Your eyes are two very important parts of your body that must always be protected.  We may take our senses of vision, smell, taste, hearing and feeling for granted, but if you lose your eyesight, your whole world can be changed in an instant.  Since January is National Eye Care Month, we think it’s a good idea to focus on this subject.

Workplace eye-related injuries account for approximately 94,500 people being treated in U.S. hospitals, according to Prevent Blindness America.  Employers and employees must be educated about hazards that workers face on a daily basis.  Prevent Blindness America has categorized the top causes of eye injuries at work, and we want to pass that on to you:

Product Categories Est’d Injuries Per Year
Tools (power,portable,manual, other)                               19,458
Welding Equipment                                                                     15,338
Adhesives                                                                                          5,733
Bleaches (non-cosmetic)                                                            5,580
House Repair/Construction                                                      4,476
Lawn Mowers                                                                                   4,388
Paints, Varnishes,Shellacs,Removers                                   3,434
Chemicals                                                                                          3,350

In an article we presented last year, “Focusing on Occupational Eye Injuries”, welding equipment led the number of work-related eye injuries last year, and tools came in second.  We can see by the statistics there is still much work to do regarding training and proper use of Work Safety Products.  After assessing the particular hazards by management/safety personnel at your workplace, the determination should be made regarding what type of eye/face protection is needed.  There are all types of safety glasses: wraparound, side-shields that fit on temples of glasses, goggles, and faceshields.  Our wonderful gift of vision could be lost in a split second by not taking that few seconds to put on eye safety gear.

OSHA states that thousands of workers are blinded annually in work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with selection and use of proper eye protection.  Costs to employers are more than $300 million annually in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation.

So, it benefits both the employer and employee to be aware of the hazards their workplace may contain.  And, as you can see in the list, there are many items listed above that we use at our homes, as well.  The next time you mow your lawn, why not put on a pair of safety glasses?  What could it hurt?


In the United States Construction industry, falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities.  An average of between 150-200 workers each year are killed and more than 100,000 injuries are the result of falls at construction sites.  Accidental falls are complex events resulting from either equipment-related or human issues.  Therefore, the standards for protection deal with both matters for success in preventing fall hazards.  Fall protection systems should be carefully designed for appropriate work situations.  Proper installation of safety systems, safe work procedures, training and supervision are necessary to ensure workers’ security, as well as the required Personal Protective Equipment.

Listed is a short glossary of fall prevention equipment that is appropriate for most endeavors:

  • Anchorage – Secure point of attachment for lanyards, lifelines or deceleration devices.
  • Body Harness – Straps secured about the person that distribute fall-arrest forces over thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders, which is attached to other parts of fall-arrest system.
  • Deceleration Device – Any mechanism: rope, grab, forms of lanyards, auto retracting lanyards that dissipate a substantial amount of energy during fall arrest.
  • Lanyard – Flexible line of rope or strap that has connectors to a deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage.

Along with the proper use of fall-arrest devices, ladder safety is of prime importance.  Some tips from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission include:

  • Always make sure weight does not exceed the maximum load, consider user weight plus material.
  • Be sure the ladder is the proper length: 3 feet minimum extending over working surface or roofline.
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders in the vicinity of power lines or electric equipment.
  • Don’t place ladder in front of door that is not guarded, blocked, or locked.
  • Follow instruction labels on ladders.
  • Don’t stand on the three top rungs of ladder.
  • Set the ladder up at a 75° angle.
  • Be sure locks on extension ladders are properly engaged.



If you are not among the lucky ones that are going to the spectacular country of Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics, get out the hot chocolate, popcorn, candy and other goodies and get ready for some excitement and beautiful scenery.   British Columbia, Canada, is home to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games from February 12 through 28, and the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 through 21.  Host venue cities are Vancouver, Whistler, and Richmond.  The official torch is already crossing Canada.

Officials have been preparing for months, and Canadians are excited to welcome athletes and fans from all over the world.  The government is taking serious precautions with safety, health and security concerns for all visitors and athletes, as well as their own citizens.

One of the health issues is the spread of the H1N1 virus.  The World Health Organization is sending a representative to monitor for potential disease outbreaks, but officials feel the threat has passed.  However, British Columbia health officials have been planning for the possible impact it would have on the games since before the pandemic was declared in June.  In their planning, they decided to keep a large supply of antiviral drugs on hand, just in case.

