S.A.F.E. TOOLBOX TOPICS
- All In Fun
- 12 Tips For Winter Driving
- Flu Prevention
- Setting The Example
- Death By Cell Phone
- It's Not My Fault!
- Keeping Your Eye On The Ball
- Ten Creative Tips for Dealing with Resident Problems
- Tornado Safety Tips
- Cell Phone Distraction
- Who is Responsible For Safety?
- Old Story in Waste Removal
- Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)
- Is There Ever An Excuse Not To Work Safely?
- Control Traffic in Work Zones
- Robbery Prevention Tips
- Heat awareness
- Take Safety With You
- Heat Exhaustion
- Driving Safety Tips
- Get some sleep
- Behavioral Safety: Who Is Responsible?
- Auditing ourselves
- Why Safety Meetings?
- Commitment to Safety
- We Know Better!
- Slips, Trips & Falls
- Seven Common Accident Causes
- Eye Safety
- Seat Belt Usage
There’s nothing wrong with a little fun at work but it’s important to know the difference between having fun and atrisk behavior to place yourself or a coworker in harms way. The following story from December 15th’s edition of The Daily Reporter in Milwaukee illustrates the point:
A man who was crushed by a refrigerator Tuesday was goofing around with coworkers who pushed the appliance from a fourthfloor porch, according to the Milwaukee medical examiner’s report. The dead man was identified as Rafa Chmura, 33, of Franklin. According to the report, Chmura and 11 others were cleaning and rehabilitating the Campus Community Apartments, a 16unit apartment building at 805811 N. 22nd St., Milwaukee, when the accident occurred.
Chmura was at ground level. According to the report, other workers had first removed a hot water heater from a third floor apartment, also by tossing it over a railing, and the men decided to toss the refrigerator so it would crash onto the hot water heater. The two men who tossed the refrigerator, according to the report, said they called down to Chmura, who jokingly responded, “Go ahead, I’ll catch it.”
At about the same time, the boss called Chmura’s cell phone. His cell phone was broken in the mishap.
“He might have answered the cell phone,” according to the report, “at which time the 170 pound refrigerator was coming over the edge.”
When the coworkers saw Chmura on the ground they at first thought he was joking, but, realizing he had been hurt, they called 911, according to the report.
Chmura suffered severe trauma to the back of his head.
Chmura is survived by a wife and two schoolage children.
Several things are in play with this tragic death:
Throwing a refrigerator off the 4th floor balcony may be a fast and exciting way to
dispose of it, but it certainly isn’t the safest way. Even if the victim wasn’t directly
underneath it, as it crashed to the pavement, parts and pieces would go flying and
could possible strike someone nearby. Depending on the type of unit, hazardous
chemicals could leak from it due to the inevitable damage.
It appears the victim was distracted by a phone call. This happens all too much these
days with our reliance on cellular service that is clipped to our hip. The important rule
to remember is to never utilize your phone while working on moving equipment or in
other hazardous situations. Go to a safe area like an office, hallway or break room to
use your phone. Have it on vibrate or mute so you won’t be distracted if it rings while
on the job.
Each year there are several deaths caused by such “fun” in the workplace. Ensure you or your coworker isn’t the next headline in the newspaper.
Driving requires all the care and caution possible any time of year. But winter driving has even greater challenges because of wet and icy road surfaces, longer hours of darkness and poor visibility because of snow, rain and fog.
Today we ll look at the first 6 of 12 tips to help you drive more safely this winter.
Allow enough time to get to your destination. Rushing in difficult driving conditions can lead to an accident. Turn your radio on to listen to the road report and weather forecast. Leave a few minutes earlier in the morning, and allow plenty of time to get to work. Buckle up your seat belt or safety restraint before you start driving.
Stay alert. Don’t drive when you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or certain medications. Read the labels of prescription drugs and overthecounter medicines todetermine if they can cause drowsiness. Driving demands your full attention.
Stay calm. Sometimes other drivers will become frustrated with slowmoving traffic. Keep your temper and don’t let other drivers aggravate you. Maintain a safe speed and drive defensively.
Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles. The “two second rule” works well on dry roads and in ideal conditions, but in winter you should extend it to four seconds. Watch the vehicle directly ahead of you. As it passes a stationary object start counting “one thousand and one”, “one thousand and two”, and so on. Your vehicle should not pass the same object until you say the word “four.”
Keep your car well maintained and in good working order. This includes having good tread on your tires, the engine tunedup for winter, and all lights functioning properly. In colder climates, you may need to add antifreeze to the radiator. In some areas, gasoline antifreeze may be required.
Clean your windows and headlights frequently. Keep your windshield washer fluid topped up. Good visibility is essential to safe driving. Clean your windows and headlights of ice or snow before starting out, and repeat frequently throughout your trip.
Influenza or “The Flu” is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. In 2009 – 2010, a new and very different flu virus (called 2009 H1N1) spread worldwide causing the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. Flu is unpredictable, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects the 2009 H1N1 virus to spread this upcoming season along with otherseasonal flu viruses.
The CDC urges you to take the time to get a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as the seasonal vaccine is available. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older. Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people. Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water.
If soap and water are not available, use an alcoholbasedhand rub.
- Wash your hands or utilize hand sanitizer before and after eating or smoking.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
This is especially important after you go out in public and do things such as:
- Touch shopping carts
- Touch staircase hand rails
- Shake hands
- Utilize common areas or items such as restrooms or hand tools.
Setting a good example is not a “puton”.
It’s simplyworking safety into your daily routine at home and on the job. When we all work safely, everyone’s job is safe and their future more secure. New employees certainly benefit by seeing operations conducted the safe way. As you all know from experience,people new on the job take a while to adjust and to discover who they are in the overall setup of the plant.
New employees who have never held a job before or were employed by a firm that had a weak safety program probably will need considerable safety instruction. We’ll attempt to give it to them, but naturally, they also observe and seek advice and information from fellow workers. These early impressions of you and of safety operations will be at least partially formed through these contacts and observations.
On the other hand, newcomers formerly employed by a firm that emphasized safety will probably think more of you personally if you measure up to the caliber of people they are accustomed to working with.
“Don’t do as I do; do as I say” is a pretty tired expression, and it got tired because we all have repeated it many times not just verbally but through our actions; and actions speak louder than words. When we leave our safety glasses resting on our foreheads rather than in place over our eyes, or when we kick an empty milk carton under a bench rather than pick it up, we’re selling safety but it’s a useless soft sell. Our actions are saying, “I believe in wearing eye protection but not in protecting my eyes; and I know trash can cause a tripping accident, but it isn’t important enough to make me pick it up.”
There’s another angle to setting good examples. Too often people dress to impress others with their good taste rather than their knowledge of safety. Wearing rings, bracelets, and other ornaments is dangerous around machinery and in many other jobs where it’s possible for jewelry to be caught by moving parts of machinery, thus cause injury to the wearer. Long sleeves, floppy pant legs, and long hair can be hazardous on some jobs, too.
So we should always dress for the job. Our image as a fashion expert may suffer, but it will give way to the more important and more beneficial image of safety. Maybe some of us feel we are already setting good examples for safety, but maybe this selfimage isn’t too accurate. Think just for a moment isn’t it strange that we always think about having the nice things happen to us and when we think about an accident, it’s usually happening to someone else?
Accidents are a reality. Make your personal safety just as real and you’ll have a good chance of not becoming the other person to whom accidents are always happening. We also might remember that our children some day will be entering the work force. And they, like the newcomer on the job, can benefit by our actions that exemplify safety consciousness.
Most of us try to demonstrate to our kids how to cross streets or how to light matches when they’re of age. If, through the years, your kids learn from you how to use a ladder correctly, or that it’s good practice to keep tools in their proper places or that there’s a right way to lift things, you’ve given them an additional opportunity for the better life the future promises.
Cell phones can be a great convenience and a great tool . . . however their use at inappropriate times and inappropriate places can certainly be risky.
In British Columbia Canada a new road was being preloaded with sand and gravel. An engineer walked across a dump truck staging area next to the road while talking on his cell phone. A spotter was using hand signals to direct a loaded dump truck backwards along the staging area. The truck driver was maintaining visual contact with the spotter in his sideview mirror. The dump truck’s backup alarm was working normally. Two or three similar backup alarms were also sounding from other nearby mobile equipment.
The spotter turned away from the dump truck for about 10 seconds to check for other vehicles. He continued to motion the dump truck to reverse, without maintaining visual contact with it. During this 10second interval, the engineer stepped onto the staging area between the spotter and the reversing dump truck. Still talking on the cell phone, he stopped directly behind the reversing vehicle with his back to it. The driver could not see the engineer and continued to reverse as directed by the spotter. The spotter did not see the engineer.
