This may cause you to smile, because there are many folks who feel that they don’t have any spare time.  But some of the things we are going to mention will save you time in the long run.  The weekend might be a good time to start, so let’s get going! 

How many times do you get a bill from a clinic, doctor, or hospital and you just lay it aside for a while?  Do you think, “I don’t remember seeing Dr. X on that particular day”, or “I didn’t have that test”?  Don’t pay that bill until you have received your Explanation of Benefits from your insurance company.  If you are on Medicare, you will get an EOB from them, and then one from your supplemental insurance.  I started a folder for each of us, my husband and me, and keep them separate, with the date of our doctor visit and the reason we went.  Then, when the bill arrives, I can compare it to their charges.  Once I receive the EOB’s from the supplemental insurance company,  I know for sure what I really owe. 

Experts estimate $100 billion is lost to health care fraud in the United States each year.  Patients and consumers feel these losses in the form of higher health care costs.  If you are billed for services or equipment you didn’t get, and you need that item or service later, your claim could be denied on the basis you’ve already received it.  This is a very important reason you should scrutinize your bill.  If a provider files a suspicious claim on your policy, it can mean a number of things, including a billing error, a fraudulently filed claim, or possible identity theft. 

Keep your medical folder or diary current, as it’s easy to forget when we went to the doctor, especially if we aren’t feeling well that day.  This has worked for me, and is like putting a puzzle together once all the explanations of benefits have come in.  Don’t pay the bill up front, as many times that is duplicating payment – you go ahead and pay it, then your insurance pays it, and it will be much harder for you to get a refund for overpayment. 

Another kind of record-keeping that might make your life easier is one that helps you keep track of a certain goal you are trying to reach – whether it is quitting smoking, exercising more, or managing a health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure.  I remember as a kid, I loved to write in a diary every day.  If you are trying to lose weight, keeping a food diary is helpful.  A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found people who kept a daily food diary for six months lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.  There are even electronic tools that come preloaded with information, such as foods’ fat and calorie content; these may become more accurate.  But a paper and pencil diary is inexpensive and easy to set up.  The main thing is to check in with your diary often.  Write down the food you eat right after the meal, so you don’t forget.  A study in the journal Contemporary Clinical Trials reported people who recorded what they ate within 15 minutes of their meal lost the most weight. 

There are probably several goals you have set for yourself rather than losing weight, or keeping up with health costs.  It may be handling stress at work.  When our inner thoughts stay hidden in our minds, frustration builds up, and we don’t know how to overcome this.  Document things that you feel are causing this stress.  Seeing it in writing will reveal how you are dealing with it.  Just taking the time to write your feelings down may be as successful as talking it out with another person.  Try the diary approach and see if it will help. 

Keeping records at home are as important as any records you are responsible for in your line of work.  See if keeping a diary will help you be successful in reaching your goals.  Have a great week-end, and a safe one!


We all need little reminders that our hearts must be healthy in order to keep us going.  Every day stress, at work or home, can add to health problems.  If we keep in mind the numbers everyone should know, such as goals for heart health, hopefully, we can continue working and being productive.  After retirement, we also want to be healthy enough to enjoy other activities, or part-time work. 

It is important that you know your numbers, and these are important ones:

  •          120/80 or under is normal blood pressure for adults.
  •          Less than 200 mg/dl is a desirable cholesterol level.
  •         Less than 100 mg/dl is an optimal level of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
  •         More than 40 mg/dl is a desirable level of HDL, or “good,” cholesterol for men; women’s should be at least 50.
  •         Less than 150 mg/dl is a desirable level of triglycerides.  This blood fat, like LDL, can make your arteries harden or narrow.
  •         Between 18.5 and 24.9 is a normal body mass index (BMI).  A higher BMI can increase your risk for heart disease.
  •         Less than 35 inches for women, and less than 40 inches for men, is the best waist size.  Too much fat around the waist increases heart disease risk.      To  measure your waist, put a tape measure around your midsection, just above your hips, and breathe out.
  •          Zero is your ideal exposure to tobacco, including secondhand smoke.
  •          At least 30 minutes most days is how much to exercise.  Regular exercise can lower your resting heart rate.  According to a recent study in American Heart Journal, a resting heart rate higher than 90 doubled the risk for heart disease.

