Heat Safety

Heat Safety

(posted on August 1, 2017)

Practice Heat Safety Image

In Dayton, OH July and August are the hottest months of the year.  Understanding heat-related warnings and what to look out for can help you stay safe in hot conditions.

Heat-Related Warnings

The National Weather Service issues some or all of the following heat-related warnings as conditions warrant.  NWS local offices often collaborate with local partners to determine when an alert should be issued for a local area.

Excessive Heat Warning / Heat Advisory — Take Action!  An Excessive Heat Warning is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions.  The general rule of thumb for this Warning is when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 100° or higher for at least 2 days and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75°.  If you don't take precautions immediately when conditions are extreme, you may become seriously ill or even die.

Excessive Heat Watches — Be Prepared!  Heat watches are issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours.  A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain.  Additionally, an excessive heat outlook is issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days.  An Outlook provides information to those who need considerable lead-time to prepare for the event.

Heat Index Chart

Know the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness

During extremely hot and humid weather, your body's ability to cool itself is challenged.  When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness.  It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the following list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness and recommended first aid steps.

Heat Stroke Symptom Chart

Heat stroke – Symptoms include high body temperature (103°F or higher), hot, red, dry, or damp skin, fast, strong pulse, headache, feeling dizzy, nausea, feeling confused and losing consciousness (passing out).  If heat stroke occurs immediately call 911 (heat stroke is a medical emergency), move the person to a cooler place, help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.  Remember that in this condition it is important to not give the person anything to drink.

Heat exhaustion – Symptoms include heavy sweating, cold, pale, and clammy skin, fast, weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, feeling tired or weak, feeling dizzy, headache and fainting (passing out).  If heat exhaustion occurs move to a cool place, loosen clothes, put a cool, wet cloth on your body or take a cool bath and sip water.  Get medical help right away if you begin throwing up, your symptoms get worse or your symptoms last longer than 1 hour.

Heat cramps – Symptoms include heavy sweating during intense exercise and muscle pain or spasms.  If heat cramps occur stop physical activity and move to a cool place, drink water or a sports drink and wait for cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity.  Get medical help right away if cramps last longer than 1 hour, you’re on a low-sodium diet or you have heart problems.

Sunburn – Symptoms include painful, red, and warm skin and blisters on the skin.  It sunburn occurs stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals, put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath, put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas and do not break blisters which can make the sunburn worse.

Heat rash – Symptoms include red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases).  If heat rash occurs stay in a cool dry place, keep the rash dry and use powder (like baby powder) to soothe the rash.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

National Weather Service - http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml

Electrical Safety

Ground fault circuit interrupters have saved thousands of lives since their introduction in 1970s. This infographic shows why.

Since their introduction in to the National Electrical Code in the 1970s, ground fault circuit interrupters have saved thousands of lives. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 50% of home electrocutions have been prevented by the introduction of GFCIs.

The Electrica Safety Foundation International wants you to make sure your home is properly protected against ground faults with the correct installation of GFCIs. GFCI protection is required for outlets installed in:

4-Balconies, desks, and porches
5-Kitchen countertops
6-Within 6 feet of a sink
7-Laundry areas
8-Within 6 feet of a bathtub or shower

How to test a GFCI:

1-Push the RESET button
2-Plug in a nightlight or similar device
3-The nightlight should be ON
4-Press the TEST button on the GFCI
5-The nightlight should turn OFF
6-Push the RESET button again
7-The nightlight should turn ON
8-If the device does not turn on, contact a qualified electrician to inspect the outlet

Click here for more information about Electrical Safety Month.



Smith, Sandy. (April 25, 2017). May is Electrical Safety Month [Infographic]. Retrieved on April 25, 2017 from 

Distracted Driving



Distracted Driving Is Now an Epidemic in the U.S.

The perception that distracted driving is now an epidemic in this country—even though we all consider ourselves to be safe behind the wheel—just got more confirmation from new data compiled by auto insurer Everquote.

U.S. fatalities from traffic accidents rose 7.2% last year to 35,092—the largest increase in 50 years—and distracted driving played a role in 10% of those deaths, according National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures released last month. NHTSA found that fatalities from "distraction-affected" crashes increased 8.8% to 3,477 from 3,197 for that period.

Given how many drivers seem to be on the phone, applying makeup, fiddling with radios, or texting while merging lanes, that figure might actually seem low.

Everquote's research, based on a new survey of 2,300 drivers, stresses that cognitive dissonance. Everquote combined the survey responses with data gleaned from 35,000 U.S. drivers using its Everdrive app on smartphones, producing some thought-provoking conclusions.

