Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Have a Happy & Safe 2011

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
Many of us take a moment at the end of the year to look back to see where we were, where we’ve been and what’s ahead. We’ve had quite a year. One place where this fact is evident is in the area of issues surrounding driving, new laws, and new technology to make it all better.

Following are examples of each:

The State of Washington is now well on the way with the Target Zero program. The goal is simply to eliminate ALL highway traffic deaths by the year 2030. I believe it is possible, and recent results show that the increased efforts toward this end have been effective. Comparing highways fatalities from Christmas 2009 to 2010, the only fatality reported to date is a hit-and-run Saturday night in Auburn. During the slightly-longer 2009 Christmas holiday weekend, four people died in collisions statewide. “Even one death is too many,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “But it seems we had a much safer holiday weekend than in previous years.”

Whether we agree in principal or not, there are new laws that affect all drivers. By now all of us should be aware that it is now a primary offense to operate a motor vehicle while talking on a mobile telephone, while holding it to your ear. Texting while driving is also a primary offense.

However, here’s a new law that you may not yet have heard of: RCW46.61.212 has been in effect, but has now been enhanced to increase the safety zone around emergency vehicles parked on the side of the roadway. Essentially, you must change lanes where it is safe to do so, at least two hundred feet ahead of coming to an emergency vehicle – with it’s warning lights flashing – or if you can’t safely change lanes, reduce your speed while passing though the “emergency zone”. The RCW continues by saying, “A person who drives a vehicle in an emergency zone in such a manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger any emergency zone worker or property is guilty of reckless endangerment of emergency zone workers.” If convicted, you could have your driver’s license suspended for 60 days.

New technology in our cars is amazing. Things Henry Ford, Gaston Chevrolet or the Dodge Brothers never dreamed of, are now commonplace. Just for fun, here’s an automotive technology advancement we may see become common, soon.

We at Evergreen Safety Council, wish all of you a Safe and Happy 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hexavalent Chromium Standard

Contributed by Eric C. Tofte, Director of Training, Evergreen Safety Council

Just recently the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised their Hexavalent Chromium Standard to adopt new requirements related to the notification requirements in the exposure determination provisions. OSHA now requires employers to notify employees of the results of all hexavalent chromium exposure level monitoring results, not just exposures that exceed the permissible exposure limit (PEL).

The Department of Labor and Industries changed the current 15-day notification requirement to a 5-day notification requirement to be at least as effective as OSHA’s standard. The changes were adopted 12/1/2010 and will be effective on 1/1/2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Friends in High Places

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
Recently, Evergreen Safety Council was contacted by Nancy Abel, the Risk Manager for the City of Marysville, Washington, requesting training for employees in the Public Works department who operate the city’s Terex Highranger equipped “bucket truck”.

The truck has a 40’ maximum reach and is specially equipped; from a load leveling suspension system, to copious numbers of public warning lights, to allow for safe work on traffic lights, and other tasks requiring access to elevated locations, such as placing banners over the street, announcing special events and activities around the city.

The training consisted of a half day of class room time, and an opportunity for each participant to demonstrate their proficiency in operating the truck in performing a task that required the precise positioning of the truck and basket, to place an object in an elevated location.

The classroom portion of the training stressed the full spectrum of safety issues, from identifying site specific concerns and hazards, to the importance of a thorough inspection of the boom and basket assembly, starting with a visual inspection, and performing a functional test of the lifts’ lower controls, before entering the basket. Other topics addressed included selection of the proper PPE for the task, such as the appropriate wearable fall protection, as well as other PPE such as high visibility garments, hard hats and gloves.

On the second day of training, the weather cooperated and allowed each of the 23 participants to demonstrate their proficiency in the actual set up and operation of the truck and lift. Each student donned the appropriate PPE and then determined how best to place a traffic cone on the arched roof of a storage area in the Public Works equipment and materials yard.

