In most of the United States, Daylight Saving Time begins on the 2nd Sunday in March and reverts to Standard Time the first Sunday in November.  So, mark November 1st on your calendar to change your clocks!  Each year, we “Spring Forward” and “Fall Backward”, if we don’t forget! 

To ensure that we don’t “fall backward” on safety, this marks an excellent time to do a home safety evaluation.  The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms be checked once a year.  Their figures show that around ninety per cent of homes in the United States have smoke alarms; however one-third of those are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.  They also recommend that smoke alarms be replaced after 10 years.  Some newer types of alarms have remote controls, making it easier than ever to check them.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be:
*  Installed on every level of the home, and in sleeping areas
*  Tested once a month
*  Equipped with new batteries annually

Also, keep a fire extinguisher handy, and have a fire escape plan for every member of the family.  While you are doing your home safety evaluation, also ensure that your door locks function properly, and keep your home locked.

Here’s a great story from WFRV TV: A Milwaukee entrepreneur wants Americans to do more than spring forward and fall back for daylight saving time.  L. Maxwell McKissick suggests that when people move their clocks forward or back an hour, they donate those 60 minutes by volunteering in their communities.
McKissick is trying to start a national movement. He says gaining 60 minutes gives people time to help nonprofits or pick up trash. And he says losing 60 minutes means nonprofits have one less hour to serve their missions, so people can still give an hour, which will make a big difference in their communities, especially if millions of folks donate one hour.   He hopes the experience will also help people realize how fun and easy it is to help out.
Could you spare an hour?


In response to several emails we have recently received regarding MSA V-Gard Protective Helmets, we want to pass on the following information:  MSA has not issued a recall of V-Gard helmets, and all V-Gard helmets manufactured in March of 2008 are not to be removed from service.  It seems there has been a wide range of misinformation circulated via the Internet.

Here are the results of an investigation done by MSA:

  • Cracking in V-Gard hardhats in question is limited to blue and red helmets that were manufactured in the U.S., and are estimated to represent less than one one-hundredth of a percent of MSA’s U.S. V-Gard helmet production over the past 5 years.
  • The cause of this has been traced to a variation of copper pigment content, which is a component in blue and red colorants, and minor process variations.  In mid-2008, MSA changed to a different colorant and improved the process variation.  They have not received a single report of any cracked helmets, of any color, since these improvements were put into place.
  • Testing by MSA indicates that a cap exhibiting this type of crack continues to meet the ANSI Z89.1-2003 and CSA Z94.1-2005 impact and penetration test requirements.  However, a crack of this type would prevent the cap from passing the electrical resistance test.

We hope that this will clear up any questions regarding the rumors in question, and that you will continue to inspect all safety equipment on a daily basis, including hardhats.  Please stay tuned for more hardhat info…….

Source: MSA


As we continue talking about dangerous jobs, protective service occupations are very hazardous.  The middle word, service, is just that.  Men and women in law enforcement are there to serve the public 24-7.  Fatalities in their professions are high, with homicide being the leading cause, followed by highway crashes.

Television shows that depict the many types of law enforcement are popular for a reason.  There’s just something about the thrill of the chase that catches our attention, whether in real life, on the news, or a television program.  When we hear a siren, most of us are curious as to what it’s all about.  If you are looking for an exciting career, there are many types from which to choose:

  • Police Officer
  • Undercover Officer
  • Border Patrol
  • Drug Enforcement Agency
  • F.B.I.
  • Customs Service
  • Secret Service
  • Security Officer
  • SWAT Team
  • Border Patrol
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Parole Officer
  • Prison Guard
  • Sheriff
  • Air Marshal
  • Departments of Public Service (Highway Patrol)

There have been almost 800 violent assaults against Border Patrol agents in the last year, an increase of 108% from the year before.  Being a Federal Park Ranger has become one of the most hazardous jobs in law enforcement.  Since September 11, 2001, rangers have shifted their focus to drug smugglers and other fugitives.  They are 15 times more likely to be killed in the line of duty than a DEA agent.  Two of the most dangerous parks (among the top ten list of dangerous parks in our country, according to the US Park Ranger Fraternal Order of Police) are Amistad National Recreation Area, near Del Rio, Texas, and Big Bend National Park, also located in Texas.  There are so few people and too many miles to patrol for criminals bringing in loads of drugs, as well as illegal aliens, which makes it difficult for law enforcement.

We owe a big debt of gratitude to the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our communities and our country.


October is the month for ghosts and goblins, so it’s never too early to start planning ahead for your child’s safety.  The only things on kids’ minds are treats, but adults need to keep safety in mind.  Safety experts with Texas Department of State Health Services recommend that before October 31st rolls around, parents start talking about Halloween safety to their children.  When you choose your child’s costume, it’s a good time to start thinking of their protection during this fun time.

