Archive | Safety RSS feed for this section

Celebrate National Safety Month This June

5 Jun
Join the National Safety Council (NSC) and thousands of organizations across the country as we work to raise awareness of what it takes to Keep Each Other Safe. Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities.

Week 1: Stand Up to Falls

Home is the place where we feel most safe, so it may come as a surprise to hear that falls in the home are one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the U.S., second only to poisoning. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.

Eliminating tripping hazards
Prevent falls at home—and at work—by removing the sources of tripping:
  • Secure electrical and phone cords away from walking areas, such as hallways or in front of your desk
  • Use non-skid rugs and be sure to tape them down to prevent rolling
  • Keep drawers and cabinets closed when you’re not using them
  • Wear proper footwear, paying special attention to outdoor conditions
  • Clean up any spills immediately and include warning signage if necessary
  • Refrain from walking while distracted – stay focused on your surroundings
  • Ensure there is adequate lighting in your workspace
  • Don’t carry more than you can handle—large loads can obstruct your vision and affect your balance
Preventing falls in your bathroom
Falls can happen anywhere, but in your home, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places. According to the CDC, about 235,000 people over age 15 visit the emergency room each year due to a bathroom related-injury. Older adults are especially susceptible. According to the National Institute on Aging, 80 percent of senior falls happen in the bathroom due to slippery floors and surfaces.
Keep loved ones of every age safe:
  • Place a non-slip mat both inside and outside of the tub
  • Plug in nightlights in and around the bathroom for increased visibility
  • Clean up any condensation or puddles on the  oor
  • Place non-slip decals on the bottom of your shower or tub
  • Keep shampoo, soap and other bath products higher up to avoid bending
  • Install grab bars by the toilet and in or near the shower and tub to assist older adults
  • Make sure the bathroom door swings outward in case of a fall
Make your home safer by starting at the source. Remove tripping hazards around your home and ensure your bathroom is slip-free to eliminate the risk of falling.

Week 2: Recharge to Be in Charge (Focusing on Fatigue)

Like many Americans, you might feel that you’re not getting enough sleep. The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. It is also estimated that 37 percent of the U.S. workforce is sleep deprived. We need proper sleep to recharge our stamina, face the day and avoid injuries at home and at work.

Getting good sleep
To be alert, well-rested and at your best, follow these tips:
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep every day
  • Create and follow a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day—even on weekends.
  • Eliminate unnecessary light
  • Keep your bedroom temperate – neither hot nor cold
  • Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable and support restful sleep
  • Avoid eating right before bed
  • Remember that bedtime is for sleeping, not reading or watching TV
  • Avoid using electronic devices before bed which can inhibit sleep
Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
We all have busy lives and sleep is often the first thing many of us cut back on to accommodate our schedules. In the long run, this can be dangerous. Sleep deprivation has been shown to raise the risks of depression, obesity and heart disease, and has an adverse effect on reproductive health. Lack of sleep can also lead you to experience short bursts of sleep lasting anywhere from a fraction of a second or up to 30 seconds, known as microsleep. Individuals who experience microsleep lose awareness and consciousness during the episode, which can be dangerous especially on the road.
  • Plan to take regular rest breaks and rotate drivers when travelling long distances
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may make you drowsy while driving
  • If you feel drowsy, pull over when it is safe to do so
  • To combat drowsiness, have a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink and stretch your legs by taking a short walk
  • If you need more rest, take a quick nap if it is safe to do so
  • If you are too tired to continue driving even a er a break, don’t drive. Stay at a hotel or call someone—a loved one, friend or even a cab or ride-sharing service—to get you to your destination safely
Don’t get sidelined by fatigue. Get plenty of sleep to recharge and stay healthy and avoid dangerous situations like driving when drowsy.

Week 3: Prepare for Active Shooters

Preparing for the worst can be difficult. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a situation with an active shooter – they can be unpredictable and unfold quickly. Because an active shooter behaves erratically, they have no pattern and their victims are random—being prepared can be your best defense.

Responding to an active shooter situation
Active shooters can appear in public places such as movie theaters and shopping malls or in private workplaces. No matter where you are, remain as calm as possible and remember:
  • Be aware of any possible danger in your environment
  • Identify the two nearest exits
  • If you can flee, do so immediately—leave belongings behind
  • If you cannot flee, hide in an area where the shooter can’t see you
  • If you are behind a door, try to lock or block entry to it
  • Silence electronic devices
  • As a last resort, try to incapacitate the shooter. Keep moving and be distracting. In close range situations,  fighting increases your chance of survival.
  • Call 911 as soon as you can do so safely
Wait for law enforcement to arrive
Law enforcement will usually be required to end the situation. Comply with law enforcement and allow them to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
There are several ways you can assist:
  • To the best of your ability, be prepared to provide 911 and law enforcement with your location, the number of shooters, physical description of the shooter(s), the number and type of weapons used by the shooter(s) and the number of potential victims
  • When law enforcement arrives, remain calm and follow all instructions
  • Don’t scream or yell
  • Keep your hands raised, visible and free of any objects
  • Evacuate the area quickly—do not stop law enforcement to ask questions or for help
Facing an active shooter can be unimaginable, but being prepared might save your life. Remember to stay alert and as calm as possible. Try to run first, hide if you cannot flee safely and fight only when you have no other choice.

