The Labor Day Holiday is a great and well-deserved opportunity to relax and have some fun. Unfortunately, our area may experience heavy winds and rains associated with Hurricane Hermine. Before you leave for the weekend, ensure that you are prepared appropriately to protect against the hazards associated with extreme weather. Don’t forget to monitor the weather report over the weekend and be prepared to adjust your weekend plans accordingly.
Here are some tips to have a safe and healthy holiday.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling food and after handling raw poultry or meat. To guard against cross-contamination of bacteria, keep uncooked meats away from other foods.
- Cook foods thoroughly, especially ground beef, poultry, and pork.
- Refrigerate all perishable food within two hours.
- When using a grill, be sure to clean it thoroughly to remove any grease or dust. Check for gas leaks. Use the grill outside, not in a garage, porch, or other enclosed space.
- If you plan to use a fire pit, be sure to put out fire completely before leaving it unattended.
- Do not park your vehicle on grass as the hot exhaust can easily ignite dry vegetation.
- Don’t swim alone.
- Wear a life vest while boating.
- Supervise children at all times in and near the water.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply it generously throughout the day.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
- Don’t drink and drive or travel with anyone driving who has been drinking.
- Wear your seatbelt at all times.
- Make sure your vehicle has been serviced before a long road trip.
- Familiarize yourself with your surroundings and know where the nearest emergency room is in case of an emergency.
Enjoy the weekend to the fullest and celebrate all of the achievements of America’s workforce both past and present.
Wires installed on utility poles carry electricity. And when wires are down, they are dangerous—electricity can still flow through them.
Never assume that a downed power line is not energized, as it still could be “live.”
- Stay at least 300 feet away from all downed wires—and keep others from going near them as well. Call police or fire department immediately.
- Any wire on the ground or hanging from a pole must be considered live. Telephone and cable TV wires may be entangled with electric wires and must also be treated as live.
- Be especially careful when driving or parking a vehicle near downed wires. If downed wires are in the street, near the curb, or on the sidewalk, use extreme caution. Never drive over downed power lines. Even if not energized, they can become entangled in your vehicle.
- In the event that a wire comes down on a vehicle with passengers, our advice is to stay in the vehicle until professional help arrives to safely remove you from the vehicle. If you MUST get out of the vehicle because of fire or other life-threatening hazards, jump clear of the vehicle so that you do not touch any part of the car and the ground at the same time. Jump as far as possible away from the vehicle with both feet landing on the ground at the same time. Once you clear the vehicle, shuffle away, with both feet on the ground, or hop away, with both feet landing on the ground at the same time. Do not run away from the vehicle as the electricity forms rings of different voltages. Running may cause your legs to “bridge” current from a higher ring to a lower voltage ring. This could result in a shock. Get a safe distance away.
- Never use water on an electric fire, burning vehicle or wire, or extend a pole or stick that can create a path through which the electricity can travel. Our human instinct is to reach out to help, but touching an individual who has been energized also provides a path through which electricity can travel. Call 911 for help immediately.
- Do not attempt to cut or remove a tree that is, or could become, entangled with power lines. Contact your electric utility provider for assistance and wait for a professional tree removal crew to do the job.
- Look up! Always examine your surroundings for power line locations before doing any outside work.
- Do not throw objects up into power lines, as this can cause short circuits that could result in injuries. This includes items you might not consider conductive, such as ropes and strings.
- Teach children never to play around electric equipment and never to touch power lines. They could be seriously injured or killed if they touch live electrical equipment.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other federal safety agencies have designated May 2-6, 2016, as the third annual National Safety Stand-Down. The purpose of the National Fall Prevention Stand-Down is to raise awareness nationwide of preventing fall hazards in construction. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 337 of the 874 construction fatalities recorded in 2014 (from Business and Labor Statistics preliminary data). Those deaths were preventable. Fall prevention safety standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards, during fiscal year 2014.
RAI participates by conducting the Tool Box Talk: Preventing Falls, downloadable here.
Help make workplaces safe!
