Update to the OSHA General Industry Digest

OSHA’s “General Industry Digest” is a 108 page downloadable document that provides a basic starting point for a safety program in the workplace. It isn’t intended to cover everything you’ll need but it will cover most of what you need to get started.

From the foreword of the manual”

The summary of General Industry safety and health standards

contained in this booklet are to aid employers, supervisors, workers, health and safety committee members, and safety and health personnel in their efforts toward achieving compliance with OSHA standards in the workplace. Although this digest does not contain a summary of all the General Industry safety and health standards, the ones presented here are the standards most frequently cited, and which cover particularly hazardous situations. The standards are grouped by subject matter, followed by the reference to the appropriate standard. With few exceptions, the standards in this digest are from Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1910.

OSHA has just revised and updated this manual so whether or not you already have a copy, you’ll want to download the new copy.

Holiday Theft and Shopping Safety Tips




Black Friday, kicking off the busy holiday shopping season starts the highest theft time of the year. Phone theft, Pick Pocketing and Purse snatching are always more common and significant during the holidays. These crimes can be classified as either a crime against property or a crime against person depending upon the circumstances involved during the commission of the offense. In the case of purse snatching, it can produce long term effects in the victim. The loss alone cannot be measured in just the financial loss of the purse, but there is the distrust in walking unharmed in public and in our own familiar surroundings.

It is time consuming when you consider the notifications to various companies and organizations to replace important documents. Credit cards must be canceled, work identification replaced, drivers licenses duplicated, check books reordered, house keys and locks replaced and old photographs of loved ones may be lost forever. The threat of Identity theft makes these losses even more traumatic. Additionally, with all our data and information saved on our phones these have become one of the top targets for theft. Behind the increase in crime: A lucrative market for used phones. Thieves can sell pilfered devices to local merchants or street-corner middlemenor hawk them on sites such as eBay.com, Amazon.com or Craigslist.org, where a used iPhone, for instance, can fetch several hundred dollars. So if your phone or tablet is lost or stolen report it IMMEDIATELY.

Purse snatching is a crime that usually focuses on the elderly and citizens with one or more physical difficulties that would hinder their ability to fight back or give chase. The criminal depends on speed and the element of surprise to accomplish the act. Some purse snatchers prefer to attack from behind, knocking the victim to the ground. This is dangerous to the elderly or persons with a health disability.

The thief will usually never keep the purse more than five minutes after the crime. An arrest with the purse in their possession is the kind of evidence the thief does not want. They will need only enough time to go through the purse to obtain cash and valuables that can be pawned. The purse is often discarded in a dumpster, storm drain, low roof, or over a fence into a yard. The purse, if recovered, will often be found anywhere from a block away to a mile from the scene of occurrence.

The following are suggestions offered to help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of this crime:

1. Carry as little paper currency as possible. Rely on credit cards and/or personal checks for large purchases. Credit cards and personal checks can be replaced, but money can’t.

2. Carry your keys in your hand; they make an excellent weapon to protect yourself. Don’t carry your keys or important medications in your purse. The loss will prevent you from driving, entering your home, reading necessary documents, or taking important medication for your health.

3. Beware, if you are knocked down and you chose to struggle for the purse, the criminal could become more determined and cause you extreme physical harm to accomplish the act.

4. When shopping, never leave your purse unattended. Never leave it on a restaurant seat, in shopping carts, public rest room floors, dressing rooms, or under your seat in theaters. Wrap the child restraint on a shopping cart around the purse handles to make it hard for the thief to grab and go.

5. If your purse is stolen and someone telephones to request you respond and get your purse, DON’T! Let the police pick it up. It could be the thief looking to rob you of more valuables.

6. The target areas for pick pockets are back trouser pockets, and suit coat and sports jacket pockets, located both inside and out. A pickpocket generally avoids front trouser pockets, and especially buttoned or zippered pockets.

7. If you have to carry your wallet in an unbuttoned jacket, coat or pants pocket, be sure it holds only what you can afford to lose. Keep money, credit cards, IDs, in your front pocket or any buttoned or zippered pocket. Some people even place a rubber band around their wallet, because the rubber band creates friction and rubs against the fabric of your pocket if someone is attempting to remove it without your knowledge.

8. Never pat your pocket to see if your wallet is there; this lets a criminal know the exact location of your valuables.

9. When driving in your car, keep your doors locked and keep the purse on the floor behind your seat. You don’t need someone smashing your window and taking your purse from the front passenger seat.

10. Never keep pin numbers, account numbers, or any safe combination numbers in your purse, if you do, the thief could benefit from this information.

11. Always assume the purse snatcher or purse thief still has your house and car keys. Change locks immediately. It may save you a bigger loss in the future.

12. A purse snatcher can be anyone – a man, woman, or child. They are not the stereotypes television often portrays them to be.

13. Never leave your purse near your front door. A person knocking on your door could see the purse and force their way inside to get it.

14. Keep the purse flap closed and secure when in a crowded area. It will keep “sticky fingers” out.

15. Purse theft can happen anytime, anyplace. Constant vigilance is needed to deter criminals. Be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings. Pay attention to who is around you & what activities are happening. Dont leave the safety of a building or your vehicle until you have ensured all is secure & safe. Trust your instincts; if you feel uncomfortable with a place or person(s), get away.

