Category Archives: Fall Safety

Electrical Safety Tips

There are many electrical appliances that are often used in everyday life or during construction efforts, so you will need to ensure you’re treating such electrical works with the respect and care they deserve so you can be safe from harm. Take your time to check the principles of safe operation of electrical devices ahead and make sure everyone both around your home and at your workplace or construction site is fully aware of them at all costs, as electricity is one force that should never be underestimated due to its lethal hazard and long-lasting effects on the human body after an accident. The following tips will give you more information you can use to deal with it:

Electrical Safety Tips

• If you want to be safe when using electrical appliances, light bulbs and other types of equipment, then you will need to be vigilant at all times to avoid burns, shocks and the threat of electrocution. Once again: keep your eyes open and be careful.

• You would do well to assume that all overhead wires are charged with lethal voltage, as well as any exposed wiring you see either around your home, office or other location such as a construction site. Avoid touching exposed wiring at all costs and use proper protection to stay safe, such as insulated gloves at the least with lower voltage wiring. Leave power lines to professional electricians and the company that employs them and stay away from them – a simple, common sense solution.

• You would do well to stay at least 10 feet away from any possible overhead wires during cleanup activities. If you’re working at certain heights or you need to handle longer objects, you would still do well to survey the place before you move on to working with overhead wires.

• If any overhead wires happen to fall on a vehicle, you should stay inside and drive away if possible. If your engine stalls you should stay inside and call the local electric company for assistance with this issue, as well as emergency services instead of trying to solve the problem yourself.

• You should never try to do any operations with electrical equipment while still standing in water. You should also do your best to avoid repairing any electrical cords or any equipment unless you happen to be authorized and qualified to do so. If you do need to do any repairs, you would do well to have a qualified electrician doing them instead of you, as they will have the necessary experience to do so.

Electrical Safety Tips2

• When you’re working in damp or wet locations, you need to ensure you have all electric cords and equipment fixed and in good condition, as well as using a ground fault circuit interrupter to keep them safe. Keep your eyes open when you’re doing any cleaning, especially during floor cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and so forth. A short circuit can become a fire hazard quickly if left alone, so if you smell the acrid smell of burning insulation, shut the power off and locate the issue before moving forward.

• Last, but not least: always be cautious when you work with electricity, no matter where you are and what you’re doing. It may seem like a simple thing to keep in mind but you should never feel safe just because you think you have things covered. Be vigilant, be safe.
Read more helpful tips at this site

DIY Construction Safety Tips and Guidelines

DIY construction efforts take quite a bit of effort, but they should never be hurried along at the expense of safety. You would do well to keep that in mind so you can prevent any accidents you may face. You can get things done even without hiring builders, a building team in most cases, such as bathroom and kitchen fitting, wallpapering, tiling and even brick work. Think ahead and use the following tips to get yourself prepared for the building jobs ahead in a productive and safe manner:

DIY Construction Safety Tips and Guidelines2

• If you use poorly designed tools and equipment of low quality, then chances are things WILL break at some point and you may get hurt in the process, not to mention the long term health hazards that may lead to. Carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, tendonitis, white finger and so forth are something you do not want to deal with.

• You should never carry a tool by its cord or doing so with its hoses. Even though this may seem like a good idea at some point, you would do well to avoid it as much as possible. Keep the cords away from any oil, water, heat and sharp edges to avoid any damage. Look for power tools that have lower vibrations overall and make sure you protect your ears and eyes from harm by using goggles and ear protection.

• You must make sure you have tools that don’t conduct electricity or heat so you can do your job well.

• Make sure you maintain a good posture while you work and use the tools as intended to avoid accidents during your renovation or construction efforts.

• You need to make sure you keep people away from any areas where you operate machines, especially if they have no business there and it poses danger to yourself and them.

• You need to be constantly aware of your surroundings while you work, especially when it comes to low clearance areas, obstructions of all sorts and any obstacles that end up in your path so you won’t trip and hurt yourself or worse. This happens more often than you may think.

