Labor Day Safety Awareness


Labor Day is coming this weekend, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. For many, the holiday is a time for family picnics, sporting events and a way to mark the end of summer.

The history:
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union.

In 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date.

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. The first state bill was introduced into the New York Legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on Feb. 21, 1887.

In 1894, Congress passed legislation making Labor Day a national holiday

Here are a few tips for a safe Labor Day weekend.

West Nile virus West Nile virus are at record levels this year and usually infections peak in September, so now is an important time to avoid mosquito bites. Consider refraining from outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active – dusk to dawn – or, when outside, take care to use insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) and follow the directions on the package, and wear protective clothing, such as long sleeve shirts, pants, socks and shoes. Eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from places like buckets, cans, tires and flowerpots.

Food safety For those planning a picnic or cooking out, remember to keep hot food hot and cold food cold, and wash hands frequently with soap and warm water before handling food. Use alcohol-based preparations if soap and water not readily available. In addition:

  • Refrigerate or keep cool cooked foods that are not served promptly.
  • Cook meat and poultry thoroughly. For hamburgers, be sure to cook until the center of the meat reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit or until the juices run clear.
  • Throw away food items, like potato salad, if it has been sitting out for more than two hours.
  • Separate raw meat and poultry from other foods.
  • Serve leftovers very cold (directly from the refrigerator) or very hot (heated to 165 degrees F or higher).

If you develop symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, you could have a food-borne illness. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 30 minutes to two weeks after eating contaminated food. Most often, however, people get sick within four to 48 hours.

Grilling safety tips
Backyard barbecues are a common Labor Day activity.
If you have a gas grill:
– Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage. Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
– Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed.
– Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
If you have a charcoal grill:
– Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
– Since charcoal produces carbon dioxide fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.

Sun exposure Protect your skin from over-exposure to the sun by choosing five sun protection options – seeking shade, covering up, getting a hat, wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes and rubbing on sunscreen. Use liberal amounts of suntan lotion with a high sun-protection factor (SPF), even on cloudy days.

Bathing beaches – You will have more fun at the beach if you know how to avoid potential health hazards.

  • Avoid beaches littered with trash or other debris. Garbage attracts bugs and can wash into the water. Look for water that is reasonably clear and free of floating materials and odors. Avoid swimming at beaches where there are large populations of ducks or geese. The waste produced by these birds causes high bacteria levels in the water.
  • Look for movement in the water; it helps keep the water clean. Do not swim in stagnant or still water.
  • Look for a sandy – not muddy – beach that has a grassy or wooded area around it. Such areas reduce surface runoff into the swimming water.
  • Do not swim at any beach right after a heavy rain. Runoff following a heavy rain may result in a high bacteria count.
  • When diving at a beach, exercise extreme caution. Beach water is not as clear as water in a pool, so underwater obstructions may not be visible. If there is any doubt, do not dive.

Swimming pools – To reduce the risk of eye, ear, nose or throat infection from contaminated water; swim only in pools in which water quality is properly maintained. Although it is impossible to tell if water is free of bacteria, the water should appear crystal clear, be continuously circulated and be maintained at a level that allows free overflow into the gutter or skimmer. There should not be a strong odor of ammonia or chlorine.

Determine if a lifeguard is present, especially if children are with you. If no lifeguard is on duty, do not let children swim unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult who knows lifesaving techniques and first aid. No one should swim alone, no matter how experienced a swimmer that person may be.

Swimming – both bathing beaches and pools – Follow healthy swimming behaviors to protect you and your kids from recreational water illnesses. To stop germs from causing illness:

  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. This is especially important for kids in diapers. Germs can be spread in the water and make others sick.
  • Don’t swallow the water and, if possible, avoid getting water in your mouth.
  • Practice good hygiene. Take a shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often.
  • Change diapers in a bathroom and not at poolside.
  • Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming.

Bicycle safety –

The best protection against injury is to know how to ride your bicycle safely. When riding on a street or road, follow all traffic safety laws and rules that apply to people driving vehicles. The following rules are particularly important for bicyclists:

  • Because they reduce the chances of a serious head injury in case of a crash, bicycle helmets are essential. Always strap on an approved safety helmet before you ride.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing during the day and white or reflective clothing at night to increase your visibility to drivers.
  • Bicycling after dark is very hazardous. Avoid riding at night if possible but, if you do ride in the dark, the law says your bike must be equipped with a front light that is visible for at least 500 feet and a rear red reflector that can be seen for up to 600 feet.
  • Always ride with the traffic flow, as close to the right edge of the road as possible.
  • Obey all traffic signals, pavement markings and directions given by police

Boating – Do not operate your boat carelessly or recklessly. This means operating your boat at a speed and in such manner that you do not endanger the life, safety or property of those in other watercraft. Follow these safety rules:

  • When approaching another boat “head on” (or nearly so), each boat must bear to the right and pass the other on its left side.
  • When boats approach each other at right angles, the boat approaching on the right side has the right- of-way.
  • A boat may overtake another on either side but must grant the right-of-way to the overtaken boat.
  • A motorboat must yield the right-of-way to a boat propelled solely by sails or oars (An exception is when a large motorized craft is navigating in a confined channel; it then has the right-of-way over a sailboat or rowboat).
  • Do not operate a motorboat in any area marked by signs or buoys as a restricted area.
  • In areas designated as “No Wake” areas, do not exceed 5 miles per hour. Do not exceed this speed when within 150 feet of a public launching ramp, even if the area is not posted.
  • When towing a person on water skis, aquaplane or similar device, at least two competent persons must be in the boat. (It is unlawful to water ski from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour prior to sunrise.)
  • Do not operate any watercraft within 150 feet of a diving flag unless directly associated with the diving activity.
  • Personal watercraft and specialty prop craft cannot be operated between sunset and sunrise.
  • Do not operate a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug that impairs your ability to safely operate the craft.

Traveling Safety: Pre-inspect your vehicle to make sure it’s in good working order. The highways are going to be crowded this holiday weekend so use good defensive driving skills.

  • Buckle up– every trip, every time- safety belts save lives and stiff fines.
  • Don’t drink and drive– impairment of any kind is dangerous. Designate a sober driver.
  • Don’t speed– note the posted limits and adjust for weather, road and traffic conditions.
  • Pay attention and stay alert– dedicate your full attention to the roadway.
  • Obey traffic rules and signs- they are there to help you.
  • Plan your trip– determine your route before you leave.
  • Get plenty of rest before your trip– change drivers if you feel tired.
  • Be patient and courteous.

Watch out for the other guy, pay attention to the roadway, and get plenty of rest. Plan to stop every couple of hours of travel to get out and stretch. You are too valuable of a team member to take the chance of injuring or killing yourself or someone else.

Sports: Go out there and have fun but remember your limitations, we’re not all MLB, NFL players and NBA stars. We see most of our recreational injuries from softball and basketball pickup games. Make sure you stretch and warm-up before the game, follow the rules and watch the playing field. Drink plenty of water before and during play.

Labor Day, is as American as Mom’s apple pie, hot dogs, baseball, smores or homemade ice cream on a warm summer night. Most of all, there is safety in Labor Day. Have a wonderful and safe weekend and remember Safety ABC’s, ALWAYS BE CAREFUL.

 Safety First, Safety Always!

Information from NSC, CDC, NHTSA, ASSE and American Red Cross


Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau