A very different type of commute

Think your commute to work is fraught with dangers? Crazy drivers got you upset by the time you get there?

Check out these bridge workers and what they do to get from one side of the river to the other in order to get to their job.

Not sure that this is something that OSHA would approve of.

(click on above image to view the video)

Texting while driving is now the leading cause of teenage deaths

According to a new study, texting while driving has now become the most likely way that a teenager is going to die, passing up drinking and driving for the first time ever.

Reported on the Newsday website, the research done by Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park estimates that texting while driving now accounts for 3,000 deaths annually along with 300,00 injuries. Almost half of all boys admitted to texting while driving and, among teenage girls the percentage was only slightly lower, coming in around 45%.

The study further concluded that the more experience that teenagers get behind the wheel the more they tend to think that they are able to text and drive without danger.

While drinking and driving has slowly decreased over the past few years, texting while driving has gone up. What’s frightening is that texting while driving impairs a driver as much as drinking and driving. Laws designed to keep people from texting and driving clearly have no effect, the further also found, because stats between states with laws and states without laws showed no noticeable difference.

No of the reasons attributed to this increase has to do with the fact that most of the time when a teenager gets behind the wheel, he or she hasn’t been drinking; unfortunately most teens ALWAYS have their mobile device with them and the temptation to “just have a quick look” is just too great.

Vehicle Rollover Prevention App

The app is called VRPETERS. VRPETERS stands for Vehicle Rollover Prevention Education Training Emergency Reporting System and is designed to work on the iPhone or iPad mini to do a couple of different things.


First of all it uses a mathematical model to assess the stability of a motorized vehicle using “the physical parameters of the vehicle and the data from the inbuilt sensors of a mobile electronic device (smartphone, tablet computer) or from the wireless sensors installed on the vehicle.” When it senses that the vehicle is at risk of a rollover, it displays a warning message to the driver.

Secondly, if a rollover is detected it sends out a emergency notification to contacts you’ve set up when you install the app, letting them know that you were in an accident.

This app is going to be especially useful to farmers and tractor operators who work alone.

Among the VRPETERS advantages listed on their website:

VRPETERS can save lives by:

  • changing the human behavior as a training tool.
  • providing warning messages to the operator to prevent an accident.
  • reducing the deployment time of rescue teams.
  • providing the GPS coordinates, the date and time of an accident.
  • providing vital operator information (optional).

Learn more and/or download the app on the VRPETERS website.

Bike Safety Awareness and tips

May is National Bike Month

The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of Bike Month, this year Bike to Work Week is May 13-17, 2013 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17, 2013.

Spring and Summer fun has begun. Kids are soon out of school on the streets, gas prices are at record highs, now is the time we dust off the bike from the storage shed and hit the streets. Here are a few key bike safety tips to know.

When you ride your bike on a sidewalk, you must yield to pedestrians. Some sidewalk areas with heavy pedestrian traffic are signed prohibiting riding bicycles on the sidewalk.

When you ride on the road, your bike is a vehicle and you must obey traffic laws.

  • Scan the road behind. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use helmet-mounted or bike-mounted rear-view mirrors. Always look back before changing lanes or changing positions within your lane, and only move when no other vehicle is in your way.

When passing a bike in a vehicle you must give at least 3 ft clearance to the bicyclist.

  • Go slowly on sidewalks and bike paths. Pedestrians have the right-of-way. Give pedestrian’s audible (horn/bell/word) warning when you pass. Don’t cross driveways or intersections without slowing to walker’s pace and looking very carefully for traffic, especially traffic turning right.
  • When on the road, ride in a straight line whenever possible. Ride with, not against, the traffic. Keep to the right, but stay about a car-door-width away from parked cars.
  • Avoid road hazards. Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel and ice. Cross railroad tracks and speed bumps carefully at right angles.
  • Choose the best way to turn left. There are two ways to make a left turn:
    1. Like an auto, look, signal, move into the left lane, and turn left.
    2. Like a pedestrian, ride straight to the far-side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals. By law, cyclists must obey traffic laws when bicycles are ridden on streets and roads within the State of New Mexico and Texas.

