Category Archives: Health Issues

HAVE YOU MADE SAFE TRAVEL PLANS FOR THIS MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY?

If you are traveling for this holiday, it is important that you don’t just throw a few things in a suitcase, and head for the sunset!  Make your plans based on safety, no matter how you plan to travel.   

As service stations gear up by hiking their gas prices, airlines may have limited discount flights available, but highway traffic is a nightmare. Prepare for your trip by mapping your route and then using road services, travel associations, the internet, news and any other source you can find to get updates. Remember that traveling at off hours can save you both money and time, not to mention hassle. 

You’d love for your Memorial Day weekend trip to be fantastic with perfect weather, but we all know how Mother Nature loves to mess with vacation plans. Check out a reliable weather resource, and plan to pack the proper clothes. Just because it’s warming up in some areas, there may be need for a sweater for evenings, or other warm clothing for camping. 

You don’t need to have a specific budget, but it’s a good idea to know how much you can afford to spend for the weekend and to have a rough idea of how much your planned adventures will cost. Understanding the price of travel, lodging and activities is a great start. Then you’ll have a better idea of how much to spend on meals and incidentals. (Especially if you plan to frequent a casino, make up your mind how much you can afford to gamble, and if you lose, stop; don’t try to catch up!) 

When driving, leave early enough to arrive at your destination in plenty of time. Remember, you state law enforcement officers will be working extra personnel in order to ensure your safety, by seeing that you don’t speed. Don’t drink and drive, or you could possible wind up with different accommodations than you had planned! Also, don’t text and drive. 

If traveling by car, be sure to notify family members or friends of your planned destination, and when you plan to arrive.  If you find you may be late, be sure to let them know where you are and not to send out the Mounties, that you should be there within a certain time.

Take a survival kit along, just in case: a first-aid kit, plenty of water, some non-perishable foods and snacks, your cell phone, a blanket, and pet food if your four-legged friends are traveling with you. Whether you are flying or driving this holiday, stock up with hand sanitizer, as many surfaces will be shared very often by others; doorknobs, arm rests and trays on planes, gasoline pumps, just about anything you touch while traveling.  There are some ugly bugs that seem to thrive on those who are traveling on planes, trains, or automobiles!  

For this first outing of summer, we wish everyone a safe journey, or if they stay home, a restful day.  Have a fun and safe summer; watch for the kids in the neighborhood because sometimes they forget to watch for you!

KEEPING OUTDOOR WORKERS SAFE THIS SUMMER

Although it is still snowing in the Northeast, warmer weather is making its presence felt in other areas of the United States. Those fearless firemen in California have really had a “hot” job, fighting all the fires lately. It is sad to think that someone set those on purpose. The risks that the response teams go through, as well as loss of homes and innocent animals  living in those homes, in addition to wildlife, causes us to hope that they catch the perpetrators soon. 

Besides firemen, there are so many others who work outdoors every day. Gradually becoming acclimated to warmer temperatures helps them adjust easier. It pays for workers to watch out for each other, because there may be a co-worker who is older, or one in bad health that may fall victim to a heat stroke or heat fatigue. 

Those workers should be trained in first aid and know what to do in each situation. If they suspect someone has had a heat stroke, here’s suggestions on what to do: 

  • Call for emergency medical help immediately.
  • Move person to a half-sitting position in the shade.
  • If humidity is below 75%, spray victim with water and vigorously fan. If humidity is above 75%, apply ice packs on neck, armpits or groin. 

Here are some symptoms of heat stroke:

  • In severe heatstroke, the victim can go into a coma in less than one hour. The longer the coma lasts, the lower the chance for survival.
  • The victim’s body feels extremely hot when touched.
  • Altered mental status (behavior) ranging from slight confusion and disorientation to coma.
  • Conscious victims usually become irrational, agitated, or even aggressive and may have seizures.

