The last official holiday of 2010, New Year’s Eve, will be celebrated in various ways.  Hopefully, everyone will still be intact on January 1, 2011!  We have focused on driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, texting and driving, and distracted driving, so much that you either agree with it or are tired of hearing about it.  But this is a very sobering subject, when you stop to think about the devastation of lives any of these activities have caused.

AT&T has released a powerful new documentary featuring stories of  individuals whose lives have been altered by texting and driving.  Their goal is to make texting and driving as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.  Teenagers need to know that a text message is not worth a life.  The document will be distributed to schools, safety organizations and government agencies, and urges people to take a pledge on its Facebook page not to text and drive.  This message applies to adults, as well. 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says one in 10 drivers have knowingly started their cars under the influence.  Alcohol not only impairs our ability to drive, but to balance, make good judgment, and have normal reflexes.  Walking under the influence is no laughing matter.  The journal Injury Prevention noted that New Year’s Day is more deadly to pedestrians than any other day of the year.  If a person has been partying and decides to walk home, don’t let them go alone.  They need to be escorted home by someone who is assumes the same responsibility as a designated driver. 

In Texas, the Texas Public Safety Commission approved a special driver enforcement program by the Texas Highway Patrol granting TxDOT funds to DPS to finance costs of added DPS trooper patrols, during the Christmas-New Year’s season.  The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is doing the same.  It is hoped that the addition of troopers will help support the theme, “Don’t Drive if you’re Tipsy, Buzzed, or Blitzen.”  Statistics from Texas during December, 2009, show there were 37,000 traffic crashes which injured 18,000 people and killed 240 more.  In all of 2009, there were 3,089 fatalities on Texas roads and 956 of those were the result of alcohol-related crashes.  This makes alcohol a factor in nearly one-third of all fatal crashes in Texas.  Oklahoma officials narrowed the time frame down for fatality wrecks to the period from December 24, through January 3, 2009.  During that time, there were 14 people that died in Oklahoma crashes.

Have a safe and Happy New Year’s Celebration and enjoy all that is offered for your entertainment, (with the exception of too many drinks!) There will be football, football, and more football!  Good luck to the TCU Horned Frogs, representing our state!  Good luck to all teams and let’s pray for injury-free games.

Thanks for being loyal readers of Blog4Safety, and to our Texas America Safety Company friends throughout the world, we wish you all a very Happy New Year, and a big Texas THANKS, Y’ALL!


Along with winter weather come many invisible dangers, one of them being the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.  People may try to heat their homes by leaving ovens open or heating appliances on, unaware of the risk that this invisible, toxic gas can cause.  You can’t see, taste, or smell the deadly fumes that can kill you before you are even aware it is in your home.  CO gas can come from several sources: charcoal grills, wood-burning fireplaces, gas-fired appliances, fireplaces and motor vehicles. 

Recently, five teens were found dead in a motel room they had rented to celebrate one of the teens’ 19th birthday.  There were no drugs, alcohol or suspicious items found in the room, according to law enforcement.  But, they had left their car running in a garage underneath the room.  Friends reported that earlier the car had needed a jump-start, and they probably left it running to preserve the battery’s charge.  A door leading to a staircase up to the room had been left open; high levels of CO gas were found inside. 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year in America, unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning claims more than 400 lives and sends another 20,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.  Around 4,000 of those persons are sick enough to be hospitalized.  Symptoms of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion, as stated by the American College of Emergency Physicians.  They report that symptoms could imitate other illnesses, making it hard to recognize CO poisoning.  Persons living or working together that get these symptoms simultaneously over a short period of time may mistakenly think they have flu.  Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning.  Experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and persons with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk for CO poisoning.  

