Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Call to action: Watch this video

Please take a few moments to watch a new YouTube video featuring Dr. Brian Johnston of Harborview. Share it with as many friends, colleagues and groups as possible.

According to Lindsay Pease with the Driven to Distraction Task Force of Washington State, many wonderful people helped make this video possible, and they will be acknowledging each of them on thier web site nodistractions.org soon.

Thanks for spreading the word!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mobile Cranes

How’s your crane certification coming along? The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) today (12/22/2009) reminded businesses that new crane safety standards taking effect Jan. 1 require construction cranes in Washington to be certified, but only a fraction have done so.

Of an estimated 7,000 cranes used in construction in the state, only 700 have been certified, including just 20 tower cranes. There are an estimated 100 tower cranes currently erected throughout the state.

“There are a huge number of cranes not certified,” said Dan McMurdie, manager of L&I’s Construction and Specialty Services program. “Businesses should have been working on this all year, but if they haven’t, they certainly should now.” He said there are about 50 people statewide trained to certify cranes, noting that an inspection can take a few hours to a week or more, depending on the crane’s size and complexity. To see the full story go to the L&I website at www.lni.wa.gov/news/2009/pr091222a.asp.

In addition to the crane certification, there is also requirements for operator training and certification, so if you haven’t, it’s time to get going and remember Evergreen can help.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shots fired in the building? I can’t believe this is happening to us! What do we do now?

ESC's General Membership Meeting will be January 26, 2010. Membership comes with benefits. All member organizations are encouraged to register and attend to learn what's new in safety, see the presentation of the John Spellman Safety Award, and network with fellow safety professionals during a buffet lunch. This year ESC will also offer an "Active Shooter" presentation by Larry Kaminer, President, Personal Safety Training Group. Below, Larry provides an article on the topic of shots fired...

Within ten days of presenting on this topic at a safety conference, I awoke to read about the senseless slaughter of thirteen at Fort Hood, a story which dominated the news for some time.
It is worth pointing out that on the day of that massacre, an apparently disgruntled ex employee walked into the building he had worked in two years earlier and opened fire, killing one and wounding five, a story that didn’t quite make it onto the front page. This happened in Orlando Florida.

Just four days later and also lost in the fog of the 24 hour news cycle, was a shooting that occurred on the premises of a business in Tualatin, Oregon leaving one dead and two wounded. This was a case of domestic violence spilling over into the workplace as a man shot his ex wife.

Perhaps most bewildering is how rapidly the sobering nature of these so called “low probability” yet “high impact” events fade from memory as we return to our busy lives, with so many of us yet again not implementing an emergency plan of action for such an occurrence!

Which barrier to “awareness and preparedness” is at play here; apathy, complacency or denial?

I have been on the receiving end of gunfire albeit not in a work environment. More terrifying than the gunshots was my distinct awareness of how unprepared I was for such an event. This lead me to freeze up like the proverbial “deer in the headlights” as I tried to comprehend what was going. Valuable seconds ticked by before I stopped thinking and actually began to react. I was lucky to get away unscathed.

It is usually how we react during the very first few seconds of a shooting incident that will dictate our chances of survival. Those who have rehearsed a plan will bypass the thinking process and react since a response framework has already been ingrained during training. Those who don’t will be in my situation. Gripped by fear and desperately trying to think their way through the fog of the moment, brain awash in adrenaline.

Here are few facts to keep in mind and some tips to consider:
  • According to Homeland Security most of the damage is done within the first 8-15 minutes of an active shooting. Law enforcement usually will not arrive until this time period has elapsed meaning for those first crucial minutes all you will have are each other and any action plan you have put in place, or not.
  • Under duress, employees almost always look to their superiors for leadership. This could not be truer than during a life or death crisis.
  • If you have several panic buttons strategically placed within your facility you will be able to sound the alarm sooner in a situation in which every second counts.
  • If you have practiced retreating to designated “safe rooms” such as offices with heavy locking doors, your staff will be more efficient during an actual retreat. Taking note of all “hard points” behind which to take cover is also important.
  • Once in a “safe room” it is critical to keep quiet, put cell phones in vibrate mode, turn off the lights and not draw any attention to your position.
  • Similarly if you have if you have determined that exiting the building is your best option, having walked the routes during a drill will make for a more efficient egress. Muscle memory is crucial.
  • Of equal importance is knowing where you will NOT retreat to. An example is the bottom of a stairwell you arrive at only to find leads to a permanently locked utility exit door?
    Exits should be constructed so that they cannot be easily blocked from the outside such as with a nearby wheeled dumpster or vehicle.
  • Redundancy during a high stress situation is always preferred. This is particularly important when designating people who will call 911, even if the panic button has been pushed. If you have facilities at other locations they too need to be alerted.
  • It is also important to know how to react to the responding SWAT team who will be barking out orders and moving through your facility very aggressively. In the confusion of the situation an innocent employee’s finger pointing to where the threat came from could look like a gun in hand!
  • Consider offering your local SWAT team the option of practicing in your facility after hours. This gives them an opportunity to sharpen their skills and you a closer relationship with the very agency that would be tasked to responding were there ever an incident at your company.

Even a well thought out rudimentary plan is better than no plan at all. At this very moment it is not a gunman that is our biggest threat. It’s the three enemies of “awareness and preparedness”; apathy, complacency and denial.

The Personal Safety Training Group is also offering two webinar dates
Shots Fired in the Building
Personal Safety for Men and Women in the Workplace

Friday, December 18, 2009

Its Safe to Decorate with Plants for the Holidays

Although urban legend may be filled with stories about the horrors of accidentally ingesting holiday plants such as poinsettias and mistletoe, in reality there is little to fear, according to the Alexandria, VA-based American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Poison control centers received 1,174 calls about human ingestion of poinsettias and 227 calls about animal ingestion in 2008. No deaths or major medical outcomes were experienced in any of those cases. Likewise, poison control centers received 132 calls about human ingestion of mistletoe, none of which resulted in a serious outcome.

"Treating a poinsettia exposure is a glass of milk for the child and a tincture of reassurance for the parent," said Dr. Ed Krenzelok, managing director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center.

Although anything ingested in excess can be hazardous, Krenzelok noted, minimal ingestion of poinsettias or mistletoe is unlikely to cause anything more than discomfort.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Driving

Distracted Driving Video
Please take a few moments to watch our fantastic new YouTube video featuring Dr. Brian Johnston of Harborview.

Call to action: Watch this video and share it with as many friends, colleagues and groups as possible. To watch, please click on the front page of our web site, nodistractions.org or go directly to the YouTube link which can be copied and pasted into your own e-mails:

X-52 DUI Patrols Scour King County
Extra police patrols focus on arresting impaired drivers

KING COUNTY, WA – During this holiday season, law enforcement in King County will join colleagues from across Washington to conduct X-52 patrols. Officers will look for people who drive after drinking or using drugs and arrest them. Police departments from across King County will work together to conduct DUI patrols on December 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 31, 2009.

“Traffic crashes kill or seriously injure hundreds of people in King County each year,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. “By driving sober or planning safe rides home, you can protect yourself, family and friends.”

