It is hard to believe that another month of June has rolled around, meaning it is National Safety Month – time to focus on round-the-clock safety and health.  The National Safety Council emphasizes that June is the time to stress the urgent need to reduce unintentional deaths and injuries on the road, in the workplace and at home.  Week One’s focus is on “Summertime Safety” (June 1-4). “Preventing Overexertion” is the theme for Week Two (June 5 – 11).  A subject that is very important to parents and teens during Week Three – “Teen Driver Safety,” (June 12-18.) Week Four, (June 19 – 25), we will emphasize safety ideas for “Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls.”  Finally, “ON the Road – OFF the Phone,” is the topic of discussion for the end of the month, (June 26 – 30.)  These are all subjects that affect most all of us in one way or another.  

Accidents happen every day of the year, regardless of whether it is at work, traveling, or at home.  It seems that summertime does bring some unusual accidents, and one reason may be because there are so many more outdoor activities going on.  Summer is the time for boating, fishing, waterskiing, canoeing, bicycling, skateboarding, swimming, and many other fun actions that may cause injuries if we aren’t careful.  (For the past two weekends, we heard of two different boating incidents where young persons drowned.  None of them were wearing life jackets.)  Playgrounds are inviting to little ones, so there should always be adult supervision when they play on the different types of equipment.    

Heat is a threat to workers who must become acclimated to the change in temperatures; many times, it is a drastic change from what they are used to.  They must stay hydrated and get some rest breaks in the shade during long work shifts.  Teens new to working in the outdoors should be sure to drink plenty of water orpowdered drink mix, and everyone should wear sunscreen and light colored clothing.  Student athletes should also stay hydrated while working out for sports. 

Those who work in agriculture always face extreme weather conditions – dry, hot, windy, and sunny.  Farm children need to be supervised by adults, especially while they are around water, such as ponds or tanks, and animals.  There are lots of ATV riders in summer weather, as well as motorcyclists, who should know the safety rules regarding their vehicles, and wear the right gear for protection.  

We hope this summer brings everything you are planning for: vacation time, relaxation, fun in the sun (don’t forget the sunscreen and sunglasses), safe trips, and the other things that many families plan for during summer months when they have school-age children.  It seems there are always some types of accidents, associated with hot-weather activities, that we can’t encourage everyone enough to be extremely careful when planning vacations, trips, and yes, even work.  For most of us, work marches on, so we need to make the necessary accommodations to stay cool and safe during each workday, too. 

One way for young people to be safe is to have a “buddy” system.  It is always better to have a friend along just in case there is a problem.  One extra important reminder about summer: there will be more children playing in their front yards (and possibly the streets).  So keep a watch out for them when you are driving in neighborhoods. 

Have a fun and safe summer!


Back in January, we presented an article, “How would you grade your safety leader?”  We listed the attributes that we felt described good leaders – ones that led by example.  A great President and leader, Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”  If you want to see real safety improvements, you need to motivate your team to want to be safe – even when no one is looking.  You must add leadership to your safety training. 

Although some people are born leaders, the rest of us can learn from them and gain leadership skills through the right training.  We have now completed the first five months of 2011, and have you wondered, how is our training program progressing?  Safety is learned through both training and experience.  A goal that everyone should live with, is “Nobody Gets Hurt.”  This must be the mantra of every company, being committed to rigorous safety programs that ensure that every worker is motivated to work safely so they can go home to their families every day, without injury. 

Safety leaders must have the safety of every worker in mind, which is sometimes a hard task.  Here are some goals for good leaders:

