A Message from the CEO

18. December 2014

Julius Griggs, CEO

Hello and welcome back.

This will be our last newsletter for 2014. Thanks for making this a great year.

Hope your holiday season is filled with joy and happiness and you have a great New Year.

We have a lot going on as we wind down the year, including moving our Washington office back to Idaho.

Also, over the next week or so, we will be launching a CE series for Nursing, so keep an eye out.

And lastly, remember that, starting January 1, 2015, OSHA’s Recordingkeeping Updates go into effect.

In January, Seymour Safety is going to address this topic in our Safety Matters Weekly Blog, so be sure to sign up for that also.

See you next year!

Sincerely,

Julius P Griggs

Julius P. Griggs

President and CEO

Safety Unlimited, Inc.

 

A Message from the CEO ,

Health and Safety for the Holiday Season

16. December 2014

The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on what’s important. In past articles, we have focused on safety tips for travel, fire, cyber-safety, and shopping safety. But ‘tis ALSO the season to appreciate the gift of health.

Here are some holiday tips to support your efforts for health and safety this season.

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water, and rub them together for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. Stay dry, and dress warmly in several layers.

The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health and pocketbook. Keep your commitments and spending in check. Balance work, home, and play. Get support from family and friends. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook. Make sure to get proper sleep.

Avoid smoking and breathing other people's smoke. If you smoke, quit today! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or talk to your health care provider for help.

Exams and screenings can help find potential problems early, when the chances for treatment and cure are often better. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Schedule a visit with your health care provider for needed exams and screenings. Ask what vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, lifestyle, travel plans, medical history, and family health history. Get health insurance through healthcare.gov if needed.

Injuries can happen anywhere, and some often occur around the holidays. Use step stools instead of climbing on furniture when hanging decorations. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or skateboarding to help prevent head injuries. Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don't use generators, grills, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage.

Last, but by no means least, as you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.

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The Birth of OSHA

15. December 2014

On December 29, 1970, President Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the Department of Labor. As an administrative component of the DOL, OSHA can create regulations and standards designed to ensure the safety of workers at the workplace. OSHA's primary goal is to ensure employers provide workers with a work environment that is free of recognizable hazards, such as excessive noise, unsanitary conditions, toxic chemical exposure, and equipment hazards.

In the 1800s, long before the implementation of OSHA, most employers found it was cheaper to replace injured or dead employees than to implement safety measures. Coupled with public anger rose in opposition to unsafe workplaces and the increasing power of unions, many states created workers' compensation laws to discourage employers from permitting unsafe workplaces. As industrial production increased following World War II, workplace injuries also increased. In the two years prior to OSHA's enactment, 14,000 workers died each year and another 2 million were disabled or harmed.

In January of 1968, President Johnson submitted an occupational health and safety bill widely opposed by business. The bill died in committee. A year later, President Nixon introduced two bills that would also protect worker safety and health. This bill made worker safety rules advisory while the Johnson bill made them mandatory. A much stricter bill was introduced, more in line with Johnson's bill, by Representative James O'Hara and Senator Harrison Williams. This bill included the General Duty clause, which required employers to amend all identified workplace hazards. Republicans introduced a competing bill that included the establishment of an independent research and standard-setting board, and created a new enforcement agency within the Department of Labor.

The compromise bill was signed by Nixon in late December and the OSH Act went into effect on April 28, 1971.

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Hours of Service Regulations intended to make Drivers, Roads Safer

15. December 2014

For truck drivers, driving for long periods and meeting deadlines is a way of life. When drivers become fatigued, they risk their safety and the safety of others. Coupled with hauling hazardous materials, the risks increase exponentially.

In order to protect truck drivers from being pushed to work more than they physically should, and to help prevent accidents caused by fatigue, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revised the rules of truck drivers’ hours of service. July 1, 2013 was the compliance date for the revised Hours of Service rule for truck drivers.

These rules apply to drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), and vary slightly for drivers carrying property versus passengers. Although they assure adequate time off for sleep and rest periods, the rules don’t mandate how this off-duty time is used.