A total of 94 people died in King County traffic crashes in 2008, and an additional 669 people were seriously injured. In a 2006 survey of Seattle drinkers, the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center found that one out of five drinkers admitted to driving after drinking too much at least once in the past month.

The following law enforcement agencies are participating in X-52 DUI patrols: Algona, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Carnation-Duvall, Clyde Hill, Covington, Des Moines, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Normandy Park, North Bend, Pacific, Port of Seattle, Redmond, Sammamish, Sea-Tac, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Woodinville, and Washington State Patrol.

Officers who participated in 2008 – 2009 X-52 patrols in King County made 5,061 contacts with dangerous drivers, wrote 3,619 traffic citations or infractions, and arrested 105 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Officers also made 14 arrests for felony crimes.

Public Health - Seattle & King County and the King County Traffic Safety Coalition organize X-52 patrols in north King County, and the South King County Target Zero Task Force organizes patrols in south King County.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission funds all X-52 DUI patrols as one strategy delineated in “Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Target Zero.” The goal of “Target Zero” is zero traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington State by 2030. http://www.wtsc.wa.gov/index.php

Public Health- Seattle & King County chairs and staffs the King County Traffic Safety Coalition. Members include representatives from a variety of King County law enforcement agencies, the Washington State Liquor Control Board, alcohol and drug prevention organizations, traffic engineers, non-profit organizations, and others. The Washington State Traffic Safety Commission provides funding for the coalition and other King County traffic safety activities.

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Calling All Traffic Safety Advocates

Because of your commitment to traffic safety, we thought you might like to know about “X THE TXT: Thumbs Up to the Safest Holiday Ever,” Allstate’s national public awareness campaign to encourage teens and their parents not to text and drive.

You can help by joining the Facebook cause at http://apps.facebook.com/causes/395301 and making a virtual pledge not to text and drive this holiday. For each person who makes the pledge, Allstate will donate $1 to the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) for safe teen driving efforts, up to $25,000.

“X THE TXT” is one of many Allstate initiatives aimed at changing driver behavior and saving teen lives. Their family pledge brochure and other teen safe driving resources can be found at http://www.allstateteendriver.com/. Please consider sharing the “X THE TXT” pledge with your safety colleagues, family and friends to help keep the roads safer for everyone this holiday season and throughout the year.

For more information you may also contact Susan Duchak, Allstate Insurance Company at 847-402-7561 or sduch@allstate.com.

Happy and Safe Holidays,

Monday, December 14, 2009

2008 Fatals...

Good for us – The number of workplace fatalities decreased in 2008 over 2007. While the 2008 results are preliminary, this figure represents the smallest annual preliminary total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program was first conducted in 1992.

Key findings of the 2008 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries were:
  • Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector in 2008 declined by 20 percent from the updated 2007 total, twice the all-worker decline of 10 percent.
  • Fatal workplace falls, which had risen to a series high in 2007, also declined by 20 percent in 2008.
  • Workplace suicides were up 28 percent to a series high of 251 cases in 2008, but workplace homicides declined 18 percent in 2008.
  • The number and rate of fatal work injuries among 16 to 17 year-old workers were higher in 2008.
  • Fatal occupational injuries involving Hispanic or Latino workers in 2008 were 17 percent lower than in 2007. Fatalities among non-Hispanic Black or African American workers were down 16 percent.
  • The number of fatal workplace injuries in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations rose 6 percent in 2008 after declining in 2007.
  • Transportation incidents, which accounted for approximately two-fifths of all the workplace fatalities in 2008, fell 13 percent from the previous series low of 2,351 cases reported in 2007.

To see the full news release, please visit: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm

Friday, December 11, 2009

Motorized Rollers

According to DOSH motorized rollers have caused two amputations and broken bones in three separate incidents in eastern Washington over the past 12 months.

The design of these devices allows operators to place their hands in dangerous proximity to moving parts as they grasp and guide the fabric being pulled onto the rotating shaft.

In all three incidents the employee’s hand or clothing was caught and quickly drawn into moving parts. The most dangerous location appears to be at or near the control switch.

If you have motorized rollers some of the things you can do to protect employees are:
  • Install proper guarding for the pinch points and other moving parts.
  • Use flat clips to anchor fabric rolls to the rotating shaft instead of metal pins, screwdrivers, and other objects that protrude and can snare clothing.
  • Install a positive-pressure control switch (also known as a “dead man’s switch”) to automatically cut off power when the operator releases it.

For more information you can check out the L&I (DOSH) hazard alert on this issue, which can be found at www.lni.wa.gov/WISHA/hazalerts/MotorizedRoller.pdf

Thursday, December 10, 2009

carbon monoxide poisoning

With winter around the corner and the use of fire places and generators happen, remember to protect yourself from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent, deadly killer claiming about 1,000 lives each year in the United States. Such common items as automotive exhaust, home heating systems and obstructed chimneys can produce the colorless, odorless gas. The gas can also be produced by poorly vented generators, kerosene heaters, gas grills and other items used for cooking and heating when used improperly during the winter months.
  • NEVER run generators indoors. Open a window slightly when using a kerosene heater.
  • NEVER use charcoal to cook indoors.
  • NEVER use a gas oven to heat your home.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, headaches and dizziness. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, ventilate the area and get to a hospital.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Below are two more informative articles provided by our safety partner Larry Kaminer, President, Personal Safety Training Group.

Holiday Shopping Safety
This is a link to an HR blog and an article on holiday shopping safety - very timely. While written with Black Friday in mind, the information applies throughout the holiday shopping season. Read and share it with friends and family before fighting the crowds at the mall this weekend.


and on a completely different subject...

Workforce Mobility
Here is an article Larry wrote for Mobility Magazine, a publication attached to Worldwide ERC who specialize in workforce relocation

This article focuses on execs and employees being moved abroad, but can easily apply to any situation in which you have workforce mobility.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CDC's Holiday Safety Advice

Stay Safe this Holiday Season
During the upcoming holiday season, and all year, keep safety in mind whenever you’re on the road. Tips from CDC’s Injury Center on motor vehicle safety can help you protect yourself, your passengers, and your family and friends. Whether you’re headed around town, out of town, or out to celebrate, we wish you a safe holiday season.

CDC unveils healthy travel campaign
In response to concerns about the spread of the H1N1 influenza, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week launched a public awareness campaign on healthy traveling.
Being in close proximity to others – whether family members or fellow passengers on planes, trains or buses – can cause germs to spread quickly. To stay healthy on the road, CDC recommends:
  • Travel only when you are feeling well.
  • Get vaccinated for both the seasonal influenza and H1N1 if you are in a high-risk group.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cars & Cranes


Coming soon on I-5 south of Seattle. Very interesting program to reduce crashes that tend to occur after another crash has resulted in heavy congestion.

Well, here in Seattle I guess we need it...Seattle has the worst traffic congestion in the country, with 43% of the city's roads having "HEAVY DELAYS", according to global positioning system (GPS) company TomTom. We were even higher than LA , which only had 38% of roads with heavy delays.


