Have you recently started a new job? In your first few weeks did your new employer take you through the health and safety guidelines for your role, ensuring that you are well equipped to safely carry out your duties?

If not, they could be leaving themselves open to prosecution under health and safety legislation and more importantly, they could be putting you and your colleagues in danger of serious injury.

What are the rules?

The Health and Safety Executive states that employers must give “clear instructions, information and adequate training” to their staff. This includes information on any potential risks within the workplace, what measures are in place to reduce the chances of these hazards causing accidents, and how emergency procedures should be followed.

Health and safety training varies in its main focus from place to place, and guidelines followed in a chemical factory will clearly differ to the health and safety rules which need to be in place in an office environment.

Comparing these kinds of workplaces, employers should ensure their staff are aware of the following general risks and how to avoid them, and deal with them if incidents occur.

Health and safety for offices

Common issues in offices of all kinds include:

  • The use of electrical equipment including computers – training should be provided and adequate chairs/keyboards should be available
  • Wires should be kept tidy and in good condition
  • Stairways and corridors should be free of hazards
  • Kitchen areas should be clean and tidy
  • Asbestos – Have buildings been checked?
  • Medical care in the event of an accident – is at least one member of staff trained in first aid?

Health and safety for factories

Factory workers are often exposed to hazardous materials and dangerous equipment as part of their role, and comprehensive health and safety guidelines should always be in place to ensure staff knows how to protect themselves, as well as how to act in the event of an emergency.

The following should be considered in factory environments:

  • Dealing with substances that are hazardous to health – biological agents, corrosives, irritants etc
  • Storage of same substances
  • Course of action if a worker is exposed to substances and suffers burns or other injuries
  • Adequate training to operate machinery
  • The right protective equipment PPE should be provided to all staff
  • Factory floors should be kept tidy and free from debris 

This post was supplier by Carrs Solicitors the specialists in accident at work claims. If you were injured in an accident as a result of health & safety negligence at work, you might be eligible to make a claim.


Trying to protect your kids from harm can seem like a constant battle. Fortunately most of the accidents that happen to kids at home are not serious and many can be averted completely. Creating a safe home for your kids is possible, but only up to a certain degree. Kids are going to have accidents, despite your greatest attempts to avoid them. We’ve listed a few of the more common ones below.

  1. Falling down stairs – If your home has no stairs, this is one less thing you have to worry about. If you do have stairs then you will need to keep an eye on your kids. It goes without saying that the smaller the kids are the more you need to secure the stairs so they won’t be climbing up or down without adult supervision. As they get older, you will need to make sure that the stairs are kept clear. Many accidents occur because someone left a toy or other item on the stairs.
  2. Slipping in the tub – Soapy water can be a dangerous thing where kids are concerned. When kids stand up in the tub, there is always the chance that they could slip and fall. Adding a bath mat or non-slip decals to the bottom of the tub will make bath time a lot safer.
  3. Choking on food – Unfortunately, many parents still haven’t learned that you shouldn’t give small children hot dogs or grapes unless they are cut in small pieces. The same goes for other food as well. It doesn’t take a large piece of food to get caught in a little windpipe. Keep that in mind when cutting up your child’s food into bite size pieces.
  4. Falling out of trees – The adventurous child may have a penchant for climbing trees, especially those near the house that may have a view of a second story window. There are many family stories about the time little Jimmy broke his arm because he climbed up the tree to wave to someone in the bedroom and fell out of the tree.
  5. Slipping on polished floors – Many homes are now sporting beautiful wooden floors. Keeping those floors polished and looking gorgeous can also make them very slippery. Make sure your kids wear slippers or socks with gripper bottoms so they don’t wipe out when taking a cruise down the hall.
  6. Tripping over toys – Many times it’s the adult that trips over the toys, but kids fall too. Of course the remedy is to make sure the kids clean up after play time and put all the toys away; at the very least, get them out of traffic areas.
  7. Falling out of the high chair – Leaving toddlers unattended in their high chairs can lead to a serious accident if the child falls out or tips the chair over. Some very active kids learn to rock their high chairs and this can ultimately lead to a nasty fall. The solution is to never leave your kid unattended when their sitting in the high chair.
  8. Falling off the roof – As kids get older they like trying new things, like seeing what’s on the roof. Roofs are also accessed when they go up after a ball or some other object that got tossed up there. What ever the reason, make sure your kids know not to go up on the roof unless there is an adult supervising.
  9. Accident in the pants – These accidents occur often for toddlers, and fortunately, other than some inconvenience and perhaps a little embarrassment on the part of your child, there are no injuries involved. Just be aware that for some kids who are really working on potty training, an accident like this can actually seem like the end of the world. Sympathy and compassion on your part will do a lot to heal the wounded ego.
  10. Breaking something of value – Always an accident and usually due to horsing around or just not paying attention, this situation calls for patience and restraint on your part. Your child is already going to feel terrible about breaking the object, and how you handle the situation will make a big difference in your child’s life and self esteem.