For example, nearly every one (96%) of the survey respondents said he or she is a safe driver, but 56% of the same group admitted to using the phone while driving.

Data from the Everdrive app, on the other hand, revealed 96% of all drivers used their phones at least once in the past 30 days, and drivers averaged about one call per trip. For every 11 miles driven, the "average" driver is on the phone for 0.4 miles.

The survey does not distinguish between use of the phone for talking or for texting, which is arguably more dangerous. An Everquote spokesman said that, for privacy reasons, it has does not access that sort of data. What it does know is whether drivers unlock their phones and if the phone is moving consistent with a moving vehicle. Another wrinkle: Conversations will not register if the driver uses speaker phone or bluetooth and so does not actually pick up the handset.

April Poll

Excessive speed, as always, is another big factor in traffic fatalities. NHTSA data found that deaths in crashes involving speeding rose 3% last year to 9,557 from 9,283.

But 42% of the surveyed drivers said they don't consider going 10 mph over the speed limit to be speeding. Another 10% said they don't think a 20 mph increase is speeding. Meanwhile, the app data showed that drivers speed at least 10 mph more than half of the time. National data shows that even a 10 mph speed increase ups the risk of a crash by 9.1%.

Unsurprisingly, most (81%) of drivers surveyed felt they are better, safer drivers than any self-driving car from Tesla (TSLA, +0.97%)Google (GOOG, +0.04%), or any other company could be. Meanwhile, 2015 research from McKinsey posits that self-driving cars will reduce crashes up to 90% over those driven in the traditional sense (by human drivers).

The scary thing is things may get worse, given that most automakers seem to be packing more "infotainment" gear in each new car produced these days.

Note: This story was updated with more information on what the survey measures and does not measure.

Darrow, B. (2016, September). Distracted Driving is Now an Epidemic in the U.S. Fortune,
        Retrieved on March 30, 2017 from http://fortune.com/2016/09/14/distracted-driving-epidemic/

Additional Information
MythsGet the Infographic here>> 
handsfreeGet the Infogaphic here>> 
JustDriveSee the Poster>> 
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Ladder Safety


Homeowners, working professionals, ladder manufacturers and government safety organizations are collaborating on National Ladder Safety Month.

March 2017 will now be recognized as National Ladder Safety Month, according to The American Ladder Institute (ALI).


The ALI, a not-for-profit ladder association of ladder industry leaders dedicated to promoting safe ladder use, is teaming up with ladder manufacturers, suppliers and government safety organizations to heighten awareness and promote the safe use of ladders by homeowners and working professionals.

 “Every year over 300 people die in ladder-related accidents, and thousands suffer disabling injuries,” said Ryan Moss, ALI president and CEO of Little Giant Ladder Systems to the press. “Without better training and continuous innovation in safety, planning and product design, we will continue to see far too many fatalities.”

National Ladder Safety Month will heighten awareness, reinforce safety training, and educate homeowners and working professionals, he added.

The month of March was chosen as it signals homeowners beginning spring home improvement projects and the beginning of construction season. It also is a precursor to· OSHA’s National Fall Prevention Stand-Down in May, NSC’s National Safety Month in June and ASSE’s National Conference in June.

ALI members comprised of most U.S. ladder manufacturers and several component suppliers will emphasize the following five national initiatives:

-Decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities,
-Lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s yearly Top 10 Citations List,
-Increase the number of completed ladder safety trainings on www.laddersafetytraining.org,
-Increase the number of recorded competent ladder inspector trainings,
-Increase the number of companies that inspect and properly dispose of old, damaged, or obsolete ladders.

Those interested in participating in the ladder safety conversation can speak out social media using #LadderSafetyMonth and #LadderSafety.

Safety trainings, industry special events, and downloadable infographics, posters, and graphics to keep individuals and corporations engaged and informed will become available on the soon to be launched LadderSafetyMonth.com website.

Valentic, S. (2016, December). American Ladder Institute to Highlight Ladder Safety in March 2017. EHS Today, Retrieved on February 23, 2017 from

Safety Tips to Prevent Winter-Related Workplace Accidents

Safety Tips to Prevent Winter-Related Workplace Accidents

A strong safety culture extends to all seasons, even in winter when cold stress is common among outdoor workers.

This time of year, cold stress that can result in hypothermia or frostbite is a hazard of which employers must be aware, particularly if they have outdoor workers. With the right preparation and presence of mind, both employers and employees can prevent these injuries.

One of the most effective prevention techniques is adopting the attitude that safety is an area of responsibility for everyone in the organization – both the employer and workers. Companies must initiate and reinforce safety protocols and clearly spell out safety responsibilities and expectations.

