Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2010 John D Spellman Safety Award Recipients Announced

CONTACT: Tom Odegaard, President/Executive Director, Evergreen Safety Council

Evergreen Safety Council is proud to recognize the IMCO General Construction as the 2010 recipient of the John D. Spellman Safety Award.

Evergreen Safety Council (ESC) has established this annual safety award in order to recognize member organizations who have demonstrated significant improvement or achievements in their safety program. The recipient is selected from applicants by an ESC Board of Directors committee and will be presented at ESC’s Annual Membership meeting on January 25, 2011.

IMCO General Construction is a family corporation established in 1978 by Frank and Patti Imhof and is based in Ferndale, WA. The company is founded on the principles of hard work, dedication and commitment. After 30 years, IMCO continues to maintain a standard of excellence in safety, job quality, employee relations, and community involvement. Over the past five years, IMCO achieved zero time loss and minimal recordables, while averaging in excess of 300,000 employee hours annually. In 2010, IMCO achieved an Experience Mod Factor/rate of 0.4370, a continuation of 4 years of improvement in the rate.

Key components of IMCO’s safety program include participation by all company employees, a written accident prevention plan, extensive employee training & subcontractor safety orientations, pre-task planning through job hazard analysis (JHA), safety task assignment (STA) and a drug free workplace.

The award also recognizes one of Washington’s great public servants John D. Spellman, who was King County’s first elected County Executive and Washington’s 18th Governor. Governor Spellman has also been a member of Evergreen Safety Council’s Board of Directors for more than 30 years. In 1989 he served as President/Executive Director during a very critical period of restructuring and has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors since 1998

Evergreen Safety Council is the Northwest’s largest, independent, non-profit organization providing safety and health training and consultation services to businesses and organizations. ESC is a member of the National Safety Council and a founding member of the American Association of Safety Councils.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sharing the Road with Light Rail

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council

Sharing the road, has always been a fact of life, while making your way around Seattle. Cars, buses, trucks, bicyclists, and pedestrians now have something else to be aware of as you move through town; light rail trains. While much of the route the Sound Transit light rail trains use is elevated, there is a significant portion of the route that runs on surface streets, and must share the road with the rest of us.

Those of us who live and work in the South Lake Union neighborhood have already experienced the light rail cars running from down town to the Fred Hutchinson Research center. The plans are for both of these rail routes to expand and work is already underway for the expansion, so the number of people with the potential to come into contact with the light rails systems is also increasing.

These trains provide a new challenge in that they do not have the ability to take evasive action, to avoid a collision with another vehicle or person.

Some factors to consider:
The trains are quiet: so when approaching the rails, everyone must be alert for their approach. Electronic signage will help, but each of us, whether a driver or a pedestrian must be watching for them.
The trains are quick: they travel at the posted speed limit for the road way, added to the fact that the trains are heavy, there is a tremendous amount of momentum to arrest, before the train can stop. Being distracted by electronic devices or even just talking with a friend while approaching a rail crossing can quickly turn in to a life and death situation.

Take a look at the attached PSA from Sound Transit, and most of all, be alert when approaching a light rail crossing . . . .

Friday, January 21, 2011

Washington state fraud program brings in millions

Tumwater, WA – More than $137 million was collected last year by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries' workers' compensation fraud program, according to a new report issued Jan. 18.

The annual report (.pdf file) to the state's legislature details the money the program collected from employer premiums, audit assessments, overpayments to workers, health care and vocational providers, and fraud recovery orders.

According to the report, L&I's Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program brought in $7 for every $1 invested in 2010.

Highlights from the report include:
  • Completion of 5,789 claimant investigations of suspected workers' comp fraud or abuse, which was a record
  • Assessed $26.4 million through employer audits, including $7.2 million against companies who hired employees but failed to open a workers' comp account
  • Seventeen cases were referred for criminal prosecution

L&I said in a press release the collections were evidence of the success of targeting and enforcement working.

Source: The National Safety Council

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Train at Your Location

Investing in employee safety is smart for your business. Bring Evergreen to your location to advance employee safety and health.

Not only is on-site training cost-effective, but it helps ramp up the speed of your learning objectives. Nearly any topic in Evergreen's curriculum can be customized and presented at your site.

On-Target Content - We work with you to determine your training objectives and to develop content that hits the mark.

Lasting Impact - Instructors help you identify follow-up measures to maximize long-term effectiveness and return on investment.

