Thursday, June 21, 2012
Summer time is coming and workers on both sides of the Cascades need to be aware of heat illness. By now all employers should know about Washington’s Outdoor Heat Exposure rule found in WAC 296-62-095.
Working outdoors in hot weather can result in serious illness or even death. Workers exposed to extreme heat may experience symptoms of heat-related illnesses (HRI), such as heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, fainting, heat stroke, and other symptoms.
According to DOSH heat-related illness is also linked to injuries from falls, equipment operation accidents, and other on-the-job incidents. Such incidents can happen when someone with heat stress becomes fatigued, dizzy, confused, or disoriented.
Since heat can lead to other issues and potential incidents, it is important that all of us working out-of-doors take care to avoid heat illness issues. The most important thing to do is to hydrate the night before and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of proper fluids the night before and continue to drink fluids (i.e., water or sport drinks) throughout the day. Remember that we not only need water, but electrolytes, which can be gained from drinking sport drinks in addition to water.
In addition to taking care of ourselves, we have to look out for our co-workers whom may suffer the effects of heat illness. The following are from the OSHA fact sheet on heat illness.
Heat Stroke is the most serious heat-related health problem. Heat stroke occurs when the body's temperature regulating system fails and body temperature rises to critical levels (greater than 104°F).This is a medical emergency that may result in death! The signs of heat stroke are confusion, loss of consciousness and seizures. Workers experiencing heat stroke have a very high body temperature and may stop sweating. If a worker shows signs of possible heat stroke, get medical help immediately, and call 911. Until medical help arrives, move the worker to a shady, cool area and remove as much clothing as possible. Wet the worker with cool water and circulate the air to speed cooling. Place cold wet cloths, wet towels or ice all over the body or soak the worker’s clothing with cold water.
Heat Exhaustion is the next most serious heat-related health problem. The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, confusion, thirst, heavy sweating and a body temperature greater than 100.4°F. Workers with heat exhaustion should be removed from the hot area and given liquids to drink. Remove unnecessary clothing including shoes and socks. Cool the worker with cold compresses to the head, neck, and face or have the worker wash his or her head, face and neck with cold water. Encourage frequent sips of cool water. Workers with signs or symptoms of heat exhaustion should be taken to a clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation and treatment. Make sure that someone stays with the worker until help arrives. If symptoms worsen, call 911 and get help immediately.
Heat Cramps are muscle pains usually caused by physical labor in a hot work environment. Heat cramps are caused by the loss of body salts and fluid during sweating. Workers with heat cramps should replace fluid loss by drinking water and/or carbohydrate-electrolyte replacement liquids (e.g., sports drinks) every 15 to 20 minutes.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
In recent months a total of 11 employees were poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO) at 3 separate work places.
DOSH inspections tied the poisonings to propane- or liquid gas-powered equipment used in poorly ventilated, enclosed spaces. Built-in ventilation systems (HVACs) in these work spaces were either taken out of service (to avoid dust contamination during work activities) or not capable of removing a buildup of CO gas. Hazard prevention starts with recognition that CO can become a danger on job sites like the ones described here. Dangerously high levels of CO built up in the air:
- After just 2 hours of pressure washing a concrete floor inside a 200 foot-long townhouse garage
- Within 1 ½ hours of operating a power screed and two riding-power trowels inside a 12,000 sq.ft. warehouse.
- During the work shift while using a floor-scraper machine to remove tile inside a 22,000 sq.ft. office space.
Industrial fans and negative-pressure air machines are often not enough to stop a serious CO build up, even in large spaces. Testing the air for CO during work activities will tell you if your ventilation setup is keeping CO below regulatory limits. If high CO levels persist, you may need to add a portable ventilation system that can ensure enough contaminated air is effectively vented to the outside and replaced by fresh air.
To find help or learn more about CO hazards, rules, and regulatory limits, visit L&I’s Carbon Monoxide topic page. This page also provides hazard prevention, training, and other resources to help you keep your employees safe and working.
Please share this bulletin with others in your industry and safety networks.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Nichole.Rose@lni.wa.gov.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
193 children’s lives saved over the last decade, thanks to prevention policies, law enforcement, education
More children are alive and well in King County today because of a dramatic drop in injury deaths such as traffic crashes, drowning, falls and burns. From 2000 to 2009, the rate of death from injuries for children 19 and younger declined by 62 percent. The reduction reflects a decade of innovative public health research, policies, law enforcement, and education of parents.
“There is nothing more valuable than saving a child’s life,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Thanks to safety programs and safer practices, we’ve taken a tremendous step forward in making King County a healthier place to live.”
In King County, 22 children died from injuries in 2009, down from 55 in 2000. Public Health – Seattle & King County estimates that 193 children are alive today who wouldn’t be if injury death rates hadn’t declined.
The improvements in King County surpassed a national trend of fewer child injury deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that child deaths from injuries declined 29 percent from 2000 to 2009.
“In King County, child injury rates have fallen twice as fast as national injury rates,” said Dr. Beth Ebel, Director of the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, University of Washington. “We led the nation in strong bicycle helmet legislation, passed the first booster seat law in the country, and have innovative programs to prevent childhood drowning. These programs make a difference.”
In King County, traffic-related child deaths declined from 35 in 2000 to 11 in 2009.
“Safer cars play a huge role in reducing the number of traffic-related deaths,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director & Health Officer for Public Health. “Many of us can remember climbing around the front seat of our parents’ cars —with no seat belts and no air bags. We’ve come a long way, and our kids are safer because of it.”
