4 Things to Do When You’ve Faced Identity Theft Online

Our current level of technological development allows online users to get jobs on a different continent or communicate naturally with people miles away. We have instant access to information and easy access to technology but we’re also more exposed to risks than ever.

While being online browsing and using social media is something millions of people do every day, very few of them are aware of the many Identity Theft scams that run online (among others). According to the 2021 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research, Americans lost around $56 Bn to ID fraud in 2020.

ID theft online is a sneaky thing because the victim doesn’t take notice until it’s too late to do anything to stop the damage. When they learn something is wrong, all they can do is try to mitigate the disaster. So, if you’ve faced ID theft and you’ve become a victim or believe you may be one in the future, here are the four main steps to take:

Identity Theft Online

1. Get Extra Protection

Start by checking all your accounts (banking, email, social media, and others). Change the current passwords and implement two-factor authentication on the ones that allow it. Also, check with your bank and let them know you think someone stole your ID.

Next, add an identity theft service that protects your digital and financial identity by setting up watchlists and services that monitor your most important accounts.

2. Put a Fraud Alert on your Credit Report

One of the biggest inconveniences of ID fraud is a damaged credit score. This can have long-lasting effects that continue even after you’ve dealt with most of the aftermath of being an ID theft victim.

Plus, a fraud alert on your credit report lets anyone checking it know something is wrong. So, in case someone uses your data to get a loan, apply for a job, or get a credit card, the fraud alert will warn them to stop the action and alert you (the owner).

To put a fraud alert, you only have to contact one of the three credit reporting agencies in the country. Since they share a database, once a fraud alert is placed by one of the agencies, it will notify the other two as well. A fraud alert is free and it lasts for one year (it can be prolonged) – it’s an easy-to-use protection method in case of emergency.

3. Check your Credit Card Reports & Your Accounts

Once you place a fraud alert, you’ll receive a free credit card report from each agency. Use these to look for evidence of fraud such as new accounts you didn’t apply for, employers you’ve never heard of, payments you’ve never made, and anything out of the ordinary.

Also, make sure to regularly check your accounts for vanishing amounts or transactions you haven’t authorized.

4. Talk to the Authorities

While there’s not much they can do until you are sure your identity has been compromised, they will provide guidance on the steps to take until then. You can also familiarize yourself with the process, in case fraud is confirmed (so you’ll be able to act fast).

In the US, you’ll have to report the event to the FTC and the police (in that order). Make sure you know what data to include in these reports so all your accounts are covered. Once this step is complete, you will have to start the long journey of contacting each agency, company, organization, and more that provide you a service or might be convinced to open new accounts or provide services in your name.

Wrap Up

ID theft is a lucrative line of business and even though there are many new technologies that could make a difference in the near future (like blockchain), for now, it’s best to practice caution when navigating online.

What Are the Risks of the Oil and Gas Industry?

While it’s currently necessary, there is a need to identify better alternative energy sources because of the risks of the oil and gas industry. There are risks to the environment and also to people, including workers in the industry.

The oil and gas industry is the largest source of emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States, despite being tightly regulated.

The following are things to know about the different type of human and environmental risks that come with the extraction and processing of oil.

Risks of the Oil and Gas Industry

Employee Dangers

Working in the oil industry tends to be very lucrative, and these jobs are hard to fill often. The pay is why people continue in the industry, despite the risk. Trends seem to show worsening fatality rates among workers in the industry, particularly in Texas. Texas is the largest oil-producing state in the country. There were more than 530 fatal occupational industries in Texas in 2017 related to this industry.

Since 2016, fatality rates have been increasing.

Oil production went up almost 25% in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018, which may play a role. There are more demanding deadlines for production and an increased quantity of work, which could mean more significant risks for workers.

Specific Worker Risks

There are many, but a few of the more common risks that workers in oil and gas face on the job every day include:

  • Vehicle collisions when workers and equipment are being transported to and from well sites which are often remotely located and require long-distance travel. Around 4 of every ten workers killed on the job in the industry die because of a highway vehicle accident.
  • Being stuck between moving vehicles, equipment, fall equipment and high-pressure lines leads to on-site injuries and deaths.
  • When someone works in the oil and gas industry, they are at risk of being exposed to explosions and fires because of the ignition of vapors and gases that are highly flammable. Gases and vapors, as well as hydrogen sulfide, are released from wells, equipment and trucks.
  • Another considerable risk for workers in this industry are falls because often, employees have to access equipment and platforms that are high above the ground.
  • High-pressure lines and equipment create hazards, including the potential for compressed gas exposure.

