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“New #Safety Products! “See The New “Hi-Viz” Safety Vest from Viz Reflectives”

There was a time when founder, Justin Krook fell off an elevated floor at a construction site and landed on a metal rod that plunged 9 inches into the middle of his back. Impaled on the metal rod, for 27 terrifying minutes he wrestled with the real possibility of a life without the use of his legs.

Krook sees this incident as having led to his new life as an entrepreneur and the inventor of a new photoluminescent pigment used on construction workers’ safety vests. “This technology is something new and never seen before,” said Doug Peterson, a risk manager and northern region safety director at United Contractors Midwest. “I’ve seen nothing even remotely as effective as this product.”

However, when his father got sick, he felt obligated to take over his contracting company in New Ipswich, N,H., where Krook grew up. It was 2006, after six years in the construction industry, when the accident happened. Krook and his crew were building an inside loading dock for a company that makes mortar shells for the government. He was showing a co-worker where to cut an opening in the building’s wall to create a entryway for supply trucks to unload materials in a secure location. Then he stepped back. “I fell back off the floor and landed on a metal bar that went up 9 inches in my back and almost leaving me paralyzed,” he said. “It was one of those life-changing experiences.”

Despite the intense pain, Krook used those 27 minutes to think about the future. “After I was hurt, I started to look at the world differently,” he said. “I wanted to protect workers from going through what I had gone through….that was something that I became passionate about.” After spending six months recovering from his injury, he was back at work on a job in Mississippi building a 40,000-square-foot pool. During the project, he and a few engineers were looking for a way to identify the pool’s edge at night.

It was decided to try a readily-available chemical, but it wasn’t bright enough to be seen in ambient-light. That was when Krook, relying what he learned in a “few” chemistry classes at FSU, began searching for a luminescent compound that could be easily seen outdoors and in ambient light. “I literally set up a lab in my garage and started doing some research to figure out how photoluminescent pigment actually works and how I could take that and increase the intensity so it would be seen outside,” he said. “The whole idea just started from that pool.”

While taking a business class at Clark University in Worcester, he started seeking out chemists who could help him with the project. Edward Kingsley, who holds a Ph.D in chemistry and is a technical program manager at UMass Lowell, provided the technical assistance Krook needed. “I was impressed by Justin’s focus, drive and work ethic along with the fact that he has a very collaborative work style,” Kingsley said, adding “keep in mind he worked on the project for two years without a paycheck, it has not been an easy road for him!”

“It was about two years later that I actually had a way to increase the intensity,” he said. “The ‘ah-ha’ moment was when I showed this to a family friend who had invented a product back in the ’80s.” His family friend, impressed, told him it was time to find a patent attorney. That was in December 2012. Of course, Krook won’t reveal how he increased the results but people like Kingsley are impressed with what he has discovered.

“I am a Ph.D chemist with 30 years experience in technical product development and spent many years developing photoluminescent materials,” said Kingsley. “I was amazed at how much Justin accomplished with no formal training or experience with material science (and) with much fewer resources.” “The hardest part was convincing my wife that using everything we had saved towards an unknown product that may or may not work and even if it did, would it sell?” “The purpose of a high-visibility garment is to make a person visible,” Krook said. Before the discovery, once a construction worker stepped away from the light, they were invisible. Now workers can be seen hundreds of feet away using Krook’s product. The glow lasts up to eight hours. “I can see the cars hitting their brake lights when I am out here in the dark moving traffic control,” Peterson said.

“People are more aware. It’s an extra layer of protection.” That extra layer of protection for workers was exactly what United Contractors Midwest was looking for. “The reason why we love this product is because it is cutting-edge,” said Peterson. “These guys appreciate that UCM is willing to spend the extra money to give them that extra layer of added protection.” Kingsley echoed Peterson on Krook’s product being innovative. “I am very familiar with the development of photoluminescent materials and knowledgeable about companies developing such materials,” he said. “Justin’s photoluminescent tapes were better than any of the competitors I had previously evaluated. The combining of the photoluminescent coatings with the retroreflective coatings differentiated his product from others.” At that point Krook, still a lone entrepreneur at the time, needed someone to help push and manufacture his product. He began pitching his product to companies and came across Viz Reflectives UK, which was already making silver-reflective tape and garments.

Krook and VizReflectives owner Nick Rowbottom soon struck an agreement. Krook would license the glow material to Viz Reflectives, which would in turn manufacture the product and attach it to construction garments. “Part of our agreement was I wanted to still be involved,” Krook said about working with Viz RefIectives. “I didn’t want to just license it and then wash my hands of it so the agreement is, I am responsible for introducing and selling into all of North, Central and South America. Right now, they are doing all the manufacturing and then I take it, introduce it and sell it.”