The United States Fire Administration and National Association of Home Builders want you to know that there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from deadly carbon monoxide fumes: 

  • Install at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal near sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms.  Purchase an alarm that has been evaluated by a recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL.)
  • Never use the range or oven to heat the home, or a charcoal grill or hibachi in your home or garage.
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical (catalytic) heaters in your home.
  • Never use generators in your home, basement or garage, or near windows, doors or vents.
  • Never leave a car running in a garage.  Even with open doors, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to prevent a dangerous build up of CO.
  • Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, hot water heaters,  furnaces, vent and chimney systems at least once a year.
  • When purchasing an existing home, have a qualified technician evaluate the heating and cooking systems, as well as sealed spaces between the garage and house.   

In addition, the USFA and NAHB pass on these valuable instructions on what to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off: 

  1. Silence the alarm.
  2. Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion, (i.e. furnace and fireplace).
  3. Ventilate the house with fresh air by opening doors and windows.
  4. Call a qualified professional to investigate the source of possible CO buildup.

(The above instructions are applicable if no one is feeling ill.) 

If illness is a factor:

  1. Evacuate all occupants (including animals) immediately.
  2. Determine how many occupants are ill and establish their symptoms.
  3. Call your local emergency number and include the number of people feeling ill to the dispatcher.
  4. Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department representative.
  5. Call a qualified professional to repair the source of the CO.   

If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, it is very possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm; this does not mean that CO is not present!  Remember, having a carbon monoxide alarm in your home can save your life in the event of CO buildup! 

CO builds up quickly when a car or vehicle is running in a closed garage.  If you drive a vehicle with a tailgate, when you open the tailgate, open windows or vents to be sure air is moving through the vehicle.  If only the tailgate is open, CO from the exhaust will be pulled into the vehicle.  This important  information is from the Centers for Disease Control. 

With all these different agencies looking out for our safety, it seems it would only take a small amount of time and effort to follow their advice to purchase and install these carbon monoxide detectors.  It’s  a small price to pay that could result in such a rich reward if it saves the lives of those you love.


As we discussed earlier, we all want to live in a perfect world and work in a perfect workplace.  While perfection may be out of reach, both employers and employees can do their part to create an environment where we can all go to our specific job assignments, feeling free from safety and health risks. 

Workers and managers should plan together, using a continuous method to protect and promote the health, safety, and well-being of all employees.  The strains of work that employees face are mainly trying to balance work and life issues, which creates health problems when individuals face a lack of control at work.  Thus management should recognize that this can lead to distress levels that in turn can create short-term health complaints, with longer-term health disorders.  A normally healthy person placed in an unhealthy work environment will likely be prone to develop problems such as heart, back pain, mental health issues, and injuries.  In other words, no work environment should make people ill and susceptible to injury.  Companies should also enforce policies that accommodate older workers and those with chronic disease or disabilities.  They should have resources for their employees to participate in health-improvement programs.

We know that the following hazards or problems exist in many workplaces and must be addressed:

  • Physical – can result from structural, air, machinery, furniture, products;
  • Chemicals and materials;
  • Production processes;
  • Outdoor location work;
  • Ergonomics – awkward position, repetitive motions, lifting;
  • Mechanical – working around heavy machinery, noise;
  • Mobile – driving in hazardous conditions;
  • Psychosocial – Poor organization
  • Work demands, low reward or recognition;
  • Lack of supervisor support;
  • Poor communication;
  • Bullying, discrimination;
  • Lack of negotiation;
  • Lack of flexibility. 

Corrections to all of these are up to administration.  There should be leadership that oversees proper housekeeping of all work areas, preventive maintenance, enforcement of policies, adequate training, and furnishing the right Personal Protective Equipment, such as respirators for dusty work areas, industrial hard hats and boots for construction personnel, etc.  Their policies and programs to reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for workers can be carried out in some of these ways: 

  • Post signs to encourage use of stairs.
  • Place motivational posters in common areas.
  • Offer health education classes and weight management discussions.
  • Offer employee discounts for gym memberships.
  • Offer health benefits such as flu shots and free screenings.
  • Furnish literacy education to their employees and family members.
  • Establish smoke-free policies, by incorporating incentives and competitions, with added interventions. 

