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?