Home Inspection Nightmares by “This Old House”

Yes, that’s a hot tube and yes, that a rickety deck that’s just waiting to collapse; not to mention the big overhang on the right. This is just one of the 20 unsafe home inspection nightmares on the “This Old House” website this week. Check out the others, like the illegal fireworks next to the electrical problem up in the attic, or the mortar shell or the box of high explosives in the attic.

If you want to view more of these nightmares, this is the 28th set that This Old House has posted. Just type “Home Inspection Nightmares” in the TOH search post to pull up the other 27 sets.

National Flu Situation Page 2013

With the flu epidemic in full swing, it’s hard to know what to do and what not to do. Where are most of the flu cases being reported? How widespread is it? Should you get a vaccine or not? Are vaccination supplies running low? Where should I get vaccinated?

For all things flu related, there’s now a single page at vuetoo.com. Head to the National Flu Situation Page 2013 to maps, videos, newsfeeds, social media and more. Choose how you want to view it (how many windows wide-wise across the page by how many down).

There’s advice on how to avoid catching the flu, even while at work and discussions on the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

It’s a one-stop center that’ll provide everything you need about the flu epidemic and then some.

And yet more Safety Fails!

Apparently the world continues to churn out people with more ingenuity than smarts so, once again, Safety Fails photos:

Sex at work injury is covered???

There are some things that you just don’t know how to respond to. Here’s the story:

A government employee is sent out of town on business. While there, she decides to have dinner with an old friend who lives in the area. One thing leads to another and they end up back at her motel having sex. The sex must have been good (or at least animated) because a glass fixture over the bed fell and injured her.

This women filed for compensation claiming that the injury occurred while she was at work.

What makes this case even more crazy is the fact that, after three court cases, the jury agreed that she should get compensation because  whether she was ”playing a game of cards” or having sex, she was still essentially at work.

The problem with this case is that it means that companies will have to pay close attention to who they sent where and for what because they are essentially responsible for the safety of their employees for the whole time they are away.

You can read the whole story here.

Reactions? Thoughts?

Wellness Health Safety Alert- Flu prevention tips Flu season hitting record highs.

*** Wellness, Health and Safety Alert Bulletin ***

Flu Season is at a record high: Common Sense Flu Prevention and Awareness Tips

The national flu epidemic is getting worse by the day: Hospitals and Emergency rooms are being flooded by flu patients across the country. Some hospitals have put up tents outside hospitals to treat just flu patients. And the CDC says the percentage of people going to the hospital for treatment of flu symptoms has doubled in the past month.

Prevention and washing your hands are key critical components to increased cold and flu prevention. While stressing all prevention methods we cant forget about co-workers. One of the fastest ways to contaminate your co-workers is from your water cooler spigots. PLEASE, dont take your used water bottles or drinking containers and hold them up directly against the spout! The Dept. of Health has informed me that virus or bacteria can live on these for up to 2 hours. Prevention is one of our greatest defenses against any bacteria and virus but we must all contribute. We are part of our nations critical infrastructure that must stay healthy. Our customers telecommunications systems are essential.

So please take a moment to review the following common sense flu prevention tips:

· Wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly.

· Practice social distancing. Don’t move in toward someone who is coughing or sneezing; politely take a step back.

· Practice proper sneezing and coughing etiquette. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hand and then use your hand to use a pen at the bank or open a door or refrigerator. Sneeze and cough into your elbow.

· Use a hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes on your phones, key boards and door handles and when soap and water is not available.

FEVER Fever is rare with a cold. Fever is common with the seasonal flu.
COUGHING A hacking, productive (mucus-producing) cough is often present with a cold. A dry and hacking cough is often present with the seasonal flu.
ACHES Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. Moderate body aches are common with the seasonal flu.
STUFFY NOSE Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week. A runny nose is commonly present with the seasonal flu.
CHILLS Chills are uncommon with a cold. Chills are mild to moderate with the seasonal flu.
TIREDNESS Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold. Tiredness is moderate and more likely referred to as a lack of energy with the seasonal flu.
SNEEZING Sneezing is commonly present with a cold Sneezing is common present with the seasonal flu.
SUDDEN SYMPTOMS Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. Symptoms tend to develop over a few days and include flushed face, loss of appetite, dizziness and/or vomiting/nausea. Symptoms usually last 4-7 days, depending on the individual. Diarrhea is common.
HEADACHE A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold. A headache is fairly common with the seasonal flu.
SORE THROAT Sore throat is commonly present with a cold. Sore throat is commonly present with the seasonal flu.
CHEST DISCOMFORT Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold. Chest discomfort is moderate with the seasonal flu. If it turns severe seek medical attention immediately!
What should I do if I get sick?If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms,including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact your healthcare provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether

influenza testing or treatment is needed.