To avoid a major outbreak, the best practices are to continue with these sanitary protocols: washing hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, and when sick, don’t get out in public.  Persons traveling to the games need to be watchful for exposure to sick persons, and not touch surfaces if they can keep from it.  Those with children should be extra cautious in protecting them from the illness.  Keeping hand sanitizer in ones’ bag or purse will serve as a reminder to keep your hands clean.  First and foremost, persons planning to attend need to get both the seasonal flu shot and H1N1 shot.  Hopefully, the athletes will have had theirs.  More than 100 staffers of the U.S. Olympic Committee are getting their H1N1 vaccines before they head to Vancouver.  Athletes are saying there may be more “elbow bumps” than hand shaking this time!

The Canadian organizers of the games have contingency plans for staffing should the virus affect regular staff members.  A security team of 750 officers will be on stand-by in case of illness or emergency.  There is a pool of volunteers that can be ready in short-order time.  Although they can’t make it a requirement, all staff members and volunteers have been asked to take the vaccine.  Many teams are arriving this month, and will have the opportunity to take the vaccine in time for it to be effective, if they haven’t already taken it.  Public health nurses will be at the athletes’ villages, as well as venues, including hotels where officials and sponsors will stay to monitor for illnesses.

We wish the country of Canada much success in keeping athletes, their families, and all the visitors to the Olympics both safe and well.  There are many security issues that they are dealing with, as well as health concerns.  With the very best athletes representing their home countries, this is a time for focusing the eyes of the world toward the good sportsmanship that is displayed by those who have worked so very hard to achieve their goals.  We wish good traveling and health to all those who are fortunate to attend these Winter Olympics, in addition to the excitement of seeing the true beauty of Canada.


In the early evening of January 12th, an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale struck the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti. The epicenter of the quake was about 10 miles south of Port-Au-Prince, the country’s densely populated capital, and the damage was disastrous.

The U.N. headquarters and the Presidential Palace became piles of rubble, with persons buried underneath them, in addition to businesses, hospitals, schools, and homes.  Some buildings are still standing, but it is feared that they could come crumbling down at any time.  An estimated 200,000 people are dead, thousands more are injured and countless more are still missing.  Aftershocks continue to rock the capital.  Countries from all over the world have sent rescue and medical personnel to the aid of Haitians and others who live there – from babies to the elderly.  Medical professionals worry that many of the injured will not be able to survive their wounds, due to the risk of infection and disease, and lack of antibiotics and other badly needed medicines.  The arrival and distribution of medical supplies, water and food, has been slowed down due to the lack of sufficient landing space, as there is only a single-runway airport.

The United States plans to have around 16,000 troops in Haiti by the end of this week.  Heavy construction equipment will be used to clear pathways for transportation of food, water, clothing, and medicines to reach the people who so desperately need it. There are more than 2 million persons who have been left homeless.

Texas America Safety Company the parent company for has donated respirators, gloves, and disposable clothing for use in the relief effort through FEED THE CHILDREN.  We encourage everyone to join us in giving to a reputable charity.  All donations will help these folks survive until they are able to rebuild their lives and their country.  Pray for the homeless, injured, those who have lost loved ones, and for the wonderful volunteers who are working so hard to help them.


We’ve talked about drunk, drowsy, distracted, and deadly drivers in the past, but how about “distracted walkers?”  The American College of Emergency Physicians issued a warning several months ago after gathering information from across the United States about the increasing number of patients that are treated in emergency rooms after being injured in pedestrian accidents while using their cellphones to text or talk.  And worse, just this week, a 14-year old boy in Florida was killed when he stepped in front of an oncoming car that he did not see because he was texting on his cellphone.  This follows pedestrian deaths in New York and Illinois that have prompted two state lawmakers to submit bills banning texting while walking in their states.

The thought of such legislation is sure to be the source of late-night jokes, but this is a serious matter.  Several states have already banned the use of cell phones while driving in school zones, and texting while driving has been shown to be as deadly as drinking while driving.  There’s just no way one can pay attention while typing and walking or driving.  As a public relations ploy last March, (which lasted only twenty-four hours), a busy street in London was pictured with lampposts covered with rugby goalposts cushions.  This was in an area that is known for heavy digital gadget users.  This gimmick showed that persons walked into lampposts, trash containers, telephone poles, and even walls while focusing their attention on their mobile gadgets.  Most injuries are superficial; however, there have been many deaths caused by either inattention of walkers, or drivers that have hit pedestrians who were either jaywalking or stepping off a curb while texting or talking on their phone.