Things for parents to be aware of when if they are driving their kids to Trick or Treat:

  • Slow down
  • Be careful entering and exiting your driveway
  • Do not place children in the back of a pickup truck
  • Watch for children darting from behind parked cars

Caution your little spooks to:

  • Never accept rides from strangers or treats from anyone in cars, trucks
  • Be careful around animals, even their own.  Costumes may scare some pets.
  • Go only to houses with porch lights on
  • Walk, don’t run!
  • Look both ways when crossing streets

Parents should also:

  • Accompany children age 12 and under
  • Never let them go alone (if they are older, the buddy system works better!)
  • See that their costumes are Flame Retardant
  • Use reflective tape or reflective stickers to make them easily visible
  • Choose light-colored costumes
  • Have them carry a flashlight or glo stick.
  • Know the routes their older children plan to take.
  • Check their treats when they get home to be sure there are no unsafe surprises!

Pass these reminders on to others, in order for everyone to have a safe Halloween.


Earlier this year, we featured Safety Advice for Women of all Ages.  We feel it would be helpful to review this information and add these good suggestions, as well:

  • If a thief wants your wallet or purse, do not hand it to him; throw it away.  Hopefully, he will be more interested it that and will go for it, so you can make your break.
  • Do not sit in your car working on your checkbook or making a list, as you may be vulnerable to some predator who is watching you.
  • When you get into your car, lock your doors and drive away.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not be tricked into helping someone.  There are many professional criminals who will play on your sympathies.
  • Your elbow is the strongest point on your body; use it if you need to.
  • There are many scams that are done outside your house; if you hear unusual noises, call for help, but do not go outside to investigate.
  • God forbid, but if you are ever put into a car trunk, kick out the taillights and wave like crazy, so someone will see you!

These warnings apply to men and children, as well as women.  It seems as though women and children are the most likely targets for predators.  We all should be vigilant and watch for each other.  There are many protective devices adults can carry, such as pepper spray or mace.  In this crazy world of ours, we just can’t be too careful!


In our series about dangerous jobs in America, one particular job keeps popping up on several “top ten” lists: refuse collectors.  Also known as garbage collectors, these folks are waste management professionals.  Their job not only includes collecting refuse for disposal, but also for recycling, which has become a very important plan in keeping our planet green.
This occupation is probably one that we take for granted: we know they are going to make their stop by our house regularly.  One thing for sure – they face many hazards in their job performance.  Statistics from the Bureau of Labor show that for every 100,000 workers, 43 in this occupation die annually.

Some of the dangers they face are:

  • Getting hit by passing cars;
  • Falling off trucks;
  • Getting compressed in equipment;
  • Handling chemicals, toxic materials, or contaminated needles that haven’t been disposed of properly;
  • Working in all kinds of weather;
  • Getting cut by glass.
  • Experiencing strains and sprains, and overexertion from jumping off and on trucks.

Recycling is the secondary smelting and refining of nonferrous metals and used scrap.  Workers in recycling also risk being struck by objects, getting caught in equipment, and being exposed to hazardous materials.

When a little boy I knew was about 9 years old, we asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.  His answer was very sincere: he either wanted to be an airplane pilot or a garbage man.  While being a garbage man or refuse collector may not be as glamorous as a pilot, the person doing the job is a very important part of the waste management community.


Automated External Defibrillators (AED) play an important part in saving the lives of persons suffering sudden cardiac arrest.  Early defibrillation is one of the most crucial of all steps in restoring heart rhythm to normal.  Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when ventricular fibrillation begins, or when the heart stops beating altogether.  This may be caused by heart attack, electrocution, or asphyxiation.  More than 220,000 persons in the United States are victims of sudden cardiac arrest per year, with over 10,000 of the cases happening at work.

AED’s are medical devices designed to analyze heart rhythm and deliver electric shock to the victim.  The shock will restore normal heartbeat and possibly save their life during the time spent waiting on EMS personnel, or transfer to a hospital.  They are easy to use, compact, portable, lightweight, and safe.  It is now common for CPR certified training to include instruction on the use of AED’s.

AED’s are now found in workplaces, schools, ballparks, and many public facilities.  The key to success is having the proper training of their use and maintenance.  Professional medical emergency providers are accessible to train the company or community personnel that will be responsible for their upkeep and use.  The American Red Cross, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, and American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in North America are strong supporters of the use of AED’s.

Large companies may purchase the devices from a vendor that will oversee the training, upkeep, and medical oversight of the AED’s.  Available at various prices, they are well worth their cost when it comes to saving the life of someone who just might not make it to an emergency room.  According to an OSHA report, Public Access Defibrillators (PAD), communities with volunteers in first aid training and use of AED’s, had twice as many victims survive, compared to those with only CPR training.

Being a former hospital employee (administrative, not medical), I got to see a demonstration of an AED, and found it to be something I think even I could do, with sufficient training!


Are you aware that 75% of the nation’s current illegal drug users are employed, and that 3.1% of them admit that they have used illegal drugs before or during working hours?  Do you know that 79% of the nation’s heavy alcohol users work, and that 7.1% say they have consumed alcohol during the workday?  (Do you question how many there are that don’t admit it?) The Department of Labor’s Drug-Free Workplace Alliance is sponsoring its fourth annual “Drug-Free Work Week” October 19th through 25th.   The goal of this yearly drive is to have a drug-free week every week through the education of employers, employees, communities and organizations.