There are around 1.2 million oil and gas production facilities across the country, ranging from active wells to processing plants. More than 12 million people live within ½ mile of these locations, and below are some risks they might face.

Community Exposure

Fossil fuel pollution is sometimes called an invisible killer because it can contribute to heart and respiratory diseases over time, which are leading causes of death.

environmental risks of oil and gas industry

Fossil fuels also leak substances into the soil and drinking water sources that can be toxic, cause cancer, birth defects and contribute to liver damage.

Research shows the industry’s impact most heavily affects minority, low-income and rural communities because they are closest to these sites and may be most exposed to toxins.

There’s also a link between volatile organic compounds and the emission of nitrogen oxide that create smog. Smog is linked to a higher risk of asthma in the young and elderly, leading to missed school and workdays and increased hospitalizations.

Behind only coal-fired power plants, oil and gas production is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases in the country.

Wildlife Disruption

The extraction of oil and gas disrupts natural balance and wildlife in addition to harming humans.

Vehicle traffic, noises and movement can impact how animals breed, nest and communicate. The habitats of many species can be broken up by the introduction of fences, roads and powerlines.

When there are oil spills, these often kill large numbers of animals and create long-lasting marine ecosystem damage. For example, the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico led to oil spreading for 68,000 square miles over the sea.

That incident alone killed around one million seabirds, 1,000 sea turtles, and 5,000 marine mammals.

Even though we don’t always hear about them, there are often more minor spills. For example, in 2020, there were nearly 2,180 spills in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Finally, when the needed infrastructure for oil and gas extraction is developed, it significantly and negatively impacts wildlands. Wilderness is destroyed, and the damage can’t be reversed typically.

There are more than 12 million acres of public lands being used for the production of fossil fuels. To make this happen, vegetation has to be removed, and even when the sites are abandoned, it can take centuries for the land to recover.

Dealing with Household Hazardous Wastes

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) are leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, pesticides etc. HHW contain potentially hazardous ingredients and require special care and safe disposal. 

household-hazardous-wastes

A typical home can contain a vast array of household hazardous wastes used for cleaning, painting, beautifying, lubricating and disinfecting the house, yard, workshop and garage. The chemical-based household products from a single home may seem insignificant; but, when millions of homes use similar products, handling, storing and disposing them improperly may have the combined impact and becomes a major problem.

The health and safety of our families, neighborhoods and environment is threatened when household hazardous waste is stored or disposed of improperly. These products should not be put in the garbage bins or disposed in the storm drains or burned, as they pose a threat to human health and the environment. Thousands of consumer products are hazardous. The general categories are:

  • Automotive products: Gasoline, motor oil, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, car wax and cleaners, lead-acid batteries, brake fluid, transmission fluid etc.
  • Home improvement products: Paint, varnish, stain, paint thinner, paint stripper, caulk, adhesives etc.
  • Pesticides: Insecticide and insect repellent, weed killer, rat and mouse poison, pet spray and dip, wood preservative etc.
  • Household cleaners: Furniture polish and wax, drain opener, oven cleaner, tub and tile cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, spot remover, bleach, ammonia etc.
  • Other: Household batteries, cosmetics, pool chemicals, shoe polish, lighter fluid, prescription medicines etc.

Each year, thousands of people are injured by exposure or accident involving hazardous household products.  Because of the dangers they pose. These products require special awareness, handling, and disposal.  In order to protect health and environment, every consumer should know how to properly use, store, and dispose of hazardous household products. 

Many common household products contain hazardous chemicals.  Once released into the environment, these substances may pose a serious threat to living organisms.  Small quantities of hazardous substances can accumulate over time to reach dangerous levels and contaminate the air, water, and soil. 

