Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Tips: Electrical Safety….beware of the bite

 All electrical equipments are potentially hazardous and can cause serious shock and burn injuries if improperly used or maintained. Electricity normally travels through electrical conductors which may be in the form of cables, wires or parts of the human body. Electrocution is the second biggest killer of employees in general industry in the United States. Most electrical fires are from defective equipments, inadequate wiring of equipment, overloaded circuits, substandard repairs or alterations. If a part of the body comes in contact with the electrical circuit, a shock will occur. The electrical current will enter the body at one point and leave at another. The passage of electricity through the body can cause great pain, burns, destruction of tissue, nerves, and muscles and even death.
Some common electrical hazards include: ungrounded equipments (creating a low resistant path to earth through ground connection); overloaded extension cords or outlets; use of non-approved equipment; use of defective or frayed electrical cords, improperly installed cord for electrical equipment and exposed live cords to mention a few.
There are three basic levels of protection to ensure you work safely around electricity:
  • Ø  Engineering controls: Involve adjusting design of equipment to prevent shock hazards or injuries such as insulation using a material (rubber, glass, some plastics) with little or no conductive properties to put a barrier between you and the current flow. Most metals and moist skin offer very little resistance to the flow of electrical current and can easily conduct electricity. Other substances such as dry wood, ceramic, or pottery, rubber offer a high resistance and can be used to prevent the flow of electrical current.
  • Ø  Safe work practices: These practices can be developed through training and providing safe work procedures for workers.
  • Ø  Personal protective equipment (PPE): An extra line of defense by reducing the impact of the hazard. Use the appropriate PPE for the job together with the safe work practices and engineering controls.

   The following tips on identifying and preventing electric shock or injuries can be applied in the office or at home and can be shared with family and friends to ensure we prevent all accidents associated with electricity:
  • ·       Secure all cables and cords around your work area or home with a duct tape along the wall so they don’t pose trip hazard.
  • ·       Remember, a clean work area is a productive work area; keep tools clean and arranged
  • ·       Electrical appliances can pose fire hazard risks. Be sure to turn off all appliances at the end of the day or when going out or travelling
  • ·       If electrical equipment malfunctions or gives off a strange odor, switch off immediately then call the appropriate maintenance personnel.
  • ·       Promptly disconnect and replace cracked, frayed, or broken electrical cords.
  • ·       Keep extension cords clear of doorways and other areas where they can be stepped on or chafed and never plug one extension cord into another.
  • ·       Don’t fasten extension cords with staples, hang from nails, or suspend by wire.
  • ·       Use special insulated tools when working on fuses with energized terminals.
  • ·       Don’t use equipment with worn or frayed cords and cables.
  • ·       Plugs should fit securely into outlets, but never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
  • ·       Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire.
  • ·       Always inspect tools and equipment before you work.·       Do not work within ten (10) feet of overhead power lines carrying up to 50kilovolts of electricity.

 If some of these tips are applied while working with electrical equipment, electric shock and electrical injuries termed "the bite" can be prevented.

 Written by O’ Reese on behalf of En-pact Solutions Limited, 2013
Twitter: @O Reese2

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Climate leader’s encounter at Gezi Park

Indeed climate change is real and this was evident at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, a 3 day extensive and intriguing session. The aim was to train leaders globally to develop skills and provide information to create action on climate change.

It was 14th - 16th June 2013 and saw the congregation of about 600 passionate environmental delegates from 94 countries with the common goal of learning about the growing concern of climatic changes, its impact on the quality of life, our environment and the drive to promote this awareness globally. We had the honor of being invited to this great event organized by the Nobel Laureate Al Gore the former Vice President of the United States of America and Chairman of Climate Reality - an environmental movement for change.

Ironically, the training was scheduled to hold in Istanbul, Turkey close to Taksim Square where for over 10 days, prior to the scheduled training, there has been ongoing environmental protests by members of the public tagged “Occupy Gezi” aimed at halting the development of a section of Gezi park for the construction of a replica of the Topcu Barracks by the government as part of the Taksim rejuvenation project.

The first day of the training, which happened to be a Friday started with the introductory session and developing of presentation skills in order to promote conversations. At the end of the day, a group of us (delegates) went towards Taksim Square to have dinner and were trilled by the activities around Gezi Park where there was singing and dancing by protesters. After dinner, we joined in and hung around to enjoy the scenery and it was a nice experience. 

On Saturday, 15th of June which was the main day, we had an opportunity of having a whole day (10 hours) with Al Gore where he went through a presentation to prepare us for  leadership roles as Climate Change Volunteers. He gave the presentation with so much passion, enthusiasm and drive, it was really inspiring for most of us especially me.

As we trained to promote action on climate change, the Turkish protesters at Gezi Park made the place habitable by building tents to enhance resistance to government officials with the resilience to protect the park. These two activities by different groups of individuals had the common goal of environmental protection and location close to Taksim Square but the approach towards achieving the goals were different. The training by climate reality involved a group of individuals passionate about the environment whilst the protests at Gezi Park were becoming political and more or less violent.

Encounter at Gezi Park: After spending a day with Al Gore, we were energized, learnt a lot about the science behind climate change and the devastating effects in some areas. We all made individual commitments to go forth and win the climate change conversations. As I went through the training, I started having ideas on how to positively impact my community. An evening of cocktails and canapés was organized afterwards to promote networking opportunities and picture taking. It was an opportunity for delegates to interact with those from other countries or continents sharing ideas and experiences since they were previously grouped by continent/country during the training. 