16. Park in a well-lit areas, dont wander into risky areas alone or at night.

17. Keep a list, separate from your wallet, of contact numbers to report lost credit cards.

Avoid the Holiday-Related Scams

As the holidays bring an increase in online shopping, charitable giving and social interaction, consumers and businesses should be on guard against some common scams. The dangers of online fraud continue to grow. The Top 10 of the most prevalent scams that can lead to financial fraud or identity theft during the holidays. They are listed below, in no particular order, along with tips on how to avoid them.

1. Online shopping threats: In the United States, the FBI reported that more than $250 million was lost in 2010 due to online fraud. To avoid being yet another victim, Unisys security experts recommend that online shoppers always shop on safe sites that have SSL (a protocol for secure communications) certification, indicated by a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen. If you have second thoughts about using a site or retailer, follow your instincts and avoid it. Where possible, use a credit card rather than a debit card as banks can often offer consumers a higher level of protection when a credit card is used. If buying through sites such as Amazon or eBay, take the time to read the seller feedback. Finally, be sure to check your bank statements regularly for any unexpected purchases.

2. Seasonal spyware: The number of malicious e-cards circulating to personal and business computers is expected to rise this year. Unisys experts suggest that even in a workplace setting, individuals never open an e-mail or attachment from an unknown sender and do not download exe files as these often contain adware, unwanted downloads and spyware.

If you cant resist opening a file, drag it into your junk e-mail folder first as this allows you to check all the links to see if they are legitimate. If a site looks suspicious, follow your instincts and dont click on it. Finally, be sure to install personal firewall, anti-malware and protection agent software on your computer. So if you make a mistake and click on a malicious e-card, you will have some protection.

3. Not-so-social networking: Enterprises and individuals are making increasing use of social networking sites such as Face book and Twitter to keep in touch with clients, partners, friends and family over the holiday season. Unisys security experts warn that these sites can be a goldmine for identity thieves. According to GetSafeOnline, one in four people using social networking sites have posted confidential or personal information such as phone number, address or e-mail on their online profile. To avoid identity theft, never offer personal information to anyone over a social networking site, even if the request is from a friend or relative. Do not offer your birth date, birth town and home address on your user profile, and always make sure you apply the right privacy settings to protect yourself. Avoid posting photos of expensive belongings or dates when you are away from home over the holidays.

4. Beware of ATM skimmers: Whether at your neighborhood bank or at your office lobby or credit union, Unisys experts stress the importance of being aware of your environment when using an ATM to obtain holiday shopping cash. If you think someone is too close behind you or looking over your shoulder, find a different ATM machine.

Thieves are becoming more and more sophisticated, so also check the actual machine to make sure that it is solid and sturdy. Some skimming scams have involved fitting the front of an ATM with a false panel containing a small webcam or digital camera that can capture your card details. If the ATM machine appears to be behaving oddly or does not work the first time, go to a different machine — dont try it again.

5. Fake Online Payment Sites: Escrow services such as PayPal allow businesses and consumers to securely and conveniently send and receive payments online. However, escrow scams are increasing as fraudsters set up fake payment sites to con both buyers and sellers out of money.

To ensure payment sites are legitimate and secure, Unisys security experts suggest checking to ensure the sites have SSL certification. Also check that the web address starts as https:// rather than just http:// as the absence of that s is often an indicator of rogue traders. A real escrow company will also only ask you to transfer money to them directly from your bank, i.e. a traceable transfer. If they ask for another method, refuse. Before you send anything, verify with your bank where the receiving bank is located. If this looks like it is outside the seller’s own country, stop the transaction.

6. Spirit of giving scams: Christmas is the season for sharing and, as a result, thieves will often make the most of peoples generosity over the festive season. Unisys suggests that individuals watch out for e-mails or tweets from charities that ask for donations, particularly if you have never signed up to receive correspondence from them. Be sure to check that charity collectors in your neighborhood or near your office have some form of identification.


7. Gift grabbers: After opening all the presents, Unisys recommends breaking down the boxes completely so that what was in the box is not obvious to passersby on the street. Thieves are more likely to target homes with home theatre or PC boxes in the trash. The same is true of business-related or personal bills, receipts and financial statements — all of which could contribute to identity theft. And as always, employees must protect their companys intellectual property by safely disposing of materials that are proprietary to their companies.

8. Protect your new laptop: If you received a new PC or laptop running on MS Vista or Windows 7 as a holiday gift, Unisys suggests making sure you are using anti-malware software and have enabled the firewall before connecting to the Internet. Whether you are connected to a wireless network or via a cable, on average, it can take just nine seconds for your new laptop to receive its first ping attack and less than a minute to receive its first virus.

9. Free Wi-Fi and wireless network hacking: If you are using that new laptop on a wireless network at home or workplace, Unisys recommends making sure that network is secure. This is because the Wi-Fi network range will radiate beyond the confines of your building, leaving it vulnerable to war driving (the act of searching for Wi-Fi wireless networks by a person in a moving vehicle, using a portable computer so they can use your unsecured network for free).

