On Monday, January 18, Oprah Winfrey began taking a stand against distracted driving, with her “No Phone Zone” message.  This Friday, April 30, the Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Governors Highway Safety Association, National Organizations for Youth Safety, Focus Driven, Students Against Destructive Decisions, RADD, the Entertainment Industry’s Voice for Road Safety, Sprint, General Motors/Chevrolet, and Liberty Mutual will join Oprah and Harpo Studios to take their message to the streets by declaring “National No Phone Zone Day.”  Rallies will be held in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.  In conjunction with her live show Friday, a new “No Phone Zone” public service announcement campaign will be showcased.

More than 160,000 people to date have signed Oprah’s “No Phone Zone” pledge.  She has had more success in spreading the word of the dangers of distracted driving.  Many celebrities have signed her pledge.  Here is the pledge:

“I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by committing to drive as responsibly as I can:

Choose one:

  • I will not text while driving.
  • I will not text while driving and will use only handsfree calling if I need to speak on the phone while driving.
  • I will not text or use my phone while I am driving.  If I need to use my phone, I will pull over to a secure location.”

The rest of the pledge is on the internet; please give a lot of consideration to completing it.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approximately 6,000 Americans are killed annually, with another 150,000 persons injured in accidents caused by drivers either texting or talking on their cell phones.  There is no conversation worth taking that risk.  The best practice is to turn your cell phone off while you are behind the wheel.  Hands-free phones are safer, but you still may get into a conversation that takes your attention away from driving safely.

Thank you, Oprah, for all you have done and continue to do to keep us all safer on the highways.


A short time ago, we presented an article that asked, “What Are the Most Dangerous Jobs in America?”   Some jobs that are stressful may not be as demanding as dangerous jobs; however, they can create so much pressure that they are as harmful to an individual than the ones that carry a lot of risk.

Based on a study done by, listed below are the five top stressful jobs of 200 hundred occupations, and were based on 21 stress-causing factors and how significant these demands figure into the average workday.  Certain job demands are competitiveness, risk of unemployment, and the opportunity for advancement.  It’s interesting that some of the five were also on our list of America’s Most Dangerous Jobs, and reference will be made to our articles, in case you wish to review them.

1.    Firefighters – Stress Rank 200.  Whether they are professional or volunteer firefighters, these men and women are on call and risk their lives to protect our homes, businesses, and wilderness from devastating fires.  They experience smoke inhalation, heat exhaustion, and may be required to work outdoors for long hours, in all weather elements.

2.    Corporate executives – Stress Rank 199.  These people make decisions that are important to employees and their company’s success or failure on a daily basis.  They may work many more hours than their workers realize.  Their world is a very competitive one.

3.    Taxi drivers – Stress Rank 198.  Our article, “Have You Taken A Taxi Lately?” describes the risks that taxi drivers experience every day.  Their hours are erratic, which include nights and weekends.  Driving through heavy traffic, especially in bad weather and being responsible for passengers can create a very heavy stress load.

4.    Surgeons – Stress Rank 197.  It may take hours for a surgeon to perform one operation.   Add several more surgeries to that, or emergency surgery during odd hours, and their level of stress can be high.  In addition to the fatigue factor, the decisions they must make affects the lives of their patients.  Their job demands precision and perfection.

5.    Police Officers – Stress Rank 196.  Law enforcement officers face life-threatening  situations – sometimes on a daily basis.  They have to work long shifts, be ready for emergencies, and present physical and emotional strength to the public they serve.  Our article, “Want to Go Into Law Enforcement?” talks about the dangers our officers incur.

Other stressful and dangerous jobs we have discussed include “Dangerous Job: Coal Miners; (before the terrible explosion in West Virginia,), and “Timberrrr”-logging industry dangers.

A final note: any occupation that has to do with producing our nation’s energy is dangerous.  A current example is the tragic off-shore rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.  Whether drilling on land or in the water, persons working on drilling rigs respect the dangers that go along with their jobs.  Persons that work on well service rigs, in refineries, coal mines, and companies that contract with oil and gas companies are trained to be familiar with the risks involved in their particular duties.  Stress and danger seem to go hand-in-hand in many occupations.  We have named just a few today.


