Thunderstorm & Lightning Safety Tips | Severe Weather

flat,550x550,075,fA thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.

Know the Difference

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch – Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning – Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.

Every year people are killed or seriously injured by severe thunderstorms despite advance warning. While some did not hear the warning, others heard the warning and did not pay attention to it. The information in this section, combined with timely watches and warnings about severe weather, may help save lives.

via Thunderstorm & Lightning Safety Tips | Severe Weather | Red Cross.

The Difference Between Strategic & Traditional HR

strategic-recruiting-pt-1-hr-examiner-webTraditional and strategic human resources models differ significantly from each other. Many businesses have moved toward the strategic HR model because of its utility in building a business. Strategic human resources management is geared toward developing strategic plans that fit within the larger structure of the company’s plans, whereas traditional HR management is almost purely administrative in nature. Understanding the difference between traditional and strategic human resources can be important for the development of your business.

Step 1 – Examine the role of human resources managers as they have been traditionally understood. Human resources managers are often perceived as individuals responsible for hiring and recruiting workers for open jobs within a company or corporation. Aside from the hiring and recruiting aspect of the their job, human resources managers and professionals spend a considerable amount of time performing administrative tasks such as completing paperwork for new employees or training them for their new positions.

Step 2 – Note the primary difference in strategic HR, which is the fact that strategic human resources professionals are recognized as being strategic partners within the company. They work alongside top executives and other management professionals to determine how to best fit human resources initiatives within the overall strategic trajectory of the organization. Company strategy plays a more important role in the development of human resource policies than do basic administrative matters.

Step 3 – Recognize how the roles of the human resources manager traditionally have been defined. Traditional HR managers are primarily concerned with the acquisition and exit of workers from an organization. They also have played a role in training and development that is integral to the functioning of the company for which they work. Aside from these duties, human resources managers also administer pay plans and benefits received by employees.

Step 4 – Compare the differences between the two models. Traditional HR management lacks focus on the overall strategic initiatives of the company, whereas these are primary in strategic human resources management. Human resources policies and procedures revolve around these strategic plans and are developed in response to these plans. The traditional human resources department may develop policies in response to such plans, but it does not necessarily play an integral role in the planning process.

via The Difference Between Strategic & Traditional HR |

What Is Mental Health?

Mental-health-1Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

via What Is Mental Health? |

Stay Safe at Work

pic-3Many people spend a lot of time at work. If work isn’t done safely, it can put a lot of wear and tear on your body. Back injuries are the most common type of workplace injury.

There are things you can do – both at work and at home – to lower your chances of getting hurt or sick.

To prevent injuries and stay healthy at work:

  • Lift things safely.
  • Arrange your equipment to fit your body.
  • Take short breaks and stretch your muscles.
  • Eat a healthy diet and stay active.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Manage stress.
  • Look for health resources at work.

via Stay Safe at Work.


gty_Allergy_season_kid_sneezing_thg_130321_wmainAllergies are among the most common chronic conditions worldwide. Allergy symptoms of allergies range from making you miserable to putting you at risk for life-threatening reactions.

According to the leading experts in allergy, an allergic reaction begins in the immune system. Our immune system protects us from invading organisms that can cause illness. If you have an allergy, your immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance as an invader. This substance is called an allergen. The immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.

Allergy Symptoms

An allergic reaction typically triggers symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin. For some people, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma. In the most serious cases, a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-LAK-sis) can occur.

A number of different allergens are responsible for allergic reactions. The most common include:

•    Pollen

•    Dust

•    Food

•    Insect stings

•    Animal dander

•    Mold

•    Medications

•    Latex

via Allergies | AAAAI.

Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace

bad ergo 2Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affect the muscles, nerves and tendons. Work related MSDs (including those of the neck, upper extremities and low back) are one of the leading causes of lost workday injury and illness. Workers in many different industries and occupations can be exposed to risk factors at work, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively. Exposure to these known risk factors for MSDs increases a worker’s risk of injury.

But work-related MSDs can be prevented. Ergonomics — fitting a job to a person — helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs.

Work related MSDs are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time.

  • In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that industries with the highest MSD* rates include health care, transportation and warehousing, retail and wholesale trade and construction.
  • According to BLS, the 387,820 MSD cases accounted for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases in 2011.

via Safety and Health Topics | Ergonomics.

Backyard and Pool: Household Safety Checklist


  • Are all walkways and outdoor stairways well lit?
  • Are all walkways clear of toys, objects, or anything blocking a clear path?
  • Are all sidewalks and outdoor stairways clear of concrete cracks or missing pieces?
  • Are all garbage cans securely covered?
  • Are all swing sets parts free from rust, splinters, and sharp edges?
  • Are all parts on swing sets or other outdoor equipment securely fastened?
  • Is the surface beneath the swing set soft enough (cushioned with material such as sand, mulch, wood chips, or approved rubber surfacing mats) to absorb the shock of a fall?
  • Are all outdoor toys put away in a secure, dry place when not in use?
  • Is there climb-proof fencing at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) high on all sides of the pool? Does the fence have a self-closing gate with a childproof lock?
  • Have all ladders been removed from an above-ground pool when not in use?

