Thursday, September 30, 2010

Driver Safety and the Rules of the Road

Contributed by Eric Tofte, Director of Training, Evergreen Safety Council
Before we get started, let’s look at some strange traffic laws from the CNN news website:
  • In California, no vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.
  • In Florida, if an elephant, goat or alligator is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.
  • In Montana, it is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.
  • In Oregon, a door on a car may not be left open longer than necessary.
  • In Tennessee, it is illegal shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile.

We all know there are some strange laws, but most are there to keep us safe. The issue is: How many drivers actually know the rules of the road? Well to help you become a better driver, here are some rules of the road from the State of Washington.

  • You must signal your intention to turn or changes lane for at least 100 feet before making the move (RCW 46.61.305)

  • You must yield the right-of-way to a transit vehicle traveling in the same direction that has signaled and is reentering the traffic flow. (RCW 46.61.220)

Here is one that although is in the Rules of the Road (RCW 46.61.l26) it deals with pedestrians under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A law enforcement officer may offer to transport a pedestrian who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or any drug and who is walking or moving along or within the right-of-way of a public roadway, unless the pedestrian is to be taken into protective custody under RCW 70.96A.120. The law enforcement officer offering to transport an intoxicated pedestrian under this section shall:

(1) Transport the intoxicated pedestrian to a safe place; or

(2) Release the intoxicated pedestrian to a competent person.

The law enforcement officer shall take no action if the pedestrian refuses this assistance. No suit or action may be commenced or prosecuted against the law enforcement officer, law enforcement agency, the state of Washington, or any political subdivision of the state for any act resulting from the refusal of the pedestrian to accept this assistance.

I could go on, but the point is there are a lot of rules governing driving, riding a bike or even walking on a public roadway and that as good drivers we need to be aware of these rules. In addition as good drivers we need to remember that even though the person in front of us is not following the rules, it is best to let them go and not try to “teach them how to drive”.

Evergreen believes in safe driving and that is why we created our EverSafe Driving program and we can teach you and your employees how to better operate a vehicle.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Washington’s Seat Belt Use Rate Jumps

Results from the latest observational survey of seat belt use in Washington were released today and they show that the use rate has jumped to 97.6 percent. This use rate is expected to be one of the highest in the nation.

Washington saw an improvement of 1.2 percent from last year’s seat belt use rate of 96.4 percent.

"The closer we get to 100 percent seat belt use, the more difficult it becomes to realize higher use rates," said Lowell Porter, Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. "To jump from 96.4 to 97.6 percent is truly a significant improvement that moves Washington closer to its goal of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030."

Washington’s traffic safety goals, strategies and tactics are found in Target Zero, the state’s strategic highway safety plan, developed by 85 Tribal Nations, not-for-profit organizations, private industry, community groups, and federal, state and local agencies.

"These last few percentage points represent people who have simply not gotten the message about the value of seat belts," said State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. "It appears that enforcement is the only way to win their compliance, and we will not hesitate to use that tool."

The State Patrol cites about 47,000 people annually for failing to buckle up.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that for people killed or injured in traffic crashes, medical and lost productivity costs totaled $99 billion nationwide. Of that, $58 billion pertained to people who were killed.

"What’s much sadder than the monetary cost is the pain and anguish so many families go through," said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. "People can prevent a lot of that by remembering to buckle up — especially young people. Teens have the lowest rates of seat belt use, so they can do a lot on their own to reduce deaths and injuries."

Each year a nationwide observational seat belt survey is conducted. During the 2010 survey in Washington, observers recorded seat belt use by 94,436 vehicle drivers and passengers. It was conducted statewide on a variety of road types following research protocols established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

"The increase of 1.2 percent in the past year means that one third of non-users in 2009 became seat belt users in 2010, truly an amazing accomplishment given that Washington has maintained one of the highest seat belt use rates in the nation for so many years," said Dick Doane, Research Investigator with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

In recent years the seat belt use rate in Washington has been:
Year - Rate
2005 - 95.2%
2006 - 96.3%
2007 - 96.4%
2008 - 96.5%
2009 - 96.4%
2010 - 97.6%

To learn more contact: Jonna VanDyk, WTSC Occupant Protection Program Manager, 360.725.9885 or MJ Haught, WTSC Communications Manager 360.725.9879, or visit Target Zero and Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It’s that time of year . . .