Viz Reflectives manufactures the tape, then sends it offshore to be sewn onto the garments and then shipped back to the United States to be sold. “We didn’t want separate brands that would cause confusion in the market, so I started Viz Reflectives North America and we decided the tape would be sold under VizLite®DT and our garments under Alpha WorkWear,” Krook said. Krook started the company about 14 months ago. He’s been using LinkedIn, a business-focused social-media website, to market his product. That connected him with Peterson and United Contractors Midwest, and has recently met with Exxon Mobil, Jacobs, Archer Western, Kiewit, OldCastle, Con Edison, National Grid among many other very large companies. “They loved it,” said Krook, adding that he “now has a fire-retardant version of the tape and our FR garments currently under construction.” Krook has also met with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MBTA and NHDOT. “With so many fatalities on the roadways we feel it is a no-brainer to add a 3rd layer of protection.

We would like to meet with the Departments of Transportation in all 50 States” Krook adds “there is no doubt in our minds not only will we prevent accidents but also save lives!” He said he introduces the product the same way to every company. “It’s a great feeling knowing that I am pitching a product that could literally save someone’s life,” Krook said. “It’s not just a product to sell or some kind of gimmick. It’s a real, industrial-safety, lifesaving product and a lot of companies are seeing it the same. That is very gratifying knowing you are out helping people.” Krook has turned this into a career and he hopes it can eventually create job opportunities for locals in North Central Massachusetts. He said once the manufacturing machine in the UK gets up to 50 percent capacity, he is looking at local places to open manufacturing. “I always said if this ever went anywhere, I would want to help create jobs,” Krook said. Krook is not there yet, but he has upgraded his lab and moved into a new office building in MA.

Customer Contact

Phone: 1-978-343-8800
Fax: 1-603-372-5000
Email: info@vizreflectivesna.com

Viz Reflectives North America
P.O. Box 101
Lunenberg, MA 01462

Website: http://vizreflectivesna.com/index.html

Contact on Twitter at: @Vizreflect

Contany questionsy  questions!

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Fire Prevention Weekly Update – January 15, 2013

u-s-fire-administration

  1. Campaigns / Other Fire Prevention Efforts
  2. Campus fire safety
  3. Inspections/Code enforcement
  4. Smoke Alarms
  5. Sprinklers
  6. Wildland Fire Safety
  7. Fire safety tips and reminders
  8. Other Safety News
  9. Sprinkler Saves
  10. International News

Links to Fire Prevention-related news articles – Updated 01/14/2013

Campaigns/ Other Fire Safety Activities

  1. “Watch Your Butt” Campaign from the Springfield Fire Department (Missouri)
  2. Chilhowie firefighters launch education campaign (Virginia)
  3. Firefighters get word out about home sprinkler systems (Pennsylvania)
  4. Entire community gets free smoke detectors (Missouri)
  5. Lexington Fire Dept. working to put smoke detectors in every home (Kentucky)
  6. Volunteers to promote fire safety in Framingham (Massachusetts)

Campus fire safety

  1. OSU students find new homes after suspicious fire

Inspections / Code enforcement

  1. Fire inspections reduce risks

Smoke Alarms

  1. Special smoke detectors will aid deaf in fire (Indiana)
  2. Brighton woman survives fire after being woken by smoke alarm
  3. Smoke detector credited for saving a family of eight (North Carolina)

Sprinklers

  1. UMass Amherst residence halls now protected by fire sprinklers
  2. Lightweight construction and the need for home fire sprinklers
  3. Md. fire deaths down 22% in 2012
  4. Carlisle fire company plans to extinguish anti-sprinkler messages
  5. Fully sprinklered nursing homes were a long time coming (NFPA)
  6. Mass. housing complexes by the thousands lack sprinklers
  7. Tragic Fire in Rockford Highlights Need for Home Fire Sprinklers

Wildland Fire Safety

  1. Australian families win their battles against wildfires

Safety tips and reminders

  1. Keep baby safe around space heaters (Consumer Reports)
  2. 5 Things: Fire Safety With Alternative Heating Sources
  3. Recent house fires seen as preventable (Iowa)
  4. Cooking fires are the most common
  5. Sparky’s new activity that integrates fire safety education and measurement is “Measuring Up!”

Other Safety News

  1. Year Ends with Significant Drop in State Fire Deaths (Mississippi)
  2. Md. fire deaths down 22% in 2012
  3. Residents Told To Take Fire Prevention Into Their Own Hands
  4. Six-year-old boy caused Georgia fire that killed four siblings

 

Residential Sprinkler Saves

  1. Sprinkler system controls condo fire (Lake Havasu City, AZ)

Fire Prevention News: International

  1. Australia firefighters race to beat heat spike
  2. Australian families win their battles against wildfires

 

 

 

Health & Safety Lapses In Lab Tied To Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Investigators found “serious health and safety deficiencies” at the compound pharmaceutical lab tied to the fungal meningitis outbreak, according to a preliminary report released Monday.