Other Safety Issues

  • Have you removed any potentially poisonous houseplants?
  • Have you instituted a no-smoking rule in your home to protect kids from environmental tobacco smoke?
  • Have you considered possible health risks from — and if indicated, tested for — lead, radon, asbestos, mercury, mold, and carbon monoxide?
  • If there are guns in the home, have they been placed in a locked cabinet with the key hidden and the ammunition locked separately?
  • Do you always supervise your child around pets, especially dogs?

via Backyard and Pool: Household Safety Checklist.

OSHA – What is a General Duty Clause Violation?

OSHA-inspector.99125913_stdSeveral conditions must be met for OSHA to issue a General Duty Clause violation:

  • The hazard was recognized.
  • The employer failed to keep the workplace free of a hazard to which his or her employees were exposed.
  • A feasible and useful method was available to correct the hazard.
  • The hazard was causing or likely to cause death or serious injury.

Recognition of a hazard  can be established if the employer knew about the hazard. This can be ascertained through the employer’s previous inspection history. For instance, a compliance officer suggesting a particular situation may constitute a hazard could, given the right conditions, cite the employer on a second inspection for the hazard under the General Duty Clause.

OSHA also can use employee complaints or the employer’s own statements to determine if the hazard was recognized. In addition, the hazard can be recognized by the employer’s industry.

“OSHA does not necessarily need to show that a cited employer recognized the hazard,” Tucker said. “For purposes of the General Duty Clause, a recognized hazard exists if the hazard is recognized either by the employer or by the employer’s industry.” The existence of consensus standards or industry practices also can provide evidence that the hazard was recognizable, Tucker added.

Employees must be exposed to the hazard, and they must be the employees of the cited employer. An employer who creates, contributes to or controls a hazard that would otherwise be a General Duty Clause violation cannot be cited as such if his or her own employees are not exposed to the hazard, according to OSHA’s Field Operations Manual, an agency reference document that identifies inspection duty responsibilities.

Situations such as a multi-employer worksite can be more complicated. OSHA would have to establish that the workers exposed to the hazard were employed by the employer.

A feasible means of abating the hazard also is necessary, and that requirement places a burden on OSHA, Hammock said. In the rulemaking of a typical standard, OSHA has to demonstrate a feasible means of abatement. When a violation of a standard is issued and the employer contests, the burden falls to the employer to provide evidence as to why the abatement methods outlined in the standard are not feasible.

However, with the General Duty Clause, that burden shifts to OSHA, according to Hammock. Similar to establishing hazard recognition, OSHA said it can rely on consensus standards to show how a hazard cited under the General Duty Clause may be abated.

When OSHA issues a General Duty Clause violation, it is for the hazard, not for a particular incident or lack of a particular abatement method.

The hazard must be serious, meaning it could cause death or substantial physical harm. Establishing whether a hazard is serious is similar to how OSHA classifies a serious violation for its standards, the Field Operations Manual states. A serious hazard presents a “substantial probability” of death or serious physical harm.

As an example, the Field Operations Manual offers an employee standing at the edge of an unguarded floor 25 feet high. A fall likely would result in death or serious injury.

via The General Duty Clause.

Quick tips to a healthier back

38e2e8559711563c7e84e42b0c4606bbFollowing any period of prolonged inactivity, begin a program of regular low-impact exercises. Speed walking, swimming, or stationary bike riding 30 minutes a day can increase muscle strength and flexibility. Yoga can also help stretch and strengthen muscles and improve posture. Ask your physician or orthopedist for a list of low-impact exercises appropriate for your age and designed to strengthen lower back and abdominal muscles.

  • Always stretch before exercise or other strenuous physical activity.
  • Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet. Your back supports weight most easily when curvature is reduced.
  • At home or work, make sure your work surface is at a comfortable height for you.
  • Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of your back can provide some lumbar support. If you must sit for a long period of time, rest your feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on your side to reduce any curve in your spine. Always sleep on a firm surface.
  • Ask for help when transferring an ill or injured family member from a reclining to a sitting position or when moving the patient from a chair to a bed.
  • Don’t try to lift objects too heavy for you. Lift with your knees, pull in your stomach muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your straight back. Keep the object close to your body. Do not twist when lifting.
  • Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight, especially weight around the waistline that taxes lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D helps to promote new bone growth.
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine and causes the spinal discs to degenerate.

via Low Back Pain Fact Sheet: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Texting and Driving a National Epidemic

young woman driving on highway while reading / writing text on smart phone.Texting while driving is a growing trend, and a national epidemic, quickly becoming one of the country’s top killers. Drivers assume they can handle texting while driving and remain safe, but the numbers don’t lie.

Texting While Driving Causes:

  • 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
  • 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
  • 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts
  • Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents

Texting While Driving Is:

  • About 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated
  • The same as driving after 4 beers – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
  • The number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers

Texting While Driving:

  • Makes you 23X more likely to crash – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
  • Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
  • Takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country
  • Slows your brake reaction speed by 18% – HumanFactors & Ergonomics Society
  • Leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road

via Texting and Driving Statistics.