Grilling Danger you Probably Haven’t Thought About

With the weather warming up and spring in the air, it’s only natural to get out and start up the grill. Millions of us will take the cooking outdoor with burgers and hot dogs this summer.


Most of us realize that we need to be careful to not under cook the food we are grilling but there’s another danger that most of us just haven’t thought about. It’s a danger that accounts for more than 100 emergency room visits each year but it’s probably one that you haven’t even heard of.

The danger comes when you clean your grill. The problem is that your grill brush is made up of wire bristles that can come loose and end up sticking to the grill. The food then gets put on the grill and the bristles end up in the food.

Grill bristles can stab tongue, cheeks or gums or actually end up being ingested and causing internal injuries sometimes requiring surgery.

So protect yourself, your family and your guests by inspecting your grill brush before you use it. If the bristle are loose and falling out, throw it away and get a new one. Also, make sure you carefully inspect the grill after you used the grill brush to make sure that there are no bristles caught on the grill.

2016 Work Zone Awareness Week is April 11-15


It’s Work Zone Awareness Week and it couldn’t come at a better time. A new study out claims that drivers are distracted more than half the time they are on the road, which doubles their risk of a car crash. There’s no doubt about it: this week is an important one to encourage safe driving through highway work zones. While awareness is critical, workers unfortunately aren’t in control of whether a driver picks up that call and takes their eyes off the road for a split second.

To help improve worker visibility (and safety), ANSI/ISEA recently updated their 107 standard. Download and read our hi-vis “bright paper” to learn more struck-by stats, how the revised guidelines of the ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 Standard helps improve worker visibility on roadways and other jobsites, and workplace best practices to keep you and your crew safe.

This week – but really every week – make a seen.


What we say and do differ when talking about traffic safety


According to the AAA Foundation, there’s a big difference between what we say and what we do when we are talking about what we believe about traffic safety.

  • While 93.5% of people surveyed said that it is not acceptable behavior to drive through a light once it’s turned red, 38.7% (one in three) admitted that they had done just that in the past 30 days.
  • 80.6% of us believe that it’s extremely dangerous and unacceptable to text while driving but at the same time almost half of us (42.3%) admit to having read a text or email while driving while almost a third of us (31.3%) admit to having sent one.
  • 83.2% say that it’s unacceptable to drive while drowsy. Meanwhile almost a third of us 31.5% of us admit to having done just that in the past month.

Younger drivers tend to be the worse offenders and tend to resist legislation to mandate safer driving.

You can read more about these and other stats about unsafe driving here.

Photos Document a Shameful Part of our History

September of this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act that sought to outlaw (or at least severely regulate) child labor. While it was passed, it was struck down two years later on the grounds that it was unconstitutional to impose federal law on something that each state should regulate themselves (Wow, how far we’ve come!). It was, however, instrumental in fueling a reform so that today, children can’t legally be employed (the fact that many, many children are, none the less forced to work because of human trafficking, is another matter all together).

Lewis Hine was instrumental in raising awareness to the plight of so many children, sometimes as young as 4 years old who were forced to work, often in grueling conditions which wouldn’t even be allowed for adults today, through his photos. For 16 years he traveled across the US taking photos of exploited children like this one:


This boy is 5 years old and this is the second year that he’s been working picking shrimp, which means that he started this job at age 4.

You can view a collection of the Lewis Hine photos and read the stories behind each one on the Atlas Obscura website.

For an even larger collection of Lewis Hine Child Labor photos visit

Diabetes Epidemic

Back in 1980, 108 million people had diabetes worldwide. Today it is estimated at around 425 million which means that cases of diabetes almost quadrupled in the past 36 years. Diabetes is presently the eighth biggest killer in the world.


Diabetes used to be prominent in affluent countries but that is no longer the case. Today diabetes is growing fast in low and middle income countries.Diabetes_2(Source:

What’s the cause of this epidemic rise in diabetes? Have a look at these numbers:

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 2012, more than 50% of all Americans consumed 1/2 pound of sugar per day — translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year.


The problem is that “sugar” is hidden in almost everything we eat. From the website here’s a list of the different names given to sweeteners:

  • Saccharide = sugar
  • Glucose (aka “dextrose” or “grape sugar”), galactose (“milk sugar”), and fructose (“fruit sugar”) are all “monosaccharides” (i.e. single sugar molecules), known as “simple sugars.” The primary difference between them is the way your body metabolizes them.
  • Glucose is a form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body uses glucose for energy.
  • High amounts of fructose are very damaging to the body if it isn’t burned immediately for energy because it travels directly to the liver where it’s converted to triglycerides (fats). Excess triglycerides increase insulin resistance (and insulin production), thus contributing to diabetes in a “back door” fashion.
  • The simple sugars can combine to form more complex sugars, like sucrose (“table sugar”) which is a “disaccharide” comprised of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
  • “Refined” white sugar (pure sucrose) is washed with a syrup solution, then with hot water, clarified (usually chemically) to remove impurities, decolorized, concentrated, evaporated, re-boiled until crystals form, centrifuged again to separate, then dried. By this point, any remnants of “natural goodness” and “nutritional value” have completely disappeared! Quite frankly, white sugar should be considered an “industrial product” rather than “food.”
  • “Brown sugar” is white sugar mixed with molasses.
  • “Raw” sugar is not really raw. It has been cooked, and most of the minerals and vitamins are gone. But it’s probably a little better than refined white sugar because it has a little of the molasses remaining.
  • Aspartame or AminoSweet is a neurotoxic rat poison… need I say more?
  • Splenda (sucralose) is NOT a sugar, despite its deceptive marketing slogan, “made from sugar.” It’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame, though not quite as harmful.
  • Honey is approximately 50% fructose, but in natural (raw and unpasteurized) form contains many health benefits. Buying honey that is local and unpasteurized is best.
  • Stevia is an extremely sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe (in its natural form). Green stevia is the whole plant, while white stevia is processed and can often contain other ingredients like natural flavors or dextrose − a form of sugar. 100% green stevia in its natural state is what you want.
  • Agave nectar is made from the agave plant, which is a cactus. Sounds natural, right? Like maple syrup from a tree, or honey from a beehive. Only it isn’t. Agave is HIGHLY processed while the end product does not even remotely resemble the original agave plant. Furthermore, agave is approximately 80% fructose (much higher than honey and maple syrup).
  • HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. It is mostly genetically modified. Stay away!
  • Rapadura is the pure juice extracted from the sugar cane (using a press), which is then evaporated over low heat, whilst being stirred with paddles, then sieve ground to produce a grainy sugar. It has not been cooked at high heats or spun to change it into crystals, and the molasses is maintained in the sugar. “Sucanat” is the USA trade name for Rapadura.
  • Coconut sugar is made from the sweet watery sap that drips from the cut flower buds of the coconut palm. It has a low glycemic index (GI) and is rich in amino acids. It is typically less than 10% fructose, with sucrose being the primary component.
  • Xylitol is a sweetener known as a “sugar alcohol” (or polyol). Sugar alcohols are neither sugars nor alcohols − they are carbohydrates (with structures that happen to resemble sugar and alcohol). Xylitol is extracted from corn or birch cellulose. Unlike sugar, Xylitol is slowly absorbed, does not cause a rapid blood sugar increase, and does not require an immediate insulin response from the body to be metabolized. Moreover,  many studies have shown that it actually helps prevent dental cavities, ear infections, and some evidence suggests that it helps prevent gum disease because Xylitol is anti-bacterial. However, Xylitol does have some potential health side effects (most notably gastrointestinal issues) and should be used with caution.

Until we reduce sugar and label it for what it is, diabetes is going to continue to rise. Educating yourself about what you are eating and drinking is crucial. You have to take your health in your own hands and not trust food companies.

Need a New Safety Slogan?

Looking for a new safety slogan to capture your employees attention? EHSpedia has you covered. They’ve got over 500 of them for you to choose from.


Here are a few random selections:

  • Safety by Choice, Not by Chance
  • Hard hats, they’re not just for decoration.
  • Eyes are priceless, eye protection is cheap.
  • Forgot your hearing protection? Forget about hearing!
  • Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it
  • “Hey, wanna see something cool?” (Last words uttered before a mishap)
  • If the little voice says, “I wonder if this is safe to do?”, it probably isn’t.
  • While on a ladder, never step back to admire your work
  • It’s better to correct an unsafe friend than to bury one
  • You get what you inspect – Not what you expect
  • Safety has no quitting time

Read all 500+ slogans on the EHSpedia page.

FDA Releases Updated Ruling on Food Transport

From the FDA website

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today finalized a new food safety rule under the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that will help to prevent food contamination during transportation. The rule will require those involved in transporting human and animal food by motor or rail vehicle to follow recognized best practices for sanitary transportation, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads and properly protecting food during transportation.

The action is part of a larger effort to focus on prevention of food safety problems throughout the food chain, and the rule implements the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005 (SFTA) as well as the requirement in section 111 of FSMA that instructed FDA to issue SFTA regulations. The regulation will apply to food transported within the United States by motor or rail vehicle, whether or not the food is offered for or enters interstate commerce. Shippers, loaders, carriers and receivers engaged in transportation operations of food imported by motor or rail vehicle and consumed or distributed in the United States are also subject to the final rule.

“Consumers deserve a safe food supply and this final rule will help to ensure that all those involved in the farm-to-fork continuum are doing their part to ensure that the food products that arrive in our grocery stores are safe to eat,” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

The rule was proposed in February 2014 and takes into consideration more than 200 comments submitted by the transportation industry, food industry, government regulatory partners, international trading partners, consumer advocates, tribal organizations and others. It also builds on the transportation industry’s best practices for cleaning, inspecting, maintaining, loading and unloading and operating vehicles and transportation equipment.

Implementation of the sanitary transportation rule and all FSMA final rules will require partnership, education and training.

“We recognize the importance of education and training in achieving widespread compliance, and we are committed to working with both industry and our government partners to ensure effective implementation of all of the new food safety rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act,” said Taylor.

Businesses would be required to comply with the new regulation one year after publication of the final rule, with smaller businesses having two years to comply with the new requirements.”

Read the complete press release.


National Window Safety Week

National Window Safety Week is designed to heighten the awareness of what can be done to help keep families safe from the risk of accidental falls or injuries in the home. Falls from a window are extremely dangerous, especially for children, and can cause serious injuries or death. While National Window Safety Week is observed annually, safety education occurs throughout the year.

Windows play a vital role in home safety, serving as a secondary escape route in the event of a fire or other emergency, but they can also pose a risk for a fall if safety measures are not followed. Take a look at the guidelines below to learn how window-related injuries in the home can be prevented.

  • As previously stated, windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. Determine your family’s emergency escape plan and practice it. Remember that children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.
  • When performing spring repairs, ensure that your windows are not painted or nailed shut. You must be able to open them to escape in an emergency.
  • Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that a child cannot reach.
  • Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows or patio doors. Falling through the glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.
  • Keep furniture — or anything children can climb — away from windows. Children may use such objects as a climbing aid.
  • Do not install window unit air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape through the window.
  • Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a fall, as they are designed to provide ventilation and not to prevent a child’s fall from a window.
  • Make sure nothing is blocking or preventing a window from being opened in the case of an emergency.
  • Install building code-compliant devices, such as window guards (with quick-release mechanisms in case of fire).

Safety Resources

National Safety Council Window Safety Checklist.