Differences from the previous rules mandate a 30 minute off-duty break every 8 hours. For property carrying drivers, there is an 11 hour daily driving limit and a 14 hour work day limit (designed to include wait times.) No longer can a driver work up to 82 hours a week. There is a 60/70 hour weekly driving limit now for a 7/8 day work week. Drivers must be off-duty 34 consecutive hours after working these extended shifts before restarting. This 34 hour off-duty time must include two periods of nightly rest at home terminal time during the hours that the body needs the most rest: 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

This revised set of rules--the new Hours of Service Regulations--is meant to protect truck drivers and drivers of other vehicles from the hazards of fatigued drivers. If followed how intended, it will. Working fewer hours and having mandated reset periods before restarting should decrease the number of fatigue-related accidents. However, it is ultimately up to the drivers to use the mandated rest time to sleep. Trucking company corporate culture can be a positive force in adopting this change by asking drivers to abide by the rules, and encouraging education and training to make the roads safer.

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Workplace Safety for the Holidays

15. December 2014

It's time to decorate for the holiday season. However, your decorations should not compromise workplace safety.

As you know, any changes to the work area can create new hazards, be it new equipment or workplace procedures. The same applies to the addition of decorations.

Just to name a few:

  • Paper and battery-powered decorations can create fire hazards; and
  • Power cords can create tripping, electrocution, and fire hazards.

When you're hanging decorations or setting up floor displays, make sure they do not obstruct exits or clutter passageways. Decorations shouldn't interfere with workers' ability to travel through an area if they need to escape. Nor should decorations cover EXIT signs, emergency lights, fire extinguisher doors, or fire alarm handles. If a decoration reduces accessibility in any way, it needs to go somewhere else or reworked to ensure the integrity of egresses and equipment essential in an emergency.

You can certainly enjoy a festive holiday season filled with decorations, but don't let those decorations compromise the safety of your workplace.

Safety Matters ,

A Message from the CEO

27. November 2014

Julius Griggs, CEO

Hello and welcome back.

We are winding down another great year and I want to thank all of you for allowing us to earn your business.

As with every year, this year has been our best year ever and we appreciate your feedback on what your training and/or consulting needs are.

Please reach out if you have any training needs that we can help you with.

We are working on many courses and if there is a need out there, we would be happy to move your needs to the front of the line.

The squeaky wheel does get the grease.

Enjoy the good information below.

Sincerely,

Julius P Griggs

Julius P. Griggs

President and CEO

Safety Unlimited, Inc.

A Message from the CEO , ,

Food Safety

11. November 2014

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and family. For the fortunate, the tradition usually centers on a large banquet of food and beverages. Whether eating out or dining in, most consumers will not think twice about food safety before indulging in a smorgasbord of savory delights.

One would hope that whether eating in or out, the cooks have been diligent about food safety and preventing cross-contamination. Unsanitary food preparation can result in food poisoning: illness caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites, as well as toxins and contaminants. Foodsafety.gov is a great resource for double checking facts and finding information on the subject. Per the website, the four tenants of food safety are clean, separate, cook, and chill.

Food should be washed prior to eating, with the exception of meat, which the USDA does not recommend washing. Rinsing meat under water splashes bacteria all around the sink and counter area, where it can contaminate other foods. For fruits and veggies, a 1/3 part vinegar/water solution has been found 98% effective in a produce wash test. If you don’t wash your produce, it could contaminate the inside when sliced, since the bacteria – such as in the listeriosis cantaloupe outbreak – live on the outside.

Separate means keeping meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods at all times: in the grocery cart, in the refrigerator, on the counter, and when plating. In the refrigerator, raw food and meat should be stored in the lowest compartment to prevent drips or leaks on cooked foods.  On the counter, raw meat and vegetables should have separate cutting boards and the veggies should be prepped first. Finally, always use a clean plate for cooked meat since raw meat juices or marinades will contaminate the cooked food.

To cook meat safely, it must be cooked to a minimum temperature that varies from around 145-165 °F. A meat thermometer must be used to test the internal temperature. Meat should never be left to thaw out on the counter, but instead defrosted in the refrigerator or microwave. Hot foods should be kept hot and not left out for more than 2 hours, and cold foods kept cold and kept on ice or under 40°F; keeping foods cold prevents the growth of bacteria. Meat and eggs should never be served undercooked.

More information on meat safety can be found on this website.

Following these food safety guidelines will help ensure that you and others have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving. Enjoy! 