The new Washington State Crane Code - Effective January 1, 2010

If you have cranes with a capacity over 1 ton, your operators must be trained by a nationally accredited training agency (WAC 296-155-53300).
Evergreen Safety Council in cooperation with Working Class Heroes Safety & Health Services provides you with NCCCO certified training for small telescoping booms and knuckle booms.

4-Day Mobile Crane Training

Jan. 18-21, 2010 – Seattle
Jan. 25-28, 2010 – Spokane
Mar. 1-4, 2010 – Seattle
Mar. 15-18, 2010 – Vancouver

2 Day Knuckle Boom
Jan 14-15, 2010 – Seattle
Feb. 1-2, 2010 – Spokane
Mar. 10-11, 2010 – Seattle
Mar. 22-23, 2010 - Vancouver

Mobile Crane training - $1175
Knuckle Boom training - $750

To receive a registration / information packet, please contact our office (206) 382-4090 / (800) 521-0078 or
esc@esc.org. Onsite training is also available.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Shopping and Your Personal Safety

Larry Kaminer, President of the Personal Safety Training Group frequently contributes articles to our monthly newsletter Safety & Health Solutions, but this topic is so timely we thought the BLOG was the best way to share his important safety tips.

Holiday Shopping and Your Personal Safety
The days are getting shorter and with the holiday shopping season upon us, we will head to the mall to purchase gifts for our friends and loved ones. Others make their way there too, but with a far different agenda. Even in good economic times, it is well known that criminals see high concentrations of distracted shoppers in mall settings as easy targets.

Most of us multitask: walk to and from our vehicles “heads down”, often chatting on the cell phone, listening to the iPod or merely daydreaming, an oblivious state of mind often referred to as “Condition White”. For criminals, victimizing shoppers in “Condition White” is like “shooting fish in a barrel”.

Who are these criminals and how do they operate?
  • The opportunistic criminal loiters in and around mall parking lots, entrances and even bathroom areas looking to grab a package or purse from an unsuspecting, inattentive person.
  • Others lay in wait and strike when a “soft target” presents itself. They may hide between vehicles, behind shrubbery or any other structures offering convenient cover from which they can launch an ambush attack leveraging the element of speed and surprise. The back seat of an unlocked vehicle provides an ideal hiding place as well!
  • Others actively seek out their prey. They may watch from a standoff position such as the food court or coffee stand or do surveillance from an upper balcony in a multi story mall or department store. They will “shadow” the prospective victim to an isolated area, often the parking lot, underground garage or perhaps an elevator or stairwell and then strike.

How do we present ourselves as “harder targets” to these criminals as they go through their victim selection process? Harder targets tend to operate in what has been described as “Condition Yellow”, a frame of mind in which you are relaxed yet aware of your surroundings and employ sound strategy. Maintaining this mindset is not complicated but it does take practice and discipline. If you work at it enough, it becomes instinctive and takes less conscious effort to maintain.

People in “Condition Yellow”:

  • Walk with their heads up, shoulders back and scan their surroundings making them more difficult to surprise. This body language is interpreted to be representative of good self esteem and the conviction to stand their ground and resist if attacked or accosted.
  • Walk with brisk athletic stride and purpose of movement. These people are perceived to be more difficult to control physically and are often passed over in favor of those with shuffling, unorganized gait and weak or submissive-looking posture. Walking heads down with rounded slumped shoulders is a prime example.
  • Dress down, blend in and wear comfortable footwear that allows them to move quickly.
  • Always know what is going on in the blind spot behind them. This area is also known as your “six o’ clock” and is from where most ambush attacks are launched.
  • Remember to look up, knowing that criminals do surveillance while “perched” on the high ground such as the aforementioned mall balcony. The “perch” is preferred because very few people ever look up.
  • Are good at reading body language and do not deem their instincts as silly or irrational if they get a “bad vibe” from somebody. They honor their intuition and will remain in a well lit, busy area until they are certain that the threat no longer exists or help arrives.
  • Carry very little in their hands, allowing them to rapidly bring their arms and hands to bear to fend off an attack.
  • Have the discipline to move their vehicles to well-lit parking spaces if they will be at the mall after dark.
  • Although not always convenient, make a point of shopping with a friend or family member and, if not able to use the buddy system, are not shy to ask a security guard to walk them to their car.
  • Do not draw cash from mall ATMs knowing this attracts unwanted attention.
  • Look inside and underneath their vehicles before unlocking and loading packages. (A small flashlight always comes in handy.)
  • Do not turn their back on the world as they load their vehicle.
  • Lock their vehicles even for the brief time it will take to return the shopping cart.
  • Have their car keys in hand, get in, lock and drive away immediately. They do not clear voice mails or read text messages while parked, knowing that they are most vulnerable when in or around a stationary vehicle.
  • Remember that what might appear to be a young couple in a parking garage or public area could be a male/ female criminal team at work.
  • Do not lapse into a false sense of security and drop their guard just because they are in a well–lit, high traffic area. (Anything can happen, anywhere at any time.)
  • Are weary of panel vans or utility vehicles parked on the driver’s side or near their vehicles. It is easy to be pulled through the sliding door of a van.
  • Make sure they have not been followed from the mall by paying attention to the vehicles are around or behind them.

As you go about your day, observe others and ask yourself “who would be an easy target to victimize if I were the bad guy”? Make mental notes of all the elements that make the target an easy mark and be sure you are not conducting yourself in the same manner. This is not an exercise in fear or anxiety. It’s about empowerment. Dial up your “Condition Yellow”, relax and enjoy your holiday shopping.

Larry Kaminer © Personal Safety Training Group

Larry will also be speaking at ESC's Annual General Membership meeting on January 26, 2010. I highly recommend all ESC member organizations mark their calendars and plan to attend - Larry's presentations are not to be missed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Safety Tips for Retailers

For all of you in the retail industry you may be interested that OSHA just released an OSHA Fact Sheet on Crowd Management Safety Tips for Retailers, which can be viewed at www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/Crowd_Control.pdf

This three page fact sheet provides information on planning for a large sales event, pre-event set up and finally the sales event.

Unfortunately, there have been employee deaths due to large, uncontrolled crowds at major sales events. So if you are a retailer and expecting to have a “big” event, take a moment to review the OSHA fact sheet.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Safety Starts This Week

Turkey Safety
Hi there, well in just a few days it will be Thanksgiving (aka Turkey Day) and we know some of you will be deep frying that bird (which is really tasty when you add some Cajun spices.) But more importantly is that deep frying a turkey is DANGEROUS. The following are some recommendations from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Keep fryer in FULL VIEW while burner is on.
  • Place fryer in an open area AWAY from all walls, fences, or other structures.
  • Never use IN, ON, or UNDER a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any structure that can catch fire.
  • Raise and lower food SLOWLY to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
  • COVER bare skin when adding or removing food.
  • Check the oil temperature frequently.
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply OFF.
  • If a fire occurs, immediately call 911. DO NOT attempt to extinguish fire with water.