Including your staff in all aspects of your safety plan – from hazard identification to problem solving – not only will encourage a strong safety culture within your organization, it also will allow for an open dialogue that leads to continuous improvement. This includes seasonal safety policies.

Slips, Trips and Falls

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced that slips, trips and falls accounted for 800 workplace fatalities in 2015 at a time when workplace deaths in the U.S. reached a six-year high.

Slips, trips and falls happen year-round, of course, but winter ice and snow create a more hazardous environment that increases the risk of worker injuries.

A proactive safety plan that specifically addresses slips, trips and falls not only enhances worker safety but also minimizes potential costs from workers’ compensation payments, government fines or equipment/facility remediation requirements.

No shortage of information exists on safety measures to reduce slip, trip and fall incidents, and your insurance carrier may have specific suggestions pertaining to your facility.

For employers, an active effort needs to be made to prevent ice build-up on walkways, de-icing walkways and clearing walkways. Parking areas and outside break areas are often the most commonly overlooked. 

Snow removal companies often allow snow and other debris to build up in areas which directly are in employees’ pathways or otherwise obstruct a safe pathway.

The parking lot needs to be addressed as many winter falls occur when someone is getting in/out of his/her car or walking toward a cleared sidewalk.

This oversight, or simply the reliance on de-icing efforts alone, creates more potential hazards. In other words, there needs to be eyes on the parking areas, outside break areas and walkways at all times.

Here are six simple tips to avoid slips, trips and falls during the winter season: 

1-Keep walkways, stairways and other work areas clear.

2-Remove hazards, such as water on floors and snow on sidewalks, immediately.

3-When walking, look where you are going and have your hands ready to steady yourself should you slip.

4-Avoid carrying heavy loads that may compromise your balance.

5-Mark hazardous areas. Use temporary signs, cones, barricades or floor stands to warn passing workers.

6-Outside, wear footwear with heavy treads for increased traction. Walk along grassy areas if a walkway is covered in ice. Make yourself visible to drivers by wearing a brightly colored jacket or clothes.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite and hypothermia are the consequences of cold exposure, and both can have long-lasting effects. If you suspect either condition, call for help.

Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite:


*Shivering or shaking
*Lack of coordination
*Drowsiness or confusion
*Slurred speech


*Skin that is very cold and turns numb, hard and pale
*Blisters or swelling
*Joint or muscle stiffness

Keep the affected body part elevated in order to reduce swelling, and move the person to a warm area to prevent further heat loss. Remove all wet clothing and apply a dry, sterile bandage to the affected area or place cotton between any involved fingers or toes. Seek proper medical care as soon as possible.

Add a Layer of Protection to Your Bottom Line

1-Even the most well-designed safety programs ultimately will be ineffective without the active participation and input of employees. In fact, a 2016 Gallup study revealed that employers with high levels of employee engagement had 70 percent fewer safety incidents than those with lower levels of engagement.

2-General guidelines include these standard safety precautions:

3-Identify potential slip, trip and fall hazards in your workplace: review incident records, inspect locations and consider the impact of changing environmental conditions.

4-Evaluate the potential risk of each hazard: number of employees who could be affected, the potential frequency of risk and the potential impact of the surrounding area or equipment.

5-Determine controls that can be instituted to reduce each hazard: relocating or removing dangerous environmental factors, limiting accessibility to higher-risk areas and providing appropriate footwear or personal protective equipment.

6-Regularly review the work environment: maintain regular housekeeping, ensure good lighting and keep equipment in proper working condition.

7-Maintain records of all incidents and continually review and improve the work environment and safety initiatives: make employees feel “safe” to report safety concerns and make changes when necessary.

Creating an environment where your staff is comfortable enough to share responsibility of your safety plan may take time. The most vital component to building that trust is communication.

Effective communication does not rely on a one-directional flow from management to associates, but should instead actively seek upward feedback and input from employees to better understand and improve safety and health programs.

When leaders take the time to listen to their workers’ perspectives and insights, it promotes an environment of respect and upholds safety as a fundamental organizational value.

Berghoefer, Corey. EHS Today. (2017, January). Safety Tips to Prevent Winter-Related Workplace Accidents. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from http://ehstoday.com/environment/safety-tips-prevent-winter-related-workplace-accidents

Drive Safe This Winter Season

Drive Safe This Winter Season

Snow and cold can challenge even the most seasoned driver. It deflates your tires, decreases your response time, and makes your vehicle harder to control.

