Combustible Dust

One of the top safety issues this past year has been the issue of combustible dust. We’ve talked about it often in this blog including the explosion at Imperial Sugar as well as the CSB criticism of OSHA’s slow response to getting a standard in place (For a complete list of all the combustible dust articles covered on this blog go here).

So, having comes across a website that has a good series of articles on combustible dust as well as a white paper that you can request, I wanted to give you the link so that you could explore this issue better for yourself if it is relevant to you and your place of work.

The articles are a part of the Nilfisk website, a company that sells explosion proof vacuums (National Safety, Inc. is not affiliated with Nilfisk in any way and we are not a distributor for their products).

Besides the white paper entitled “Reduce the Risk: Understanding and Resolving Combustible Dust Issues” which you can request after giving them your information, there is also a Combustible Dust FAQs section that you will find informative.

Define combustible Dust (including the “Dust Explosion Pentagon”)
Is your company at risk?

An understanding of secondary explosions

and more…

This site isn’t the end all on the question of combustible dust but it’ll at least give you a firm grasp of the risk as well as some possible solutions.

Smoking Can Rot your Brain

A new study published in the Age and Ageing journal has found that, as if lung cancer and rotting teeth weren’t enough to get you to quit smoking, smoking “rots” your brain. The study measured cognitive function in some 8,800 people over the age of 50 and concluded that they was a measurable decline in cognitive ability in smokers.

We’ve known for years, of course, that smoking was bad for your body but the study now gives weight to the theory that it’s bad for your brain as well.

The obvious hypotheses for why this might be has to do with how smoking affects the cardiovascular system, restricting blood vessels and impairing circulation to the brain.

The study is not a medical study and further testing and exploration will have to be done. It would be interesting, for example, to find out how many of the patients with Alzheimers were smokers before they started to suffer the effects of this debilitating disease.

For those of you who are into numbers, the study will give you all the numbers you can chew on but the bottom line for the rest of us is that if you needed another excuse to quit smoking this year, this might be it.

Drivers who use their cell phone while driving are unsafe in other areas as well

If you use your cell phone while driving, there’s no question that you are more dangerous on the road than a driver who doesn’t. Turns out that your disregard for your own safety and the safety of others on the road is just part of a pattern.

A new study conducted by AAA found that people who use their cell phone while driving are more likely to engage in other dangerous behavior behind the wheel. For example 65% of them admitted to speeding (as opposed to 31% of those who don’t use a cell phone while driving), 44% of them admitted to driving while drowsy (as opposed to 14%) and 29% drove without a seatbelt (as opposed to 16%). And, of course, 53% reported texting while driving (as opposed to 3%).

You can read more of the study om AAA’s 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index.


Cyber Bullying and Bullying Safety Awareness

National Stop Bullying Days

What is Bullying?

Bullying is a widespread and serious problem that can happen anywhere. It is not a phase children have to go through, it is not “just messing around”, and it is not something to grow out of. Bullying can cause serious and lasting harm.

Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that bullying involves:

  • Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control or harm and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves
  • Intent to Cause Harm: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm
  • Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group

Types of Bullying

Bullying can take many forms. Examples include:

  • Verbal: name-calling, teasing
  • Social: spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose, breaking up friendships
  • Physical: hitting, punching, shoving
  • Cyberbullying: using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to harm others

An act of bullying may fit into more than one of these groups.

Recognizing the Warning Signs

There are many warning signs that could indicate that someone is involved in bullying, either by bullying others or by being bullied. However, these warning signs may indicate other issues or problems, as well. If you are a parent or educator, learn more about talking to someone about bullying.

Being Bullied

  • Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
  • Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Has changes in eating habits
  • Hurts themselves
  • Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
  • Runs away from home
  • Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
  • Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
  • Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
  • Talks about suicide
  • Feels helpless
  • Often feels like they are not good enough
  • Blames themselves for their problems
  • Suddenly has fewer friends
  • Avoids certain places
  • Acts differently than usual

Bullying Others

  • Becomes violent with others
  • Gets into physical or verbal fights with others
  • Gets sent to the principals office or detention a lot
  • Has extra money or new belongings that cannot be explained
  • Is quick to blame others
  • Will not accept responsibility for their actions
  • Has friends who bully others
  • Needs to win or be best at everything


Cyberbullying, instead of happening face-to-face, happens through the use of technology such as computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. Cyberbullying peaks around the end of middle school and the beginning of high school.