Here are some basic guidelines for managing household hazardous wastes:

  • Select the least toxic item and buying only the minimum quantity as required.
  • Read the entire label carefully for health warnings and use good judgment when choosing any product.
  • Store the product at a safe place and away from the children reach.
  • Avoid aerosol products.
  • Always use hazardous products in a well-ventilated area.
  • Never leave containers open.  Many products are volatile, evaporating quickly into the air. 
  • Always seal containers tightly after use.
  • Never mix chemicals and hazardous products. 
  • Do not use spent chemical containers for other purposes.
  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves and a mask when dealing with any hazardous material. 
  • Wash clothing exposed to hazardous materials separately from other clothes.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while using hazardous products.
  • Clean up the place after using hazardous products. Carefully seal products and properly refasten all caps.
  • Never put hazardous products in food or beverage containers.
  • Keep products away from sources of heat, spark, flame or ignition.
  • Know where flammable materials are located in your home and how to extinguish them.
  • Keep a multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher in your home.

How To Deal With Domestic Oil Spills

Having your own private oil tank can be beneficial as you do not have to rely upon the main network which is typically less cost-effective and gives you less control over energy consumption. But having an oil tank installed also has its drawbacks. You have to be extra careful with it as not only its installation is complex but its maintenance requires a lot of hard work.

 

From ensuring that all the complex technicalities of installation are met to ensuring that the tank is in proper condition to function, now and then, you have to be careful at every single step.

And if you fail to do so or even lag slightly, you would expose yourself to the possibility of experiencing oil leakage or oil spills.

how to deal with domestic oil spills

What happens if domestic oil spills?

If your tank starts spilling oil, the oil won’t just stay there but it will flow out to contaminate the adjacent areas. And if left untreated, it could go on to contaminate groundwater and soil.

This could lead to contamination of wells and water supplies of adjacent properties. Once the water supplies are contaminated, it could cause a myriad of drinking water problems. For example, oil damages the plastic water pipes so when it seeps into the underground water channel, it can affect the water pipelines that will ultimately lead to bad taste and foul odor in the drinking water.

Apart from this, oil spills can have a serious impact on human health as well. The first threat to human health spilled oil is through contaminated drinking water.

The second harmful impact they can have on our health is through disastrous fumes. As all petroleum products contain volatile compounds therefore when the oil is spilled it releases gases. If people nearby inhale these fumes or are surrounded by the vapors that linger in the air longer than usual, they can experience eye irritation, nausea, dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, and disorientation.

However, these symptoms are related to short term exposure to oil fumes. When a person is exposed for a very long time, which could happen if the smell of the fumes does not erupt shortly, then he could experience more serious conditions that would require a doctor’s consultation.

Skin irritation can also arise due to prolonged exposure or contact with the fumes. One could experience redness, severe irritation, and swelling.

How to handle oil spills at home?

Oil spills happen at both small and large scales. The larger ones require proper oil contamination treatment but the smaller ones can be dealt at home. But, this will require all of your attention and efforts. However, a domestic oil spill is not always easy to deal with, especially when the spill is massive and gets out of your hands.

 

Regardless of that, we should know a few tips and tricks to be well prepared to handle any such mishap because once an oil spill skyrockets, it causes severe damage to the surrounding and human health -as we discussed above.

The first thing that you must do when you have an oil tank placed in your residence, always check it regularly to look for any rusting or other damage to the tank. This way you can easily be one step ahead to deal with any leakage.

Somehow, if you fail to attend to any such damage and the leakage eventually occurs but it is small, place a pan where the tank is leaking to collect the spilling oil before it even touches the ground.

If this too gets out of hands and the oil starts spilling on the floor, try blocking that area to prevent the oil from spreading any further. You can do this by placing small dams as barriers and if that does not work then try using absorbents like cat litter, or sand.

If the flow of the oil dripping from the split of the tank gets a bit controlled then you can easily apply a sealant on the split. However, this is not a permanent solution as sealant only works temporarily. But this should give you enough time to contact professionals who deal with oil contamination treatment.

On the other hand, you have to protect yourself and your family in the midst of dealing with this chaos. This first thing you should do when your home smells of oil is to ensure maximum ventilation.

Open all the windows as well as doors so that the strong oil smell does not accumulate inside. This will also help in warding off the harmful petroleum fumes.

The next thing you have to do is to make sure that all of your family members, and especially children and pets are away from the spill location. If possible, have them evacuate the house for at least the time when the house is cleared of the smell and fumes.

While dealing with domestic oil spill, make sure that your skin and clothes do not come in contact with the oil. Remember to avoid smoking, drinking, and eating during and after you finish dealing with the oil spill. Also, try to examine the tank for the origin of the leak, and before doing that, make sure that the oil supply is turned off.

Who deals with the cleaning of oil contamination?