We all know that there are many worthy causes to give our time and money to.  A very special group that utilizes thousands of volunteers is the Special Olympics.  June of 1962, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a summer day camp for children and adults with intellectual disabilities at her home in Maryland.

Camp Shriver was the predecessor to the Special Olympics.  When Mrs. Shriver declared the first Special Olympics open in Chicago, July, 1968, she lead 1,000 athletes from 26 states and Canada onto Soldier Field.  From that time until the present, the Special Olympics have grown to more than three million athletes in over 150 countries.  The Winter Special Olympics were held in Canada this past February; summer games will be in Athens, Greece, in 2011.

Special Olympics offers year-round sports training and athletic competition in all fifty states of the U.S.  Texas has more than 44,000 volunteers that help with the daily workouts and keep the contests running smoothly.  In addition to helping with events, they coach athletes, help with fund raising, coordinate events, work in offices, and serve on committees.  Volunteers are the backbone of this organization.  More than 1.5 million individuals around the globe donate their time to giving children and adults with intellectual disabilities or physical disabilities the chance to compete and make friends with others from outside their own communities.

SO vest

Those youngsters age 14 or under who want to volunteer to help with Special Olympics, must be accompanied by an adult.  What better way for a parent and their child to experience the joy of helping others could there be?  If you live in a city that is home to a Special Olympics office, contact them and offer your help.  If not, there are plenty of other ways to help.  Check the Special Olympics website for all types of information.  These great athletes can teach us about spirit, determination, and sportsmanship.


With the beginning of the April 22, 1970 movement, approximately 20 million Americans participated to reach the goal of a healthy, sustainable environment.  Up until this time, separate groups who had been fighting against polluting factories, power plants, toxic dumps, oil spills, and extinction of wildlife began to realize that they shared common goals.  Through the years and with the help of the worldwide web, the efforts of those concerned with the environment have multiplied.  Other concerns such as global warming and clean energy have now emerged, as well.  People all over the world celebrate Earth Day either on March 20th or April 22nd.  This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Earth Day movement, started in 1970.

The Earth Day Network has more than 20,000 partners and works with 190 countries to promote building a healthy, prosperous clean energy economy now and for the future.  We must produce a green economy around the globe, in every corner of our world, by making it cleaner.

Air pollution is one of the main causes of harmful health effects.  Coal-fired electric power plants release tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and mercury into the air each year.  These were built before clean air laws were passed in the 1970’s.  Some trucks and vehicles produce harmful emissions, and traces of gas are in the air around gas drilling.

Our homes need to be healthy homes.  Dust and mold can build up, and cause respiratory problems.  Affordable housing should be available to everyone, and they should not have to worry about lead paint, bad drinking water, and other things that contribute to health problems.

The average age of U.S. Schools is 42 years.  Over sixty per cent report there is at least one serious maintenance problem in their campus buildings.  (Our community is just now rebuilding the local high school, which was built in 1953.)  Just imagine the asbestos and other materials that were in the building!

We applaud everyone who participates in Earth Day!  If every single person would use less electricity, not print everything they do on their computers, and pick up trash thrown out by some careless person, it would add up to better health for us all.  Do your part to spruce up our planet!


April is designated as Injury Prevention Month.  However, every month should carry the same theme.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), in 2008, 5,071 Americans lost their lives as a result of workplace accidents.  This was down from 5,657 in 2007, but only because of the slowing economy.  About 3.6 million Americans suffer serious work-related injuries annually.

Because of the recent devastating coal mine explosion in West Virginia, we are reminded of how dangerous this industry is.  The BLS states that these employees are more likely to be hurt, suffer illness, or be killed than workers in private industries.  Coal mining companies should ensure the safety of their workers through many means, such as proper ventilation, firefighting equipment, air monitor systems, safe places they can escape to, etc.  It is suspected that many violations will be discovered once a Federal investigation is complete, as that particular mine had been issued over 100 citations, just this year.