The engineer was unaware that the dump truck was approaching. One of the dump truck’s rear tires snagged the back of the engineer’s leg, pulling him under the truck.
He died from his injuries.
This is one of the reasons we don’t allow cell phone use out in the production areas when working on the equipment. It only takes a second or two for distractions to take a fatal turn.
The National Safety Council has gotten behind a complete ban on all cell phone use while driving. Cleveland, Ohio recently banned texting while driving with fines up to $500 for third time offenders.
How many times have you heard a child (of any age) exclaim “it’s not my fault!” or “it wasn’t me!”?
Whether or not these statements are true is beside the point, what we are talking about is how we conduct ourselves and what image we project to those around us.
A responsible, conscientious person will say “it’s not my fault, but it’s my problem”.
These individuals identify themselves by their actions; they pickup that piece of garbage on the ground, they’re quick to lend a coworker a hand or show them a better, safer way. They step up and take the high road any chance they get.
Why? Because to these people, they see an opportunity every time a situation presents itself. An opportunity to eliminate a trip hazard, an opportunity to lighten the load for a coworker or to help them keep out of harms way. They may not be a supervisor or a lead hand, but they lead by example, they answer to themselves.
When you hear “Ah…somebody’s bound to get that”, they are that somebody, for them there’s always something to do, always an opportunity. When you get enough of these people working together (there’s never enough, always looking for new members) you get a company of people that do the right things, follow safe work procedures, help and look out for each other and coworkers throughout the site. They project an image of accountability and carry a reputation for getting things done and asking “what else can we help you with”.
If this sounds familiar, keep up the good work!
One of life’s biggest lessons is to keep your eye on the ball. In other words, stay vigilant and focused in everything you do. The following story certainly illustrates that for us.
Man Drowns At Party For Lifeguards
A man drowned while attending a party for New Orleans lifeguards who were celebrating their first drowningfree swimming season in memory, officials say.
Jerome Moody, 31, was found on the bottom at the deep end of a New Orleans Recreation Department pool at the end of the party Tuesday, department Director Madlyn Richard said. Moody was not a lifeguard and was at the party as a guest. He had not been swimming and was fully dressed, she said. Four lifeguards were on duty at the party and more than half the 200 people there were certified lifeguards, she said.
The body was found as the pool was being cleared at the close of the party. Lifeguards pulled the body out and attempted to revive Moody until emergency medical attendants arrived. An autopsy confirmed drowning.
”The lifeguards were really upset. It’s a real tragedy,” Ms. Richard said. ”This was the first annual party in memory where they could celebrate a troublefree season.
”We had all been talking about it. It was the first season without a single (drowning) incident.” The lifeguard party is held each year at the end of July when swimming pools are closed at 14 department centers.
So what’s the key learning here? Stay focused. Many good and/or bad things can occur around you each and everyday, however you must stay focused at the task at hand. Don’t let your emotions or the “security” of the environment make you drop your guard when it comes to safety.
It’s good you feel confident about your job. You take pride in your ability to do your work quickly and well. However, there is such a thing as overconfidence when you forget about the hazards and fail to use safe work practices.
No matter how long you have been on the job and no matter how skilled you are, you must remember the basic safety precautions. Don’t get complacent! Experienced workers have paid dearly for carelessness. They have been electrocuted because they failed to lock out the power when doing electrical repairs. They have been burned in explosions when they allowed an ignition source in a flammable atmosphere. They have been killed in falls from heights when they failed to hook up fall arrest gear. They have lost limbs while operating the same saws or punch presses they have used for years. They have been disabled in vehicle crashes while driving familiar routes.
All workplaces and tasks have certain hazards and risks. As a longtime worker, you can still become entangled in the conveyor if you wear loose clothing. The nip roll is just as tight and the floor may be just as slippery.
How do you avoid overconfidence when it comes to safety matters? Here are some suggestions:
Stay aware of the hazards. Remain alert and focus on doing the job safely.
Follow the recommended safe work practices at all times. Do not take short cuts.
Wear your Personal Protective Equipment every time.
Pay attention during safety meetings. You may have heard it all before, but a reminder never hurts.
As an experienced worker, you have a responsibility to set a good example for newcomers. Do things the safe way, because someone may be watching and learning from you. Never let overconfidence compromise your safety.
Every person is the architect of their own fortune, good or bad, depends on the individuals acceptance of personal responsibility.
At a young age, we are taught to assume responsibilities. (“Look before you cross the street . . .playing with matches is dangerous . . . be home before dark . . .”) Even today, as adults, we still learn and decide whether to accept certain obligations. Young or old, we make individual choices.
When responsibilities are shunned or rejected, someone must cope with the results. Police officers, judges, juvenile officers, and social workers respond to most of these rejections in our society. In safety, doctors, nurses, and funeral directors deal with the consequences of rejected responsibilities.
There are laws, both federal and state, designed to spell out responsibilities for safety in the workplace, but actual performance of these obligations still belongs to you. By accepting and practicing safety responsibility, you insure your future both at home and onthejob.
You do the same for your fellow worker as well, because socially and morally you are responsible for preventing accidents to others as well.
If you see an unsafe act, do something about it point it out so others are aware and can avoid future mistakes.
Point out to other employees when safety isn’t being practiced. (IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE SOMEDAY!) After all, it’s their responsibility to prevent an accident to you as well.
Be willing to serve on a safety committee. Be more than just a member, be active and creative.
Use good work habits don’t be impulsive, and remember that hurry up can hurt!
Develop the attitude that “If I do something wrong, I’m going to get hurt!” Then do the job the right way.
If you are a supervisor help new employees learn that safety is the rule, not the exception. Teach them proper safety responsibility before you turn them loose.
Practice leaving personal problems and emotional stress away from the job.
Remember that accidents don’t happen they are caused.
Correct little mistakes before they grow into permanent bad habits.
While attempts may be made to cloud or reject the responsibility for safety, when all is said and done, safety responsibility is up to you. You are the architects of your own fortune.
“Practice safety don’t learn it through Accidental Experience.”
Ten Creative Tips for Dealing with Resident Problems
The following ten tips will help any on-site professional more appropriately and effectively deal with Resident problems and problem Residents. While they are a bit simplistic, these ten tips provide a sound foundation for positive Resident relations.
1. Treat People Right!
2. Always be FEP [Friendly, Enthusiastic and Professional]. Remember that each problem is special. Although a problem may be routine for you – one you solve many times a day – it’s special and unique to the Resident. Treat it that way.
3. Don’t Try to Change the Resident! Accept people for whom they are. Realize the only person you can change is you.
4. Keep an Open Mind!
5. Don’t use “Already, Always Listening.” This means you already know what the other person is going to say because they always say it, so we “listen” to what’s going on in our head instead of what the Resident is really saying.
6. Keep All Promises. Be careful of what you say – and promise. Always do what you say you’re going to do …and do it right the first time.
7. Restate the Problem! This shows the Resident you are really listening and helps to eliminate errors. Take careful notes so the Resident can see that you are trying to help quickly. “Let me make sure I understand what you saying” – “Let me see if I got this correctly.” Ask: & quote; how would you like me to solve this problem?” The Resident may have an easy, cheap solution. Most people want less than we think they do, get their ideas first. “Do you have any ideas on how we might resolve this?”
8. Don’t Tell the Resident “You have to!” No one likes to be told they “have to” do anything, they can choose to do otherwise. Create an atmosphere or cooperation and get the Resident to “sign on” to a solution that will benefit them.
9. Don’t Hide Behind Company Policy! Effective Resident service requires you to do the right thing – not to simply do things right. Sometimes the right thing is not what policy says. Regardless, do not chirp the obnoxious statement, “Sorry. That’s company policy!” Remember, you are Selling TREKK!
10. Thank the Resident! Say thanks to the Resident for their “complaint” – even if you have to bite your tongue!
It is estimated at the end of 2008 there were 4 billion cell phone users worldwide. Can you hear me now?, the catchphrase used by Verizon, has become part of our culture. Cell phone use has expanded into every activity in our lives, from emergency communication to picking products from a grocery shelf. It sometimes seems people have no idea what to do with a spare moment other than make a cell phone call.
Whether you are in the presence of a user or you use a cell phone personally, using the phone is a significant distraction. Being distracted while driving, while operating tools and equipment, when walking across the street, when in public or at work, increases the risk of injuries and crashes.