  • Ride a properly equipped bike.
    1. Always use a strong headlight and taillight at night and when visibility is poor. (By law, in New Mexico, to ride at night you must have a light-emitting headlight visible for at least 500 feet and a red reflector visible for 50 to 300 feet from the rear. Most states have similar laws.)
    2. Be sure your bike is adjusted to fit you properly.
    3. For safety and efficiency, outfit it with a horn/bell, rear-view mirror(s), fenders (for rainy rides), and racks, baskets or bike bags.


Rule 1: Be Predictable
Ride so drivers can see you and predict your movements.

Obey traffic signs and signals. Bicycles must obey traffic laws like other vehicles.

  1. Never ride against traffic. Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the left side of the road. Ride on the right, with the traffic.
  2. Use hand signals when initiating a turn. Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy and of self-protection.
  3. Ride in a straight line. Whenever possible, ride in a straight line, to the right of traffic but about a car-door-width away from parked cars.
  4. Don’t weave between parked cars. Don’t ride over to the curb between parked cars, unless they are far apart. Motorists may not see you when you move back into traffic.
  5. Ride in middle of lane in slow traffic. Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic. (Remember, your bike IS a vehicle when on the road and you ARE allowed to operate it in the middle of the traffic lane, not just at the right edge, when traffic is slow. You’re also responsible for signaling and stopping at stop signs and traffic lights like other vehicles.)
  6. Follow lane markings. Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked right-turn-only.
  7. Choose the best way to turn left. Remember: There are two ways to make a left turn. 1) Like an auto. Signal, move into the left lane and turn left. 2) Like a pedestrian.
  8. Don’t pass on the right. Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
  9. Go slow on shared paths. Yield to pedestrians. Give pedestrian’s audible warning when you pass. Do not ride on sidewalks where prohibited.
  10. When biking with others, ride in line when other traffic is present.
  11. Watch out for the parked car doors.

Rule 2: Be Alert
Ride defensively and expect the unexpected.

  1. Watch for cars pulling out. Make eye contact with drivers. Assume they don’t see you until you are sure they do.
  2. Scan the road behind. Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
  3. Avoid road hazards. Watch for sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily spots, gravel, and ice. Cross railroad tracks carefully at right angles.
  4. Keep both hands ready to brake. You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain.
  5. Watch for chasing dogs. Ignore them, or try a firm, loud, “NO.” If you can’t get away, dismount with your bike between you and the dog. Call Animal Control or your local Police Dept. on your Plateau cell phone.

Rule 3: Be Equipped
You’ll ride more easily and safely.

  1. Keep the bike in good repair. Adjust your bike to fit you, and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly.
  2. Use lights at night or when visibility is poor. The law requires a strong headlight and rear reflector or tail light at night.
  3. Dress appropriately. In rain, wear a poncho or a parka made of fabric that “breathes”. Generally dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Avoid loose clothing. Purchase a “strap” at a local bike store to control your right pant leg to avoid catching in the chain.
  4. Use a pack or rack to carry things. Saddlebags, racks, baskets, and backpacks are all good ways to carry packages, freeing your hands for safe riding.
  5. Always wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet. This reduces the potential for head injury by 85%.

· Place the helmet low on the forehead, just above the eyebrows.

· Helmet straps should be snug under the chin so the helmet stays in the same position.

· Helmet should not move back and forth or side to side.

Official IMBA Mountain Bike Rules of the Trail and Mountain Bike Safety

The following is the official list of mountain biking rules of the trail from IMBA, otherwise known as the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These mountain bike rules are designed to minimize our impact on our environment as well as promote friendly relationships between all trail users by creating a safe environment for us all. By following these rules we help ensure our access to trails in our local communities will continue and hopefully grow. Riding in control not only helps prevent crashes, it keeps others on the trail safe as well. When you ride out of control, you lose the ability to adjust to the terrain and environment as you pass through it. This can and does lead to dangerous crashes and injury to yourself and others.

Mountain biking is inherently dangerous and we all like to push the limits sometimes, but there is a fine line between pushing the limits safely and pushing them recklessly. Follow these steps to stay safe on the trails and on the right side of the danger line.