• You need to pay even more attention when you’re using scaffoldings, as this is a pretty dangerous place to be when you work, even on the best of days. Make sure its erected on a nice and solid surface and that the scaffolding itself is strong enough with more than sufficient weight capacity, at least four times the weight you believe it will need to take.

DIY Construction Safety Tips and Guidelines

• You must never support any scaffoldings or planks on an uneven surface or with uneven objects that simply don’t have a good footing.

• Keep scaffoldings away from any power lines to stay on the safe side during work, especially when you’re alone and you have no other builder present working along you.

• No matter what building service you do, never use a damaged scaffold, regardless of how much in a hurry you are or how small a job you feel you need to do. Make sure you have a good and solid footing on a sturdy scaffold and use the proper guardrails, mid rails and toe boards when you work.

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Taking Preemptive Measures for Vehicle Accidents in Construction (Guest Post)

Since reducing the risk of fatal accidents and death rate within the construction industry is not an easy job, taking timely, effective preemptive measures is the only way out. Read further for a fair idea of what can be done and how!

The rate of accidents, injuries and deaths associated with the construction industry is much higher than most other areas of work. The most common reasons that make construction work perilous is possibility of deadly accidents with vehicles and falls from extreme height.

On an average, every third fatal accident at a construction site has one or more vehicles involved. Frequently occurring transport accidents at work include:

  1. Victims being stuck by moving vehicles, especially while reversing
  2. People falling from vehicles or hit by things falling from vehicles
  3. Overturning vehicles leading to serious injuries

What Can Be Done to Prevent Vehicle Accidents in Construction?

The first step towards reducing high death rate in construction industry is to reduce the risk of fatal accidents at construction sites that involve vehicles. Employers need to fulfill their legal duties and play a pivotal role in that case, especially by assessing risks and taking practical measures to ensure the safety of everyone around.

This may include maintaining accident records, training and consulting employees, and co-coordinating and cooperating contractors. The focus needs to be on planning and implementing collective safety measures, instead of giving individual measures extra importance. The basic idea should be to replace the hazardous with the harmless.

Taking Preemptive Measures for Vehicle Accidents in the Construction Industry

Practically, accident prevention should not start after the work has already begun on the construction site. Instead, designers, architects and planners can considerably diminish the risk of vehicle accidents by designing and planning well in the pre-build phase.

Risk assessment is the most important aspect that every employer ought to take care of, followed precisely by the conveyance of complete information to the contractors, verifying that the construction site is fully safe for the workers.

A thoroughly carried out risk assessment process involves:

Looking for Potential Hazards:

After you have evaluated the work the finished tasks, identify potential dangers that may be associated with the presence of heavy vehicles at the site. Operations such as reversing, loading and unloading always have a higher probability of damage being done at the workplace.

Factors that increase the likelihood of occurrence of such accidents more include rough terrain, continuous exposure to bad weather conditions, labor working under multiple contractors, and time pressure. You can involve both the workers and their contractors in the risk assessment process, explaining to them what has been planned to reduce the level of risk.

Try preventing the following things in particular:

  • Running over pedestrians
  • Overturning vehicles
  • Vehicle accidents caused by falls while climbing or working too close to power lines
  • Vehicle malfunctioning

Identifying Who May Be Harmed

Figuring out every possible factor that can harm individuals on the work site is the first step towards implementation of safety measures. This will include everyone from contractors, workers, self-employed individuals and even the general public. Pay special attention to the areas where vehicle movement is mandatory and you can’t exclude the public.

It is also possible to take note of the likely hazards during the designing stage while the construction cost estimation is being done. Take note of the design for safety and also ensure to calculate cost of making safety provisions.

Prepare an Action Plan after Evaluating the Risks

Evaluating the risks associated with each hazard on the site will help you calculate the possibility of harm and the level of severity. Check whether you have taken enough protective measures to ensure the safety of people on-site. Thoroughly revise all important aspects such as workplace design and signs and signals.  Ensure that all workers have the proper personal protective gear that is needed to complete the job safely.