Researchers have compared the level of distraction to a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Research also has shown that a cell phone conversation while driving is a greater distraction than conversing with a passenger. Drivers reacted significantly slower to unexpected events in the first two minutes of the phone conversation and are, for a large part of the conversation, unaware of traffic movements around them.
Many states have banned the use of cell phones without a handsfree device. Although that may help a little, the distraction is still present. Your best bet is to pull over to the side of the road or pull into a parking lot if you must have the conversation.
Additionally, never utilize your cell phone out on our production floor. Go to an office, outside or the cafeteria to make the call.
Safety is everyones responsibility! As an employee, you should:
Learn to work safely and take all rules seriously.
Recognize hazards and avoid them.
Report all accidents, injuries and illness to your supervisor immediately.
Inspect tools before use to avoid injury.
Wear all assigned personal protective equipment.
On the other hand, it is managements responsibility to:
Provide a safe and healthy workplace.
Provide personal protective equipment.
Train employees in safe procedures and in how to identify hazards.
Everyone must be aware of potential hazards on the job:
Poor housekeeping results in slips, trips and falls.
Electricity can cause shocks, burns or fire if not handled properly.
Poor material handling may cause back problems or other injuries.
Tools and equipment can cause injuries if guards or protective devices are disengaged.
Always use the protections that are provided on the job:
Guards on machines and tools keep body parts from contacting moving equipment.
Insulation on electrical equipment prevents burns, shock and fire.
Lockout/tagout assures equipment is deenergized before it is repaired.
Personal protective equipment shields your body from hazards you may face on the job.
In case of emergency:
Understand alarms and evacuation routes.
Know how to notify emergency response personnel.
Implement a procedure for leaving the scene safely so emergency personnel can do their job.
Wipe up spills promptly and correctly.
Safety benefits everyone. With fewer injuries, a business can be more productive and profitable. By incorporating safety rules, employees avoid injury as well as illness from exposure to hazardous substances.
Old Story in Waste Removal: A Worker
Collapses, Then Rescuers Do
By RAY RIVERA JULY 2, 2009
A worker goes down a dry well and is overcome by toxic gases. A fellow worker goes down to help.
He, too, is overcome. And then another. It may seem like a freakish accident. But the sequence that
played out at a Queens recycling plant this week, leaving three people dead, is more common than
many realize — and a standard hazard in the waste management and sewage industries.
The three workers — a plumber and his son and a recycling plant worker
— are believed to have succumbed to hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas with a distinctive odor of
rotten eggs. It is produced by decaying organic matter. Such deaths make up only a small fraction
of worker fatalities in the United States each year, but they have the grim distinction of
regularly including one or more wouldbe rescuers.
“I think it’s a natural reaction to run in there and see if a person is O.K.,” said Dr. Robert G.
Hendrickson, an Oregon physician who has studied co worker fatalities in hydrogen sulfide deaths.
“And I think there is this secondary thought process in workers to think: ‘That person was down
there for a while and that’s why they passed out, and if I run down real quick, I’ll be O.K.’ ”
Last year, two employees of a Schenectady waste cleanup company died after one climbed into a waste
tank to make repairs and was quickly overcome by fumes, followed by the second worker, who tried to
pull him out. In 2007, four workers died at a Wisconsin landfill pit after one was overcome by
fumes and the next three, one after the other, made fatal rescue attempts.
Dr. Hendrickson and two coresearchers found that in 42 incidences of workers’ dying of hydrogen
sulfide toxicity between 1993 and 1997, more than onefifth involved multiple deaths, including
coworkers killed while trying to rescue a colleague. In all, 52 workers died over that period. The
deaths have mounted despite strict standards governing work in confined spaces set by the federal
Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Investigators with OSHA and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation are still sorting
out what happened at the Regal Recycling Company in Jamaica, Queens, on Monday.
According to city and state officials, the company hired a Queens sewage company, S. Dahan Sewage
Specialists, to clean a dry well that was clogged. Employees at Regal said the hole, which was
about 3 feet wide and 18 feet deep, was intended to collect storm runoff from the recycling yard,
where trucks deliver garbage and other materials, much of it from construction sites.
According to Fire Department officials, the owner of the sewage company, Shlomo Dahan, 49, and his
son, Harel Dahan, 23, arrived at the well with a vacuum truck typically used to clean septic tanks.
They were joined by Rene Francisco Rivas, 53, an employee of the recycling company. The younger Mr.
Dahan went down the hole first, descending a ladder affixed to a rope, according to John Sudnik,
deputy assistant fire chief of the Queens Borough Command.
When he did not return, his father went in after him, followed by Mr.
Chief Sudnik, speaking to reporters on the day of the accident, said the hydrogen sulfide
concentration in the hole was 200 parts per million, double the amount that environmental experts
consider “imminently dangerous.” But safety experts and people with experience working in confined
spaces said there are standard precautions before descending into such a space.
“What they should have done before anyone went into this hole, they should have sampled the air for
hydrogen sulfide,” said Gary M. Hutter, a safety consultant who teaches OSHA compliance at the
Illinois Institute of Technology.
The first person to descend should also have been in a harness system attached to a hoist, Mr.
Hutter said, “so if he passes out they could have had a mechanism to pull him back up without
anyone going in.”
The crew should also have had selfcontained breathing equipment nearby and written procedures,
known by OSHA as an “entry permit,” detailing a rescue plan, among other requirements, Mr. Hutter
Among the issues OSHA will be looking at is whether S. Dahan followed all of these regulations, as
well as whether Regal had any responsibility to ensure the contract workers did. The agency’s
investigation could take several months.
Regal Recycling declined to discuss the accident. But through its lawyer, Peter Sullivan, it said:
“The company is devastated by the loss for the families in the community. The company retained a
professional firm to clean out the system and relied upon the expertise of that company.”
S. Dahan, which is listed in corporate papers as S. Dahan Piping and Heating Corporation, did not
return phone calls on Thursday.
Mr. Sullivan said this was the first time Regal had hired S. Dahan to clean out its dry well.
Landfills and recycling stations often have dry wells to catch storm runoff and filter it before it
enters the water table, and often the wells have to be cleared of sediment, said David Blackman,
executive director of the New York State Association for Solid Waste Management, a group that
represents municipal solid waste managers.
“Most landfills are pretty rigorous about having training of any staff that goes down there,” Mr.
Blackman said. “And I think in many cases they hire a company to come in and clean it out who has
staff that are fully equipped and fully trained so they don’t have a problem.”
But even as training and equipment has improved over the years, people who work in the business say
there is often a tendency to ignore the complex safety regulations involved in going into a
“The problem is that you can go into a hundred of these and never have an issue,” said Ralph
Macchio Sr., who ran a liquid waste removal business on Long Island for 40 years and has been
active in raising safety issues in the industry. “Then all of a sudden on the wrong day you go into
it and you have a problem.”
The problem of dangerous gas buildup in confined spaces is nothing new, and cuts across several
industries, including mining, oil production and farming. Also not new is the problem of
coworkers’ also dying while trying to rescue a colleague. An 1883 article in The New York Times
recounts an episode, eerily similar to this week’s accident, in a cesspool in New Jersey in which
two people died. In 2007, a Virginia dairy farmer died of exposure to hydrogen sulfide, which at
high levels deadens the sense of smell, in a manure pit. Three other family members died trying to
“It’s very much the case where you will have many people die in the same confined space, because your instinct is to help that person, and the only way you know to help him is to go and get him,” said Bob Kendall, publisher of Pumper Magazine, a trade publication for the
liquid waste removal industry. “And if you go to get him, you’re not coming out.”
A version of this article appears in print on , on page A24 of the New York edition with the
headline: Old Story in Waste Removal: A Worker Collapses, Then Rescuers Do.
2016 The New York Times Company
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable, extremely hazardous gas with a “rotten egg” smell. It occurs naturally in crude petroleum and natural gas, and can be produced by the breakdown of organic matter and human/ animal wastes (e.g., sewage). It is heavier than air and can collect in low-lying and enclosed, poorly ventilated areas such as basements, manholes, sewer lines and underground telephone/electrical vaults.
Detection by Smell:
Can be smelled at low levels, but with continuous lowlevel exposure or at higher concentrations you lose your ability to smell the gas even though it is still present.
At high concentrations – your ability to smell the gas can be lost instantly.
DO NOT depend on your sense of smell for indicating the continuing presence of this gas or for warning of hazardous concentrations.
Health effects vary with how long, and at what level, you are exposed. Asthmatics may be at greater risk.
Low concentrations – irritation of eyes, nose, throat, or respiratory system; effects can be delayed.