It sounds as though we have put all the demands on the shoulders of the companies.  But employees know that they must fulfill their obligations to the company and their families to stay healthy and safe at all times.  If you check around, you might be surprised to see how many large companies play an active part in their communities as well as their businesses.    They support the establishment of primary healthcare facilities in the communities.  They make commitments to planners to build sidewalks, bike paths, and other projects that benefit not just their employees, but entire communities.  When schools and charities solicit their help, they usually come through with financial support that individuals cannot afford to do.

So, let’s end the year and start a new one with the goal of creating a healthier workplace for ourselves and our coworkers.


As we come to the end of the year, our thoughts turn to making the same resolutions that we usually make each new year, such as losing weight, quitting bad habits, etc.  How about a different and new resolution?  One that both companies and employees alike would make: to create a healthier workplace for everyone?  There’s always room for improvement –  regardless of policies that are already in place.  Let’s talk about this important issue. 

According to the World Health Organization, “Personal and social codes of behavior and ethics are the foundation of every major religious and moral philosophy.  One of the most basic of universally accepted ethical principles is to “do no harm” to others in the workplace.  This means to ensure employees’ health and safety.”  The World Health Organization’s definition of health is “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely absence of disease.”  

Does this definition fit your workplace?  Everyone wins when they have a healthy workplace: the employer, who provides a safe physical work environment to prevent occupational diseases, accidents and injuries, while promoting healthy lifestyles and encouraging personal development.  Employers should have leadership that can  allow workers to meet job demands and control the workload to ensure that those workers are able to balance both their work and personal responsibilities.  They should establish principles of work that will prevent stress and ill health. 

Data demonstrates that in the long term, companies that promote and protect workers’ health are rewarded by retaining those employees, and are more successful and competitive than companies that don’t.  Employers should consider these important factors:

  • Cost of prevention versus costs resulting from accidents;
  • Financial consequences of legal violation of health, safety, and occupational rules and laws;
  • Workers health as an important business asset for the company. 

Of course, the other winners are the employees.  If health initiatives are in the workplace, employees will enjoy greater job satisfaction, being able to balance work and family responsibilities, all the while enjoying a sense of pride and well-being.  Companies will see a reduction in work-related illness, injury and disability when they enforce good safety and health policies. 

Employees who have to face unreasonable deadlines become overwhelmed and out of control, which can elevate stress levels and possibly lead to depression.  They think that their load can be handled better if they are able to do part of their work at home, such as using their laptop, or staying late at the office to catch up.  This takes away from their family and free time, and is a hard habit to break, once they start.  Workers should have the ability to negotiate their workload with their supervisor without fear of reprisal or punishment.  They should be given tasks to do that afford the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge effectively with colleagues and managers while in a safe and healthy environment.  They are entitled to have the tools to get their job done efficiently and receive fair pay with benefits.  Those employees who are satisfied with their work environment will be more productive and make a better contribution to the company’s success. 

Please stay tuned: tomorrow we will keep talking about ways that will be beneficial both to employers and employees by creating a healthy workplace.

Source: World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety


Many parts of the United States have been pummeled with heavy snow storms, and for those areas, having a snow blower is another important part of machinery that must be operated with care, just as a lawnmower, tractor, or automobile.  The US Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that around 5,000 injuries from snow blowers happen each year. 

There are snow blowers that can be ridden, as well as those that are operated by walking behind them, the same as lawnmowers.  It is very important to be familiar with every aspect of equipment, and the best way to do that is by doing something we many times avoid – reading the manual!  And, if we don’t understand the manual, we should go back and read it again.  How many people do you know that actually refer to the manual before they jump right in, feet first?  Once you have become accustomed to your snow blower, you should keep it in good condition.  Warm up the engine before you start using it, and once your job is finished, let it run just a little in order to keep the moving parts from freezing. 