There were discussions on ideas for the ten activities the Climate leaders had committed to in the next one year and how they were going to tell the stories in order to influence individuals, organizations and government to carry out action to combat the climate change. Spending time with fellow climate leaders was inspiring, after a while I joined a group of 15 climate leaders who decided to go on a boat cruise to Bosphorous strait to sail between the shores of Europe and Asia.  We were all excited as we walked from the reception venue to get a bus to take us to the ferry for the boat cruise chatting away. As we approached Gezi Park, we noticed that protesters were wearing nose mask and a couple of people were wearing hardhats. I brought this to the attention of my fellow delegates for the atmosphere was different from what we observed the previous day where we were singing and dancing. As we walked past the park we realized that policemen were surrounding the park and there was so much activity. Immediately I realized that, I told my colleagues I was leaving and advised them to do same. We retreated and took the emergency route we had earlier identified the day before. Suddenly the policemen started firing tear gas and pepper spray on protesters and people around the part.

At that point, people scampered we had lost some of our colleagues in the crowd, as there was so much chaos with people running, children crying and protesters chanting their songs in the Turkish language. We finally made it to a luxurious hotel called Marti Istanbul hotel and walked into the lobby away from the “teargas” and confusion. We spent over 3hours at the hotel reception networking, wining and dining. 

At about midnight the situation got worse and we were advised not to return to our hotel. We had to pay for rooms at the hotel and guess what, it was a lot nicer and fancier that our initial hotel, and as relief for a successful escape, I pampered myself with a Turkish Bath .

Afterwards, my colleagues and I hung out at the lounge, chatting until the early hours of the morning so we only slept for a few hours but the great part of our stay at Marti was the full breakfast buffet we had in the morning before setting out to our rooms to get our stuff. When we saw the devastations on the street close to our hotel we were glad we stayed back.

The last day of the training was a bit distracting as a lot of people were busy trying to reschedule their tickets to leave earlier than scheduled or trying to relocate to safer areas of Istanbul.

Lessons Learned: The following lessons were identified in the course of this experience.

Ø  The organizers did not communicate updates on the security issues surrounding the location of the training.
Ø  As tourist, we should be observant and apply situational awareness at all times especially when you are in an area you are not familiar with.
Ø  Always avoid crowded area and if possible areas of proposed security risks.
Ø  Ensure you always have an emergency evacuation plan by identifying routes of exit; after assessing the risk of an area, always make contingency plans.
Ø  Always follow your instincts, if it looks suspicious, it probably is suspicious so thread carefully.
Ø  There is safety in numbers, do not move alone but when the team is too large, it becomes difficult to manage.

The great part of this experience was that there were no casualties among the Climate Leaders although there were a lot of near misses and the sad news is that most of us did not have the opportunity of enjoy the beautiful city of Istanbul. A survey taken from the group showed that a majority of delegates intend to visit Istanbul again to have a tour of this wonderful city.

We are all ambassadors of the climate change reality happening in our world, make a difference; spread the word.

Written by O’ Reese of En-pact Solutions Limited, 2013
Twitter: @O Reese2

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

World Environment Day (5th June) …..Think…..Eat…..Save

Global environmental concerns such as climate change and sustainability there is a drive for the celebration of the world environment day to create awareness on these issues. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), about 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted annually in the supply chain starting from agricultural production until it gets to the final consumers plate for eating. This is equivalent to the quantity of food produced in the sub Saharan region causing a drain in the natural resources and negative environmental impacts. The emphasis on food waste refers to the significant amount of food suitable for human consumption that is lost in the cycle mostly by high or medium income countries at consumer level with lesser quantities lost in the low income countries in the supply chain. The main focus is to influence consumer behavior of medium and high income nations and improve the infrastructure and technological limitations of low-income countries. The purpose is to reduce food waste and promote sustainable food supply chain.

When food is wasted, the resources or foodprint from production to consumption is lost therefore the resulting environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions during the supply chain cycle is already deployed without any result or product and there is biodiversity loss. The call is for individuals to select food based on environmental criteria such as those with little or no negative environmental impacts and opt for purchasing of locally produced food as opposed to buying imported food. The irony of it all is that globally large quantity of food is wasted everyday whist a lot of people are living on less than one dollar a day. These resources can be channelled towards feeding people and preventing starvation.
Mongolia the host country for this year’s World Environment Day has been affected by Climate change therefore is promoting a Green Economy by creating environmental awareness. With food security and water shortage as the major challenges, it is vital that there is a focus on reducing foodprint to ensure that sustainable production is promoted.
What activity are you using to commemorate this sustainable consumption event? Countries, government, non-governmental organizations, private sector and individuals are coming together in Mongolia today to discuss global environmental concerns but reducing our foodprint starts with individual responsibilities. This year’s campaign encourages you to take action from your home and then join in collective goal to reduce food waste, save money, minimise the environmental impact of food production and promote more efficient food production processes.
Therefore, Think of sustainable sources of food as you Eat and Save the leftovers or eliminate food waste by reducing your foodprint to protect our environment. Adopt a sustainable food consumption lifestyle by promoting creative means of production, consumption and disposal.
Written by O’ Reese on behalf of En-pact Solutions Limited, 2013
Twitter: @O Reese2.