For safest operation, CPSC recommends that consumers follow these guidelines as they prepare to use a turkey fryer:

  • Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
  • Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the heat of the fryer away from the gas tank.
  • Center the pot over the burner on the cooker.
  • Completely thaw (USDA says 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds) and dry turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine the proper amount of oil to add. If those are not available:

-Place turkey in pot
-Fill with water until the turkey is covered by about 1/2 inch of water
-Remove and dry turkey
-Mark water level. Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the marked level.

From us at Evergreen, Happy Thanksgiving and stay safe in no matter what you are doing this holiday season.

Fire Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
November 24 – 30, 2009 is Canadian National Home Fire Safety Week and below are some great holiday safety tips, no matter which side of the boarder you live on.

With the fun filled holiday season quickly approaching comes a need to take safety precautions around the home. Whether it is ensuring the Christmas tree is properly watered, to hanging fire-safe ornaments, to not overloading electrical outlets, there are a number of steps Canadians can take to avoid a holiday disaster.

Both the Evergreen Safety Council and Canada Safety Council encourages everyone to take every precaution to ensure the holiday season is one that is safe and happy.

A very important holiday tip that should be followed all year long is to make sure that smoke alarms are working and that there is one on every level of the house. Single level homes and apartments should have smoke alarms near the kitchen and all sleeping areas.
Here are a few simple safety tips to keep your home fire-safe during the holidays:

The Christmas Tree
  • When purchasing a real tree, check for freshness by tapping it on the ground – dropping needles, indicate a dry, highly flammable tree. Needles should be hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, they do not break.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it’s ‘fire resistant.’ Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
  • Place your tree away from fireplaces and radiators. Also, heated rooms dry out fresh trees, so be sure to keep the stand filled with water by topping it up daily.
  • Never use lighted candles on or near the tree.
  • Remove a real tree within 10 to 14 days; otherwise it can start to dry out and pose a fire hazard.

The Fireplace

  • Ensure the chimney flue is open and clean before you light a fire.
  • Remove all decorations that could be burned around the fireplace, such as stockings.
  • Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result, as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
  • Never leave the fire unattended or let it smoulder.
  • Do not use Christmas trees for firewood. Only use seasoned and dried wood.


  • Choose decorations that are fire-resistant, non-combustible and non-conductive.
  • Avoid using tinsel together with spray-on snowflakes. This combination is highly combustible.
  • Do not use metallic ornaments on the tree. If they make contact with defective wiring they could become a shock hazard.


  • Use Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved lights. Place indoor and outdoor lights in their respective environments.
  • New or old, check light strings for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Make sure you do this before putting lights up. It is much easier to replace bulbs on the ground, than on the roof.
  • Do not use electric light strings/sets on metallic trees. A faulty system could energize the tree and shock or electrocute anyone coming into contact.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets, and never string more than three sets of lights per single extension cord.


  • Never leave burning candles unattended, and always keep out of reach of children.
  • Keep candles in sturdy holders on a stable surface, well away from curtains, trees or any other potentially flammable objects.
  • Put out all candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.

The Kitchen

  • Never leave your cooking unattended.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking.
  • Make sure items that can catch fire, such as paper towels, are kept away from the stove.
  • Use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on when roasting or baking food.
  • In case of a fire, never turn on the overhead fan – this could spread the fire.
  • If a fire starts and can’t be quickly put out, leave your home and immediately call the fire department from a safe location.

Remember to have a working smoke alarm on each level of your house. Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Friday, November 20, 2009

King County Media Release: Fewest traffic fatalities in ten years, homicides increase

Fewest traffic fatalities in ten years, homicides increase
2008 Medical Examiner’s annual report shows King County death statistics and trends

In 2008, fewer people died from traffic crashes than in the past ten years, and the 210 deaths from suicide were the lowest since 2002. The number of homicides, however, is on the rise, according to the annual King County Medical Examiner’s report released today.

The report presents detailed analyses of suspicious, sudden, unexpected, or violent deaths in King County for the previous year, as well as trends in homicides, traffic fatalities and drug overdose deaths, many of which are preventable. The full King County Medical Examiner’s (KCME) 2008 annual report is on line at www.kingcounty.gov/health/examiner

“Medical Examiner death reviews are crucial for Public Health because we can target prevention efforts based on our understanding of circumstances, risk factors and trends of these deaths.” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “For example, we’re able to identify the leading causes of traffic fatalities – including alcohol and drug impairment, speed, and failure to wear seat belts – and work to address them.”

In 2008, approximately 13,339 people died in King County, and the KCME performed autopsies approximately 10% (1232) of the time. The KCME assumed jurisdiction on 2121 deaths, which included 871 natural deaths, 738 accidental deaths, 210 suicides, 163 traffic deaths, 85 homicides, and 53 undetermined causes.

“Our hearts go out to the friends and families who have suffered losses. Every death we review received our fullest respect and attention," said Dr. Richard Harruff, Chief Medical Examiner. "Our staff strives to investigate deaths and resolve the manner and cause of death as quickly as possible, so grieving loved ones can find some solace.”

Findings from the 2008 report
Compared with 2007, King County had more homicides and fewer fatal traffic crashes. Accidental deaths and deaths from natural causes both increased. Firearms were the most frequent instrument of death in homicides and suicides. Of the 139 firearm deaths in 2008, 93 were classified as suicides, 45 as homicides, and one as accidental.

Comparison of 2008 and 2007 deaths (raw numbers)

Natural deaths
2008 - 871
2007 - 863

Accidental deaths
2008 - 739
2007 - 687

Drugs and poison
2008 - 278
2007 - 302

2008 - 210
2007 - 223

2008 - 163
2007 - 170

2008 - 85
2007 - 76

Targeted prevention efforts at Public Health

Accidental deaths
The most common cause of accidental death was falls (323); 261 (81%) of the deaths caused by falls occurred in the age group 70 years and over.

Public Health’s response: Public Health's Emergency Medical Services Division (EMS) and local fire departments work to prevent falls in the home and enroll older adults who needed 9-1-1 services in the past for fall-related injuries into a fall prevention program. Falls can result in fractures, and subsequent health complications, and even death, while convalescing.
More information on the fall prevention program: http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/ems/community/fallprevention.aspx

Suicide and homicide Public Health’s response: To prevent suicide deaths, Public Health recommends parents, peers, children of elderly parents, and health care providers learn the warning signs of suicide (www.yspp.org) and where to find help (www.crisisclinic.org or 1-866-427-4747).

Public Health’s Violence & Injury Prevention Unit is a partner in LOK-IT-UP, a campaign which recommends storing all firearms locked and unloaded to help reduce suicide risk The unit also trains health care providers to work with patients at-risk for suicide to remove potential methods of death (i.e. firearms) from their surroundings. Free training kits for health care providers are available. Call 206-263-8160.

Traffic fatalities
Public Health’s response
: The Violence & Injury Prevention Unit leads the King County Traffic Safety Coalition, a multi-agency group that works to alleviate the leading causes of traffic fatalities, including alcohol and drug impairment, speed, and failure to wear seat belts.

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.