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Safety Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council

I got a phone call last week from western New York State; our daughter called to say that yesterday was the first day of kindergarten for our grand daughter. She related that they had anxiously waited together, for the school bus to come to her stop, a quick hug and a wave from the bus window and the new school year was underway. As we listened to the story, we too felt the tears our daughter said she had turned away quickly to hide, as the bus pulled away from the stop. It seems it was only a few years ago, (1981) when my wife and I had this same experience – but the little girl in pig-tails then, was now the “Mom” as this little drama played out.

Much has changed in the intervening years, however some things remain the same, and the safety issues surrounding the return to school, must be high on our list. As autumn approaches, the hours of daylight are getting rapidly shorter – it’s still dark in the mornings when the kids are making their way to school or to the bus stop. Along with the darkness, the weather compounds the difficulty in seeing the kids as they stand along the road, or cross the street in front of us. Current fashion trends for school age kids just doesn’t include retro-reflective materials on their clothing – what a fashion statement that would make!

Here are some tips for those of us who drive through school zones or along roads where the kids are waiting for the bus:
  • Kids are unpredictable: they don’t always walk on the sidewalk, often they are on the curb or even in the street.
  • They are NOT thinking about you approaching in your car – that’s about the last thing on their minds.
  • Their clothing is usually dark colored and on a dark rainy morning is very hard to see.
  • Current styles, such as coats with attached hoods, limit peripheral vision, and muffle sound, so the kids can neither see nor hear you approaching, as you come up from behind them.
  • Older kids are often distracted by their cell phones; are often busy texting – focusing on the electronic conversation – while totally unaware of where they are walking.
  • Kids cross the street just about anywhere – not just at marked crosswalks – drivers need to expect the unexpected.

The school zone speed limit is 20 miles an hour for a reason; driving even a few miles an hour above that speed greatly increases the distance you will travel as you recognize the child that has just darted out into the street, and the physics of breaking are inescapable – a doubling of your speed does not merely double your stopping distance – it makes it four times as great.

Please pay extra attention when driving near schools or along roads where kids wait for the school bus, the kids are depending on us!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Safety & Health Conference

59th Annual Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference
September 29 - 30, 2010
at the Spokane Convention Center

Every year the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference offers two days of training and education, providing the latest tools, technologies and strategies for workplace safety and health.

Evergreen Safety Council will be hosting vendor booth #105. Stop by and talk to Executive Director Tom Odegaard, Director of Training Eric Tofte, Safety Trainer Norm Nyhuis, and our new Safety Intern Mary Czaja. Be sure to and mention you read our blog for a free prize!

During the first day of the conference (Wednesday, September 29th) ESC Safety Trainer Norm Nyhuis will be a featured speaker:

Distracted Driving in Washington State
10:00 am – 11:30 am, Room 100B
Technology, including laptop computers, GPS navigation systems, and cell phones, has become a part of nearly every facet of modern life. This technology has also found its way into our automobiles, providing both benefits and, all too often, tragic consequences when it takes our attention from the road.
Sponsored by the Accident Prevention Planning Committee

Safety Norm will also be participating in the
13th Annual Forklift Rodeo
Noon – 4:00 pm, Group Health Exhibit Hall A
Watch skilled forklift operators as they navigate a fun and challenging driving course that includes various tasks and hazards. Drivers are evaluated on the safe, efficient, skillful,
and proper completion of the course using accepted forklift operation standards.
Sponsored by the Materials Handling Planning Committee

During the Conference presentations you might even see our very own Eric Tofte acting as emcee!

For a full listing of all the conference events and vendors, take a look at the 2010 GISHC Program. (.pdf file)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We're in the Middle of Child Passenger Safety Week

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer and Child Seat Installation Specialist
Did you know that in 2008 – among child passengers under the age of five – child restraints saved the lives of an estimated 244 children? Yet, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for children ages three and older.

