AT&T Don’t Text While Driving Documentary

This time of year means more driving than usual. Students are coming home from college and they’ll be on the road; almost all of them will have their cell phone with them. Many of them won’t think twice about checking their cell phone while they are on the road when (not “if” but “when”) they hear that familiar tone that lets them know they have an incoming text message.
Send them this link before they leave. It just might save their life.

Free Ladders Glossary from Convergence

We’ve already provided links in this blog to at least two other Convergence Training Glossaries. The first was the Electrical Glossary, the second was the Control of Hazardous Energy Lockout/Tagout Glossary.

Now, they’re back with a new free, downloadable Ladders Glossary.

Check out the Convergence Training page for this glossary to use it online as well as to access numerous links and documents related to ladder safety.

New Test Method for Needlestick Resistance of Protective Gloves

A new test method has just been standardized for needlestick resistance of protective gloves. It is available as a free download on the irsst website.

This from the irsst website:


Hand injuries, which represent approximately 21% of CSST-compensated injuries, affect several professions, including blue collar workers, prison guards, and police officers, who run a high risk of being pricked by contaminated needles. Current standardized test methods do not correctly evaluate the resistance of protective gloves to these punctures and do not take into account the effect of the presence of a hand inside the glove. The aim of this study is to develop a method for characterizing the actual resistance of gloves to puncture by very pointed objects such as needles, with this method later becoming the subject of a standard. It will also determine the degree of dexterity and sensitivity that this protective equipment offers to workers. The data collected will help users choose the puncture-resistant gloves most appropriate for their task, thus promoting their wear and helping to reduce the number of injuries to workers hands. These results will be exportable to other activity sectors, including the hospital environment, and will be useful to manufacturers for improving their products.

Free download (PDF 1682 Ko)

Vote on the DOL Worker Safety and Health App Challenge

Back in August of this year, we posted about the DOL Worker Safety and Health App Challenge designed by the department of Labor to promote safety, especially to the younger workers.

The competition is now closed and it’s up to you to decide who’s app deserves the $15,000 Grand Prize, as well as the other three awards (2 of which are worth $6,000 and 1 of which is worth $3,000).

Head to and vote.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll be voting on:

Hear Me Now –

Teens Lead at Work –

NIOSH Lift Index App –

Safe Hard Hat

That’s just 4 of the 21 submssions you can view and vote on.

Flu Season is early and Winter Illness Awareness

Get Set for Winter Illness Season

In much of the Northern Hemisphere flu season has began about a month early. With people now spending more time indoors this is prime time for colds, influenza (flu), and other respiratory illnesses. While contagious viruses are active year-round, fall and winter are when we’re all most vulnerable to them. This is due in large part to people spending more time indoors with others when the weather gets cold. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates medicines and vaccines that help fight winter illnesses.

National Influenza Vaccination Week Is Dec. 2-8

December 2-8 is National Influenza Vaccination Week. An annual flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent this serious illness. Get yours now!

CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. All around the country, events will include press briefings, radio interviews, health fairs, flu clinics and education opportunities to emphasize the importance of flu vaccination.

This holiday season, remember it’s not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu.

Don’t fall for the myth that it’s too late to vaccinate against the flu once the Thanksgiving holidays are over. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can provide protection against the flu. According to the latest CDC Flu activity report, influenza levels are currently increasing across the country. And since flu activity doesn’t usually peak until February in the United States and can last as late as May, it’s important to vaccinate now if you haven’t already.

Colds and Flu

Most respiratory bugs come and go within a few days, with no lasting effects. However, some cause serious health problems. Although symptoms of colds and flu can be similar, the two are different.

Colds are usually distinguished by a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Other symptoms include coughing, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes. No vaccine against colds exists because they can be caused by many types of viruses. Often spread through contact with mucus, colds come on gradually.

Flu comes on suddenly, is more serious, and lasts longer than colds. The good news is that yearly vaccination can help protect you from getting the flu. Flu season in the United States generally runs from November to April.

Flu symptoms include fever, headache, chills, dry cough, body aches, fatigue, and general misery. Like colds, flu can cause a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Young children may also experience nausea and vomiting with flu.

How Flu Spreads

Person to Person

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

(To avoid this, people should wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.)

Period of contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Prevention Tips

Get vaccinated against flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • More than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized from flu-related complications each year, including 20,000 children younger than age 5.
  • Flu-associated deaths number in the thousands each year. Between 1976 and 2011, the estimated number of flu-related deaths every year ranged from about 3,000 to about 49,000.

Flu vaccine, available as a shot or a nasal spray, remains the best way to prevent and control influenza. The best time to get a flu vaccination is from October through November, although getting it in December and January is not too late. A new flu shot is needed every year because the predominant flu viruses may change every year.

