According to CNN News, as of Monday, January 16, officials had temporarily suspended rescue attempts being done by approximately 120 rescue personnel, because the wrecked Costa Concordia, had begun to sway and move, making any rescue attempts too unsafe to continue.  The cruise ship contained over four thousand persons, including a crew of over one thousand.  Today, Tuesday, CBS News reports that five more bodies have been found on the ship, bringing the death total to 11, and there are around sixteen missing.    “These rescue teams are working in extremely bad conditions”, said Luciano Roncalli of Italy’s national fire service.  Two Americans are still among the missing.  Passengers included around 1,000 from Italy, 160 from France, 126 from the United States, and others from many countries. 

Passengers who either jumped from the ship or were able to board lifeboats stated that it was a scene of massive chaos when the accident happened.  At first they were told that there was a problem with a power generator, and soon realized it was much more than that.  One passenger said that there was no help from the crew; passengers were loading lifeboats for themselves.  Only one side of the lifeboats was available because the boat was listing to the other side.   News coverage showed passengers that had formed a human chain, helping each other to be loaded into lifeboats.

Now rescue personnel are working in what resembles a dark, cave.  There are six underwater cave rescue divers working with others from an International Rescue Service.  These cave rescue divers are specially trained to take all precautions to escape entrapment from debris and find a way to safety.  Remember, all the workers are in cold, dark environments, searching a huge ship that would be hard to navigate upright, let alone partially submerged.  Emergency personnel are planning to look into 1,500 cabins, eight bars, five restaurants, four swimming pools, a casino and more.  

Cruises are many times the culmination of dreams of a lifetime, relaxing on the sea while enjoying great food and entertainment.  A recently retired couple from the U.S., who had saved all their work lives to take this trip, are missing, as a result of this recent tragedy.  We were fortunate to take an Alaskan cruise with our best friends a couple of years ago, and it was a great experience.  When we first arrived onboard ship, we found out they had just had a safety drill, but we missed it, and of course, like most people, didn’t give it much thought.  (News statements reported the Italian cruise ship held no safety drill for the passengers once leaving port. I learned from a news source last night that there were plans for a drill the next day; however, cruise lines are required to do them within the first 48 hours.)  It is understandable that most of us who are on vacation never dream that anything like that could happen. 

The lives and safety of passengers are in the hands of the captain and his crew.  It was reported that this captain abandoned his crew and passengers, leaving the ship before them.  He will be punished for the crimes that are involved with this tragedy.  Most cruises end with good memories, but when terrible accidents happen, we are all reminded that we must be aware of taking measures to be safe.  Passengers should check out the safety record of the ship before they take their cruise.  The Centers for Disease Control have information on inspections that are performed on these ships.  Advance research on a particular ship  cannot predict future accidents, but it is a good idea to do some checking ahead of time.

Cruise lines should perform safety drills, and furnish information to passengers on what to do in various emergencies.  Most ships have daily guide sheets on planned activities and excursions, and give the location of emergency facilities onboard.  Members of families traveling together should have a meeting place, in case of emergencies.  The Costa Concordia was the largest European cruise ship when it began, which was 2006.  Realizing that you are on a ship that has more passengers than the populations of many small towns, makes you realize just how many people could become victims of a single accident.   

The safety of rescue personnel is always a concern, especially for those involved.  Wherever there is tragedy, you will find those highly skilled people, who do their best to save lives or recover the unfortunate ones who didn’t make it.  May they continue to serve and be appreciated.