If you don’t know how much your body mass index is, here are some explanations on how to figure it.  First, you can use a free body mass calculator online, or if you prefer, we have some instructions on how to do it yourself.

Established by the federal government as a standard to determine obesity, Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. A Body Mass Index between 18.5 and 25 is ideal. People with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are overweight and a BMI greater than 30 indicates obesity. Being overweight increases the chances of serious health risks like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. But Body Mass Index is not a foolproof measurement. Though muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue, BMI calculation doesn’t recognize the difference between muscle and fat; an aggravating footnote for people who spend a lot of time at the gym. For those who lead more sedentary lives however, BMI can be a useful first indicator of general fitness.

Use Discovery Health’s free BMI calculator to find out what your body mass index is. Simply put in your height and weight, and let Discovery Health’s free BMI calculator work for you.

Here are instructions in case you prefer to figure your BMI yourself:

         First you will need to know what your height is in inches. This is quite simple, just take your height and multiply it by 12 and add the inches. For example if your 6’2”, take 6 feet times 12, which is 72. Then add the 2 extra inches, which is 74 inches. Simple enough. Write this number down.

         Next in figuring your BMI, you will need to know your weight in pounds. This can be done on any scale measured in pounds. Write this number down.

         Now we are ready to calculate. Take your height and multiply it by itself. So in the previous example, just multiply 74 x 74, which is 5476. Now multiply that result by 703. This number is fixed. It’s always the same when calculating BMI. Continuing with our example, we take 5476 x 703, which equals 3849628.

         Then, divide your weight by that result. So say the weight in pounds is 180. We take 180 / 3849628, which equals 4.6 lbs. So in this example, the person who is 6’2” and 180 lbs is overweight by 4.6 lbs. This is how you figure Body Mass Index.

Let’s make a pact to take better care of ourselves and keep those hearts ticking!

Source: CDCP; American Heart Association; Strive;; Discovery Health.


If anyone has ever lost his/her child in a mall, amusement park, or even the grocery store, it’s a terrible experience!  They can disappear in the blink of an eye.  When our son was four years old, a group of us had gone to Six Flags over Texas.  He had moved up to watch a “Texas Shootout”, and when the crown dispersed, he just left with the flow of the crowd.  Even though we thought we could see where he was, it’s amazing how fast that happened.  We frantically searched for him, and were directed by a security guard to a building called, “Lost Parents”.  There he was,  his eyes as big as saucers, as he sat there waiting.  We were very lucky.  My main concern was that he would fall into one of the many water areas; had it been now, I would have worried more about child predators.  

Now, parents have several options to help them keep up with and find their children.  Michele Welsh, a mother of three invented a temporary tattoo that does the talking for them – Safety Tat.  She created these tattoos for peace of mind, and to aid in help in locating them when they disappear before your very eyes.  You can write your cell number and any other information on them; or customize them.  They go on and off easily, and last about two weeks.  Another great feature is that there are temporary tats for children with allergies, or other health problems that other adults should know about. 

We want to share some lost child stats and facts from Family Safety Expert, Alyssa Dver, Founder of the Center to Prevent Lost Children:

  • Over 2,000 U.S. kids get lost each day.
  • Less than 10% are reported to any authority.
  • 90% of families will experience losing a child in a public place.  20% have lost a child more than once.
  • Parents rank losing a child 5 times more concerning to them than terrorism and 3 times more concerning than abduction.
  • Kids get lost more often, (45%)  in malls and stores.
  • 27% of families that visit an amusement park lose a child while they are there.  That’s almost 1 in 3!
  • Only 9% of parents put some form of safe ID on their children.
  • 76% of parents want to know what to do to prevent a child from getting lost.
  • 95% of lost children will forever remember the trauma of getting lost. 