  1. Communication.  Learn all you can about your style of communication and how it affects others.  Do you have a positive reaction from those around you?  A course in interpersonal skills can help.  Being able to accurately convey your thoughts and ideas to those working for you is a key element of leadership.  Remember, your employees are not mind-readers; they have to understand exactly what you are wanting.  When you communicate well, employees can give good feedback to you.  Be sure you present the complete “big picture.”
  2. Teamwork.  Become a part of the team.  Encourage employees to make certain decisions without you, so you can exhibit your trust in them.  Great leaders can accomplish great things, and show appreciation to the people who made those things happen.
  3. Motivation.  Do not try to give instructions through intimidation: “If you mess up, something bad will happen.”  This can cause much resentment, and little success with the job.  Rather, challenge them with an assignment that is just a tad bit out of their range and let them try.  If it hits a snag, coach them back until the situation becomes right.
  4. Appreciation.  It’s always better to give someone a pat on the back.  A little bit of praise for a job well done, goes a long way.
  5. Organization.  Leaders must be able to organize teams and motivate them toward the goal: A Zero-Injury Workplace!  Wouldn’t it be great if the whole team led each other to meeting that goal? 

Some workers still may not completely understand.  They sometimes take chances with safety, and may endanger other workers.  Most workers assume that their workplace is free of hazards.  These unrecognized expectations can lead to job frustration, substandard safety performance, decreased job safety commitment and even high turnover.  This is the time that leaders must learn what expectations the individuals have and work with them to meet and adjust those expectations.  For leaders, being rigorous about workplace safety is not an easy job, but it is very rewarding.  Leadership means looking for workplace hazards, not leaving it up to the safety department.  First , looking for any hazards and starting the day with a short group safety meeting might just remind everyone to work safely, so they can go home at the end of their shift.  It’s a two-way street, however, with each worker meeting the safety leader half-way.

Thanks to all the safety leaders in the workforce!  Let’s hope that the remainder of 2011 will be a “safe workplace” year!


The Memorial Day holiday weekend ushers in the beginning of warm weather outings, as most students have finished their school year.  There is always much anticipation in the air about planned trips, summer jobs, or whatever new things are to be enjoyed.  We want to remind you that the highways will be heavily travelled, so leave a little early in order to not be rushed.  Be careful if you are traveling alone about where you take rest stops.  It is wiser to stop at convenience stores, or where there are many people, than some of the public roadside rest stops.  Also, be aware that your friendly state troopers will be out in full force, with the sole purpose of keeping you safe!  Don’t let any distractions get in the way of safety, stay off the cell phone (hands free, only), NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING, and don’t drink and drive!

One pesky little detail I’d like to mention is that, according to the travel organization, AAA, there should be almost 35 million Americans traveling either by train, plane, or cruises.  For those that are doing so, or staying in hotels, the National Pest Management Association advises people to keep bed bug prevention and detection tips in mind. “The good news is that summer is finally here; the bad news is that bed bugs continue to lurk in places people typically visit during a vacation,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Although bed bugs are a year-round pest, people have a greater chance of picking up this hitchhiker during the summer as travel increases. Bed bugs are a souvenir no one wants to bring home.”

Here are several NPMA tips to help travelers remain bed bug-free. More information can be found at

  • Pull back hotel bed sheets, inspect the mattress seams, box spring, around and behind the headboard, sofas and chairs for telltale brownish or reddish spots, shed skins or bugs.
  • Avoid putting luggage on the bed or upholstered furniture.
  • If changing rooms, be sure the new room is not adjacent to the possibly infested room.
  • Use a large plastic bag to store luggage.
  • Upon returning home, inspect and vacuum suitcases thoroughly before bringing them into the house.
  • Wash and dry clothes on hot – whether worn or not or have them dry cleaned.
  • Consumers suspecting an infestation should contact a licensed pest professional.

Many people are wondering if the high price of gasoline will affect travel, beginning this Memorial Day weekend.  The American Auto Club Association’s holiday travel projection that was released nationally, is that about 100,000 more Americans will be traveling this year than last.  According to the group, travelers will find other ways to compensate for the near record fuel costs by cutting down on other areas of their travel budgets.  Many may make the choices of less expensive vacations, such as hiking and other outings rather than more expensive meals and shopping.  And others may simply choose to stay home, maybe throw some ribs on the grill, and enjoy watching the big race, basketball playoffs, and baseball games.  That’s not such a bad idea.  Sometimes waiting to travel when it isn’t a holiday is safer.

