Of the many tools that we have available, our hands are the most valuable. They provide us with the dexterity necessary to perform precise maneuvers that even the most advanced technology cannot replicate. Even the simplest tasks are difficult for a person that does not have full use of his or her hands.
Hand injuries on the job are quite common, but many are preventable. There are many things you can do to keep your hands safe – here are a few of the most common. Do not be the victim of a preventable hand injury!
Make Use of Machine Guards
Never operate machinery that does not have a working guard to protect your hands. Always use a lockout device on machinery when you have to reach into it for any reason. Immediately replace guards whenever you remove them. When safety guards are absent from machinery or conveyor belts, an employee’s hands, fingers and arms can easily be caught, amputated or crushed.
Always protect your hands by wearing work gloves when handling rough materials or performing operations where you are using your hands to lift or move objects. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) study revealed that 70 percent of workers experiencing hand injuries were not wearing gloves. The remaining 30 percent were making use of damaged, inadequate or inappropriate types of gloves for the job. Choose the right glove for the task and inspect it thoroughly before use.
Be Cautious of Sharp Objects
Utilize the correct safety procedures when handling knives, box cutters and other sharp objects. Never attempt to pick up broken glass, nails or other sharp objects not meant for handling with bare hands; always use appropriate gloves or a broom.
No matter how much sentimental value they carry, rings put your hands in grave danger on the job. They can very easily catch on machinery and other objects, resulting in lacerations, amputations or broken bones. Always remove rings before beginning work.
Whenever you are using your hands to move an object, whether it is on a hand truck or you are carrying it, be sure the doorways and aisles in your path are wide enough for you to move through safely before you start the job. When you set a heavy object down, be aware of the placement of your hands. Always be alert for possible pinch points.
If you are unsure about the type of gloves you should be wearing to adequately protect yourself, or if you have any other issue regarding the protection of your hands on the job, talk to your supervisor. At , we make your safety our first priority.
As part of your job, you are required to handle, use and work around herbicides and pesticides. These products are very effective in protecting plant life from pests; however, they can be dangerous to your health and the health of others on the farm or in the fields. It is important that you observe the following safety precautions when working with herbicides or pesticides.
Read the Label
If a chemical is new to you, read the product label to learn about safe and proper use.
- If the label warns against exposure to the eyes, lungs, skin or clothing, wear the right gear to protect your body.
- Follow the directions on the label regarding how to apply the product and what equipment must be used.
- Notice the first-aid instructions in case of an accidental poisoning.
- Follow directions regarding how to store and dispose of the product after usage.
Your best line of defense against exposure to chemicals is wearing the right protective clothing for the job. This typically includes a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, non-absorbent gloves (no leather or fabric), rubber boots (no canvas or leather), a hat, eye protection, a mask, an apron, face respirators and/or dust mist filters. Also:
- Check your clothing for defects and holes before wearing it while handling chemicals.
- Do not smoke, eat, drink, apply cosmetics or use the restroom directly following or while you are using herbicides and pesticides.
- Be mindful of where other employees are located when applying chemicals.
- Do not use herbicides and pesticides when winds are stronger than 10 mph to avoid blowing the chemicals to unwanted areas or onto other workers.
- After application, rinse your tools and equipment three times. Then pour the rinse water into the pesticide container.
- During application, chemicals may settle on you and your clothing, and can be carried into your vehicle and your home. Immediately wash areas of your body that came in contact with the product, and shower promptly after completing cleanup and storage procedures.
- Assume that clothing used while working with pesticides and herbicides has been contaminated, so take the following precautions:
- o Always remove contaminated gear prior to leaving the worksite.
- o Place clothing in a plastic bag and wash it separately from your street clothes.
- o Boots, gloves and goggles used at the application site also need to be cleaned prior to leaving the site, and stored in a clean area.
Storage and Disposal
- Keep all chemicals in their original manufacturer’s container.
- When chemicals are not in use, store them in designated areas only.
- Disposal requires special handling. Check the label and follow our safe handling procedures. If you don’t know how to dispose of something safely, ask before you toss it! Improper handling is bad for the environment, and poses fire and health hazards
Above all, always be smart as you apply or spray. Employee safety is ’s top priority, so we expect you to do your part in following all safety procedures when working with herbicides and pesticides.
According to Oklahoma State University, tractor drivers are involved in the most machinery-related injuries in the United States. To reduce your chance of an accident, safety must remain a top concern.