Gear up
Always wear a helmet and any other appropriate safety equipment for the riding conditions.

Never Ride Beyond Your Abilities
There is no shame in walking sections of the trail you don’t feel confident enough to ride, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Use Appropriate Equipment for the Terrain
Some bikes are better for different situations. Just because you can see tire tracks, doesn’t mean you can ride it with your bike.

Keep Your Speed in Check
Always keep your speed at a level that will allow you to adjust to any unforeseen obstacles or changes in trail conditions.

Know the Trail
Never push the limits on a trail you are not familiar with. You need to get to know the trail you are riding at slower speeds before you can ride it like the trails you’re used to.

Slow Down for Blind Corners
You never know what or who is around a corner when you can’t see past it.

Stop and Look
Stop and look at sections of the trail that look like they may pose a challenge before you ride them.

Plan on the Crash
Always look at the consequences of crashing in a particular section or on a particular stunt before trying to ride through it. Sometimes a section can look easy to ride but can have deadly consequences to a crash.

Start Small, Go Big
Work your way up to obstacles and stunts. Find ways to practice moves in less difficult and dangerous situations or at lower speeds before committing yourself to something more dangerous.

Play It Smart
If you think what you are doing is not the smartest, you are probably right. Think about what you are doing and trust your instincts.

Every mountain biker should know and live by these mountain biking rules from IMBA:

Mountain Bike Rules of the Trail
The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport’s access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA’s mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.

1. Ride On Open Trails Only.
Respect trail and road closures – ask if uncertain; avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

2. Leave No Trace.
Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trail bed is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

3. Control Your Bicycle!
Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

4. Always Yield Trail.
Let your fellow trail users know you’re coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don’t startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.

5. Never Scare Animals.
All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders – ask if uncertain. Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.

6. Plan Ahead.
Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding — and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

Keep trails open by setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling.

Bicycles have the right to use on our roads; however, use of Interstate highways by bicycles is discouraged. Bicyclists Must:

  • Obey traffic lights, stop signs, one-way streets and other basic traffic laws.A bicyclist has the same rights and duties on the road as drivers of other vehicles, and some additional responsibilities.
  • Ride as far “as practicable” to the right (or to the outside lanes on a one-way street), particularly when automobile traffic is moving faster than you are.
  • Be prepared to yield at all times.
  • Use hand signals when turning or moving from a lane.
  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Give audible warning when overtaking a pedestrian.
  • Keep at least one hand on handlebars. Keep control of the bicycle at all times.
  • Use a headlight with a white light visible from at least 500 feet ahead, and a red reflector visible from at least 50 to 300 feet behind, when riding from sunset to sunrise or whenever visibility is poor.
  • Keep brakes adjusted so that, when braked, your bicycle skids on clean dry pavement.
  • Ride astride a fixed seat (kiddy seat and tandems acceptable). Riding “double” is discouraged.
  • Ride no more than two abreast.

Remember, your bicycle is a small, inconspicuous vehicle. It is not easily seen on crowded streets and will seldom attract attention on its own. At all times, do everything you can to make sure you are noticed. Safety First, Safety Always, Safety is our target.

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

You can contact him at keno@plateautel.com

No-cost 3M Hearing Conservation Seminar – Seattle, WA

No Cost 3M Hearing Conservation Seminar

Hearing Conservation From 3M

Meet the Instructors
The course will be taught by Ted Madison Technical Service Specialist, and Laurie Wells, Board-Certified Audiologist.
We are pleased to announce that the 3M will be offering a Hearing Protection and Conservation Seminar in Seattle, WA on June 11, 2013. The course is offered at no cost to you, courtesy of 3M. Read the Full Course Description

The course will emphasize understanding of:

  • How hearing protectors function
  • How hearing protectors are tested and rated
  • How they perform in the real world
  • How they affect employees’ ability to function on their jobs


The SEAL : Wearable Swim Monitoring and Drowning Detection System

Let me say upfront that I have no vested interest in posting this. I am not affiliated with this company and didn’t even know about them until a few minutes ago when I got an email from Lena, part of the team dedicated to getting this product to market to save lives. Having said that, let me get right to it.