Every company owes it to each and every employee to be assured that their safety is the Number One Priority.  Next, each employee should do all they can to ensure their safety and that of their fellow workers.  Here are some suggestions for workers’ security:

  • Heavy machinery/equipment operators know how their machines perform better than anyone, so their supervisors should work with them daily to ensure the machinery is checked often, and running safely at all times.
  • Workers should have an active role in company safety programs, by submitting safety suggestions, serving on safety committees, and participating in safety training.
  • Slippery floors, loose carpet, or other hazardous conditions should be reported to supervisors and taken care of as soon as possible.
  • First Aid training is a must.  There should be first aid kits in designated work areas, along with employees who know how to administer basic first aid in case of an accident.
  • Eyewash stations should be available and kept in clean, working condition.
  • Wearing the proper personal protective equipment as required is extremely important.  PPE is designed to protect specific parts of the body that are exposed to hazards.  It should fit properly and be worn at all times while working.  Employees should know how to care for their PPE and ask for its replacement when needed.
  • Companies should warn employees against improper behavior, such as horseplay.  Persons who like to play pranks on their co-workers may be endangering them.  Work environments should be pleasant, but not to the degree of being reckless.
  • Lifting objects that are too heavy is another source of injury.  If this is the case, lifting aids should be used in order to prevent back injury.

It’s hard to find many types of work that don’t carry a chance of injury.  From Anthropologists  to Zoo Keeper, all occupations present some sort of danger.  The best lesson for each individual is to be aware of the risks involved in their occupation and stay alert in order to remain safe each day.


This week, April 18-24, is National Volunteer Week, which is a time to thank one of our nation’s most valuable assets — volunteers — and call the public’s attention to all that they do to improve our communities.

Sponsored nationally by the Points of Light Institute, National Volunteer Week began in 1974 when President Richard M. Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteering. Every president since has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week. The theme, “celebrating people in action,” truly captures the meaning behind this signature week — honoring the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities.

What would small communities do without volunteers?  Persons who work on city councils, hospital boards, and many other types of community boards receive no pay, but do it because they want to serve.  Places of entertainment, such as museums, theatres, art shows and others need volunteers.  When towns hold their annual festivals, they depend on volunteers to ensure success.  In most small towns, volunteer firemen and women are the ones fighting fires. In some cases, they may receive assistance from professional support teams; however, most of the time, these communities rely totally on their volunteer firemen and first responders.

Young people volunteer on summer projects; rather than spending their time going swimming, to the mall, or other fun things, they are swinging a hammer, painting, or performing other tasks, to repair homes for folks that otherwise can’t afford repairs.  Students also volunteer by collecting money for worthwhile causes, or running a race for financial pledges to help on special projects.

Hospital volunteers help their hospital meet budget by doing all types of clerical work at no charge.  They also hold fundraisers in order to buy needed equipment, thereby freeing up the hospital to make other purchases.  An important part of hospital volunteers are Pink Ladies, who serve in the patient areas of hospitals, doing various duties as outlined by volunteer criteria.  Church members can always be counted on to do whatever they can to help out their communities in times of troubles.  And what on earth would we do in times of destruction: fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, if it weren’t for the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and many other groups who wouldn’t be able to fulfill their duties without dedicated volunteers.

If you prefer not to help in a group, there are many ways to give the gift of yourself: reading to someone in a nursing home, running errands, cooking a meal for a family with a sick member, or simply calling an elderly friend to make sure they are o.k.  One can never know what that act of kindness may mean to someone.  Anyone with time to spare should give volunteering a try.

To quote Muhammad Ali: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”


When the United States military developed and implemented a space-based satellite system, they probably never imagined the doors they were opening for novices who love gadgets!

Global Positioning Systems enhance safety for individuals, businesses, and service-based entities alike by orbiting Earth and sending information to GPS receivers owned by various users.

