Ajax Florida had our safety fair on Friday April 9th at the Venice-Nokomis Elk’s Lodge. There were 231 attendees present for a day filled with safety seminars and a chance to see and talk to fellow employees. 2010’s safety motto is “proactive instead of reactive.” Ajax as a whole is now living this motto by doing what we can to nip safety issues in the bud. And we practiced what we preached by presenting 2 hour-long morning breakouts for the different areas of the company. The construction breakout topics included the important health related issues dealing with heat stress and heat exhaustion. A common heat-related condition, heat exhaustion happens when a worker sweats a lot and does not drink enough fluids or takes in enough salt, or both. The simple way to identify a worker with heat exhaustion is the worker is covered in sweat, white and weak. A more serious but much less frequent condition, heat stroke, is caused by the failure of the body to regulate its core temperature. Sweating stops and the body can not get rid of excess heat. In extreme cases, victims will die unless they receive proper treatment promptly. Because the nature of our business requires workers to spend long hours in demanding conditions, signs and symptoms were identified for these conditions and appropriate counter measures were reinforced to alleviate any problems these heat conditions could cause. Other important issues covered included hand and glove safety as well as a walkaround refamiliarizing our employees with the large equipment Ajax Paving uses on our construction projects. The office breakout session included ergonomics, desk chair yoga and stress relief. There are many kinds of CTD (Cumulative Trauma Disorder) medical conditions that have ergonomic causes among office workers, including carpal tunnel syndrome and various kinds of tendon inflammation. Muscles that hold a body part in a certain position for long periods of time, as well as direct pressure on nerves or tendons can result in muscle trauma. Again, these symptoms, along with proper remedies to alleviate these symptoms, were reviewed and discussed for the safety and health of our employees. For example, one of the most important preventive measures is ‘variety.’ In other words, we talked about changing posture and activities often. If possible, take breaks before getting tired. Extremely short breaks can be very helpful if frequent enough. A “break” doesn’t have to be a rest break — it can simply involve doing something else for a while: what a great time to rehydrate with a nice cold glass of water! The plant employee breakout was Lock out Tag out, Confined space and Man lift tie-off safety. The process of a tie-off point was reviewed, stressing the importance of being properly secured, ensuring that the free fall is minimized, that the lanyard doesn’t interfere with personal movement and that no lower level will be struck during a fall, as well as other important safety and security issues. The maintenance part of the traffic breakout was given by Louis Lashinsky from LHL Highway Safety Consultants. Ajax FL has also hired LHL Highway Safety consultants to come out to selected jobs and complete inspections to make sure our sign subcontractors have installed the post mounted signs correctly to reduce potential liabilities. LHL also come out and checks Ajax Paving’s laneclosures to make sure things are in compliance. Once the subcontractor fixes any issues the signs are re-inspected until a compliance letter can be issued. These examples are some of the important ways that Ajax is being proactive instead of reactive when it comes to the health and happiness of our valued employees.