Hackers could use an unprotected wireless network to anonymously download illegal material or perpetrate attacks that would appear as if they were coming from you. War drivers are also known to hack into computers to steal personal details. In one highly publicized case, a retailer reportedly lost more than 45.7 million personal credit and debit card details to hackers. The crime went on for four years before it was detected.

10. Account check and phishing cons: Unisys security experts recommend that individuals at home or work be wary of account checking scams in which a phony representative of a bank or supplier who contacts you by phone or e-mail to ask for account details to update their records.

Callers will often claim that they need certain data in order to check the security of your account while actually obtaining very valuable information to carry out fraud. In the lead-up to Christmas, remind your family, friends and colleagues to err on the side of caution and refuse to give out any personal details either on the phone or online. If you think the call is genuine, ask to call them back and check the number by visiting their website before you call back.

Likewise, dont assume that an e-mail that looks like it comes from your bank or a company youve done business with is legitimate. In common phishing attacks, e-mail messages from impostors contain links to phony lookalike sites where your logon ID and password can be captured. Always suspect that web links in unsolicited e-mails may be fraudulent, and dont provide any personal information to such sites.

Dont let the Pick Pockets, Purse Snatchers, Phone Theft and Identity Thieves spoil your holiday season. Raise your security awareness it can help from becoming a victim.

Information provided by the Clovis Police Dept. and Unisys Systems Safety representatives.

By communicating Plateau Team Safety, we can make a difference!

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


OSHA Reinforces Importance of Hi-Vis Apparel

Got this in my inbox this past week from Ergodyne and thought I’d pass it along to you all.

tech bulletin
“Inspection and Citation Guidance for Roadway and Highway Construction Work Zones” Document Instructs OSHA Compliance Officers On Hi-VisOn October 16th, 2012, OSHA released a document that instructs its Compliance Safety and Health Officers to wear ANSI/ISEA 107-compliant Class 2 or Class 3 high visibility apparel when inspecting roadway and highway construction work zones. Direction is also provided for how to cite those who are not compliant.ANSI/ISEA 107-COMPLIANT APPAREL TO BE WORN BY OSHA’S CSHOsOSHA employs Compliance Safety and Health Officers in the field…you know, the folks who write the tickets and issue fines. These CSHOs have been formally instructed as follows:”During the day, the CSHO shall wear, at a minimum, a Class 2 high-visibility safety vest” and “During the night, the CSHO shall wear, at a minimum, a Class 3 high-visibility safety coverall/jumpsuit or a Class 3 high-visibility safety jacket and Class E high-visibility pants, or bib overalls.”Of course this makes perfect sense as the 2009 MUTCD (the law for “all things roadway”) requires all workers in the rightaway of roadway to wear ANSI/ISEA 107-compliant Class 2 of Class 3 apparel…and these CSHOs are, after all, workers.

View the entire Technical Bulletin on the Inner Sanctum.

For more details on the recent OSHA document or for questions on anything regarding ANSI/ISEA 107, please contact Andy Olson at 651.642.5858 or andy.olson.


Microwave Oven Safety Awareness

Microwave Safety Tips

Now may the time everyone is reheating Thanksgiving leftovers, popping some popcorn or even using one to prepare a meal. Microwaves are a great convenience we have grown to love and use on a daily basis.

Everyone loves this appliance and it surely does help make life simpler when it comes to cooking, heating, reheating or defrosting food. But it can also be dangerous if not used properly. Here are some helpful tips to make using the microwave safer:

Do not turn your oven on when it is empty because microwaves may damage the cavity. If you accidentally turn an empty oven on, leave a cup of water in it to absorb the microwaves

Don’t use the microwave for deep-frying, canning, or heating baby bottles. These applications don’t allow adequate temperature control for safe results.

Stay with the oven when microwaving popcorn, for heat buildup can cause a fire. Time heating per instructions but lean toward the shorter time (some ovens can scorch popcorn in two minutes).

Don’t dry or disinfect clothing or other articles in the microwave because of the risk of fire.

Use only microwave-safe utensils. Hot food melts some plastics, such as margarine tubs, causing migration of package constituents. It’s a good idea to use glass for fatty foods, which get particularly hot, though not all glass and ceramics are microwave-safe.

Here’s a quick test for glass: Microwave the empty container for one minute. It’s unsafe for the microwave if it’s warm; it’s OK for reheating if it’s lukewarm; and it’s OK for actual cooking if it’s cool.

Power testing: The following test is used for gauging energy output: Fill a glass measuring cup with exactly 1 cup of tap water. Microwave, uncovered, on “high” until water begins to boil. If boiling occurs in: wattage is: less than 3 minutes 600 to 700 3 to 4 minutes 500 to 600 more than 4 minutes less than 500 watts

Checking For Leakage: There is little concern about excess microwaves leaking from ovens unless the door hinges, latch, or seals are damaged. If you suspect a problem, contact the oven manufacturer; a microwave oven service organization; your state health department; or the closest FDA office, which you can locate online by visiting www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/district.html

Erupted Hot Water Phenomena: Hot-water eruption can occur if you use a microwave oven to super-heat water in a clean cup. (“Super-heated” means the water is hot beyond boiling temperature, although it shows no signs of boiling.)

A slight disturbance or movement may cause the water to violently explode out of the cup. There have been reports of serious skin burns or scalding injuries around people’s hands and faces as a result of this phenomenon.

