A Personal Note…

I work in the area of safety, mostly industrial safety but also personal and home safety. Part of my job, especially through this blog is to raise awareness of safety issues in order to educate people about how to protect themselves and those they love. I would like to believe that I am making a difference. This blog does, after all get about 500 views each day.

Right now I have two friends who are severely injured, both because they did not heed safety warnings and take precautions.

One is a friend who worked in residential construction; his name is Will. Two months ago he was working on a roof that collapsed under his weight. He slammed into a concrete slab below and cracked his head. He has been in a coma ever since. His wife and three girls send news almost daily, asking for prayers. We still pray for a full recovery but the longer he goes without waking up the bleaker the prognosis is. He was not wearing any fall protection at the time of the accident.

The other person is a nephew on my wife’s side; his name is James. He was climbing a ladder a few days ago when one of the ladder rungs broke. He dropped several feet to the concrete below landing on his heels. Both heels are broken and he will spend the next three months in a wheel chair. Rehabilitation after that will mean that he will be off work a lot longer. A simple ladder inspection could have prevented this accident.

Both of these accidents could easily have been prevented. I am sure that both of these friends didn’t take precautions because they didn’t believe that something like this could ever happen to them. The sad truth is that it did. The sad truth is that it can happen to you as well. Safety precautions aren’t there to make your life difficult. They aren’t there to slow you down on the job. They are there to protect you and help you get home at the end of the day.

Please understand that you are not invulnerable and immortal. Wear the fall protection, do the inspection, wear the PPE, do the safety checklist. If not for you then for the ones who love you. They don’t deserve to have to go through what my friend Will’s family has to go through, staying late at the hospital every day, praying for him to wake up so that they can tell him they love him and hear him tell them the same.

That’s all. Thanks.


Traffic Accidents Downward Trend Drastically Reverses in 2015

Prior to 2015, traffic accidents were progressively on the decline. That trend drastically changed last year when traffic deaths climbed by almost 10%.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that there were more than 26,000 traffic fatalities in the first three quarters of 2015, compared to the almost 24,000 road fatalities in the first three quarters of 2014. That’s an almost 10% jump.

The region that includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana had an increase that was double the average, at 20%.

While the NHTSA claims that it’s too early to speculate about the reasons for this spike, I will go out on a limb here and say that it’s primarily due to cell devices and the dangerous practice of texting, talking and surfing the web while driving and that, until we find a way to curb this, we’ll continue to see an increase.


Safely Navigating the Parking Lot this Holiday Season

Did you know that according to AAA 14% of accidents happen in parking lots? Fortunately parking lot accidents don’t usually result in as many fatalities or injuries as but they are still a hassle and add to the stress that many of us experience this holiday season.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid a parking lot accident.

Avoid the most crowded areas of the parking lot.
There are a couple of ways to do this.
1. Park in the parking spaces that are farthest away from the entrance. Most people want to park as close to the entrance as possible (even though they are going to get inside the mall or store and walk around for the next few hours) so park in the outlying areas where it’s so much less crowded. Additionally you’ll benefit from the additional exercise to walk off the extra calories that we tend to ingest this time of year.
2. Seek out alternate entrances to the mall where you’re going to be shopping. Most people tend to park next to the main entrances but there are less busy entrances where you’ll find easier and less busy parking.

Keep your headlights on, even during the day
Studies have shown that cars with headlights on are more easily seen, even during daylight hours, so leave your lights on the whole time.

Be smart about where you park
If you’ve got a small VW bug, it’s probably not a good idea to park between two big SUVs because people and other drivers aren’t going to be able to see you pull out.

Take your time
When we are rushed we tend to cut corners and not pay attention like we should. Be aware that there may be small children running around, other vehicles backing out, elderly people, etc… Slow down and take the time to check and double check before you pull into or back out of a parking spot or drive around the parking lot (trying to “quickly” grab an open parking spot isn’t worth the time you think you’re going to save if you hit a pedestrian or another vehicle).

Other safety tips:

  • Keep your vehicle locked at all times
  • Keep all packages out of sight (in the trunk rather than in the back seat where potential thieves can see them and be tempted)
  • Have your keys ready before you get to your car to reduce the amount of time it takes to get into your car.
  • Pull out and drive away as soon as you get in the car. Most people take way to long to pull out after getting in their vehicle, giving carjackers a  chance to move in.
  • Be smart about where you park. Anticipate that when you come back to your vehicle the parking lot is going to be a lot less crowded and potentially dark. Park in well lighted areas that are easily visible from the entrance to the store and other people.

The holiday season can be stressful. Don’t add to the stress with an accident, a mugging or a carjacking.



We Have A Little Emergency (W.H.A.L.E.) program

From the http://www.whaleprogram.org/ website:

“W.H.A.L.E.™ stands for “We Have A Little Emergency.” This car seat safety program was developed by Connie Day, a caregiver from Virginia. In the event of an automobile accident that incapacitates the adult driver and passengers, rescue personnel will have a difficult time identifying children riding in car safety seats. In some situations, these adults may not be related to the child passenger; therefore, conventional means of obtaining information will be useless. In these cases, W.H.A.L.E.™ can make a significant difference.”

The program consists of three parts:

1. An Information Label is attached to the back of the car seat, which provides important information about the child, such as name, date of birth, medical history and who to contact in case of emergency. The label is placed on the back of the car seat where it is not visible from outside the vehicle. This ensures the privacy of this personal information.

2. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Car Seat Stickers are attached to the sides of the seat.

3. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Vehicle Stickers are attached to the rear/side windows of the vehicle. Each of these stickers depicts the W.H.A.L.E™ logo and will alert emergency personnel that the occupants participate in the program.

Read more about the W.H.A.L.E. program and find out where to get your kit at http://www.whaleprogram.org/

Work Related Stress Online Seminar From OSHA EU

When was the last time one of your safety meetings talked about stress as it relates to your safety? While often ignored, stress in the workplace is actually one of the major contributors to accidents. Learning to successfully handle that stress can have a profound affect, not only on your emotional well-being but on your physical safety as well.

OSHA Europe has put together a comprehensive site designed specifically to help you do just that.

You can either download the training or go through it online. It is designed for European workers and you can select 1 of 30 countries and 1 of 25 languages. USA, not being a European country, is not listed as one of the countries but you can select “english” and run through the training even though you aren’t in Europe.

Have a look at the “Managing Stress and Psychosocial Risks E-Guide