Kids are going to fall down, scrape knees and elbows and some will break bones. All of those things will most likely heal nicely. A child’s self esteem and ego are a little more fragile, so you will want to be careful not to shame your child or place unnecessary blame on them for their accidents. Making your home safe is not just about the physical things you need to do, it also includes the psychological and emotional environment that makes a child feel safe. 

Sonja Bogart


For the United States and Canada, Labor Day (Labour Day), is officially celebrated on the first Monday of September.  Other countries observe their Labor Days on May1st, or other chosen dates annually.  In the U.S. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894.  This day was to celebrate workers and improve their working conditions.  It was a day of celebration and/or rest. 

Now, Labor Day describes the last major holiday before Thanksgiving, and the last chance for a long weekend to wrap up summer activities.  Despite the high cost of gasoline, many choose to travel at least more than 50 miles from home.  It is predicted by AAA that approximately thirty-three million Americans will be on the roads between Thursday, August 30th, and Monday, September 3rd.   Eighty-five per cent of them will go by car, an estimated eight per cent will fly, and others will be on trains, buses, or cruise ships. 

If you drive, please observe speed limits, no use of cell phones or alcohol while driving, and obey the law.  State troopers will be watching, to ensure that you do just that.  Be sure all passengers are buckled up and leave early enough that you don’t have to rush to reach your destination.  Have someone riding with you to “man” the cell phone; if you are alone, just turn it off and get your messages later.  If it’s off, you won’t be tempted to text and drive! 

There are plenty of things we can do to be entertained at home or gatherings with our friends.  It is wise to stay off the roads during this holiday, which has been shown to be the second deadliest holiday of the year, with Thanksgiving #1.  Volunteering is always a great day to spend a holiday, and many folks can use the help! Should you plan a barbecue or picnic, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot and don’t invite the insects.  Keep some insect repellent handy wherever you are, remember, West Nile Virus has hit pretty hard in places such as north Texas.  Pack the usual necessities for picnics, hiking, cookouts, boating, camping, fishing: along with insect repellent, add sunscreen, a first aid kit, sunglasses, and a NOAA weather radio, just in case of a rapid change in the weather. 

There still remain thousands of workers who haven’t found work, so let’s hope that they have something to celebrate next Labor Day – a job!  Have a safe holiday, and return home safely.


Making an informed decision regarding the regular care of your children is one of the most important decisions that you’ll face during their formative years. If you’re considering care based in the home of your childcare provider, here are seven facts that you should consider.

1.       Most States Have Limited Licensing Requirements for Home-Based Care – The regulations and requirements for licensing a childcare provider that operates out of their home are, in most states, considerably more lax than those governing a daycare center housed in commercial property. As a result, equipment, and even cleanliness, might not be as tightly regulated depending on the individual laws of your state. In some cases, home-based childcare may not always be the best option.

2.       Unlicensed Caregivers Are Restricted to Fewer Charges – Provided that caregivers maintain a specified number of charges in their own home, most states do not require them to obtain commercial childcare licensing. A small, in-home operation through a capable, experienced, and competent caregiver who is not interested in procuring a commercial license can keep care on a personal level, eliminating the chance of overcrowding and inattentiveness, but ensuring that kids are able to interact with a select number of other kids.