Heat exhaustion is characterized by heavy perspiration with normal or slightly above normal body temperatures, the result of dehydration. Heat exhaustion affects workers and athletes who do not drink enough fluids while working or exercising in hot environments.
Heat cramps are painful muscular spasms that happen suddenly, affecting legs or abdominal muscles. They usually happen after physical activity in people who sweat a lot or have not had enough fluids. Many times you will see athletes that are given Gatorade to replenish fluids and electrolytes. If you think someone is having heat cramps, have them drink cool (not cold) water or a sports drink, lie or sit in the shade, and stretch the affected muscles. Caffienated drinks or alcohol will contribute to dehydration.  Workers wouldn’t have alcohol on the job, but others who are outdoors on recreational activities should limit their intake in extremely hot situations.

Outdoor workers should have a good supply of water on hand, wear sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts, and a hat, or hardhat, depending on the occupation. There are attachments made to fit hardhats to create more of a shade, and even an attachment to protect the back of the neck. Be sure to take plenty of breaks in the shade if possible, and try to begin work earlier in the day in order to finish before it gets too hot. 

These tips apply not only to workers, but to all who enjoy being outdoors during the warm months for summer activities, camping, boating, athletic events, or working in the yard. It pays to protect oneself. Extreme heat can catch up with anyone, no matter how strong they are, if they don’t take care of themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are Landlords’ Gas Safety Obligations? (Guest Post)

Landlords have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their tenants, and should take reasonable steps to do so. One of the most important regulations landlords in the UK must adhere to is the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. These oblige landlords to ensure that every relevant gas fitting and flue is maintained safely in order to prevent their tenants suffering from illness or injury.

This involves conducting gas appliance services every 12 months and keeping a record of these checks for two years. The record should answer the following questions:

–          When was the appliance or flue checked?

–          What address did the check occur in?

–          What is the name and address of the landlord or agent that controls the property?

–          Where are the appliances located?Gas-safety

–          What kind of gas appliances are they?

–          Were any problems noticed?

–          Were any defects repaired?

–          Was the flue’s effectiveness checked?

–          Was the supply of combustion air examined?

–          Was the heat input or operating pressure examined?

–          Was the operation of the appliance checked?

–          Was the landlord or agent notified of any defects?

–          Who carried out the check?

–          What the Gas Safe Register registration number of the person who carried out the check?

This record should also be provided to the tenants of the premises, and when a new tenant moves into a property, they should be provided with a copy of the most recent record.

Landlords’ gas safety obligations are not solely confined to the rooms their tenants live in, but also any communal areas, such as hallways and walkways. Landlords must also not merely ensure their gas appliances are serviced, but are also responsible for any repairs and maintenance that their appliance may require. It is best practice to repair any defects as soon as possible – not only could delays cause harm to tenants, but tenants may even try to reclaim part of their rent through the small claims court if they do not feel that their landlord kept their property up to standard.

Gas appliances that are in parts of a building solely occupied for non-residential use do not come under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, nor do any gas appliances tenants provide themselves. However, it is best to have any gas appliances owned by the landlord and any flues that are connected to tenant’s gas appliances checked annually; this may help landlords to meet any additional duties they have under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

If a tenant’s central heating shuts down due to a boiler breakdown or disconnected by an engineer, landlords must provide their tenants with alternative emergency heating until the heating is back on. It is illegal to use gas appliances that have been deemed as unsafe or that are suspected of being hazardous; therefore, landlords must not encourage their tenants to use any appliances that have been classed as unsafe and should arrange repairs as quickly as possible. Landlords who have any doubts over an engineer’s advice should still adhere to their advice, but can contact the Gas Safe Register for further assistance in the interim.

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke writes about health and safety on behalf of boiler breakdown cover specialists 247 Home Rescue.

ARE WE READY FOR A BIOLOGICAL ATTACK? (GUEST INFOGRAPHIC)

We just received this very interesting infogram from securitydegreehub.com/bioterrorism.  No one wants to even think about such a terrible thing happening to anyone; but from the history and information below, it has occurred with devastating results.   We must be better prepared. 