Because child safety seats and booster seats save lives when used correctly, it’s critical that parents and caregivers know the importance of securing all children in appropriate child safety seats, booster seats or seat belts.

We need your help to make the 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Child Passenger Safety Week (September 19-25) and Seat Check Saturday (September 25) a success.

Follow these simple steps to spread the word to Washington’s fire, medical and media communities:
  1. Forward this message along to any of your Safety Committee, Community Outreach Group, as well as local, regional or state EMS and fire personnel to notify them of the upcoming Child Passenger Safety Week & Safety Check Saturday.

  2. Engage local media partners to highlight the PREVENTABLE nature of injuries sustained from incorrect safety seat use.

  3. Direct parents to the NHTSA website where they can look for inspection stations in their area. Or if you are in Seattle, schedule a Safety Seat Check with Safety Norm 206-382-4090

  4. Download earned media and creative materials (English & Spanish) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration campaign planner.

  5. Review your state’s child passenger safety law .

  6. Promote your support as medical and fire personnel by submitting editorial letters to your local newspapers about the national campaign.

We are grateful for your continued support of child passenger safety efforts, and we hope you will be active in the upcoming National Child Passenger Safety Week. Please talk to your friends, relatives & coworkers and write to your local newspapers about the campaign. With your participation, we can keep our children safe.

Thank you for your support!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Safety Conference for Anyone Who Drives on the Job

Evergreen staffers are working hard to prep for tomorrow's Oregon Traffic Safety Conference. Eight months of planning seems like a lot, and then suddenly its - tomorrow.

Distracted driving on the job is a hot topic in Portland these days. Does your organization have a driving policy in place? How do you enforce that policy? Attending this conference can help you outline the rules and the steps your company needs to take.

We have the attendee packets ready to go, speakers and vendors are all set, the program agendas are printing as I type this, and most importantly...the food is ordered. This afternoon we will be heading down to the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center to set-up. Sweaty work, but somebody's got to do it.

We hope to see you there tomorrow. In fact, mention you read this BLOG at the reception table and we will give you a prize.

If all else fails, check out our Facebook page next week to see the pictures of what you missed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Keeping Washington Safe & Working

Contributed by Mary Czaja, Safety Intern, Evergreen Safety Council
On September 3rd L&I announced in a news release that “The Department of Labor & Industries’ 2011 workplace calendar, “Keep Washington Safe and Working,” will be available later this month, featuring real workers in real jobs across Washington state, from tulip fields in Skagit Valley to a vineyard in Pasco.”

One of the businesses chosen to participate was Evergreen Safety Council member Nucor Steel. Nucor Steel Seattle was the recipient of the ESC 2007 John D. Spellman Safety Award.

Congratulations to Nucor Steel and all the Washington business portrayed.

The calendar is part of the kick off for the annual Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference. The conference is being held this year on Sept. 29 and 30 in Spokane.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

South Lake Union Trade Show TODAY

Please join the South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce for the 2010 South Lake Union Trade Show TODAY from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Stop by the Evergreen Safety Council booth and mention to Tom Odegaard, our Executive Director, that you read about the show on our blog to receive an extra free gift. Have a good time and find out what's happening in the fastest growing neighborhood in Seattle, with booths and tables featuring local businesses and organizations, a free swag bag giveaway, food samples from local restaurants and caterers, raffles, and the Umpqua Ice Cream Truck!

Come visit the presenters, network, and show your support for the SLU Chamber and neighborhood!

LOCATION: The 415 Westlake event venue at 415 Westlake Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109Contact (206) 547-2577 or email for more details.

FREE ADMISSION for Chamber Members and Employees.
Non-Members welcome with $5 fee!

See you at the show!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Improper Housekeeping Can Cost You

Contributed by Mary Czaja, ESC Safety Intern

We all know the safety requirements for our core work duties. What if you spend time away from your everyday duties? Would you be aware of hazards in a different setting?

