How to Prevent the Risk of Occupational Lung Disease (Silicosis) in Blasting

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | How to Prevent the Risk of Occupational Lung Disease (Silicosis) in BlastingCurrently, lung diseases have an increasing frequency and remain a problem of public health worldwide. The causes of lung diseases in the 21st century are directly related to the industrialization level of a country and, moreover, to the level of pollution, respectively the outdoor and indoor air pollution. Exposure to air pollutants has a substantial negative effect on human health.

In developed countries, the major components of polluted air are: nitrogen dioxide (due to combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas), ozone that can be found in the urban smog (due to the exposure of nitrogen dioxide and hydrocarbons to the solar radiation in the atmosphere), and suspended particles (solid or liquid, small-sized particles, due to industrial activity, traffic). Further, burning of biomass fuels (such as wood, vegetal and animal waste) and passive smoking are the main factors of indoor air pollution in the developing countries. Lung infections, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer are among the most common lung diseases that are caused by prolonged exposure to pollution.

It was noticed that the lung diseases occur more frequently when workers carry activities in higher risk sectors, such as: industry, mining, metal extraction, especially when labour protection laws are not followed and the workers are not properly equipped with protective equipment. Silicosis is an extremely dangerous occupational disease that occurs more often on blasting workers that operates with toxic blasting agents, such as yellow sand (silica sand). Silicosis is caused by the inhalation of very fine particles of free silica crystals (in microns, µ) which are embedded in the lung alveolar cells. As these particles are installing, they cannot be removed from the body by any type of treatment. Further, as a defensive mechanism against foreign bodies into the organism, these particles are covered by tissue, leading to the formation of multiple nodules into the lungs, that cause short breathing, other types of complications, cancer and death. To prevent the risk of silicosis, companies must be aware of the risk they take in case of non-compliance with the provisions regarding the use of non-toxic blasting agents and proper protective equipment for their workers.

The use of yellow sand (silica sand) as a blasting agent was forbidden in multiple European countries and is not recommended by professional bodies that act in the blasting field: NACE, FROSIO and SSPC, as it contains up to 90% free silica particles in the breathing air, which carries an extremely high risk for silicosis. A non-toxic blasting material contains less than 0,1% free silica in the breathing air, during blasting operations. Among non-toxic and ecological materials that are recommended for blasting operations, there are: (1) different types of slag for open space blasting (copper slag), (2) stainless steel grit and stainless steel cut wire shots, with multiple operating cycles, for blasting and shot peening the surfaces where no ferrous contamination is allowed (Aluminium, Copper, Titan surfaces), (3) angular steel grit and steel shots for fast and aggressive blasting operations in blasting cabinets, for extremely tough surfaces (granite, steel), (4) different types of corundum (white fused aluminium oxide, brown fused aluminium oxide) and red garnet for blasting where no ferrous contamination is allowed on the base surface, for open space blasting, (5) glass beads for cleaning fine instruments, in pharmaceutics and aeronautics industry.

While using non-toxic and ecological blasting agents, the lung diseases risks are decreasing further when using blasting protection equipment that is compliant with the provisions in the field. Choosing a certified blasting helmet is of major importance for the operators’ health. A blasting helmet that is in accordance with the provisions of OSHA (US) and / or ANSI offer a great protection on impact, noise and against dust during blasting operations. Further, a compliant blasting helmet provides an equal distribution of its weight on the operators’ shoulders to reduce pressure on the neck, allows a free movement of the head during operations, provides a good visibility through the observation window, and allows warming or cooling the breathing air.

Blasting equipment may endanger operators’ health if recommended maintenance is not carried out regularly. Repairs must be carried out by authorized and qualified personnel, in accordance with machine wiring diagrams, without making any kinds of changes to the functionality of the devices. Consumables, such as nozzles, blasting hose, air hose must be periodically inspected and replaced when worn.

GritSablare is national leader in providing a wide range of ecologic and non-toxic blasting materials, that contain less than 0,1% free silica sand in the breathing air: copper slag, stainless steel grit, stainless steel cut wire shots, angular steel grit, steel shots, white fused aluminium oxide, brown fused aluminium oxide, red garnet, glass beads.

Is Your Business As Safe As It Could Be?

There are a million and one things to consider when launching or about to start a new business: staffing, products, budget, salary, vacations, clients, and so much more. But, one thing that all businesses have in common is that you, as a business owner, are responsible for ensuring that your premises, your employees, and your customers are all safe. When it comes to safety, there are so many different areas to cover that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or scared about missing something. Not to fear, we’ve put together a simple guide to workplace safety for any new business. Take a look.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | Is Your Business As Safe As It Could Be?