Adding materials such as instant coffee or sugar to the water before heating greatly reduces the risk of hot-water eruption. Also, follow the precautions and recommendations found in microwave oven instruction manuals; specifically the heating time.

· Microwave ovens can cook unevenly and leave cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive. Always allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer.

· Arrange food items evenly in a covered dish and add some liquid if needed. Cover with a lid; vent to let steam escape. The moist heat will help destroy harmful bacteria and ensure uniform cooking.

· Always stir or rotate food midway through the microwaving time.

· Cook foods immediately after defrosting in the microwave.

· Eggs cannot be cooked in the shell. They will explode.

· Do not heat oil or fat for deep fat frying. Potatoes, tomatoes, egg yolks, and other foods with a skin or membrane must be pierced before they are micro waved. This allows the steam to escape and keeps them from exploding.

· Popcorn should be cooked only in special microwave poppers carefully following manufacturer’s recommendations. Do not pop popcorn in paper bags or glass utensils.

· Remove food from packaging before defrosting.

· Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics should be labeled for microwave oven use.

· Plastic storage containers such as margarine tubs should not be used in microwave ovens as harmful chemicals can migrate into the food.

· Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use. Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving.

Microwave Defrosting

  • Remove food from packaging before defrosting. Do not use foam trays and plastic wraps because they are not heat stable at high temperatures. Melting or warping may cause harmful chemicals to migrate into food.
  • Cook meat, poultry, egg casseroles, and fish immediately after defrosting in the microwave oven because some areas of the frozen food may begin to cook during the defrosting time. Do not hold partially cooked food to use later.
  • Cover foods with a lid or a microwave-safe plastic wrap to hold in moisture and provide safe, even heating.
  • Heat ready-to-eat foods such as hot dogs, luncheon meats, fully cooked ham and leftovers until steaming hot.
  • After reheating foods in the microwave oven, allow standing time. Then, use a clean food thermometer to check that food has reached 165 °F.

Containers & Wraps

  • Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics should be labeled for microwave oven use.
  • Plastic storage containers such as margarine tubs, take-out containers, whipped topping bowls, and other one-time use containers should not be used in microwave ovens. These containers can warp or melt, possibly causing harmful chemicals to migrate into the food.
  • Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use. Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving.
  • Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers, or aluminum foil in the microwave oven.

Information provided by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CPSC and Food Safety.com

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


Safety Apps for your iPhone, iPad or Android Device

If you have an iPhone, and iPad or an Android device, you are by now well aware of the number of apps that you can download to do everything from using your device to make sure something is level to playing angry birds.

As a safety officer, your boss probably won’t be overjoyed to see you using the later app during business hours and he might rethink letting you even have your mobile device at all. Instead, you can show him how necessary you iPhone really is when you use it to make your job easier and more automated.

I’ve sent you over to Dave Weber’s site before and I’m going to do so again. Today I want to send you to his Safety Apps page where you’ll find a nice list of apps that you can download for your iPhone, and iPad or Android device.

Here are a few that I’ve copied from that page to whet your appetite and get you to go visit and download some of the apps that he’s linking to:

SafetyNet – The SafetyNet app from Predictive Solutions allows customers to predict, and ultimately prevent, workplace injuries. First, the app allows customers to conduct inspections and collect workplace safety observations from their job sites. Next, the app synchs these observations with the SafetyNet web application where advanced and predictive analytics are performed on the data. The SafetyNet predictive analytics helps customers identify where they are most likely to have a safety incident or injury, and then report and communicate that information to their work teams and management.¹

ChemAlert ChemAlert for iPhone and iPad now brings the trusted name of ChemAlert to the world of mobiles. Key chemical safety management information including Hazards and GHS Classifications, Risk and Safety Phrases, First Aid information and recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is now be available at your fingertips.¹

FallProof The new Fall Distance Calculator app from FallProof Networks helps safety professionals in the field, protect workers from falls. This easy to use app, helps to accurately calculate the required fall clearance based upon the equipment being used and the height of the anchorage point.¹

Sound Meter SoundMeter turns your iOS device into a handheld sound level meter (SLM). The built-in and headset microphones are suitable for certain, basic sound level measurements, but high precision external microphones may also be used with appropriate interface hardware.¹

Pocket First Aid Updated to reflect The American Heart Association Guidelines on CPR & Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Reorganized content to make it easier to find help in an emergency. All content provided by the American Heart Association, the nations oldest and largest voluntary health organization.¹

iAuditor Completely free, fully customisable workplace audits for every industry and application. Perform workplace safety audits, pre-start checks and inspections faster and easier.

Professional Safety Journal (only for ASSE members) ASSE is pleased to announce that mobile apps are now available for Professional Safety, its highly rated monthly journal. Get instant access to the journal from your Droid. Scroll through the pages, click through links to find more information or to connect with an advertiser. Members/Subscribers: Once you download and install the app, youll need to log in with your member number/customer id and password (last name).

I just listed 7 of the more than 40 apps that he lists on his apps page so head over there and show your boss that the money he is spending for your mobile device is money well spent… if he isn’t paying for your mobile device this might be a great way to convince him that you should be able to expense it! Thanks Dave Weber!