The Dangers Of Golf Courses To The General Public

Golf is often described as one of the most relaxing sports to play, but there are perils lurking on every course and plenty of examples of horror stories of when things go wrong.
One story that recently came to light in Yorkshire, England featured a boy aged 11 who got stuck in the mud on a course and required assistance from the emergency services. Fortunately, the young lad emerged unscathed from his ordeal.
Here are a few other possible dangers to be mindful of while out and about playing golf:
Blog4Safety is always happy to receive articles from across the ocean; we know you will enjoy this one written by Matt Browne.
Matt is a copywriter with a journalism background, who forms part of  RightClub.co.uk’s team of experts who always come up with all manner of wonderful, weird, and downright crazy ideas.  We know you will enjoy Matt’s take on safety on the golf course.  Read on!  
Golf is often described as one of the most relaxing sports to play, but there are perils lurking on every course and plenty of examples of horror stories of when things go wrong.  One story that recently came to light in Yorkshire, England featured a boy aged 11 who got stuck in the mud on a course and required assistance from the emergency services. Fortunately, the young lad emerged unscathed from his ordeal.
Here are a few other possible dangers to be mindful of while out and about playing golf:
Golf courses can be dangerous places if the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse and it starts to thunder and lightning. Golfers are advised to seek shelter as quickly as possible if a thunderstorm does start and preferably get off the course altogether, steer clear of any lone trees, remove shoes with metal spikes on and leave their golf clubs well alone. Check the weather forecast before setting off on your UK golf breaks and act accordingly.
Golf carts:
No doubt many of you will have seen programmes such as Jackass when stunts in golf carts have been performed.  While this is an extreme example of the hazards associated with driving golf carts, it serves as a warning to be responsible when travelling around by cart. Drive at a sensible speed at all times, be mindful of other golfers in carts and resist the urge of some off-track fun as it could end in tears.
Sun exposure :
Being open to the elements for hours at a time brings with it certain risks and exposure to the sun is a problem that golfers need to be aware of.  Spending lengthy periods in the sun without taking adequate measures to protect a golfer’s skin or eyes is irresponsible and dangerous. Carry a hat in your golf bag and have some sunblock on hand just to be on the safe side.  

Plant life and local wildlife:
There are certain places in the world where the local wildlife can pose a threat to the personal safety of golfers. Read this story, which tells what happened when an elderly golfer came into contact with an alligator in South Carolina a few years ago. There may also be a few nasty surprises waiting for golfers in the rough in terms of the plant life, while the uneven ground could cause a nasty slip, trip or fall.
A stray ball or club:
The importance of being alert at all times during a round of golf should never be underestimated. A lapse of concentration can cost you dear if you end up being struck by a stray ball or even a club, depending on how close you’re standing to your fellow golfers.
Our thanks again to Matt Browne.  A personal thank you to Doug Turner, Texas America Safety Company and Blog4Safety, for his expertise and assistance.


Our economy is in bad enough shape, but with people trying to take advantage of others, we all must be warned to question and investigate anything suspicious.  I was reading about the “grandparent scam”, which works like this:  You get a frantic email from someone identifying himself or herself as your grandchild.  Maybe the message is “Help!  I’m stuck in a hotel in Mexico or jail in France, and I can’t leave until I pay the bill/fine.  My wallet and passport have been stolen.  Could you please wire me some money?  Oh, and don’t tell my parents!” 

Well, I actually got this email; however, it was from a lady in our church, and when I first read it, I thought, “I didn’t know she was going to Europe! and how weird!”  Shortly, I received an email from the her saying, “No, I am not in Europe, and no, I don’t need any money.”  Someone got her name and email address and sent this scam to several people in her address book.  Thank goodness someone called and told her about it, so she could get it cleared up.  About the grandchild scam, I think most grandparents know where their grandchildren are and if they are taking any trips, and would check with the parents before falling for that one; however, the U.S. State Department is warning about this travel scam, so be prepared. 

Many Older Persons are Victims, but not Always! 

More than 7.3 million Americans over 65 have been financial-fraud victims, according to a 2010 survey by the Investor Protection Trust.  Some of the con artists are their same age.  Fraudsters often lure victims with financial talks at retirement communities or church groups.  They may offer free dinner or rounds of golf to talk someone into turning over their 401(k). 