Clamp down on cyber security

We’ve all heard too many stories about cyber theft and ransomware, and the sad reality is that they’re still out there, and no one is safe since you never know when they’ll come after you. Hackers nowadays have tactics that allow them to access files without being detected unless you have a trained eye, which is a worrying concept, especially if you’re keeping important company information. Fortunately, there are tools that you can download and install on your computer to protect you from many types of computer intrusions. While free versions of these services are excellent, they usually only cover the most common trojans. Invest in comprehensive cyber security for the sake of your company so that it remains safe and you have one less thing to worry about.

Provide training for your staff

Your team will need training on a multitude of things to ensure they’re safe in the workplace. From extensive training on dangerous machinery to how to stay safe online, you’ll need to make a list of everything your team needs to complete – and stay on top of it too. Then there’s the matter of personal safety. Have you thought about a scenario where someone gravely injures themself or becomes unwell to the point of not breathing? What would you do? Would anyone know what to do to save that person’s life? It’s a good idea to encourage your staff to get a CPR certification online so that if the worst happens, your team has the knowledge to spring into action. You may also consider taking this too as it’s useful in all walks of life.

Equipment management

Whether you and your employees are using computers or operating large, dangerous machinery, there is always the possibility that the equipment will fail and become dangerous. Most injuries caused by machinery and equipment are caused by a lack of sufficient training, therefore make sure that all of your employees are properly trained on how to use all sorts of machinery and equipment in your business. This not only protects people from harming themselves, but it also protects you if a lawsuit arises as a result of their training. You should also make sure that your equipment maintenance management is up to date so that you can rest assured that your machinery and equipment are in good operating order. Machinery is typically serviced once a year, but if you notice any changes, have them repaired immediately to avoid any injury.

Food safety

Whether or not you’ve worked in the catering sector, you’ve almost certainly come across food safety information. The essentials, whether taught in school or by parents, are to keep your kitchen and everything in it clean at all times. If you’re running a business that will be serving food, make sure you and your employees are aware of the requirements that apply to safely storing food. This will cover the temperatures at which your food should be stored, as well as ensuring that it is kept free from any substances that could make someone sick. Read up on food safety thoroughly so that you have all of the facts and can avoid any harm.

Hazards in the workplace

Every workplace has its own set of risks. There are risks waiting around every corner, whether it’s a trailing wire that no one has thought to take out of the path or someone running with scissors. Making a handbook that you and your employees have constant access to as a reminder of safety standards that must be followed is a wonderful solution to tackle this issue. When you hire new employees, give them a copy to read and sign so they can learn all of the safety standards and so you’re protected in the event of a lawsuit. While the safety of human lives is vital, you should always consider the possibility of your business being compromised and defend it as well.

Safeguarding your team

When dealing with the general public, you’re always at risk of being attacked by an irate customer. It’s a tragic fact that 425,000 employees were verbally or physically abused by customers in 2017. Make sure you have a procedure in place to protect your employees from abuse if and when the situation occurs. Signs saying that no form of abuse would be tolerated are always a good idea to post throughout your premises. Protect your employees from injury in any way so that they can continue to do their jobs effectively.

Install silent alarms

Working in a hostile environment is something that no one should have to deal with. Employees in some roles, on the other hand, may feel threatened by a member of the public. Patients in doctor’s offices, for example, will occasionally express their dissatisfaction to the receptionist. If they don’t get what they want, they can become aggressive, and you must safeguard your employees from this type of situation, whether physically or verbally. Installing silent alarms under desks will discreetly alert the rest of the team to a problem, allowing it to be rectified without harming anyone.

Install security cameras

Someone attempting to break into your business and steal merchandise or money will always be a threat to you as a business owner. Unfortunately, you never know when someone might try to break in, so it’s a good idea to invest in security cameras and alarms so that if someone does try to rob you, you and the police will be notified as soon as the alarms go off. Security cameras might also help in catching the perpetrator. They’re also useful for making sure that everyone in your building is safe at all times.

Hire security guards

If you manage a high-risk business, such as a nightclub, you should think about hiring security guards to keep an eye on the doors and ensure that everyone is safe. Perhaps you sell high-value things and are concerned about theft or violence. Hiring security guards to keep everyone secure would not only provide you peace of mind, but it will also significantly dissuade potential robbers or attackers.