Working Partners in this endeavor are federal agencies such as OSHA, MSHA, ETA, ODEP, SAMHSA, SBA, combined with several unions and contractors.  Combined efforts are to promote creating a safer and healthier workplace through prevention and intervention.

When a person has to work with someone who either drinks or uses illegal drugs, everyone’s safety is at risk.  Regardless of the situation, whether it is a commercial vehicle driver, a forklift or heavy equipment operator, construction worker, food service employee, or any other type of employee, if they have used drugs before or during work hours, or had a few nips too many, coworkers or the public in general could suffer the consequences.

Here are just a few of many suggestions on the DOL website that could have positive outcomes for businesses:

  • Emphasize drug and alcohol awareness in safety meetings.
  • Encourage employees with problems to seek help.
  • Put out a press release regarding Drug-Free Work Week.
  • Ask your local mayor to proclaim “Drug-Free Work Week”.
  • Issue payroll stuffers with valuable information to employees.
  • Pass out pocket cards to workers.
  • Display several Posters, which are excellent communication tools.

We have some other ideas in articles we presented earlier:  Do Your Part to Keep Your Workplace Free of Drugs and Alcohol, and Facts about Drugs and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace.  There were some interesting comments from readers with suggestions that you may find helpful.  It’s undoubtedly a subject that hits close to home in many workplaces or neighborhoods.  The smartest business and individual strategies to handle this problem are to constantly watch for signs of abuse of drugs/alcohol, and not enable someone who needs to deal it before they injure themselves or someone else.  For more important information, check out the DOL’s website.

Source: Department of Labor


More than 32 million workers are potentially exposed to one or more chemical hazards; there are over 650,000 existing chemical hazards in more than 3 million workplaces, and new ones being developed annually.  OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers to evaluate hazards and furnish information through labels and more detailed Material Safety Data Sheets, which are to be included with shipments of their products.  Failure to do so is a serious violation of the standard.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are also available at the workplace, and should be readily accessible to each work shift, as they are designed to instruct workers and emergency personnel on procedures for handling/working with certain substances in a safe way.  This system catalogues information on chemicals, chemical compounds and chemical mixtures that contain potential hazardous materials.    Labels, MSDS, and proper training are to be utilized to identify and prevent occupational injuries or health problems of workers.  Because more comprehensive information is contained in the MSDS, it is important that each employee understands how to use them.  Continuous training is also important, as there will be new employees, different chemicals, or different methods in use.  MSDS binders should be kept up-to-date.

Employers and workers should determine the correct PPE to be furnished, such as foot protection, medical protective clothing, etc., depending on the type of work environment.  Employees have the right to know what they are going to be exposed to, and the best way to avoid health or safety risks that apply.

At home, one should read labels on cleaning products or sprays, as they contain harmful chemicals, as well.  Carcinogens, volatile organic compounds and phosphates are three types of such chemicals.  They are contained in items such as oven cleaners, floor wax, laundry detergent, and air fresheners.  Each type of chemical is related to different health risks and environmental damage.


I just can’t wait to get on the road again!  Let me tell you why: as I am working my way down the list of “dangerous jobs”, truck drivers have one of the highest fatality rates among risky occupations.  Truck driving statistics show that 30 out of every 100,000 drivers die each year.  This statistic includes those driving buses and other large vehicles, as well.

So, the next time I drive down the highway, I will be more careful than usual.  My reason: reports show that many of the accidents that trucks are involved in are caused by other drivers’ recklessness.  Seventy per cent of truckers who crash do so because someone else got in their way.

The FMCSA has a “Share the Road Safely” website that explains how car drivers, motorcycle riders, and other vehicles can make our highways safer by creating a better highway situation with the larger vehicles on the roads.

Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Pay attention to the road. Stay off your cell phone.
  • When passing a truck, don’t pull in front of the truck until you can see it in your rear view mirror.
  • Do not misjudge the truck’s speed at an intersection.
  • Don’t drive between trucks.
  • When you pull into oncoming traffic and see a truck coming, be sure you have room to accelerate sufficiently.
  • Realize that when you are involved in a crash with a large truck, your chances of survival are low.
  • Be careful when you see a truck is making a right turn.  It needs more space to complete the turn.  Most trucks have that warning sticker on the back of the truck.
  • Trucks have “No Zones”, areas behind and beside the truck where the driver has limited or zero visibility.  You must be aware of this and keep yourself at a safe distance.

Big trucks are very intimidating.  Maneuvering those large vehicles can’t be easy; have you ever looked inside an 18-wheeler? The instrument panels and controls are pretty scary to a novice.  Most truck drivers are very skilled and extremely patient.  But when they need to stop their vehicle, it takes more time than a car.  That is why you must not risk causing them to have to stop abruptly.

There are many other reasons that truck drivers experience accidents: inadequate training, not enough sleep, fatigue, driving at night, and dangerous driving conditions, such as inclement weather.  Truck drivers are required to follow the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, which designates the HoS (hours of service) they may drive within each shift.

The next time you go to the store, think about how many different types of trucks brought the goods that you need for your family.  Let’s help them “keep on truckin” by driving safely ourselves!