If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from

spreading your illness to others.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care. In children

emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

· Fast breathing or trouble breathing

· Bluish skin color

· Not drinking enough fluids

· Not waking up or not interacting

· Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held

· Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

· Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

· Sudden dizziness

· Confusion

· Severe or persistent vomiting


Some CDC Doctors recommend the following Flu and Cold wellness tips to help you recover:

For chest congestion:

Drink plenty of fluids (8 to 10 cups a day) such as water, sports drinks, herbal teas, fruit drinks, or Ginger ale. Fluids help break up congestion, prevent dehydration and keep your throat moist.

Inhaled steam can ease congestion too. Create steam with a humidifier, or steam up the bathroom by running a hot shower.

For nasal congestion:

Relieve clogged nasal and sinus passages caused by excessive mucus with either decongestant pills or with a nasal spray. These are best taken following a hot shower and lots of nose blowing to clear out the mucus as much as possible. Then use a hand sanitizer to kill germs on your hands.

For fever and pain, body aches and tiredness:

Rest get your full 8 hours of sleep at night if possible.

Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can help decrease fever and ease sore throat pain and body aches.

For cough:

For a dry hacking cough, you may choose a medication that contains a cough suppressant Look for over-the-counter medications that contain dextromethorphan.

For a cough that produces excessive mucus, or phlegm, you may want to use an expectorant that loosens phlegm. Guaifenesin is the most common active ingredient.

For sore throat:

A warm salt-water gargle can relieve a scratchy throat.

Lozenges, mouthwashes, and sprays that contain a numbing ingredient can ease the pain.

Source: Con

While getting a flu vaccine each year is the best way to protect against flu, influenza antiviral drugs can fight
against influenza, offering a second line of defense against the flu.

Antiviral drugs are an important second line of defense in the prevention and treatment of flu.

· Antiviral drugs are important in the treatment and prevention influenza.

· Influenza antiviral drugs can be used to treat the flu or to prevent infection with flu viruses.

· Treatment with antivirals should begin within 48 hours of getting sick, and can reduce your symptoms and shorten the time you are sick.

· When used for prevention, antivirals are 70% to 90% effective in preventing infection with influenza viruses.

· Antiviral drugs are effective across all age and risk groups.

Two antiviral drugs (oseltamivir, brand name Tamiflu®, and zanamivir, brand name Relenza®) are approved for treatment
of the flu.

· Oseltamivir is approved to treat flu in people one year of age and older.

· Zanamivir is approved to treat flu in people 7 years and older.

· These are prescription medications, and a doctor should be consulted before the drugs are used.

· Antiviral treatment lasts for 5 days and should be started within 2 days of illness, so if you get flu-like symptoms, seek medical care early on.


ücough & sneeze into your elbow
üwash hands with soap and warm water for a minimum of 15 -20 seconds. Sing your abc’s or happy birthday to you
üuse hand sanitizer when soap & water are not available
üavoid touching eyes, nose or mouth without washing or using hand sanitizer first
üstay home if you are sick to avoid contaminating your co-workers

Ken Oswald


OSHA’s 2012 Regulatory Agenda

Well it barely made 2012 (being finally published in the final week of 2012) but the OSHA 2012 Regulatory Agenda is finally available.
What is the Regulatory Agenda? Simply put it’s a document that outlines what OSHA is working on and when you can expect to see results.

Among the most significant items on the list…

1. A confined space standard for the constrution industry. There’s been a general industry confined space standard since 1993 but, because of the special challenges involved with the construction industry, they has long been a need for this counterpart to it. OSHA is expecting the standard to be finalized and available by July of this year.

2. The final rule for Walking Working Surfaces section of the fall protection standard. This proposal dates back almost 13 years now, intended to update the standard based on new technologies and procedures. The final ruling is due in August.

3. An update to the Electric Power Transmission and Distribution standard. Based on a fatality rate of 50 workers for every 100,000 OSHA intends this revision to “prevent many of these fatalities”. The final ruling is due in March.