3.       Keeping Kids Out of Daycare Reduces Their Risk of Communicable Illness – A 2009 Fox News report indicated that children who attend daycare are more likely to suffer from chronic ear infections and the common cold more often than their counterparts who have private, in-home childcare. These findings come as no surprise to parents who have been forced to send their little ones to daycare, only to have them return with a fever and runny nose multiple times a year.

4.       Kids with Behavioral Disorders Benefit from Being Cared for in Their Own Home – Children with some behavioral disorders, such as ADHD and some autism spectrum disorders, are reliant upon a familiar setting and a steady routine to control their symptoms. Engaging a nanny or other in-home childcare provider allows parents to keep their special kids in a setting that best suits them and their individual needs.

5.       Childcare in Your Home is Easier to Monitor – When care takes place in their home, parents have more control over the environment and can check-in with their nanny when they’d like. Parents that want to use nanny cams and other monitoring devices, provided that the practice isn’t prohibited by their state laws, can easily do this in their private homes.

6.       Dietary Rules and Restrictions Are More Easily Enforced in Your Own Home – When your childcare provider comes to your home to look after her charges, she is limited in her menu choices to foods pre-approved by you. When you supply the food the likelihood of your children being exposed to food you’ve excluded from their diet is greatly diminished. When you send your child to home-based care, she could be fed unapproved foods or accidently ingest something she’s allergic to.

7.       The Setting Determines the Tax Requirements – Many nanny employers mistakenly believe that their live-in or live-out nanny can be considered an independent contractor, absolving them from the legal responsibility to pay employment taxes. However, a domestic employer who adheres to a schedule set by her employers and works within their home is not considered an independent contractor at all, but is instead an employee of the parents. Childcare providers that look after their charges in their home within the parameters of hours they’ve set aren’t employees and may be considered independent contractors.

A reputable childcare provider based out of their own home should allow you to thoroughly examine the areas in which your child will be kept, as well as observe them over the course of an afternoon in order to ensure that her other charges seem happy, healthy, and fond of her. Some home-based daycare and daycare centers often restrict parents’ access, citing liability for the safety of their charges. In-home childcare allows parents a considerably increased level of control and, almost invariably, a more personal experience in comparison to daycare.

 Our thanks to for this good information to help parents in the important decision of care for their children. pb


Diseases that actually have warning signs.  Sent by Elisabeth Wright, of 

When broken down the term disease is quite self-explanatory.   Dis – ease.  A body that is healthy is one that is at ease; however when symptoms occur that disrupt this natural ease there is the probability that these are warning signs that something is wrong.  After all, we expect children to run and play until they fall asleep eating their supper!  If that is ever interrupted and they begin to play less, cry more, and will not fall asleep readily at the end of each day, then it may be time to take them to see a professional.

This isn’t only true for children, but adolescents and adults as well.  It is a sad fact, but a true one none the less, that disease has no regard for gender or age.  Familiarizing ourselves with some basic knowledge of the symptoms of diseases may be the best education we can ever obtain.

Unless we have been adopted and know little to nothing about our heritage, we should be able to judge the likelihood of contracting some diseases by looking at what our families have had to deal with in our family tree.

My mother was a diabetic who also had heart disease.  Not that I went looking for either, but I and my physician, armed with this knowledge, have taken extra notice with each symptom I have had that could point to either disease.  My father had by-pass surgery when he was 65.  A fact of life is we grew up on a farm where we slaughtered and processed our meat, and a greater percentage of everything we ate was fried.  Even though he died in March 2011, at the age of 102 with his mental faculties still intact, the fact that he had some heart irregularities has added extra precaution to my care as I get older. 

So what symptoms should you look for that could be indicative of a disease? 