You can take care of the oil spill to some extent, but cleaning is entirely another process. All the things that have been contaminated with the oil, be it water, ground, or soil, only a team of specialists can do it properly.

Therefore, you should first call the professional before taking on the mission of curing the leakage flow, and when the team arrives, you leave the place immediately to ensure your health.

Bottom line

Dealing with domestic oil contamination might not be impossible but it is not recommended. The only thing you must do after calling the professionals is to ensure no one is around the site. Then let the expert team, who come with efficient methods of oil spill clean Up & bioremediation, take care of the rest.

4 Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Your Home

In daily life, we make use of several different gases, liquids, and solids, without which life isn’t livable. And it’s not just oxygen that we use in daily life to keep the heart pumping, but there is an entire list of gases that are essential to keep on with life.

One of the most vital gases among all the other is carbon monoxide. This a potent and valuable gas that charges up heaps of electricity and starts up your cars. It’s essential to know what carbon monoxide is as it is widely used inside homes and can be just as dangerous as it is needed. It is a highly flammable gas that, if left unwatched, can create fire and unimaginable damage. For this reason, below are some ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home to use it effectively and safely.

1. Address Issues

Carbon monoxide is a combustible gas and can be quite dangerous to have in a closed space, but it makes for many of the essential procedures used in a home. Your heating system most probably is run by carbon monoxide. And if it experiences a tear and a leak, the house could be in danger of destruction, and the residents could suffocate.

Check your heating and other fuel-burning appliances regularly to avoid any mishaps. It is best to get them maintained each year by professionals who can also check the systems for their effective running.

2. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Mostly carbon monoxide can be detected by its firm odor similar to that of rotten eggs. This smell helps to give you a heads up to get out of your home and call for help. However, when there is a slight leakage that is undecidable, or the house residents aren’t awake to notice it, the situation can take a turn for the worst.

Some states have laws that require homes to have CO detectors installed. These detectors should be present on each floor, especially the basement and areas where there are fuel appliances and heaters. It is best to make sure the indicators are installed near bedrooms to get alerts while sleeping.

3. Check the Air Quality

In small houses or congested areas of a home, air can get trapped, and different gases can get clogged, the air quality unhealthy and dangerous to breathe in. Make sure that where you have your oven, furnaces, and fireplaces situated has a proper ventilation system installed. If there are vents already in place, check the air quality and clean them often.

4. Put Out Burners Effectively

Cooking is a necessity in all homes, and even though many households have replaced gas burners to electric burners, there are still many that use the gas cooking method. The gas used for cooking and heating is carbon monoxide, which is sturdy and highly combustible.

To keep safe from sources like these, make sure not to switch on stoves unnecessarily. Keep your fireplaces and furnaces covered to stop the gas from spreading and lingering in the air. Regularly validate that these places are well kept and clean. Also, make sure that the systems work well.

6 Safety Management Tips For Dam Owners

Humans have increasingly become dependent on electricity, which is due in no small part to the many advances in technology. From healthcare and commerce to the way people communicate with each other, everything that makes life livable now requires electrical power.

With all the growing demand for electricity, government and business leaders are continually pressured by the public to find ways to generate more power while keeping the planet safe. Renewable energy is the buzzword for finding the balance between power generation and giving the environment a much-needed TLC (tender loving care).

That said, water is one of the most common sources of renewable energy – it generates hydroelectricity, which makes up around 44% of renewable energy in the U.S. alone. Harvesting hydropower involves harnessing the flow of water. In other words, hydropower plants require dams to be built to hold and control the water that’ll turn the generators or turbines, generating electricity.

But hydropower is just one part of the equation. Water is essential for humans, without which life won’t even be possible. From hydropower to drinking water supply, dams will continue to be vital for humanity’s survival. Owners must manage their dams effectively to keep them safe and working. Doing so can prevent risks that may result in loss of life and property.

dam-safety-management

Challenges Posed By Dams

Most dams used for hydropower generation and water supply are man-made–they’re made up of concrete. Hence, there are structural and stability challenges that need to be solved. You don’t need to see a movie just to know what might happen if a dam is breached.

 There was a time when operators relied on visual inspection, photos, and interpretation by engineers to analyze a dam’s safety levels. Today, there are state-of-the-art monitoring tools to help dam operators. Hence, there are now advanced solutions that allow dam owners to keep the structural integrity in check.