Cost Savings - A custom-designed on-site program is often more cost-effective than sending a group of employees to off-site courses.

Give Stephanie a call to discuss if on-site training will benefit your organization. 800-521-0778

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Scholarship Opportunity

Attention: ESC member company employees, children or stepchildren of employees, or children or stepchildren of member company owners. Applications for the $1,000 Monty C. Lish & Stanley O. McNaughton Scholarship for Safety and Health Careers must be postmarked by February 15, 2001.

The Evergreen Safety Council (ESC) Board of Directors established the Monty C. Lish & Stanley O. McNaughton Scholarship for Safety and Health Careers to honor Mr. Lish & Mr. McNaughton for their vast contributions to community service, education and particularly their dedication to ESC. The scholarship program was developed to encourage more college students to consider Safety and Health professions as viable and worthwhile careers.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Business and Driving: Inseparable

Contributed Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
Most of us drive a motor vehicle; and many of us drive a motor vehicle as part of our job. Large trucks, delivery vans, repair trucks of all sizes or even your personal vehicle, with the illuminated, magnetic “Pizza Delivery” sign stuck on the roof.

Business and driving seem to be inseparable. The sad fact is that motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States.

According to the numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the approximately 5,700 fatalities annually reported, 35% are associated with motor vehicles. Between 2002-2008, on average:

  • 1354 workers died each year from crashes on public highways.
  • 324 workers died each year in crashes that occurred off the highway or on industrial premises.
  • 358 pedestrian workers died each year as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle.

Since you first attended a “driver’s education” class, as preparation to taking your first driver’s license test, have you attended a driver improvement course? While most of us consider ourselves to be pretty good drivers, each of us does not have to think long on the subject to recall a recent on-the-road incident where the “other guy” was certainly not driving safely.

Unfortunately, it’s not always the overt, intentionally unsafe act or behavior that leads to a collision, but often the way your driving behavior is perceived and how other drivers react to the event. Most of us could benefit from a refresher session to remind us of those safe driving behaviors that, if not already, should become habits.

Does your company offer such a course? If not, contact Evergreen Safety Council, as our Eversafe Driving Course can be structured to meet the needs of your companies’ drivers. We can also train you to become an Eversafe Instructor, to provide in-house training for your fellow employees. Let’s ALL be safe out there!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Presentation Skills for Effective Safety Communications

Do you provide training for your employees? Have to give presentations as part of your job? Do you wish you were more comfortable when standing in front of a group?

Here's a funny, 2-minute video just to make you laugh. (Yes, a "competitor" made it.) Feel free to share if you've ever done anything like this as a presenter. We can all learn from each others experiences.

Evergreen Offers a Presentation Skills for Effective Safety Communications course twice a year as part of the Safety & Health Specialist series. The next class is on January 27th. Register today, and be ready for the next time you need to make a presentation. Class size is limited to allow for group participation.

This workshop allows participant to practice effective stand-up and round-table speaking and presentations. Effective presentation principles are covered, including exercises and critiquing presentation effectiveness and style. Some materials are sent out prior to the class.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Commercial Motor Vehicle Classes

Contributed by Tina Bacon, Program Coordinator, Evergreen Safety Council
Through our allied partner AdvanceOnline.com, Evergreen Safety Council is proud to offer courses for Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators. These courses are designed to provide the driver with concepts and skill necessary to better perform their duties. Continuing Education Units are available for several of these online training courses. All of these course can be found under the heading of Transportation Courses.

The Best Practices for CMV Drivers series consist of 6 online classes that last approximately 10 minutes each. The on-line training courses can be taken in any order. The cost for each topic listed below is $9.99:

Best Practices for CMV Drivers:

  1. Adverse Conditions and Emergency Situations
  2. Changing Lanes and Passing
  3. Curves, Turns, and Downgrades
  4. Pedestrians and Passengers
  5. Right-of-Way and Intersections
  6. Start-Up, Back-Up, and Parking Procedures

The Cargo Securement for Drivers series consist of eleven online classes. This series is suitable for Drivers who transport multiple types of cargo. The courses in this series cover the general cargo securement rules, as well as the special commodity-specific rules in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

It is recommended that you begin your training with: Cargo Securement for Drivers: General Requirements. Each course listed below can be taken individually or for a significant savings, purchase all of the courses titles as a bundle (Cargo Securement for Drivers Bundle) for $99.95.

