Safety in the News 6/13/15 – Summer Safety Tips

This week there was an article on Cal-OSHA and their struggles to protect farm workers from rising summer temperatures.

Link to the news article

Summer has started to bring some very warm temperatures, so I thought it would good to post some resources for summer safety and prevention of heat related illnesses.

The first step is to better understand heat related illnesses.

Here is the NIOSH Fast Facts on Heat Illnesses

The next step is to know the trigger points for when to take precautions when the temperatures are high.

Here is the OSHA complete guide to heat stress. 

Here is a nice pocket guide from the Army in regards to work rest & fluid intake.

Here is the full OSHA technical manual on heat stress

Some of the more interesting literature for hydration and heat stress is in regards to urine color. Sqwincher (the industrial version of Gatorade) has a publication to detail urine color and how that relates to hydration. The typical “bathroom” humor around posting this chart goes something like this, “Hey SafetyDude, should we laminate these and put them on retractable lanyards near the urinals? *chuckle chuckle laugh laugh*” I just wanted to give you a proper warning if you choose to post the chart. 🙂 The good news is that they do grab people’s attention and bring awareness to the situation.

The Sqwincher Chart is linked here

A conversation about heat stress is not complete without evaluating other risks from sun exposure such as burns and the potential for skin cancer.

Here is a good resource about sunscreen.

Heat related illnesses at home and work are preventable. It takes planning and preparation to assure that there are protective measures, time and places to rest, and lots of fluids available. Too many times someone thinks that taking a break makes them seem weak or unable to perform a job. The truth is that high temperatures and improper protective measures can lead to serious injuries and even death.

One of the challenges in the summer (at least for my family) is keeping the kids protected. My kids are young and definitely summer children. They love playing in the warm sun, and they hate wearing much clothing. They are most comfortable in just their bathing suits. This means that my wife and I have to go on the offensive. We are constantly reapplying sunscreen, pulling them into the shade, keeping water bottles filled up, making them drink from said water bottles, putting hats on their heads, and trying to keep sunglasses on their faces. It’s tough! It is important to keep them protected from the hazard they don’t yet fully understand.

Here are some child safety tips for being in the sun

Keeping Kids Safe Around Vehicles

There were a couple of local news stories this week that applies more to home safety than to occupational safety, but they both hit home for me. Both news stories revolve around children and vehicles. One involved a toddler being backed over while in the driveway. The other involved a child who had exited a school bus and was later struck by a car near his home.

News Story 1 & News Story 2

My deepest sympathy and prayers to go all those involved in these two incidents.

As a father/safety guy, one of my focuses (especially in the summer) is to look for the kids when I am driving. With more daylight, my kids are usually playing somewhere in the yard when I get home. From the moment I first reach the drive, I start looking to where they are and what they are doing. I have to start judging what they may do. This is much harder than it sounds. My son, age 3, has become obsessed with cars, trucks, tractors, and pretty much any thing that moves. He loves to run to the car or any other moving object when he knows the vehicle. That is to say he loves my grandmother on her golf cart, my wife in her car, me in my car, or my dad on the tractor. Its an interesting challenge to keep him from running to what he enjoys and is utterly fascinated with. I have learned to pull into the drive way, stop, and let him come to me. I will get out and bring him into the car with me to finish the drive into the where I normally park. If his is with me, I know he is not around me in a blind spot.

My daughter, who is older, has learned some of the basic safety tips for traffic such as: stop, look, and listen, stay in a safe area when people are pulling into the driveway, and to stay visible to those who are driving. None-the-less, I still have to watch. Even someone who is trained in the right safety processes can make mistakes. It is part of my responsibility to watch for her just as she is watching for me. Safety at home and at work is a partnership.

My wife and I also have a partnership in safety. We know to help communicate where the kids are when either of us are driving. When I pull in, if I don’t see the kids, she points me to where they are and will signal me if I should wait or proceed. I do the same if I am home with the kids and she is leaving or arriving. One of my key steps is to keep the kids in the porch or play area until my wife as come to a full stop, car in part, and engine off. I am sure my kids feel the process us obsessive, but it is necessary to assure their safety.

When it comes to vehicle safety and kids, it is so important to not create a fear of the vehicles but a significant respect of the hazard. Each time there is a moving vehicle, we hold hands and talk him through the right way to wait and watch for traffic. It is important that kids understand to stay clear, stay in place, watch, listen, and stay visible. Anytime there is an incident involving a kids and a vehicle, lives are changed forever.

For more information, posters, and safety tips about keeping kids safe around vehicles (LINK)

Also, it is good to note that the NHTSA will require cars to come standard equipped with backup cameras in 2018 (LINK).