Part of the practical test was to demonstrate the ability to understand and comply with the standard hand signals customary to industries that perform their jobs in an elevated location, and where instruction from the ground may be needed for the safe maneuvering around obstacles to reach the work area.

All participants, from those who had never operated a bucket truck previously, to the most experienced operator, successfully completed the training.

At the conclusion of the training, Nancy had the following comments,” I had numerous participants tell me this was “great training”, “very thorough”, and that they all “learned something”, which isn’t always easy to accomplish when you have seasoned operators. I would say that in particular, the hands-on practical demonstration under the instructor’s watchful but encouraging eye made this very effective training.”

ESC extends congratulations to the workers in the Marysville Public Works Department for a job well done.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Protecting Emergency Workers

Contributed by Eric Tofte, Director of Training, Evergreen Safety Council

On December 14, 2010 the Washington State Patrol announced the following in a media release on their website:

Enhanced Emergency Zone Law Will Help Protect Emergency Workers -Increased penalties start Jan. 1 for motorists who do not move over or slow down.

In other words you need to move over and slow down (maybe even stop) when you are approaching an emergency vehicle on the shoulder. An emergency vehicle is a patrol vehicle, fire truck, and ambulance and tow truck. Even though there was a law passed in 2007 requiring drivers to do this.
  • In 2008, a year after the law went into effect, 30 patrol cars were hit by motorists on state highways.
  • In 2009, another 28 patrol vehicles were hit by drivers during roadside traffic stops and other investigations.

As someone who has been on the shoulder of the road with an emergency vehicle (and all the red lights on) I understand just how inattentive some driver are and I am in full support of this law. After all if any driver tells me that they don’t have to pay attention to vehicles on the side of the road (especially emergency vehicles) then I say, this person is not capable of operating a vehicle safely should not be allowed to drive a vehicle on the public roads EVER.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Night of 1,000 Stars Patrols

Extra traffic patrols this weekend

KING COUNTY, WA — This Friday and Saturday marks the 20th year that law enforcement agencies throughout Washington have conducted “Night of 1,000 Stars” impaired driving traffic safety emphasis patrols. Each star symbolizes the badge worn by an on duty law enforcement officer.

“Let’s all work to make this a safe holiday season for our families and communities. Last year, 265 people were killed in Washington in impaired driver involved crashes,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. “If you drink, make plans for a sober ride before going out and see that your friends have a safe ride home as well.”

The statewide Night of 1,000 Stars enforcement will remove impaired drivers from local roads. Impaired driving caused by alcohol – or some other drug – is the primary reason why people die in motor vehicle crashes. Officers will also be on the lookout for people who speed, drive aggressively, are not wearing a seatbelt, using cell phones illegally, or violate other traffic laws.

For more than a decade, the King County Target Zero Task Force has brought together law enforcement, public health, and community partners to reduce traffic deaths and injuries through extra patrols and other efforts. On average, 24 fewer people died in traffic crashes in 2007 and 2008, compared to the preceding five years in King County. In partnership with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the Task Force is working towards the Target Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities by the year 2030.

Since 1999, officers, troopers, and deputies who worked these extra patrols have made over 28,600 contacts with dangerous drivers and arrested more than 6,200 impaired drivers in King County.

Agencies in Bellevue, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Redmond, Seattle, Snoqualmie, the Washington State Patrol and other cities and counties throughout the state will have extra impaired driving patrols this weekend.

This year’s Night of 1,000 Stars Patrols is dedicated to all fallen officers, the Washington officers who have died in the line of duty, and the officers who continue to protect and serve.

“Night of 1,000 Stars is an important dedication to all the law enforcement officers throughout the nation,” said Lieutenant Nick Almquist, Redmond Police Department. “Their selfless decision to protect our communities is being honored, especially our brothers and sisters who have paid the ultimate price with their lives.”

Source: 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.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FMCSA Launches New Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program for Commercial Trucks and Buses

Contributed by Tom Odegaard, Executive Director, Evergreen Safety Council
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today took a major step toward improving commercial truck and bus safety with the launch of the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program.