Moderate concentrations – more severe eye and respiratory effects, headache, dizziness, nausea, coughing, vomiting and difficulty breathing. High concentrations – shock, convulsions, unable to breathe, coma, death; effects can be extremely rapid (within a few breaths).
Before Entering Areas with Possible Hydrogen Sulfide:
The air needs to be tested for the presence and concentration of hydrogen sulfide by a qualified person using test equipment. This individual also determines if fire/explosion precautions are necessary.
If gas is present, the space should be ventilated.
If the gas cannot be removed, use appropriate respiratory protection and any other necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), rescue and communication equipment. Atmospheres containing high concentrations (greater than 100 ppm) are considered immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) and a selfcontained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is required.
A North Augusta man was killed after his Dodge pickup truck lunged forward and into a tree, closing the driver’s side door on him and causing him to suffocate. James Honaker, of Buckthorn Court, was 52 years old.
He was pronounced dead at his home around 7 a.m., said Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton. Officials tried to piece together the details of what may have happened after talking with the man’s wife and a handful of witnesses who came upon the man after the accident.
Carlton said the North Augusta man had moved his truck out of the driveway to let his wife move her vehicle out of the garage before work when the accident occurred. She left, and Honaker likely pulled his vehicle forward and up the driveway, possibly leaning out of the truck to scoop up the newspaper. The truck lunged forward and crashed into a pine tree, trapping the man, Carlton said.
After the 52-year-old failed to show up for work, his employer called his wife. She returned to her home and found EMS was already at the family’s residence. A group of construction workers in the area were driving by when they reported seeing the trapped man and called for help.
Aiken EMS found the door had closed in on him, and the coroner’s office was notified. The vehicle was still in drive. Officials can’t be sure if Honaker fell as he was leaning out to pick up the paper or if he slipped.
He was unable to free himself after being trapped.
In one sense or another we get confronted with this question every day. There are deadlines and people looking over our shoulders (sometimes literally), or the weather is nasty and we want to take that little short cut to get the job done quicker. All the pressures and temptations we face every day ask this same question: “Is there ever an excuse not to work safely?”
We sometimes want to say, ’’Maybe just this one time I will take a chance. I can get away with it once.” Unfortunately, that seems to be the time when we have our worst injuries.
There is a real life example from a Machine shop not far from our shops. The rule in the shop (as in our shop) is that no running is allowed. The head sawyer was finishing a job and the truck picking up the order was literally waiting for the last piece. When the cut was finished, the sawyer grabbed the part and ran towards the delivery truck. It was 2:30 in the afternoon and the sun was at the perfect angle to blind him as he came around a corner. The sawyer kept moving quickly towards the delivery area. He noticed that there was a forklift parked but assumed that it was in the normal parking spot and that it would not be a problem. The forklift was not in the normal parking spot and someone left the forks off the ground while they went to arrange a pallet they were about to pick up. The sawyer caught his right foot under the forks. The foot literally jammed between the fork and floor. He suffered an almost complete tearing of several ligaments and tendons as well as two hairline fractures. His ankle required surgical repair and there is some doubt he will ever return to his old job.
If you were to ask this man if he had an excuse for not working safely he would probably reply that he was trying to impress the customer. If you asked him if it was worth it, the answer would be obvious. Did the sawyer know the rule about not running in the shop? You bet he did. By running in the shops he did not have time to avoid an unforeseen hazard and was seriously injured.
The vast majority of industrial injuries are the result of people doing something that they know is wrong. We might think that the rule can be broken just this once. However, the reason most company safety rules and most OH&S legislation is in place is because someone was seriously injured or killed not following the safest work practice.
If you think what you are about to do is unsafe, it probably is. Stop and think about it.
Many of us at TREKK spend our working performing tasks in the field and a great deal of this time is spent working in around traffic. Please pay attention to your surroundings and ensure that proper traffic control is in place to protect both yourself and the general public. You are TREKK’s most valued resources and your safety is of the upmost importance.
Driver disregards traffic cones and slams into worker, pinning him against jet/vac truck.
A sewer worker and a driver were both killed in a traffic accident in Porter, Texas, on April 26. Paul Mackedanz, 23, was cleaning the sewer line when the vehicle struck him,The Humble Times reports.
“Witnesses stated the sewer worker was behind the pump truck cleaning the lines,” says Erik Burse of the Texas Highway Patrol. “Another vehicle disregarded the cones and struck the victim, pinning him against the pump truck.”
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Mackedanz was standing behind his jet/vac truck when the driver of a Chevy Cobalt disregarded the cones around the truck and slammed into it.
Traffic control guidelines provide a clear plan for keep workers safe on the road.
You may not spend as much time working in roadways as a highway construction worker, but work zones on streets and roadways are still dangerous places. There are many strategies that can help prevent workers and equipment being struck by passing cars.
The risks for highway construction workers are a bit different, of course. About half of the fatalities involve construction equipment rather than passing traffic. But there is a lot to be learned from an industry that strives to prevent the 100 deaths and 20,000 injuries that occur in work zones on the nation’s roads every year.
Because there are no published standards or regulations, the U.S. Department of Transportation developed Utility Work Zone Traffic Control Guidelines to help those working in temporary traffic work zones. The guidelines are intended for utility work, such as electric supply, gas, telephone, cable, sewer cleaning, grass cutting, tree trimming and landscaping work located in or around public thoroughfares, according to the DOT.
Many of our field crews work in areas that may have a higher crime rate and are more susceptible to robbery while performing their duties. Crew members for a competitor in Memphis were targeted this week and robbed at gun point while conducting their work activities. Please pay attention to your surroundings and attempt to stay within eye sight of a co-worker when possible. You may also consider leaving valuables at home when working in these areas and carry a dummy billfold with $5 to $10 dollars and a driver’s license only to prevent the theft of credit cards or large sums of cash.
Robbery Prevention Tips:
- TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS – If you sense trouble, get away as soon as possible.
- SHOW CONFIDENCE – Walk at a steady pace, keep your head up and avoid carrying lots of packages…It can make you look defenseless.
- DON’T LOOK LIKE AN EASY TARGET – Robbers want someone who will provide the least resistance. If you look like you know where you are going, walk with your head up and eyes alert, you will most likely be left alone.
- BE OBSERVANT.
- REMAIN ALERT AND OBSERVE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. Know who is walking behind and in front of you. Things to watch for include suspicious persons or vehicles, people who are wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather (EX. A long trench coat in the middle of summer), and people just loitering around.
What to do DURING a robbery:
- STAY CALM. Do not make any sudden movements to upset the robber.
- DON’T BE A HERO! Your life is worth more than your money!
- Follow the robber’s directions, but not volunteer more than he asks for.
- Activate an alarm ONLY if you can do it secretly.
- Tell the robber about anything that might surprise him. Example: You are expecting company soon.
- If you have to move, tell the robber what you are doing and why.
- Try to get a good look at the robber so that you can describe him later. Make mental notes of race, age, sex, height, weight, hair and eye color, build, and clothing. Note anything unusual about the robber, such as scars, tattoos, strange mannerisms or speech patterns.
- Note the type, size and color of the weapon used.
- Give the robber time to leave.
- Note the direction of the robber when he leaves
- Try to get a description of the vehicle ONLY if you can do so without putting yourself in harm’s way.
What to do AFTER a robbery:
- CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY. Even if you have already activated an alarm, you should still call the police.
- DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING THE ROBBER HAS TOUCHED. You may smudge a fingerprint.
- TRY AND RECALL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ABOUT THE ROBBER. Write down everything you can think of while it is still fresh in your mind, including the robber’s speech and mannerisms.
- If there are any witnesses, ask them to remain until the police arrive. If they are unable to stay, get the witness’ name, address, and phone number.
- Ask all the witnesses to write down their account of the robbery, including suspect information. Do not compare notes. People observe things in different ways, so what you might notice, another person may not and vice versa. Comparing notes could cause memories to be skewed.
Professional football players are tough. But more teams are outfitting their training camps with
kiddie pools — a simple way to help players suffering from the heat. Contractors need to protect
their employees from the heat, too.
The NFL helped start the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut to conduct
research, education and advocacy for the prevention of heat stroke, named for the All- Pro lineman
who died from heat stroke during training camp in 2001.
The 27-year-old technician had just been hired and was not acclimated to working in hot weather. He
was part of a four- man crew that was carrying and installing 12-inch PVC pipe. The crew began work
around 8:30. At about 3 p.m., he became ill and his employer suggested that he rest in the shade. About 15
minutes later, his co-workers noticed he was slumped over and unconscious. Paramedics transported
the victim to the hospital where he died six days later from complications related to heat stroke.