It should be a long, hot summer, so stock up on sunscreen, and don’t forget those safety safety sunglasses, and earplugs for any loud events you plan to attend, say, the Indianapolis 500? Don’t overdo it in the sun.  A tan looks great until you get older, and then just adds to the wrinkles!

Most important of all, don’t forget the reason for this holiday.  Memorial Day is always celebrated in the United States on the last Monday of May.  This is a legal holiday that pays tribute to the memory of those who died while serving the United States in wars.  It was first observed in 1866.  We continue to honor those who gave their lives in the process of holding on to the freedoms that we enjoy.  We must also honor those who are now serving in far-away places, away from the celebration of family, and pray for their safe return.


In yesterday’s segment on this subject, we described several different types of confined spaces, as well as the numerous hazards associated with them.  Today, we will include a checklist of recommendations from OSHA for safe entry.  Government statistics show that around sixty percent of the fatalities associated with confined spaces accidents are of well-meaning, but untrained, would-be rescuers who lost their own lives in the process of trying to save someone else.  Here is an actual accident that resulted in death because of a lack of hazard awareness and unplanned rescue attempts:
A self-employed plumbing contractor entered an underground water line vault to inspect a backflow device.  The contractor collapsed shortly after entering the vault.  A supervisor noticed the man down, and entered the vault in a rescue attempt.  Both men had entered an untested oxygen-deficient atmosphere, and died as a result.
If proper guidelines had been followed, these fatalities and other similar ones could have been prevented.  The two sample checklists below show the importance of attention to detail that must be given before anyone enters a confined space and during work being performed.  Standby attendants must be qualified and trained in proper rescue techniques.
Here is one sample checklist, (Appendix D-2) to Standard 29 CFR 1910.146:
In yesterday’s segment on this subject, we described several different types of confined spaces, as well as the numerous hazards associated with them.  Today, we will include a checklist of recommendations from OSHA for safe entry.  Government statistics show that around sixty percent of the fatalities associated with confined spaces accidents are of well-meaning, but untrained, would-be rescuers who lost their own lives in the process of trying to save someone else.  Here is an actual accident that resulted in death because of a lack of hazard awareness and unplanned rescue attempts:
A self-employed plumbing contractor entered an underground water line vault to inspect a backflow device.  The contractor collapsed shortly after entering the vault.  A supervisor noticed the man down, and entered the vault in a rescue attempt.  Both men had entered an untested oxygen-deficient atmosphere, and died as a result.
If proper guidelines had been followed, these fatalities and other similar ones could have been prevented.  The two sample checklists below show the importance of attention to detail that must be given before anyone enters a confined space and during work being performed.  Standby attendants must be qualified and trained in proper rescue techniques.
Here is one sample checklist, (Appendix D-2) to Standard 29 CFR 1910.146:
I hope that by sharing this detailed information we will all realize how important it is to be aware of the risks that people who work in these type of situations face and how they must comply with the safety rules and regulations; that those who would help them in times of emergencies would be as prepared to enter these places as the ones already inside.  This information could possibly save your life, or the life of a co-worker.  Rescue agencies (fire departments, police, etc.) are trained to enter confined spaces with the right equipment.  One thing to remember: an unplanned rescue could possibly be your last one.


The safety poster shown below is graphic, but it conveys excellent information for those persons whose jobs require them to work in areas considered to be confined spaces.   These vessels, etc. are normally sealed so the dangers within, whether it is high-pressure, hot, or toxic materials, or gases, mechanical or electrical hazards, stay within.  When a human enters to inspect or service what’s inside is when the danger begins.

According to OSHA, many workplaces contain spaces that are considered “confined” because their configurations hinder the activities of employees who must enter, work in, and exit them. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, process vessels, and pipelines. OSHA uses the term “permit-required confined space” (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress. Repeating, OSHA’s definition of  “Confined space” means a space that:
(1) Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and
(2) Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit (for example, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits are spaces that may have limited means of entry.); and
(3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

“Acceptable entry conditions” means the conditions that must exist in a permit space to allow entry and to ensure that employees involved with a permit-required confined space entry can safely enter into and work within the space.