Hopefully those who are already using your snow blowers this winter, are following these common-sense safety tips.  However, some folks might learn something new, so here goes: 

  • Repeating: read the manual first.
  • Do not drink before or while operating any kind of machinery.
  • Before you begin, check the area for rocks or other debris that could be thrown and cause damage to the machine, property damage, or personal injury.
  • Keep hands and feet away from moving parts.
  • Never add fuel to an engine that is hot.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing that could get entangled.
  • Be aware that although some snow blowers have small engines, they can cause serious injuries.
  • Never leave a snow blower running in a shed or enclosed area, because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Watch for holes or curbs where you are clearing.
  • Reduce speed on turns and slopes.
  • Always pay attention to traffic.
  • If you walk behind your snow blower, wear anti-skid boots to help keep you from falling, and back up very carefully.
  • When running electric-powered equipment, be vigilant of the location of the cord, and never use frayed cords.
  • Never operate snow blowers when the visibility is poor.
  • Never allow youngsters under age 15 to operate snow blowers, and then only if they are mature enough to make good decisions.
  • When doing maintenance on the snow blower, such as changing the oil or removing blades for sharpening, pull the wire off the spark plug to ensure the engine won’t start.
  • Do not remove any safety devices.
  • Wear NRR ear plugs and cool safety glasses to protect your hearing and vision, and by all means, winter warm gloves and clothing. 

Last, but not least, we mentioned earlier that there are thousands of injuries from improper or careless use of snow blowers each year.  Snow blower accidents are a leading cause of amputations.  If the chute gets jammed, never try to clear it with your hands.  Turn the machine off, disengage clutch, and wait more than five minutes for the blades to stop rotating.  Beware of  a brief recoil of motor and blades that can occur after it is turned off.  Use a stick or handle to remove debris.  Many snow blowers have a clearing tool for clogs that is stored within easy reach, giving a strong incentive for easy and safe cleaning.  Injuries such as cuts, loss of fingers, toes, broken bones, burns and infection have occurred because of lack of respect and safety toward the machine that is being operated. 

There’s much more snow to fall this winter, so be thankful you have a machine to clear it for you.  If you do have to shovel it, please do so with care – don’t slip and fall!


After you hear a good joke, or clever saying, can you remember all of it to share with someone?  I always forget the punch line, or another important part of it, so that’s not my strong suit.  We are in the business of helping individuals and businesses protect themselves and their employees at work, home, or play.  Safety plays such a vital role in our lives.  If you don’t believe me,  just count the times the word “safety” is mentioned on the nightly news. 

I have been researching safety slogans, and some are funny and others are serious.  You can find them on several sites, so I would like to share with you some of the ones I have enjoyed or hopefully, can take some advice from: 

Several are related to driving, such as these:

  • Drive as if every child on the street is yours.
  • Love thy neighbor, just not while driving!
  • Anger is one letter away from danger – drive gently!
  • Accidents, and particularly street and highway accidents, do not happen – they are caused.
  • Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car.
  • It’s better to crash into a nap than to nap into a crash.
  • If everything comes your way, you are in the wrong lane!
  • Road sense is the offspring of courtesy and the parent of safety.
  • Anyone driving slower than you are is an idiot; anyone going faster than you is a maniac!
  • And, last, but not least, I love this one:
  • The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it! 

These slogans are about working safely:

  • When safety is a factor, call in a contractor!
  • Working safely is like breathing – if you don’t, you die.
  • The safest risk is the one you didn’t take.
  • Safety doesn’t happen by accident.
  • Better a thousand times careful than once dead.
  • Safety means first aid to the uninjured.
  • Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent.
  • Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.
  • Working without safety is a dead-end job.
  • Safety never takes a holiday.
  • While on a ladder, never step back to admire your work!
  • Hearing protection is a sound investment.
  • To learn about eye protection, ask someone who has one.
  • Personal protective equipment is self-defense.
  • Tomorrow-your reward for working safely today.
  • Be alert! Accidents hurt.
  • Better dead sure than sure dead. 

Slogans that apply to all of us, everyday:

  • Safety is as simple as ABC – Always Be Careful!
  • Safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless.
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
  • Safety is a cheap and effective insurance policy.
  • Chance takers are accident makers.
  • Luck runs out but safety is good for life.
  • The door to safety swings on the hinges of common sense.
  • When you gamble with safety, you bet your life!
  • Your safety gears are between your ears!
  • Unsafe acts will keep you in stitches.
  • Safety isn’t just a slogan, it’s a way of life! 