All people 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated. However, you should talk to your health care professional before getting vaccinated if you

  • have certain allergies, especially to eggs
  • have an illness, such as pneumonia
  • have a high fever
  • are pregnant

Flu vaccination for health care workers is urged because unvaccinated workers can be a primary cause of outbreaks in health care settings.

Certain people are more at risk for developing complications from flu; they should be immunized as soon as vaccine is available. These groups include:

  • people 65 and older
  • residents of nursing homes or other places that house people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease
  • adults and children with heart or lung disorders, including asthma
  • adults and children who have required regular medical follow-up or hospitalization during the preceding year because of chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes), kidney dysfunction, a weakened immune system, or disorders caused by abnormalities of hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen)
  • young people ages 6 months to 18 years receiving long-term aspirin therapy, and who as a result might be at risk for developing Reye’s syndrome after being infected with influenza (See aspirin information in the section “Taking OTC Products.”)

Note that only one vaccine is needed for the 2012-2013 influenza season. This year’s seasonal flu vaccine protects against three strains of influenza, including the H1N1 flu virus.

Also, a vaccine specifically for people 65 years and older is available this year. Called Flu zone High-Dose, this vaccine induces a stronger immune response and is intended to better protect the elderly against seasonal influenza.

This vaccinewhich was approved by FDA in early 2012was developed because the immune system typically becomes weaker with age, leaving people at increased risk of seasonal flu-related complications which may lead to hospitalization and death.

Wash your hands often. Teach children to do the same. Both colds and flu can be passed through coughing, sneezing, and contaminated surfaces, including the hands.

CDC recommends regular washing of your hands with warm, soapy water for about 15 seconds.

FDA says that while soap and water are undoubtedly the first choice for hand hygiene, alcohol-based hand rubs may be used if soap and water are not available. However, the agency cautions against using the alcohol-based rubs when hands are visibly dirty. This is because organic material such as dirt or blood can inactivate the alcohol, rendering it unable to kill bacteria.

Try to limit exposure to infected people. Keep infants away from crowds for the first few months of life. This is especially important for premature babies who may have underlying abnormalities such as lung or heart disease.

Practice healthy habits.

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise. It can help the immune system better fight off the germs that cause illness.
  • Do your best to keep stress in check.

Also, people who use tobacco or who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more prone to respiratory illnesses and more severe complications than nonsmokers.

Already Sick?

Usually, colds and flu simply have to be allowed to run their course. You can try to relieve symptoms without taking medicine. Gargling with salt water may relieve a sore throat. And a cool-mist humidifier may help relieve stuffy noses.

Here are other steps to consider:

  • First, call your doctor. This will ensure that the best course of treatment can be started early.
  • If you are sick, try not to make others sick too. Limit your exposure to other people. Also, cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw used tissues into the trash immediately.
  • Stay hydrated and rested. Fluids can help loosen mucus and make you feel better, especially if you have a fever. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated products. These may dehydrate you.
  • Know your medicine options. If you choose to use medicine, there are over-the-counter (OTC) options that can help relieve the symptoms of colds and flu. If you want to unclog a stuffy nose, then nasal decongestants may help. Cough suppressants quiet coughs; expectorants loosen mucus so you can cough it up; antihistamines help stop a runny nose and sneezing; and pain relievers can ease fever, headaches, and minor aches.
    In addition, there are prescription antiviral medications approved by FDA that are indicated for treating the flu. Talk to your health care professional to find out what will work best for you.

Taking OTC Products

Be wary of unproven treatments. It’s best to use treatments that have been approved by FDA. Many people believe that products with certain ingredientsvitamin C or Echinacea, for examplecan treat winter illnesses.

Unless FDA has approved a product for treatment of specific symptoms, you cannot assume that the product will treat those symptoms. Tell your health care professionals about any supplements or herbal remedies you use.

Read medicine labels carefully and follow directions. People with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, should check with a health care professional or pharmacist before taking a new cough and cold medicine. Some medicines can worsen underlying health problems.

Choose appropriate OTC medicines. Choose OTC medicines specifically for your symptoms. If all you have is a runny nose, only use a medicine that treats a runny nose. This can keep you from unnecessarily doubling up on ingredients, a practice that can prove harmful.

Check the medicine’s side effects. Certain medications such as antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Medications can interact with food, alcohol, dietary supplements, and each other.

The safest strategy is to make sure your health care professional and pharmacist know about every product you are taking, including nonprescription drugs and any dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and herbals.

Check with a doctor before giving medicine to children. Get medical advice before treating children suffering from cold and flu symptoms. Do not give children medication that is labeled only for adults.

