Taking Care of Your Mental Health Around the Holidays

The holiday season is just around the corner. But are you prepared? Knowing how to take care of your mental health around the holidays should be a priority but is often overlooked by many. You may already feel the pressure to start planning the who, when, where, and what to eat for two major back-to-back holidays. It’s no wonder people report November and December are two of the most stressful months. Statistics from various studies show the most common emotions people feel during the holiday season are fatigue, stress, sadness, and irritability.

Studies also show women feel more stressed than men, and their stress triggers include pressure to give gifts, financial strain, time constraints, and weight gain. For some, health is still a concern, even though COVID-19 appears to be a minor issue today.

One survey to learn common stressors associated with the holidays found that 75% of respondents have concerns, with 19% worried about a loved one’s mental health and 26% worried about their mental health. It’s apparent the holiday blues are real, so taking care of your mental health around the holidays must be a priority.

 

Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health Around the Holidays

Below are tips to help you cope with holiday stressors and reduce mental health symptoms.

1. Be Honest with Yourself and Others

During the holidays, it’s natural to want to make everyone happy, even if it means pushing yourself to the limits. You want to accept all invitations, buy gifts for everyone you know, meet work deadlines, spend time with family, and taste every delicious treat you encounter. When you do this, however, your mental health can suffer.

Be honest about when you’ve reached your limits, and avoid pushing yourself too far. Also, it’s okay to be honest with friends, family, and coworkers about your mental health and why you must set boundaries.

2. Make a Realistic Budget

Spending money seems to go hand in hand with the holidays, especially with the intense marketing campaigns created to get you to spend, spend, spend. You may not realize the pressure from commercials, social media ads, and stores trying to make you spend your hard-earned money.

You can avoid spending pressure by deciding where your money goes long before you spend it. Creating a budget means telling your money what to do instead of the other way around. A budget involves listing every monthly expense. Assign any leftover funds to a separate category, such as entertainment, holidays, gifts, unexpected repairs, etc. It is crucial not to exceed your budget in any area.

3. Focus on What You Can Control

The holidays can make you feel anxiousdepressed, or both when you start to think about travel, money, gifts, food, spending time with family, etc. Many things you worry about are out of your control, so spending time thinking about them is a waste of time. Instead, focus on the things within your control: your thoughts and actions.

If seeing social media posts of friends who seem to have it all together is getting you down, log out of social media until after the holidays. If you worry about eating too much at parties, eat a healthy meal before you go to curb your appetite and avoid impulse eating.

To help you stay focused, make a list of everything causing stress. Erase the ones that are out of your control. This should immediately relieve some stress, allowing you to focus on what you can control.

4. Continue Healthy Routines

For some, the holiday season means throwing out all the good habits they’ve developed the other ten months out of the year. Doing so is not good for your mental health, however. Your body likes routine. It depends on your circadian rhythms or your body’s internal clock. When out of sync, it can negatively impact your metabolism, gastrointestinal functioning, and mental health.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol and drug use alters the brain’s functions, including the neurotransmitters associated with mental health. Substances trick the brain into producing higher amounts of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and norepinephrine. Temporarily this boost feels good, but within hours, the levels drop, and you experience an increase in depression, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms. You can avoid these emotional ups and downs by avoiding alcohol and other substances.

6. Skip the Drama

You must understand it is okay to avoid drama-filled situations. You are not required to attend family fights, pressure-filled parties, or any other gathering that makes you feel uncomfortable. It is okay to say “no.” It’s also okay to attend an event and leave whenever you are ready.

7. Take Care of You

Practice self-care to improve mental and physical health, not just during the holidays but throughout the year. Taking care of yourself improves overall well-being and helps you be a better employee, friend, student, and family member.

Examples of self-care include:

  • Getting a massage
  • Seeking medical treatment for physical aches and pains
  • Making spiritual connections
  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Learning new skills and hobbies
  • Getting quality sleep
  • Volunteering

Seeking help from a mental health professional is another way to take care of yourself.

8. Ask for Help

It’s important to make sure the symptoms you experience are related to the holidays and not something more permanent. The holiday blues typically fade once the holiday season ends. If your symptoms were present before the holidays or stayed with you after, you may have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Working with a licensed mental health therapist is recommended, whether it is to help you manage emotions during the holidays or to overcome anxiety, depression, or other disorders. Using a combination of behavioral therapies, medications, peer support, and family therapies, you will receive the tools you need to take care of your mental health around the holidays and every other day of the year.