Taking Action

Once the risk assessment process is completed, list all preventive measures based on priority. When it is time to take action, take all the workers and contractors along. Though your focus should be on implementing measures to prevent any accident from taking place in the first place, it will be equally important to have be prepared for the worst and have all emergency provisions in place too.

Author Bio: Laura Laurel is a Stanford graduate in civil engineer with specialization in Civil Designs, Cost Estimation and 3D Modeling. She began her career as a construction trainee at Viatechnik LLC, rose to be involved with road and bridge construction. She loves to write about Real Estate and Construction Related Subjects.

WORK RELATED SAFETY – A KEY CONCERN FOR COMPANIES (GUEST POST)

You’re running a company, earning heavy profits. Apart from aiming on the profits, how much concerned your company is for those who are the unsung heroes of your company’s success. It’s the time you, as a company, did something for their safety as their lives have no substitute. 

Read on to know the safety guidelines your company can adhere to raise the productivity of both, the employees and the company as whole.

1). Working Environment

It’s extremely vital for a company to get its employees an environment they feel good working in. These seemingly trivial, but important things are:

  • Floors need to be spick and span
  • Machineries should be rust and dust free.
  • A hygienic canteen is crucial since unhealthy food makes employees prone to the various diseases.
  • Friendly relations among the employees, HR manager and the boss. 

2) Protection at work area

Operating machinery, make sure, if your employee is familiar with the basics of the machine operation. Ignoring this thing can pose a threat, both to the employee and machinery.

Maintain decorum, making it mandatory for every employee to be fully equipped while working. Be it, gloves, goggles, vest, hard hats or any other safety gears required to be put on, the workers be told to comply with that regulation.

Imposing fines on the violators will certainly keep a check on the indiscipline. Tell the employees about the consequences of drinking alcohol at work that impairs the safe operation of the machineries and makes the employees susceptible to injuries.

Safety at work also needs clarifying about the kind of tasks an employee is supposed to do. He should be detailed about the manuals of the machines and all the possible dos and don’ts. Most accidental cases have also revealed; the employees are often made to work on a machine without thorough detailing that makes a way for such accidents to happen.

Interactive sessions and meeting should be held before you call it a day. As a company’s leader, you’re expected to interact with the rest of the team, acquiring the knowledge about how the things are going on. A few minutes of get-together will undeniably help the employees raise safety issues they’ve been facing for long periods of time.

3) Safety programs:

What kind of safety program your company follows and what the guidelines are that have been included in it, are the critical issues. Arrange a meeting after a few months or so with the employees and HR manager, keeping all of them updated about the safety guidelines. Conducting a safety drill in the company will certainly clear out the things as, then, the employees will get to know what exactly they need to do in urgency. Asking the employees about the guidelines mentioned in the safety program will show how much they know what to do on the practical grounds. It includes:

In case of emergency, how to get an ambulance at the earliest and which hospital in the locale they would rush.

Specify about the load’s maximum limit the employee can carry since the most accidents occur while carrying overloads at the back.

Detailing them when to use a wheelbarrow, conveyor belt, forklifts and other machines will certainly curtail the risk getting your employees injured.

The company needs to bring some positive alterations, revising the safety programs, especially according to the suggestions made by those employees, who often come face-to-face with the hazardous situations.

In a nutshell, a company strikes pay dirt and remains in the pink of health, only if its employees feel healthy and safe. 

 

For construction related safety products, feel free to visit:

http://cleanwrap.net/

 

WORKING FROM HEIGHT, ARE YOU DOING IT RIGHT? (GUEST POST)

Working at height is a common requisite of almost any construction, maintenance or development work and should be conducted with extra care. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height remain one of the most common causes of fatality in any workplace, with a large proportion of these being a result of proper checks and basic assessments having not been carried out.

If you are an employer running your own business where working at height is frequent, it is crucial that you are familiar with the Working At Height Regulations 2005 and that you are continuously implementing the right health and safety protocol within your work site. If you are an employee, it’s important to be aware of the necessary safety checks so you can be sure you are not putting yourself in danger whilst at work. 