A business in OSHA Region 1 was sited and levied fines of $89,000 for hazard violations.

Boxes and pallets blocking an exit may seem like a temporary issue, but if a fire happened, workers lives could be in danger.

Is your emergency action plan up to date? Are all employees trained in what to do in case of fire or other emergent situation? What about the worker on light duty that is temporally reassigned? On the job training is a great tool for learning, but not during an emergency. Safety is important in all aspects of business, from top to bottom. Safe use of boxes, pallets, fire extinguishers, and clearly marked exit doors may seem trivial in the big picture of our working day, but that training might just save a life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Safety Training Survey Results

ESC Special Report: Northwest Safety Training Survey Results are Now Available (pdf)
We deeply appreciate the time that individuals took to complete and return the survey, which examined:
  • the current market for safety training programs in the NW
  • the safety training classes offered and types of training used
  • expected budget and training changes in the future
  • what organizations offer safety training
  • ESC’s image in the market

The information we received was both encouraging and challenging. We believe it will assist us in our continuing efforts to provide the highest quality and cost effective safety training and consulting services to both our members and clients.
Tom Odegaard

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Safety & Health Solutions Newsletter - October 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.

Inside this Issue:
Lead ArticleFire Prevention in the Workplace
People in Safety – Norm Cook, Assistant Operations Manager, Lakehaven Utilities District
Articles -
Cranes & Derricks Used in Construction – Final OSHA Rules
Back to School Personal Safety Review
Temporary Traffic Control Devises Final Rule
Traffic Control for School Areas

You can also sign up to receive an electronic copy via email or hard copy via the mail. 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, September 3, 2010

Holiday travel safey tips

...with a little help from WSDOT...
Today, many of us will hit the road to begin our Labor Day Holiday. While the roadway and driving safety hazards seem to remain the same year to year, as we approach one of the deadliest travel weekends of the year, it is always a good idea to review safe procedures before you leave. Last year's Labor Day blog post provides drivers with a few great tips.

In addition, a great way to be aware of traffic issues is WSDOT's new mobile application for iPhone and Android which delivers timely travel information.

With the Labor Day holiday approaching, the Washington State Department of Transportation has made it even easier for smart-phone users to "know before you go." Smart phone users will have access to WSDOT's travel information including:
  • Canadian border wait times
  • Ferries – schedules, travel alerts and routes
  • Flickr photos
  • Mountain passes
  • Seattle traffic cameras
  • Travel times for Puget Sound highways
  • Twitter
  • WSDOT Blog

To access these apps, just search for "WSDOT" in the Android Market or in the iTunes App Store. For those who don't have access to the new mobile application, information also is available on WSDOT's website or by calling 5-1-1.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Oregon Employers Traffic Safety Conference

Evergreen Safety Council is hosting a 1-Day Traffic Safety Conference.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Do you have employees that drive? During work? To and from work? Learn from industry experts on how you can help reduce the #1 cause of workplace fatalities – Crashes! Save your company money and save your employees lives.

Reserve you spot now for this dynamic training event! Register Today!

Welcome & State of the State
Tom Odegaard, Evergreen Safety Council
Moving Together: Traffic & Light Rail
Steve Mills, Operations Life Saver
CSA 2010 Training & Implementation
Frank Zamudio, USDOT
Managing Our Driving Behaviors
Syd Muzzy, Safe Driver Trainer &Consultant
Distracted Driving: Cell Phones & Texting
PIO Gregg Hastings (Officer Jim Pierce), Oregon State Police
How Highway Safety Features Work
Dave White, D&D Safety
Winter Driving Safety Tips
Bob Yates, Evergreen Safety Council

Vendors include ACTS Oregon, CROET, ESC and more...

Costs includes continental breakfast and catered lunch

Location: The facility has been generously donated by NECA/IBEW on Airport Way in Portland, OR

Students can register for any of our courses on-line from our website, by filling out a registration form (pdf), or by calling (800) 521-0778 to request a registration form.