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Thanksgiving Safety

10. November 2014

We all know that holidays pose certain dangers. July 4th has its fireworks. Safety for kids on Halloween is always a concern. Christmas trees and lights can be a fire hazard, and drinking and driving on New year's Eve is an annual worry.

But Thanksgiving? Most people would think that the biggest danger posed on Thanksgiving is overeating!

But not so. There are at least two things to think about in terms of holiday safety on the last Thursday in November.

First, there is kitchen safety. Kitchens are busier than normal, stoves and ovens on longer, and more activity in the kitchen with kids and visitors is sure thing on a holiday that celebrates eating. Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving is the number one day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment.

The National Fire Protection Association suggests the following for a safe Thanksgiving in the kitchen:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay at home when the turkey is cooking and check on it frequently.
  • Keep kids away from the stove and oven. They'll be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot foods and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don't trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks, or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from the electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off a counter within easy reach of a child. And be careful when using that electric carving knife.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children -- up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
It's also a good idea to keep burn first-aid products on hand.
 
In addition to kitchen safety, remember that the day before Thanksgiving is one of the ten busiest travel days of the year and the day after Thanksgiving is now the busiest shopping day of the year. On Thanksgiving day itself, the sleepy, the well-fed, and the inebriated will be traveling home after dinner. So remember to drive safely before, during, and after Thanksgiving day.

Safety Tip of the Month ,

Filing a Complaint with OSHA

10. November 2014

If you believe that there is a serious hazard at your workplace, or that your employer is not following OSHA standards, you have the right to file a complaint with OSHA and request an inspection of your workplace.

A complaint can be filed if it is believed that there is a violation of a safety or health standard or if there is an imminent danger or any danger that threatens physical harm.

You, an authorized representative from your bargaining unit, your attorney, or any other person acting as a bona fide representative can file a complaint and request an inspection.

OSHA takes complaints seriously and it is against the law for an employer to retaliate by firing, demoting, transferring, or discriminating in any way against someone who files a complaint.

When filing, employees or their representatives must provide enough information for OSHA to determine that a hazard probably exists. However, workers do not have to know whether a specific OSHA standard has been violated in order to file a complaint.

Here are some examples of the type of information OSHA considers useful when receiving a complaint:

  • How many employees work at the site and how many are exposed to the hazard?
  • How and when are workers exposed?
  • What work is performed in the unsafe or unhealthful area?
  • What type of equipment is used and what condition is it in?
  • What materials and/or chemicals are used?
  • Have employees been informed or trained regarding hazardous conditions?
  • What process and/or operation is involved?
  • What kinds of work are done nearby?
  • How often and for how long do employees work at the task that leads to exposure?
  • How long has the condition existed?
  • Have any attempts been made to correct the problem?
  • On what shifts does the hazard exist?
  • Has anyone been injured or made ill as a result of the problem?
  • Have there been any "near-miss" incidents?
OSHA recommends that employees try to resolve safety and health issue by first reporting them to supervisors, managers, or your safety and health committee. At any time, however, employees can complain to their local OSHA Area or Regional Office and ask for an investigation or inspection. For detailed information on how to file a complaint, see the OSHA website.

HAZ Matters ,

Holiday Shopping Safety

6. November 2014

Shopping during the holiday season can present unique danger; it is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime.

By taking the following few prevention measures, you can help keep your holiday season joyous.

Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member. It is always advisable to park in a lighted area, and in angled parking spaces. Park so that the traffic flow is away from the building. Shoppers ought to hide shopping bags before they leave for another shopping area, as opposed to when they arrive.

Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.

Consider placing money on a pre-paid gift card or a pay card from a bank; if the information is stolen, a family’s main accounts won’t be at risk.

Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible, but always carry your driver's license or identification along with necessary cash, checks, and/or a credit card you expect to use. If your credit card is lost or stolen, notify the credit card issuer immediately. Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home. Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.

During the holiday season, child safety procedures are imperative because of the large crowds everywhere. When in a mall or other public facility, always supervise your children. Always accompany them to the restroom. Many modern malls and large department stores provide family restrooms/changing areas, making it easier for dad to take his daughter to the restroom, or mom to take her son.

Dress casually and comfortably, and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

And finally, while many people prefer shopping online, watch out for the holiday cyber-scammers who are hard at work to steal from people seeking to enjoy the holidays.

We wish you a happy and safe holiday season shopping experience!

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