DuraLabel Label Printers & Supplies

This blog features the latest news and information about the DuraLabel label printer, DuraLabel software and supplies for the DuraLabel. We'll also include information about related products and services, as well as general tips for creating and using labels and signs. Thanks for taking a look at our blog. We hope to see you here regularly.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Check heat safety on your phone

OSHA is now offering a free heat safety app for the iPhone and Android. The new Heat Safety Tool allows you to estimate heat risk levels anywhere you and your phone goes.

Working in the heat is always a big safety concern this time of year. Exposure to heat can cause illness and even death. The most serious heat caused illness is heat stroke. Other heat illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat cramps and rash, are additional causes for concern.

Heat stroke occurs when the body's temperature regulatory system fails and sweating becomes inadequate. The body's only effective means of removing excess heat is compromised with little warning to the victim that a crisis stage has been reached.

A heat stroke victim's skin is hot, usually dry, red or spotted. Body temperature is usually 105oF or higher, and the victim is mentally confused, delirious, perhaps in convulsions, or unconscious. Unless the victim receives quick and appropriate treatment, death can occur.

With OSHA's Heat Safety Tool installed, you have vital safety information available in the palm of your hand to immediately calculate the heat index for the worksite and risk levels. A simple click allows you to receive protective-measure reminders so you take the right steps at each risk level. 

Reminders help you ensure your crews are drinking enough fluids, taking rest breaks. It will help you adjust work operations, gradually build up workloads for new workers, provide heat illness sign and symptom training and monitor each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. The app even supplies plans for dealing with a heat illness emergency.

Get the jump on heat illnesses! Download the app here

Friday, June 22, 2012

Can smart phones be used to improve safety?

Click to watch video
Google just introduced a new app that helps organizations coordinate workers using a smart phone's built-in GPS.

The technology isn't new, but the application and software makes it a lot more user friendly and intuitive.

Google Maps Coordinate can display worker locations on a Google Map, making it easy to assign jobs to the nearest available team member. By getting real-time visibility into where teams are and what jobs they are doing, work can be scheduled in a smarter, more efficient way.

When your organization uses Maps Coordinate jobs can be easily assigned to the nearest worker so more tasks can be completed in a shorter amount of time.

Administrators can then dispatch jobs with the confidence that an individual's location is correct. You can even upload your facility's floor plans, and locate workers and jobs indoors based on wifi information.

Just think how real time worker tracking can improve your organization's safety! Getting ideas???

Oh... by the way, you have until Sept 1st to purchase this app for only $15. Sign up here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Change safety cultures with Kaizen

In this modern day, where information is so readily available, there are still organizations that have yet to embrace safety. Those failing to do so are often blinded only by a lack of data or just bad data.

Many well-intentioned safety supervisors have worked in this environment, but are left helpless without management's full support. Unfortunately, the lack of support is often due to old numbers that don't support the cost of developing a safety culture.

Kaizen can help inject some new numbers into organizations so its difficult for upper management to look the other way on safety. The National Science Foundation is now supporting a study of the philosophy, which could yield some interesting ammunition for Health & Safety Managers now working in unsafe cultures.

Researchers at Oregon State University and Virginia Tech have partnered with nine different businesses to identify Kaizen "event" factors most critical to short-term and long-term performance improvements. The term "event" is used in the study to describe " ... workshops where employees try to accomplish as much actual Kaizen as possible."

Early reports in the study are promising. Researchers say most participating team members believe Kaizen will have a positive impact on the work area. Some organizations are already finding the philosophy is helping create a culture of continual improvement and will sustain improved levels of performance. Not all organizations are, however, finding success in the early stage of this study. Some organizations report work area performance actually degraded under Kaizen. Some to pre-event performance levels.

If you work in safety, this study will be well-worth watching closely. Results indicating efficiency and cost savings could create an excellent vehicle to persuade some organizations to listen to your safety improving ideas - especially when good safety is shown to also improve efficiency. 

Since Kaizen is something a company adopts from top to bottom, it impacts everyone. Managers must seek ideas for efficiency improvement from workers. Upper management, in turn, must support these improvements, which opens the door to sustaining a safety program for the long run.  