Week 4: Don’t Just Sit There (Focusing on Ergonomics)

If you have back pain, you’re not alone. About 80% of the U.S. population will experience back pain issues at some point in their lives, and 31 million will experience low-back pain at any given time. Most of these cases are not caused by serious underlying conditions, but from actions like improper lifting technique.

Lift safely
Prevent strains, dislocations and muscle tears. When lifting, make sure you:
  • Stretch and warm up before you perform any lifting
  • Keep your back straight and bend your knees – remember to never twist or bend your back
  • Are on solid ground with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep the box or object close to your body
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Limit the amount of weight you carry – separate boxes or make two trips instead of carrying more than you can handle
  • Ask for help to carry heavy, bulky or large loads
  • Keep pathways clear of tripping hazards
Ergonomics for the home office worker
Telecommuting is an increasingly popular option to help employees maintain a better work-life balance. Convenience and flexibility are great, but don’t leave ergonomics at the office.
Make sure:
  • Chairs have proper lumbar and arm support, and can be adjusted for height
  • Feet are flat on the ground or a footrest
  • The viewing distance from your eyes to the monitor is at least 18 inches
  • Your keyboard and mouse are at approximately elbow height
  • Lighting is sufficient enough that you don’t have to strain, but not too bright where glare is an issue
  • To take short breaks. Look away from your screen every 15 minutes, take microbreaks in between bursts of heavy typing and don’t forget to take a rest break every 30 or 60 minutes. Get out of your chair, stretch and move around.
By making ergonomics part of your routine at work and at home, you can keep your body free of strain and pain.

The mission of the National Safety Council is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Join us as we help #KeepEachOtherSafe this June and throughout the year. For any questions regarding workplace safety, contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com today!

Improve Employee Safety Habits With These 3 Tips

22 May
This year’s theme for North American Occupational Safety and Health week was Make Safety a Habit. Check out these ideas from the workers’ compensation provider Texas Mutual Insurance Company to help improve employee safety habits.
  1. See something, say something. Empower your employees to speak up and review the methods in place to report concerns or hazards. Building an environment of open communication supports a safe workplace. You want reporting to become a habit. Recognize reporting and encourage employees to speak directly with their supervisor or safety representative.
  2. Be consistent. To keep safety top of mind, hold regular meetings and provide consistent training. Habits won’t become fully formed in a quarterly meeting, however. Provide resources and enforce the safety practices employees are learning.
  3. Encourage wellness. Safety and wellness go hand-in-hand. When employees hydrate, eat well, and stay active, they feel better, are happier, and likely will stay alert about safety on the job. If an injury does occur, a fit employee stands a better chance of recovering more quickly.

Do you have questions on how your business can improve Employee Safety Habits? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com. We’re here to help!

Get Involved In Occupational Safety and Health Events This Spring

27 Apr

There is one overlooked question that people across North America should ask themselves: “Is my loved one safe at work today?” This spring, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is building on that critical question and encouraging people to get involved in one or more of several workplace safety campaigns that can make a difference in reducing risks.

“Too many of us take for granted that our families will come together and be safe and healthy at the end of the workday,” said ASSE President Tom Cecich, CSP, CIH. “That assumption is far from reality given the large numbers of occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities that occur. ASSE members, along with employers, workers and the public, should participate in campaigns to draw attention to the responsibility we all have to make workplaces safer and healthier.”

In 2015, there were 4,836 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The International Labor Organization reports that there are 2.3 million deaths globally each year for reasons attributed to work, with the biggest component linked to work-related diseases.

Many of ASSE’s 37,540 members worldwide – who develop and implement safety and health management programs for employers in every industry, every state and across the globe – will be involved in the following safety activities. They are seeking the support of company and community leaders in raising awareness of workplace risks. How will you get involved this year? Read more about the upcoming events below.

April 28, Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. Every year, events are held across the country to remember workers who have died on the job and honor them by continuing to fight for improved worker safety.