Here are five ways Parents Magazine gives you some safety tips when taking your kids to theme parks: 

  1. Have a game plan.  Talk to your family about what to do if someone gets lost: Stay put, or find a park worker or another mom with kids.  Plan this before you go.
  2. Bring a family photo.  Take one with your cell phone the day of the trip.  This makes it easier for security to find your child.  Take digital snaps of each of your kids right before you leave, so everyone knows what they are wearing.
  3. Tattoo your child!
  4. Check the map first.  Start the day off by locating the park’s information centers so you can point them out to your children or get to them quickly in case of an emergency.  Also, look for the first-aid and baby-care centers.
  5. Be stroller-savvy.  Put something that will distinguish yours from all the others, like tying a balloon or a bright ribbon on it.  This is especially important if you rent one at the park, as they are all identical. 

Also, you have probably noticed groups wearing identical T-shirts, usually customized with a particular logo.  This is another helpful way to spot your group.  FYI: these tattoos are regulated by the FDA and comply with FDA guidelines.  Temporary tattoos offer a good solution to identifying your child, should he/she become lost in a large setting.  It seems this would be perfect for airports, parks, field trips, malls, or even the first day of school, especially for those children who have allergies or other health issues. 

Source: SafetyTat, My Precious Kid








Not long ago, we talked about keeping protective guards around machinery to keep employees from amputations or other injuries.  In OSHA’s “Quicktakes” for the month of July, it is amazing the amount of money that companies pay for severe violations.  It seems money spent on safety would be more cost-effective, as well as keeping employees safe. 

OSHA fined a stamping products company $426,100, and cited the company for 27 safety and health violations, including one willful violation for failing to report two amputation injuries that occurred at the company’s metal stamping plant in Cleveland.  While operating mechanical power presses in the plant before OSHA’s January inspection, two employees had fingers severed and crushed.  The company was cited for a total of nine willful safety violations, which included failing to train press operators in safe work methods and failing to ensure the flywheel on the mechanical power presses were adequately guarded.  

A willful health violation is one that is committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.  The above company received one willful health violation for the lack of proper chemical hazard communication and training, in addition to twelve serious safety violations.  Those include failing to perform a required workplace hazard assessment, ensure employees had appropriate eye protection, train employees in the use of portable fire extinguishers, conduct performance evaluations for employees who operate powered industrial trucks (fork lifts), complete annual crane inspections, ensure proper machine guarding on the shear, spot welding machines, and mechanical press, and establish die-setting procedures.  They also had four serious safety violations including exposing employees to excessive noise, having improperly stored compressed gas cylinders and allowing various electrical safety hazards.  They have been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.  This mandates targeted follow-up evaluations to ensure compliance with the law. 

A second company was fined $214,830 by OSHA, and cited the company with four safety violations, after two workers suffered amputation injuries at the company’s metal stamping facility.  The company willfully disregarded the law’s requirements by failing to lock out/tag out hazardous energy sources prior to performing maintenance operations and to have point-of-operation guarding on two press brakes that caused the worker amputations in two separate incidents.  They were also cited with a serious violation for failing to use safety blocks when dies were being adjusted and repaired.  Before this inspection, the company had been cited by OSHA for 47 violations since 1988.  They have also been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. 

Workers have the right to go to work and expect to return home intact.  When companies show a blatant disregard for the safety of their workers, they are shirking their responsibility to those who come to perform a job without being in danger.  Hopefully, by being placed in this enforcement program with regular inspections, they will wake up and start paying attention to safety, rather than fines.

OSHA “Quicktakes”



Today is my birthday, and no, I won’t say how many years, but I’m ‘way past 39 and holding!  I have been blessed with a wonderful husband, family, and friends.  Healthy grown children with wonderful spouses, and healthy grandchildren,  what more could one hope for? My current job has opened up a new world to me.  In the past, I worked as an office manager in an oilfield construction company for almost twenty years.  There were so many safety elements involved in that company that little did I realize how many things I was learning that have helped me in my job today.