1.     Assess the work to be done.

Thorough and practical assessment of the work to be carried out will allow the work to be controlled responsibly throughout, minimising the likelihood of setbacks or emergencies.

It is stressed by the HSE that work should be done at height only when absolutely necessary. Ask yourself: can this work be done from the ground, with specialised equipment? Or can it be done using lower-level or interval platforms, reducing the risk of fall or injury?

Also identify the risks themselves, including the height of the work to be done, and how realistically accessible it is, even with the use of elevated platforms and other equipment. Determine how many people are required to complete the work, so as not to compromise the safety of more than what is absolutely necessary. Decide whether the work to be done is of a long or short duration (short duration is work that is measured in minutes rather than hours). 

2.     Take note of environmental conditions.

Work at height should never be undertaken or allowed in extreme weather conditions that could endanger anybody’s health and safety. Also bear in mind the surrounding environment of your work site, such as a noisy environment that could affect communications between those working at height and those co-ordinating on the ground. Nearby unstable matter can also pose an extra risk of injury, distraction or obstruction, so it’s important to maintain the worksite and its surrounding area to as high a standard as possible.

Although environmental conditions very often cannot be controlled, they can be noted and prepared for accordingly. 

3.     Check the relevant equipment.

Use of the right equipment is obviously the backbone of any work being carried out at height; whether this involves ladders, scaffolding, or the use of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPS) such as scissor lifts or cherry pickers.

What should not be overlooked, however, is the checking and maintenance of this equipment on a regular basis. Different equipment and machinery will have various maintenance specifications; scaffolding checks for example, ought to be carried every seven days, whilst harnesses require a pre-use check, detailed inspection and interim inspection at various stages of their lifetime.

Equipment checks should ideally be carried out by someone assessed under a registry body (such as the Construction Industry Scaffolders Registration Scheme), or at least with sufficient experience in the use of the height equipment being used. 

4.     Ensure employees have the right training.

In light of the previous point, anybody using specific height equipment should have had the right training in its operation – this is essential. If your business engages in the use of mobile elevated platforms, it is absolutely crucial that all employees have undergone IPAF training and hold a current Powered Access Licence card (PAL) that proves they are capable of operating MEWPs safely.

IPAF training can be carried out by an IPAF approved training provider, and courses can be completed in just one day, with different packages to suit your business’ needs. If you are an employee, speak to your employer about possibly setting up a course to secure a fully qualified workforce (and some excellent team building opportunities). 

5.     Prepare for the worst.

It sounds simple, but the law requires that there is always a plan in place for emergencies and rescues when working at height. Use all means possible to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur, such as safety nets or bean bags; rest platforms at regular intervals, and the wear of safety clothing.
Adele Hallsall writes for Kimberly Access, which provide access platform equipment for construction jobs. They have been serving businesses with access equipment for many years now and have a loyal customer base. They also provide training such as IPAF training.

TOP TEN SAFETY MEASURES TO CONSIDER WHILE REPAIRING ROOFS (GUEST POST)

 The roof is an integral element of our home and as cautious home owners we all have the responsibility to maintain its good condition. Periodic roof survey is essential to keep a close watch on the roof and if the need be, amendments can be made instantly to avoid further damage. Roof repairs or renovation work if outsourced to expert vendors makes the job more easy and perfect. This also reduces the risk as they are quite acquainted with the safety measures that are pre-requisite in roofing job. 
 
Nevertheless, if you have sound knowledge and the confidence to do it, can also be a better option. This will help in saving the additional labor cost and one can be sure of the superior material quality being used. Safety measures are of utmost importance and should be given priority in order to ensure that there are no accidents or life-threatening events. Roofing repairs are one of the most critical areas of work and should be done carefully with due importance on safety measures. 
Let us peep into some basic yet crucial safety steps that one needs to ensure while doing the roof repairs.
 