The centerpiece of CSA is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which will analyze all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier’s on-road performance. The new safety program will allow FMCSA to reach more carriers earlier and deploy a range of corrective interventions to address a carrier’s specific safety problems.

“The CSA program will help us more easily identify unsafe commercial truck and bus companies,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Better data and targeted enforcement will raise the safety bar for commercial carriers and empower them to take action before safety problems occur.”

The program also advances the Obama Administration’s open government initiative by providing the public with safety data in a more user-friendly format. This will give consumers a better picture of those carriers that pose a safety risk. CSA was also tested in nine pilot states before the program was launched.

“We worked closely with our partners in the motor vehicle community to develop this powerful new program,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “CSA is an important new tool that will help reduce commercial vehicle-related crashes and save lives.”
The SMS uses seven safety improvement categories called BASICs to examine a carrier’s on-road performance and potential crash risk. The BASICs are Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related and Crash Indicator. Under FMCSA’s old measurement system, carrier performance was assessed in only four broad categories.

By looking at a carrier’s safety violations in each SMS category, FMCSA and state law enforcement will be better equipped to identify carriers with patterns of high-risk behaviors and apply interventions that provide carriers the information necessary to change unsafe practices early on.

Safety interventions include early warning letters, targeted roadside inspections and focused compliance reviews that concentrate enforcement resources on specific issues identified by the SMS.

FMCSA will continue to conduct onsite comprehensive compliance reviews for carriers with safety issues across multiple BASICs. And, where a carrier has not taken the appropriate corrective action, FMCSA will invoke strong civil penalties.

PLEASE NOTE: For parties interested in downloading data for more than one carrier, please visit the SMS Download page.

Online training classes for CSA BASICs as well as HAZMAT Transportation are available through ESC. Register Today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Association releases report on road safety by state

Only Oregon and Washington met all criteria for roadway traffic safety in a new report from the Emergency Nurses Association.

According to a Nov. 17 press release, the report ranks state roadway laws based on 14 criteria, including safety belt use, child passenger safety, Graduated Driver Licensing for teens, ignition interlock devices to prevent drunk driving, and sending or reading messages for all drivers using cell phones or other wireless communication devices. Distracted driving laws were included for the first time in the 2010 report. Findings show:
  • Four states – Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana and Wisconsin – are leading the way in making roads safer through legislation the Des Plaines, IL-based ENA's report found.
  • Tennessee met all but one criterion.
  • Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota received the lowest scores, meeting fewer than half of the criteria. North Dakota's score of 4 was the lowest of any state.

From our friends at the National Safety Council

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

Contributed by Tom Odegaard, Executive Director, Evergreen Safety Council

Just in case you had not noticed, the holiday season has come once again..and here we are once again shopping for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts. The malls and stores are full of people looking for that special gift for those special people in our lives. Don’t let thugs and thieves ruin your celebration. Here are some tips that can help prevent bad things from happening as you go about your shopping adventures.

As you plan your shopping trip, remember there IS safety in numbers. Try to shop with friends or relatives if possible.

What is the number one rule while for safety on the street, in the parking lot and while shopping in stores or a mall?

Be alert!

Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. The
first thing a thief or a thug looks for is the right opportunity which includes
an unsuspecting victim.

Here are some general safety tips that we hope will help you have a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.

Travelling to/from the mall:
If driving:

  • Be observant. Avoid dark areas, short-cuts, cul-de-sacs.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers.
  • Keep your doors locked.
  • Do not stop for strangers – if there appears to be an emergency – CALL 9-1-1 from inside your locked vehicle.
  • If signaled to stop by any vehicle other than a clearly marked law enforcement unit, acknowledge the signal, and wave the driver to follow you to a safe location (where there are other people and light). Drive within the speed limit and take the shortest possible route to the nearest safe place. If you have a cellular phone, dial 9-1-1, tell the call-taker you are being followed by an unmarked vehicle attempting to stop you, and ask them to send a marked law enforcement vehicle to your location.
  • Carry an emergency kit in your vehicle

Taking public transportation:

  • Be alert. Do not read while waiting for the bus or train. It shows a criminal you are not paying attention.
  • Make eye contact. Do not appear to be a helpless victim. Carry yourself with confidence, don’t appear not humble and weak.
  • Carry exact change/tokens for the ride. Don’t display large amounts of cash.
  • Look around and pay attention to your gut feelings or instincts. If you feel bad about a situation, you feel right.