If this person guarantees high returns, assurances of low or no risk, or investments that generate suspiciously steady returns despite market fluctuations, chances are he/she may be involved in a Ponzi scheme.  Those high-pressure sales tactics can lead to loss of your savings.  Too many people have trusted those who seemed to be authorities in financial investments.  Check them out and be sure you are getting your investment advice from a trusted third party or attorney before you let go of your money. 

For those who are working hard and trying to save as much as they can for retirement, always pay attention to the benefits that are offered to you by your company.  If possible, don’t put “all your eggs in one basket,” rather, diversify.  Some friends of ours fell victim to the Enron fiasco, losing their entire life savings.  At age 65, many of them were hoping to find a new job, just at the time they should have been enjoying retirement.  Play it safe!  Those dollars don’t grow on trees.  Don’t be a victim. As we all know, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

We want you to keep your hard-earned money safe; maybe this one little blog will help serve as a red flag.


If your feet hurt, it seems that you hurt all over!  I wonder just how many women have spent years of their working lives in high heels, thinking more about the fashion statement they are making than the toll that their feet are taking?  Many times working men and women suffer injuries to their feet, which can result in time lost, and possible surgery to repair whatever damage has been done. 

OSHA dictates that as in all personal protective equipment, (PPE), companies should choose the appropriate footwear for the hazards of the particular job the employee does.  The standard from OSHA (29 CFR 1910.136) requires protection “where there is danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole and where..exposed to electrical hazards.”  There are also hazards such as impact when heavy materials are being handled, compression protection for work involving manual material handling carts, bulk rolls, and heavy pipe, and puncture protection from sharp objects, such as nails, screws, tacks, and scrap metal.  

Here are a few problems where the feet are at risk:

  • Chemical hazards; boots and shoes made of rubber, PVC or neoprene are needed.
  • Heavy objects – steel toes are to protect against falling objects, which cause about 60 per cent of all foot injuries.  If there are electrical hazards, a fiberglass toe should replace the typical steel toe.
  • Slips and falls – shoes with good traction are needed. 

There are at least two distinct areas of foot protection that are mentioned in the realm of safety shoe covers.  In industrial and construction situations, OSHA and ANSI are concerned with safeguarding the “impact and compression” of the foot.  Medical, industrial, and laboratory environments are the other areas of foot protection issues.  Shoe covers for medical personnel can protect from spatters, liquid, and chemicals that could pose a danger.  Also, using shoe or boot covers protects others from receiving contaminants from you.  Those that are involved in “clean” manufacturing conditions, such as computer chips, digital medical equipment, precise engineering instruments, etc., must be careful to not transfer contaminants to sensitive objects.  Clean rooms must remain as germ and contaminant free as surgical environments; therefore, shoe covers are an important component. 

Even those involved in sports, such as cycling, can use shoe covers.  While your back, arms, and legs are stressed during high level cycling, nothing takes a worse pounding than your feet.  There are products that offer a line of covers and booties to protect shoes from road abuse from rocks, mud, and other hazards. 

One last “footnote”:  I recently read an article in the AARP Bulletin, written by Candy Sagon, regarding assisting people with dementia or Alzheimer’s who could possibly wander off from caregivers or nursing facilities: a locator shoe with a built-in Global Positioning System device now makes it easier to tract down its wearers.  Manufactured by GTX Corporation, the shoes look like a typical walking shoe but have a miniature GPS unit implanted in the heel.  The cost of the shoes is around $300.  The shoe works by allowing caregivers or family members to set up a perimeter, called a “geo-fence,” allowing wearers to move freely around a specific area.  When they stray beyond the perimeter, a Goggle Maps message pops up on a computer or phone to alert caregivers.  What a great investment to help with the task of keeping these patients safe. 

Regardless of the reason that your company has safety footwear to keep you safe, be sure you wear it every time you are on the job.  Those responsible for choosing footwear or any other type of PPE should select comfortable, and proper fitting protective clothing, head to toe.  There may not be a magic formula for the feet, but there are steps that can be followed to be sure feet are protected.