HOW YOUR BODY REACTS TO STRESS (GUEST POST)

Accidents at work can be frightening and dangerous, but knowing how your body reacts to stress will help you stay calm and take action as needed. While chronic stress can be damaging, temporary stress can help you survive dangerous situations and solve problems, especially if you encounter an emergency at work.

When your body perceives danger or stress it reacts with what is commonly called a fight or flight response. Increased production of hormones like epinephrine and cortisol change the way your body behaves. Here are four things your body does when you are stressed.

1. Extra Glucose is Released

Your body uses sugar as fuel, so in times of stress, cortisol tells your body to release extra sugars and fats for your body to use. If you need to move quickly to dodge a falling object or use every ounce of strength you have to lift a heavy beam off of a coworker, you will need all the extra energy you can access.

2. Heart Rate Increases

An increased heart rate helps circulate the extra sugar so it can get to the parts of the body that need it most. When your heart rate increases, your blood pressure also rises. If you feel your heart racing when you encounter an accident at work, don’t panic. It is a normal reaction.

3. Breathing Becomes Rapid and Airways in Lungs Widen

Along with sugar, your body also needs oxygen to react in dangerous situations. When you are stressed your breathing speeds up and the airways in your lungs widen so you can take in more oxygen.

4. The Immune System Shuts Down

The immune system requires a lot of energy to do its job, so in extremely stressful situations, it shuts down so your body can use that much needed energy to survive. Fighting off a cold is not a top priority if your arm has been sliced open.

These reactions all help you survive in short term dangerous situations. Because of these reactions, your thoughts become sharper, your pupils let in more light to improve vision, and your pain receptors shut down. This means that your body is ready to take whatever action is needed.

According to 911 Industrial Inc., pre-hospital care at the site of the emergency “helps reduce response time, loss of life, and severity of injuries.” While professionals who specialize in industrial safety services are best equipped to handle safety emergencies at work, you can take advantage of your body’s natural reactions to act quickly in emergencies before the professionals arrive.

If a co-worker is in trouble, take advantage of your increased energy and sharper thoughts to seek out help and make quick decisions. If you’ve been injured, try not to panic and remember that your body’s natural reactions are working toward minimizing the damage.

Author Byline

Michael David is a blogger who loves learning new things about science and health.

 

Drugs and Money: The Costs of Addiction (Guest Post)

Chances are that you know someone who currently struggling, or has struggled, with addiction. http://www.bestmastersincounseling.com/ has created an infographic detailing some of the statistics behind addiction, along with the costs and benefits of treatment.

The impact of addiction is shocking. From lost time at work to crime-related costs, addiction costs $600 billion per year. That number boils down to $1,800 per man, women, and child in the United States. $193 billion going to tobacco, $193 billion to illicit drugs, and $335 billion in alcohol.

And while you may think that addiction doesn’t affect you, 2 out of 3 drug users, are employed, and 1 in 12 full-time workers are using drugs regularly. Only 10 percent of individuals with substance abuse problems will seek treatment.

This infographic also details the cost of drugs like meth, cocaine, and prescription medications, along with the costs of jail time, treatment, and healthcare costs. For every $1 invested in substance abuse treatment, we save $7 in healthcare and criminal justice costs.

Feel free to like, comment, and share this infographic entitled “Drugs and Money: The Costs of Addiction” brought to you by http://www.bestmastersincounseling.com/.

 

IT’S SPRING! (I THINK!)

Spring has made a late arrival here in North Central Texas, but Old Man Winter still thrives in other parts of the United States. With the arrival of warmer weather, all the weeds and other plants loaded with allergens start spreading their cheer around us!   Folks who have allergies are not looking forward to the misery associated with them. 

It’s also the time to plant gardens, mow the yard, and clean up and fix up what the cold weather left behind. As you prepare to start your seasonal yard work, stock up on face masks, goggles, gloves, sunscreen, and plenty of allergy medicine! Be sure your power equipment is in good shape, as it usually needs an annual checkup to be sure everything is running as it should. 