That's why Kaizen isn't just for production. The impact of implementation reaches all corners of an organization and opens the door to culture change. Production managers may be the first to embrace it, but they will also be much more open to implementing your ideas to improve safety.

To order your FREE Best Practices Guide to Kaizen today visit this page.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Lockout/tagout in waste management is criticial

Today's waste management is more of a science than anything else. Many collection facilities must store, separate and then find a permanent home for a myriad of waste types. Everything from hazardous waste to recyclables takes additional space and energy to glean from the system. New equipment is making it easier to find and separate a wide range of waste types, but these advancements aren't necessarily eliminating injuries.

Equipment maintenance presents many hazards

Approximately 3 million workers service equipment in the United States. OSHA statistics show these workers face the greatest risk of injury when lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. OSHA research has found compliance with the lockout/tagout standard prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.

A study conducted by the United Auto Workers (UAW) found that 20% of the fatalities (83 of 414) that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures, specifically lockout/tagout procedures.

Workers need to be better trained than ever to operate the  machinery used in this line of work. It's not just a good idea; it's the law. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 requires it. One of the best ways to promote lockout/tagout procedures at your facility is to post them directly on equipment or at a nearby, strategic location. There's no limit to label size. When a DuraLabel printer is used, long procedures can be printed and tiled so the size accommodates your needs. Keep in mind, the following procedure is just an example. You'll need to develop your own procedures for your specific equipment. Make sure to include start-up procedures with any LOTO procedure.

1 -  Notify affected employees that a lock-out or tag-out system is going to be utilized and the reason therefore.  The authorized employee shall know the type and magnitude of energy that the machine or equipment utilizes and shall understand the hazards thereof.

2 -  If the machine or equipment is operating, shut it down by the normal stopping procedure (call control room operator, depress stop button, open toggle switch, etc.)

3 -  Operate the switch, valve, or other energy isolating device(s) so that the equipment is isolated from its energy source(s).  Stored energy (such as that in springs, elevated machine members, rotating flywheels, hydraulic systems, and air, gas, steam, or water pressure, etc.) must be dissipated or restrained by methods such as repositioning, blocking, bleeding down, etc.

        A.    If there is a possibility of re-accumulation of stored energy to a hazardous level, verification of isolation shall be continued until the maintenance or repair is completed, or until the possibility of such accumulation no longer exists.


        1)    Have a qualified electrician turn off the source of electrical energy if the equipment is electrically energized.

        2)    Lock-out/Tag-out the energy isolating devices with assigned individual lock(s) or tag(s).

        3)    Verification of Isolation (electrical only):  After ensuring that no personnel can be exposed and as a check on having disconnected the electrical energy source, call the control room operator and have the equipment controls placed in the “Manual” mode and attempt to activate the equipment,  the control room operator must verify that they cannot start the equipment. The control room operator must next place the controls in the “Local” mode of operation.  Maintenance/servicing personnel must attempt to start the equipment using the local push button or other normal operating controls at the field location to make certain the equipment will not operate.  The control room operator must return the controls back to the “Manual” mode of operation and make necessary entries in the lock-out log in the control room. (Verification procedures are located in each group lock-out instructions box in electrical rooms).


4 -    De-energize, control, or eliminate any remaining energy sources such as air, hydraulic, gravity, or potential motion and install any necessary additional control devices and or lock-out warning tags.
5 -    The equipment should now be properly locked out or tagged out.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Safety reminders for mining

Mines are no place to forget about hazards. If the equipment at your mine isn't reminding workers to beware of hazards, workers are likely forgetting about them.

When outfitting your mine for safety, make sure visual communication is incorporated into your program. Labels and signs can be posted at strategic locations to remind workers of dangers near hazard locations. That way, potential risks can't be overlooked.

Today's industrial labels and signs are made of amazingly tough materials that adhere to just about anything. They even retain printed hazard information for years in the sun and rain.

Labels can be much bigger too. Today's label printers output sizes up to 9" tall. This allows you to communicate even more information and with bigger fonts. Larger sizes help workers read safety information from safe distances and make it easier to tile banner size signs.

Many mines have large message boards at mine entrances. With an industrial printer in-house, you can print important messages, as big as you want, for your workers on-demand and with the toughest labeling supplies on the market.