Creating a Safer Home

With cold weather and rain back in the forecast for the next few months, most of us will be spending more and more time indoors. Problem is that your home is one of the most dangerous places for you and your family unless you take a few precautions and steps to keep everyone out of harms way.

Here’s a list of the top dangers to take care of or protect against:

1. Stovetop – Fact is that almost half of all house fires start in the kitchen. The main culprit? Putting something on the stove and walking away to do something else. We all want to believe that we are good at multitasking and will remember the pot on the stove but the simple truth is that many of us don’t. We get absorbed in whatever we walked away to take care of and forget we’ve got something cooking.
Safety Solution – There isn’t any special trick or measure that you can take to keep this from happening. The only solution is to train yourself (and others in your family) to NEVER, EVER walk away from something on the stove (especially oil in a pan).

2. Electrical Wiring – One of the other main culprit when it comes to house fires is faulty or old electrical wiring.
Safety Solution: If your house is 40 years old or more, consider having an electrician come in to check your electrical wiring for you. It might be a cost that you don’t relish paying but a few dollars spent in prevention now can save you big money down the road. Additionally, even in newer homes, you need to pay attention to flickering lights, to electrical outlets that aren’t working, to fuses that keep blowing and/or a tingling sensation when you touch an outlet or wall switch. Also make sure that all bathroom, kitchen and laundry room outlets are GFCI protected, meaning that they cut the power to the outlet when they sense a power surge or current leak.

3. Dryer Fires – Again, we’re talking about fires. The lint builds up inside the dryer or the exhaust hose and can ignite, especially when it comes in contact with the dryer heating element.
Safety Solution – Get out the shop vac and suck up all that lint build-up, especially in or around the heating element. Clean out the exhaust hose regularly. If it’s too difficult to access yourself, call in a professional service.

4. Fireplaces and Wood Stoves – Creosote buildup is the number one cause of chimney fires. Also creosote can ignite and fly up out of the chimney and ignite the roof or debris laying around the yard.
Safety Solution – If you use the fireplace or woodstove at least 3 times a week or more in winter, you should get it cleaned once a year, right before you’re going to start using it for the winter. If you burn green wood daily you’ll need to clean it twice a year to protect from fires.

NOTE: The above safety issues all relate to fires. The best line of defense when it comes to fires in your home is the smoke detector. Unfortunately a good many house fires claim lives each year in homes with smoke detectors because the batteries weren’t replaced. test your fire alarms regularly and replace the batteries at least once a year. Do not disconnect the smoke detector because it keeps going off when you cook. Move it to an error where it won’t go off as easily or get a better stove exhaust hood but having a disconnected smoke detector is as useless as having no smoke detector at all.

5. Icicles – Icicles and chunks of ice can pose a serious danger hazard in winter. Melting snow from the roof can slowly build up along the gutter and roof line and put you and your loved ones in harms way if they break off. They can also damage equipment and/or the house itself.
Safety Solution – Add attic insulation to keep the roof from getting too warm. A roof that is absorbing the heat from inside the house will tend to allow snow to melt faster than by outside ambient temperature alone. The runoff then freezes as soon as it is no longer in contact with the roof causing an accumulation of ice in the gutters and along the roofline. Check for icicles regularly and safely knock them off with a long broom.

A home in winter should be a cozy, safe place. A few simple precautions and habits can keep it that way so prepare now and stay safe throughout the winter.

New Video from Miller Fall Protection

Miller Fall Protection

New! Gravity Kills Defy It! Fall Protection Video

The NEW Miller “Gravity Kills Defy It!” video was produced to help employers learn the importance of: Developing a fall protection safety plan; Fall prevention and protection training; The ABCs of fall protection; Donning a harness in six easy steps; Calculating fall clearance; Proper inspection and maintenance procedures.

According to OSHA, fall hazards are the leading cause of injury at construction sites. More than 650 workers died in falls last year, and thousands were injured. Ensuring a safe workplace is a mandated employer responsibility. The most effective fall protection programs result when employers work closely with workers to identify fall hazards present at a particular site, and develop comprehensive safety-at-height plans and procedures.

You can view a short 3 minute promotional clip or the full 26 minute video. You can also download a fullscreen MP4 video (149.7 MB) for showing at your next safety meeting.
Click here to go to the Miller Fall Protection page to view or download this video.

Alzheimer’s Awareness and Safety Tips


Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

The basics

  • Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases.
  • Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early-onset Alzheimer’s (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 30s, 40s or 50s.
  • Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from three to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.