If bicyclists, rollerbladers, pedestrians, and skateboarders could wait to use their electronic devices after they are finished with their activities, they will have a better chance to stay in one piece.  If they receive a message, they should wait until they stop to check it out.  It is the misuse of these expensive gadgets that is getting us in trouble – both behind the wheel and now on our own two feet.  It’s been proven that multitasking leads to less efficient production than focusing on one job at a time.  True, it’s hard to believe we ever got along without cell phones because of the convenience they afford.  But trying to communicate at a time we should be thinking about where we are going, and how we are getting there, is a risk we shouldn’t be willing to take.  Better to send or retrieve that message when you reach your destination safely than while you are waiting to be seen in an emergency room.

More than 1,000 pedestrians required emergency room visits in 2008 because they were distracted and tripped, fell, or ran into something while using a cellphone to text or talk.  The number of accidents is probably much higher than that, because many of the injuries are not severe enough to need a visit to the hospital.  Ira Hyman, a psychology professor at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, recently conducted a study on this subject.  He noted that many times pedestrians using their phones don’t even notice objects or people right in front of them.  He says the term commonly applied to such preoccupation is “inattention blindness”, which means a person can be looking at an object but fail to process what it is.  He proved this when he and his students had one of the students dress as a clown and ride a unicycle around a central square on campus.  Twenty-five percent of people talking on a cellphone at the time did not even see the clown.

Hopefully, this will serve as a reminder to walk with care, just as you drive.  Teach your kids that safety should always come first.  It may be cool to walk around with an iPod, or phone, but tell them to get in the habit of thinking about the trouble these devices can cause by simply not paying attention.  This applies to folks of all ages; you could trip over your cat in your own home while you are talking on the phone.  Stay focused on the task at hand, and you will stay safe!


Would you want to be a detective?  Watching a crime show or a re-enactment of a real-life robbery or murder makes it look pretty simple to figure out who the bad guy is.  But in the real world, it isn’t so easy.  It takes a village to bring about justice after a crime is committed.  Law enforcement personnel depend on the public to give them information that leads to solving the puzzle.

January is National Crime Stoppers Month.  Crime Stoppers began in 1976.  Albuquerque, New Mexico was a city with one of the highest per capita crime rates in the country.  Citizens were afraid to get involved.  But a gas station robbery/murder, and a Police Detective named Greg MacAleese changed things in that city.  A young college student was working an extra shift at a gas station, in order to give his co-worker a night off.  During this shift, there was an armed robbery and the soon-to-be married student lost his life.  There were no witnesses to the shooting.   Detective MacAleese knew he would need public involvement to help him and others find the killers.  Having previously worked for a newspaper, he felt it would take something original to persuade citizens to get involved.  He had a video re-enactment of the crime produced, promised anonymity and a reward (his own money) to those who called in.

The re-enactment of the crime worked – it triggered the memory of a man who had passed by the station and recalled hearing a loud bang and seeing a car taking off.  He recognized the car and told police that the person who owned it lived in a nearby apartment complex.  Detective MacAleese and other detectives arrested two men within 72 hours and charged them with the murder, as well as other previous armed robberies.

The first Crime Stoppers program was started by the Albuquerque Police Department soon after.  Since adopting this program, Albuquerque’s crime rate has dropped significantly.  It is no longer among the 20 cities with the highest per capital crime rate.  Detective MacAleese was named one of the persons in the 70’s that changed the country, and received the U.S. Police Officer of the Year Award.

Crime Stoppers is not a law enforcement agency.  They encourage you to contact your local law enforcement agency or local Crime Stoppers program with information that can lead to the arrest of someone you suspect has committed a crime.  Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, Crime Stoppers programs are located in the U.S., Europe, South Africa, Canada, United Kingdom, Central America and many Pacific and Caribbean nations.

The objective of the group is worldwide grassroots gathering of information, with the guarantee of anonymity to anyone who can assist law enforcement agencies.  In the United States alone, Crime Stoppers programs have been responsible for taking millions of tips that have led to nearly 514,000 felony arrests, and the recovery of almost $4 billion in stolen property and drugs.  Their impact across America is amazing.

Recently, Crime Stoppers has been asking the public for assistance in preventing crime during the Winter Olympic Games in British Columbia, Canada, slated for February.  The Canadian government is working diligently to keep everyone:  athletes, trainers, staff, and the public safe.

If you have any relevant information, call Games 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or text keyword “BCTIP” to 274637 crimes, or go to website:

We commend Crime Stoppers for the success this program has had worldwide.  They have brought the importance of crime prevention to the forefront, followed by news media and programs such as “America’s Most Wanted” that ask for the public’s help in apprehending criminals.  Now it’s time we do our part to help keep our world safer.  Instead of being an “armchair detective” at home, we must pay closer attention to what’s happening in our neighborhoods.  If you haven’t considered joining your local Crime Stoppers program, think about it.  It’s time to get involved!