A variety of other factors also contributed to the decline in traffic-related child deaths, including:
· Ninety-eight percent of people wearing seat belts, one of the highest rates in the nation
· Graduated Driver’s Licenses, which help keep teen drivers safe through passenger restrictions, curfew times, and more supervised time behind the wheel.
· Impaired driving enforcement, prosecution and penalties
The number of children who drowned in King County also has been steadily declining; five children drowned in 2000 and only one in 2009.
A number of policies that have made King County a safer place for children are a result of the work of the King County Child Death Review committee. The committee—comprised of health care providers, government agencies, law enforcement and fire departments, prosecutors, community leaders and others— reviews the circumstances of the death of each child in King County and uses the information to take action to prevent future deaths. Changes that have resulted from this robust process include increased education and promotion of safe sleep positions, the promotion of legislation on bicycle helmets, and the removal of unsafe child products from the market.
Despite efforts to make our community safer for all children, injuries remain a leading cause of death locally and nationally, and new challenges persist. Accidental poisonings, including teenagers overdosing prescription drugs, are a growing concern.
“The significant decline in child injury rates can also be attributed to the partnerships between King County organizations and residents who have worked together to make policy- and system-level changes that promote safety,” said Dr. Linda Quan, who co-led the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Seattle and has researched drowning for over 30 years while at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “But, we still have work to do. Our goal is to get unintentional deaths to zero. Therefore it’s imperative that supporting new and existing safety initiatives remain a priority in our governments, businesses and communities.”
To learn more about the important work of local collaborations to prevent child injuries and deaths, visit:
'Child injuries' refers to unintentional injuries that occur among children and teens 0-19 years.
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.9 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health – Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day. More at www.kingcounty.gov/health
Contact: Katie Ross, 206-263-8781
Thursday, June 14, 2012
I think everyone knows that the faster you drive, the more fuel your vehicle uses. And, of course, that means more pollution out the tailpipe.
However, I don't think many people really know how much more fuel is burned and pollution caused by even a small increase in your speed. I think you may be surprised. I was.
In fact, with fuel prices constantly increasing and environmental issues a concern each day, we have to take a look at what we can do as drivers. Perhaps the easiest way to make an improvement in our fuel consumption and emissions is to simply slow down. Very few drivers these days actually drive the speed limit, but if we even slowed down a little, it would make a huge impact.
You may also be surprised at how little time will be added to your daily commute when you slow down to even the speed limit. Again, I was.
So, slowing down helps. But that's not the whole solution. How you accelerate away from a standstill is also critical. "Squeezing" the gas pedal down is a key ingredient in smooth driving and helps to maintain maximum control. This "squeezing" of the pedal will also significantly improve your fuel mileage and decrease emissions.
Maintaining your speed is the real key, though. The less you accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake, accelerate...the more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly you'll be. Try looking farther ahead in traffic and time the signal lights so that you don't always have to come to a complete stop.
If you are driving a manual transmission vehicle, try to determine the best engine RPM at which to shift. Attempt to feel and shift at the point where the engine runs "free" - neither over-revving, nor "lugging". Feel for the engine and this will be the best place at which to shift.
All these small points: slowing down slightly, driving smoothly, "squeezing" the gas pedal, braking as little as possible, shifting at the correct time - not to mention checking tire pressures - can save you big dollars and make an immense impact on the environment. And believe me, it won't add more than a couple of minutes to your daily commute - a very small price to pay for the big savings. It will also reduce the wear and tear on the vehicle, allow you to drive at a more relaxed pace and make the road a much safer place to be.
On the other hand, don't take my word for it - try it for yourself. For one week, really concentrate on driving a little slower and more smoothly. Then make a note of how much longer a tank of fuel lasts. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.
Contributed by Ross Bentley, copyright Ross Bentley, reprinted with permission
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
It’s shockingly simple to save a life. The Emergency Services Division of Public Health – Seattle & King County launched the Shockingly Simple Campaign to increase adoption and registration of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Seattle and King County. Every year more than 300,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) – a condition in which the heart unexpectedly stops beating. It can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time, even to those with optimal heart health. And when it occurs – seconds count.
AEDs are designed to diagnose this life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm caused by SCA and will determine the need to deliver a shock that will restore the heart’s normal rhythm before emergency teams arrive. In many cases, AED use is a victim’s only chance of survival. In fact, studies have shown a 70-80% chance of survival if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is used within minutes on an SCA victim.
AEDs are very simple to use and each device provides step-by-step audio instruction to walk you through the process.
“It’s shockingly simple to restart a heart with an AED,” said David Fleming, PhD. and executive director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “We launched this campaign with the support of business and community leaders to encourage professionals to purchase and register AEDs, which have the potential to save lives within their organizations and communities.”
ESC often hears about how an AED has saved a life within our service area. Unfortunately, there are also cases where people lose a family member or friend because an AED was not available. This is why we have joined the Shockingly Simple campaign and registered our AED with Public Health - Seattle & King County to ensure 9-1-1 operators know its location and can direct people to it in case of an emergency. We will also alert our neighbors, since we believe having an AED is not only good business practice for us, but also helps our local community.
If you have an AED, we encourage you to register it. If your organization does not have an AED, we encourage you to purchase one. If you need training we can help with that too.
The life it saves may be yours!