1. Heart problems – These may vary among women and men, however any discomfort in the chest area that is not taken care of by Tums or an anti-acid should be taken seriously.  One factor is the same, however, in both men and women, and that is a history of leading a lifestyle that includes abuse of the heart, such as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise, to name a few.  One who has had a blatant disregard for their lifestyle with an attitude of “I’ll live and enjoy life until I die” may end up not having much of a life to enjoy after a few years of living without regard to the future consequences of his lifestyle choices.  Whoever said, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself”, was not jesting but speaking the truth too late.

2. Alzheimer’sThis is another disease with warning signs.  What has been referred to as dementia for many years is now recognized as Alzheimer disease.  The difference between the two is the fact that Alzheimer’s is a disease, where dementia has symptoms that are similar, but are related to the aging process, like memory loss, and a decline in thinking and reasoning skills.  Dementia is not caused by Alzheimer’s disease; however the severity of the symptoms would merit a visit with a doctor who specializes in Gerontology, or the study of the aging process.

3. Parkinson’s disease – Parkinson’s is diagnosed in an average of 50,000 patients each year.  Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease typically begin appearing between 50 and 60 years of age.  They develop slowly and often go unnoticed by family members, and even the individual who has the symptoms.  Some individuals only have symptoms on one side of their body that never progress to the other side.

The most common symptoms include tremors or shaking of the hands, arms, or legs.  When awake, sitting, or standing, the tremors may subside when the person moves the affected part of the body. Stiff muscles (rigidity) and aching muscles are other common symptoms.  One of the most common early signs of Parkinson’s disease is a reduced arm swing on one side when the person is walking that is caused by rigid muscles. Rigidity can also affect the muscles of the legs, face, neck, or other parts of the body, and may cause muscles to feel tired and achy.

4. Cancer – Cancer is a group of diseases that can cause almost any signs or symptoms. The signs and symptoms will depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects the organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread (metastasized), signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.

5. ThyroidYour thyroid is a gland in the front of your neck. It controls your metabolism, which is how your body turns food into energy, and it also affects your heart, muscles, bones, and cholesterol.

When the thyroid secretes too much thyroid hormone, it is referred to as Hyperthyroidism.  By producing too much your body may speed up on many of its functions, like weight loss, rapid heartbeat, sweating a lot, or becoming moody and out of sorts.  On the other hand, there is also hypothyroidism, which shows the thyroid is not producing enough, or any, thyroid hormone.

6. Diabetes – Type 1 diabetes, which is insulin dependent, and type 2, which shows up in adulthood, are not diseases one can see in a mirror.  However there are certain symptoms that should cause enough alarm to have one checked by a physician.  Extreme thirst, excessive hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, and weight loss (rapid or sudden) can all be indicative of a diabetes problem.  Hopefully you can catch the onslaught of diabetes in time to correct it with a lifestyle change of diet and exercise.

7. Gum diseaseGum disease is also known as periodontal disease.  One out of every two adults has gingivitis and may not even know it.  Report to your dentist such things as bleeding gums, gums that are red, tender, or swollen, or gums that seem to be pulling away from your teeth.

8. Kidney disease –  Kidneys are designed to filter waste products and excess salt and fluids from the body, in addition to producing hormones that stimulate red blood cell production, control blood pressure, and strengthen our skeleton. Disorders that injure the kidneys result in the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition in which the normal functions of the kidney are impaired, which can, in turn, have a significant negative impact on the health and well-being of the affected person.

When the very process of filtering the toxins, excessive salt and fluids, and waste products from our body is hindered, our body gives off signals that something is not right.  Among the symptoms are blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, dry and itchy skin, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and poor school performance. As the kidney function worsens, one can experience weight gain from excess fluids, swollen feet and ankles, puffiness around the eyes, and high blood pressure. Anemia (low red blood cell count) often occurs and contributes to the feeling of fatigue, and nausea/vomiting may result in poor food intake and the development of malnutrition.

9. Gallbladder disease ­- After doing some research I learned the problem I once had with cramping that was so severe, a trip to the ER did no good was likely the result of gallstones. The following web site:, told me that about 90% of gallstones cause no symptoms. There is a very small (2%) chance of developing pain during the first 10 years after gallstones form.  It took several trips to the ER and one trip to my primary care physician, when I was in the middle of an episode, to see what my problem was.  There are symptoms to pay attention to and once diagnosed the problem can easily be taken care of.