Just as outdoor sports teams at most levels now follow rules and procedures to help get players
acclimated to and deal with the heat, OSHA launched its Heat Illness Prevention Campaign in 2011 to
help protect workers and employers.
tough attitude of no water breaks to mandatory hydration and rest periods, it’s time for all
employers to embrace a safer approach to heat safety.
Related: Exam Study Guide: Water Treatment Safety
Water, rest, shade
Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe work environment, including a program to
prevent heat-related illness and fatalities. OSHA recommends:
• Provide workers with water, rest and shade
• Workers should drink water every 15 minutes, even if they are not thirsty
• Rest in the shade to cool down
• Wear a hat and light- colored clothing
• Acclimatize new and returning workers to the heat by gradually increasing workload and providing
• Train workers about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention
Monitor workers for signs of illness
According to OSHA, the most susceptible workers are those who are not used to working in the heat.
It recommends an altered work schedule on the first day of a heat wave or for those returning to
work after more than a week off.
Protective measures Below 91°F (Low Risk)
• Provide water
• Ensure that adequate medical services are available
• Plan ahead for times when heat index is higher, including worker heat safety training
• Encourage workers to wear sunscreen
• Acclimatize workers
If workers must wear heavy protective clothing, perform strenuous activity, or work in the direct
sun, additional precautions are recommended. Direct sun increase the heat index by about 15°.
91°F to 103°F (Moderate Risk)
In addition to the steps listed above:
• Remind workers to drink water often (about
• Review heat-related illness topics with workers
• Schedule frequent breaks in cool, shaded area
• Acclimatize workers
• Set up buddy system
– watch workers for signs of heat-related illness
If workers must wear heavy protective clothing, perform strenuous activity, or work in the direct
• Schedule activities at a time when the heat index is lower
• Develop work/rest schedule
103°F to 115°F (High Risk)
In addition to the steps listed above:
• Alert workers of high risk
• Actively encourage workers to drink plenty of water (about four cups/hour)
• Limit physical exertion
• Have a knowledgeable person at the work site who is well-informed about
heat-related illness and able to determine appropriate work/rest schedules
• Establish and enforce work/rest schedules
• Adjust work activities (e.g., reschedule work, pace/rotate jobs)
• Use cooling techniques
• Watch/communicate with workers at all times
When possible, reschedule activities to a time when heat index is lower.
Above 115°F (Very High to Extreme Risk)
• Reschedule nonessential activity to a day or time when the heat index is lower
• Move essential work tasks to the coolest part of the
work shift; consider earlier
start times, split shifts, or evening and night shifts
• Strenuous work tasks and those requiring the use of heavy or nonbreathable clothing or
impermeable chemical protective clothing should not be conducted
If essential work must be done:
• Alert workers of extreme heat hazards
• Establish water drinking schedule (about four cups/hour)
• Develop and enforce work/rest schedules
• Conduct physiological monitoring (e.g., pulse, temperature, etc.)
• Stop work if essential control methods are inadequate or unavailable
Symptoms to watch for:
Heat Exhaustion: Headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst and heavy sweating. It can turn into heat stroke quickly if immediate action is not taken.
Heat Stroke: Confusion, fainting, seizures, very high body temperature and red, hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.
Requires immediate medical attention.
What to Do When a Worker is Ill From the Heat:
• Call a supervisor for help; if the supervisor is not available, call 911
• Have someone stay with the worker until help arrives
• Move the worker to a cooler/shaded area
• Remove outer clothing
• Fan and mist the worker with water; apply ice (ice bags or ice towels)
• Provide cool drinking water, if able to drink
If the worker is not alert or seems confused, it may be a heat stroke. Call 911 immediately and apply ice as soon as possible.
DEET, showers, and tick checks can stop ticks.
Reduce your chances of getting a tickborne disease by using repellents, checking for ticks, and showering after being outdoors. If you have a tick bite followed by a fever or rash, seek medical attention. Ticks can infect humans with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause serious illness.
Before You Go Outdoors
Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through leaf litter or near shrubs. Always walk in the center of trails in order to avoid contact with ticks.
Products containing permethrin kill ticks. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
Use a repellent with DEET on skin. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions.
After You Come Indoors
Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat for at least an hour effectively kills ticks.
Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, which even includes your back yard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
What to Do if You Find an Attached Tick
Remove the attached tick as soon as you notice it by grasping with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out. Watch for signs of illness such as rash or fever in the days and weeks following the bite, and see a health care provider if these develop. Your risk of acquiring a tick-borne illness depends on many factors, including where you live, what type of tick bit you, and how long the tick was attached. If you become ill after a tick bite, see a health care provider.
Reduce Ticks in Your Yard:
Modify your landscape to create Tick-Safe Zones[6.82 MB]. Regularly remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks away from recreational areas, and keep play areas and playground equipment away from away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation.
Consider using a chemical control agent. Effective tick control chemicals are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert, and even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticks. A single springtime application of acaricide can reduce the population of ticks that cause Lyme disease by 68–100%.
Discourage deer. Removing plants that attract deer and constructing physical barriers may help discourage deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them.
Prevent Ticks on Animals:
Use tick control products to prevent family pets from bringing ticks into the home. Tick collars, sprays, shampoos, or “top spot” medications should be used regularly to protect your animals and your family from ticks. Consult your veterinarian and be sure to use these products according to the package instructions. For more information on animals and health, see Preventing Ticks on Your Pet.
What does Take Safety with You mean?
It means driving defensively, using seat belts in our vehicles, using firearms safely when hunting
and applying safety practices at home, including wearing safety shoes when mowing the lawn; wearing
safety eyewear while hammering nails; using lighter fluid to start charcoal grills, not gasoline; turning
off a circuit breaker before replacing a light fixture.
We want everyone to develop the habit of thinking about safety during a work shift, on the way
home, at home or on vacation. Thus, think about safety before you start any job, when you go to do
something that’s potentially dangerous (i.e., lighting a gas burner, jumpstarting a vehicle,
etc.), when putting on safety equipment and by making sure machine guards are in place. Think about
safety several times; particularly, if you have to change what you are doing.
Ask yourself the following questions at work and at home:
Do I know the safety procedures for this job or task? Are they adequate? Do I really understand
What personal protective equipment do I need? Is it in good condition? Is it adequate?
What tools and other equipment do I need to do the job safely? Are they the correct
ones? Are they in good condition? Do I know how to use them?
Are there other risks to my safety or the safety of others? What if something happens
quickly or unexpectedly? Do I know how to respond to avoid injury?
How often should we have thoughts about safety?
Constantly! The human mind is one of the fastest processors of information. To think about all of
this need only take a few seconds.
Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high
and it often is accompanied by dehydration.
There are two types of heat exhaustion:
• Water depletion. Signs include excessive thirst, weakness, headache, and loss of
• Salt depletion. Signs include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness.
Although heat exhaustion isn’t as serious as heat stroke, it isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which can damage the
brain and other vital organs, and even cause death.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
• Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
• Muscle or abdominal cramps
• Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
• Pale skin
• Profuse sweating
• Rapid heartbeat
Treatment for Heat Exhaustion
If you, or anyone else, has symptoms of heat exhaustion, it’s essential to immediately get out of
and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned room. If you can’t get inside, try to find the nearest
cool and shady place.
Other recommended strategies include:
• Drink plenty of fluid (avoid caffeine and alcohol).
• Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
• Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
• Apply other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels.
If such measures fail to provide relief within 15 minutes, seek emergency medical help, because
untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.
After you’ve recovered from heat exhaustion, you’ll probably be more sensitive to high temperatures
during the following week. So it’s best to avoid hot weather and heavyexercise until your doctor
tells you that it’s safe to resume your normal activities.
Risk Factors for Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is strongly related to the heat index, which is a measurement of how hot you feel
when the effects of relative humidity and air temperature are combined. A relative humidity of 60%
or more hampers sweat evaporation, which hinders your body’s ability to cool itself.
The risk of heat-related illness dramatically increases when the heat index climbs to 90 degrees or
more. So it’s important — especially during heat waves — to pay attention to the reported heat
index, and also to remember that the heat index is even higher when you are standing in full
When the heat index is high, it’s best to stay inside in air conditioning. If you must go outdoors,
you can prevent heat exhaustion by taking these steps:
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat.
• Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
• Drink extra fluids. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water, fruit juice, or vegetable
juice per day. Because heat-related illness also can result from salt depletion, it may be
advisable to substitute an electrolyte-rich sports drink for water during periods of extreme heat
and humidity. Ask your doctor about the best types of fluid and how much you should be drinking.