Source: OSHA, AARP Bulletin


A large portion of the United States suffered a devastating drought this past summer.  As the old saying goes, “It’s either feast or famine!”  In addition to the results of little or no rain, this year’s drought caused a huge loss of wildlife and property because of wildfires throughout the state of Texas.   The drought we experienced made us realize how much we needed water for our tanks, lakes, and livestock, as well as our daily lives.  This past summer, there were small communities that ran out of water, and what they were going through was unbelievable.  In other areas of the U.S., there were floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.

We in America are very fortunate that we have clean, readily available water.    We need to appreciate our clean water and do all we can to get clean water to those who don’t have it.  Imagine watching a mother take her child to a muddy waterhole – one that is polluted, and see that child drink from it.  People over the world are dying, because their water is full of pollution and disease.  

The Importance of Water Conservation 

We Americans waste billions of gallons of water with no regard to the fact that many other people in countries across the world would fight over the very water that we waste.  We would probably all think a little more about water that is wasted, if we had to drink the water that other folks do.  Some are losing their lives because they have no water at all.  

Here are  ways that you can help the with conservation issue:

  • Take short showers.  If you run a little water for it to warm up, catch it and use it to water your plants.
  • If people leave water bottles around, and don’t finish drinking it, you can also use that to water plants.
  • Stop running the water while you brush your teeth, wash your hands or hair, and shower or bathe.
  • Most people don’t need a huge bathtub; it’s a nice luxury, but you get just as clean in a regular-sized one.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have a swimming pool, keep it covered, to keep out the dirt.
  • You might pay attention to the amount of water you use on your yard and try to cut down. 

The Importance of Water to Our Bodies! 

You cannot be truly healthy without the proper hydration of the body.  We should drink half our body weight in ounces, minimum each day.  If you weigh 200 lbs, you should consume 100 ounces of water.  Every organ in our body heavily depends on water to function properly and to its capacity.  According to an article posted by Bob McCauley, the human body is 69% water, the brain is 85% water, bones – 35% water, blood – 83% water, and the liver is 90% water. Also:

  • In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
  • Mild dehydration will slow down metabolism as much as 3%. 
  • The biggest trigger of daytime fatigue is lack of water.
  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, breast cancer by 79%, and bladder cancer by 50%. 

Remember, you are not what you eat; you are what you drink.  Water is immensly important to your health.  If we change the way we drink, by drinking pure, natural water that is good for our health, we can help our pocket book and environment at the same time.  A common-sense theory by years of study by Dr. F. Batmagheldj, shows that water works well in keeping us healthy and pain free.  Even some illnesses can be cured by water, the basis of all life, especially, your body.  Our health truly depends on the quality and quantity of the water we drink.  If you sincerely want to have a healthy lifestyle, make drinking enough natural water a regular habit in your life.  You will feel the benefit in a short time.  Water is a free investment for your long-term health. 

With that, I am going to go fill up a tall glass of ice water; and cut my shower short tonight!  Let’s all think about conserving water, the elixir of life!


With cold weather, there are many more workers moving indoors, so this is a good time for employers to check the air quality of their employees’ work environment.  This is also the opportunity for employers to inventory their supply and usage of NIOSH-approved respirators.  It is very important to know the hazardous airborne particles that exist in every workplace. 

In the United States, there are an estimated 5 million workers who are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces.  More people still die from lung cancer than from any other type of cancer (over 159,000 deaths per year).  Smoking is usually found to be the leading cause of lung cancer; however, workers who wear respirators are better protected from harmful airborne hazards.  Some of these hazards have also been known to contribute to causing cancer, lung impairment, other diseases or even death. 

“Dust Masks” vs. N95 Respirators 

Many people often ask what is the difference between a respirator and a dust mask.  Even though their appearances are similar, NIOSH-approved N95 respirators are very different from dust masks.  Dust masks provide no proven protection against harmful airborne particles.  NIOSH recommends the use of N95 (or better) respirators for most environmental hazards. 