1.Clear away all the mess in the work place area. If you have any old and unused belongings on the flat roof or there is debris that has got collected on the roof; clean all these before you can begin the work. 
 
2.Ensure that all electrical wires are intact in their place and there are no live or open wires nearby while working on the roof. Take care in case if you have any overhead wire or cable running over the roof. Call the electrician to fix up the wires for you and insulate them if required.
 
3.Do not forget to wear a helmet, safety glasses and gloves. 
 
4.Use proper shoes which do not slip. Strictly do not wear slippers while working on the roof.
 
5.Do not wet the roof floor or do not climb over wet roof.
 
6.Check the roof shingles before you climb on to the roof. 
 
7.Keep kids and pets away from your work area or barricade the area where you are working and if the need be, maintain signboards that indicate your work in progress.
 
8.Avoid using a metal ladder as there are chances of hazards due to electrical shocks. Check the ladder quality before you climb onto it. Ensure that the ladder is properly rooted on an even surface below and would not budge from its place.
 
9.The quality and strength of the rope matters a lot in case you are using a rope as a safety belt. Try to use the proper secured safety belts available in the market rather than regretting later.
 
10.Keep your toolkit and equipment ready well in advance and move it onto the roof before you start the work.
These basic tips should be thoroughly followed before the onset of roofing repairs to keep you safe and sound. 
 
About the Author:  The author as a writer has an inclination towards the construction industry. His articles primarily focus on renovation and repair matters. His in-depth research in Belgium, makes it possible for him to share such useful tips and information.

PREVENTING AUTO ACCIDENTS IN WORK ZONES – KEEP YOUR WORKERS SAFE! (GUEST POST)

Road workers brave many of the most unsafe working conditions around, including inclement weather, dangerous heavy equipment, work performed from heights, and potential electrical hazards. On top of these already risky conditions, motor vehicle traffic speeds by the work site constantly, threatening the unwary worker with serious injury or death.

Motor vehicle collisions with road workers are an all-too-common occurrence.  According to a recent U.S. Bureau of Labor study, 962 workers were killed at road construction sites from 2003 through 2010. Of these deaths, nearly half (442) occurred when a worker was struck by a vehicle or moving equipment. The study found that workers are equally as likely to be struck by highway traffic as they are mobile construction equipment.

To reduce the risk of injury and death, road workers and construction managers can implement a few simple procedures:

Increase Visibility

When it comes to keeping workers safe from highway traffic, visibility is key.  The Bureau of Labor study found that of the 92 people killed while flagging or performing traffic control duties, only 20 were wearing reflective or high-visibility clothing at the time.

Every precaution should be taken to ensure that workers are visible to oncoming traffic. High-visibility clothing should be worn by every person, but especially those conducting traffic. Yellow or green reflective clothing is preferable to orange, as different colors keep workers from blending in with orange construction signs.

Slow Traffic Down

According to several studies around the country, one of the most effective ways to slow down traffic before entering a construction zone is to plant a stationary police vehicle ahead of where road work begins. One Virginia study showed that the presence of a police vehicle slowed traffic by an average of 12 to 14 miles per hour.

In addition to a police presence, traffic can be slowed by using funneling or lane reduction techniques. Single lanes of traffic tend to move much slower than two or three lanes of traffic. In addition, cars are less likely to try and pass slower vehicles when there is only a single lane. This can prevent an aggressive motorist from swerving into a construction zone while trying to pass.

Use Traffic Barriers

Cones, barrels, and other lane separation techniques keep motorists at a safe distance from workers. Barriers also provide a cushion of safety from inattentive or distracted drivers. A driver who does hit a barrier will hopefully be jolted into awareness before driving into and injuring road workers.