General Safety Precautions
- Always wear a safety belt while operating a tractor and ensure that the proper rollover protection structure (ROPS) is in place.
- Perform regular maintenance per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Keep the power take-off (PTO), PTO shaft and power input coupling guards in place.
- Never carry others unless the tractor is fitted with a ROPS and has a separate seat with a safety belt.
- Always wear hearing protection, as not all tractor cabs are soundproof.
- Make sure your path is clear before proceeding.
- Dismount every hour for 5-10 minutes to avoid strain injuries.
- Mount and dismount a tractor on its left side to avoid releasing the controls accidentally.
- Drive at slow speeds to retain control and maintain the ability to stop suddenly. Reduce your speed when turning and braking.
- Use a wide wheel track on hillsides and sloping ground.
- Put on the parking brake before dismounting.
- Never leave a tractor in a position where it can roll, where it is jacked up or with the starter key in the ignition.
- Guard the PTO shaft, drive and input connections to protect clothing or body parts against becoming tangled.
- To reduce the risk of a PTO injury, make sure that the control lever is easily reachable while sitting.
- Do not turn sharply when operating power implements. This can cause the PTO guard cones to break and lower links or tractor tires can foul the power shaft.
- Fit attachments according to manufacturer’s instructions only.
- Only attach implements to the draw bar or mounting points provided by the manufacturer.
- Check the safety pins on towed lift wing implements regularly for wear and tear.
- Ensure that all towed implements guards are in place before operating the tractor.
- Never adjust or perform work on implements when they are in motion.
As you can see, there are many moving parts you need to keep in mind to meet one goal: staying safe on the job. If you have questions about tractor safety, ask!
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), back injuries are the most common occupational injury suffered by American workers. Agricultural workers are especially susceptible to these types of injuries due to many of the activities they engage in throughout the day. These activities include lifting objects heavier than 25 pounds (bales of hay or sacks of feed), working in awkward positions, driving vehicles that cause whole body vibrations (tractors and trucks), and working in conditions that are conducive to slipping and falling.
To minimize your risk of back injuries while on the job, follow these safety recommendations:
- Ensure that all loads are light and compact.
- Lift only items that can be handled safely by testing the weight before picking it up. If the load is unmanageable, ask a co-worker for assistance.
- Get a solid grip on items before lifting and lowering them by placing your feet close to the load and using smooth motions with your legs.
- Only lift and lower between the level of your hands and shoulders when standing with your arms hanging in a relaxed position.
- Avoid grabbing objects that are out of your reach or blocked by other items. Instead, get close to the object you wish to grab and move obstacles out of the way before proceeding.
- Always rotate your entire body by moving your feet instead of twisting at the waist while carrying large loads.
- Use mechanical lifting devices such as lift tables, hoists and conveyors to assist in tasks.
- Use vehicles with suspension seats to reduce whole body vibrations. Also look for vehicles with good lumbar back support and various seat positioning options.
- Develop a fitness routine outside of work and stay healthy by eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep.
Whether it’s planting season, harvesting season or any time in between, it is always important to think about safe fueling practices. Since you work in an environment with both ignition sources and abundant fuel (dry foliage and other materials) for fires or explosions, preventing sparks while re-filling equipment is crucial.
Remember that carelessness leads to accidents, and taking shortcuts is not worth your life. Follow these guidelines to ensure you and your equipment stay safe during fueling.
- Never refuel equipment or machinery while the engine is still running, and chock the wheels if there is a possibility it could roll.
- After shutting off the engine, wait up to 15 minutes before beginning fueling depending on how long the engine had been running.
- If any fuel spills during the process, wipe away the excess and allow the fumes to dissipate.
- Always concentrate on the task at hand. Do not try to complete other tasks while refueling.
- Stand by the tank so you can act quickly if something goes wrong.
- Do not refuel while smoking, while others are smoking or near any other open flames.
- On hot days, allow room in the tank for the fuel to expand.
- Place the container on the ground when refueling, never on the bed of the vehicle.
- Keep the container’s nozzle in contact with the fuel tank’s inlet tube.
- Do not refuel in areas with heavy vehicle or foot traffic.
- Do not refuel in areas that have the potential for spills or fuel ignition.
- Use only approved containers – never put flammable liquids in glass or other non-plastic containers.
- After filling, wipe off the container and ensure the cap is secure and the air vent is tight.
- Do not top off or over-fill the tank.