According to NIOSH, when the entry of a worker is necessary,  prior to entry into any type of confined space, several things must be done to ensure the safety of the persons required to work there.  The atmosphere should be tested, at all levels – top, middle, and bottom.  The area should be well ventilated with blowers or fans, and re-tested to ensure that it is ventilated correctly before anyone enters.  There are many locations that have insufficient air movement, which results in oxygen deficiency, flammability, or toxic situations.  Persons inside may be involved in welding, cutting, or brazing operations, and others may be painting, scraping, sanding, or degreasing.  Workers must have the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as hardhats, gloves, rubber boots, and the proper type of respirators.  Some may need air purifying ones, those that filter dangerous substances from the air, or air supplying types that furnish safe breathing air from a tank or uncontaminated area nearby. Only air-supplying respirators should be used in confined spaces where there is not enough oxygen.

Other hazards of confined spaces include extreme temperatures, engulfment hazards, such as loose materials in bins – sand, coal, grain – materials that a worker could fall into and suffocate.  Being in small spaces also amplifies noise; some are slick and wet, adding to the risk of electric shock, and others may have falling objects dropped into the area by work being done above the entrance.  All of these hazards add up to the fact that it takes very special kinds of workers that are willing to do this type of work, and companies that do their very level best to meet the needs and requirements to keep these folks safe.


Tomorrow, we will discuss the way these workers should be protected by having attendants at the entrance, and rescue operations at the ready, as well as a checklist that contains recommendations for a safe entry.  Please stay tuned…………………………



There are “good germs” and “bad germs,” and many of those little critters can make us sick.  Our homes and offices all have bacteria, so let’s talk a little bit about how to clean up some of the stuff that harbors them.  One of the germiest items in your home is the remote control.  You should use a disinfectant swipe on it at least every two days, or if someone in your house is sick, every day.  Wait to do your channel surfing after you have prepared dinner because during food prep, you can transfer microbes like E.coli or salmonella to your clicker. 

We women love purses, so much so that they go everywhere we go.  That purse can pick up staph, salmonella, and even E.coli.  Don’t keep loose cash in your bag.  Paper money is the dirtiest thing there is.  Experts say that the flu virus can live on paper money for seventeen days.  Clean the inside of your purse with a vacuum crevice attachment, or a long bristled suede brush and dump crumbs into the trash.  Another good idea is to hang your purse up rather than placing it on restaurant or bathroom floors, where germs are just waiting to catch a ride.

Here is a list of some of the germiest places in our lives: 

  1. Phones.  Cell phones carry 500 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, according to Kelly Reynolds, PhD., an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona.  Many disease-causing microbes can survive for weeks on your rarely cleaned office or cell phone.  Swipe with a disinfecting wipe daily.
  2. Soap dispensers.  Ironically, this germ-fighting tool is a hot spot for E.coli and other bacteria.  Lathering your hands with soap and singing one round of “Happy Birthday” while washing them, will give you time to get rid of all the bugs.
  3. Keyboard and mouse.  A co-worker’s germs can linger on your computer.  Rhinovirus, (cause of the common cold), can survive from hours to days on surfaces like keyboards.  Even if you are the only one who uses your computer, wipe these down weekly with a disinfectant.
  4. Lobby elevator buttons.  These little knobs are loaded with everyone’s germs.  Let someone else press the button, or use your knuckle, and apply hand sanitizer.
  5. Shopping cart handles.  Up to 8 in 10 may have E.coli, so use the hand sanitizer the store offers for free, or keep some in your car or purse to use after shopping.  (I keep a bottle in the side pocket of my car door). 