If specific treatments have been ineffective, your psychiatrist can introduce you to new, advanced treatments, like ketamine-assisted therapy. Together, you can develop a treatment plan that works.

Start Now, Before the Holidays

Don’t wait until the holidays arrive to reach out for help. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to eliminate stressors. Contact the Mental Health Center today. We can help.

Ladder Safety

What is National Ladder Safety Month?

National Ladder Safety Month is the only movement dedicated exclusively to the promotion of ladder safety, at home and at work. Help us bring awareness to the importance of the safe use of ladders through resources, training and a national dialogue. 

Every step matters: From step stools to extension ladders, make sure you're putting the right foot forward.

Every year over 100 people die in ladder-related accidents, and thousands suffer disabling injuries. Join the American Ladder Institute (ALI) and participate in the fifth annual National Ladder Safety Month February 22 - March 31. This important month was designed to raise awareness of ladder safety and to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities.

The “WHY”: Every life saved is precious

The goals of National Ladder Safety Month are to:

  • Decrease number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities

  • Increase the number of ladder safety training certificates issued by ALI

  • Increase the frequency that ladder safety training modules are viewed on www.laddersafetytraining.org 

  • Lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s yearly “Top 10 Citations List”

  • Increase the number of in-person ladder trainings

  • Increase the number of companies and individuals that inspect and properly dispose of old, damaged or obsolete ladders 

 

Driving Safety

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Just Drive

Though traffic has dropped significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our roads have only gotten more dangerous. On a typical day, more than 700 people are still injured in distracted driving crashes. Talking on a cell phone – even hands-free – or texting or programming an in-vehicle infotainment system diverts your attention away from driving. Keep yourself and others around you safe and #justdrive.

Join NSC during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April to help make our roadways and our people safer. Whether you’re driving a forklift, semi-truck or just headed home after work, attentive driving is more important than ever. Create a distracted driving program and engage your workforce with ready-made communications and resources. Sign up now and you’ll receive access to materials as soon as they’re ready.

Thousands have Died in Crashes Involving Cell Phone Use

Many distractions exist while driving, but cell phones are a top distraction because so many drivers use them for long periods of time each day. Almost everyone has seen a driver distracted by a cell phone, but when you are the one distracted, you often don't realize that driver is you.

New technology in vehicles is causing us to become more distracted behind the wheel than ever before. Fifty-three percent of drivers believe if manufacturers put "infotainment" dashboards and hands-free technology in vehicles, they must be safe. And, with some state laws focusing on handheld bans, many drivers honestly believe they are making the safe choice by using a hands-free device. But in fact, these technologies distract our brains even long after you've used them.

Make no mistake: This multitasking technology is about convenience, not safety.

 

Commit to driving distraction-free by taking the NSC Just Drive pledge! 

The Just Drive Pledge:

I pledge to Just Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way – I will not:

  • Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth

  • Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system

  • Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Vimeo or other social media

  • Check or send emails

  • Take selfies or film videos

  • Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)

  • Call or message someone else when I know they are driving

 

Who is Driving?

 

Understanding Driver Distraction

Distracted driving can be deadly. Below is a list of common distracted driving issues, with recommendations for how to address them. 

ISSUE: Drivers do not take distraction seriously enough RECOMMENDATIONS: Know the numbers. More than 2,800 people in the U.S. died in distraction related crashes in 2018 alone – that’s at least seven people every day. That same year, 276,000 people were injured in distraction-related crashes. Drivers should be aware of three major types of distraction: visual (eyes), manual (hands) and cognitive (mind). Most people recognize when they are visually and/or manually distracted and seek to disengage from those activities as quickly as possible. People typically do not realize when they are cognitively distracted, such as when using a cell phone. When your eyes, hands and mind are not focused on driving, you increase the chance that you will make mistakes that can result in injuries or even death. Show your concern for safety. Employers can demonstrate to employees that they take safety seriously by having a safe driving policy that addresses distracted driving. 

ISSUE: Hands-free is not risk-free 

RECOMMENDATION: Hands-free devices and voice command systems create a cognitive distraction as the driver mentally engages with interactive tasks. While hands-free options may be marginally safer than handheld devices, eliminating driver use of all types of cell phones and in-vehicle infotainment systems is safest. 