May 1-5, Construction Safety Week 

Led by an alliance of major construction firms and co-sponsored by ASSE, this week was created to raise safety awareness on construction sites across the country. Stand-downs and workplace presentations by executives, OSHA representatives and other stakeholders engage employees and offer important reminders about safe building practices. Learn how to get involved and find ideas for participating on the Safety Week website.

How You Can Get Involved in Construction Safety Week

•Engage leaders in your construction company to hold an event on your work site. This is an excellent opportunity to build a relationship with the C-suite.

•Host an event, such as a safety stand-down, that puts executives in front of workers talking about safety. This encourages their commitment and helps send a message throughout the organization.

•Use #constructionsafetyweek to share your initiatives in social media.

•Engage other stakeholders, such as a local ASSE chapter or OSHA office, in your event to help build cooperative relationships.

•Review Safety Week’s suggestions for events to build your own event.

May 7-13, North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, or NAOSH Week, occurs every year during the first full week of May. Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day (OSHP Day) falls on the Wednesday of that week. Created by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers and championed by ASSE, this key observance celebrates its 20th anniversary and encourages grassroots efforts at every organization in all industries to bolster workplace safety. Each year ASSE urges everyone to get involved in NAOSH Week in an effort to better educate the public about the positive benefits a safe workplace provides not only for workers, but for their families, friends, businesses, their local community and the global community.

May 8-12, National Safety Stand-Down

A campaign to prevent falls in construction, led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in partnership with ASSE and others. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities recorded in 2015 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Fall Prevention Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of fall prevention.

Spearheaded by OSHA and co-sponsored by ASSE, this inaugural event aims to build a stronger connection between safe workplaces and sound businesses. Safety programs identify and manage workplace risks before they cause problems, improving a company’s bottom line. Safety and health programs include management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.

Why Participate?

Safe workplaces are sound businesses. Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started or energize an existing one.

Who Is Encouraged to Participate?

Organizations of any size or in any industry looking for an opportunity to show their commitment to safety to workers, customers, the public, or supply chain partners should participate.

How to Participate

Participating in Safe + Sound Week is easy. To get started, select the activities you would like to do at your workplace. Some organizations might want to host a public event. Examples of potential activities and tools to help you plan and promote your events are available. After you’ve completed your events, you can download a certificate and web badge to recognize your organization and your workers.

“There are many opportunities to play a role in achieving greater workplace safety, and our dedicated members are at the heart of it all,” Cecich said. “They utilize their passion and expertise to implement safety and health management systems at organizations in the United States and globally. But it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together, so everyone should take the time to make an impact on an upcoming safety campaign.”

Businesses Spend More Than $1 Billion a Week on Serious, Nonfatal Workplace Injuries

21 Feb

254a5b05-371d-4e6e-8f38-a9154abee260

New research from Liberty Mutual places a dollar amount on the cost of serious, nonfatal workplace injuries to American businesses.

Each year, the Research Institute produces the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, which ranks the leading causes of serious, nonfatal work-related injuries in terms of direct workers compensation costs. The Index is based on information from Liberty Mutual Insurance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

According to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, serious, nonfatal workplace injuries now amount to nearly $60 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs per year. This translates into more than $1 billion dollars a week spent by businesses on these injuries.

The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index helps employers, risk managers and safety practitioners make workplaces safer by identifying critical risk areas so that businesses can better allocate safety resources.

Top 10 Injury Causes

1. Overexertion involving outside sources ranked first among the leading causes of disabling injury. This event category, which includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing objects, cost businesses $13.79 billion in direct costs and accounted for 23 percent of the overall national burden.

2. Falls on same level ranked second with direct costs of $10.62 billion and accounted for 17.7 percent of the total injury burden.

3. Falls to a lower level ranked third at $5.50 billion and 9.2 percent of the burden.

4. Struck by object or equipment ranked fourth at $4.43 billion and 7.4 percent.

5. Other exertions or bodily reactions ranked fifth at $3.89 billion and 6.5 percent of the total injury burden.

6. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle ranked sixth at $3.7 billion

7. Slip or trip without fall ranked seventh at $2.3 billion

8. Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects ranked eighth at $1.95 billion

9. Struck against objects or equipment ranked ninth at $1.94 billion

10. Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks ranked tenth at $1.81 billion

The top five injury causes accounted for 63.8 percent of the total cost burden for U.S. businesses. The remaining five injury causes combined accounted for 19.5 percent of the total direct cost of disabling injuries.

Direct costs of all disabling work-related injuries equaled $59.87 billion, with the top 10 causes comprising 83.4 percent – or $49.92 billion – of the total cost burden to employers.

Do you have questions about the costs of serious, nonfatal workplace injuries? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com. We’re here to help!

