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.