ISSUE: Drivers think cell phone use is distracting … for other people 

RECOMMENDATION: Although 87% of people think talking on a cell phone while driving is a serious safety threat, 49% have talked on a handheld phone while driving. Drivers should talk the talk AND walk the walk, refraining from using their phone when behind the wheel. 

ISSUE: It is impossible to multitask and give equal attention to each task 

RECOMMENDATION: People often think they are effectively accomplishing two tasks at the same time. It is possible to complete a phone conversation while driving and arrive at the destination without incident, but it is a misconception that the tasks can be done simultaneously and as safely as possible. Motorists should make driving the primary focus and perform other cognitively demanding tasks only when safely parked.

Multitasking is dangerous, so do the right things to keep yourself and everyone else safe on our roads. Silence or turn off your phone and other devices before you put your vehicle in gear. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind on your drive. Your life is more valuable than any call or text.

Save lives from the workplace to anyplace. For more information on this topic, visit nsc.org/justdrive. 

 

Are You a Multitasking Whiz?

TAKE THIS QUIZ AND FIND OUT! 

Q1: A screen built into a vehicle’s dashboard is always safe to use while driving. 

ο True 

ο False 

 

Q2: If my boss calls or texts me when I’m driving, my safest action is: 

A. Answering it right away – the boss might think I’m goofing off 

B. Pulling over and parking before returning a call or answering a text 

C. Waiting until I’m at a stop sign or red light to respond 

 

Q3: I can safely use my phone, change a music playlist or program my GPS when driving in light traffic. 

ο True 

ο False 

 

Q4: Which of these tasks are safe to do while driving? 

A. Talking on the phone with a wireless headset 

B. Using my phone’s voice-to-text system to send a text 

C. Scrolling through touchscreen menus to find a new podcast 

D. All of the above E. None of the above 

 

Q5: Talking to passengers while you are driving is less distracting than talking to someone on the phone.

ο True 

ο False

 

Quiz answers are available at: Eliminating preventable deaths (nsc.org)

NATIONAL WORK ZONE AWARENESS WEEK

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week—themed “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.”— scheduled for April 26 - 30, 2021, reminds all drivers to watch out for state department of transportation (DOT) and private sector employees who work within inches of their vehicles. Extra attention is required for everyone's safety.

National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season that encourages safe driving through highway work zones. The key message is for drivers to use extra caution in work zones.

Drive Safe. A reminder that work zones need everyone’s undivided attention. When approaching a work zone, motorists should always slow down, follow all posted signs, be alert, and remain calm. Risky driving behavior affects more than just the driver – everyone’s lives and families are at stake.

Work Safe. Technology is helping to make work zones safer by collecting data and automating processes, which can remove workers from dangerous situations and provide motorists with important information. It is also a reminder that work zone safety begins with workers who are dedicated to safety.

 

Save Lives. If we ALL work together, we can achieve zero deaths on our roads and in our work zones!

 

According to the federal DOT, a “work zone is an area of a highway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities. A work zone is typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement markings, and/or work vehicles.”

About 700 people, including over 100 workers, are killed every year in work zone accidents. That means nearly four in five of the victims are drivers and their passengers. More than 40,000 people are injured in work zones annually. Drivers using their cell phones are 4 TIMES more likely to be involved in a crash.

Wednesday, April 28 is Go Orange Day 2021

All roadway safety professionals across the country are encouraged to wear orange on Wednesday to proudly show their support of work zone safety. Go Orange Day and NWZAW is an important time to show your support of the roadway safety industry, especially to the families of victims who have lost their lives in work zones. Post your photos and videos to social media with the hashtags #GoOrange4Safety and #NWZAW.

 

Scary Statistics:

When driving through work zones, even the smallest mistake can be deadly.

•             In 2019, there were 762 work zone fatal crashes resulting in 842 deaths.

•             In 2018, there were an estimated 123,000 crashes in work zones.

•             Four out of five people killed in work zones are motorists – not highway workers.

•             Most work zone crashes are rear-end collisions.

•             While most major work occurs at night, the majority of work zone crashes occur during daylight hours.

•             Major contributing factors in work zone crashes include: not paying attention, going too fast for conditions, failure to yield the right-of-way and following too closely.