Train Workers on Safety Awareness

Every worker should be trained on the best way to minimize their vulnerability while working next to traffic. A worker’s situational awareness is vital for avoiding both highway traffic and heavy construction equipment moving around the site. Thirteen per cent of all deaths in the Bureau of Labor study were caused by workers simply passing through the construction site. Teaching workers the proper techniques for entering, exiting, and passing through a site can significantly decrease the number of injuries and deaths reported every year

Analyze the Activity Area

Trained safety professionals should review a changing worksite on a regular basis to look for potential hazards. These professionals should try and minimize the zones where heavy equipment will need to back up, and should look for ways to implement any engineering, administrative, or personal protection measures that are needed to improve safety.

No matter what precautions workers take, injuries can still happen, especially with inattentive, distracted, or impaired drivers on the road. By taking the proper precautions, however, road workers can minimize their risk of injury and increase their odds of returning home safely. 

These road worker safety tips are provided by the South Florida personal injury firm of Gordon & Doner. Our firm is dedicated to holding negligent and irresponsible drivers accountable for the injuries caused to road workers in construction zones.

Our thanks to Jason Swilley for these great tips.  Again, April 7-11 was National Work Zone Awareness Week, and we can’t remind drivers too many times to slow down and watch for those who build our roads and keep them safe! pb

 

USING LADDERS AND STEPLADDERS SAFELY (GUEST POST)

Using Ladders and Stepladders Safely

Different types of ladders threaten safety in different ways. The most basic ladders used in a wide variety of working environments include single ladders, trestle ladders, extension ladders and stepladders. Let’s look at the risk associated with ladders, and how you can protect your safety while using them.

Single Ladders

A single ladder consists of two vertical bars joined by a series of horizontal rungs, with flattened “safety shoes” attached at the bottom for stability on the ground. These ladders may topple over sideways if you fail to tie off or otherwise secure them at the top. You can also create a dangerous imbalance if you step above the maximum safety level marked on the rungs, or if you have to reach out too far from the ladder to perform your work. Set the ladder up so that your body will not be too far from the wall; this may require selecting a shorter ladder than the one you’re currently using, but the extra effort could spare serious injury.

Ladder-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Position your ladder so you can work without reaching too far.

Extension Ladders

Extension ladders add an extra element of danger because of the multiple moving parts involved. An additional section called a fly section allows the ladder to shorten or lengthen, but this section must be firmly locked into position by rung locks. Make sure these and any other moving parts are in good condition before attempting to use an extension ladder. If your crew is setting up in a hurry, watch out for the possibility of setting the ladder upside-down by mistake (with the fly section on the bottom). The fly section lacks the safety shoes necessary for a stable foothold.

Trestle Ladders

Trestle ladders are also called “A-frame” ladders because they consist of two base sections that extend outward at an angle to each other; extension trestle ladders have centrally-mounted fly sections as well. The primary danger in trestle ladders lies in the fact that they become very unstable on anything less than perfectly even ground. Always be aware of the terrain when setting up a trestle ladder, and make sure the spreader joints are completely locked. As with single ladders, never stand on a rung higher than specified on the ladder’s warning labels.

Stepladders

Stepladders can vary from small A-frame devices that are a few feet high to full-size ladders for work at ceiling level. True to their name, these ladders offer steps on side of the base, and support rungs on the other. Never use the support rungs as steps; they are not meant to bear that kind of weight. Also, keep in mind that the top cap is not a step! In fact, you shouldn’t even stand on the top rung, because it makes the stepladder dangerously top-heavy and makes you vulnerable to toppling over.

Ladder-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch your step when using a stepladder.

All ladders should be carefully inspected before any kind of use. Any obvious flaw, such as a bent frame or spreaders that won’t lock, mean that you should retire the ladder for good. But putting a damaged ladder away is not safe enough; someone will inevitably take it out and use it by mistake. Dismantling or destroying an unusable ladder will ensure that no workers can accidentally injure themselves with it.

Wearing the proper clothing and accessories can also make on the job ladder use safer. Rubber-soled shoes can help climbers maintain solid traction with the rungs, especially in wet or dirty conditions. Products such as DuPont Tyvec Anti Skid Boot Covers can fit over regular boots if extra traction is needed. A tool belt eliminates the need to carry objects in the hands, which can interfere with your grip on the ladder’s rungs. Body harness kits such as the ConstructionPlus Roofers Kit can also help prevent falls.