Source: Crime Stoppers International


In many sections of the United States, you have probably seen these tall, windmill-looking structures on the landscape. They look very peaceful, gracefully creating a new type of power to help energize our country.

Wind turbines have been used in Europe for a number of years, and in the past several years have become popular in the U.S.  Mechanical power from windmills is used to pump water, energy for grinding, etc.

Working opposite of a fan, which makes wind, turbines use wind to make electricity.  The huge blades spin a shaft inside, which connects to a generator and makes electricity.  A large group of these turbines contribute energy to the utility grid of power companies, and in turn, are distributed to homes, schools, and businesses.

  1. For persons who are contemplating using this type of energy, there are many things to be considered. The cost of interconnecting with the electric company, insurance in case the turbine causes damage or problems to utility systems, and liability insurance for damage to nearby properties.
  2. One of the hazards of the turbines are icing of blades, which could result in shedding of ice.Severe weather might cause problems.
  3. Blade throws are another hazard mentioned; however, these wind turbines are state-of-the-art and very safe. Equipped with sensors, blade throws are virtually non-existent.  The turbines have controllers that start the turbine when the wind is 8 to 16 MPH, and stop it if the wind reaches 55 MPH, due to risk of damage.
  4. Lastly, studies have been done by several medical experts that in certain cases, there is a correlation between persons who have been exposed for long periods of time to low frequency noise and vibration and living too close to a wind farm, that have experienced health problems.

Because every contractor is concerned with safe operations, the wind energy industry poses unique safety concerns.  The size of the propellers and remote location of the wind farms are two issues.  There has been a lack of a cohesive industrial study for wind project safety; however, a process has recently begun by an ANSI A10 subcommittee made up of wind industry experts and safety professionals.  As with any industry, training and planning are key elements to successful safety programs.

Issues being considered are:

  • On-Site Rescue: because of their remote locations, emergency personnel are not close by or may not be equipped with tools necessary to rescue persons from high structures.  Personnel of the contractor must be trained and able to reach injured workers, getting them to the ground and ready for local EMS to take over.
  • Weather Planning: Because some of the farms are located where harsh conditions exist, such as high winds, dust, ice, rain, the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be used, and workers must be trained to recognize when weather circumstances exceed safe working conditions.
  • Multiple Contractors: Several specialty contractors are involved in building wind farms, and all have to work in close proximity with each other.  Each contractor should know what hazards are present in the project, and communicate this information with all other contractors.  Communication is necessary to have successful safety performances.

It will be fascinating to see how many more of these wind farms will be built.  It’s a great plan to help with the demand for energy that is needed to keep our country going.


Kids of all ages love to ride on ATV’s (All-Terrain Vehicle, 3 or 4 wheels).  Before you hit the trail, however, there’s a lot to think about, safety being primary.  ATV accidents cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of emergency room visits yearly.

In our area not too long ago, a couple riding together on an ATV out in the country were unable to stop when they suddenly turned onto a road and hit the back of a dump truck.  The driver of the truck saw them coming from a side road and tried to veer out of the way, but they were coming pretty fast.  When the ATV driver tried to stop, the girl was thrown off the ATV and hit the back of the truck.  The rider was not hurt but the girl lost her life.  If they had been more aware of the risks involved, maybe this could have been avoided.

Here’s some Do’s and Don’t’s that could make a difference:

  • Get properly trained.  Drivers that have had formal training have a lower risk of injury.
  • Always wear protective gear.  Head injuries are a risk, so you should purchase a helmet that is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Snell Memorial Foundation, or American National Standards Institute.
  • Wear other types of clothing such as ankle boots, goggles, gloves, long pants and long-sleeved shirts.  They help avoid cuts and abrasions, as well as injuries from rocks, trees, and other debris.
  • Be sure the ATV fits you like a glove.  Many accidents are caused because an ATV is too large for the rider.  Grip reach, throttle reach, and brake reach are very important.  There should be the right clearance between the seat and your inseam to stand up to properly absorb shock while riding in rough terrain.  Clearance should be 3” to 6” when standing.  Get advice from the dealer to be sure you choose the right size.
  • Go by ATV Safety Institute recommendations for appropriate age/engine size:  Age 6 and older to 70 cc’s; Age 12 and older to 90 cc’s, and Age 16 and older to 90 cc’s and up.