In testing, respirators that collect at least 95% of the challenge aerosol are given a 95 rating.  (99% receive a 99 rating; at least 99.97%, a 100 rating).  The filters for respirators are tested by NIOSH at the time of application and periodically afterward to ensure they continue to meet the certification.  The certification of N95 will be on the respirator, so you know you are getting the right thing. 

It is necessary to perform fit tests to verify there are no defects in the respirators.  Please note:  Caution:
Respirators must be properly selected and fitted to provide protection to the user. It is the responsibility of the user to make the appropriate choice of respirator based on the contaminant, workplace concentrations, and any other site specific conditions. It is also the responsibility of the user to ensure that the workplace is in compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and Local regulations on worker safety, including, but not limited to, OSHA regulations on respiratory protection (29 CFR 1910.134). Read all Warnings and Use Instructions that accompany the respirators. If you have any Technical questions regarding respiratory protection, call the manufacturer.

Dust Masks are loose-fitting filters that fit over the nose and mouth, capturing dust on the outside when the wearer breathes in air.  Respirators have the NIOSH marking on them; therefore, they have met strict criteria and passed independent certification tests established by NIOSH.  Their tests ensure the respirator has been designed to meet minimum filtration requirements as well as specific manufacturing quality levels.  NIOSH does not test or certify dust masks. 

Every worksite has its own level of protection that is required for its specific application.  You see respirators used in all types of settings, from the medical industry to industrial applications.  The NIOSH website (www.cdc.gov/niosh) maintains a database of all NIOSH-approved respirators for user reference. 

Source: Gateway Safety; Texas America Safety Company; OSHA


Lately, I have noticed pain in my right thumb and wrist.  Because I use a computer so often,  I am concerned that it could be carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).  Osteoarthritis could be another cause, but thankfully, there is relief for both.  The median nerve provides feeling and movement to the “thumb side” of the hand (the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and thumb side of the ring finger).The area in your wrist where the nerve enters the hand is called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is normally narrow,  so any swelling can pinch the nerve and cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist. Typing on a computer keyboard is probably the most common cause of carpal tunnel. The condition occurs most often in people 30 to 60 years old, and is more common in women than men.

Other causes include:

  • Sewing
  • Driving
  • Assembly line work
  • Painting
  • Writing
  • Use of tools (especially hand tools or tools that vibrate)
  • Sports such as racquetball or handball
  • Playing some musical instruments


  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb and next two or three fingers of one or both hands
  • Numbness or tingling of the palm of the hand
  • Pain extending to the elbow
  • Pain in wrist or hand in one or both hands
  • Problems with fine finger movements (coordination) in one or both hands
  • Wasting away of the muscle under the thumb (in advanced or long-term cases)
  • Weak grip or difficulty carrying bags (a common complaint)
  • Weakness in one or both hands
  • Pain in thumb when trying to open a jar or door.

Don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor, if you have any of the above symptoms.  The doctor may find:

  • Numbness in the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and thumb side of the ring finger
  • Weak hand grip
  • Tapping over the median nerve at the wrist may cause pain to shoot from the wrist to the hand (this is called Tinel’s sign)
  • Bending the wrist forward all the way for 60 seconds will usually result in numbness, tingling, or weakness (this is called Phalen’s test)

CTS symptoms may last beyond six months, but can be surgically relieved.  This procedure will release the pressure on the median nerve.  With older adults (me), osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage padding your finger and hand joints begin to wear away.  There are many home treatments.  Your physician may give you certain exercises that will help to lessen your hand pain.  Try hot or cold applications to ease pain, or splinting your thumb or wrist to give it a rest.  Ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin can all help to reduce the swelling of arthritis.  A cortisone shot will give longer-term relief.   Try to keep your joints active, before CTS or osteoarthritis “get a grip” on you!

Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians, American Society for Surgery of the Hand; National Institute on Aging; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases,  AARP/Strive.