We were fortunate to be able to come back to the little town where we both grew up about 15 years ago, when the oilfield slowed down.  I worked as a clerk in a Special Ed Co-op for five years; there are many life lessons to be learned in that field, and the professionals who serve special needs children are angels, in my book.  Following that, I served as an Administrative Assistant at our local hospital, and later in a new hospital that merged ours and another one in the county, making our county the first in Texas to dissolve their hospital districts and combine into one new hospital district.  You can really learn first-hand about safety when working in a hospital.  A hospital is a unique type of world to work in, and one can only understand if they have done so.  Nursing and physician care, confidentiality, infection control, and compliance are just some of the important parts of daily service to ensure the best care possible for patients. 

A few years ago, my brother-in-law asked me if I would be interested in doing some part-time work for his company, Texas America Safety Company, as a sales representative and public relations person.  Later, a free safety blog was developed,, and I was asked to write blogs about home safety, work safety, and even safety in activities.  It’s said, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but I learn new things every day.   I know my family gets tired of my safety advice.  A couple of dear friends are kind enough to critique the articles sometimes.  

Today’s article is short and sweet, but I just want you to know that as I celebrate my birthday, I am thankful for my family, thankful for the wonderful people I work with, (our dog, Buddy, of course), as well as good friends.  Also, thanks to you who take the time to read our blog.  Hopefully we can bring out some information that will help keep you safe.  We have received comments from all over the world since this blog started, and it is good to know that everyone is concerned with what they can do to help make the world a safer place.  Let’s work together and share ideas.  Thank you for your time and interest in our safety suggestions.  And please stay safe!



Do you or have you ever worked where there wasn’t some sort of conflict?  First, I looked up the word “conflict” and it has several definitions: dispute, disagreement, clash, difference, argument, quarrel, or discord.  Do any of these fit your workplace?  Face it, we are all human beings, and it just seems to be in our nature to look out for ourselves, many times forgetting to think about the others who come to work every day. 

Workplace conflicts cannot be ignored.  Companies have trained leaders that use their expertise to resolve differences before they grow into something destructive and harmful for their employees.  When there is discord among workers, companies will start seeing more absenteeism, turnover, stress, accidents, lower productivity, and a decrease in employee morale.  Leaders must meet with those in conflict together, not separately.  This gives those involved the opportunity to give their side of the story, as well as listen to the other party.  If it is done separately, stories sometimes have a way of getting stretched a little.  Mediating a conflict is a serious responsibility.  A leader must consider that if conflicts are not resolved, the safety of the employees may be compromised. 

Bullying in the workplace should never be accepted.  Some of the safety factors that are seen where there are conflicts are aggressive behaviors by certain workers, exclusion of  workers, physically abusing or threatening them, yelling at or criticizing an employee, or tampering with equipment.  Supervisors must treat complaints seriously, and not ignoring potential problems. 

Some of the causes of conflict may be the fact that one person’s success in achieving his/her goals for the day depend on another person’s input/output of data that the first person needs. Certain workers are very task-oriented, while others sail right through a project.  We are all different- that’s what makes the world unique.  Some of this “uniqueness” may be at the root of conflict, whether it is intentional or unintentional, such as: differences in gender/background, educational backgrounds, experience, ethnic heritage, or political preferences.  (It seems as though there’s always something to “agree to disagree” on!)  Statistics show that 85% of dismissals in the U.S. are due to personality conflicts. 

Do you have a story?  How do you justify your poor behavior, if that’s the case?  Have you let someone down more than one time, but you reason that it’s because you are overworked?  If a co-worker brings a birthday card to the boss, do you think it’s because he’s buttering up the boss for a promotion; however, if you bring a card to the boss, it’s because you are a warm and caring person.  Re-thinking your story about your differences at work is important because it keeps you from over-reacting to a situation; it opens up an opportunity for healthy discussion, and rather than ambushing other persons with your emotions, you begin to sift “fact”  from “story”.  