- Clean up all spills immediately. If you have to leave a spill unattended, mark off the area to reduce to possibility of slips.
- Make sure there is a fire extinguisher available in the area before you begin fueling and that you know how to use it.
- Keep the entire area unobstructed, making sure equipment can enter and exit the area smoothly and that it is free of garbage and debris.
RVing can be a fun way to see the world and spend time with your family. But because it’s bigger and heavier than an average car or truck, there are additional hazards that come with owning and operating an RV. Many RV accidents can be avoided by following these pre-trip, mid-trip and post-trip tips.
Safe Driving Tips:
Before the Trip
- Know the weight capacity of your RV.
Not only is extra weight taxing to the RV’s engine, chassis, brakes and tires, going beyond the manufacturer’s recommended weight capacity can cause the RV to tip over during sharp turns.
- Perform a complete pre-trip inspection.
Check the tire pressure, tread depth, headlights, taillights, turn signals, belts, oil levels, hitch and other towing equipment, and windshield wipers before heading out.
During the Trip
- Know your RV’s height.
Many RV accidents are caused by hitting underpasses, gas station overhangs and low-hanging trees.
- Watch your speed, especially at night and during dusk.
Your reactions are slower at night.
- Use your high beams at night to see animals and other obstructions.
Always remember to turn them off when there is oncoming traffic.
- Slow down on blind curve areas of the roadway.
Heavier RVs take longer to stop. Don’t approach a turn too fast or you could tip the RV over.
- Always wear a seat belt—it’s your best safety defense.
After the Trip
- Clear out any food and garbage.
Mice, bugs and other animals can make a huge mess and cause damage if you leave trash lying around.
- Store the RV in a safe, secure location.
This will keep out the keep animals and minimize rust and other damage due to harsh weather.
Helping you to avoid claims is just one of the value-added services The Buckner Company provides. Call us today to learn more about our personal risk management solutions for your auto, home and life.
While it may seem like a viable option to lower your property insurance coverage to save some money, this may end up costing you big in the long run. If your policy limits are too low, the cost to fix your home may exceed your limits, even if your home’s value has lessened recently.
Property Insurance Considerations
Though housing prices are declining, home repair costs are escalating. According to the Los Angeles Times, it may cost as much as 30 percent more to rebuild parts of a home as compared to completely building a new one from scratch. Rebuilding is often more expensive because demolition and removal of damaged property are pricey. Workers must also work around your existing landscape, power lines and other structures. This can make rebuilding difficult and limiting.
Limits on your Homeowners Insurance are established to protect your family in the event that something would go wrong (fire, destruction to your property due to weather, etc.). In an effort to remain protected and save money, consider the following savings tips:
- § Increase your credit score by paying your bills on time, avoiding writing bad checks, etc. Insurance companies believe that having a poor credit score means that you are not responsible and are consequently a greater risk to insure.
- § Avoid filing nuisance claims. Use your coverage to protect against losses that you cannot recover by yourself and take care of minor incidents on your own.
- § Increase your deductible to lower your monthly premium. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), increasing your deductible from $250 to $500 can cut costs by 12 percent. If you increase to a $1,000 deductible, you could save as much as 25 percent or 30 percent if you increase up to a $2,500 deductible.
- § Consider buying multiple lines of coverage from the same carrier to incur discounts, such as your Homeowners Insurance, Automobile Insurance, Life Insurance, etc.
You can count on us for all your home matters, including Homeowners and Renters Insurance. Contact us for more information on our affordable coverage options.
Since you cannot see, smell or taste radon gas, it is not detectable in your home. So, why worry about radon? The National Cancer Institute reports that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States next to smoking.
The prevalence of radon is not isolated to one geographic area or type of home. In fact, one in every 15 homes has an elevated radon level, so it’s important for you to test and eliminate radon dangers at your residence.
What is Radon Gas?
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks and water. Since the air pressure in a typical home is lower than the pressure in the soil around the foundation, the home acts like a vacuum and draws radon in through cracks in the foundation.
Radon may also be present in the water source and can be released into the air when water is used for general household purposes such as showering, or ingested when drinking. Testing for radon is the only way to determine if your indoor air quality and/or water are affected.
Testing for Radon
According to the EPA, radon gas levels can vary by day, season and geographic area. The radon levels can even be different in your home as compared to your next door neighbor’s home. Therefore, all potential homebuyers, current homeowners and home sellers should have their homes tested for radon.
The EPA recommends testing for radon under the following circumstances:
- The home was never tested.