Examples of Cyberbullying include:

  • Sending hurtful, rude, or mean text messages to others
  • Spreading rumors or lies about others by e-mail or on social networks
  • Creating websites, videos or social media profiles that embarrass, humiliate, or make fun of others

Bullying online is very different from face-to-face bullying because messages and images can be:

  • Sent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
  • Shared be shared to a very wide audience
  • Sent anonymously

Effects of Cyberbullying

Research on Cyberbullying has found that students involved are more likely to:

  • Be unwilling to attend school
  • Receive poor grades
  • Have lower self-esteem
  • Have more health problems

Cyberbullying can have particular affects on those who are targeted. Research has found that young people who have been cyber bullied are significantly more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Skip school
  • Experience in-person bullying or victimization

What Kids, Teens and Young Adults Can Do

Be Smart Online and Texting

You can prevent Cyberbullying by being careful of what you do:

  • Always think about what you post or say. Do not share secrets, photos or anything that might be embarrassing to you or others. What seems funny or innocent at the time could be used against you. You do not have complete control over what others forward or post.
  • Set privacy settings on your accounts. Make sure that you are only sharing information with people you know and trust. Pay attention to notices from social networks, because sometimes privacy settings change.

Make Cyberbullying Stop

If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied, know that it does not have to be this way. There things you can do to help you and your friends:

  • Talk with someone you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. Reach out to a family member, friend or another adult that you trust.
  • Do not respond to Cyberbullying. Sometimes people post or text teasing or name-calling to get a reaction. If someone has posted or sent a message that could be hurtful to others, refuse to pass it along or respond to it.
  • Keep evidence of Cyberbullying. Record the dates, times and descriptions of instances when Cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, e-mails, and text messages.
  • Block the person who is Cyberbullying you. Many websites and phone companies let you block people. Also, Cyberbullying may violate the Terms and Conditions of these services. Consider contacting the service provider to file a complaint.
  • Report the incident to your school. They may be able to help you resolve the Cyberbullying or be watchful for face-to-face bullying.
  • Ask for help. Sometimes, talking to a counselor or health professional can help you get through the emotional effects of bullying.

What Parents Can Do

Although it is difficult for you to monitor your children at all times, it is extremely important to pay close attention to possible Cyberbullying incidents involving their children, especially if their kids are younger. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) gives parents control over what information websites can collect from kids.

Help Kids be Smart Online or While Texting

Here are some things that you can do to help prevent Cyberbullying.

Communicate with your children. Set up a daily time to check in with your son or daughter, and listen to any concerns about online activities that they are involved in. Talk specifically about Cyberbullying and encourage your children to tell you immediately if they see or experience Cyberbullying.

Be aware of where your children go online. Familiarize yourself with the technology they are using.

Develop and enforce rules. Work together and come to a clear understanding about when, where, and for what purpose phones and computers can be used. Develop clear rules about what is and what is not appropriate online. Decide on fair consequences and follow through consistently.

How You Can Help

If you know or suspect your children are being cyberbullied, take quick action.

Talk with your children. Do not just ignore the bullying problem or hope it will go away. Tell your child that you are concerned and that you’d like to help.

Tell your child not to respond to Cyberbullying. Responding can sometimes make the situation worse.

Empathize with your child. Tell him or her that Cyberbullying is wrong, that it is not their fault, and that you are glad he or she had the courage to tell you about it. Do not assume that your child did something to provoke the bullying. For instance, do not ask things like, What did you do to aggravate the other child?

Work together to find solutions. Ask your children what he or she thinks can be done to help, and reassure him or her that the situation can be handled and still keep them safe.

Document ongoing Cyberbullying. Work with your children to record bullying incidents. Write down what happened, where, who was involved, and when it occurred. Find out how your child reacted and how the students bullying, bystanders, and adults responded.

Block the person who is Cyberbullying your children. Many websites and phone companies let you block people. Cyberbullying may violate the Terms and Conditions of these services. Consider contacting them to file a complaint.

Contact law enforcement. Police can respond if the aggressive behavior is criminal. The following may constitute a crime:

  • Threats of violence
  • Child pornography and sexting
  • Taking a photo image of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
  • Harassment, stalking, or hate crimes
  • Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Extortion

Be Persistent. Talk regularly with your child to see whether the Cyberbullying has stopped. If the bullying persists or escalates, you may need to contact the appropriate people again or talk with an attorney. Dont give up.