Protect personal information

Finally, we addressed cyber security before, but if you’re not careful with what you enter online, it might lead to identity theft. After you’ve set up your cyber security, you should start thinking about how you’ll protect whatever information you have on your employees. It’s possible that you have bank account information, addresses, and perhaps phone numbers recorded somewhere. Keep all of your information in a secure location, such as a physical safe or a portable hard drive that you can carry with you at all times. If you’re in the medical industry you’ll have access to your patient’s personal information. Using secure programs and plenty of security measures will help keep their information safe too. You should learn more about how to avoid identity theft and take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.

Brands are Failing with Their Responsibility to Protect Consumers as UK Fraud Cost Rises to £137 Billion

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Consumer Protection|Brands are Failing with Their Responsibility to Protect Consumers as UK Fraud Cost Rises to £137 BillionIt appears cybercriminals are having a feast scamming online, sparing no internet user, especially the vulnerable many who completely always trust every link sent to them in your brand name.

You can help, even though not entirely, but in some way, and this includes leveraging tools to fight against the ravaging internet crimes. These criminal activities only end up making e-commerce threatened.

Due to the growing insecurity and the rise of businesses and the need to educate customers more than ever, Skurio has investigated the current state of fraud on consumers to establish what companies could be losing, and you can click here to see their interactive slider that demonstrates the devastating daily cost of UK fraud.

UK Fraud Cost Surge Currently £137 Billion: What Items Are Experiencing the Effect
Cyber fraud is costing the UK economy approximately £137,000,000,000 annually and this means that consumers are missing out on being able to purchase various items that are used daily in society.

Here’s a breakdown of some of these consumer items that could have been purchased had it not been due to fraud daily:

Cups of Coffee:136,488,169.
Netflix Monthly Subscriptions: 62,661,513
Cinema Tickets: 55,606,291
Family Packs of 16 Toilet Rolls: 44,157,937.
Full Tanks of Petrol: 7,325,184
Smartwatches: 990 349
PlayStation 5: 834,112
Round the World Flight Tickets: 75,068

Cybercriminals Not Pitying Brands and Customers Amidst Post Pandemic Effect

Internet fraudsters are not retreating, and newer strategies are finding their place in the system to beat customers’ intelligence. Pharming, phishing, and many other defrauding techniques are also taking new forms, thereby becoming even more complicated for consumers to tell what from what.

For instance, website cloning and the use of your domain name is a big vulnerability. Even if a customer would manage to tell that the site is fake, the look and feel of the site confuses them and they end up trading with the account.

Typosquatting is a name for fake websites using domain names similar to that of your business. They will also add payment options, so that site users think they are dealing with the website. Sometimes, your customers end up on the website due to an error when trying to contact your site. Not only will a fake domain copy your site name, but they could also go on to promote the website, which means they will be gathering even more targets to victimise in your name.

Smishing is also a thing. In this case, a scammer sends out tons of messages containing malicious links to users. The links usually point to their fake website which is designed to store the information provided by the person falling victim.

How about finding your site credentials on the dark web? Well, these credentials could be used to jeopardise your integrity in the future, if not now.

Business-Oriented Response by Businesses to Curb Fraud

Unfortunately, you are responsible for safeguarding users that you think could be using your website. Your domain registrar cannot do so much, likewise the government. Therefore, you must take the fight against scammers if you must ensure to preserve your integrity.

The governments are contributing nonetheless. For instance, the US and Dutch law enforcement, under Operation Bayonet, had seized and disabled AlphaBay and Hansa, two prominent dark web marketplaces.

In your case, to respond swiftly to scammers’ attacks, consider the following:

  • Brand trademark. If you must justify and hasten takedowns, you want to trademark your company. Trademarking your company does not stop phishers, but it at least gives you the edge to take them down when you discover them.
  • Top-level domain registration. You can register as many top-level domains as you can that are similar to your brand. If you do not do it, scammers will.
  • Educate customers. Customer education can be vital in the fight against internet fraudsters. You simply have to develop clear and regular communications policies that inform your customers about the information your business can request from them.
  • Invest in the domain and dark monitoring solutions. You detect and eliminate phishing websites early before their presence leverages customer ignorance, which affects your brand reputation.

Final Thoughts

Dark web and domain monitoring tools are sophisticated ways to discourage fraudsters. Nonetheless, ensure to communicate your policies regularly with the customer. It should contain what personal information you collect, why and when, as well as the information you do not require or the only web pages they are supposed to enter their information on.