4. Major changes to the Cooperative Programs. The main point in this revision is to remove and eliminate most of the exemptions from enforcement that have shielded many companies. The final ruling is due in April.

You can read the complete agenda here.

One blaring omission is any set date for a final ruling on the combustible dust standard. It’s been put back on the table but it still doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing a standard any time soon with 3 stakeholders meetings scheduled and the SBREFA due to initiate in October.

Quit Smoking and Stay Quit

Been to the gymn yet this month? Have you noticed how crowded it is? Have no fear, the treadmill will be freed up again in a couple of weeks. Why? Because with the new year many people commit to a new, healthy lifestyle that includes a daily workout. The vast majority won’t keep that resolution and by the middle of February they’ve gone back to “business as usual”!

The same thing applies to smoking. Many smokers resolve to quit smoking and most will not succeed. Fact is that most smokers will quit 8-11 times before they are able to stop smoking for good. With that in mind, Quit and Stay Quit Monday is here to help.

Rather than wait weeks, months or years before you quit again, quit every Monday.

With a tip for every week of the year, it’s a great way to make the “quit” stick.
The website has brochures, posters, toolkits, e-cards and a ton of other resources.
Need even more help? Try “find a Monday Quit-Buddy“.

Make this the year when you become a quitter… for good!

Walking on Snow and Ice

Most slips and falls occur the following days after a winter storm. Below are tips for walking on the snow and ice. Take care and have a safe day.

Walking Safely on Snow and Ice

Walking to and from parking lots or between buildings at work during the winter requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries that the Safety Department sees especially during the winter months.

No matter how well the snow and ice is removed from parking lots or sidewalks, pedestrians will still encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. It is important for everyone to be constantly aware of these dangers and to learn to walk safely on ice and slippery surfaces.


§ Wear appropriate shoes.

§ Walk in designated walkways.

§ Watch where you are walking.

§ Walk slowly and don’t rush!

§ Plan ahead and give yourself enough time.

It is recommended to keep these important safety tips in mind:

Choosing Appropriate Clothing

  • During bad weather, avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels, such as plastic and leather soles. Instead, wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice; boots made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles are best.
  • Wear a heavy, bulky coat that will cushion you if you should fall.
  • Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you.
  • Keep warm, but make sure you can hear what’s going on around you.
  • During the day, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards.
  • Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic.

Walking Over Ice

Walk like a penguin

  • In cold temperatures, approach with caution and assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy. Dew or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces, forming an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement.
  • Walk in designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas can be hazardous. Look ahead when you walk; a snow- or ice-covered sidewalk or driveway, especially if on a hill, may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.
  • If you must walk in the street, walk against the flow of traffic, as close to the curb as you can.
  • Taking shortcuts through areas where snow and ice removal is not feasible can be hazardous. Try to avoid straying from the beaten path.

Point your feet out slightly like a penguin! Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your center of gravity.

  • Bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible.
  • Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance. Beware if you are carrying a heavy backpack or other loadyour sense of balance will be off.
    • If you must carry a load, try not to carry too much; leave your hands and arms free to balance yourself.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hands in your pockets while walking decreases your center of gravity and balance. You can help break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip.
  • Watch where you are stepping and GO S-L-O-W-L-Y !! This will help your reaction time to changes in traction.
  • When walking on steps, always use the hand railings and plant your feet firmly on each step.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles; use the vehicle for support.
  • Take short steps or shuffle for stability. It also helps to stop occasionally to break momentum.

Dealing with Traffic

Another hazard of walking on icy ground is dealing with poor road conditions. Keep these safety tips in mind if you’re going to be crossing the street:

  • Before stepping off the curb, make sure all cars and trucks have come to a complete stop. Motorists sometimes underestimate the time it takes to stop, often unintentionally sliding into the crosswalk.
  • Due to poor road conditions, motorists may not be able to stop or slow down for pedestrians. Avoid crossing in areas where driver visibility is lowthe cross traffic may not be able to stop in time.
  • Be on the lookout for vehicles sliding in your direction.
  • Vehicles should yield to snow removal equipment in streets and parking lots.

Indoor Safety

Walking over slippery floor can be just as dangerous as walking over ice! Keep these tips in mind if you are entering a building:

  • Remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can. Water from melting ice on the floor can lead to slippery conditions.
  • Notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slipperywalk carefully especially by outer doors.