Two hard lessons for employers from a recent Cal/OSHA case

23 Jun

Following a fire at a Los Angeles area acrylic plastics manufacturing plant, Cal/OSHA conducted an inspection and found 3 safety violations, 2 of which should get the attention of every employer in California.
First, even though the company had to deal with a fire and injured workers, and still called the district Cal/OSHA office within 12 hours to notify them of serious burn injuries, this was not good enough to satisfy Cal/OSHA who cited the employer for violating Section 342(a) not “immediately reporting any serious injury or illness or death of an employee occurring in a place of employment.” “Immediately means as soon as practically possible but not longer that 8 hours after the employer know or with diligent inquiry would have known of the death or serious injury or illness. If the employer can demonstrate that exigent circumstances exist, the time frame for the report may be made no longer than 24 hours after the incident.”

In this incident it took the employer 12 hours to make the report because the supervisor encountered chaos when he arrived at the plant! Further, the supervisor sent an employee to the hospital to check on the condition of injured employees. Cal/OSHA said he should have called while he was driving to the plant or as soon as he arrived. Further, since the plant operates 24 hours a day, Cal/OSHA said the supervisor should have delegated the injury reporting to ensure a report was made when he learned of the fire and “the impending injury of employees”. A fine of $2,000 was upheld by the Occupational and Safety Appeals Board.

To add to the burden of the employer, Cal/OSHA next cited for not doing as complete an accident investigation as they wanted, in particular not determining the cause of the accident and findings and corrective action taken. Cal/OSHA did not say the employer did not find out the cause nor did it say no corrective steps were taken, just that the accident report did not contain “any determination as to the cause of the incident, nor did it contain any corrective actions.” “There was no evidence that the employer investigate how the fire was able to travel for the waste storage area to another room in the plant. Employer did not record any findings as to how employees were injured other than being burned. A fine of $1,125 was upheld by the Occupational and Safety Appeals Board for this violation.

Employers – who often struggle just to obtain the information to complete the Employers First Report of Injury for a workers’ compensation claim, now need to know that much more is expected of them, particularly if there are any significant injuries involved in a work place accident.

If you would like a set of documents to help you with steps to take in case of a work injury: An Employers Guide to Workplace Injury Procedures (requiring medical treatment beyond first aid); an Accident, Injury and Illness Investigation Form; a California Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1); California Employer’s First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness or a Cal/OSHA District Offices map, please just e-mail me at DonDressler1@hotmail.com

How You Can Make Safety Happen

7 Sep

Safety “happens” if you take the actions to make a hazard free environment. Don’t walk by an unsafe condition – or ignore someone’s unsafe act. It may be taking the time to pick up something from the floor, comment on a loose handrail or a missing machine guard. You may see someone bending at the waist to life a box.
As Carl Potter writes in I am Safe “Whatever it is, do what you can to take care of it yourself. If you can’t, let someone else in authority know about the situation.”
Why not start today? Set an example of responsibility to fix or respond to every safety hazard you encounter.

If you would like some help or specific ideas, just contact us at CalWorkSafety.com or Don Dressler Consulting. Visit our websites: http://www.calworksafety.com and dondressler.com.

August 15th is the start of National Stop on Red week- Let’s all observe it!

10 Aug

red light running causes crashes

Red light running causes hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year. Red light violations cause roughly 10% of all traffic fatalities. An estimated 133,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running, and more than half of those killed were pedestrians, bicyclists, or occupants in other vehicles.
Most people run red lights because they are in a hurry, when in fact they only save seconds.
• Almost all drivers (96%) fear being struck by a red-light runner.
• Majority of Americans (56%) admit to running red lights.
• Red-light runners can be any one of us who drives.
A crash caused by a driver who runs a red light is more likely to result in serious injury or death.
• Deaths caused by red-light running are increasing at more than three times the rate of increase for all other fatal crashes.3
• More people are injured in crashes involving red-light running than in any other crash type
A recent study of urban crashes found that red light running was the most common type of crash (22 percent). Of those accidents, injuries occurred in 39 percent of them. Over 93 % of drivers believe that red light running is a serious hazard, but around 23% admitted to doing it in the past month. Among drivers involved in 2012 fatal red light running multiple-vehicle crashes, the red light runners were more likely to be male, younger, and have prior crashes or driving convictions.
All of us must take responsibility for our driving and it’s important for employers to encourage safe driving among all of their employees by displaying posters or including safe driving tip paycheck reminders. Employees should take the responsibility to avoid impaired driving and plan their schedules to allow extra time when commuting to avoid the need to rush. Of all traffic accidents, red light running is the most preventable, and it needs to be everyone’s priority. This is especially important now that school is starting up.