Well, college football is just about over, and the Pros are on their way to ending another season soon.  Don’t despair!  There’s still time for tailgate parties, but there are some things you should know that will keep you a little healthier.  It’s a great time to be with friends and family, and new friends that you meet.  Cheer on, and munch on, but do it safely!  No one wants to land in the emergency room during or after the game! Don’t penalize your guests by failing to follow these rules from the U.S.D.A.:

  • Clean – Wash hands and surfaces often. Don’t commit “illegal use of hands!”
  • Separate – Don’t cross-contaminate.  Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked foods.
  • Cook – Use a food thermometer to ensure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
  • Chill – Refrigerate or freeze promptly.

We all understand the “two-minute” warning in football, but food safety has the “two-hour” rule.  Perishable food items that sit out for too long may not be safe to eat.  By using serving cold dishes nestled in bowls of ice, or warm items left in a heating source (slow cooker), foods will be safer.   Partially and undercooked foods are threats to food safety.  Using a food thermometer will ensure that meats are adequately cooked to the proper temperatures. 

Don’t get a false start.  Snack on some healthy items before the party to avoid overindulging.  Healthy snacks such as fruits, carrots, celery, and low-fat dips should be included in the menu.  Non-alcoholic beverages should be offered, as well.  Never chop block!  This happens when you chop raw veggies on the same cutting board that was used to cut up chicken or other raw meats.  Harmful bacteria can cross contaminate with other foods.  Clean the cutting board with hot soapy water after dicing one type of food and before starting on another.  

Below are some great instructions from the Food Safety Consortium of Iowa State University:

If in doubt, throw it out! Keep hot foods HOT (above 140° F) and cold foods COLD (40° F or below)

Which Foods are Safe to Serve?

  •          Single-serving, pre-packaged portions are the safest. Consider offering sandwiches, cookies, or other food items in individual,   food-grade plastic bags or film wrap. This will minimize the number of people who come in contact with the food.
  •          Dry foods or those high in sugar are almost always safe. Breads, rolls, cakes (without cream filling), fresh fruits and vegetables, cookies and crackers are safe. Use caution when serving cooked or processed foods such as lunch meat, hot dogs, vegetables and salads.
  •          High-protein foods like meat, milk and dishes containing egg are potentially hazardous.
  •          Be cautious with marinades, potatoes, rice, custards, puddings, pies, gravies and stuffings. Time and temperature control of these foods is extremely important.
  •          The life of most deli meats and foods is short. Roast beef, chicken breast, and turkey have a shorter refrigerator life than processed meats or cold cuts. Buy reasonable quantities. If food won’t be served soon, store in a cooler immediately.
    When you get home, properly wrap and freeze deli meats that won’t be eaten within two to four days.
  •          REMEMBER most food poisoning bacteria can NOT be seen, smelled, or tasted.
  •          Bacteria multiply fastest between temperatures of 40 and 140; it’s what we call the Danger Zone. 

Help your guests avoid penalties!  If they plan to drink alcoholic beverages at your party, be sure they have a designated driver.   An accident would put a damper on everyone who attended the party.  If you are attending a tailgate party, wear loose fitting, layered clothes, with the top layer being water repellent.  Drink warm liquids without caffeine or alcohol.  Alcohol causes the body to lose heat more quickly.  If you follow these food safety tips, you won’t have to worry about your guests going home with more than just memories of the game!


The appropriate use of personal protective equipment is mandated by OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standards.  This requires employers to provide proper personal protective equipment and clothing free of charge to employees.  Employees with occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens must receive extensive training. 

Those who work in the field of healthcare, i.e., medical, dental, nursing homes, EMS, and others such as law enforcement, are trained to take Universal Precaution: the approach to infection control with regard to human blood and potentially infectious materials as if they were known to be infectious.  About 8,700 health care workers each year are infected with HBV, and 200 die from the infection.  It is estimated that 5.6 million workers in the health care industry are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, such as:

  • Hepatitis B, which is more transmittable than HIV; affects liver.
  • HIV; Human Immunodeficiency Virus;
  • Hepatitis C.  This is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States, most often caused by needlestick injuries.  If not treated properly, it can lead to active liver disease.