Just The Facts: 

Make a list about the conflict you are experiencing with someone.  On the left side of the page, describe incidents that you have been telling or thinking about that person.  Things that have kept going through your mindOn the right side of the page, list just the facts.  Specific actions and information you have taken and the objective of your desires to resolve the quarrel.  This could open up a healthy conversation with less accusations and improve cooperation with each other.  If you and a co-worker can work out any misunderstandings, you will both get more out of your job, and your company will get more out of you.  Supervisors want to help, so go to them if you can’t take care of it yourself. 

Communication is the key to success in every walk of life – in our work and with our families.  If you are happy at work, you won’t be taking those complaints and worries home with you.  Be assertive, but always respect others.  Share tips with your workers that can help them in their jobs.  Life is too short to carry heavy loads such as resentment, frustration, confusion and anger with us.


Imagine falling into a hole 55’ deep and only 33” wide.  That’s exactly what happened to Zach Rogan, in Carrollton, Texas, last week.  A student on summer break from the Weatherford Fire Academy, Zach had taken a job with Texas Shafts for the summer.  As he was cleaning around the hole, finishing his work for the day, things suddenly went wrong.  He took a step forward and his left leg went into the hole and he started falling.  Quick thinking helped make this terrible accident better than it could have been.  Zach kicked his legs out and pushed the sides of the hole with his arms to slow the fall.  He made it to the bottom of the shaft alive! 

Firefighters from Carrollton and Coppell worked quickly to lower a rescue worker to the bottom of the shaft.  That task took 30 minutes.  A tripod with a pulley was set up over the shaft, as the team of paramedics got ready.  A firefighter quickly put a strapped vest on Rogan, and a cable slowly lifted the men up out of the hole to safety.  This was a tough assignment, since a 33’ hole is only slightly larger than the width of a man’s shoulders.  

In researching a situation like this, I found that shafts 30” or greater in diameter and 6’ or more in depth require some form of fall protection at the surface of the shaft.  Fall protection, including a rescue plan, must be in place prior to drilling any shaft.  Guardrails must be around the shaft.  At the end of the day, there should be a sturdy cover placed over the shaft. 

Companies should have fall protection guidelines for workers, so they understand what is required for their safety.  They should participate in fall prevention training, and use fall protection equipment  if required for the job.  Workers also need to be taught how to inspect the devices they may use, to ensure they are in good condition.  

We are thankful that Zach survived this fall and hopeful that more care will be taken when working around shafts.  It only takes a few seconds for accidents to happen.  Rogan, 20, is a very lucky young man.  He is recovering from surgery to stabilize his crushed vertebrae, as well as suffering some nerve damage.  He still plans to become a firefighter, and hopes to be on the other side of an accident like this….as a rescuer and not a victim.



There is a debate among some parents about which is safer, a pool or trampoline?  They are both fun for children, but they also both pose dangers.  The key to safety with either is supervision by parents.  When children are taught safety and are given rules to follow that are enforced, they can have fun and be safe at the same time. 

Most parents don’t understand that trampolines require the same amount of supervision as pools.  When children are unsupervised, most injuries occur.  Serious accidents can occur when children of different weights are double  jumping, and the smaller child becomes a missile and is thrown from the trampoline.  Serious neck injuries may occur.  Letting children jump alone is as dangerous as swimming alone.  Falling from a trampoline improperly can cause sprains or broken bones.  Sometimes children land on the trampoline edge.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends trampolines should be used as training devices, not toys.  Injuries that can occur are spinal injuries, falling the wrong way, head lacerations, or colliding with other jumpers.  Children under 17 should be supervised at all times.  Between 2000 and 2005, there were an estimated 88,563 emergency room visits by injured trampoline participants.

Persons who own swimming pools must supervise their children at all times.  Between 2000 and 2009, more than 675 preschoolers drowned each year.  Another 2,000 preschoolers almost drowned, the majority of them in their own pool.  Parents can be out of sight for less than five minutes, and their little one may drown.  

Pools should have a 4’ high fence on all four sides, with a self-closing gate and latch out of the reach of children.  Alarms can alert parents if someone enters the pool area.  Parents or caregivers should take every thing they might need while their toddler is swimming: towels, snacks, sunscreen, phone, so they will never have to leave the pool.  The phone is also handy in case of an emergency. 