• A general recommendation for those doing moderate- to high-intensity exercise is to drink 17 to
20 ounces of fluid two to three hours before exercise, and consider adding another eight ounces of
water or sports drink right before exercise. During exercise, you should consume another seven to
ten ounces of water every 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Also, drink another 8 ounces
within a half hour after exercise. Take additional precautions when exercising or working outdoors.
• Avoid fluids containing either caffeine or alcohol, because both substances can make you lose
more fluids and worsen heat exhaustion. If you have epilepsy or heart,kidney, or liver disease, are
on a fluid-restricted diet, or have a problem with fluid retention, check with your doctor before
increasing liquid intake.
Follow These Driving Safety Tips to Help Avoid Accidents
Whether you’re driving alone or with passengers, safety should always be your top concern. With
more distractions than ever, it’s crucial that drivers know the basics of safe driving and practice
them every time they’re behind the wheel. Here are some auto safety tips to follow on the road.
Don’t allow children to fight or climb around in your car (they should be buckled in their seats at
all times). One accidental bump or too much noise can easily distract you from concentrating on
Cell phones can also take your focus away from the task at hand: arriving safely at your
destination. Learn more about the under-reporting of cell phone involvement in fatal car crashes at
Nationwide’s blog: In the Nation.
Avoid driving when you’re tired. Be aware that some medications can cause drowsiness and make
operating a vehicle very dangerous. Get the full scoop on drowsy driving.
Always use caution when changing lanes. Cutting in front of someone, changing lanes too fast or not
using your signals may cause an accident or upset other drivers.
Take extra precautions while driving during deer season.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality
sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and
safety. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping.
During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical
health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. The damage from
sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For
example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can
affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-Being
Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next
day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Studies show that a good
night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play the piano, how to
perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and
problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep
deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and
behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and
risk-taking behavior. Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along
with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack
motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel
Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing
and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk
of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep deficiency also
increases the risk of obesity. For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of
sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity in
other age groups as well.
Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full
(leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin
goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested. Sleep also affects how your
body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep
deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for
diabetes. Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to
release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts
muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a
role in puberty and fertility. Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system
defends your body against foreign or harmful substances.
Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if
you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.
Daytime Performance and Safety
Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People
who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school. They take longer to finish tasks,
have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes. After several nights of losing sleep—even a
loss of just 1–2 hours per night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all
for a day or two. Lack of sleep also may lead to microsleep. Microsleep refers to brief moments of
sleep that occur when you’re normally awake. You can’t control microsleep, and you might not be
aware of it. For example, have you ever driven somewhere and then not remembered part of the trip?
If so, you may have experienced microsleep. Even if you’re not driving, microsleep can affect how
you function. If you’re listening to a lecture, for example, you might miss some of the information
or feel like you don’t understand the point. In reality, though, you may have slept through part of
the lecture and not been aware of it. Some people aren’t aware of the risks of sleep deficiency. In
fact, they may not even realize that they’re sleep deficient. Even with limited or poor-quality
sleep, they may still think that they can function well. For example, drowsy drivers may feel
capable of driving. Yet, studies show that sleep deficiency harms your driving ability as much as,
or more than, being drunk. It’s estimated that driver sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car
accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths.
Drivers aren’t the only ones affected by sleep deficiency. It can affect people in all lines of
work, including health care workers, pilots, students, lawyers, mechanics, and assembly line
As a result, sleep deficiency is not only harmful on a personal level, but it also can cause
large-scale damage. For example, sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to
tragic accidents, such
as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and aviation accidents.
- Behavioral Safety Who Is Responsible
Safety is everyones responsibility! As an employee, you should:
- Learn to work safely and take all rules seriously. Recognize hazards and avoid them.
- Report all accidents, injuries and illness to your supervisor immediately.
- Inspect tools before use to avoid injury.
- Wear all assigned personal protective equipment.
On the other hand, it is managements responsibility to:
- Provide a safe and healthy workplace. Provide personal protective equipment.
- Train employees in safe procedures and in how to identify hazards.
Everyone must be aware of potential hazards on the job:
- Poor housekeeping results in slips, trips and falls.
- Electricity can cause shocks, burns or fire if not handled properly.
- Poor material handling may cause back problems or other injuries.
- Tools and equipment can cause injuries if guards or protective devices are disengaged.
Always use the protections that are provided on the job:
- Guards on machines and tools keep body parts from contacting moving equipment.
- Insulation on electrical equipment prevents burns, shock and fire.
- Lockout/tagout assures equipment is deenergized before it is repaired.
- Personal protective equipment shields your body from hazards you may face on the job.
In case of emergency:
- Understand alarms and evacuation routes.
- Know how to notify emergency response personnel.
- Implement a procedure for leaving the scene safely so emergency personnel can do their job.
- Wipe up spills promptly and correctly.
Safety benefits everyone. With fewer injuries, a business can be more productive and profitable. By incorporating safety rules, employees avoid injury as well as illness from exposure to hazardous substances.
When the word audit is mentioned, people generally think of a negative experience, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax audit or of a confrontation.
However, it is possible for audits to be positive.
First, let’s consider the definition of audit. Audit: A systematic or methodical review; to examine
with intent to verify.
Audits can apply to your job. From a safety standpoint there is only one way to do a job the safe
way. Safety needs to be the first consideration in everything we do. It is possible that we may not
always be doing this, so our continuing efforts to review or think about our jobs are auditing.
Contrary to an IRS audit which evaluates what we did not record, our job audit should evaluate what
we did record. If we take the time to at least mentally think out the steps that we go through to
perform a task, we can audit it to ensure we are safe.
Look at these things prior to completing a task:
- PPE, do we have the correct eye protection? The correct gloves? Protective footwear?
- Do we need any special PPE such as a chemical apron or a harness?
- Is our PPE in good condition?
- Do we have the correct tools and are they in good shape?
- Do we know how to operate the tools or equipment?
- Do we know how to accomplish the task safely?
- Do we know the harmful energy sources around the area and have we isolated them?
These are a just a few of the questions we should ask. However, they include some of the most
important ones. Ensure you do a quick audit, prior to accomplishing a task. A more thorough one
should be done if we’re doing something for the first time or for the first time in a long time.
Why do we have safety meetings?
Safety meetings are an opportunity for management and your safety department to communicate to employees how they can
do their jobs safer and better. Topics discussed in safety meetings may be topics that you are
familiar with, or topics that you have limited knowledge about.
If the topic is something that you are familiar with, it may be easy to tuneout and not listen to
the safety information presented. Do yourself a big favor and listen to the information as if you
have never heard before. You may just learn something new, about the newest protective equipment,
or a smarter way to do your job. Information passed on in a safety meeting has a purpose to stop
you or your coworker from being injured. Safety meetings also allow employees an opportunity to
relay safety concerns or improvement ideas to their supervisors.
Accidents result from unsafe acts or unsafe conditions. According to some
experts, for a variety of reasons, unsafe acts typically account for 90% of all accidents. Safety
meetings serve as a preventative measure against unsafe acts by educating employees on how they can
do their job safely.
If you’re still not sold, let’s look at the potential cost of accidents. More specifically, how can
accidents directly affect you?
DEATH The ultimate unwanted result. Where does this leave your loved ones? FINANCIAL COST Lost
pay or reduction in pay. Who pays the bills? Are you the sole income producer in your household?
PAIN & SUFFERING An obvious detriment that no one desires.
DISABILITY A life changing experience. Now you’re not able to do what you use
to do. Maybe now you can’t cast that fishing rod? Ride that bike, hug your wife, lift your child,
or simply see? Or perhaps you’re confined to a wheelchair. Good bye career.
COMPETITIVENESS ON BIDDING JOBS Other than payroll and benefits, worker’ compensation insurance
and accident costs may represent the bulk of a company’s operating expense. When a company’s
operating expense increases, they are then less competitive to bid jobs. If your company is not
awarded jobs, where does that leave you?
YOUR COWORKERS SAFETY Perhaps you and your coworker have been working together for sometime
now. Chances are you may spend as much time with your coworkers as you do your own family. Thus,
you obviously do not want something bad to happen to them. Watch out for their safety too.
Safety meetings are a perfect opportunity for you to communicate any safety ideas or concerns that
you may have. Participate in your safety meetings. If you don’t participate, then your ideas will
not be heard.
Who knows…the idea that you have may very well save your coworker’s life or even your own.
Rising workplace stress is a large albatross hanging around the necks of workers and employers. According to recent studies of the subject by the U.S. Department of Labor, the American Psychological Association, Yankelovich Monitor and CCH Inc., there was a 20.3 percent increase in job absences caused by anxiety, stress and neurotic disorders. Stress affects moral, productivity and safety. Developing a healthy workplace can pay off in reversing this trend. Inviting employees to have a say about their work environment in an honest and open fashion can change the workplace culture and reduce stress.