Just as the right shopping cart plugins can protect online retailers and security alarms help keep office buildings safe against burglary, smart use of ladders and safety tools can prevent catastrophe in many construction, repair and maintenance applications. So take care and climb safely!

William Reynolds has worked as a freelance copywriter since 1997. William specializes in website content, ghost-blogging, print marketing content and audio/video scripts.

(Images courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and imagerymajestic /FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

 

Fatal and Non-Fatal Injuries In The Workplace

This interesting infographic is from Rebecca Fox, of Westermans International, a UK-based welding company.  We appreciate this shared information and can learn what illnesses are prevelant in their respective industries.   

SEARCHING FOR MUDSLIDE VICTIMS; LATER SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS

The Washington State area devastated by a mudslide Saturday, March 22nd, has seen much clear-cut logging.  Native American tribes and environmentalists have long warned that clear-cut logging could raise the risk of landslides.  Although the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest may appear solid and stolid, they are a geologically active part of the physical environment, including regular earthquakes, landslides, and the occasional volcano. Sometimes, human activities – including the clear-cut logging that patch-marks much of the region – have an important impact on forests, soils, and water patterns. 

The massive mudslide that hit  Saturday, March 22,  about 55 miles northeast of Seattle was part of that picture, all but wiping out the community of Oso across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.  As rescue and recovery efforts continued Friday morning, officials reported that the number of confirmed dead remains at 17 with another nine bodies located but not yet recovered. Ninety more individuals are still unaccounted for – large numbers in a small community of around 180 people.

The demand for lumber, plywood, paper, and other wood products is part of an industry that once dominated Washington State and Oregon.  Logging’s impact has been a concern for a number of years. Large, older trees take up more water than younger stands, which can take decades to mature and may be cut down before they reach full maturity. The Tulalip Tribes were so concerned with landslides hitting the Stillaguamish River and its prime salmon habitat that they blocked a proposed timber sale above an earlier slide in 1988.”There were some very large clear-cuts planned for that area, which made us very concerned,” Kurt Nelson, a hydrologist with the tribes, told KUOW, the NPR affiliate at the University of Washington in Seattle.  “That reach of the North Fork has multiple, ancient, deep-seated landslides,” Mr. Nelson said. “There’s a lot of unstable terrain in that area.”  Landslides have followed logging in that area at least four times, KUOW reported.

“This had been known at least since the ’50s as one of the more problematic areas on the Stillaguamish for perennial landslides,” Mr. Kennard,  (Geomorphologist Paul Kennard, who worked for the Tulalip Tribes in the 1980s and now works for the National Park Service at Mt. Rainier) reported.  Although state logging regulations have been tightened in recent years, The Seattle Times reports that a clear-cut nine years ago “appears to have strayed into a restricted area that could feed groundwater into the landslide zone that collapsed Saturday.” 

Heavy rains and winds are hampering rescue efforts, by both professional rescue teams and volunteers. The careful use of heavy equipment, helicopters, and other means of rescue continue.  Personnel are wading through debris, muck, trees, ice, and foul water.

 Meanwhile, the request by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) for more federal assistance to help with recovery efforts in the Oso area has been approved. The money will be used to help local and state government agencies recover a portion of the estimated $4.5 million expected to be spent on emergency response, protective measures, and debris removal. Safety precautions should be used by all; pros and volunteers.  Wearing respiratory protection, gloves, goggles, hardhats, and protective clothing is important for the safety of those exposed to all types of hazards.

At his briefing Friday, Snohomish County Fire District Chief Travis Hots asked corporations and businesses in the region to donate money to help those affected. “Some of these people have lost their homes, some have lost their cars, some have lost their entire family,” he said. “Funerals will have to be paid for. Please dig deep.”  Chief Hots is the spokesman for search and recovery efforts.

 

Source: Christian Science Monitor, Associated Press