Cell phones have the capabilities of GPS, and allow persons to reach their destinations safely by furnishing maps and voice-activated instructions.  So you can now take a walk, drive your car, or map out a future trip by typing in the address you are looking for.  GPS devices that are already installed in cars help drivers know what to anticipate in regard to traffic conditions, road conditions, etc.  Drivers should program their GPS before they start their car, as watching the GPS rather than the road can be very dangerous.  They must be used in a way that enhances driving abilities.  Voice-activation guides the driver turn by turn, allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road.  If a turn is missed, the system will give instructions on how to get back on the right track.

Incorporation of GPS with mobile phones provides a comprehensive safety net.  They give positional information on persons with mobile phones and in vehicles that may be in an emergency situation and unable to use their phone.  Public safety services depend on GPS for location and timing capabilities in their life-saving missions.

If you have teen-agers, never fear, there are GPS monitors that can locate them, as well as family members who are disabled, elderly, or have medical conditions.  Help buttons are also featured in the systems.  Another stress reducing feature of GPS is the fear of getting lost.
Your route is calculated before you leave home, and you will have no more maps to fool with.

Another service that GPS provides is tracking of fleet vehicles.  With this type of system, managers have all kinds of information available to them:

  • Constant location of all vehicles;
  • How many stops vehicles make, and for how long;
  • Speed being driven;
  • Distance driven;
  • Hours of service in each vehicle;
  • Accurate reporting and log-keeping.

It may seem to some that this is spying; however, it actually improves safety for employees.  Time and money savings can result from information gathered by these systems.

With all the technology we are afforded, we must not allow these systems to distract us.  Pay attention to the road, not the screen.  In this modern age of “instant everything”: dvd players, cell phones or other devices that tempt us to check them out, wait until you stop the car. Watch the road, not the gadgets!


Our goal is to encourage our readers to be safe in their every day lives; whether they are working or doing other activities.  Every once in a while, we enjoy presenting articles about health issues as well, because staying in good health allows us to enjoy life.  If we don’t feel well, we aren’t going to do a very good job for our employer.  And not doing a good job can compromise our safety as well as the safety of others.

“In the U.S., we eat more than twice as much salt per day as we really need,” said Dr. Lee Goldman of Columbia University.  “We found that increased salt intake in the U.S. is now as big a problem as cholesterol, almost as big a problem as smoking,” Dr. Goldman added.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that cutting out just three grams of salt per day could prevent anywhere from 54,000 to 99,000 heart attacks and 32,000 to 66,000 strokes.  Three grams of salt equals ½ teaspoon.  The recommended daily salt intake is 3.7 to 5.8 grams. In the United States,  the average male consumes over 10 grams – or almost two teaspoons each day,  and the average female over seven grams.

The vast majority of salt in the American diet comes from processed foods, not from people adding it themselves.  Our bodies need a certain amount of salt, as its ingredients, sodium and chloride regulate the body’s fluid balance.  The body can require only 200 milligrams per day to stay healthy, depending on exercise and work conditions. The National Academy of Science recommends at least 500 mg but less than 2300 mg per day.  We all know that too much salt is harmful to your health. Researchers say that cutting one gram per day could be more cost effective than using medications to lower blood pressure in all those persons with hypertension.

How can we cut the salt? Start with salty snacks. The three most popular ones in America are loaded with it; potato and tortilla chips have almost half a gram in one serving and popcorn has nearly three quarters of a gram.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine’s report, probably 75% to 80% of dietary salt in the U.S. is “hidden” in processed foods.  Some fast food meals have almost three times the amount of salt needed in a day.  In addition to flavoring, salt adds to food preservation, so things such as soups, packaged meals, cottage cheese and packaged snacks contain high sodium levels.

To stay healthy, check the sodium content on food labels.  Use pepper, spices, herbs or lemon juice as seasonings instead of too much salt.  When eating a meal in a restaurant, I am guilty of sprinkling salt on my food before I even taste it!  But I am going to use this information to cut down on my salt intake, in order to keep my heart a little healthier.  I hope you will, too!