- The home was tested more than two years prior.
- The home was renovated since it was last tested.
- You plan to occupy a lower level of the home than what was originally tested, such as the basement.
To test a home for radon, you can order a kit by mail from a qualified radon measurement service provider, purchase a radon kit from a local hardware store or hire a qualified radon tester (often also a home inspector).
If a radon test reveals that your home’s level is dangerous, you can install a radon mitigation system. A qualified radon reduction contractor can install a system in typically less than a day. If your home’s water source has high levels of radon, too, a point-of-entry treatment device can be installed to reduce emissions.
We’re here to help with all your home matters. Contact us today and let us know how we can assist you.
If you’re the parent of a teenager who is getting ready to climb behind the steering wheel, insuring your new driver can be an expensive endeavor. This is because the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group. We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you keep your premiums as low as possible, and keep your teen safe and accident-free.
Rather than setting up an independent policy for your teen driver, consider adding him or her as an additional driver on your Auto insurance policy. Typically, this is most cost-effective option. Also, if you have more than one vehicle, keep costs down by designating which vehicle your child will be driving. Keep in mind that the newer the car, the more expensive the coverage will be.
Auto deductibles typically range from $250 to $1,000. By upping your deductible and using your insurance for big repairs, you can significantly reduce your premium. If you lease or finance a car, the leasing or financing company may require a deductible cap of $500.
Ask for the Student Discount
If your teenager maintains at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA), he or she typically qualifies for a rate discount. To help motivate your child, consider making driving privileges contingent on maintaining good grades.
Enroll Your Teen in Driver’s Education
Although courses may be available at your child’s school, consider enrolling him or her in a driver’s education course. Often, discounts are available for teens who take recognized driving classes because it extends the teaching period.
Weigh Your Buying Decision
Wanting to get your teenager a new car to drive with the latest safety equipment is understandable, but you may be better off purchasing a safe, used vehicle in terms of premium prices. Before you make an auto purchase, we’d be happy to give you an insurance quote to help you with your buying decision.
Set Your Expectation for Safety
The best way to keep your teen’s insurance premium stable is to ensure he or she maintains a clean driving record. To help reduce potential accidents:
- Restrict your teen’s nighttime driving
- Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle
- Ban cell phone use while driving even if your state’s laws are more lenient
- Establish driving-area limits
- Set a curfew
- Talk to your teenager about the dangers of drinking and driving
- Insist on seat belt use for everyone in the vehicle
- Ride with your son or daughter occasionally to make sure they are keeping up with the safety habits that they learned in driver’s education
Understanding the complexities of intellectual property is key for technology companies because a majority of their market position is based on innovations and expertise. Intellectual property refers to the intangible assets of a business, including patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. These assets are often the most valuable and least understood assets of a corporation. This article is intended to provide a basic understanding of these complex assets.
- What is a patent?
A patent is the legal protection granted by the federal government to an inventor to encourage progress and prevent others from benefiting from the invention.
There are three types of patents recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): utility, design and plant. Utility is the most common and includes any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture or composition of matter. In order to obtain any of the three patent types, the inventor must demonstrate that the invention is novel and non-obvious. In addition, to obtain a utility patent, an inventor must also demonstrate utility of some sort.
- What does patent protection provide?
Patent protection involves the right to exclude others from making, using or selling anything that would fall under the claims of the issued patent. The duration of the patent protection depends on the type of patent. Utility and plant patents have a life of 20 years from the date of filing, where design patents have a life of 14 years from issuance. Occasionally, these lengths are extended, but not for more than five years.
- What factors are considered when determining whether a patent has been infringed?
Determining whether a patent has been infringed entails the court examining the claims of the patent and comparing them to the accused device or process. This may be more complex in situations where the claims terms are unclear or ambiguous. The court can determine that infringement exists even if the accused device or process isn’t identical to the original. If the device performs substantially the same function in largely the same way to produce substantially identical results, it is likely that a court would find infringement.
- What are my rights if someone infringes my patent?
You may file suit in a federal district court to enforce your patent against an infringer. If you are successful, there are many possible outcomes. Courts look to compensate the patent holder with damages for lost profits and/or punitive damages for willful infringement.
- What is a copyright?
A copyright is the legal protection granted by the government to an author. In the case of works created by an employee during the course of his or her job, the copyright would belong to the employer. No publication or registration with the Copyright Office is required to secure a copyright, though there are advantages to registering. Copyrights are secured automatically when a work is created, such as when the source code of a software program is completed. A notice of copyright is also not required, though it can be beneficial.