For more information contact: James Apa 206-205-5442; Matias Valenzuela 206-205-3331

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NSC DWT Survey Results

In August, more than 2,000 National Safety Council members responded to a survey on employee use of wireless communication devices while driving. Thank you to everyone who participated. Below are some highlights:

The results
  • 58 percent of respondents have some kind of cell phone ban in place.
  • 469 companies prohibit both handheld and hands-free devices while driving for some or all employees.
  • 99 percent of companies that ban both handheld and hands-free devices have experienced no decrease in employee productivity.
  • More than one-third of respondents without any policy expect to implement one within the next 12 months.

Handheld vs. hands-free
Half of the respondents currently prohibiting only handheld devices report they are "somewhat" to "very likely" to upgrade their policies to include banning hands-free phones.

Research has shown there are no safety benefits to hands-free phones. The distraction comes from the conversation itself more than where the drivers' hands are placed. The best practice is to ban all cell phone use while driving.
Is a hands-free phone safer than a handheld phone?
Hand-Held or Hands-free? The Effects of Wireless Phone Interface Type on Phone Task Performance and Driver Preference

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Generator Use Safety

With winter time right around the corner, there is always the chance of loosing power due to a storm. We know that some of you have generators, so here are some tips for you to remember if you loose power and use a generator.
  1. Before installing a generator, be sure to properly disconnect from your utility electrical service. If possible, have your generator installed by a qualified electrician with a transfer switch.
  2. Run generators outside, downwind of structures. NEVER run a generator indoors. Deadly carbon monoxide gas from the generators exhaust can spread throughout enclosed spaces. Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  3. Fuel spilled on a hot generator can cause an explosion. If your generator has a detachable fuel tank remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.
  4. Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Most of the small, home-use portable generators produce from 350 to 12,000 watts of power. Overloading your generator can damage it, the appliances connected to it, and may cause a fire. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Keep children away from generators at all times.

Do you have experience using a genereator during the winter months? What tips would you add to this list?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don’t be Blown Away by Windstorms

Windstorm season is officially here, and already Seattle has seen its share of power outages, rain and high speed winds. Meteorologists are predicting the first major storm of the year to hit Monday morning. Below are six tips for staying safe during a storm, curtsey of King County Fire District #2 in Burien.

  • Stay inside and away from windows.
  • Listen to your local news for emergency advice.
  • If your heating system stops working, use a safe alternative (do NOT use a gas oven, gas range, barbecue, hibachi, or propane heater for indoor heating).
  • If traffic lights are out, treat the intersection as a 4-way stop.
  • Minimize driving to conserve fuel. Gas station pumps do not work during power outages. It is best to keep a full tank of gas in your car when you know a storm is coming.
  • Do not attempt to move downed power lines.

Before a storm hits, take the time to cut diseased and damaged branches from trees around your house. If trees or other vegetation are overgrowing utility lines, do NOT attempt to clear them from around the lines yourself. Call your local utility company. Be sure to secure objects on your property that could be blown away, including your garbage and recycle containers, which might fall over and spread debris.

It is never a bad idea to put together a basic emergency kit as well. Make sure to include:

  • Flashlights, extra batteries and matches.
  • Battery-powered radio and wind-up clock.
  • Canned or dried non-perishable foods and a manual can opener.
  • A safe alternate source of heat plus extra fuel (wood, kerosene).
  • Extra blankets and warm clothes.
  • Bottled drinking water.

Finally, always keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy. Establish an out of area contact that all family members can reach in an emergency, should you get separated. If you lose power or see a utility pole or power line that has fallen or been damaged, call the numbers listed below.

Seattle City Light: 206-684-3000 (7:30 am – 6 pm) or 206-706-0051 (after hours)
Puget Sound Energy: 1-888-225-5773 (24 hours)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Smell Smoke? Get Out!

This fall, a number of fires have plagued the Northwest. In Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, 14 fires have occurred since June, striking both residential and commercial buildings. Just yesterday an elementary school fire in Portland, Oregon resulted in a school-wide evacuation. Over 400 students stood outside and watched as half of their school nearly burned to the ground.

Luckily, no one has died as a result of these fires. In the case of Marysville Elementary, two staff members were hospitalized for minor respiratory problems, while the rest of the staff and all of the students remained unharmed, thanks to a sound emergency plan that was quickly and effectively followed as soon as the fire alarm went off. Evergreen Safety Council applauds those in charge of implementing this plan. Because of them, many lives were saved.

Take a moment this week to assess your own emergency escape plan, in case a fire should occur. Remember:
*It’s good to practice your escape plan every month.
*If possible, plan two ways out of each room.
*Immediately leave your home when a fire occurs.
*Never open doors that are hot to the touch.
*Designate a meeting location that is away from your home, school or office.
*Once you’re out, stay out!

For more information on fire safety, visit Firesafety.gov or sign up to receive Evergreen Safety Council’s newsletter, Safety & Health Solutions, for tips on a variety of safety issues.

Click here to read more about the Greenwood arsons: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010242558_webarsonreward10m.html.

Friday, November 6, 2009

All About Driving Friday

Practice Patience Today
If you like or work around the Seattle core, be ready for some delays, detours and traffic congestion during memorial procession.

A memorial procession for Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton will begin at 9 a.m. at the University of Washington. It will end around noon at KeyArena, where a public service is scheduled for 1 p.m.


NHTSA releases 2008 traffic safety reports
The number of people who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2008 decreased 10 percent from the previous year, according to reports recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2008, 37,261 people were killed and 2.3 million people were injured in traffic crashes. Among other findings:
- 2,739 drivers 15-20 years old were killed and an additional 228,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
- Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities fell to 11,773.
- 1 out of every 9 traffic fatalities resulted from collisions involving a large truck.
- Older adults accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.

NHTSA study examines motorcycle helmet use, crash outcomes
Motorcyclists who wear helmets are less likely to experience facial and head injuries than riders who do not wear helmets, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report released Oct. 27.

As part of the study (.pdf file), researchers examined data from its Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System on 104,472 motorcyclists and 93,527 motorcycles involved in 89,086 crashes in 18 states between 2003 and 2005. Findings showed helmeted motorcyclists were significantly less likely to experience a traumatic brain injury. Additional findings showed:
* More than two-thirds of motorcycle crashes occurred between noon and 8:59 p.m.
Motorcycle crashes were more likely to occur in summer months.
* 68 percent of crashes occurred in an urban area; 38 percent occurred at intersections.
* Researchers noted that CODES data does not identify whether the individual motorcycle helmets in fatal crashes complied with Department of Transportation regulations.

Child booster seats effective in injury prevention: study
Vehicle booster seats – both backless and high-back – significantly reduce the risk of children being injured in a motor vehicle crash, a study from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention has found.

As part of the study, researchers reviewed the files of more than 7,000 children ages 4-8 involved in vehicle crashes between 1998 and 2007. Data showed children in booster seats were 45 percent less likely to be injured in a crash than children who used seat belts alone. The greatest injury reduction was seen in side-impact crashes, researchers found.

Researchers noted that since 2002, booster seat use among children ages 6-8 has tripled, likely due to the passage of many state laws requiring its use. Today, 47 states have booster seat laws, with 25 states and the District of Columbia requiring use up to age 8. Florida, Arizona and South Dakota are the only states that do not legally require child booster seats.