10. Depression – Depression has received much more attention in the last 20 years than in decades prior.  It is not the mark of mental illness that it once was, largely because understanding the whys and wherefores of depression is better known.  In the mid-1900’s and earlier, people were placed in an insane asylum for being in a depressed state, especially women who were experiencing menopause.  I cringe at the thought of being placed somewhere where no help could be found, for I have had bouts of depression and often the help of medicine for a chemical imbalance made a world of difference in my outlook in only a few days.  Symptoms of depression may vary from men to women and even children, and the symptoms should not be ignored.  People have been known to have suicidal tendencies when the feeling of hopelessness lingers, and this feeling of hopelessness, like there is no way things can change tomorrow, and the feeling of worthlessness’ and like no one cares, are two of the most common symptoms.  Another common symptom is the feeling of uselessness and like you are no good for anyone, as well as wanting to sleep and being unable to do the little chores of a daily routine. Instead of ignoring these symptoms you should contact a doctor and get help. 

Take care of yourself, and if there is something out of the ordinary happening to your body, your skin, or in your mind, there is an answer. Getting to the right source for help may prolong your life. 

Elisabeth, these are wonderful explanations of signs that our bodies are giving us that things may not be just right!  Pay attention to these signs and seek medical attention.  pb


 All workplaces should be safe and not hazardous to the worker’s health and safety but unfortunately that is not always the case. Employers and employees have the responsibility to make sure the workplace is a safe environment and the hazards should be controlled immediately.

As a business owner, the responsibility lies on your shoulders and you should conduct “risk assessment” to evaluate and prioritize the hazards. The best way to deal with occupational hazards is to deal with them before they become occupational accidents.  Here are some things you can do to assess the risks:

  • Observe the workplace and identify potential hazards. Most of them are regulated by federal and state laws, but  safthere are some that might have slipped through.
  •  Have a safety plan, specific to the physical space of the business. Where are the exits, where is the ventilation, what   are the procedures for shut-offs?
  •  Have those safety measures clearly posted where workers can see them.
  •  Stress the importance of health and safety in the workplace.
  •  Have an open door policy in regards to health and safety issues.
  •  Survey your employees or co-workers about their health and safety concerns.
  •   Examine the sickness figures. Is a pattern emerging?

After you’ve identifies the safety issues, there are five ways to deal with occupational hazards:

  • Eliminate the hazard by removing it completely. This is by far the most effective method of control but it is not always applicable. If the work process is still in its development stages it is easier to correct.
  • Substitution – Replacing one process with another to eliminate the risk. Changing chemicals to less harmful ones, replacing machines, adding air-condition units etc. Substitution also means changing work processes and equipment to do the job in a less harmful manner.
  •  Engineering control –Solving the problem in an engineering way like adding protective enclosures to the machine to prevent contact with dangerous moving parts. Controlling the dust by keeping a clean work environment and preventing it from spreading in the air is another form of engineering control.  Adding safety measures as automatic shut offs, interlocking guards or operating the machine by remote control are also good examples.
  • Administrative control – Limiting access to a certain area for only a handful of employees or limiting the number of hours workers can be in that place. Changing work schedules to allow more rest or shorter shifts.
  • Personal Ssfety equipment – providing your workers with protective gear to protect their eyes, ears and respiration.  Adding protective clothing or footwear also falls into this category.

Some methods are more efficient than others, but it is a fact that a combination of the methods works the best. Employees are entitled to have a safe and healthy work environment that enables him/her to perform his/her work without risking their health or their lives.

About the Author:

Patrick Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges.   When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging about career and business. Patrick is also a photography enthusiast and is currently running a photography studio in the Philippines.