Test Your Bullying Knowledge

How much do you really know? Check out these facts and myths about bullying.

FACT: People who bully have power over those they bully.

People who bully others usually pick on those who have less social power (peer status), psychological power (know how to harm others), or physical power (size, strength). However, some people who bully also have been bullied by others. People who both bully and are bullied by others are at the highest risk for problems (such as depression and anxiety) and are more likely to become involved in risky or delinquent behavior.

FACT: Spreading rumors is a form of bullying.

Spreading rumors, name-calling, excluding others, and embarrassing them are all forms of social bullying that can cause serious and lasting harm.

MYTH: Only boys bully.

People think that physical bullying by boys is the most common form of bullying. However, verbal, social, and physical bullying happens among both boys and girls, especially as they grow older.

MYTH: People who bully are insecure and have low self-esteem.

Many people who bully are popular and have average or better-than-average self-esteem. They often take pride in their aggressive behavior and control over the people they bully. People who bully may be part of a group that thinks bullying is okay. Some people who bully may also have poor social skills and experience anxiety or depression. For them, bullying can be a way to gain social status.

MYTH: Bullying usually occurs when there are no other students around.

Students see about four out of every five bullying incidents at school. In fact, when they witness bullying, they give the student who is bullying positive attention or even join in about three-quarters of the time. Although 9 out of 10 students say there is bullying in their schools, adults rarely see bullying, even if they are looking for it.

MYTH: Bullying often resolves itself when you ignore it.

Bullying reflects an imbalance of power that happens again and again. Ignoring the bullying teaches students who bully that they can bully others without consequences. Adults and other students need to stand up for children who are bullied, and to ensure they are protected and safe.

MYTH: All children will outgrow bullying.

For some, bullying continues as they become older. Unless someone intervenes, the bullying will likely continue and, in some cases, grow into violence and other serious problems. Children who consistently bully others often continue their aggressive behavior through adolescence and into adulthood.

MYTH: Reporting bullying will make the situation worse.

Research shows that children who report bullying to an adult are less likely to experience bullying in the future. Adults should encourage children to help keep their school safe and to tell an adult when they see bullying.

MYTH: Teachers often intervene to stop bullying.

Adults often do not witness bullying despite their good intentions. Teachers intervene in only 14 percent of classroom bullying episodes and in 4 percent of bullying incidents that happen outside the classroom.

MYTH: Nothing can be done at schools to reduce bullying.

School initiatives to prevent and stop bullying have reduced bullying by 15 to 50 percent. The most successful initiatives involve the entire school community of teachers, staff, parents, students, and community members.

MYTH: Parents are usually aware that their children are bullying others.

Parents play a critical role in bullying prevention, but they often do not know if their children bully or are bullied by others. To help prevent bullying, parents need to talk with their children about what is happening at school and in the community.

Effects of Bullying

Bullying has serious and lasting effects. While these effects may also be caused by other factors, research has found bullying has significant effects for those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying.

People Who are Bullied:

  • Have higher risk of depression and anxiety, including the following symptoms, that may persist into adulthood:
  • Increased feelings of sadness and loneliness
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Have increased thoughts about suicide that may persist into adulthood. In one study, adults who recalled being bullied in youth were 3 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or inclinations.
  • Are more likely to have health complaints. In one study, being bullied was associated with physical health status 3 years later.
  • Have decreased academic achievement (GPA and standardized test scores) and school participation.
  • Are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

People Who Bully Others:

  • Have a higher risk of abusing alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults.
  • Are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to engage in early sexual activity.
  • Are more likely to have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults. In one study, 60% of boys who bullied others in middle school had a criminal conviction by age 24.
  • Are more likely to be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses or children as adults.

People Who Witness Bullying:

  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
  • Are more likely to miss or skip school.

Everyone can help prevent and stop bullying. Adults have the responsibility to protect and be a role model for kids, teens, and young adults.

No matter who you are or who you represent, you can influence lives and maybe even save a life.

Everyone needs to be aware not only about the warning signs and effects of bullying, but also about the ways to intervene and support both the person being bullied and the one bullying others

If you would like to attend the attached flyer courses please contact united way. If you are not in the Clovis area contact me for additional information.


Information from , United Way(multiple others in the attached flyer) and Clovis Police Dept. Daron Roach

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

Stats on Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers by State

Oregon, Colorado and Washington head the list of abusers of “nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers” (Interesting that of these three states, two have now legalized marijuana) according to a new report released by SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) NSDUH Report (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) dated January 8th, 2013.