The study was published in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Debit card fraud – Don’t become a victim

November is National Crime Prevention & Community Safety Month in Canada. This information came from our friends at the Canadian Safety Council, but is helpful information for anyone who uses a debit card.

People use debit cards millions of times a day at point of sale terminals and banking machines to make purchases and to access their accounts. While the majority of transactions are completed without any problems, there have been an increasing number of cases of debit card fraud in the past several years. Across Canada, banks and financial institutions reimbursed debit card customers about $104 million stolen from their accounts in 2008. Just three years back the amount of dollars lost to debit card fraud was $70.4 million.

Everyone should take steps towards protecting their debit cards and personal identification numbers (PIN), by doing so, this will help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of fraud. Some financial institutions may cover losses in cases of fraud. Although, you may be held liable for your losses if you are negligent with your PIN and card.

How you can protect yourself against debit card fraud:
  • Always protect your PIN: use your body or your hand to shield your PIN when entering it.
  • Never lend your card or disclose your PIN to anyone.
  • Memorize your PIN; don’t write it down.
  • Make sure your PIN cannot be easily detected if your card is lost or stolen — don't use your birth date or address or part of your telephone number.
  • If anything seems unusual about the automated banking machine (ABM) or point of sale terminal, don't use it; report the situation to police, the merchant or your financial institution.
  • Regularly review transaction history online or your monthly bank statements and report anything unusual to your financial institution immediately, for example, missing transactions or a transaction you did not make.
  • Change your PIN periodically.
  • If your card is lost, stolen, retained by an ATM, or you find that there has been an unauthorized transaction, notify your financial institution immediately.
  • Be conscious of anyone trying to distract you at the banking machine.
  • Never let your debit card out of your sight; swipe the card yourself, if you can't - watch to make sure that it is not being double swiped.
  • Know your daily cash withdrawals and daily purchase limits. If they exceed your needs, you may want to ask your financial institution to reduce those limits.

How debit card fraud can occur:
A thief watches as you enter the PIN – Then distracts you and steals your debit card.
Easily identified PINs – Your purse or wallet is stolen and the thief finds your PIN written down somewhere close to your card, or, successfully tries a commonly used PIN, such as your birth date, based on information found in your wallet.
Surf and Pick Pocket – A thief watches as you enter the PIN and subsequently distracts you and steals your debit card.
Card Jam – After your card becomes jammed, a helpful stranger suggests that you try to input your PIN a few times, but the card remains stuck. After you leave, they remove your card and have your PIN.
Skim and Clone – There have been cases of equipment being set up at a business to illegally collect your PIN and card information. For example, your card may be swiped twice and a camera records your PIN information.
Bogus machines – A bogus machine, that replaces the real PIN Pad, lifts your card and PIN information and issues a transaction receipt but does not actually send the transaction to the financial institution.

What to do if you are a victim of fraud:
If you are, or think you are a victim of fraud, it is important to deal with the incident as soon as possible. Notify your financial institution immediately and call the police to make a report. When you report the incident, your financial institution may ask you questions about the occurrence to ensure that you did not authorize the transaction or that you did not contribute to the loss. As well, you should keep a written record outlining the circumstances of the incident, and what steps you took after the occurrence; for example, who you spoke to.

Situations where you may be found liable:
You are not liable for losses resulting from circumstances beyond your control as long as you report the incident as soon as you are aware of the loss and cooperate in any subsequent investigation. You may be found liable if you keep an obvious copy of your PIN in close proximity to your card; for example, writing down "Bank-1286". Choosing an unacceptable PIN selected from your name, telephone number, date of birth, address, or social insurance number. You will also be found liable if you voluntarily give your PIN and/or card to someone who subsequently contributes to the fraud.

The good news is that security measures are constantly being enhanced and technology is always being upgraded to prevent fraud. Chip technology, sometimes called smart card technology for debit and credit cards, is being introduced all over Canada. All cards will soon be embedded with a microchip that will process transactions. The microchip is state-of-the-art in payment card technology and is extremely difficult to duplicate. In a number of other countries, where the chip cards are currently used, they have been effective in reducing fraud. The implementation of chip-based technology has already begun in Canada and it’s expected that the adaptation to the chip will be widespread by 2010.

For more information in Canada, please visit Industry Canada or the Canadian Bankers Association.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Do you know what time it is?

Fall back and CHECK
Hopefully you changed your clocks this weekend, but did you also change your batteries and check your emergency kit?

During the annual daylight-saving time, we encourage people to examine their emergency preparedness kits – or create one – when they change their clocks. Along with checking your emergency kit, check – and, if necessary, change – the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is Nov. 2-8
The National Sleep Foundation in Washington announced that Nov. 2-8 will be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. NSF's 2009 Sleep in America Poll (.pdf file) found 1.9 million drivers were involved in a car crash or a near crash caused by drowsiness in the past year.
Source: National Safety Council

What Did You Do with Your Extra Hour?
The return to Standard Time is always much more exciting than Daylight Savings Time. Who doesn't love an extra hour of sleep?

Too Much Light at Night May Cause Depression
What happens if you get too much light at night?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pedestrian Safety Tips for Halloween

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center offers the following tips for the upcoming Halloween holiday weekend.

Guidelines for safe walking at Halloween
1. Parents and Adults Should be Involved

Young children need a parent or other adult to go trick or treating with them. There is no magic age when children are old enough to walk alone. Parents need to judge when their children are mature enough to go without an adult.

Review crossing safety rules with children. Tell them to:

  • Even when adults are looking, always look for cars for yourself.

  • Stop at the curb and look left, right and left again for traffic.

  • Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.

  • When crossing the street at an intersection, obey traffic signs and signals and look for yourself to see if cars are coming. Look left, right and left and then behind you and in front of you for turning cars.

  • Walk, don't run across the street.

2. Cross Safely

  • Choose the safest routes to walk.

  • Pick places where there are sidewalks or paths separated from traffic if possible.

  • Look for well-lit streets with slow traffic.

  • Remind children to watch for cars turning or pulling out of driveways.

  • Limit the number of street crossings. Avoid crossing busy or high-speed roads.

3. Be Visible

  • Think visibility. Wear bright colors, use retro reflective materials. Carry flashlights. In bad weather, visibility is even more important.

  • Choose homes that welcome Halloween visitors. Look for well lit driveways, walkways or paths to the front door.

  • Do a costume check. Can the children walk easily in the outfit? Make sure the masks or head gear allow the children to see clearly what is around them. Be sure they can safely negotiate steps on dimly lit walkways.

  • When taking a group of kids trick or treating:

  • Have a good ratio of parents/adults to children. For young children, consider 1 adult for every 3 children.

  • Arrange the adults so that there is an adult in the front and one in the back. This is to prevent children from getting ahead or lagging behind the group.

  • Plan how to cross streets:
    *Avoid busy, high-speed or multi-lane roads.
    *Give children exiting the street room to enter the sidewalk area.

  • Remember children are not miniature adults.
    *They often act before thinking.
    *They have one-third narrower side vision.
    *They can't judge speed.
    *They are shorter than adults and can't see over cars and bushes.

  • Make sure the children understand what is expected of them. Have a plan for dealing with disruptive kids.