Many things go through our minds when school starts – for parents and children, it’s the beginning of a whole new school year – and it carries different meanings for everyone.  For the kids, it’s a brand new start – a chance to do better, strive to make better grades, and have fun!  For parents, it’s a rushed time to  prepare their lunches, or be sure they have lunch money, get them all to school on time,  and ensure that they arrive safely.    Parents should set the alarm a little earlier than usual, allowing for interruptions that might cause their child to be late to school, resulting in tardiness at work for them, as well.  For the rest of us, whose children are grown-ups, it’s a time for us to slow down – literally! 

Too many accidents happen because someone is in a big hurry.  We’re used to driving down the street that the school building is on at a speed that’s a little faster than the limit during school hours.  In many states, cell phones are banned in school zones, so put that cell phone away until you are safely away from the school zone.  Remember to watch for little ones.  This applies to parents, teens, and all other motorists.  One mistake caused by careless or hurried driving could change many lives, so slow down.  Regardless of how children are going to get to school, they must understand safety precautions.  Before school starts, if your child is going to walk to school, take a few practice walks with him/her.  Be sure they know to stop and look both ways, and never  dart out in front of a car.  If they want to ride their bikes, be sure they wear their helmets, and that they understand the rules of the road.  If a school bus is to be their mode of transportation, go to the bus stop with them the first few times to be sure they know how to get on and off the bus, and that they always stand six feet away from the curb.  Motorists must stop for school buses that have stopped to load or unload passengers. 

According to the National Safety Council, in 2009, over 230,000 children visited hospital emergency rooms because of playground injuries – many could have been prevented.  Children should use playgrounds with a soft surface.  Playgrounds with concrete, grass and dirt surfaces are too hard.  Monkey bars are unsafe and should not be used by children of any age.  Those under the age of four should not use climbing equipment. 

Last, but certainly not least,  an age-old problem in schools is bullying.  It’s sad but true  that there is some child that is going to pick on another child and make their day miserable.  Parents are responsible to teach their children that this is not acceptable; if theirs is the bully, and they are aware of it, they must put a stop to it.  If your child is the victim, encourage him/her to stay with a group of friends who will stand up for him.  All children should be taught to treat everyone the way they want to be treated, and this rule can be learned at a very young age.

Teachers should not tolerate bullying behavior and inform parents about what is going on so they can correct it.  Times are different than back in the “good old days”, when there was a certain amount of picking on or teasing someone, but it seems that it has reached a new level, and become even life-threatening in older teens on some occasions, such as online cyber-bullying.    

Hopefully this will be a happy and safe 2012 – 2013 school year for all.  Parents, cherish these times because they go by all too fast!  Support your kids in their extracurricular activities and studies, and take the time to ask them about how their school life is going.  They need to know you are interested.  Again, have a good school year, and keep our kids safe by driving slowly in school zones and paying close attention to their safety.


By Tina Marconi

When parents are faced with the prospect of leaving their children in the care of a babysitter, one of the most worrisome aspects of the arrangement is the idea that a distracted sitter might inadvertently allow her charges to get into a dangerous situation. While there’s no surefire way to ensure that absolutely nothing will ever go wrong, there are a few steps that you can take, as a parent, to ensure the safety of your children while they’re under a sitters care. The first step to eliminating distractions is knowing what the most common ones are.

1.   Cell Phones – In the 1990′s, cell phones were large, clunky objects that most teenagers were only aware of as a result of Saved By the Bell heartthrob Zack Morris. Times have since changed, and these days almost every teenager brings her tiny, powerful mobile device everywhere she goes. No longer restricted to simply chatting away as she keeps an eye on her charges, today’s sitter can update social networking accounts, check her email, and send text messages from your couch; because all of these actions require her to keep her eyes on the screen, there’s a lot she could potentially miss.

2.   Television – While we’ve all been distracted from time to time by a television show, a babysitter whose childcare experience is likely to be limited to a few hours a week might let things get out of hand as she zones out in front of the tube. Though banning television altogether while your sitter is working might not be as effective in practice as it is in theory, it’s wise to have a discussion about both the distraction factor and the need to filter questionable, age-inappropriate content from your kids. A good sitter will understand your concerns, and will make every effort to adhere to your house rules.