10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

Memory loss that disrupts daily life
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.
Challenges in planning or solving problems
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.What’s a typical age-related change? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.What’s a typical age-related change? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
Confusion with time or place
People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.What’s a typical age-related change? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.What’s a typical age-related change? Vision changes related to cataracts.
New problems with words in speaking or writing
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.What’s a typical age-related change? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
Decreased or poor judgment
People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.What’s a typical age-related change? Making a bad decision once in a while.
Withdrawal from work or social activities
A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
Changes in mood and personality
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.What’s a typical age-related change? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

The difference between Alzheimer’s and typical age-related changes

Signs of Alzheimer’s Typical age-related changes
Poor judgment and decision making Making a bad decision once in a while
Inability to manage a budget Missing a monthly payment
Losing track of the date or the season Forgetting which day it is and remembering later
Difficulty having a conversation Sometimes forgetting which word to use
Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them Losing things from time to time

Stages of Alzheimer’s

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Experts have developed “stages” to describe how a person’s abilities change from normal function through advanced Alzheimer’s. It is important to keep in mind that stages are general guides, and symptoms vary greatly. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or progress at the same rate.
Stage 1: No impairment (normal function)
The person does not experience any memory problems. An interview with a medical professional does not show any evidence of symptoms.
Stage 2: Very mild cognitive decline (may be normal age-related changes or earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease)
The person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses — forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects. But no symptoms can be detected during a medical examination or by friends, family or co-workers.
Stage 3: Mild cognitive decline
Early-stage Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed in some, but not all, individuals with these symptoms
Friends, family or co-workers begin to notice difficulties. During a detailed medical interview, doctors may be able to detect problems in memory or concentration. Common stage 3 difficulties include:

  • Noticeable problems coming up with the right word or name
  • Trouble remembering names when introduced to new people
  • Having noticeably greater difficulty performing tasks in social or work settings
  • Forgetting material that one has just read
  • Losing or misplacing a valuable object
  • Increasing trouble with planning or organizing
Stage 4: Moderate cognitive decline
(Mild or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease)
At this point, a careful medical interview should be able to detect clear-cut problems in several areas:

  • Forgetfulness of recent events
  • Impaired ability to perform challenging mental arithmetic — for example, counting backward from 100 by 7s
  • Greater difficulty performing complex tasks, such as planning dinner for guests, paying bills or managing finances
  • Forgetfulness about one’s own personal history
  • Becoming moody or withdrawn, especially in socially or mentally challenging situations
Stage 5: Moderately severe cognitive decline
(Moderate or mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease)
Gaps in memory and thinking are noticeable, and individuals begin to need help with day-to-day activities. At this stage, those with Alzheimer’s may:

  • Be unable to recall their own address or telephone number or the high school or college from which they graduated
  • Become confused about where they are or what day it is
  • Have trouble with less challenging mental arithmetic, such as counting backward from 40 by subtracting 4s or from 20 by 2s
  • Need help choosing proper clothing for the season or the occasion
  • Still remember significant details about themselves and their family
  • Still require no assistance with eating or using the toilet
Stage 6: Severe cognitive decline
(Moderately severe or mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease)
Memory continues to worsen, personality changes may take place and individuals need extensive help with daily activities. At this stage, individuals may:

  • Lose awareness of recent experiences as well as of their surroundings
  • Remember their own name but have difficulty with their personal history
  • Distinguish familiar and unfamiliar faces but have trouble remembering the name of a spouse or caregiver
  • Need help dressing properly and may, without supervision, make mistakes such as putting pajamas over daytime clothes or shoes on the wrong feet
  • Experience major changes in sleep patterns — sleeping during the day and becoming restless at night
  • Need help handling details of toileting (for example, flushing the toilet, wiping or disposing of tissue properly)
  • Have increasingly frequent trouble controlling their bladder or bowels
  • Experience major personality and behavioral changes, including suspiciousness and delusions (such as believing their caregiver is an impostor), or compulsive, repetitive behavior like hand-wringing or tissue shredding
  • Tend to wander or become lost
Stage 7: Very severe cognitive decline
(Severe or late-stage Alzheimer’s disease)
In the final stage of this disease, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and, eventually, to control movement. They may still say words or phrases.At this stage, individuals need help with much of their daily personal care, including eating or using the toilet. They may also lose the ability to smile, to sit without support and to hold their heads up. Reflexes become abnormal. Muscles grow rigid. Swallowing impaired.

Risk Factors


The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is advancing age. Most individuals with the disease are age 65 or older. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles about every five years after age 65. After age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent. One of the greatest mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease is why risk rises so dramatically as we grow older.

Family history

Another strong risk factor is family history. Those who have a parent, brother, sister or child with Alzheimer’s is more likely to develop the disease. The risk increases if more than one family member has the illness. When diseases tend to run in families, either heredity (genetics) or environmental factors, or both, may play a role.

Genetics (heredity)

Scientists know genes are involved in Alzheimer’s. There are two types of genes that can play a role in affecting whether a person develops a disease—risk genes and deterministic genes. Alzheimer’s genes have been found in both categories.

  1. Risk genes increase the likelihood of developing a disease, but do not guarantee it will happen. Scientists have so far identified several risk genes implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. The risk gene with the strongest influence is called apolipoprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4). Scientists estimate that APOE-e4 may be a factor in 20 to 25 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.APOE-e4 is one of three common forms of the APOE gene; the others are APOE-e2 and APOE-e3. Everyone inherits a copy of some form of APOE from each parent. Those who inherit APOE-e4 from one parent have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Those who inherit APOE-e4 from both parents have an even higher risk, but not a certainty. Scientists are not yet certain how APOE-e4 increases risk. In addition to raising risk, APOE-e4 may tend to make Alzheimer’s symptoms appear at a younger age than usual.
  2. Deterministic genes directly cause a disease, guaranteeing that anyone who inherits them will develop the disorder. Scientists have discovered variations that directly cause Alzheimer’s disease in the genes coding three proteins: amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1 (PS-1) and presenilin-2 (PS-2).When Alzheimer’s disease is caused by these deterministic variations, it is called “autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (ADAD)” or “familial Alzheimer’s disease,” and many family members in multiple generations are affected. Symptoms nearly always develop before age 60, and may appear as early as a person’s 30s or 40s. Deterministic Alzheimer’s variations have been found in only a few hundred extended families worldwide. True familial Alzheimer’s accounts for less than 5 percent of cases.