Take the case of Hunter Water Grahamstown Dam in Australia. This dam is designed to provide a drinking water supply and recycled water service to an area with approximately 600,000 people. As a storage dam, it constantly presents challenges that can compromise its structural integrity.

Using modern dam monitoring tools, Grahamstown Dam owners can effectively manage the dam’s integrity in a remote setting. In turn, this allows nearby residents to sleep soundly at night. The secret lies in using AI technology, such as Rezatec’s Dam Monitoring solution, to remotely churn out geospatial data that tracks everything–from ground movements to moisture levels. Nothing is left to chance or open interpretation. Also, fewer visual inspections are now required.

Dam Safety Management Tips

Indeed, humans have completely changed the way water is stored–whether for drinking or generating power. In a study aimed at monitoring and taking a closer look at the changing levels of global freshwater sources, researchers used NASA’s satellite and found that humans are now responsible for 57% of the planet’s seasonal water storage, which is happening in reservoirs and dams.

With the ever-increasing world population, it’s logical for one to think that more reservoirs and dams will be built in the foreseeable future. Whether it’s for drinking or harnessing hydropower, dams are here to stay. Owners and operators must learn to manage their dams dynamically.

Taking a cue from what operators did in managing the safety of the Grahamstown Dam, here are some tips on how to keep dams safe and functioning properly for years to come.

1. Create A Dam’s Risk Profile

No dam is perfect. For one, there’s always a trade-off among costs, location, and capacity when designing and building dams. It’s left to the owners to make the best out of the dams they’re managing. In a bid to reduce risks, owners should always know the status of their dams. For one, they should define risk areas and be aware of the dam’s weaknesses.

By creating a dam’s risk profile, managers won’t be caught unaware should disasters occur. For instance, if a barrier was designed to withstand a 10-magnitude earthquake, then a reading of 11 on the Richter scale should put workers on full alert even if the dam isn’t breached. Emergency inspections and responses should also be triggered.

2. Effective Dam Monitoring In Place

Dams, like the one in Grahamstown, require continued monitoring. There’s no shortcut to knowing or tracking the structural integrity of a dam except via monitoring.

In the past, owners relied on photography and visual inspections. The problem was the data gathered could be biased and were open to misinterpretation. Hence, it would be best to adopt AI-based solutions to ensure accurate monitoring data.

3. Ready Access To Construction Documentation

Dams are big structures and they’re often made up of different segments and materials. Making things more complicated is the fact that no two dams are the same–each has its own design features.

When managing a dam, the people responsible for it should have access to the dam’s design and construction blueprint. By doing so, managers will be less likely to do things that can compromise the dam’s structure and functionality.

4. Prioritize Incident Reports

Dam workers must be required to report all incidents that occur, including emergencies and operational shutdowns. Such reports will keep the management in the loop and enable key players to recommend a plan of action to prevent such incidents from happening again.

dam safety guide

5. Operations And Safety Manuals At The Ready

Dams are run by different people working in various shifts. While training workshops are essential for new and experienced workers, people tend to forget what they’re trained for. It’s crucial to have operations and safety manuals readily accessible to ensure that everyone is on the same page while operating the dam. This way, workers won’t be left guessing on what to do in case emergencies happen.

6. Multi-discipline Management Approach

While new technologies allow remote, scalable, and cost-effective dam management, it’s still vital to have human operators and engineers tracking changes or investigating anomalies. Environmental sciences should work with soil engineering and other disciplines. AI should also work with good old-fashioned human insights.

By combining multiple disciplines, dam owners will be more confident in reducing risks and meeting regulatory requirements across different sectors.

Conclusion

Dams are vital for human survival. They can be harnessed to provide water supply and electricity. Due to this, expect that there will be more dams built in the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, owners and operators should learn how to keep dams safe and effective to prevent loss of life and property.

Noise Soundproofing vs Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Which One is Better for Work

We live in a noisy and dynamic environment. For that, we are striving that at least in our free time or when in office, we can have our peace and quiet. For that, there are numerous alternatives, such as renovating the office with soundproofing materials, that block the noise from our side as well as from other colleagues, or by some earbuds with noise cancellation options.

Wireless earbuds are pretty new to many people, but their popularity has grown in leaps and bounds over the last half a decade. They are among the recent innovations that have come at the right time- when people are desperate for peace and quiet. These earbuds now have advanced features such as the ability to block out noises so that users can enjoy their music in public spaces without the interference of unwanted background noises. They have the ability to lessen or eliminate car horn sounds, noises from chatty colleagues, or even music in the streets.