Keep these in mind as you go through your every day life.  They are also great ways to remind your children how precious life is and that we do all we can to be safe.  We hope you have enjoyed these slogans, and that you will take  them to heart.

Have a wonderful holiday season, and remember, safety is part of our names: Blog4Safety, and Texas America Safety Company, and it is our goal to help keep you safe!


Do you have your bags packed yet, and all the gifts loaded in the car?  Before you head out for your holiday destination, it is always best to check ahead of time for weather conditions for all the areas you will be traveling.  Sometimes, even then, Mother Nature changes things and you aren’t sure whether to carry on or turn around and return home!  That happened to us last year, believe it or not, even in Texas, because of snow!  When we left home, it was cloudy but clear, but the farther we traveled (south), the heavier the snow became.  About sixty miles from home, we debated if we should even try to go on; however, behind us, the snow was heavy, road was covered, and lightly traveled, so we trudged on.  Not too far down the road, it stopped snowing, and when we got to our destination another 75 miles or so, it had barely snowed.  So, you never know for sure what the weather will do, especially in Texas. 

It seems there is either “feast or famine” when it comes to weather.  Either too much or too little!  In this past week, we saw massive amounts of snow falling in the Midwestern states.  Then, the “Pineapple Express” hit California, causing their governor to declare a state of emergency in six counties.  The reason these rainstorms are given that name is because they originate in the Pacific near the Hawaiian Islands.  The Express brought torrential rains, causing mudslides and flooding, as well as dumping huge amounts of snow in higher elevations.  Following five days of rain, the storms have moved on toward Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.  Ironically, these rains brought relief to areas in California that had been suffering from drought and wildfires. 

Here in Texas, much of our state is in a drought situation, with many  areas very seriously dry.  Two homes were lost just yesterday because of grass fires. Our weather forecasters are predicting badly needed rain in areas of the state today and tomorrow.  We are keeping our fingers crossed, and are those weathermen going to be in trouble if it doesn’t rain! 

For those of you in states that have a White Christmas, enjoy it but drive carefully when you are out in it.  We aren’t meteorologists, but our forecast for you is to have the safeest  holiday ever!  Be careful if you go skiing or participate in other outdoor activities with families and friends.  For those of you who must work on the holiday, we hope your day goes well and that you arrive home safely and get to celebrate at a different time.  There are many businesses that remain open to accommodate travelers, so when you utilize their services, let them know you appreciate what they do. 

Again, check your local weather and your destination’s forecast.  Remember to take a “care package” in your vehicle: extra water, your cell phone, snacks, blankets, small flashlight, and a First Aid Kit.  This is a good idea, especially during winter months.

May the airlines, trains, buses and other means of transportation be running “right on time.”  Stay safe.


For the past 24 years, M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) have campaigned during the holiday season to make the public aware of the seriousness of driving sober and being buckled up.  Everyone knows that there are more drunk, drugged, distracted drivers on the roads during December than probably any other time.  

Originally named Project Red Ribbon, their campaign started in 1986, to heighten public awareness to drinking and driving during holidays.  Their goal was to get the public involved by tying a red ribbon to a visible place on their vehicle, such as an antenna or side mirror.  By doing so, you are pledging to drive sober and buckle up.  That is a pretty simple request; I hope to see lots of red ribbons on cars as we travel this Friday.

If you live in an area where there is a M.A.D.D. affiliate, you can pick up red ribbons – they are free!  If not, go buy some and do your part.  Anyone can promote this worthwhile cause.  There are easy ways to do so: leave a recorded phone message; display drunk driving statistics at work, distribute ribbons at meetings or parties, and most of all – be a responsible party host! 