Don’t give aspirin or aspirin-containing medicines to children and teenagers. Children and teenagers suffering from flu-like symptoms, chickenpox, and other viral illnesses shouldn’t take aspirin.

Reye’s syndrome, a rare and potentially fatal disease found mainly in children, has been associated with using aspirin to treat flu or chickenpox in kids. Reye’s syndrome can affect the blood, liver, and brain.

Some medicine labels may refer to aspirin as salicylate or salicylic acid. Be sure to educate teenagers, who may take OTC medicines without their parents’ knowledge.

When to See a Doctor

See a health care professional if you aren’t getting any better or if your symptoms worsen. Mucus buildup from a viral infection can lead to a bacterial infection.

With children, be alert for high fevers and for abnormal behavior such as unusual drowsiness, refusal to eat, crying a lot, holding the ears or stomach, and wheezing.

Signs of trouble for all people can include

  • a cough that disrupts sleep
  • a fever that won’t go down
  • increased shortness of breath
  • face pain caused by a sinus infection
  • worsening of symptoms, high fever, chest pain, or a difference in the mucus you’re producing, all after feeling better for a short time

Cold and flu complications may include bacterial infections (e.g., bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia) that could require antibiotics.

Remember: While antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, they don’t help against viral infections such as the cold or flu.

Information provided by Center for Disease Control. and FDA

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

Champagne Cork Safety Tips

Did you know that the presence inside a champagne bottle is the same as the tire pressure inside a double decker bus? Or that the cork can travel as fast as 50 mph when it pops?

Every year, Ophthalmologists have to deal with eye injuries sustained when champagne corks are popped incorrectly.

Before you celebrate your next party with Champagne or sparkling wine, make sure you watch this video.

Grapefruit Juice and medicines may be a deadly combination

Grapefruit Juice and some Medicine May Not Mix and can be DEADLY!!

Top of Form

Grapefruit juice can be part of a healthful dietmost of the time. It has vitamin C and potassiumsubstances your body needs to work properly.

But it isnt good for you when it affects the way your medicines work.

Grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruit can interfere with the action of some prescription drugs, as well as a few non-prescription drugs.

This interaction can be dangerous, says Shiew Mei Huang, acting director of the Food and Drug Administrations Office of Clinical Pharmacology. With most drugs that interact with grapefruit juice, the juice increases the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream, she says. When there is a higher concentration of a drug, you tend to have more adverse events.

For example, if you drink a lot of grapefruit juice while taking certain statin drugs to lower cholesterol, too much of the drug may stay in your body, increasing your risk for liver damage and muscle breakdown that can lead to kidney failure.

Drinking grapefruit juice several hours before or several hours after you take your medicine may still be dangerous, says Huang, so its best to avoid or limit consuming grapefruit juice or fresh grapefruit when taking certain drugs.

Examples of some types of drugs that grapefruit juice can interact with are:

  • some statin drugs to lower cholesterol, such as Zocor (simvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin)
  • some blood pressure-lowering drugs, such as Nifediac and Afeditab (both nifedipine)
  • some organ transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine)
  • some anti-anxiety drugs, such as BuSpar (buspirone)
  • some anti-arrhythmia drugs, such as Cordarone and Nexterone (both amiodarone)
  • some antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine)

Grapefruit juice does not affect all the drugs in the following categories:. Ask your pharmacist or other health care professional to find out if your specific drug is affected.

Too High or Too Low Drug Levels

Many drugs are broken down (metabolized) with the help of a vital enzyme called CYP3A4 in the small intestine. Certain substances in grapefruit juice block the action of CYP3A4, so instead of being metabolized, more of the drug enters the bloodstream and stays in the body longer. The result: potentially dangerous levels of the drug in your body.

The amount of the CYP3A4 enzyme in the intestine varies from one person to another, says Huang. Some people have a lot, and others have just a littleso grapefruit juice may affect people differently when they take the same drug.

While scientists have known for several decades that grapefruit juice can cause a potentially toxic level of certain drugs in the body, Huang says more recent studies have found that the juice has the opposite effect on a few other drugs.

Grapefruit juice reduces the absorption of fexofenadine, says Huang, decreasing the effectiveness of the drug. Fexofenadine (brand name Allegra) is available in both prescription and non-prescription forms to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies. Fexofenadine may also be less effective if taken with orange or apple juice, so the drug label states do not take with fruit juices.

Why this opposite effect?

It involves the transportation of drugs within the body rather than their metabolism, explains Huang. Proteins in the body known as drug transporters help move a drug into cells for absorption.

Substances in grapefruit juice block the action of a specific group of transporters. As a result, less of the drug is absorbed and it may be ineffective, Huang says.