If this is the first time you are considering acquiring these advanced earbuds, you probably have come across two unfamiliar terms- noise soundproofing and noise-canceling earbuds. You are now curious to know how different the two are and which one is the best option for your noise-drowning needs. Well, they both reduce noise and the key difference is in how well they do it. They are also made of different soundproofing materials and with different technologies.

Nevertheless, it is important for businesses and organizations that constantly tend to boost and improve their workers’ productivity, to invest in offices that are soundproof from exterior noise and do not bother their workers.

There are multiple alternatives that companies can use to soundproof and absorb noise, some being more expensive and some more affordable. One affordable method that can be applied is using plants. Studies have shown that plants have a very high absorbing power of noise, where it leaves divert the noise and in this context absorb it. This, for businesses, presents an advantage, given that they also have benefits such as releasing oxygen and making the work environment look better. However, if the office does not have much natural light, make sure to use LED Grow Light, which will enable the plants to grow indoors without natural light.

How Soundproofing Earbuds Work

Noise soundproofing is the basic technology of drowning background noises. These earbuds work by sealing off your ear canal so that any extra ambient noise is blocked from accessing the ear canal. Your ear is isolated from your immediate surroundings.

How Noise Cancelling Earbuds Work

Noise cancellation does more than just isolate your ear. These earbuds come with a more advanced functional design that creates an anti-noise barrier around your ears. This technology emits signals that neutralize sound waves around your ear, so that no sound gets to your ear canal.

Which Earbuds are Better For Work?

Which wireless earbuds will work best for your needs: noise cancelling or noise soundproofing? In all fairness, both work impressively well in reducing noise. Each of them is unique from the other, so it is impossible to say that one is better than the other. We shall look at the differences that define each of them and then you will choose the one that best suits your preferences.

1. Noise reduction abilities

Soundproofing earbuds muffles sounds with an intensity of 30 decibels and below. Noise-canceling earbuds can muffle external sounds with an intensity of 85 decibels or even more. To give you an idea of what decibels mean, a human being speaking normally will produce a noise of 15-20 decibels. That is to mean that soundproofing earbuds will drown out noises in a chatty office, but they won’t be too effective in a busy airport. Noise-canceling earbuds will effectively cancel out an airplane that takes off with noises of around 80 decibels.

However, some low-cost noise-canceling earbuds are made from cheap soundproofing materials, so they allow more than necessary ambient noise to pass through. The active technology that helps these earbuds to reduce noise intensity cannot be 100% effective without quality soundproofing material. There are some high-end noise soundproofing earbuds that outdo low-cost noise-canceling earbuds in this regard.

2. Quality of sound

In this aspect, noise soundproofing and noise-canceling earbuds are almost at par. They both give you the best quality sound, both in noisy places and in isolated environments. Even if you aren’t fond of using earbuds when traveling or in the office, you can still buy the best budget noise-cancelling headphones for domestic use.

Ensure that you buy from reputable brands and dealers because cheap earbuds might not give you the best quality sound. Brands that manufacture earbuds using low-quality soundproofing materials sometimes exacerbate the noises instead of eliminating them.

3. Power Consumption

Because noise soundproofing earbuds are designed to block out external noise without canceling it, they are basically mechanical in nature. Noise-canceling earbuds, on the other hand, need electrical energy in order to create magnetic waves that then cancel out sound waves. They come with chargeable batteries that you have to charge your noise-canceling earbuds occasionally.

4. Price

As you can guess, maintaining noise-canceling earbuds is more expensive than maintaining soundproofing earbuds because of their difference in power consumption. The upfront cost of noise-canceling earbuds is also higher than soundproofing earbuds due to the extra technology they come with.

Conclusion

There you have it! As you can see, both earbuds are way better than wire earbuds. If not for anything else, they make the user appear sophisticated and cool. They both make your music sound pretty good too. Whichever decision you make, you can bet that you will get the best value for your money.

Protecting Transgender Employees

When you think about workplace safety, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s being issued protective equipment to reduce injury, processes to report employer misconduct, or a clear and concise evacuation plan in the event of a fire or other emergency.

For many of us, feeling safe at work is something we’ve become accustomed to and may take for granted. But for others, especially members of minority groups and the LGBTQ community, workplace safety can feel like an afterthought.

