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

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Disaster Response - Individual Preparedness

School has started, fall is here and winter is just around the corner. Now is a great time to take a look at your families disaster/emergency preparedness. While a natural or man-made disaster can strike at any time, winter storms happen every year, but continue to catch many of us off guard and unprepared. If our households and families have supplies and a plan in place, it doesn't matter how an emergency situation happens - you will be prepared.

This is a big list. If you haven't already started, it may seem daunting at first. But it's important and it's for you and your families' safety, so make the commitment to start checking items off the list. If you tackle a couple of these each week you can be sure that your family is prepared before the first snowflake falls.

1. Do you believe the community you live in is relatively well prepared for a disaster?
Not the government emergency agencies or responders people tend to rely on but: Neighbors / People you work with

2. Do you believe the members of your household are relatively well prepared for a disaster?

3. Have you discussed disaster preparedness with members of your household?
All possibilities: fire, flood, volcano, winter storms, power outage, security, etc….

4. Do you have a 72 hour disaster supplies kit?
Food, water, clothing, important documents and other things you would need if an evacuation order was issued. Consider adding other items that may provide comfort (small toy or soft cloth) or even entertainment (travel game or deck of cards). With only seconds available to take with you – is all of this located in a single place in your house? Government Officials provide building inspections & may sign the building “UNSAFE - DO NOT ENTER.” You may never be able to re-enter your home if deemed unsafe by government officials and enforced by government officials.

5. Do you have at least the minimum disaster supplies on hand to sustain each member of your household for 72 hours?
One gallon of water per person per day, battery operated radio and flashlights, extra batteries, first aid kit.

6. Do you have a 72 hour disaster kit for each car?
Will the kit support all individuals who normally ride in the vehicle? Food, water, clothing, etc. for 3 days?

7. Are all members of your household current in first aid and CPR?
Current within the last 12 months?

8. Do you have operational smoke detectors on every level of your residence, in particular outside bedrooms and have they been tested and cleaned within the last six months?
Ports on smoke detectors collect household dust and render them inoperable - 33% of smoke detectors across America do not work right now.

9. Do you have a charged ABC type Fire Extinguisher in the home and has every member of your household been trained to use it?
Call 9-1-1. Decision – Will the extinguisher make a difference? Approach & PASS - Pull pin, Aim nozzle at base of flames, Squeeze the handle, Sweep side to side.

10. Does everyone in your household, old enough to do so, know how to safely turn off all utilities?
Gas, Water, Electricity

11. Have you safeguarded your most important records from fire and water?
Is it water proof? Consider a bank safety deposit box.

12. Have the members of your household discussed where to meet outside the home in the following situations?
If there is a fire? If you cannot return home following a wide scale disaster, have reasonable locations for both inside and outside the community been identified?

13. Have members of your household practiced a fire drill within the past year?
Upstairs bedroom window, escape ladder, gathering point, notification method

14. Do you have an out of area phone contact?
Present day phone systems actually make long distance more reliable. Contact should be at least between west and east sides of the Cascade mountain range and preferably in another state. Agreement in advance to contact another person out of state to check in– this may take several calls however - is a great method to communicate with loved ones.

Pay telephone systems have numerous contact points and backup systems making landlines more survivable and reliable than cell phones or even home phones during emergencies.

15. Do you have a local disaster buddy?
Preplan a neighbor or relative that you can make an agreement with. Figure out in advance what actions will be taken for: children, elderly persons, pets, etc.

During an emergency, people are often quick to respond to needs of their neighbors … Preplanning and agreements make this response organized and anticipated.

16. For those of you with school age children or grandchildren, do you know if their school or child care center has a disaster plan, and do you know what the plan says?
It is a dangerous assumption to believe there is a plan in place. Review the school handbook or call the school administrator and ask if there an emergency or disaster response plan in place? Will the teachers stay beyond contract hours if you can’t get there for 2 or 3 days? Will bus drivers just drop off children at normal stops, or is there a method in place to assure children will be protected?

17. Is there a good reason why you should not take action on the first sixteen questions?

18. Would you like to see a neighborhood disaster preparedness program started in your neighborhood?
Many communities have programs in place. If not, telephone local Emergency Managers to encourage, expect, require that community preparedness programs are established.

How are you preparing? Are there considerations that should be added to this list? Share your thoughts and comments.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So, What are you doing tomorrow or on Thursday?

Important Reminder...
The Washington State's 58th Annual Governor's Industrial Safety & Health Conference starts tomorrow in Tacoma at the Convention & Trade Center.

Evergreen is excited to be involved in this Conference in a variety of capacities.

We will be hosting a vendor booth featuring our brand new display, great information on our various training programs, and lots of fun give away prizes - come meet our instructors.

New to the conference this year, ESC's certified instructors will be providing Sidecar and Trike Demonstrations during both days of the conference.

Tom Odegaard, Executive Director, will be a featured panelist during the Natural Gas Industry Session discussing Ladders and Scaffolding.

Eric Tofte, Director of Training & Consultation, session Familiarity Breeds Contempt: Complacency Can Kill will cover safety around mobile equipment during the Mining, Tunneling and Aggregate Industry Session.