When a drug sponsor applies to FDA for approval of a drug, the sponsor submits data on how its drug is absorbed, metabolized and transported says Huang. Then we can decide how to label the drug.

FDA has required some prescription drugs to carry labels that warn against consuming grapefruit juice or fresh grapefruit while using the drug, says Huang. And the agencys current research into drug and grapefruit juice interaction may result in label changes for other drugs as well.

Which Other Foods Interact With Medication?

Among the other common foods that affect absorption or effects of medication are:

Black licorice. Many forms of black licorice (used to flavor foods and candy) contain a sweet substance called glycyrrhizin, which can increase the toxicity of certain drugs or worsen side effects.

Drugs it can interact with: University of Maryland warns that if youre taking Lanoxin (a treatment for heart failure and irregular heartbeats), licorice can dangerously raise the risk of toxic side effects. It can also lower the effectiveness of ACE inhibitors and diuretics used to regulate blood pressure, may increase adverse effects from insulin, and boosts the potency of corticosteroids. There have also been reports of women on birth control pills developing high blood pressure and low potassium levels after eating licorice.

Leafy green vegetables. Kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage can make medication that combats blood clots less effective. Thats because these foods are high in vitamin K, a crucial nutrient for clot formation, while the goal of anticoagulant therapy is to slow down production of vitamin K to reduce clot risk. In effect, these foods counteract the drugs desired effect.

Drugs these foods can interact with: Warfarin (Coumadin). If you take this drug, its not necessary to avoid leafy greensinstead doctors advise eating a consistent amount week to week, so your dose of warfarin can be calibrated accordingly.

Milk. Milk and calcium supplements can interfere with absorption of certain infection-fighting drugs, if taken together. The best solution is to wait a few hours after taking these drugs before drinking milk, popping a calcium supplement, or taking antacids (which can also contain calcium).

Drugs it can interact with: Tetracycline and fluoroquinolones (a class of antibiotics that includes Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox).

Alcohol. Mixing alcohol with certain medicationsincluding both prescription and over-the-counter drugscan have a wide range of harmful effects, from nausea and vomiting to drowsiness (increasing risk for car accidents), internal bleeding, liver damage, sudden changes in blood pressure, impaired breathing, and loss of coordination, warns National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Drugs it can interact with: Painkillers, OTC cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies statins, drugs for angina (Isodil), anxiety and epilepsy (Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax,), arthritis (Celebrex, Voltaren), depression (Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro), diabetes (Glucophage, Orinase), enlarged prostate, high blood pressure, infections and other conditions. NIAAA offers a detailed list of drugs that dont mix with alcohol.

Aged, cured or pickled foods. Aged cheeses like cheddar or Swiss, cured meats, and sauerkraut contain tyramine, an amino acid that sparks one of the most feared drug-food interactions when combined with certain antidepressants. The mixture can cause facial flushing, sweating, sudden rise in blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and brain hemorrhage. Tyramine is also found in certain types of wine, such as Chianti, sherry and Riesling.

Drugs it can interact with: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) for depression, and the antibiotics Zyvox and isoniazid.

Chocolate. The caffeine in chocolate (and other caffeinated foods) can trigger severe jitters or tremors when combined with certain meds, and packs a double whammy by irritating the stomach lining, amplifying the side effects of drugs likely to cause nausea. Chocolate also contains some tryamine, the culprit in a food-drug interaction that killed a University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics patient.

Drugs it can interact with: MAO inhibitors for depression, some antibiotics, narcotic painkillers like Vicodin and Percoset, asthma medications, and stimulants, such as Ritalin.

Avoiding food-drug interactions

The best ways to protect yourself is to check medication package inserts for interaction warnings and ask your doctor and pharmacist if they advise any dietary restrictions. offers an online interaction checker for both interactions with other drugs and with food.

Tips for Consumers

  • Ask your pharmacist or other health care professional if you can have fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice while using your medication. If you cant, you may want to ask if you can have other juices with the medicine.
  • Read the Medication Guide or patient information sheet that comes with your prescription medicine to find out if it could interact with grapefruit juice. Some may advise not to take the drug with grapefruit juice. If its OK to have grapefruit juice, there will be no mention of it in the guide or information sheet.
  • Read the Drug Facts label on your non-prescription medicine, which will let you know if you shouldnt have grapefruit or other fruit juices with it.
  • If you must avoid grapefruit juice with your medicine, check the label of bottles of fruit juice or drinks flavored with fruit juice to make sure they dont contain grapefruit juice.
  • Seville oranges (often used to make orange marmalade) and tangelos (a cross between tangerines and grapefruit) affect the same enzyme as grapefruit juice, so avoid these fruits as well if your medicine interacts with grapefruit juice.