Because this is such an important subject, I am going to re-post drunk driving statistics from an earlier article, “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest:”

Statistics from National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show that during last year, a total of 10,839 persons were killed in alcohol-related vehicle accidents (that’s one person every 48 minutes!)  Of those:

        7,281 –  (67%) of the fatalities were drivers with a BAC of .08 or more;

       1,772 –  (17%) of fatalities were passengers with the impaired drivers.

        1,119 –  (10%) of fatalities were occupants of other vehicles.

           667 –   (6%) of fatalities were pedestrians or non-occupants of the vehicles.

That represents almost 11,000 persons who lost their lives because of alcohol abuse in 2009, many of them innocent victims. 

M.A.D.D. members are comprised of many parents and others who have lost loved ones because of the selfish act of irresponsible driving.  Not only does the public have to contend with drunk drivers, but those who are under the influence of drugs, and other distractions, such as texting and talking on a cell phone while driving.  Persons need to realize that the vehicle they are driving is a big piece of machinery that can’t drive itself!  (I wonder if we would drive more carefully if we pretended that the people in every car we meet or pass were our family members?)

Do your part this year, and go get a red ribbon to attach to your side mirror.  Let others know that you are going to be sober when you get behind the wheel and that you will buckle up before you start the car.  By displaying the ribbon, you are joining law enforcement and safety advocates in supporting M.A.D.D.’s cause.  Law enforcement officers will have a Zero tolerance for drinking and driving and will be checking seatbelt use, as well.

May you have safe and happy holidays this season!


Conveyor belts are one of the most effective means of transporting bulk materials.  Because persons are working with a movable piece of equipment, there is a very serious chance of  injury or death if employees are not trained on how to work around conveyor belts.  Training is the basic and most fundamental part of preparing employees on how to keep themselves safe in all industrial settings.  Management must convey all safety issues to their new employees and be certain that they understand about how dangerous the equipment that they will be working from can be.  

Listed below are some general requirements from Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • An audible signal shall be sounded immediately before starting up the conveyor.
  • If operating station is at a remote spot, similar provisions for stopping motor or engine shall be provided at the motor or engine location.
  • There should be an emergency stop switch arranged so that the conveyor cannot be started again until the actuating stop switch as been reset to running on the “on” position.
  • Screw conveyors shall be guarded to prevent employees’ contact with turning flights.
  • Guards shall be provided to protect employees required to work below the conveyors that pass under work areas, aisles or thoroughfares.  Those crossovers, aisles, and passageways shall be conspicuously marked with suitable signs.
  • Conveyors shall be locked out or rendered inoperable and tagged with a “Do Not Operate” tag during repairs and when operation is hazardous to employees performing maintenance work.
  • All conveyors in use must meet applicable requirements for design, construction, inspection, testing, maintenance and operation as prescribed in ANSI B20-1-1957, Safety Code for conveyors, cableways and related equipment. 

Conveyors contribute to the one of the most common ways of being injured.  When visitors are in the facility, they should be informed of the ways to be safe around conveyors and other moving equipment. 

Other important rules regarding conveyor belt safety are:

  •          Only authorized maintenance personnel should service conveyors.
  •          Never ride, step, or sit on a conveyor belt at any time.
  •          Never remove guards.  They are there as protection from moving parts, such as gears and chains. 
  •          Know the location of start/stop controls, and keep the area free from obstructions.
  •          Clean only when the conveyor is stopped.
  •          Report all unsafe practices to your supervisor.
  •          Never load a stopped conveyor or overload a running conveyor.  This will assist in preserving your equipment, as well as not overheating it. 
  •         Trying to clear converter jams can create unsafe conditions and possibly damage equipment.
  •         Use correct lifting techniques.  Unsafe position and posture  could cause injuries while working around conveyors.
  •         Be sure the area is clear of debris and tripping hazards.
  •         If persons work beneath conveyors, there should be nets installed to catch any falling items. 
  •         Maintenance should never be performed on the conveyor until all hydraulic, electric and gravity energy sources    have been locked out and blocked.
  •          It is recommended that the right Personal Protective Equipment be used, relevant to the task and work area.  Gloves that furnish good grip are needed for handling bulky items, safety glasses should be worn when the materials on the belt are hazardous, and safety back supports will assist workers required to do lifting.
  •          Keep hair, loose clothing, fingers, and all body parts away from the conveyor belt. 