Tacky mats used to trap dirt and other contaminants from workers’ shoes prior to entering a clean room “were visibly soiled with assorted debris,” according to the report from Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Investigators from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health also found a leaky boiler adjacent to the clean room with a pool of water creating unsanitary conditions inside the Framingham, Mass.-based New England Compounding Center. Culture results from that potential contaminant are still pending, the report states.

Investigators also reported the compounding center distributed large batches of products in bulk, which was not allowed under the terms of its pharmacy license.

“If NEC was appropriately licensed as a manufacturer with the (Food and Drug Administration) the company would have been subject to additional levels of scrutiny,” the report states.

As of Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 317 meningitis cases across several states, including 24 deaths.

Investigators who inspected the NECC facility found several other problematic conditions.

“Powder hoods, intended to protect pharmacists from inhaling substances during medication preparation, within the sterile compounding area were not thoroughly cleaned,” the report states. Residual powder observed within the hood may also have led to contamination of compounded medications, the report says.

 

CSB Commends Massachusetts Authorities for Issuing Tough Hazardous Materials Storage and Processing Rules

May 17, 2012

Investigation Details:
CAI / Arnel Chemical Plant Explosion

Washington DC, May 17, 2012 – The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announced today that it is commending Massachusetts authorities for improving the regulation of hazardous materials storage and processing in the state, including monitoring of high risk facilities to ensure they are complying with key federal process safety and risk management programs.

The action – taken by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services – satisfied a key recommendation made by the CSB in its 2008 final report on the 2006 explosion at an ink and paint products manufacturing facility in Danvers, a suburb of Boston. The CSB concluded that an unattended mixing tank overheated in an unventilated building at CAI, Inc, causing the release of flammable vapors which subsequently ignited. The facility stored alcohols, heptanes, other solvents, pigments, resin and nitrocellulose ; all of it which were destroyed in the explosion. Twenty-four houses and six businesses were destroyed. Many other homes were extensively damaged in the blast. Ten people were injured, but no one was killed, possibly because the accident occurred in the middle of the night while people were asleep in bed.

The CSB investigation found that CAI had increased its quantities of flammable liquids over the years. The additional quantities went undetected by local authorities who had not inspected the facility for over four years prior to the time of the incident.

At the time of the accident mandatory notification by companies to local authorities that a facility had increased its quantities of flammable materials from the initial amount listed in the permit was not well enforced. Therefore, the Board recommended that Massachusetts require companies storing and handling flammable materials to amend their license and re-register with state or local authorities when increasing their quantities of flammable materials; they must also verify compliance with local, state fire codes and hazardous chemical regulations.

Noting the Board voted unanimously to declare the status of the recommendation as “Closed – Exceeds Recommended Action,” CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “Massachusetts authorities have not only adopted the CSB recommendation, but went beyond their intent with the regulations issued by the Board of Fire Prevention Regulations in 2012. The Massachusetts approach, if adopted by other states, has the potential of leveraging the resources of fire authorities to complement the regulatory and enforcement work of OSHA and the EPA with regard to high hazard facilities.”

Dr. Moure-Eraso noted that the Massachusetts regulations classify hazardous materials into five categories based on threshold quantities. Categories 1-4, for example, must be in compliance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard. Category 5, under which CAI would have fallen, requires companies to certify compliance with the OSHA Process Safety Management standard and with the EPA Risk Management Program regulation. “Had this state regulation been in place, and been enforced, in 2006,”
Dr. Moure-Eraso said, “the company and regulators would have been more likely to have recognized the hazard presented by the operation and to have prevented the accident.”

A key related Board recommendation to the state remains open. It urges the Department of Fire Services to audit local governments and local fire authorities in Massachusetts for their enforcement of compliance with permit limits and inspection requirements for storage and handling of flammable materials.

The Department of Fire Services informed the CSB that it lacks the resources to audit all local government for compliance, and would instead provide training for local fire authorities to adequately review permits and inspect facilities for compliance with the new requirements. Training materials are reportedly in development,

CSB recommendation status is determined by a board vote following a staff analysis. Reponses may be deemed “Acceptable” or “Unacceptable,” and either closed or left open for further consideration. To date, 57% of CSB recommendations have been designated “Closed – Acceptable action.” In some cases, the board has designated responses as exceeding recommended action. Only 2% of CSB recommendations – open or closed – have resulted in an “unacceptable” status.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen, cell 202-446-8094, or Sandy Gilmour, 202-261-7614, cell 202-251-5496 in CSB public affairs.

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