Winter is a wonderful time of year. Spending time with your family, the many holidays, the New Year, snow and the warmth from a fireplace all remind us of the upcoming season. But, as with any time of the year, there are specific things we need to be aware of to keep our family safe and injury-free.
- Home fires are more prevalent in the winter months than any other season. Cooking is the leading cause of all winter residential building fires. Other winter fire hazards include space heaters, fireplaces and candles.
- The cold weather increases your chances of getting frostbite or hypothermia. Between the years of 1999-2004, an average of 647 people died each year from hypothermia.
- In 2009, over 16,000 Americans were treated for head injuries in emergency rooms because of playing winter sports (skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowmobiling).
- Fatal crashes were 14% more likely to happen on the first snowy day of the season than on days following. It takes drivers a few days to regain their sense of driving in this weather.
- According to the CDC, most carbon monoxide poisonings happen in January; the second most in December. Carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but less than one-third of American homes have one installed.
via Winter Safety – prepare for winter, driving tips.
Each year, hundreds of people suffer maiming or amputations of their fingers or hands due to the improper handling of snowblowers. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand would like to provide you with patient information to help you avoid these injuries during the winter season.
- Average age: 44 years
- Sex: Male
- Dominant hand — 90% of injuries
- Amputations of tips of fingers
- Middle finger most commonly injured
Common Weather Conditions
- Heavy, wet snow
- Large snow accumulation, greater than six inches
- Temperature: 28 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
- Not noticing that the impeller blades are still rotating even though the machine is off
- Operator attempts to clean the clogged exit chute with hands
- Hands connect with the rotating blades, resulting in severe injury
Remember — if your snowblower jams:
- Turn it OFF!
- Disengage clutch.
- Wait five seconds after shutting machine off to allow impeller blades to stop rotating.
- ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow.
- NEVER put your hand down chute or around blades.
- Keep all shields in place. DO NOT REMOVE the safety devices on the machine.
- Keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.
- Keep a clear head, concentrate, and
- DO NOT DRINK before using your snowblower!
REMEMBER — SAFETY FIRST AT ALL TIMES!
via Keep Fingers and Hands Safe: Practice Snowblower Safety.
Risk management is a cycle. That means that it is not something that gets checked off a “to do” list but it is a continuous activity. Having a risk management process means that your organization knows and understands the risks to which you are exposed. It also means that your organization has deliberately evaluated the risks and has strategies in place to remove the risk altogether, reduce the likelihood of the risk happening or minimize harm in the event that something happens.
At a very basic level, risk management focuses you on two fundamental questions:
- What can go wrong?
- What will we do to prevent the harm from occurring in the first place and in response to the harm or loss if it actually happens?
via Risk Management in HR | HR Planning | HR Toolkit | hrcouncil.ca.
Christmas is a special time of the year for families. We suggest the following safety tips to keep the holiday season joyful.
Christmas Tree Safety:
- Consider an artificial tree as they are much safer and cleaner
- A real tree should not lose green needles when you tap it on the ground
- Cut one inch off the trunk to help absorb water
- Leave the tree outside until ready to decorate
- The tree stand should hold a minimum of one gallon of water
- Check the water level daily
- Make sure the tree is secured and cannot be knocked over
- Keep the tree away from all heat sources
- Use miniature lights that have cool-burning bulbs
- Always turn off the tree lights when going to bed or leaving the house
- Never use candles even on artificial trees
- Dispose of the tree properly after the holidays
- Make sure you have a properly working fire alarm
- Use only outdoor lights on the exterior of the home
- Never use worn light strings
- Connect no more than three strands of lights together
- Never use an indoor extension cord outdoors
- Avoid overloading wall outlets and extension cords
- Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of the snow
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree
- Extinguish fireplace ashes before going to bed or leaving the house
- After parties, check under and around chairs, sofas and other furniture for smoldering cigarettes if there have been people smoking in the house
- Have at least one working carbon monoxide detector in the house
- Have a fire extinguisher available
via Christmas safety.
What is hazardous energy?
Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal or other sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy could cause injury to employees.
via Safety and Health Topics | Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout).
About 90% of poison exposures happen at home, making it the second leading cause of accidental death in the home.
Nonfatal poisonings are most common among children under 5 years old. The most common causes of these poisonings are:
- Cleaning and household products
- Personal care and beauty products
- Medicines (especially dangerous are those with iron)
- Lead and carbon monoxide
Try these strategies:
- Know your poisons. It would be easier if every bottle that contained poison was marked with a skull and crossbones, as they are in cartoons. Poisons come in many forms: cosmetics, garden products such as fertilizer, furniture polish, dishwasher detergent, and carbon monoxide from burning fuel.
- Buy wisely. Purchase products with child safety lids, whenever you can.
- Store safely. Put any product with a warning label up high and in a locked cabinet. Don’t keep medicines in your purse, pockets, or drawers. Keep products in their original containers. Do not use food containers for storage.
- Watch your children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most child poisonings occur when parents are cooking dinner or not watching their children closely for other reasons.
- Follow directions on chemical products. Open a window when you are using them. Never mix household cleaning products together — bleach and ammonia mixed together create a toxic gas, for example.