Each course under this listing takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The cost for each topic ranges from $24.95 to $39.95. Register today.

Cargo Securement for Drivers

  1. Automobiles, Light Trucks, and Vans, and Flattened or Crushed Vehicles
  2. Concrete Pipe
  3. Dressed Lumber and Similar Building Products
  4. General Requirements
  5. Heavy Vehicles, Equipment, and Machinery
  6. Intermodal Containers
  7. Large Boulders
  8. Logs
  9. Metal Coils
  10. Paper Rolls
  11. Roll-On/Roll-Off or Hook Lift

Under the heading DOT HAZMAT Courses, we offer the following 6 online courses. The topics:

  1. DOT Hazardous Materials General Awareness (approximately 1 hour)
  2. DOT Hazmat Security Awareness for Drivers (approximately 30 minutes)
  3. DOT Hazmat Security Awareness for Shippers and Carriers (approximately 30 minutes)
    DOT Training for Drivers of Hazmat Shipments (approximately 4 hours)
  4. DOT Training for Offerors of Bulk and Non-bulk Hazmat Packages (approximately 5 hours)
  5. DOT Training for Offerors of Non-bulk Hazmat Packages (approximately 4 hours)

Cost for each topic under the DOT HAZMAT Courses range from $29.95 to $69.95. Register now.

The remaining list of courses under Transportation Courses consist of:

  1. DOT Driver's Guide to CDL Requirements (approximately 1 hour)
  2. DOT Driver's Guide to Driving CMVs (approximately 1 hour)
  3. DOT Driving Commercial Motor Vehicles: Rules of the Road (approximately 1 hour)
  4. DOT Drug and Alcohol Reasonable Suspicion Training (approximately 2 hours)
  5. DOT Financial Responsibility for Passenger-Carrying Motor Carriers (approximately 30 minutes)
  6. DOT Financial Responsibility for Property-Carrying Motor Carriers (approximately 30 minutes)
  7. DOT Hours of Service for Oilfield Operations (approximately 30 minutes)
  8. DOT Motor Carrier General Applicability: Who and When (approximately 1 hour)
  9. Driver Wellness (approximately 30 minutes)
  10. Tanker Truck Inspections for Drivers (approximately 1 hour)
  11. Whistleblower Protection (Transportation) (approximately 30 minutes)

Cost for each of these topics range from $9.95 to $69.95. Register today.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Safety & Health Solutions - February 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 Article – Why is safety training for employees important?
People in Safety – Brion Beaver, Safety Manager, Cascade Natural Gas
Articles -
Another life saved because two individuals were trained in first aid/CPR
Tractor Safety
How to Brake-Release-Steer
Improve Response to Major Incidents with Better Preparedness and Training
Fun with Forklifts

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.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Commute is Back

Contributed by Sandy Paquette, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council

The Holidays are over and the I-5 commute is back to the anticipated high volume schedule.

Even while driving for the condition (road, volume, and speed) tends to aggravate people, the majority that becomes hostile are the ones in a hurry weaving in and out of the red taillights just to get one car further ahead.

I can’t figure out why one would want to speed up then stomp on the brake and then quickly change lanes to cause another to have to stomp on their brakes. Then after all of their extraordinary driving skills are accomplished, I end up passing them anyway, by maintaining my same speed and staying in the same lane.

I wonder if some of the companies that provide company vehicles for employee use are aware of their employees’ driving habits. Professional drivers are held to higher standard and expected to follow safe driving practices. All too frequently, it appears that company vehicles (cars, trucks, and buses) are not following their own safety standards.

One would think since their names are on the vehicles, they would have in place measures to enforce safe driving while in those vehicles. Negative driving could affect the company’s image and insurance rates.

For example: I was traveling on south I-5 when a well-known transit company’s bus was tailgating me. After a short way the bus started to flash the headlights (bright) into my vehicle. I checked my speed (it was 60 mph) what is the problem?

I could have moved one lane over, but the problem was that the bus’s headlights were blinding in my mirrors.

Admittedly everyone experiences some form of impatience while commuting. Is it worth the extra 2 minutes gained, the energy used to become angry, and a possibility of causing injury to another?