Graham Snyder, an emergency physician, tired of having to tell parents that their child had drowned; angered by these deaths and injuries that could have been avoided, has come up with a drowning detection system that he is trying to take to market. Rather than try to tell you about it myself I’ll let him and his team do it.

Check out the SEAL: Wearable Swim Monitoring and Drowning Detection System fundraising website. While you’re there, make a donation and let’s help bring this to market.



Bricklayer Safety (Funny!)

“Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Section 3 of the accident report form. I put “Poor planning” as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-storey building. When I completed my work,I found I had some bricks left over, which, when weighed later were found to be slightly in excess of 500lbs.

Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which was attached to the side of the building on the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the bricks.

You will note in Section 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 135lbs. Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say,I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel, which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3 of the accident report form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, that barrel weighed approximately 50lbs. I refer you again to my weight.

As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent, down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up.

This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body. Here my luck began to change slightly.

The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey back down onto me. This explains the two broken legs.

I hope this answers your inquiry.”

May is Motorcycle Safety Month

If you live in WA like I do and go out at all this weekend you couldn’t help but notice all the motorcycles out on the roads. It was a beautiful weekend for it and they came out in masses to take over the roads and highways.


Unless proper safety is observed, this might be a recipe for disaster. That’s why May, the month were some many motorcyclists, fire up their motorcycle engine for the first time after a long winter, is Motorcycle Safety Month.

Here are a few safety tips both for drivers on the road with motorcyclists as well as for motorcyclists themselves.

Safety tips for those sharing the road with motorcycles:

  • Be aware that motorcyclists are out there sharing the road. Look for them. They are obviously much harder to see then cars.
  • When motorcyclists downshift or ease off the throttle the motorcycle will slow down without the break lights going on so make sure you give them plenty of room.
  • Motorcycle turn signals may or may not turn off automatically when the turn or lane change has taken place. Don’t assume that a motorcycle is actually turning, just because that’s what the blinker indicates.
  • Being smaller means that motorcycles are easier to miss in your vehicles’ blindspot. Make sure you check thoroughly before you change lanes.
  • It is difficult to judge how rapidly a motorcycle is approaching, much harder than a car or truck.
  • While the rules of the road say that the driving distance between your  car and the motorcycle is the same as the one between two cars, it is safer to allow a greater distance. What might be a simple fender-bender between two cars can become a fatality when a motorcycle is involved.

Safety Tips for motorcyclists:

  • Understand that you are much more difficult to spot than a car is. Maximize your visibility with hi-viz clothing, reflective stripes and by leaving your headlights on at all times.
  • Know your bike. Practice driving in all times of weather and all kinds of road conditions. Knowing what you can or can’t do based on conditions around you can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Especially when on the highway, drive as if you were a car. Do not weave in and out of traffic, ride the shoulder or zip between cars. Doing so puts you at risk.
  • Wear a helmet and proper protective gear at all times.

Learn more about motorcycle safety from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website. Of special interest is the library that they have available with several good documents, curriculum, reports, papers and a whole lot more.

Why Safety Incentives are Dangerous

Walter Cardin was safety engineer for Shaw Group a subsidiary of Stone & Webster Construction. Walter Cardin is presently in jail serving a 78 month for falsifying injury reports. Why? Because of safety incentives worth $2.5 million offered by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). You can read all about the case on the World Nuclear News website.

This is the problem with safety incentives. They tend to cause under reporting of injuries. It only makes sense. If you get paid for going a certain amount of time without any injuries and a couple of days before that period of time is up someone at the plant gets injured, you are tempted to not report it in order to get the reward. When money is involved, honesty is often hard to come by.

So what the solution?

  • Train your safety officers to recognize and praise good safety practices
  • Offer incentives, not for days without injuries, but for new or improve processes that result in safer work.
  • Involve the employees by making them a part of the safety committee. All to often managers only are on the safety committee, instead of involving the ones closest to the actual work; these employees might better be see where improvements can be made.

Ultimately you need to motivate rather than try to get results through dangerous incentives. Believe in your employees and expect the best from them. Some will let you down but you will find that most will step up.