To be granted the most protections for your copyright, the material has to be disclosed to the U.S. copyright office, allowing others to see the material. While a copyright protects material as it is written, someone could gain an understanding of the material and use ideas or parts from the material to create something of their own.
- What can be protected by a copyright?
The Copyright Act sets types of authorship to be protected. A non-exhaustive list of material that may be protected under copyright includes:
- Computer programs
- Books, magazines and advertising copy
- Songs, dramatic works and dance routines
- Paintings and designs
- Motion pictures
- Sound recordings (CD, cassette, digital audio tapes, MP3 files)
The protection afforded by the Copyright Act is a sliding scale based upon creativity. The more creative a work is, the more protection it is afforded. It is important to note that it is not ideas, but expressions of ideas that are protected by the law.
- What does copyright protection provide?
Copyright ownership grants the following specific rights in the work: reproduction, modification, publication, performance and public display of the work. These rights can be limited by the doctrines of fair use and first sale. The length of protection for newly filed registrations is the life of the author plus 75 years. If it is a corporately owned copyright, then the copyright exists for 90 years from the date of publication.
- What factors are considered when determining whether a copyright has been infringed?
A copyright can be infringed by violating any of the rights granted: reproduction, modification, publication, performance and public display of the work. A copyright owner only needs to prove that the infringement occurred; it is not necessary to show that the infringement was intentional or malicious.
However, “fair use” is allowed without the author’s permission if an individual uses a limited portion of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism or research. This standard is not clear-cut and is left to the discretion of the court.
- What are my rights if someone infringes my copyright?
If you have a federally registered copyright, you have the right to enforce your copyright by filing suit in a federal district court. A federally registered copyright grants the holder more rights than the common law possession of an unregistered copyright. If the copyright was not federally registered prior to infringement, you can file for a federal registration prior to pursuing a legal action in federal court.
- What is a trademark?
A trademark serves to identify a single source for goods or services, membership in an organization or approval from a quality assurance program. It can be a product name, a brand, a slogan, a color and even a scent. Federal law allows for the protection of trademarks.
- What does trademark protection provide?
The scope of the protection can vary widely, depending on the strength and fame of a mark. For instance, many brand names are famous marks that are very strong. The length of time that a mark can be protected is indefinite because it is based upon use, but federal registrations have an initial term of 10 years. A mark may be renewed in successive 10-year increments as long as the mark is still in use.
- What factors are considered when determining whether a trademark has been infringed?
Whether a trademark has been infringed is most often dependent upon whether a likelihood of confusion has been found. In determining whether there is a likelihood of confusion, courts generally look at factors like the defendant’s intent, similarity in marketing channels, the overall impression of the two marks in question and the similarity of goods or services associated with the marks.
- What are my rights if someone infringes my federally registered trademark?
You have the right to bring an infringement action in a federal district court. After a finding of infringement, the court determines the appropriate remedies for the trademark holder. These can include an injunction to stop the infringing or diluting use, damages to cover defendant’s profits or losses sustained by plaintiff and punitive damages in cases of bad faith.
- Are there applicable state or common laws?
There are state registries for trademarks, with rights and registration varying by state. Consult an attorney licensed in your state for specific state requirements and benefits.
- What is a trade secret?
A trade secret is any proprietary information that serves as advantage over competitors and is kept secret. It is broadly defined and can range from software coding to a customer list.
- What factors are considered when determining whether a trade secret has been infringed?
The owner of the trade secret must prove: the alleged confidential information provided a competitive advantage, the information was maintained in secrecy and the information was improperly acquired or disclosed by the defendant.
- What are my rights if someone infringes my trade secret?
A lawsuit may be brought under federal or state law depending upon the circumstances. Under the Economic Espionage Act, individuals can be fined up to $500,000 and corporations can be fined up to $5,000,000 plus possible jail time for trade secret infringement. Several states have also enacted laws making it a crime to infringe upon or steal a trade secret.
- Are there applicable state or common laws?
Many states also have their own trade secret legislation which should be considered when developing your policy.
Protect Your Business
Patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets may be integral parts of your business. It is vital that you understand the laws associated with these concepts to protect your intellectual property. You also need to ensure that your behavior does not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property. This piece is not exhaustive and should be read as an overview. For more information, consult legal counsel.