Treatments and Standard Treatments

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. But drug and non-drug treatments may help with both cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

Researchers are looking for new treatments to alter the course of the disease and improve the quality of life for people with dementia.

Health professionals often divide the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease into “cognitive” and “behavioral and psychiatric” categories.

  • Cognitive symptoms affect memory, language, judgment, planning, ability to pay attention and other thought processes.
  • Behavioral and psychiatric symptoms affect the way we feel and act.

Treatments for cognitive symptoms

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved two types of medications to treat cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. These drugs affect the activity of two different chemicals involved in carrying messages between the brain’s nerve cells.

1. Cholinesterase (KOH-luh-NES-ter-ays) inhibitors prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine (a-SEA-til-KOH-lean), a chemical messenger important for learning and memory.

These drugs:

  • Support communication among nerve cells by keeping acetylcholine levels high.
  • On average, delay worsening of symptoms for 6 to 12 months for about half the people who take them. Some experts believe a small percentage of people may benefit more dramatically.

Three cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly prescribed:

  • Donepezil (Aricept), approved to treat all stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Rivastigmine (Exelon), approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.
  • Galantamine (Razadyne), approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

2. Memantine (Namenda) works by regulating the activity of glutamate, a different messenger chemical involved in learning and memory.


  • Was approved in 2003 for treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Is currently the only drug of its type approved to treat Alzheimer’s.
  • Temporarily delays worsening of symptoms for some people. Many experts consider its degree of benefit is similar to the cholinesterase inhibitors.


Generic Brand Approved For Side Effects
donepezil Aricept All stages Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and increased frequency of bowel movements.
galantamine Razadyne Mild to moderate Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and increased frequency of bowel movements.
memantine Namenda Moderate to severe Headache, constipation, confusion and dizziness.
rivastigmine Exelon Mild to moderate Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and increased frequency of bowel movements.
tacrine Cognex Mild to moderate Possible liver damage, nausea, and vomiting.

Treatments for behavioral and psychiatric symptoms

For many individuals, Alzheimer’s disease affects the way they feel and act in addition to its impact on memory and other thought processes. As with cognitive symptoms, the chief underlying cause is progressive destruction of brain cells. In different stages of Alzheimer’s, people may experience:

  • Physical or verbal outbursts
  • General emotional distress
  • Restlessness, pacing, shredding paper or tissues and yelling
  • Hallucinations (seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not really there)
  • Delusions (firmly held belief in things that are not real)

Many diagnosed individuals and their families find these symptoms the most challenging and distressing affects of the disease.

There are two approaches to managing behavioral symptoms: using medications specifically to control the symptoms or non-drug strategies. Non-drug approaches should always be tried first.

Non-drug approaches

Steps to developing successful non-drug treatments include:

  • Recognizing that the person is not just “acting mean or ornery,” but is having further symptoms of the disease
  • Understanding the cause and how the symptom may relate to the experience of the person with Alzheimer’s
  • Changing the person’s environment to resolve challenges and obstacles to comfort, security and ease of mind

Everyone who develops behavioral symptoms should receive a thorough medical exam, especially if symptoms appear suddenly. Even though the chief cause of behavioral symptoms is the effect of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain, an exam may reveal treatable conditions that are contributing to the behavior.

Treatable conditions may include:

  • Drug side effects. Many people with Alzheimer’s take prescription medications for other health problems. Drug side effects or interactions between drugs can sometimes affect behavior.
  • Physical discomfort. As the disease gets worse, those with Alzheimer’s have more and more difficulty communicating about their experience. As a result, symptoms of common illnesses may sometimes go undetected. Pain from infections of the urinary tract, ear or sinuses may lead to restlessness or agitation. Discomfort from a full bladder, constipation, or feeling too hot or too cold may also be expressed through behavior.
  • Uncorrected problems with hearing or vision. These can contribute to confusion and frustration and foster a sense of isolation.

Factors in the environment may also trigger behaviors. Events or changes in a person’s surroundings may contribute to a sense of uneasiness, or increase fear or confusion.

Situations affecting behavior may include:

  • Moving to a new residence or nursing home
  • Changes in the environment or caregiver arrangements
  • Misperceived threats
  • Admission to a hospital
  • Being asked to bathe or change clothes
  • Fear and fatigue resulting from trying to make sense out of an increasingly confusing world

Potential solutions

  • Monitor personal comfort. Check for pain, hunger, thirst, constipation, full bladder, fatigue, infections and skin irritation. Maintain a comfortable room temperature.
  • Avoid being confrontational or arguing about facts; instead, respond to the feeling behind what is being expressed. For example, if a person expresses a wish to go visit a parent who died years ago, don’t point out that the parent is dead. Instead, say, “Your mother is a wonderful person. I would like to see her too.”
  • Redirect the person’s attention. Try to remain flexible, patient and supportive.
  • Create a calm environment. Avoid noise, glare, insecure space, and too much background distraction, including television.
  • Simplify the environment, tasks and solutions.
  • Allow adequate rest between stimulating events.
  • Provide a security object or privacy.
  • Equip doors and gates with safety locks.
  • Remove guns.