3.   Visitors – Most parents make a “no visitors” rule whenever they hire a babysitter. Unfortunately, this is one of the rules that almost always begs to be broken. If your kids are old enough to be verbal, the sitter may be tempted to wait until they’re in bed to invite a pal over; before her charges are old enough to tell on her, however, all bets are off. Let her know that the neighbors will be keeping an eye on the house in the interest of safety; it’s a great way of letting your sitter know that she’s being observed without accusing her of planning to have guests over before you’ve even left the house.

4.  Homework – Teenage babysitters may have homework to attend to, especially if you’ve requested her services on a school night. Requesting that she wait until she’s put the kids to bed before she cracks open the books is one way of eliminating the potential for any distraction, but you should remember that her schoolwork is important. Calling your sitter on short notice will raise the odds of her having homework that can’t be ignored, so you should make every effort to make arrangements as early as possible.

5.  Other Children – When you have more than one child, you should understand that your sitter will be forced to pay more attention to a younger or more rambunctious child than she would an older one with a calmer temperament. When a babysitter works for a large family, the thing that’s most likely to distract her from the group as a whole is one demanding child.

6.  Meal Preparation – Leaving money for pizza or other delivery food is a time-honored tradition between parents and their babysitters, largely because providing a ready-made dinner dramatically reduces the likelihood of a child getting injured or in trouble because his sitter is focused on cooking; it also eliminates the risk of a kitchen fire stemming from a neglected stove when kids demand every ounce of a sitter’s attention. Some parents feel uneasy about allowing a delivery person to come to their home when there’s no real adult present; if this is the case, you should arrange for a pre-prepared dinner that requires minimal focus on your sitter’s part.

7.  Pets – Anyone with pets knows that they can be just as demanding as the children in the house. A barking, energetic dog that paws at the door every five minutes is a distraction for your sitter, especially if she’s not familiar with your home, the animal’s temperament, or the routine that your children are accustomed to. Relegating your pooch to a fenced yard or a designated part of the house for the duration of a sitter’s shift can reduce the potential for pet-centric distractions.

8.  Parents – It’s not altogether surprising that a babysitter’s employers can be her biggest distraction. Calling every five minutes to make sure that your kids are okay is understandable, especially if you’re leaving them in the care of a sitter for the first time or she’s never worked for your family before; still, talking on the phone and fielding your questions might take her attention away from your kids, leaving them with minimal supervision.

Life is unpredictable, so it just isn’t possible to foresee every situation that might arise to remove a babysitter’s focus away from your children. The most that any parent can do is make an effort to minimize the likelihood of the most common culprits rearing their heads, and ensure that any sitter they hire is mature, competent and reliable.

Tina, this is good advice for parents to consider when choosing a babysitter.  Thanks very much, pb

Construction Health and Safety: Working in Confined Spaces (Guest Post)

In the UK, the construction and maintenance industries remain consistently one of the largest employers, with the current figures showing that over 2 million people work in this industry every day. However, it is one of the most hazardous places to work, with construction workers facing a variety of risks and dangers as they carry out their tasks on a daily basis.  Therefore, without the correct education, training and awareness, working in this environment can be potentially dangerous. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the authority which lays down the health and safety law in the UK, gives regulations on a variety of construction areas to make sure that workers’ wellbeing and health is looked after properly by their employers.

When working in the construction and maintenance industry you may be faced with working in a confined space – especially if you work on the docks, or in the sewage or mining industries. In January of 1998, the Confined Spaces Regulation came into force in the UK, which set out the legislation surrounding Health and Safety in these circumstances.

The HSE gives the following definition of a “confined space”: any place, including chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe sewer, flue, well or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk ( Due to the nature of the environment, it can be very dangerous to work in as there are many volatile characteristics to a confined space, for example, lack of oxygen, presence of gas or fumes, liquids which can suddenly rise in level or free flowing solids. With these risks present, there is no wonder that the HSE has a specific guidelines regarding working in a confined space.