As their ad says...Safety & Health: Together, We Make It Happen. Attend one of the largest safety & health conferences in the nation...featuring dozens of workshops, the latest technology and product exhibits...something for every business, including yours!

Share your comments: Do you plan to attend the conference this year? Have you attended in the past? What aspect of the conference is most valuable to you?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Safety & Health Solutions Newsletter - November Edition

Evergreen Safety Council produces a monthly newsletter covering a variety of safety topics. Each month we will provide a link here to the online PDF.

If you would prefer to sign up to receive an electronic copy via email or hard copy via the mail, please click here. This link will also take you to a full archive with over four years of past issues.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and read all about what's going on in the world of safety & health.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Scenario-Based Training

More and more, contractors are recognizing the value of scenario-based training. We’re talking hands-on training, using actual tools, equipment, and work sites. Experienced workers get to show off their knowledge in demonstrations to the trainees, who in turn participate in their own training.

“Hands-on training is by far the most effective form of training,” says Rick McCourt, safety and compliance director at Sukut Construction Inc. in Santa Ana, CA. Since McCourt took his post at Sukut, a large grading contractor, his training and incentive programs have helped reduce injuries by 50%. “We’ve had a consistent downward trend in accident frequency and severity,” says McCourt.

“We’ve been doing scenario-based training for eight years,” says Creamer’s Construction Safety Director Lucky Abernathy. “We involve the trainees in the training. We’ll have four guys rig the trench box, and then we show guys how to signal the excavator operator. Or we’ll have a crew put wooden shoring together and shore an excavation.

“We try to break it down into smaller groups,” he adds. “That way the employees who don’t get a chance to participate get to watch their peers work.” Creamer uses scenario-based training for trenching and shoring, traffic controls, defensive driving, confined-space training, fall protection, and small-tool safety.

At Sukut, McCourt says it’s important for contractors to know that mass grading is really an excavation activity. Mass grading should receive the same respect—with regard to hazards and safety—that is accorded to trenching. “That’s a point a lot of people miss,” says McCourt.

Sukut recently held a three-station safety-training course. In a trailer, a trainer used actual slings and wire rope to teach proper rigging methods—how to rig a pipe, what worn-out rigging looks like, and so forth. Outside, McCourt offered training in abrasive sandblasting. His session included the necessary precautions and communications for sandblasting near another construction crew.

The third teacher provided forklift training. Federal OSHA and California OSHA both have a certification requirement for forklift operators. Employees must demonstrate proficiency in such tasks as reading a load chart, lifting the load, and carrying it safely. “If you’re lifting a load and something goes south, people can get hurt,” says McCourt.

(Taken in part from the Grading & Contractors September/October 2007 newsletter. Article by Daniel C. Brown)

It is always interesting to find out what kinds of training different businesses and industries offer to their employees. What does your company offer? Can you think of other types of training that would improve your or your coworkers' safety?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Distracted Drivers Are a Safety Hazard on King County Highways

During Wednesday morning’s commute an off duty trooper observed an erratically driven BMW passenger car in the northbound lanes of SR-167 in Auburn. The off duty trooper reported the vehicle as he was certain the driver was impaired as he was watching him for over 3 miles drift in and out of his lane, driving on the shoulder, and at times taking up 2 lanes of travel. It turned out that the driver hadn’t had a drop of alcohol, but instead was reading the daily newspaper while driving to his destination. The 53 year-old Puyallup resident was issued a $550 negligent driving infraction for his actions and disregard for the safety of the motoring public.

In June of 2009, a concerned citizen called 9-1-1 to report a possible D.U.I. driver traveling on SR-164 in King County. During the 9-1-1 call the reporting party describes how the vehicle was swerving over the center line, the fog line, and nearly hitting concrete jersey barriers while it was fluctuating speeds. Air and ground troopers coordinated a response and stopped the vehicle in Enumclaw. During the contact it was determined that the driver wasn’t impaired but rather texting on her cell phone. (Video of 9-1-1 call available upon request)

These are just 2 examples of many distracted driving cases that occur on King County highways every day. Talking on the cell phone and texting while driving continues to be the most observed driver distraction. A recent Virginia Tech study indicated that drivers who text while driving heavy vehicles or trucks are 23.2 percent more likely to cause a collision than non distracted drivers. In a separate study conducted in 2006, psychologists from the University of Utah concluded that “motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cellular phones are as impaired as drunken drivers.”

According to the September 2009 edition of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Facts, in 2008, 5,870 people lost their lives and an estimated 515,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which at least one form of driver distraction was reported on the crash report. While these numbers are alarming, NHTSA recognizes that distracted driving is highly under reported and that these statistics do not accurately indicate how big of a problem distracted driving really is.

Currently Washington State law prohibits texting while driving and talking with the cell phone to your ear, and is punishable by a $124 infraction. Other driver distractions are taken on a case by case basis and may be punishable by a $550 fine for negligent driving.

For more information contact: Trooper Dan McDonald at 425-766-0812 or visit http://www.wsp.wa.gov