example that comes to mind is the use of oxygen-compatible “leak-check”. When filling oxygen, leak check must be sprayed on the cylinder valve to ensure no product is escaping the from the valve. Instead of removing this process, a product was substituted that contains no oil, grease or any similar ingredients that would be able to combine with oxygen to produce a flammable or explosive mixture. Is there still a risk? Sure. It can still be an irritant if it gets into your eyes, but this product is inherently less dangerous given the nature of its use.

The next two items commonly referred to in this model are Engineering and Administrative control measures. Engineering controls being more effective than Administrative. An engineering control is implemented with the goal of isolating the worker from the hazard that is present. A good example of this would be a wheel guard on a grinder. Grinding materials will produce sparks and debris that could come flying into the operator’s direction, potentially igniting their clothing or becoming trapped inside their eyes or ears. Grinding wheels are notorious for failing as well, which you’ve probably seen pictures of. They can shatter and shrapnel can fly towards the operator. Wheel guards do a great job at deflecting these sparks, debris and shrapnel from the user. Administrative controls focus on limiting one’s exposure to the recognized hazards. For example, a Dry Ice plant uses a modified wood-cutting machine to cut blocks that can be sold and shipped to customers. However, the machine being used produces noise over the recommended levels for an 8-hour shift. An administrative control would be to rotate workers working near the block maker to reduce their exposure. If you had a 4-person crew, 2 workers can operate the block maker for 4 hours and can then switch to the other essential job functions to limit any potential damage to their ears.

Now, as we’ve made our way down the pyramid of control measures, we’ve finally reached the bottom: PPE. Personal Protective Equipment is the least effective control measure in reference to this model. It acts as our “last line of defense” when performing our job duties. Although it is the least effective method for mitigating risk, it is still of the upmost importance to the safety and health of our work force. PPE is our fail-safe when other control measures have failed, it is a necessary redundancy factor that can be the difference between severe injury or even death. Safety glasses, ear plugs, respirators…whatever it may be, these tools were designed with one purpose in mind: protecting the worker. All these methods we have discussed are best utilized in conjunction with one another. Whether you are a safety professional, a line-worker, or a business owner, this model can and should be used to protect yourself and your co-workers alike. I hope this article has been beneficial to all readers. If this information is new to you, take a walk through your facility with these ideals in mind. Be creative and find new and improved ways to make 2020 the safest year on record.

Best Practices for Propane Cylinder Transportation

What is the safest way to secure a propane cylinder?

The only allowable way to transport or store a propane tank is in a position where the safety device is not in contact with liquid product. This means cylinders should be transported in an upright position and be strapped in by means of a ratchet trap or tank vise.

How does Cee Kay advise our customers to safely transport propane in their personal vehicles?

Every individual who utilizes a propane grill, powers a forklift or needs propane for heating may need a tank swapped and transported in a personal vehicle. Cee Kay looks to educate our customers about best safety practices for transporting propane cylinders.

Let’s consider a few key points to make sure they understand before driving off your lot.

  • No single cylinder should contain a propane capacity of more than 45 pounds, and the total combined weight of all the cylinders in an enclosed vehicle should not exceed 90 pounds.
  • All propane cylinders must be secured in the vertical and upright position. Again, the safest way to secure a propane cylinder in a vehicle is strapped in with a rachet strap or tank vise. These tank holders fit tightly around the propane cylinder making them safe and secure.
  • Safety Tip: Securing a propane cylinder with rope or twine is also acceptable, but make sure customers have a good anchor point in their car.

What is the allowable amount of propane you can safely transport in your personal vehicle?

You may transport up to 1,000 pounds of propane in the back of an open pickup truck or trailer. However, the propane cylinders must still be transported in the vertical and upright position. Anything more than 1000 lbs. would require placarding.

  • A 100-pound propane cylinder is heavy and should be loaded carefully and with the help of another person.
    Safety Tip: A full 100-pound cylinder can actually weigh up to 180 pounds, so be sure to assist customers in getting these into the back of their truck or trailer safely.

How do you secure a propane cylinder safely?

Once the propane cylinder is loaded into the back of the truck, find the anchor points. Remember to use a rachet strap or tank vise to secure the cylinder in the vertical, upright position.
Safety Tip: Though forklift cylinders are designed to be used in the horizontal position, make sure the cylinders are transported in the vertical position. When secured to a forklift, there is a pin that locks the cylinder into a specific position, keeping the pressure relief valve in the vapor space of the cylinder. If transported on its side, the cylinder may roll and shift the pressure relief valve to the bottom, in the liquid space of the cylinder.

Safety

Speaking Up About Safety

Safety

Workplace Safety is something that everyone cares about, right? I think we can all agree no one wants to go home in worse shape than which they showed up. So why do we often turn a blind eye when we observe someone performing work in an unsafe way? Maybe you don’t want to step on the toes of a superior? Or maybe you don’t want to get your friend or coworker into trouble? These are just two of the many reasons I’ve heard why people do not speak up after observing dangerous work being performed. The reality of the situation is, declining to say something could cost much more than an uncomfortable confrontation – it could cost someone their life.

According to a study conducted by the American Society of Safety Engineers, only about 40% of workers feel comfortable intervening in a dangerous situation at their workplace. So, let’s do some simple math…100% of workers care about their safety and the safety of their coworkers, but only 40% of these employees feel comfortable speaking up when they observe an unsafe act or condition. This means 60% of our work force will keep walking if they pass a coworker performing their work incorrectly. I think we can all agree this number is way too high – but how do we address and fix this issue that plagues workplaces all over the world?

Unfortunately, there is no “magic” cure all to solve this difficult problem. However, there are many ways that we can go about combatting this issue. One way to improve in this area is to address your company’s safety culture. This best comes from upper management and must be supported by front line managers. Let your employees know that if they see work being done unsafely, they have the power to stop it until it a safer, alternative method is found. Many companies label this “Stop Work Authority” or “You See It You Own It”. This alone does not solve the problem in its entirety, but it gives your employees the confidence that they will not be reprimanded for calling out a possible superior for unsafe work.

Another way we can give our employees the confidence to speak out is to encourage near miss reporting. A near miss is defined as “an incident in which no property was damaged, and no personal injury was sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage or injury easily could have occurred”. Near misses are a great leading indicator, if used properly. Often employees are performing unsafe work out of ignorance – not negligence. By reviewing near misses, we can identify gaps in our employee training program that can be improved upon. Encourage this by handing out gift cards or similar items in reparation for a successfully completed near miss report.

In conclusion, this is a topic that almost every company can improve upon – Ensure you have this conversation with your employees and encourage and support them to exercise their Stop Work Authority. As the old adage goes, it is always better to be safe than sorry. We at Cee Kay encourage you to be an advocate within your company to increase safety awareness. Dealing with some of the products within our industry has an inherent level of risk for those unfamiliar or improperly trained. We are happy to provide access to our technical representatives and educational resources on proper safety precautions if you or your company is utilizing any of our products. All our SDS sheets are available here. We offer free welding training with any new machine purchase and there is a wide variety of material available regarding safe handling of cylinders, welding arc flash protection, grinding, regulator safety or oxy fuel cutting. If you have any questions, concerns or useful tips you would like to share in regards to improving one’s safety culture please contact Erek Downes at: edownes@ceekay.com

Thanks & have a safe 2020!

Gas Safety Checklist

For more information please contact a Cee Kay Supply representative and refer to the proper regulatory governing authority or industry standards for use.

The 2014 AWS Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 30 can be found HERE.