Monthly Office Checks Your Business Should Run

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Office Checks|Monthly Office Checks Your Business Should RunWhen it comes to creating a safe and positive working environment, you’re always going to need to stay ahead of the curve. You need to be able to anticipate potential hazards within your workspace, and eliminate them wherever possible to keep your team producing the great work they do day in and day out.

But how can you be sure the office is a good place to be? Well, as long as you’re running monthly checks to ensure health and safety is top priority, you’ll be well on your way to crafting an unproblematic workplace. Here are the kind of checks you should be running.

Fire Safety

Fires are the most common hazard in the modern workplace, next to tripping and falling. And in a commercial setting, a fire can happen in a dozen different places at once! From equipment overheating, to someone taking a smoke break in the wrong place, to an electrical fire in the server room, you’ve got your work cut out for you checking here.

You’re going to want to keep multiple fire extinguishers on site at all times, as well as check them as regularly as you perform maintenance on office equipment. Similarly, make sure all potential fuel sources (including waste paper baskets!) are disposed of in a timely and safe manner.

Air Quality

A lot of toxins can leak into the air in a commercial setting; from dust to foreign particles to actual harmful gasses, there are a lot more hazards in the modern workplace than there’s ever been before! And if you’re going to be spending at least 8 hours a day in your office, you owe it to your team’s health to check on the air quality on a monthly basis.

Most of all, keep an eye on your AC or central heating function. A lot can leak through these two systems, and making sure you know the warning signs before a gas accumulates to a hazardous degree is essential. You can read more about keeping your air pure in a workplace setting, but it’s mostly simple care and maintenance; make sure those AC vents have been washed out by a cleaning team!

Mental Health Assurance

You’re also going to want to think about the human element, in terms of health and safety, as most inspection criterias now include mental health and wellbeing as part of the pass rate. And not only that, but if you can’t be sure that your employees even enjoy being in the workplace, how can you ensure they’ll do their best work?

You need to keep work exciting and/or challenging within your office, as well as define the job expectations as clearly as possible. You’ll also want to keep work hours as flexible as possible, and never expect an employee to stay beyond the average 8 hour working period. It’s just good practice this way!

Your office needs checking out; keep health and safety in mind for a much more productive workday.

Do you need a panic alarm? The pros and cons

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Panic Alarm|Do you need a panic alarm? The pros and consPanic Alarms are one of those things that you would rather have and not need than need and not have. They can provide security, assurances and safety for both yourself, your workplace or your home and can trigger immediate help from the local authorities. They are simple to use, often incorporating a button which activates the alarm at a touch. It will immediately contact local authorities and direct them to the location of the alarm. With devices that are compact and easy to use, a panic alarm may be one of the best purchases you make when it comes to your safety.

Wired vs Wireless

The difference between these is pretty self-explanatory. With a wired system, the panic alarm is situated at a fixed point. This is much more common in workplaces where, depending on the job that you do, you stand nearby one at all times. However, a wireless one can be carried around by a person and is much more useful if working alone or for personal use when out travelling. Wireless systems provide convenience for the user but are more susceptible to wear and tear than the standard wired ones that are available.

Pros:

Panic alarms that are wireless are often small enough to be easily carried and importantly concealed. This means that should you need to use it, the aggressor may be caught unawares by the local authorities when they arrive. This feature is often combined with a silent alarm that so that you don’t give away that you have contacted help. This may keep the situation calm and keep you in a safer position.

Panic alarms are also powered by electricity and their own battery. This applies mostly to the wired systems as they are connected to the mains. They will always have a backup battery so that should a power cut strike you will still be able to use the system. Likewise, a wireless system will usually have two batteries, with one acting as a backup should the other die or malfunction.

Finally, these systems are usually simple to set up, especially the portable wireless systems. This is because the portable systems are used predominantly by children or the elderly. Some are even designed as bracelets that are easily concealed and yet accessible for the user.

Cons:

It seems hard to point out cons for an alarm system but there are always some. One thing to be careful of is false alarms. This can happen on both types of system. Wireless systems are more likely to malfunction. They usually experience more damage due to their small size and usage. A wired system, on the other hand, relies on a button you push that can hit by accident.

Also, wireless systems always have the fear that they drop out of range or frequency, so this is something that should be taken into consideration

Do you need a Panic Alarm?

Any business will always benefit for some kind of security measures. Personal systems will always come down to personal preference and situations. Weigh up the pros and cons and see if it makes sense for you to purchase one.