Parking lot safety:

  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your windows shut.
  • Put valuables (and packages) out of sight in your vehicle, preferably in the trunk. If your vehicle doesn't have one, out of plain view (on the floorboard, under a blanket or clothes, etc).
  • Be alert - Know your surroundings. Walk with confidence to and from the mall/store. Keep an eye on the people in front of as well as behind you. Don’t stop to talk with strangers.
  • Carry your purse close to your body. Don't swing it loosely. Don't display large amounts of cash.
  • Approach your vehicle with your keys already in your hand. Be ready to unlock the door and enter as quickly as possible. While approaching your vehicle, scan the area, glance underneath the vehicle, and take a quick look inside before entering.
  • Try not to carry too many packages at one time-make periodic trips to your vehicle.
  • Stay alert while loading items into or out of the vehicle or arranging cargo stowage. If someone approaches, and you feel threatened, get in and lock up until they leave the area; if they loiter, drive away and contact security or the police.
  • Ask for an escort to your car if you feel nervous.

ATM safety:
Remember: Using debit or credit cards is much safer than carrying a lot of cash.

  • However, if the vendors you will visit don't take cards, consider obtaining traveler's checks which, unlike cash, can be replaced if lost or stolen.
  • Visit ATM's only at well-lighted and populated locations; visit during daylight hours if possible.
  • Using the drive-up is usually safer than walking up or into a banking facility. Remember to scan around you as you make your withdrawal. Many ATMs now have "fisheye" mirrors mounted above the keyboard to enable you to view the entire surrounding area while conducting business; try to patronize ATMs so-equipped, and use the mirror!
  • Be alert! If anyone is loitering, or you don't like their looks, go to another ATM. Stand such that those behind you cannot see your PIN as you enter it; your PIN should NEVER be written down on or carried with your ATM card

In store/mall safety tips:
As you shop, be alert in crowded places. Be aware of your surroundings; scan the area from time to time. Avoid concentrating so hard on shopping that you fail to keep track of your surroundings, others near you, or your personal property.

  • Among pickpockets' favorites are revolving doors, jammed aisles, elevators, and public transportation stops and vehicles, especially at rush hour.
  • Carry the day's most expensive purchases closest to your body, and don't carry so much you lose the ability to react quickly.
  • While shopping do not leave your purse in your cart while you go to pick up items.
  • Do not flash cash and only carry the credit card you will need.
  • Wear conservative, comfortable clothing.

Children & Shopping:

If possible, leave your children with a baby-sitter while you are shopping. For holiday shopping, consider making arrangements with family or friends/neighbors, and take turns baby-sitting.

  • If you take your children with you:
  • Be Alert! Keep a close eye on them while shopping.
  • Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they ever get separated from you in a store/mall, and be sure they know their first and last name so they can tell someone who they are.
  • It's best to keep children under four (4) in a stroller. Children in shopping carts should be properly belted and seated in the child carrier area at all times —never let your child stand in or push a shopping cart.

With all of these safety tips, all of us at Evergreen Safety Council wish you and yours a safe and very enjoyable shopping experience.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fraud Protection Tips and Practices

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
I received “one of those” frequently forwarded e-mail notes the other day. You know the kind, usually humorous, but of questionable or undisclosed origin? Something prompted me to look at this one, before hitting the delete key; I read it, and I felt the information was helpful, and deserved to be shared.