The legislation states that every employer or self-employed person must ensure compliance with the regulations and the only way to do this is to make sure that those working in the environment understand the regulations and can recognise the risks involved in work of this nature. The issue with a large company is that you may not always be present to oversee the work, which is why a good education for your staff members is crucial – this is where construction training comes into the fray.

The confined space training course is one which is popular in the construction training category. On average, there are 15 fatalities each year following work in a confined space, and by ensuring that the HSE regulations are abided by, and that each and every worker, manager and supervisor is aware of their duties and how they should work this figure can hopefully be reduced.

A Construction Training Confined Space Course allows employers to ensure they are working within legislation guidelines, ensuring that their staff are trained in the risks which they may face when working in this environment. The courses are thorough and cover all elements from the definition of a confined space, to safe systems of work, how to identify hazards to safety equipment and form emergency procedures to access. You’ll usually find that there will be a short test at the end of the training session which is proof that you have digested and understood the information given to you.  It is also worth noting that there are different courses for the varying staff levels – from worker all the way up to site supervisors, as each has a different type of responsibility when working onsite.

Bio: Rebecca Field is writing on behalf of Britannia Safety and Training, a company offering construction training near Norwich in Norfolk, UK. Their industry experienced experts and purpose built training facility are designed to make your construction training course experience the best you can wish for. Visit their website here:  to find out more.

Thanks, Rebecca, for sharing this important information with us.  OSHA also has the same description and regulations for persons workin in confined spaces.  There should always be someone present watching workers in case of emergency, and those workers should have the proper personal protective equipment, such as respirators, hardhats, and other safety items. 


The moment you’ve been dreading for nearly 16 years is finally here. It’s time for your teenager to learn how to drive. Whether it’s your first go-round or your last kiddo, you have to decide if you’re going to teach your teen to drive or let a professional driving instructor do it. If you’re still on the fence about what’s best for your teen, take a look at these seven benefits of teaching your teen to drive to help make your decision a little clearer. 

Teens may benefit most from hearing your personal driving experiences rather than from an instructor they don’t know. Talk to your teenager about your ups and down of driving and tell stories of any tickets or car crashes you were involved with and what you learned from those experiences. You can turn any personal driving story into a valuable learning lesson for your kid.

Drive whenever, wherever you want:
Homeschooled teens have more opportunities to practice driving whenever, wherever. Every outing to the grocery store, soccer practice, or trip to the city can be a valuable learning experience for your teen. This will help them become more comfortable behind the wheel and give them the opportunity to act out real-life scenarios.

After spending 50 hours or more supervising your teen behind the wheel, you’re sure to feel a lot more confident about their driving skills. Hopefully, they will have earned your trust by the end of the course and feel better about tackling the wide open road without you.

4.     Go more in-depth with the lessons:

As a driving instructor, you have the ability to go more in-depth with your lessons and talk about driving more often than driving school instructors. Unlike most driver’s education courses, you will have time to thoroughly discuss the before and after of every lesson and talk about other driving topics, such as maintenance, repairs, and the anatomy of a car. You can also teach your teen how to change a tire, jumpstart a battery, test the oil and coolant levels, and much more.

A huge benefit of teaching your teen to drive yourself is that you get lots of valuable one-on-one time. You don’t have to worry about other teens being in the car or instructors rushing through lessons. It’s just you and your child. During this time, you can discuss the seriousness of driving and talk about your driving expectations.

6.     < One of the biggest benefits of teaching your teen to drive is the convenience of being able to do it on your own time. You can organize the driving lessons to fit around your schedule and use nights or weekends to fit in lessons when it’s convenient for you and your child. You don’t have to mess with dropping off and picking up your teen after their driving education class.

7.     Teaching your teen to drive is cheaper than enrolling in a driver education school. Depending on where you live, a parent- teaching program will likely cost no more than $20 or $30. The money you save from not enrolling in a driver education school can be put toward your teen’s insurance or first car.

Our thanks to Arianna Bush for sending this interesting article. It really makes sense in many ways: you are able to judge your teen’s capabilities of handling a car, and see how serious they are about driving safely.  The most important thing either parents or drivers’ education programs can stress is not using cell phones while driving.  pb