Messages for Motorists:

  • Drive slowly through residential streets and areas where pedestrians trick-or-treating could be expected.

  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.

  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs.

  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.

  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing

Friday, October 23, 2009

Road Construction HiViz & Sleepy/Distracted Truckers

OSHA: Road construction workers must wear hi-vis in all work zones
All highway and road construction workers are required to wear high-visibility garments, according to a new letter of interpretation from OSHA.

A 2004 letter of interpretation stating that workers in highway and work zones are required to wear hi-vis apparel was limited by a 2006 Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ruling that stated the garments need to be worn only where the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices mandates. The current MUTCD requires vests only on federally funded roadways.

OSHA withdrew its previous answer in the original letter of interpretation and in the most recent letter provided "a more comprehensive answer" in requiring hi-vis apparel on all highway and road construction workers, regardless of whether the MUTCD requires them.

NTSB requests FMCSA track sleep apnea
In an effort to prevent commercial motor vehicle crashes among operators who have obstructive sleep apnea, the National Transportation Safety Board on Oct. 20 issued two safety recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

According to the recommendation letter (.pdf file), NTSB investigated a number of incidents across all modes of passenger transportation involving operators who have OSA. The board said these incidents highlight "the critical importance of screening for and effectively treating OSA among transportation operators." NTSB recommended FMCSA:

Implement a program to identify CMV drivers who are at high risk for OSA and require those drivers to provide evidence of having been properly evaluated and, if treatment is needed, effectively treated before being granted unrestricted medical certification.

Develop and disseminate guidance for CMV drivers, employers and physicians regarding identification and treatment of individuals at high risk for OSA, emphasizing that drivers who have effectively treated OSA are routinely approved for continued medical certification.

FMCSA releases report on driver distraction
Findings (.pdf file) from a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study show driver distraction was a potential contributing factor in about 82 percent of commercial motor vehicle crashes between 2003 and 2005.

Researchers at the Blacksburg, VA-based Virginia Tech Transportation Institute's Center for Truck and Bus Safety combined and analyzed data from two large-scale CMV naturalistic truck driving studies. The data represented 203 CMV drivers, seven trucking fleets and 16 fleet locations.

Findings from the study show CMV drivers were engaged in non-driving-related tasks in 71 percent of crashes, 46 percent of near crashes and 60 percent of all safety-critical events. Analysis of the data showed 4,452 safety-critical events, 21 crashes, 197 near crashes, 3,019 crash-relevant conflicts and 1,215 unintentional lane deviations. A risk assessment showed drivers who text message while driving were 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event, compared with drivers who did not TWD.

Source: National Safety Council

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2008 Traffic Safety Fact Sheet

These fact sheets contain the 2008 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), and 2007 Final FARS data.

The NHTSA Fact Sheets might be of interest to you injury prevention professionals. There’s a lot of good information and some particularly good stats on 21 year drinking age.

Click on the links below to view and download:
***Just released http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/811169.pdf

Overview (DOT-HS-811-162)

Alcohol-Impaired Driving (DOT-HS-811-155)

Bicyclists & Other Cyclists (DOT-HS-811-156)

Large Trucks (DOT-HS-811-158)

Older Population 2008 Fact Sheet (DOT-HS-811-161)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Drug Free Work Week and CDL Drivers & H1N1 Preventions Tips

Drug Free Work Week and CDL Drivers
With this being drug free workplace week, I took a look at the federal rules for CDL. What interested me is that in 49 CFR 382.507 it says that the employer/driver could be held both civilly and/or criminally responsible if the workplace drug program is not carried out.

Think about it, you let your program slide, then there is a traffic accident involving one of your rigs and bingo you just lost your job and your house. Yes, you could loose everything in this day and age of litigation. So take a look at your program to see if it meets the standard, and if you need help, give us a call at Evergreen.

Eric C. Tofte
Director of Training
206-459-4843 - cell

H1N1 Flu Prevention Tips
The following list of suggestions was forwarded by ESC Board Chairman Governor John Spellman. As you can see the UW has confirmed these precautions. Thank you to Lisa Hall for forwarding this useful information (confirmed by UW infectious disease specialists) - - -

Subject: Some steps to avoid Swine Flu
Prevent Swine Flu - Good Advice
Dr. Vinay Goyal is an MBBS,DRM,DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital , Bombay Hospital , Saifee Hospital ,Tata Memorial etc. Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W). The following message given by him, I feel makes a lot of sense and is important for all to know.

The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps (not fully highlighted in most official communications) can be practiced.

Instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu, focus on:
1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat or bathe).

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (or use Listerine). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water - blowing the nose once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

We suggest you pass this on to your entire e-list. You never know who might pay attention to it - and STAY ALIVE because of it.

Tom Odegaard
President/Executive Director

Monday, October 19, 2009

Drug-Free Work Week kicks off

Oct. 19-25 marks the fourth annual Drug-Free Work Week campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace program. This year's campaign is highlighting the impact a drug-free workplace has on families and communities.

"Successful drug-free workplace programs provide a safe and healthy environment for workers, and result in a productive workplace for employers," said Elena M. Carr, drug policy coordinator for U.S. DOL's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy.

Drug-Free Work Week is a time to reinforce the importance of working drug free in positive, proactive ways. To get Drug-Free Work Week resources or learn more about how your organization can participate, select one of the following:
Drug-Free Work Week Tool Box
Ideas for Individual Employers and their Employees
Ideas for Associations and Unions
Ideas for Community Coalitions& Neighborhood Organizations

Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Teen Driver Safety Week is Celebrated in Washington State October 18 – 24

Set Aside for Teens and Parents to Focus on Safe Teen Driving between October 18 and 24, Washington State will celebrate National Teen Driver Safety Week focusing not only on the laws governing new drivers in Washington, but on the impacts parents have on teens by setting limits and modeling responsible driving behavior. Research shows that parents are the single most important influence on their teen’s driving.

As an advocate of young drivers developing safe, smart driving behaviors, State Farm® provided a grant to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to reach and teach parents with humorous and interesting video vignettes. As well, the grant funds a new website specifically for Washington parents—a clearinghouse of useful information they can use as their teen begins their adventure in the driving world - http://www.washingtonteendriversafetyweek.com/.

“As the leading insurer of automobiles nationally and in Washington State, we are compelled to also be a leader in reducing the number of crash-related injuries and deaths involving young and novice drivers. We work with and support partners like the Washington Traffic Safety Commission because they share our determination for changing risky behaviors and keeping us all safer behind the wheel,” said Nancy Carpenter, State Farm Public Affairs Specialist.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens age 16-19 in Washington, already taking the lives of 33 teens so far during 2009, and in 2007 and 2008, claiming the lives of 116 teens.

During 2008, 16-19 year-olds accounted for 4.2% of all licensed drivers, but 7.6% of all drivers in fatal crashes in Washington State. One in four crash fatalities in the United States involves a 16- to 24-year-old driver. Nationally, more than twenty teenagers die in car crashes every day.
On October 6, Governor Gregoire signed a Proclamation declaring October 18 – 24, Teen Driver Safety Week in Washington State.