Anyone who does this type of work knows that it isn’t like the old “I Love Lucy” episode when Ethel and Lucy were working at the candy factory  and couldn’t keep up, when the conveyor belt started going faster.  They tried to eat the candy and hide it in their aprons!   This is a very serious occupation and those companies that train their employees to be vigilant toward safety are to be commended.  It requires a good safety plan, excellent training, and dependable supervision to be successful in protecting conscientious workers.


It’s a reality that some of us are just not in the best of moods during the holidays.  There can be many reasons for this, but sometimes, celebratory occasions bring out sadness in individuals.  I enjoy the holidays and look forward to being with my family, but at the beginning of the season, I always think of my parents, who passed away several years ago.  My dad loved Christmas; when we would decorate the tree, he put on the Christmas “records”, yes, records, and some of the Christmas music we listened to is still popular today.  He got so much pleasure out of doing all the things that made our Christmas special.  And, he could make delicious fudge!

It is normal to feel grief for those we have lost.  But there are those who suffer from depression all year long, and certain times of the year make them even bluer.  Depression is an illness; it can cause physical pain as well as emotional stress.  You and I can’t cure someone that suffers from this illness; it requires professional help.  But we can be more attentive to our surroundings and watch for signs that our work friend may be having a more difficult time in performing his/her duties.  They could be struggling with relationships or physical demands that we are not aware of.  Sometimes the season alone can be the reason their feelings are magnified.  If you know someone who may be depressed, do what you can to encourage him to trust his healthcare provider for professional help.  It is important that they stay on medications and call their provider if symptoms get worse.  

If there are parties after work for the employees to get together, don’t encourage anyone to consume alcohol if they are “down in the dumps.”  Alcohol is a depressant.  Excessive drinking only increases feelings of depression, so this is important for all of us to remember, whether we are with our work friends or other acquaintances. 

During these economic times, folks are doing their best to furnish what gifts they are able to give without extending their budget too far.  Keep track of holiday spending.  If you overspend, you will be pretty depressed when the bills arrive.  Most of the time, people are perfectly happy with the gifts they receive and don’t equate them with dollar signs.  Over-commercialization can be another reason for feeling blue.  Every year, we see the commercials about the brand new luxury car in the driveway, with a big, red ribbon on it!  Let’s get real, folks!  I know they want to sell cars, but I can’t help but think about families who don’t have a home or a job, or may be living in their cars. 

Please use some of these tips to help someone you know that may be struggling with the holidays:

  • Find some activities that are free, and take them out for an afternoon of just “window shopping” or treat them to a funny movie.
  • Take your lunch break together, and listen, if they just want to talk.
  • Volunteering is a great way to help and get to know others, and may be just “what the doctor ordered” to get him/her involved with something different.
  • Encourage them to look to the future with optimism.
  • Trying a new activity just might be the thing to make one feel better.
  • Suggest getting in touch with old friends or family members.
  • Enjoy the present.
  • Spend time with caring and supportive people. 

You are very blessed if you haven’t hit a low spot at one time or another in your lifetime.  For those who seem to be in that low spot most of the time, there is help.  If a person’s work is affected, if they are present in body but not spirit, if they show signs of fatigue or stress, we need to be their advocates.  We need to encourage them to seek professional guidance, in order to get better.  (They need to know they can get better!)  Many companies offer counseling for their employees, and want to help them cope.  They know that if their employees are in better mental and physical condition, there will be less risk of workplace injuries.  We all know the chance for accidents is greater when we feel fatigued or “just not ourselves.” 

Too many times we are so wrapped up in our own job, that we overlook someone who needs help but may be too proud to ask for it.  Don’t let anyone have a “Blue Christmas” without you.  Be there for your family, coworkers, and friends.  You may need a lift someday, too.