Talking with the doctor

Talk to your doctor about what treatment may be right for you or the person in your care. A medication’s effectiveness, and the side effects it may cause, can vary from one person to the next. For one individual, one drug may be more effective but have greater side effects. For another person, the same drug may be less effective but have no side effects.

Ask the doctor the following questions when you discuss any treatments. They will not address all treatment needs, but the answers to these questions will help you understand the options and make informed decisions.

  • What kind of assessment will you use to determine if the drug is effective?
  • How much time will pass before you will be able to assess the drug’s effectiveness?
  • How will you monitor for possible side effects?
  • What effects should we watch for at home?
  • When should we call you?
  • Is one treatment option more likely than another to interfere with medications for other conditions?
  • What are the concerns with stopping one drug treatment and beginning another?
  • At what stage of the disease would you consider it appropriate to stop using the drug?

Safety proof your house

Safety at home begins with adapting the environment to support the person with Alzheimer’s changing abilities. Be sure to re-evaluate home safety measures regularly as new issues may arise.

Evaluate your environment

A person with dementia may be at risk in certain areas of the home or outdoors. Pay special attention to garages, work rooms, basements and outside areas.

  • Be sure to always have working fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the house. Test them regularly to make sure they will operate in an emergency.
  • Lock or disguise hazardous areas. Cover doors and locks with a painted mural or cloth. Use swinging or folding doors to hide entrances to the kitchen, stairwell or garage.
  • Install locks out of sight. Place deadbolts either high or low on exterior doors to make it difficult for the person to wander out of the house.
  • Remove locks in bathrooms or bedrooms so the person cannot get locked inside.
  • Use child-proof locks and door knob covers to limit access to places where knives, appliances and poisonous cleaning fluids are stored.
  • Enroll the person in a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia that wander or who have a medical emergency.

Beware of dangerous objects and substances

Even the most basic appliance or household object can be dangerous. Particularly for a person with dementia. Be sure to take precautions that will ensure these items do not become safety hazards.

  • Use appliances that have an auto shut-off feature. Keep them away from water sources (e.g., kitchen and bathroom sinks).
  • Install a hidden gas valve or circuit breaker on the stove so a person with dementia cannot turn it on. Or, consider removing the knobs from the burner.
  • Store grills, lawn mowers, power tools, knives and fire arms and cleaning products in a secure place.
  • Discard toxic plants and decorative fruits that may be mistaken for real food.
  • Remove vitamins, prescription drugs, sugar substitutes and seasonings from the kitchen tables and counters. Medications should be kept in a locked area at all times.
  • Supervise the use of tobacco and alcohol. Both may have harmful side effects and may interact dangerously with some medications. A person with dementia who smokes should not be left alone; a forgotten cigarette left burning could start a fire.

Avoid injury during daily activities

Most accidents in the home occur during daily activities such as eating, bathing and using the restroom. Take special precautions at these times.

  • Watch the temperature of water and food – it may be difficult to tell the difference between hot and cold.
  • Install walk-in showers and grab bars in the shower or tub and at the edge of the vanity to allow for independent, safe movement.
  • Add textured stickers to slippery surfaces. Apply adhesives to keep throw rugs and carpeting in place – or remove rugs completely.

Adapt to vision limitations

Dementia sometimes makes it difficult for a person to tell between colors and understand what he or she sees because of changes in vision.

  • Use contrasting colored rugs in front of doors or steps to help the individual anticipate staircases and room entrances. Avoid using a dark-colored rug because it may appear to be a “hole.”
  • Remove throw rugs altogether to reduce the likelihood of tripping if the person has difficulty walking, or uses a cane or walker.
  • Create an even level of lighting by adding extra lights to entries, outside landings, areas between rooms, stairways and bathrooms.
  • Use night lights in hallways, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Firearm safety

If you have a firearm in the house there are special precautions you will need to take. Tragic consequences have occurred when a person with dementia didn’t recognize a spouse or relative, but thought he or she was a burglar and fired.

  • Keep firearms in a locked cabinet, firearm vault, safe or storage case.
  • Lock ammunition in a place separate from firearms.
  • Exercise full control and supervision over firearms at all times.
  • Ask for help from local law enforcement if you are unfamiliar with firearm safety or if you choose to discard the weapon.
  • Unload firearms when not in use.

Alzheimer’s causes a number of changes in the brain and body that may affect safety. Depending on the stage of the disease, these can include changes in judgment, abstract thinking, sense of time/place and behavior.

As the disease progresses, the person’s abilities will change. So situations that are not of concern today may become potential safety issues in the future. Taking measures to ensure safety at all times can help prevent injuries, and it can help people with dementia feel relaxed and less overwhelmed. Use these tips to evaluate your surroundings for any particular dangers and change them to meet individual needs

Safety First, Safety Always!

Information from Alzheimer’s Association at http://www.alz.org

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