Right now you are thinking. “So, work and fatigue don’t mix, but my work tires me every day!”  Or do you get tired of your work?  Our mental outlook on our occupation plays a large part in how our bodies react to the demands of our jobs.  You certainly wouldn’t want to meet a drowsy driver on the road because he has driven too many hours.  Would you want a surgeon to operate on you if he’s already been in the operating room for several hours?  I want mine scheduled for the first thing in the morning!  If we have a good attitude about the work we plan to perform each day, we will see better results, and look forward to the next day.  Think positive thoughts.

There are many factors that play into workplace fatigue, such as:

  • Sleep-deprivation;
  • Lonely, boring jobs;
  • Shifts that are too long;
  • Demands to work extra shifts;
  • Dissatisfaction with job;
  • Heavy work loads;
  • Stress.

Studies have shown that because of workers’ lack of sleep, the costs of lost productivity range in the $350 billions-worldwide annually.  The best habit for anyone is to get 7.5 or 8.5 hours of sleep per night.  Persons who work night shifts have more difficulty adjusting to different sleep patterns and sometimes suffer from fatigue at work, even going to sleep on the job.

Employers should ensure that the workplace doesn’t promote fatigue.  One way to succeed is to require shorter shifts or change to rotating shifts, eliminate repetitive jobs by varying job duties, and train workers on how to get enough rest.  While on breaks, workers could try playing a quick game, or planning their next get-away, instead of thinking about their work duties.
Fatigue can cause poor judgment, lack of concentration, poor communication skills, less productivity, and the ability to do complex jobs.  Tired workers experience slower reaction time, loss of memory, the ability to recall details, and may take risks, which could lead to everyone being in harm’s way.  Most jobs require our complete attention, such as heavy equipment operators, handling dangerous chemicals, using sharp instruments, driving vehicles, taking care of patients; the list could go on and on.

If one always feels tired or depressed, it would be best to see his/her doctor, to be sure there isn’t a medical reason for their fatigue, at home and work.  Everyone can stay strong by eating healthy, avoiding junk and fatty foods, doing the right exercise regularly, and getting enough sleep.

So, don’t be “sick and tired of being sick and tired!”  It’s up to you to do something about it.

Try starting with A for Attitude.


Probably everyone has had to deal with a bully at one time or another.  There’s always going to be someone making another person’s life miserable.  Almost like a disease without a cure, bullying often goes too far.  Too often, we hear about a teenager that has decided the only way to escape the torment of a bully is to commit suicide.  This needs to stop.

Definitions of a bully are, someone who:

(a) intimidates;

(b) threatens;

(c) frightens;

(d) terrorizes; and/or

(e) endangers.

Anyone who has encountered bullies can no doubt add other descriptions.  What can we as a society do about this problem?  Parents are the key.  By paying close attention to our kids, we can notice when they seem to be acting differently, and ask questions.  Many times a child won’t say that someone is harassing them, until it’s gone too far.  Place a confidential call to school officials to bring the problem to their attention.  If school administration or teachers are unable to curtail the situation, call law enforcement.

In the past, things like this happened on “mean streets.”  With cell phones, computers, and email chat rooms, the cyber world creates virtual “bad streets” everywhere!  Cowards hiding behind a computer or cell phone can make a person’s life miserable by spreading all sorts of rumors or making threats.

Then, there are some of the bullies left over from junior high, still out there, seeking attention the only way they know, by picking on someone else and trying to build themselves up by making others feel small.  (We’re talking about the workplace, now!) Here’s some advice for grown-ups and students to apply when encountering a bully:

  • Avoid this person as much as possible.
  • Develop self-control; don’t let them think they have the best of you.
  • Ignore them.
  • Talk to teachers, school administrators.  They have laws to follow to protect you.
  • Talk to your supervisor; your company should have policies that protect you.
  • Ask that security cameras be placed in areas that could deter these activities.
  • Keep a record.  It’s always good advice to document, document, document!
  • If it keeps up, make a formal complaint to management.
  • When that doesn’t work, seek legal advice.  Personal injury lawyers’ consultations are usually free.

This all goes back to parenting.  If parents know they are raising a bully, they should put a stop to it before it gets out of hand.  The damage that bullies can cause sometimes leaves a permanent scar on their victim.  We all must learn to behave toward others in a positive way.
Only then will we see a safer world.