Drowning continues to be the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-19.  Drowning is silent!  Think about the cunningness of a toddler.  They watch us and learn how to open a door, or take a stool out to reach something.  They are more than capable of figuring out how to reach a door handle even with a lock, and head straight for the pool.  There’s no screaming or yelling with drowning.  The child quietly goes beneath the water and sinks.  The consequences of drowning are devastating.   Even those children that have had swimming lessons and are capable of swimming should have some sort of flotation device with them. 

Please take time to think about making your back yard as safe for your children as possible.  Whether it’s a trampoline or swimming pool, you can’t be too careful.  Teach them how important it is to not get on a trampoline or into the water unless mom or dad or a caregiver is present.  Having a swimming pool or trampoline ensures that your home will be the “fun” place for your family and your kids’ friends to gather.  Just remember: the biggest issue surrounding children playing in pools and jumping on trampolines is parental supervision!  It only takes seconds for an accident to happen.





We have mentioned UVA and UVB rays in several articles and the damage that they can do to your skin and eyes.  Another consideration to factor in is what can happen if you are taking certain medications and are exposed to the sun.  We all worry about skin cancer, but there are other sun illnesses that can occur.  Because of some of the ingredients in certain medications, and depending on the sensitivity of a person, even a very brief exposure to the sun or using a tanning booth or sunlamp can cause a person to experience a burn. 

According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, in a recent article in AARP Magazine, there are three types of sun illnesses: phototoxicity, photoallergy and sun-induced eczema.  Also,  Brian Adams, M.D., a University of Cincinnati dermatologist, reports that some of the most common causes of a phototoxic reaction (sunburn) related to medication ingestion are the tetracyclines, (antibiotics).  This is frequently experienced, minutes to hours after UV exposure, causing pain and exacerbated sunburn.  Photoallergy and sun-induced eczema are more rare, and occur either gradually, over time, or one to two days after UV exposure, and can occur to either sun-exposed skin or anywhere on skin.  Their main symptoms are itching and redness, rash, and possibly blistering. 

According to Dr. Oz, dermatologists think long-term, intense sun exposure may alter our skin in such a way that our immune system no longer recognizes it as our own.  Sun-induced eczema occurs when your entire immune system goes haywire, causing itchy, red skin, or in some cases, blisters.  This is more common in older men who have a history of working outdoors, or women who love to sunbathe.  

This is a list of the types of medications that can irritate your skin if you are taking or using:

  • Antibiotics;
  • Statins;
  • Hypoglycemics;
  • Diuretics;
  • Sunscreens – containing para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), cinnamates, benzophenones, salicylates.
  • Fragrances, such as musk ambrette, 6-methylcoumarin, sandalwood. 

Fragrances, you wonder?  A sun allergy, called a photoallergy, comes on more slowly but can be dangerous.  This type of sensitivity usually happens when UV rays convert a chemical, such as a fragrance on your skin, into a substance that your immune system decides to attack, which results in an itchy, red rash that takes several days to go away. 

Experts at the University of Cincinnati report that sunscreen is designed for use under normal circumstances, and certain medications can cause abnormal conditions.  Because we have no preliminary test for knowing what type of reaction a person will have, experience can be hazardous.  The experts say the best defense is to avoid the sun altogether when taking medications recognized as producing an adverse reaction.  If you absolutely have to be out in the sun, take precautions with additional sunscreen and sunblock, paying attention to the face by using zinc oxide on sensitive areas such as the mouth, nose and ears.  Wearing a hat and sun protective clothing is always recommended. 

The American Skin Cancer’s website has a list of medications that can cause adverse reactions to sunlight.  One other thing to remember, (for next winter): some of the worst cases occur in the winter, when skiers, who are on these medications, do not apply any sunscreen to exposed parts of their face because, in part, they think it is too cold to sunburn. 

Source: AARP Magazine

             University of Cincinnati