DuraLabel will be holding a webinar June 13th to discuss how industrial labeling can help your mine improve safety and efficiency. Sign up here


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

QR code your way to organization

When it comes to organization, there are fewer and fewer reasons for a business to fail from a lack of it. Advancements in technology have made it incredibly easy to track inventories, assembly processes, deliveries and just about every element in any business's value-stream map.

New technologies, however, still have limitations. If you're feeding technology garbage, it's almost always going to give you the same thing back. Bill Gates once said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

Gates was spot-on when it comes to industrial facility organization. In fact, his quote looks like something straight out of a book on Lean Manufacturing. In industrial speak, his quote could be translated to say something like: if your facility isn't already successfully operating on Lean, applying new technology is only going to expose greater inefficiencies.

Sample QR Code
This, alone, is probably why so many industrial facilities fail to embrace new technologies. They just aren't ready for it.

Up to now QR codes, or Quick Response codes, have met this fate in industrial facilities. Mostly, because so few are prepared for the level of organization a system like this can bring to a process. If your facility is considering converting to a system of QR coding, make sure a solid foundation of Lean is already in place. This will make the benefits of applying this new technology easy to identify and ensure it sees continued use.   

At this point you may be asking what advantage does QR codes have over barcodes. Basically, QR codes store more information, can be scanned with most smart phone devices and interface with internet. OK... those are handy things, but how do they apply to industrial facilities?

Procedure labeling and facility information are probably the most useful applications for QR codes at this point in time. As an example, a facility may wish to post a five page chemical Safety Data Sheet (SDS) on the packaging or shelving of a chemical. This would not be a substitute for having a hard copy available, but workers would have the option to instantly and easily research SDS information from the convenience of their smart phone. As another example, some facility man doors require detailed information be read before entry. As an option, workers could snap a picture of a strategically placed QR label and then instantly read everything from the screen of their smart phone. No more fumbling through some papers that were stuffed into the same manila envelope again and again.

QR codes also track your tracking. Yep ... sounds redundant, but when someone opens a webpage with a QR code, all of the same tracking information gathered on common websites can also be tracked with QR codes. Talk about efficiency!

There are literally millions of applications in facilities for QR codes that have yet to be invented. Come up with your own application and let DuraLabel help you put your idea into motion! Give us a call at 1-800-788-5572 today.

Friday, May 25, 2012

OSHA-GHS to alter labeling language slightly

GHS has been big news in the U.S. lately, but the ripple effect of this recent implementation is still uncovering additional changes. Within the pages of the newly revised Hazard Communication Standards’ (HCS), OSHA proposed alterations to the workplace safety sign and label language. 

OSHA already has requirements for labeling and signage at many substance-specific regulated areas. However, the language used on these signs varies greatly. The proposed modifications would change the language on certain labels and signs so they are more consistent. 

This final rule change focuses only on cancer-causing substances. The table below provides an example of how confusing the current required language can be for specific carcinogens.

Carcinogen Standard Current Statement
Inorganic Arsenic 29 CFR 1910.1018 "Cancer Hazard"
Vinyl Chloride 29 CFR 1910.1017 "Cancer-Suspect Agent"
MDA 29 CFR 1910.1050 "May Cause Cancer"

Keep in mind, these statements do not imply a higher risk level and should not suggest their are different tiers of cancer warnings. Still, it would be easy for a reader to misunderstand this, if care was not taken when developing a label for these substances.

Always write label information simply and clearly to reduce confusion. OSHA has decided to use the words May Cause Cancer, which will become the standard wording for carcinogen safety labels and signs.

Table XIII-4. Regulated Areas in Substance-Specific Health Hazards summarizes the changes to the warning message for each substance. Employers have until June 1, 2016 to use the current sign language. Existing substance-specific label warnings may be used until June 1, 2015.

Is your facility ready for GHS? Save money and time by updating your facility now. DuraLabel has everything you need to integrate the new GHS changes into your facility labeling - simply and accurately. Our GHS design-ready software makes it a snap! Call us today at 1-800-788-5572 to find out how we can help you stay ahead of the GHS curve.