National Teen Driver Safety Week is observed the third week of October, to bring attention to the number one killer of American teens, car crashes. During this week parents, young drivers, lawmakers and educators are encouraged to focus on working together to change risky teen driving behaviors and help save lives. As a result of the combined goal of reducing injury and death from teen crashes, State Farm ® and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia teamed up in 2007 to support a Congressional resolution designating National Teen Driver Safety Week. Working together with many valued safety organizations, State Farm ® continues to provide leadership and advocacy around this national tragedy. For more information, go to www.statefarm.com/teendriving.

There are many ways parents can help their teens become safer drivers including:
  • Enforcing the Intermediate Driver Licensing (IDL) Law. Currently in Washington, in the first 6 months, teens cannot carry passengers under the age of 20, and in the next 6 months they can transport only three passengers at a time under the age of 20. As well, teens cannot drive from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM. Then at age 18, a teen driver can get a full license without IDL laws.
  • Being a good driving example. Parents have the greatest influence on their teens' driving habits, behaviors, and skills.
  • Even though it may seem that teenagers ignore their parent’s behavior and advice most of the time, keep in mind that kids learn from watching their parents. When driving with a teen, parents should model the behavior that they would like their teens to practice when they are behind the wheel: buckle up, slow down, and focus on the road.
  • Considering establishing a teen/parent contract to clearly define driving expectations for the household. It's been shown to work. http://www.mtnbrook.k12.al.us/Images/ProductImage_9825.doc
  • Scheduling supervised practice driving. 50 hours is a minimum to learn the complicated skill of driving.
  • Watching teens driving correctly. Praise them when they use good judgment, discipline when needed and let them know the reasons why, and be honest.
  • Gradually introducing new privileges after a teen driver receives their license based on model driving behavior.
  • Restricting trips to those with a purpose and on low-speed roads.
Angie Ward, WTSC Program Manager, 360.725.9888, award@wtsc.wa.gov
Nancy Carpenter, State Farm, 253.912.7257, nancy.a.carpenter.gcd4@statefarm.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It was a dark and stormy morning

On any given day I am a pedestrian, a bus rider, a carpooler and/or a driver, and sometimes it is important to remind each group how we can keep ourselves safe.

Winter has finally arrived and today was the first of many dark, rainy commutes into the city...and I have a beef - I can't see you people! Yes, I mean you - dashing across the street in a vain attempt to stay dry in your black shoes, dark pants, black trench coat and carrying a black computer bag, oblivious to everything while talking on your cellphone.

In the event of a crash involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, it is often the pedestrian who suffers a serious, and possibly life altering, injury; even when they were crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. This being true, pedestrians should follow these tips whenever walking near or crossing a roadway:
  • Use crosswalks, but still remember to follow the tips…
  • Do not assume the drive sees you even if you see the driver – Make eye contact before crossing.
  • Walk on paths or sidewalks. Otherwise walk facing traffic.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective materials, especially in the dark or in inclement weather.
    If you typically wear a dark colored jacket, dark pants and dark shoes, and carry a dark colored bag or case, chances are you cannot be seen. Attach a lighted beacon or reflective tape to your outerwear or bag.
  • Use extra caution when talking on a cell phone or wearing headphones. Better yet, don’t distract yourself and stay alert.
  • Slow down.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Look for movement on the sides of the road and/or between parked cars. There could be pedestrians or bicyclists who are going to enter the roadway.

What do you do to keep yourself safe on the roadway? Do you have a good story to share about what not to do while on the roadway?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oregon Senate Bill 556

Oregon just passed Senate Bill 556 which requires any place of public assembly must have at least one (1) AED on-site. The bill defines “place of public assembly” as:
· Having 50,000 square feet or more of floor space and:
· The public congregates for purposes such as deliberation, shopping, entertainment, amusement or awaiting transportation; or
· Business activities are conducted; and at least 25 individuals congregate on a normal business day.

It does exempt some facilities such as schools and churches, but not much more.

This rule takes effect January 1, 2010. So be ready. If you need information or training on AED’s give us a call.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lots of Safe Driving Stuff

We almost missed it!
Drive Safely Work Week is Oct. 5-9
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety is sponsoring Drive Safely Work Week, Oct. 5-9. This year's theme is "Drive Focused. Drive Smart. Get Home Safely." It focuses on the issues of distracted driving and minimizing the impact that driving habits can have on the environment.

Traffic crashes are the No. 1 cause of workplace injury and death. Northwest employers/workers be sure to mark your calendars for the May 20, 2010 WA Traffic Safety Conference and plan to attend. Plans are underway for another informative agenda. Stay tuned. We also welcome ideas and comments - if there is a topic that especially interests you, please let us know.

If you don't want to wait until May to be sure your employees are operating as defensive drivers, consider scheduling an EverSafe Driving Program onsite training. Our experienced trainers can come to your organization and focus on your employees driving situations and concerns.

Obama bans federal employees from text messaging while driving
At the conclusion of a two-day summit on distracted driving, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal employees from text messaging while driving in government-owned vehicles.

"This order sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unacceptable. It shows that the federal government is leading by example," LaHood said.

The summit, which took place Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Washington DC, attracted senior transportation officials, elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement representatives, private-sector representatives and academics.

The administration's plan includes the creation of three separate rulemakings establishing restrictions and penalties for cell phone use and texting while operating vehicles. The rules would affect rail operators, truck and interstate bus operators and commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Does your organization have a written plan in place regarding cell phone use and texting while driving on company business? You should. If you need help or don't know where to start, ESC can help.

NHTSA: Quiet hybrid vehicles a risk to pedestrians, bicyclists
The quiet engines in hybrid vehicles may pose a safety risk to pedestrians and bicyclists, according to a new study (.pdf file) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Researchers compared the number of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes involving both hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and more common internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Findings show that vehicles with the quiet HEV engines have higher-incidence crash rates.

Additional findings show:
- Pedestrians were twice as likely to be hit by an HEV when the vehicle was slowing or stopping, backing up, or entering or exiting a parking space.
- Bicyclist crashes involving HEVs at intersections or interchanges were significantly higher than those involving ICE vehicles.

Parent-teen interaction decreases teen crash fatalities: study
The way parents communicate rules and monitor teens' driving could reduce the chances that teens will take part in risky driving behavior and be involved in a crash, according to new research (.pdf file) conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

As part of CIRP's Young Driver Research Initiative, researchers released findings from two studies on Sept. 28. According to a study abstract, the first study shows teens who had supportive parents who established rules were:
- Half as likely to be involved in a crash
- 71 percent less likely to drive while intoxicated
- Less likely to use a cell phone while driving
- More likely to use seat belts

The second study shows teens who reported being the main driver of a vehicle were more likely to get in a crash than teens who shared a vehicle with other family members.

Researchers also noted the effectiveness of Graduated Driver Licensing laws in reducing teen crash rates during the first 6-12 months of driving.

Teens appreciate online and computer training. Consider taking the Coaching the Experienced Driver CD-ROM/web based training program. It's a great way to start a dialog between you and your teen regarding driving situations, proper reactions and the rules of the road. Order online today.

Source: The National Safety Council