This is certainly true for transgender individuals. Transgender – or trans – is the term used for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. Some trans people identify as trans men or trans women; others describe themselves using descriptive terms including non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, agender, or bigender. One in three Americans know someone who is transgender – these are our friends and family members, our neighbors, our peers, and our colleagues.

transgender employees

Challenges Facing The Transgender Community

The trans community faces tremendous stigma in society, and discrimination against transgender people is all too common in school settings and the workplace. The Center for America Progress notes that “90 percent of transgender workers report some form of harassment or mistreatment on the job” due to their gender identity. This includes being overlooked or fired from a job, having received a negative performance review or been denied a promotion, or verbally or physically abused.

Employers should familiarize themselves with the challenges facing their trans employees. Doing so can help ensure employers are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws established to help protect the trans community, but also with the goal of creating a healthy workplace environment for all.

1. Gender Dysphoria

Some trans people might experience something called gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria refers to the discomfort and distress felt among individuals whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth. This condition can become debilitating and interfere with day-to-day activities. Mind Diagnostics offers a confidential test that may be helpful when looking to determine if you’re experiencing gender dysphoria. Based on the results, you can work with your doctor to help manage your feelings.

2. Violence

The rate of discrimination against trans people at the workplace is staggering, and stigma and harassment are also rampant in society. In some cases, harassment can become violent and even life-threatening. According to Human Rights Campaign, the rate of violence perpetrated against trans people is more severe than that against the average person. The majority of transgender people have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and 47% have been sexually assaulted. Nearly 30 trans and gender non-conforming people were violently killed in 2020.

3. Lack of Healthcare Coverage

The U.S. healthcare system falls short when it comes to serving the trans community. Human Rights Campaign Foundation data shows 22% of trans people and 32% of trans people of color live without health insurance and 29% have been refused healthcare because of their gender identity.

4. Poverty

Studies show that 29% of trans adults live in poverty, and this figure increases for trans people in the Black, Latinx, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

Workplace Discrimination Against Transgender People Is Illegal

The Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that federal law prohibits anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace (Bostock v. Clayton County). Yet, more work is needed to ensure all employees are properly protected.

The National Center for Transgender Equality offers helpful information about transgender rights and the avenues transgender individuals can pursue should they be discriminated against at work. In summary:

  • Federal law makes it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, harass, or otherwise discriminate due to gender identity, gender transition, sex assigned at birth, or transgender status.
  • Trans people have a right not to be fired or refused a job or promotion because they are transgender.
  • Severe or widespread sex-based harassment is unlawful when an employer does not take steps to stop it. Harassment may include jokes or derogatory comments, intentional misuse of names or pronouns, and invasive or disrespectful personal questions.
  • Trans people have the right to safe and adequate access to restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.
  • Employers cannot prohibit or force a trans person from disclosing their transgender status or gender identity, nor can they disclose someone’s transgender status without consent.

How to Increase Welding Safety?

Welding can be particularly dangerous to those operating the equipment and others around the site if proper safety procedures aren’t used, risks aren’t considered, and safety standards aren’t met.

If you are reviewing how you can conduct welding tasks in a safer way, here are some major hazards to bear in mind and the personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to combat them.

Think about common hazards when welding

1. Welding in confined spaces

When operating in a confined environment, there is a serious risk that there could be a lack of oxygen that could result in an accident or injury.

dangers-of-welding

The gases which are used in welding, such as argon, CO2, and nitrogen, can displace the air within an enclosed space, creating a risk of passing out.

Consider whether the work can be carried out without needing to enter the space, and if this isn’t possible then use a safe system of work and establish a rescue plan.

2. Exposure to gases and fumes

As well as gases creating suffocation risks, other gaseous fumes can damage your lungs. The level of damage will depend on the gas, but occupational asthma, pneumonia, and even cancer are all associated with specific fumes.

3. Electric shock

This is potentially the most serious risk with arc welding. Both TIG and MIG welders carry a risk of electric shock when used improperly, as live electrical circuits are utilised to heat the metals for welding.

Whether through a direct shock or through touching part of the welding, it could result in serious injury or fatality. Certain conditions, such as wearing damp clothing or being surrounded by metal flooring, can increase this risk.

4. Burns

As you’d likely expect from working with high-temperature welding arcs and molten metals, severe burns can occur when welding. These can happen incredibly fast if you’re not careful and skip safety protocols.