There is so much to look forward to during spring and summer: baseball, swimming, outings, summer camps, and hopefully, being with family more. Kids are anxiously awaiting summer break from school, so this means we need to be careful when driving down neighborhood streets. 

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are also a part of spring that we would rather not have to deal with. So far, there have been fewer tornadoes for this time of the year than usual. But, as it warms up, conditions will make the atmosphere right for twisters. 

Be sure that you have a plan, just in case you must leave your home in the event of a severe thunderstorm, or worse, tornado. Every member of the family should know where to meet. A care kit should be packed with enough water for at least three days, non-perishable food, medicines, pet food, flashlight, blankets, and other supplies. Keep your cell phone charged at all times, just in case. 

Information from The Weather Channel shows that even as we push deeper into the heart of spring tornado season, 2014 has so far completely spared Americans the agony and grief of tornado-related deaths. The year’s long early safe streak has put 2014 in rare territory, historically. The modern era of tornado records began in 1950 with the advent of the storm database maintained by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. This year has now gone on longer than any other calendar year in that era without a tornado fatality. 

Another recent year’s long quiet streak ended rather violently when this April 20th marked the 10th anniversary of 2004’s first killer tornado, also an F3 in Illinois. Eight people died on April 20, 2004 when a twister smashed into Utica, Ill., causing a tavern to collapse. 

Even including what are likely incomplete historical records from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, 2014 already ranks among the top 10 years with the longest fatality-free start. It’s possible that some of those older years in the record had undocumented tornado deaths, which would move 2014 even higher in the rankings if we had perfect knowledge of what happened back then. 

With no tornadoes reported Monday, we now have to go back 99 years to find a calendar year when the first documented tornado death came later in the year – that was 1915, when the first recorded death came on May 5.

We are thankful that so far that we have not had any deaths as the result of tornadoes. Let’s hope that 2014 will continue to be a low record for killer storms.  Be prepared by listening for important warnings from your local television stations, NOAA, and the Weather Channel. 

Source: The Weather Channel

Poole Gas Fitter Fined After Illegal Boiler Installations Put People In Danger

This article comes from the United Kingdom.  An illegal gas fitter from Poole has been fined after putting people in danger by breaching gas safety regulations.  It teaches us the lesson that we must hire competent, licensed contractors to install systems in our homes.  Colin Yeatman, who lives on Gort Road and traded as COB Plumbing Ltd, installed a hot water system, gas cooker and gas coiler at a new-build property in Poole during 2012, and fitted a gas boiler at a Broadstone house in 2010.

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However, although he was performing work on gas appliances, he was not qualified to do so. He left the appliances in a hazardous condition after falsely claiming to be on the Gas Safe register.

A council building inspector examined Yeatman’s gas work on the Poole property, and discovered that although COB Plumbing had been put down as the installer, the official documents used another gas engineer’s details.

A Gas Safe Register Investigations Officer took a look at Yeatman’s work and discovered seven different defects, two of which were found to put people at risk of injury and death.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was told about the failings and discovered that neither Yeatman nor COB Plumbing were Gas Safe-registered.

Then, in 2013, the owner of the boiler in Broadstone noticed that the appliance was leaking. An engineer was called and identified a number of different defects. The HSE then discovered that Yeatman had used another firm’s details on the official documentation for the boiler installation, and that this other company had been registered as Gas Safe.

In a hearing on April 2nd in Bournemouth Magistrates Court, Colin Yeatman admitted four different breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was fined £1,000 ($1,659) and will have to pay additional costs of £500 ($829). COS Plumbing also admitted four breaches of the 1998 regulations and was fined £10,000 ($16,589) with costs of £8,056 ($13,360).The regulations that Yeatman and COS Plumbing pleaded guilty to breaching are as follows:

  • – Regulation 3(1), which prohibits people from working on gas fittings if they are not competent to do so
  • – Regulation 3(3), which prohibits people who are not on the Gas Safe Register from performing work on gas fittings and pipework
  • – Regulation 3(7), which prohibits people from falsely claiming to be on the Gas Safe Register
  • – Regulation 26(1), which prohibits people from installing gas appliances in such a way as for the appliance to pose a danger to people
  • – Regulation 4, which calls for employers and self-employed persons to take reasonable steps to ensure gas work they control is performed by approved persons

Mehtaab Hamid, an inspector for the HSE, called Yeatman’s actions “quite deliberate”. He noted that the offender was aware that he needed to be Gas Safe-registered if he was to perform his work legally.