- Keep carbon monoxide outside. Have heaters, stoves, and fireplaces checked by a professional every year. Carbon monoxide can also enter the house through an adjoining garage. Never run an engine or car motor or use a barbecue in a garage.
- Stay on top of medicines. Follow directions and measure carefully, keep track of when medicines are taken, and put them away right after use. Get rid of expired medicine by crushing or dissolving medications and adding them to old coffee grounds, then place them in a sealed plastic bag in the garbage can. Don’t flush them down the toilet unless the instructions say to do so. Monitor use of medicines prescribed for teens.
Post the poison control telephone number. Have it near every phone and store it in your cell phone: (800) 222-1222.
via Home Safety: Preventing Burns, Cuts, and More.
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits genetic information discrimination in employment, took effect on November 21, 2009.
Under Title II of GINA, it is illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Title II of GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions, restricts employers and other entities covered by Title II (employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor-management training and apprenticeship programs – referred to as “covered entities”) from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information.
The EEOC enforces Title II of GINA (dealing with genetic discrimination in employment). The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury have responsibility for issuing regulations for Title I of GINA, which addresses the use of genetic information in health insurance.
via Genetic Discrimination.
Every parent wants to protect their children from harm and to keep them safe. We don’t want children to suffer any pain, whether it’s from a common cold or broken bone.
In an effort to raise parents’ awareness about the leading causes of child injury in the United States and how they can be prevented, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched the Protect the Ones You Love initiative.
Parents can play a life-saving role in protecting children from injuries. Protect the Ones You Love is dedicated to sharing information on the important steps parents can take to make a positive difference.
It’s important to take action, because most child injuries can be prevented.
Many people don’t realize it, but the numbers show that:
- Injuries are the leading cause of death in children ages 19 and younger.
- Each year, nearly 9 million children aged 0 to 19 years are seen in emergency departments for injuries, and more than 9,000 children die as a result of being injured.
- Injury treatment is the leading cause of medical spending for children. The estimated annual cost of unintentional child injuries in the United States is nearly $11.5 billion.
via CDC – Injury – Safe Child Home.
What are the five requirements for wellness programs which base a reward on satisfying a standard related to a health factor?
- The total reward for all the plan’s wellness programs that require satisfaction of a standard related to a health factor is limited – generally, it must not exceed 20 percent of the cost of employee-only coverage under the plan. If dependents (such as spouses and/or dependent children) may participate in the wellness program, the reward must not exceed 20 percent of the cost of the coverage in which an employee and any dependents are enrolled.
- The program must be reasonably designed to promote health and prevent disease.
- The program must give individuals eligible to participate the opportunity to qualify for the reward at least once per year.
- The reward must be available to all similarly situated individuals. The program must allow a reasonable alternative standard (or waiver of initial standard) for obtaining the reward to any individual for whom it is unreasonably difficult due to a medical condition, or medically inadvisable, to satisfy the initial standard.
- The plan must disclose in all materials describing the terms of the program the availability of a reasonable alternative standard (or the possibility of a waiver of the initial standard).
via FAQs About The HIPAA Nondiscrimination Requirements.
Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe in your home.
- Sound the Alarm: Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas. If already installed, test them! Tip: Replace the batteries every daylight-saving time change.
- Avoid Overload: Check for overloaded extension cords – usage should not exceed the recommended wattage.
- Don’t Get Tippy: If young children are in the home, bookshelves and other furniture should be firmly secured with wall brackets to prevent tipping.
- Paint Safe: Check walls for loose paint. If re-painting, do so in a well-ventilated area and consider VOC-free paint.
- Childproof, Childproof, Childproof: Check your local library or online for complete lists of childproofing suggestions and see our Virtual Home Safety Tour for more ideas. Areas of particular danger include outlets, appliances, electronics, stairs and windows.
- Cover Outlets: Cover all unused outlets to prevent children from sticking a finger in the socket.
- Watch Cord Placement: Extension cords should not be placed under rugs or heavy furniture, tacked up or coiled while in use.
- Get Grounded: All major appliances should be grounded. Be sure to check your ground fault circuit interrupters regularly.
- Plan Your Escape: Practice a fire escape plan with your family where you identify two exits for every room and what to do with young children.
- Give Your Air Heater Some Space: All air heaters should be placed at least three feet from beds, curtains or anything flammable.
- Keep Extinguishers Handy: Place all-purpose fire extinguishers in key locations in your home – the kitchen, bedroom and basement. Be sure to check expiration dates regularly and know how to use them safely.
- Create a Safe Exit: In addition to alarms and extinguishers, consider an escape ladder if your home has two floors. Keep emergency numbers and contacts readily available by the phone.
- Unplug Appliances: Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use and store them out of reach.
- Go New in the Nursery: Check that all painted cribs, bassinettes and high chairs were made after 1978 to avoid potential lead paint poisoning.
- Cool Your Jets: Set your water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid potential burns and to save energy.
- Put Away Medications: Take medications and medical supplies out of your purse, pockets and drawers, and put them in a cabinet with a child safety lock.
- Look for UL: The UL Mark appears on products that have been tested, verified and inspected for safety. Make sure to look for it to keep your holidays safe and bright.
via Home Safety | Home Safety Tips | Home Safety Checklist | Safety at Home.