Winter means fewer daylight hours and deadlier crashes, says Debbie Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, an Illinois-based nonprofit that promotes health and safety. Nearly 6,000 people are killed in weather-related traffic accidents annually, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Before you venture out into adverse weather know that you can take precautions to ensure that you arrive at your destination without incident. Here are seven tips for staying safe on the road this winter.

Slow Down  

Driving slowly is the key to maintaining control on snowy or icy roads. All maneuvers – accelerating, stopping, and turning – take longer in inclement weather than on dry pavement.

“Drivers frequently underestimate how long it can take to brake,” Hersman says. “You want to increase that time in order to stay in control. Don’t use cruise control, and if you’re sliding, definitely slow down.”

Apply the gas slowly to maintain traction and leave yourself enough space to slow down at traffic lights, especially on ice. Remember that bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways do. The bottom line: give yourself enough time to go slow. 

Know Your Brakes  

Be familiar with your vehicle’s braking system. Anti-lock brakes have sensors attached to each wheel, so you’ll need to slam hard if you want to slow down quickly. The pedal will vibrate when the system is activated.

Normal braking systems allow the brakes to lock, which stops the wheels from turning, promotes skidding, and reduces the tires’ grip on the road when trying to stop or turn. That means you’ll need to pump the brakes gently to maintain control.

Since a vehicle reacts more slowly in snow, you should keep a longer following distance than you normally would. Instead of three to four seconds, stay eight to 10 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. Stopping on ice requires twice the distance of stopping when it’s above freezing, according to the AAA.

Keep Rolling  

Don’t stop on ice or snow if you can avoid it. Try to keep a steady pace when rolling into turns, at stoplights, and up and down hills so that you can maintain enough inertia to keep moving.

AAA notes that there’s a difference in the amount of inertia required to start moving from a full stop compared with how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. The organization recommends slowing down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes.

Similarly, AAA warns not to power up hills because “applying extra gas on snow-covered just starts your wheels spinning.” Make sure that you have enough – but not too much – momentum before reaching the hill, and slow your speed once you reach the crest.

Use Snow Tires  

Tires are an essential factor in winter driving because they keep your car on the road. If you lose traction, you won’t have as much control and your vehicle could skid.

If you’re in an area with predictable snowfall, you might want to invest in a set of snow tires. They have a deeper tread that cuts through snow to grip the asphalt. That will help you stop faster, accelerate quicker, and make cleaner turns. For especially heavy snow, invest in a set of tire chains that fit to your drive wheels to provide better traction.

Also, cold weather reduces tire pressure, which could lead to a dangerous blowout on the road or cause a flat that will leave you stranded.

Be Prepared  

The safest way to stay safe on the road is by staying at home. If your trip is not urgent, wait out the bad weather. Pay attention to weather reports and remember that, even if you’ve mastered driving in snow, not everyone else you’re likely to meet on the road is as proficient.

If you must drive in hazardous weather, be prepared. Make sure your gas tank is at least half ful in case you are stranded far from a gas station or need the extra fuel to keep your car heated. It doesn’t hurt to have a supply kit with food, water, blankets, gloves, reflective tape, and an extra cell phone charger on hand. In a worst-case scenario, you could use floor mats or newspapers to stay warm.

Check the Exhaust  

Forgetting to check your vehicle’s exhaust pipe could be a fatal oversight. When it gets clogged with snow, ice, or road debris and the engine is running, you risk filling your car’s passenger compartment with odorless carbon monoxide.

Always remember to clear the snow away from the tailpipe, especially when digging out your vehicle or extricating it from a snowy ditch. If your car is running while you’re awaiting help, keep the window open a crack.

Promote Visibility  

Wintry weather reduces visibility, which is critical to motoring safety. That’s why the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a national non-profit that issues vehicle safety rankings, has made Good or Acceptable headlights a criterion for its Top Safety Pick+ designation.

“Headlights are a basic but important crash avoidance feature, and that’s why we’ve added headlight performance to our ratings system,” says Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the IIHS. “Half of fatalities in crashes occur at night, or at dusk or dawn, so there’s a significant opportunity to reduce crashes if we can help drivers see trouble sooner.  Our ratings are giving auto manufacturers some guidelines on making their headlights better.”  

Keep those headlights clean and consider investing in adaptive headlights that can illuminate what’s behind hard-to-see bends in the road. It also won’t hurt to get a new bottle of windshield washer fluid and fill the reservoir so that you can keep your windshield clear throughout the season. 

Trop, Jaclyn (2016, December).  Driving in Snow: 7 Tips for Staying Safe. US News and World Report Best Cars. Retrieved on December 21, 2016 from 


Margie Keenan

St. Marys Hall 301