Assume all power lines are energized and stay clear of any downed or damaged power lines. Establish a safe distance from power lines and report any incidents to the responsible authority. Only properly-trained electrical utility workers can handle damaged power lines. Learn more at: Contact with Power Lines (OSHA Construction eTool) and Working Safely Around Downed Electrical Wires* (OSHA Fact Sheet).
To prevent slips, trips, and falls, walking surfaces should be cleared of snow and ice, and deicer spread, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. In addition, the following precautions help reduce the likelihood of injuries:
Wear proper footwear when walking on snow or ice is unavoidable, because it is especially treacherous. A pair of insulated and water-resistant boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months.
Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway.
Although you cannot control roadway conditions, you can use safe driving behavior by ensuring that you: recognize the hazards of winter weather driving, (e.g., driving on snow/ice covered roads); are properly trained for driving in winter weather conditions; and are licensed (as applicable) for the vehicles you operate. For information about driving safely during winter, visit OSHA’s Safe Winter Driving page.
If you are an employer, be sure to set and enforce driver safety policies for your employees. Also, implement an effective maintenance program for all vehicles and mechanized equipment that your workers are required to operate. Learn more at: Motor Vehicle Safety (OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page).
Before hitting the road, it is a good idea to inspect the following systems on your vehicle(s) to determine proper operating conditions:
- Brakes: Brakes should provide even and balanced braking. Also check that brake fluid is at the proper level.
- Cooling System: Ensure a mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in the cooling system at the proper level.
- Electrical System: Check the ignition system and make sure that the battery is fully charged and that the connections are clean. Check that the alternator belt is in good condition with proper tension.
- Engine: Inspect all engine systems.
- Exhaust System: Check exhaust for leaks and that all clamps and hangers are snug.
- Tires: Check for proper tread depth and no signs of damage or uneven wear. Check for accurate tire inflation.
- Oil: Check oil is at proper level.
- Visibility Systems: Inspect all exterior lights, defrosters (windshield and rear window), and wipers. Install winter windshield wipers.
An emergency kit with the following items is recommended for any vehicle:
- Cellphone or two-way radio
- Windshield ice scraper
- Snow brush
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Tow chain
- Traction aids (bag of sand or cat litter)
- Emergency flares
- Jumper cables
- Road maps
- Blankets, change of clothes
Whether you are responsible for driving a company-owned vehicle or you drive your own vehicle, take these winter driving tips seriously to help keep yourself as well as others safe this season.
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fires result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage.
Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.
Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:
- Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play close to a space heater.
- Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
- Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
The holiday season brings joy…and safety challenges. Help to protect your loved ones by offering awareness. Whether they are shopping or traveling, the need to be aware in parking lots is critical. We are easily distracted and a reminder of parking lot safety tips can help prevent crime.
Tips to Keep You and Your Valuables Safe
Pedestrians can make themselves easy targets in parking lots. Usually, they don’t even realize it. The following tips can help make you safer in parking lots:
Walking in the Parking Lot
- Stay alert and walk briskly with your head up and your shoulders back. Criminals look for easy marks, such as people who are slouched over, preoccupied or fumbling with packages.
- Avoid texting or talking on the phone and walking so that you can see where you’re going and who is coming toward you.
- Know your surroundings. Look around the parking lot and your vehicle for suspicious people. If you notice odd behavior, inform security or the police immediately.
- Walk with others when possible.
- Walk in a well-lit area.
- Remove your headphones or earbuds while walking through a parking lot. Be aware of noises and movements.
- Have your keys in your hand and ready to open your vehicle.
When You Get to Your Vehicle
- Look into your vehicle’s windows and under the body before entering to ensure no one is waiting for you.
- If someone approaches your vehicle, do not open your door or roll down your window.
- When you get in your vehicle, lock the doors and start the engine immediately.
If There is Suspicious Activity in the Parking Lot
- Retreat to a well-populated area and call the police or security.
- Wait in a safe place until the police or security arrive to survey the area and let you know it is safe to go to your vehicle.
- If you are nervous about walking to the parking lot alone, ask security to escort you.
- If you notice someone in or around your vehicle, leave the area quickly and call the police or security. Describe as many details about the individual as you can to the authorities