Mr Hamid said that Yeatman was not competent or qualified to work on gas appliances, but chose to do so regardless. The substandard work he performed put residents at risk, he added.

Gas Safe Register Chief Executive Russell Kramer advised people to check engineers’ ID cards when the engineer is fixing or fitting gas appliances.

This article was written by Kevin Burke on behalf of boiler breakdown cover specialists 247 Home Rescue.

IT’S ALREADY APRIL – WHICH MEANS IT’S TIME FOR APRIL SAFETY OBSERVANCES!

Let’s get started on the list of April Safety Observances:  April 1st through April 7th is Medication Safety Week.  The next week, April 7th through April 11th is National Work Zone Awareness Week.  In addition, the monthly observances are Alcohol Awareness Month, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Injury Prevention Month.  Rounding out April observances for safety is Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28th.  So, we are going to have a lot to think about this month.  Hopefully,  these monthly reminders will help us all stay safe.  Because we are already into Medication Safety Week, let’s focus on that issue.  Here are good ideas that would work well for anyone who takes several prescription medications: 

  • Be sure to keep all prescriptions filled — It is important to have all current medication on hand and to dispose of old prescriptions and medicines every other month to avoid taking anything that’s close to or past its expiration date.
  • Make a list of medications — Compile a comprehensive list and have complete understanding of what each medication does. If you are unsure about a medication, ask the physician who prescribed it for more information. This list should be available to each physician the patient visits.  Find out what time of day to take each medication; some work well in the mornings, and others work better before bedtime.
  • Use a pillbox to help remember when each medication should be taken — To reduce “pill burden,” organize medications in a simple pillbox with separate compartments for each day of the week. A schedule should also be available in print form to double check the accuracy of the pillbox.
  • Do not take medication that is not prescribed — Medications that are not prescribed by a medical professional can have unintended side effects on one’s health and other prescriptions. Also, it is vital to continue to take all medication for the duration prescribed, even if the condition improves. (Do not take someone else’ prescription drug.)
  • It is not safe to mix alcohol and prescription medications — This combination can be especially dangerous when taking medicine for sleep, pain, anxiety, or depression.

Below are some good ideas for monitoring the meds you are given: 

1. Store medicine in a dry and cool place.

2. Always make sure to read medicine labels carefully. Be sure to notice what side effects may occur taking that particular medication.  Note any additional instructions on your prescriptions and ensure that they’re followed as directed. Some medicines are supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, others should be taken with food.

3. Always consult with a doctor before taking supplements.  Some of these supplements are made from natural ingredients; however, they still may be hazardous for certain types of people (such as those who are pregnant and individuals with liver or kidney problems).

4. Keep all medications out of the reach of children.  Children may become victims of accidental overdose of prescription medicines, due to the fact that they either found something in a purse, on an open counter, or an unsecured medicine storage cabinet.  Don’t take chances.

Last, but not least,  driving under the influence of certain medications (prescription or over-the-counter) can be very risky.   It is a fact that it is as dangerous as drinking while driving, or texting while driving.  Regardless of whether the driver is a teenager or senior citizen, persons should not get behind the wheel if they are  not completely alert.  Also, if you work with machinery, don’t take any type of medication that causes you to become drowsy.

Let’s not abuse medications, only take them for the intended purpose.  With your physician’s approval, exercise and proper diet, monitoring blood pressure, and other methods can possibly lower the need for medicines.

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.