Workplace Stress Defined
Workplace stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the employee. Workplace stress results from the interaction of the staff member and the conditions of work. Views differ, however, on the importance of the individual characteristics versus working conditions as the primary cause of job stress. Differences in such individual characteristics as personality and coping style are most important in predicting whether certain job conditions will result in stress—in other words, what is stressful for one person may not be a problem for someone else. Other factors to consider in workplace stress include the design of tasks, autocratic management style, work roles, job insecurity or such difficult environmental conditions as noisy or dangerous working conditions.
Early Warnings of Job Stress
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Short temper
- Upset stomach
- Job dissatisfaction
- Low morale
Workplace stress can have physiological effects, which include headache, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, digestive problems and depression, on employees. The effects of job stress on chronic diseases are more difficult to see because chronic diseases take a long time to develop and can be influenced by many factors other than stress. Nonetheless, evidence is rapidly accumulating to suggest that stress plays an important role in several types of chronic health problems—especially cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders. Lack of concentration or stress reaction can lead to workplace injuries.
By ensuring that the workload is in line with each staff member’s capabilities and resources, the level of frustration that a person feels could be reduced. Design jobs to provide meaning, stimulation, and opportunities for employees to use their skills. Clearly define staff members’ roles and responsibilities. Give them opportunities to participate in decisions and actions affecting their jobs.
Job design is also an important factor. Good job design accommodates a person’s mental and physical abilities. The following job design guidelines will help minimize or control workplace stress. Where stress in the workplace is caused, for example, by a physical agent, it is best to control it at its source. If the workplace is too loud, implement control measures to deal with the noise wherever possible. If a person is experiencing pain from repetitive strain, the workstation can be redesigned to reduce repetitive and strenuous movements.
Teach employees to relax by taking several deep breaths throughout the day, or taking regular stretch breaks. Stretching is simple enough to do anywhere and takes only a few seconds. Help individuals take charge of their situations by setting aside 10 minutes at the beginning of each day to prioritize and organize their day’s tasks and responsibilities. Encourage them to be honest with colleagues, but be constructive and make practical suggestions, and be realistic about what they can change
How to Change the Organization to Prevent Job Stress
- Relaxation Breaks
- Job Design
Hazards Associated With Workplace Stress
- Ensure that the workload is in line with staff members’ capabilities and resources.
- Design jobs to provide meaning, stimulation, and opportunities for employees and volunteers to use their skills.
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities.
- Give staff members opportunities to participate in decisions and actions affecting their jobs.
- Improve communications—reduce uncertainty about career development and future employment prospects.
- Provide opportunities for social interaction among staff members.
- Establish work schedules that are compatible with demands and responsibilities outside the job.
Safe and Accident Free Environment
TREKK Design Group requires all management and supervisory personnel t provide
the leadership and resources t inspire and empower our employees t take responsibility for their
actions and for their fellow employees t prevent injuries, illnesses and create a Safe, and
Accident Free Environment
We provide value t clients by requiring TREKK employees and subcontractors t deliver projects that
identify and maintain SAFE conditions and commit t compliance with applicable safety laws and
regulations, company standards, and external requirements.
TREKK expect all employees t embrace the SAFE culture, share core values for the protection of
people and the environment, understand their obligations, actively participate, take
responsibility, THINK SAFETY & ACT SAFELY o and off the job.
1.1 TREKK Design Group LLC
1.1.1 Safe Work Policy
t is the policy of TREKK Design Group t perform work i the safest manner possible.
Safety must never be compromised. To fulfill the requirements of this policy, a organized and
effective safety program must be carried out at each location where work
TREKK believes that all injuries are preventable, and we are dedicated t the goal of a Safe, and
Accident Free Environment at all times To achieve this goal, every employee o the project must
assume responsibility for safety.
Every employee is empowered to:
Conduct their work i a safe manner
Stop work immediately t correct any unsafe condition that is encountered. Take corrective actions
so that work may proceed i a safe manner
Safety, occupational health, and accident prevention will not be sacrificed These elements are
integrated into quality control, cost reduction, and job performance, and are crucial t our
1.1.2 Commitment to Health Safety and Accident Prevention
TREKK has embraced a philosophy for outstanding health, safety and accident prevention The primary
driving force behind this commitment t health, safety and accident prevention is simple: employees
are TREKK s most significant asset and TREKK management values their safety, health, and welfare
Also, top management believes that all injuries are preventable. TREKK s safety culture empowers
employees at all levels t accept ownership for safety and take whatever actions are necessary t
eliminate injury. Our company is committed t outstanding performance i health, safety and accident
prevention and also understands that outstanding performance is a critical element i overall
TREKK is committed t the prevention of personal injuries, occupational illnesses, and damage t
equipment and property i all of its operations; and t the protection of the general public whenever
it comes i contact with the Company s work.
TREKK management, field supervisors, and employees plan safety into each work task i order t
prevent occupational injuries and illnesses The ultimate success of TREKK s safety program depends
o the full cooperation and participation of everyone
TREKK will exceed SAFE standards as we work t be a model i our industry. TREKK
management extends its full commitment t health, safety and accident prevention for all employees
To achieve TREKK s vision, each employee must personalize this goal, make a commitment t the zero
injury philosophy, and actively participate i striving toward industry leadership i this field
1.2 Safety and Accident Free Environment Goals
All management and employees are t strive t meet the Safety, and Accident Free Environment (SAFE)
goals outlined below. The team will be successful only if everyone makes a concerted effort t
accomplish these goals. The goals allow the project t stay focused o optimizing the health and
safety of all project personnel and, therefore, making each project a great success
The Project has established specific goals and objectives:
Create a injury free environment Have zero injuries o incidents Lead by example
Ensure effective implementation of the Field Safety Instructions (FSIs) through education,
delegation, and team work
Ensure 100 percent participation i training programs, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use and
Maintain free and open lines of communication Make a personal commitment t safety as a value
Conduct weekly toolbox talks, pre project safety meetings, monthly safety meetings and annual
We Know Better!
Most of us have the necessary knowledge and experience to do our jobs and most of don’t want to hurt ourselves or others. Why, then, do we often ignore our good friend “common sense” and set ourselves or others up for an accidental injury?
Human nature has us believing that the odds are in our favor and although it could happen, it won’t happen to us.
Carbon monoxide can kill but we sometimes work in a closed garage with our automobile engine running!
A bump on the head hurts but we don’t think about that for a minute when we walk under an overhead load!
A circular saw can cut off a finger but we go right ahead and operate a saw without a guard!
There is a safe way to climb a ladder, which we use here at work but we take a chance and fall from a ladder while painting our house!
Excessive speed in an automobile may cause an accident but we try it anyhow and wrap the family car around a tree!
Radioactive fallout is dangerous but we think nothing about leaving household poisons around where kids can get at them!
It is dangerous for children to run out in front of cars but we drag them across the street on the red light!
It is important for teenagers to learn safe driving habits but we violate a traffic law with our teenage son or daughter right in the car with us!
A loose board on a stairway can trip someone but we don’t bother to report it!
Grease and oil spills can cause a nasty fall but we “forget” that we should cover these spills with oil absorbent material!
Tools and parts can become falling objects or we can trip over them but we fail to put them back where they belong!
We know an unsafe condition when we see one but we pay no attention to material or trucks in the aisles!
We know an unsafe act when we see one but we oil, adjust, or try to fix a machine without even bothering to stop it!
We shouldn’t take a chance when operating equipment but we drive a forklift truck with the load carried high and try to turn a corner while going too fast!
We can’t fool safety devices be we remove or fasten a machine guard so it won’t give us the protection we need!
It is dangerous for us to block firefighting equipment but we pile boxes and cartons in front of fire extinguishers and store material right up to the underside of sprinklers.
We should wear protective equipment but we wear our goggles around our neck and leave our hard hat in our locker, our car, or on the shelf while at work.
Horseplay causes a lot of injuries but we blast Gus with an air hose just for the heck of it.
I realize that we all know better and I’m sure that most of you aren’t guilty of doing the many things that I have covered. But you’ll have to admit that some of these things are a possibility, even for each of us with all our knowledge of the safe way of doing things.
Yes, we know better! But, since knowing is only half the job, we must act on our knowledge to be safe.
A slip, trip or fall at work can lead to injuries – and even death. In 2013, injuries from slips, trips and falls resulted in 229,190 cases involving days away from work, and 724 workers died, according to the 2016 edition of the National Safety Council chartbook “Injury Facts.”