This was a list of personal fraud protection tips and practices that are simple to employ and could be of great value if you are the victim of identity theft. Here is a summary of what I learned.

1 - Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'

2 - When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the 'For' line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the account number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

3 – NEVER have your Social Security number pre-printed on your checks.

4 – Place the contents of your wallet on a copy machine, and photocopy it. Both sides of all licenses, cards, etc. Then put this copy in a safe location. You will know what was lost if your wallet is stolen, and most importantly, most cards have the “call if stolen” number on them. If the number to call to report a stolen card is not printed on the card, contact the card issuing business and add that number to the photocopy you just made.

5 – File a Police report immediately. This will demonstrate your good faith efforts to your credit card issuers. It will also assist in any subsequent investigation.

6 - Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name, and also call the Social Security fraud line number.
1) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3) Trans Union: 1-800-680 7289
4) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

Monday, December 6, 2010

Prevention Through Design

Contributed by Eric Tofte, Director of Training, Evergreen Safety Council
On November 18th NIOSH announced its Prevention Through Design: Plan for the National Initiative and stated:

In 2008, among U.S. workers, 5,071 died from occupational injuries, 3.7 million suffered serious injuries, and 187,400 became ill from work-related exposures [BLS 2008]. The estimated annual direct and indirect costs of occupational injury, disease, and death range from $128 billion to $155 billion [Schulte 2005].

While the underlying causes vary, a recent study implicates design in 37% of job-related fatalities [Driscoll et al. 2008]. Thus, to protect lives and livelihoods, stakeholders across all industrial sectors of the economy need a comprehensive approach for addressing worker health and safety issues by eliminating hazards and minimizing risks to workers throughout the life cycle of work premises, tools, equipment, machinery, substances, and work processes, including their construction, manufacture, use, maintenance, and ultimate disposal or re-use.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Award Winning Videos

Contributed by our Safety Intern Mary Czaja
Washington, DC, November 22, 2010 – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) received awards for two safety videos at the annual Television, Internet, and Video Association of DC (TIVA DC) dinner on Saturday, November 13.

An animation depicting a massive sugar refinery explosion, which took 14 lives, won a gold award for best animation in its category. The animation appeared in a CSB safety video entitled Inferno: Dust Explosion at Imperial Sugar. Another CSB safety video, Combustible Dust: An Insidious Hazard was presented with the silver award for best educational/training video.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Over the river and through the woods

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Safety Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
The words to this old song remind us that some of us need to travel during the winter months. Other postings on this and other blog-spots have provided lists of what you should do to get your car ready for wintertime travel. Most of the items on the following list are familiar, but are worth reviewing:
  • What is the condition of your tires?
  • Do you have “winter tread” type tires, with or without studs?
  • Do you have tire chains? Do they fit your car? And, do you know how to safely install and remove them?
  • Do you have an adequate concentration of anti-freeze coolant in your car’s radiator?

Typical lists continue to ask about the condition of your windshield wipers, windshield washer solution, are your exterior lights all functional, and so forth. While all of these are great ideas and should be checked, are you aware there is one other check that you should make?

To make the decision as to whether you should even make the trip, or not, we highly recommend you check National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA), where you can focus in on a specific city, town or even use a zip code to get the latest conditions and more importantly the latest predictions for the route to, and for your destination. Be prepared, but also be informed, before you start out on that winter trip!

Help Reduce Employee Crashes

Safe habits like buckling up and driving sober and free of distractions are a matter of occupational safety for employees who drive, whether a company vehicle or their own. As employers, you can help save lives on our roadways by providing traffic safety awareness and education programs to your employees. Evergreen has an effective and affordable solution, including general and vehicle-specific driver training, consultation, program development resources and employee materials—and most of them can be customized to fit your specific needs. Before the snow flies again, be sure your employees are prepared!

The best way you can get involved is to offer an onsite defensive driving course for all employees. For more information or to schedule a customized defensive driving program for your employees, contact Stephanie Dyck @ 800-521-0778.