Gloves, masks, gowns, lab coats, face shields, goggles, and glasses with sideshields should be utilized as needed, as they drastically reduce health risks to workers.  Other types of PPE that may be required are shoe covers, surgical caps and hoods.  This gear should be readily accessible to employees, and available in appropriate sizes.  The PPE must be removed by the employee before leaving the work area or if the PPE becomes contaminated.  The employer is responsible to clean or launder clothing and equipment, and repair or replace it as necessary.  Hand washing facilities should also be available to employees, and designated areas should be assigned for washing, storage or discarding of PPE. 

Should an employee’s skin or mucous membranes come into contact with blood, he or she is to wash with soap and water and flush eyes with water as soon as possible.  In addition, workers must wash their hands immediately after removing protective equipment.  If soap and water are not available immediately, employers may provide other hand washing measures such as moist towelettes.  Employees still must wash with soap and water as soon as possible.  They must refrain from eating, drinking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses in areas where they may be exposed to blood or potentially infectious materials. 

Employers must have Exposure Control Plans and provide post-exposure prophylaxis and follow-up treatment of workers’ exposure incidents. 

Source: OSHA


Have you ever thought how much simpler life would be if those in charge of the workplace could just “spit it out”, in plain, concise words, so that their employees totally understand what they are expected to do, and that they are expected to perform in the safest manner possible?  Many times, managers will beat around the bush to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.  Workers may allow anger issues to fester rather than openly talk about an issue and risk confrontation.  Direct communication isn’t always easy to express, because too many of us try to be “politically correct.”  

Have you noticed how many people are in your workplace, yet you rarely interact with them?  Everyone has different experiences from various workplaces and feels that their way is probably the right way.  That is where communication is so important.  Get acquainted with co-workers; you may be surprised how much you can learn from them, or teach them.  Listen to your supervisor tell a group what he wants them to do, and then watch and see how many got that message or interpreted it in different ways. 

Today, I noticed an article in the Billings Gazette about the lack of a culture of safety.  Wyoming’s state occupational epidemiologist, Timothy Ryan, said in a memo to Governor Mead, dated December 19, 2011, and released Tuesday by the governor’s office, that the lack of a “culture of safety” is the common theme tying together the state’s high rate of workplace deaths.  “Safety occurs as an afterthought,” Ryan stated.  In interviews with employees around the state, Ryan was told a typical work environment included:

  • A communication breakdown regarding safety between upper management, supervisors and employees.
  • A lack of safety training enforcement.
  • Cases in which employees were told to “get the job done,” despite a failure to enforce safety rules.
  • A wide range of safety standards at any one site. 

More than 85 per cent of fatality reports show that workplace safety procedures weren’t followed, and the number neared 100 per cent in the oil and gas industry.  Ryan’s report also showed that during the past decade, an average of one worker died every 10 days in the state. Ryan reviewed 17 years of workplace fatality data, covering 1992 to 2008, fatality cases reports, and conversations with employees in the state’s major industries.  Wyoming’s workplace death rate has ranked first or second among U.S. states since 2001, except when it ranked fourth in 2009.    

Communication between workers and their supervisors or trainers can literally mean the difference between life, injury, or death.  If employees are trained by the rules, but the rules are broken, there has been a lack of communication and supervision.  When workers are told to rush through a job, with no enforcement of safety rules, it would seem that the bottom dollar line is more important than the employees.  If safety standards are ignored at the worksite, the message either wasn’t stated in the correct way, or the workers failed to understand the safety message. 

Sometimes workers will find that the persons they fear talking to because of repercussion may actually be the one they need to confide in.  If safety is compromised, and nothing is done about it, the man or woman at the top can see that it is corrected.  Document your concerns and see if things improve after communicating with the person you hope will listen.