These sobering statistics are a stark reminder that workers need to know how to prevent slips, trips and falls. Here, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety explains the differences between slips and trips, and offers advice on how to prevent falls and stay safe.
Slips and trips
Slips happen when there isn’t enough friction or traction between your feet and the surface you’re walking on. Common causes of slips include wet or oily floors, spills, loose or unanchored mats, and flooring that lacks the same degree of traction in all areas, CCOHS states.
Trips happen when your foot strikes an object, causing you to lose your balance. Workers trip due to a variety of reasons, including clutter in walkways, poor lighting, uncovered cables, drawers being left open and wrinkled carpeting or rugs.
To help prevent slips and trips, CCOHS recommends the following:
• Clean up spills immediately. If a spill can’t be cleaned up right away, place “wet floor” warning signs for workers.
• Keeps walkways and hallways free of debris, clutter and obstacles.
• Keep filing cabinets and desk drawers shut when not in use.
• Cover cables or cords in walkways.
• Replace burnt-out light bulbs promptly.
• Consider installing abrasive floor mats or replacing worn flooring.
• Encourage workers to wear comfortable, properly fitted shoes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that falls can happen in all occupational settings, and
“circumstances associated with fall incidents in the work environment frequently involve slippery, cluttered or unstable walking/working surfaces; unprotected edges; floor holes and wall openings; unsafely positioned ladders; and misused fall protection.”
To reduce the risk of falling at work, CCOHS recommends paying attention to your surroundings and walking at a pace that’s suitable for the surface you’re on and the task you’re performing. Additionally, walk with your feet pointed slightly outward, make wide turns when walking around comers and use the handrails on stairs.
Consider this statistic: 80 out of every 100 accidents are the fault of the person involved in the incident. Unsafe acts cause four times as many accidents and injuries as unsafe conditions.
Accidents occur for many reasons. In most industries people tend to look for “things” to blame when an accident happens, because it’s easier than looking for “root causes,” such as those listed below. Consider the underlying accident causes described. Have you been guilty of any of these attitudes or behaviors? If so, you may have not been injured … but next time you may not be so lucky.
1. Taking Shortcuts: Every day we make decisions we hope will make the job faster and more efficient. But do time savers ever risk your own safety, or that of other crew members? Short cuts that reduce your safety on the job are not shortcuts but an increased chance for injury.
2. Being Over-Confident: Confidence is a good thing. Overconfidence is too much of a good thing. “It’ll never happen to me” is an attitude that can lead to improper procedures, tools, or methods in your work. Any of these can lead to an injury.
3. Starting a Task with Incomplete Instructions: To do the job safely and right the first time you need complete information. Have you ever seen a worker sent to do a job, having been given only a part of the job’s instructions? Don’t be shy about asking for explanations about work procedures and safety precautions. It isn’t dumb to ask questions; it’s dumb not to.
4. Poor Housekeeping: When clients, managers or safety professionals walk through your work site, housekeeping is an accurate indicator of everyone’s attitude about quality, production and safety. Poor housekeeping creates hazards of all types. A well maintained area sets a standard for others to follow. Good housekeeping involves both pride and safety.
5. Ignoring Safety Procedures: Purposely failing to observe safety procedures can endanger you and your co-workers. You are being paid to follow the company safety policies-not to make your own rules. Being “casual” about safety can lead to a casualty!
6. Mental Distractions from Work: Having a bad day at home and worrying about it at work is a hazardous combination. Dropping your ‘mental’ guard can pull your focus away from safe work procedures. You can also be distracted when you’re busy working and a friend comes by to talk while you are trying to work. Don’t become a statistic because you took your eyes off the machine “just for a minute.”
7. Failure to Pre-Plan the Work: There is a lot of talk today about Job Hazard Analysis. JHA’s are an effective way to figure out the smartest ways to work safely and effectively. Being hasty in starting a task, or not thinking through the process can put you in harms way. Instead, Plan Your Work and then Work Your Plan.
“It is better to be careful 100 times than to get killed once.” Mark Twain
Every day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces. No matter where we work, flying particles, dusts, splashes or flying objects are apt to expose us to potential eye injury. Fortunately, we can protect against these hazards by using the appropriate protective eyewear for our jobs.
A survey by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of about 1,000 minor eye injuries reveals how and why many on the job accidents occur:
- Not wearing eye protection. BLS reports that nearly three out of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident.
- Wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job. About 40 of the injured workers were wearing some form of eye protection when the accident occurred. These workers were most likely to be wearing eyeglasses with no side shields, though injuries among employees wearing full cup or flat fold side shields occurred, as well.
What Causes Eye Injuries?
- Flying particles. BLS found that almost 70% of the accidents studied resulted from flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye. Injured workers estimated that nearly three fifths of the objects were smaller than a pin head. Most of the particles were said to be traveling faster than a hand thrown object when the accident occurred.
- Contact with chemicals caused one fifth of the injuries.
- Other accidents were caused by objects swinging from a fixed or attached position, like tree limbs, ropes, chains, or tools which were pulled into the eye while the worker was using them.
A Dozen Reasons To Bucket Up
Protect Yourself With Seat Belts
When you get into your car, truck or van, do you buckle up? If not, it may be because you’ve been led astray by common misinformation about seatbelts? Here are the answers to some of the questions that people most often ask about seat belts:
- What difference will a seat belt make in a serious crash?
It could spell the difference between life and death. Your chances of surviving a serious crash are three to four times greater if you’re wearing a lap and shoulder belt, regardless of the speed.
- Won’t people be offended if I ask them to wear seat belts?
Studies show that most people are glad to use safety belts when a driver asks them.
- Should pregnant women wear safety belts?
Yes. An expectant mother should always wear a safety belt low on her abdomen, below the unborn child. There are safety belt enhancements on the market that can help to reduce the exposure to the unborn child from the seatbelts.
- Why should I wear a seat belt on short trips at low speeds?
That’s statistically when most crashes happen. Some statistics show that eighty percent of deaths and injuries happen at speeds under 40 MPH. Seventy five percent of deaths and injuries occur less than 25 miles from home.
- If I wear a seat belt I won’t be able to escape from the car!
This is a popular misconception that seat belts prevent you from escaping from a burning or submerged vehicle. Less than 0.5% of all accidents involve car fires or water. Seat belts can help you to remain conscious, so you can exit faster.
- My shoulder strap hits me at an uncomfortable spot. How can I make it more comfortable? n many cars, all you need to do is pull the belt off your shoulder just enough to relieve the pressure (driver’s side). The belt will catch (much like a window shade), and give you some slack. For the passenger side you may have to get a pad form the auto parts store to make the belt more comfortable. However, the following practice should be avoided: Avoid putting a shoulder belt under your arm or behind you in an attempt to make it more comfortable. This greatly reduces its effectiveness and could cause injury.
- What if My belt’s too small to fit around me?
There are devices called belt extenders that give you extra length. Most auto and truck dealers offer them free of charge even if you didn’t purchase the vehicle from that dealer.
- I can stop myself with my hands, I don’t need to wear a seat belt.
The force generated in a head-on collision in a vehicle is about the same force as a person falling from a 3-story building. Could you catch yourself?
- Will a seat belt protect my child?
Yes, if your youngster’s too big or too old to ride in a safety seat. The general rule is that a child outgrows the safety seat when he or she reaches 4 years or weighs over 40 pounds. You should see to it that your child buckles up (or gets buckled up) every time they are in your vehicle.
- If airbags are in a vehicle, do I still need to buckle the seat belt?
Yes. Air bags are not a substitute for seat belts. They are meant to be used together. Since airbags offer protection in frontal crashes only, seat belts are needed to protect in rear, side and rollover crashes.
- In a crash it’s better to be thrown free of the car.
You are much more likely to be killed if you’re thrown out of the car. A buckled safety belt can keep you in the vehicle, protected by the surrounding metal.
- I don’t buckle up because I am a great driver.
You may be, but you’re not the only driver on the road. No one ever believes it will happen to them, but it does. Tens of thousands of people are killed every years because they fail to wear seat belts.
Make it a Habit
It’s the state law and it’s also company policy. Now you know the facts; start buckling up. If you make it a habit to do it every time, you won’t even think about it. And you can drive with the peace of mind that your chances of avoiding death or serious injury are far greater every time you get in a vehicle.
TREKK Design Group has established the following seat belt policy. Seatbelts are mandatory for all company vehicles. This includes anyone driving their own vehicle for company business as well. Buckle Up, it’s the Law!