Here are some ingredients that you probably have in your pantry that are good for cleaning: 

  • Rubbing alcohol.  Dilute with one-half water to wipe down remotes and remove fingerprints on appliances, including stainless.
  • Lemon juice.  Mix with cream of tartar to make a paste, then scrub into rust stains on bathtubs – leave it on for a few hours until the stain disappears.
  • Fresh lemon. Cut one in half, sprinkle with salt, and use it to clean cutting boards and bring shine back to copper pots and pans.
  • White vinegar.  This rivals the disinfecting power of bleach.  Mix equal parts vinegar and water to clean mirrors.  Dip a cloth in the mixture, wipe, and buff dry.
  • Baking soda.  Use to remove marks from hard surfaces and deodorize your fridge.  Make it into a paste with hydrogen peroxide (1/3 c. soda to 2/3 c. peroxide) to remove underarm stains from white clothing.

There are many earth-friendly cleaning products that will kill almost 100 per cent of germs for house or office cleaning.  Remember, practicing good hand hygiene is very important for the prevention of disease.  Teach your children to get into the habit of washing their hands often. 



 Many of you who have probably gotten out those dusty boats and launched them already.  It’s time for some fun and sun on the water!  There’s nothing more fun than going fishing, skiing, or for a leisure ride in a boat.  Some of the best memories we have were teaching our kids and their friends to waterski.  We even had a life jacket for our Cairn terrier, Willie.  A game warden was very surprised to see that little dog wearing it, and commented that in all his years of work, he had seen only one other dog wearing a life jacket.  Willie had a bad habit of getting on the bow of the boat and falling in, so all we had to do was pick him up with a dip net to rescue him, while his jacket kept him afloat! 

The National Safe Boating Council, Inc. (NSBC) was organized in September of 1958.  The NSBC has a current membership of over 330 U.S. and Canadian organizations, all interested in boating safety and education, by promoting Safe Boating Week.  I have included a sample pledge card in this article, which is a common-sense agreement regarding the responsibility that you owe yourself and your friends and family any time you operate a boat.  If you wish to sign this pledge, you can go to the National Safe Boating Council website.   Beginning boaters and experts alike should be familiar with boating safety rules of operation.  State boater education requirements vary by state.  Be educated, aware and prepared for every circumstance that may arise.  The U.S. Coast Guard offers free Vessel Safety Checks.  They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the condition of certain safety equipment that is required by State and Federal regulations.  They also offer virtual online safety checks as well.

In a previous article, “Before You Make That Big Splash,” shares other information about boating, including the five types of life jackets (PFD’s) – personal flotation devices.  There are many other resources that one should check out before taking off in that new boat.  Safety is the big thing when it comes to operating a boat.  Many lives are in the hands of the driver, the same as a vehicle on the road.  And don’t be surprised when a  local game warden checks your boat out to ensure that there are plenty of life jackets and other required equipment onboard.

Regardless of where you are boating – in fresh or salt water, on a river or a lake, the one common point  throughout this article is the importance of wearing a life jacket.  In about 80% of all fatal boating accidents, the cause of death is drowning.  In 90% of those drownings, the person wasn’t wearing a life jacket.  Each person on your boat should have a life jacket on; it won’t help if it’s under the seat when they fall in.  Life jackets are not as bulky as in the past; there are many styles that are comfortable and easy to put on.  It may be hot, but it sure beats the risk of drowning.  Accidents have been known to happen to good swimmers.  If Willie wore his, you can, too!

Check the weather conditions before  starting  your boating trip.  If the water becomes rough, get to the shore as soon as possible.  Be sure you have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit on your boat.  It is also a good idea to have a second person that knows how to operate your boat, just in case.   The most important part of boating safety is using common sense.  Operate at a safe speed, stay clear of large vessels, and be respectful of other boaters.  Staying safe in a boat (everyone) is accomplished when drinking alcohol is saved for later (on land).  Chances of being involved in a boating accident are doubled when alcohol is involved.    

Here is a sample of the National Safe Boating Council pledge card:

pledge to boat safely each and every time I go out on the water, keeping myself, my family, my friends and fellow boaters from harm’s way.  I will always boat responsibly by (please check each line)
Wearing my life jacket and ensuring that everyone on board wears their life jacket (when in a small boat, or operating in rough water or threatening weather conditions)___  
Remaining sober and alert – remembering that the use of alcohol contributes to accidents on the water___  
Staying in control of my craft and respecting the right of others enjoying the waterways___  
Knowing and obeying navigation rules, operating at a safe speed and maintaining a proper lookout___  







Please make the decision to honor the rules of boating safety for yourself, family, and friends.