If You Should Fall

  • Try to avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or spine. Try to fall on a fleshy part of your body, such as your side. Wearing thick clothing can help prevent injury to the bony parts of your body.
  • Try to relax your muscles if you fall. You’ll injure yourself less if you are relaxed.

If you fall backward, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head won’t hit the ground with full force.

Safety First, Safety Always!

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


H2S safety facts awareness and tips

H2S Safety Factsheet

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S, CAS# 7783-06-4) is an extremely hazardous, toxic compound. It is a colourless, flammable gas that can be identified in relatively low concentrations, by a characteristic rotten egg odor. The gas occurs naturally in coal pits, sulfur springs, gas wells, and as a product of decaying sulfur-containing organic matter, particularly under low oxygen conditions. It is therefore commonly encountered in places such as sewers, sewage treatment plants (H2S is often called sewer gas), manure stockpiles, mines, hot springs, and the holds of fishing ships. Industrial sources of hydrogen sulfide include petroleum and natural gas extraction and refining, pulp and paper manufacturing, rayon textile production, leather tanning, chemical manufacturing and waste disposal.

Hydrogen sulfide has a very low odor threshold, with its smell being easily perceptible at concentrations well below 1 part per million (ppm) in air. The odor increases as the gas becomes more concentrated, with the strong rotten egg smell recognisable up to 30 ppm. Above this level, the gas is reported to have a sickeningly sweet odor up to around 100 ppm. However, at concentrations above 100 ppm, a person’s ability to detect the gas is affected by rapid temporary paralysis of the olfactory nerves in the nose, leading to a loss of the sense of smell. This means that the gas can be present at dangerously high concentrations, with no perceivable odor. Prolonged exposure to lower concentrations can also result in similar effects of olfactory fatigue. This unusual property of hydrogen sulfide makes it extremely dangerous to rely totally on the sense of smell to warn of the presence of the gas.

Health Effects of Hydrogen Sulfide

H2S is classed as a chemical asphyxiant, similar to carbon monoxide and cyanide gases. It inhibits cellular respiration and uptake of oxygen, causing biochemical suffocation. Typical exposure symptoms include:


0 – 10 ppm Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat


10 – 50 ppm Headache
Nausea and vomiting
Coughing and breathing difficulty


50 – 200 ppm Severe respratory tract irritation
Eye irritation / acute conjunctivitis
Death in severe cases

Prolonged exposures at lower levels can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, migraine headaches, pulmonary edema, and loss of motor coordination.

Working with Hydrogen Sulfide

Most countries have legal limits in force that govern the maximum allowable levels of exposure to hydrogen sulfide in the working environment. A typical permissible exposure limit in many countries is 10 ppm. While the distinctive odor of H2S is easily detected, its olfactory fatigue effects mean that one cannot rely on the nose as a warning device. The only reliable way to determine exposure levels is to measure the amount in the air. Regular monitoring will help to identify areas and operations likely to exceed permissible exposure limits, and any areas that routinely pose overexposure hazards should be equipped with continuous monitoring systems.

With a vapor density of 1.19, hydrogen sulfide is approximately 20 percent heavier than air, so this invisible gas will collect in depressions in the ground and in confined spaces. The use of direct reading gas detection instrumentation should be required before entering confined spaces such as manholes, tanks, pits, and reaction vessels that could contain an accumulation of H2S gas.

Wherever possible, exposure should be minimised by employing adequate engineering controls and safe working practices. Such methods include ensuring good ventilation and changing work procedures and practices. Where engineering controls cannot adequately control levels of exposure, it may be necessary to supplement them with the use of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) such as supplied-air respirators. A qualified industrial hygienist or safety professional should be consulted for guidance on the suitability and correct use of respirators.

Should a co-worker ever be overcome by H2S gas, do not attempt a rescue until you are properly protected yourself. The rescuer can very easily get caught out by venturing into a confined space without adequate protection. Remember that at levels above 200 ppm, collapse, coma and death due to respiratory failure can occur within seconds after only a few inhalations so you can be overcome yourself very quickly. Such incidents are sadly all too common and only serve to make the rescue effort twice as difficult.

NOTE: The information contained in this factsheet is presented for informative purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. You should consult the hydrogen sulfide standard for your country or consult the appropriate health and safety regulatory body for guidance.

Information from RRCommision of Tx and Texas WC.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau (koswald@plateautel.com)