Evergreen Safety Council offers an EverSafe Driving course. It can be tailored to fit your company’s needs. Do you know how your drivers’ are performing while behind the wheel?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fewest homicides, traffic deaths in ten years; suicides increase

2009 Medical Examiner’s annual report shows King County death statistics and trends
In 2009, King County saw the lowest number of deaths due to homicide and traffic accidents in the past ten years. By contrast, the number of suicides has increased to the highest number since 2000, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s (KCME) report released today.

The report presents a detailed analysis of deaths that fall under KCME’s jurisdiction, including 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. For a copy of the full King County Medical Examiner’s 2009 annual report, please call 206-731-3232.

“Medical Examiner death reviews are a critical component of public health prevention efforts,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Because we know the circumstances, risk factors and trends of death in King County, we can target efforts and work to prevent early deaths. Traffic fatalities are a clear example of this. We know that alcohol and drug impairment, speed and failure to wear seatbelts contribute to traffic fatalities, and we work with partners throughout King County to help alleviate those causes.”

In 2009, there were an estimated 12,967 deaths in King County, and KCME performed autopsies approximately ten percent (1,226) of the time. KCME assumed jurisdiction in 2,190 deaths, which included 989 natural deaths, 632 accidental deaths, 253 suicides, 141 traffic deaths, 63 homicides and 59 undetermined causes.

“Our hearts go out to the friends and families who have suffered losses,” said Dr. Richard Harruff, Chief Medical Examiner. “Every death we review receives our fullest respect and attention. We work to investigate and resolve the manner and cause of death as quickly as possible, and in the most scientific and professional manner so grieving loved ones can find some solace.”

Budget cuts impact KCME
Budget cuts to public health services have impacted the King County Medical Examiner’s office. Since 2009, KCME has eliminated 4.5 full-time death investigators, along with the reduction of a part-time anthropologist. The reduced number of staff has led to fewer investigators on the night shift and longer response times.

Findings from the 2009 report
Compared with 2008, King County had fewer homicides, traffic fatalities, and accidental deaths. Deaths from natural causes and suicides both increased. Firearms were the most frequent instrument of death in homicides and suicides. Of the 146 firearm deaths in 2009, 41 were homicides and 100 were suicides. One firearm death was classified as an accident in 2009.

Targeted prevention efforts at Public Health

Accidental deaths (other)
The most common cause of accidental death was falls, most of which 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.

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 and where to find help (http://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 provides training resources for health care providers to work with patients at-risk for suicide to remove potential methods of death (i.e., firearms) from their surroundings. For more information, 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.

Source: Seattle King County Public Health
Contact: Katie Ross, 206-263-8781

Monday, January 3, 2011

Going home whole and healthy is priceless

Contributed by Mary Czaja, Safety Intern, Evergreen Safety Council

$1.1 Million is a lot of holiday bonuses, raises, new hires, and money for reinvestment in employees and infrastructure. The violations range from $300,000 for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals to $46,200 for failure to adequately train forklift operators at the Post Office in Des Moines, Iowa. That $1.1 million is from two weeks. Two weeks. Multiply that by the 52 weeks we work in a year. It adds up to millions and millions of dollars that could be going back to business and workers.

Washington State, according to Dianna Jackson of L&I, fined business for a total of 3,301,349 dollars in 2009. The average fine for a serious violation was $479.00. Money sent to the state in the form of fines affects the bottom line. In this economy, the 2.9 average number of violations per initial inspection may add up to an unprofitable year.

According to the Washington State OSHA Annual Report, the ultimate goal of DOSH in partnership with OSHA, is for every worker to go home whole and healthy every day. Until employers make this a reality, inspections and fines are the primary tool for shedding light on the unsafe working conditions faced by the average worker. These fines are punitive in nature and can never replace the lives lost, damaged or scarred by the conditions cited.

Committing to safety starts with the employer and ends with each worker. Initial training, re-training, and a culture that values the well-being of employees will go a long way towards stemming the tide of fines, death, and lose of productivity due to injury. The $1.1 million levied by OSHA would be better spent on educating and training workers in fall protection, forklift operations, respiratory protection, first aid and CPR. Seeing hazards for what they are and fixing them before an inspection would reduce the amount of money lost to fines and increase the bottom line. Keeping workers safe is the right thing to do and makes good fiscal sense.

In this economy who can afford fines, increased claims costs and the loss of productivity associated with inspections and incidents? Safety may have some upfront costs, but in the end, it pays back. It pays towards the bottom line, it pays off in productively and most importantly, it saves lives. Going home whole and healthy is priceless.