 Sources: NSBC,


One of the best parts of writing blogs is hearing from friends all over the world – which affords the luxury of comparing and sharing ideas on ways to keep everyone safer.  Today’s article comes from Matt Hornsby, guest author, from the United Kingdom.  We think you will enjoy reading his version of the importance that information signs play:

The home and the workplace can be a dangerous place. But one thing you can do to make these places less hazardous is by making sure you have the right equipment and information signs in place. Here are 10 spots you might want to consider: 



Of course, the kitchen is one of the most dangerous places you’ll find in the home. Therefore it can be wise to make sure you have fire extinguishers, blankets and fire safety signs near to your oven, hob and grill.




It’s important to have fire extinguishers around the home or at work, but if you don’t know what purpose they are to be used for, it makes them less effective. Information signs can let people know exactly type of extinguishers are available so they can more safely put out a fire if they need to.




This is particularly a problem for offices – as phone lines, computers, printers and internet connections all come with their own set of cables and wires. In addition to cable tidies, you should also consider simple warning signs to stop people from tripping over them.




Sure, it’s the name of a Bon Jovi album, but ‘Slippery When Wet’ is also a handy piece of information to have in a kitchen, bathroom or anywhere where there is a vinyl or tiled floor. Simple slips and falls can cause serious injuries, so protect against them.




Should someone have an accident, you want to know that they are able to get the attention they need as soon as possible. So let them know where there is an appointed first aider or kit with first aid signs to guide them.




Getting people out of the building quickly when there is an emergency is already something of a challenge, but if you are able to make people aware of fire exits in advance with the right fire exit signage, you could be giving yourself valuable extra time.




More people are keen to make sure they are recycling to help protect the planet. But you need to make sure people know where they can easily place their plastic, paper and cans – so putting up recycling signs is a great idea.




More for the workplace than the home, there will inevitably be areas you don’t want the public to roam. A simple no entry sign will keep people from dangerous areas or places that are only meant for authorized staff.




All buildings are different – and some have ceilings and doorways that can be hazardous to those over a certain height! A head injury can be nasty, so simply putting up a sign alerting people could be useful.



Just like low ceilings and doorways, small steps can surprise people and cause accidents. However, putting down some trip hazard signs around them is an easy way to help stop this.


Thanks, Matt, for this interesting information.  I am not sure what a “hob” is, but would like to know!  We are very fortunate to have friends like you who will share their knowledge with our readers.  Please let us hear from you again.  You may read more from Matt’s website at:


Rescue workers and emergency responders never know what type of hazards they may face, depending on the particular type of disaster that occurs.  We began listing general precautions that they should take in Part I of this article.  Although we know that they are prepared for all types of emergencies, we want to share this information in hopes that it will be of assistance. 

Rescue workers and emergency responders will more than likely be exposed to blood or body fluids, or pathogens from sewer system breakage.  It is very important that they wear gloves, other protective clothing, and respiratory protection.  Decontamination of workers and equipment (P.P.E.),  before leaving the site is very important to prevent adverse health effects, contain any hazards to the site, and prevent secondary contamination of off-site facilities (e.g., fire stations, or workers’ homes) or additional equipment, such as ambulances.  Slips, trips and fall hazards from holes or protruding rebar may exist.  Fall protection equipment, with lifelines tied off to suitable anchorage points (e.g., bucket trucks) should be used whenever possible.  Hardhats should be worn when working around unstable structures where there is a potential for secondary collapse.  Also, there could be types of over-hanging debris that could fall on workers. 

In Part I, the use of respiratory protection was mentioned.  N-95 or greater respiratory protection is acceptable for most activities with dust exposure, including silica and cement dust.  Use full-face respirators with P-100 organic vapor-acid gas combination cartridges if airborne contaminants are causing eye irritation.  