The study, which you can view or download online in PDF form lists each state and where it falls in percentage of drug abusers of pain killers.

The report further breaks down the percentage by age category (12-17, 18-25, 26 or older).

Comparisons with prior years show a decrease in certain states and, for a bit of good news, no increase in any of the 50 states.

Let’s hope that the next report shows further decreases.

On a personal note, I do believe that the bulk of the responsibility for this decrease will lie with doctors who perscribe pain killers easily and to almost anyone. Doctors need to realize how dangerous pain killers can be.

A Serious Safety Issue that often doesn’t get addressed

Most women in America (and in many other places around the world) believe themselves to be fat. While it is certainly true that obesity is on the rise (due mostly to the nature of the food today and what they do to it before you eat it), there is also a massive problem, fueled in great part by the fashion industry, of women who believe that they need to starve themselves in order to be attractive.

The truth is that the body type that is portrayed in the fashion industry is the body type of only 5% of women in the world and most of the women in that 5% have that body type as a result of an unhealthy obsession with dieting. This means that out of 3 million women, only 8 will fit the image of the “supermodel” and almost all of the teenage girls in the US today aspire to be one of those 8. The result, among those who seriously try to achieve that goal is anorexia and starvation.

Take a look at the following image, taken from

This is what your daughter might be striving for. Have a look at this image, taken from the same source.

This ought to be a serious wake up call to all of us.

Now take a look at what was considered sexy back in the 50s and 60s:

Most of us, would interveene if our daughter looked like this:


and yet the fashion industry continues to present anorexic women as the “sexy” that men desire thus fueling an epidemic in American teenage girls.

Listed below are some of the most striking teen anorexia statistics in the United States:

  • 90 percent of all Americans afflicted with an eating disorder are female. An estimated five percent of adolescent girls are currently suffering from anorexia.
  • 53 percent of American girls report that they are unhappy with their bodies at age thirteen. 78 percent are unhappy with their bodies at age seventeen.
  • Many teens admit that they are influenced to change their body because of popular media
  • Teen anorexia affects all social classes
  • In teens, anorexia is often triggered by a traumatic event, such as abuse or rape
  • Ten percent of teens with anorexia are male
  • Anorexia is most common during the teen years
  • Anorexia can start as early as age 8
  • Around 15 percent of teenage girls have some type of eating disorder or eating disorder related behavior
  • More than 5 million Americans suffer from eating disorders every year, according to the NIH
  • Around a thousand women die each year from anorexia
  • 5 to 20 percent of teens who have anorexia will die for reasons related to the disorder


While it’s hard as a parent to fight against peer pressure and the influence of the media on the young minds of our children and grandchildren, there are certain things that we can do to counter this dangerous and often times fatal trend.

  • Talk with your teen about body images and expectations, especially when you see an unhealthy body image being “sold” on TV as sexy.
  • De-emphasize body shape and weight in favor of body health
  • Teach your children to eat healthy.
  • Don’t talk negatively about your own weight or body image. Remember that kids often emulate adult behavior.
  • Educate yourself. One of the saddest things about this generation is the accessibility of information on the worldwide web that goes untapped. Find out what healthy food is and what isn’t (study GMO and non-grass fed beef, for example and what they do to the body. Watch “Food Inc.“, “The World According to Monsanto“, “Got the Facts on Milk” and other documentaries on food and nutrition).
  • Keep an eye on your children’s Facebook page and other social media pages. If you are going to allow kids online, you need to educate yourself on how to properly monitor their online activity as well as make sure you understand how they might try to hide their activity.
  • Compliment your children often about qualities that have nothing to do with their looks (It’s okay to tell your daughter that she’s beautiful, every girl wants to hear that she’s pretty, just make sure that she hears about what makes her special isn’t just about her looks, especially not about how much she weighs).
  • Monitor what magazines your child is reading. Most of the fashion and teen magazines out there promote an unhealthy view of body weight and shape.
  • Help your children develop interests and hobbies that are going to make them feel good about themselves.
  • Spend time with your children, especially individual time. Quality time reinforces to your teenager that he or she is someone who is lovable and someone that people enjoy being with and that they don’t have to become something else to be accepted.
  • If there is any doubt whatsoever about whether or not one of your children has an eating disorder, look up the signs and symptoms and get professional help immediately.