For more information about our Oregon training programs, please visit our website.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Safety Reminders for Back to School

From our friends at the Canada Safety Council

It’s that time of year again – back to school time. The Safety Council would like to remind parents and guardians to teach your children about safe travel to and from school. Take the time to know the rules and educate your children about safe conduct when using and sharing roadways, whether it be by school bus, car, bicycle, or by foot.

School Bus Travel
Research conducted by Transport Canada shows that school bus travel is one of the safest methods of transportation. It is 16 times safer than travelling in a family car per passenger mile/kilometre of travel. Although school buses have an excellent safety record, mishaps can happen. These mishaps can include instances where children are injured while riding on the bus. It is more common however, for injuries to be sustained once outside the bus, including being hit by their own school bus or other vehicles. On average, bus drivers say that about three cars go through their stop sign each day.

Parents and guardians should know that they are responsible for their children until they step on to the bus and immediately after they exit the bus. An adult should always be there to send off young passengers and to greet them, on the same side of the street where children exit the bus.

Here are some safety tips to share with children to ensure safe travel.

Getting to and on the school bus:
  • Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled pick up time. Children should never run after the school bus to try to catch it.
  • If you miss the bus, go back home or if you are at school, report to a teacher.
  • Stay on the sidewalk, well away from the roadway and stay back until the bus has come to a full stop and the door opens.
  • If your child needs to cross the street, teach them to look to the left, then to the right, and to the left once more before crossing the street.
  • Use the handrail when boarding or exiting the bus.

Riding on the school bus:

  • Take a seat as quickly as possible, put belongings under the seat and stay seated.
  • Never stick anything out of the window, including arms or heads.
  • Save food for snack time at school or until you get home.
  • Wait until the school bus comes to a complete stop before getting off.

After riding on the school bus:

  • When getting off the bus: take two large steps away from bus. If you must walk in front of the bus, walk ahead at least three metres/yards (10 giant steps).
  • The driver must be able to see you and will give a signal when it is safe to cross. Cross in a single file.
  • If a child drops something near or under the school bus, they should never attempt to retrieve it without the driver’s permission.

Travel by Car
Parents and guardians must respect their child’s school safety measures for dropping off and picking up their children at school. Every effort must be made to avoid collision and injury by refraining to create hazardous situations of traffic congestion and unsafe driving practices within the school zone. Respect posted speed limits, and designated drop-off and pick-up areas.

Travel by Bicycle
To ride a bicycle to and from school, children must be mature enough (minimum 9 – 12 years old), and must have enough experience. The rider should be able to scan ahead and check behind without swerving.

To ensure safe cycling, young cyclists must:

  • Wear a properly-fitted helmet, and have clothes that are suited for cycling (e.g. their pants tucked in).
  • Have their bikes fitted properly and in good working order. The bike should have a regular maintenance check-up and should have a bell. It is also a good idea to have a safety flag.
  • Know and obey all traffic rules, signs and signals. They must signal turns and stops. Ride in a straight line in the same direction as traffic and stop at every stop sign.
  • Be predictable to other road users by riding with the traffic usually on the right hand side of the roadway.
  • Never ride in the dark. If an older child must ride in the dark, make sure that reflective clothing and night-accessories (e.g. reflectors and lights) are used.

Walking to School
Many children use roadways to make their way to and from school. Parents and guardians must review road safety rules with their children and the importance of not accepting rides or any invitations from strangers. It is best to walk with a buddy and keep focused on getting straight home.

To keep safe on roads, children pedestrians must:

  • Find a safe and direct route to school with the help of their parents. Hazards should be identified (train tracks, busy intersections, etc.) and a designated route with safety rules should be established.
  • Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If there is no sidewalk, use the left side of the road facing traffic.
  • Cross streets only at crosswalks and learn to look to the left, the right and then left again before proceeding, even at intersections with pedestrian walk signs.
  • Wait until traffic comes to a stop before crossing. Make sure drivers see you before you cross.

Prevention is the key to safety. With education and awareness, all children should be able to get safely to school and home again. Take the time to share these valuable rules and tips with your children.