Workers should be monitored for signs of heat/cold stress, such as altered vital signs, confusion, excessive sweating, and fatigue.  Work schedules should be adjusted to rotate personnel, and additional workers should be added to work teams.  Everyone should refrain from food and beverages in areas exposed to toxic materials. 

Because so many disasters have already occurred this year, it is important to know that when large-scale disasters overwhelm State and local assets, the National Response Framework (NRF) Worker Safety and Health Support Annex can provide technical assistance needed to help protect Federal, State, Tribal, and local organizations’ response and recovery workers.  According to OSHA, depending on the scope, complexity, and hazards associated with the incident services of the NRF include the following: 

  1. Identifying and assessing worker health and safety hazards present at the site and in the environment.
  2. Assessing the resources needed to protect workers and identifying sources available to meet those needs.
  3. Providing technical expertise in industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health, structural collapse engineering, safety engineering, radiation safety, biological and chemical agent response, and occupational medicine.
  4. Managing the creation and implementation of a site-specific health and safety plan (HASP).
  5. Monitoring and managing worker safety and health hazards through on-site identification, evaluation, analysis, and mitigation, including personal exposure monitoring.
  6. Providing assistance with developing, implementing, and monitoring the personal protective equipment (PPE) program, including the selection, use and decontamination of PPE.
  7. Coordinating the collection and management of exposure and accident/injury data to identify trends and facilitate data sharing.
  8. Coordinating and providing incident-specific response and recovery worker training.
  9. Assisting with the development and distribution of educational materials on preventing and mitigating hazards. 

Although we wish that this year’s disasters were over, it is only May, and there are seven months left in this year.  We know that thunderstorm season is here, as well as flooding disasters, with hurricane season not too far behind.  We owe our thanks to those emergency workers who stand by, prepared to serve whenever and wherever needed. 

Source: OSHA


Rescue workers and emergency responders are the first to arrive on the scene following a catastrophe, and often it is in unfamiliar surroundings and adverse weather conditions.  Rescue workers and emergency responders are ready to save lives and secure the environment to help protect the lives of those to follow.  Operations that they may be involved in include victim rescue or body recovery around piles of rubble and other debris, collapsed structures or near structural steel.  Hazards may exist at every twist and turn.  Many times, utility services are damaged, including downed electrical cables, overhead power lines, broken gas lines, compressed gas cylinders, or broken steam or water mains.  There may be piles of construction and all types of debris that workers are exposed to.  Service personnel from utility companies should be in charge of restoring power. 

Respiratory protection is very important to combat effects from breathing dust and hazardous atmospheres which may contain some, or all, of the following: freon, carbon monoxide, asbestos, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, welding gases, airborne smoke and dust, and/or flying debris.  Respiratory assistance is also needed when entering confined spaces with limited openings from entry or exits.  If working in confined spaces, be sure that at least one person remains outside the space to monitor operations and can assist in an evacuation if necessary.  Rescue equipment and reliable communications, along with functioning alarm systems, are imperative in this type of situation. 

Hearing protection is necessary because of excessive noise from heavy equipment, rescue/ventilation, tools and generators that are used in these processes.  When heavy equipment is being operated, a spotter should be close by each piece of heavy equipment to protect rescue workers.  Workers should wear high-visibility safety vests to ensure that they are identifiable by other rescue and support workers.  Footwear should protect against sharp debris.  Safety glasses with side shields, at a minimum, are also necessary items of Personal Protective Equipment. 

Hand protection, of course, should always be worn, as there will be many potentially infectious materials present.  Sometimes it is important to use latex or nitrile gloves under heavy-duty gloves, which will protect the wearer from puncture wounds, cuts, or injuries that break the skin.  A combination of a cut-proof inner layer glove and a latex or similar outer layer is preferable. 

We will conclude with Part II of this article tomorrow.  There are other potential hazards and suggestions for safety that we want to pass on to you.  Our rescue, recovery, and emergency personnel are highly trained professionals and volunteers, and we feel it is important that the general public knows what they face during these trying times. 

Source: OSHA