5. Fires and explosions

In addition to burning the person welding, sparks generated can fly as far as 35 feet away from the welding area. Combined with the extreme temperatures created, this can start fires if given the chance.

Inspect for and remove any flammable materials from the nearby areas – this could be liquids like petrol, solids such as wood and paper, or gases including hydrogen and propane.

6. Excessive noise

Prolonged exposure to loud noises exceeding 85dB(A) can do permanent damage to your hearing, with welding being capable of reaching over 100dB(A). Without proper hearing defence, you could experience noise-induced hearing loss.

7. UV exposure and infrared radiation

When welding, the bloom of UV light which is produced can damage your eyesight. This is why welders need eye protection and welding curtains to prevent this. Long-term effects could lead to a loss of vision, cataracts or foreign bodies entering the eye.

Wear proper welding PPE for safety precautions

Employers have a responsibility to provide proper PPE to any employees tasked with carrying out welding tasks, helping to prevent bodily harm and keep people safe.

welding-gear

1. Welding helmets

This will shield you from all manner of hazards – UV radiation, debris, chemical burns, etc. Ensure your helmet is fitted with the correct lens to combat the type of work you’ll be doing and adjust the filter to get a balance between visibility and proper protection.

2. Respirators

Use the right form of respirator to protect your respiratory system from the oxides and fumes which will be generated by the work you will carry out.

3. Fire resistant clothing

As burns can occur quickly in a welding environment, fire resistant clothing is needed to shield you from heat, fire and radiation. This needs to cover any pockets and feature no cuffs where things could get caught inside. Do not roll up sleeves or the ends of trousers as the folds could trap molten metals.

4. Ear defenders

Make sure that ear protection is worn to protect you from noise generated in your workplace and use fire resistant earmuffs where there could be a risk of something entering your ear canal.

5. Worker boots and gloves

These need to meet the required standards for the workplace to provide adequate protection. Gloves need to be insulated and flame resistance to protect from shocks and heat, while boots should be rubber-soled and feature steel-toecaps to further insulate from electricity as well as shielding your feet from heavy objects.

Welding gloves don’t offer enough mobility for delicate tasks, so the welder should have options. A well-fitting pair of chemical-resistant nitrile gloves is essential for work that requires precision and a soft touch, such as mixing chemicals and applying paints, stains, and other solvents.

Conclusion

By being aware of the potential hazards and what PPE is needed when welding, you can implement further safety measures that take these things into full consideration, whether you’re in an industrial environment or working at home in a workshop.

How to Make a Construction Site Safe?

Site safety should be your number one priority when setting up a construction site. If you are starting a new project and need some guidance on how to make your site safety compliant, we have rounded up a quick guide to create a safety compliant construction site in line with the Health and Safety Executive’s regulations.

Site rules and induction

It is essential that all construction personnel are briefed and trained in the site-specific safety rules and partake in a site safety induction.

Site rules should be clear and easy to understand for all personnel. If you have employees on site whose mother tongue is not English, you must provide the site rules in other languages to make them clear for these employees.

safety-construction-site

 

Every construction site employee must be given an appropriate site induction, including any tours of the site, training videos and practical training exercises applicable to your construction site.

Traffic management

For large sites that will have vehicles moving about them, it is absolutely vital that you have a traffic management system in place to ensure the safety of people on site.

This should include clearly demarcated routes for vehicles and for employees on foot. Warning systems for vehicles moving about on site and specific parking spaces for site vehicles.

Protective equipment

As a construction site employer, you must provide your employees with the correct personal protective equipment. This could include hard hats and high-visibility clothing to ensure they are noticeable on site.

You should also be providing first aid supplies, a registered first aider and other emergency equipment such as eye washes should an accident occur on site.

In addition, it is now important that you provide the proper personal protective equipment to mitigate the risks to your employees from airborne viruses. This could include masks, hand sanitizers and visors.

Waste management

Undoubtedly, your construction site will generate waste and debris that will need to be managed properly. Domestic waste from site offices and staff areas should be separated for recycling and disposed of under the local council’s guidance.

construction-wastes

Chemical and industrial waste should be handled efficiently too. It is important that you have a waste management contract in place with a reputable provider before you start work on site.

For more information on how to keep your site safety compliant, visit the Health and Safety Executive website for the construction industry.