  • Take kids on adult ATV’s. One-third of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room injuries are kids.  Those under age 16 that ride on adult ATV’s are twice as likely to be hurt as those who ride youth ATV’s.
  • Ride tandem. Most ATV’s are designed to carry only one person, who is able to shift weight more freely in all directions.  Interactive riding is critical to maintain safe control, especially on varying terrains.  Passengers make it hard for the driver to control the vehicle.
  • Ride on pavement; it is very difficult to control an ATV on paved roads and there’s the threat of collision with cars or other vehicles.  Many fatal ATV accidents happen on paved roads.
  • Ride under the influence of drugs/alcohol; reaction time and judgment are impaired, plus, it’s illegal.

ATV’s do not handle the same as a motorcycle.  Most savvy riders will acknowledge that knowing how to properly drive either an ATV or motorcycle through getting the right training is very important.  You wouldn’t put a kid in a car and tell him to put it in Drive and take off, would you?  The old saying of “sink or swim” doesn’t cut it in today’s world.  Take the time to learn “safety first”, and you’ll have hours and hours of fun while “riding like the wind!”


(O.S.H.A.)-Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s role is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.

Here is valuable information regarding seven significant OSHA standards that will have an impact on American employers:

1. Recordkeeping: On October 1, 2009, OSHA announced its national emphasis program on recordkeeping. This emphasis program will include greater scrutiny of employer maintained OSHA logs, whether employers are recording all workplace recordable injuries/illnesses, and more.

2. Annual verification of lockout/tagout procedures: OSHA will focus on whether employers are complying with the requirement to conduct periodic inspections (at least annually) of the energy control procedures as required by 20 CFR 1910.147 (c)(6)(i).

3. A general lockout/tagout policy does not comply with OSHA regulations: Employers must have a separate lockout/tagout procedure for each piece of different equipment.

4. Combustible dust standard: On April 29, 2009, OSHA announced it would initiate rulemaking on combustible dust hazards. OSHA will issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and convene related stakeholder meetings to evaluate possible regulatory methods, and request data and comments on issues related to combustible dust.

5. Per employee penalties for PPE and training violations: OSHA has issued its final rule allowing OSHA to cite employers on a “per employee basis” for failure to wear/use required personal protective equipment (PPE). This rule went into effect January 12, 2009, and applies to PPE and training. As a result, an employer who has failed to properly train employees or who has employees not wearing or using PPE may receive a citation per employee.

6. Liability of general contractors for hazards they did not create and/or where their own employees were not exposed: In February 2009, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals a certain case held that OSHA regulations do not preclude OSHA from issuing citations to a general contractor under the multi-employer citation policy simply based on the fact that the general contractor “controls” the worksite regardless of whether or not the general contractor created the hazard or had its own employees exposed to the hazard.

7. OSHA settlement agreements and additional employer obligations: Employers should be aware that OSHA is mandating uniformity in the language of ALL settlement agreements. Additionally, OSHA is including in all settlement agreements language that seeks to use the settlement process as a way to get employers to agree to undertake additional obligations.

Safety should be the #1 priority chosen by all employers.  Taking the time for proper safety meetings and training for on-the-job accident prevention is not nearly as costly as just one tragic accident.



Most often, if and when you get pulled over by a police officer, you are probably not going to be in a very good mood, because chances are, that patrol car has an onboard camera.  The fact that you are the star of the show may not be much fun – you really don’t want to be known as a speedster, and you sure don’t want your friends to see you if you’ve had too much to drink!

Currently, there are more than 600 law enforcement motorcycle officers across the United States that are equipped with clip-on video cameras.  The clip-on video cameras are also being utilized by private security companies, firefighters, and insurance adjusters, as well as motorcycle police.  In Texas, 45 to 50 law enforcement agencies are using the Vievu cameras.

Law enforcement has come a long way…. They first wore voice recorders attached to their uniform shoulders, and later, video cameras were placed in patrol cars.  The price for this type of camera ranges from $699 to $899, and $500 for extra hard drive storage.  There’s one switch, no wires, and the camera holds up to four hours of video.  With an average traffic stop taking only 2 to 3 minutes, they easily have enough room for a 10-hour shift.  The video can then be downloaded from the camera to a computer.

Not knowing how people are going to react to a traffic stop, these cameras document how everyone behaves: the driver, as well as the officer.  The clip-on cameras are a great way to protect the motorist, city, and police officer.

So next time, you get pulled over by a motorcycle officer, smile, because you may just be on “Cops Camera”.  Drive safely, don’t text while driving, pay attention, and you might just avoid being a film star!