 

Work Zone Safety is Everyone's Business

Safety training and education is one of the best ways to raise awareness about Work Zone Safety. The team at Weeklysafety.com encourages you to have a Safety Meeting or Toolbox Talk on Work Zone Safety with your crews and employees. If your teams do roadside work, then this would be a great opportunity to review safe work zone procedures. If your employees do not do roadside work, then consider having a safety meeting on tips for driving through work zones, like these listed below.

These simple tips could save your life in a work zone:

•             Think Orange! When you see orange signs, cones and barrels, expect a roadside work zone ahead.

•             Stay alert! Look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.

•             Pay attention. Work zone signs will tell you exactly what to expect ahead.

•             Merge early. If drivers merge as soon as they see the signs, traffic will flow more smoothly.

•             Slow down. You may encounter slowed or stopped traffic in an instant.

•             Don’t follow too closely. Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle.

•             Minimize distractions. Just because you might be driving slower doesn’t mean it’s a good time to check your text messages!

•             Plan ahead. Expect delays and allow extra travel time. Select an alternate route if you are running late.

 

The leading cause of highway construction worker injuries and fatalities is contact with construction vehicles, objects, and equipment. These injuries and deaths are preventable through a number of good practices. As our highway infrastructure ages, many transportation agencies are focusing on rebuilding and improving existing roadways. This means more roadwork is being performed on roadways that are open to traffic. At the same time, traffic continues to grow and create more congestion, particularly in urban areas. To avoid major queues during peak travel periods, urban areas are seeing more night work. The combination of more work done alongside increasingly heavier traffic and greater use of night work can result in increased safety considerations for highway workers. However, there are regulations and available resources on good practices that can help workers perform their jobs safely.

Awareness campaigns, like National Work Zone Awareness Week, offer a great opportunity for safety management, business owners and supervisors to highlight the importance and commitment the organization has to worker safety. It doesn’t take a lot of time, money or resources to participate. At minimum, consider an email from management to the staff, a brief safety meeting or a sign on the central bulletin board.

For more information and resources on this year’s NWZAW campaign, visit the official National Work Zone Awareness Week website at nwzaw.org that has been completely updated for the 2021 campaign.

Worker's Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day

On April 28, 2021 the labor movement will once again observe Workers Memorial Day to remember workers killed or injured on the job and to renew the fight for strong safety and health protections.

 

Scheduled Speakers include:
  Nia Winston - Unite Here Local 24
  Joe Miller - IATSE Local 38
  Jeannette Bradshaw - IBEW Local 58
  Robb Miller - UAW - Ford
  Ray Washington - Wayne County Sheriff's Department

Please register in advance.

Fifty years ago, on April 28, the Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect after the tireless efforts of the labor movement, who drew major attention to work-related deaths and injuries, organized for safer working conditions and demanded action from their government. The OSH Act and Mine Safety and Health Act promised workers the right to a safe job. Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer and saved lives. But there is much to be done before the promise to keep all workers safe on the job can be fulfilled.

Worker safety and worker voice go hand in hand. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, workers have come together and used our collective voice to demand and win job safety protections from this highly contagious virus. This year, America’s labor movement and our allies are launching a full-scale national campaign to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would give the tens of millions of workers who want to form a union a fair path to do so.

In the 50th year of OSHA this April 28, we focus on the need to renew the promise of safe jobs for all of America’s workers. We must continue to fight and push forward to ensure safe jobs for all workers through strong unions and strong laws. Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more suffer injury or illness because of our jobs. Far too many workers die from preventable hazards and many more workers get sick from exposure to toxic chemicals. Many employers and workers never see OSHA in their workplace. Penalties are still too low to be a deterrent. Workplace safety agencies have been decimated by a reduction in staff and a stagnant budget. Workers are not adequately protected without retaliation to speak out against unsafe working conditions and to freely join a union.

Please join us this Workers Memorial Day, April 28, to honor the victims of workplace injury and illness and to keep fighting for the promise of safe jobs for all workers.

 

National Safety Stand-Down

 

Despite ongoing efforts by construction employers and safety professionals to prevent falls, provide fall protection systems, and train workers, falls continue to be the leading cause of death in the construction industry. According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 401 construction workers died from falls to a lower level in 2019. To raise awareness of construction falls and work with the industry to better prevent them, the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction was launched in 2012 with leadership from NIOSH, OSHA, and CPWR. Each year, the National Safety Stand-Down event is the cornerstone of the campaign. This year, business leaders, labor organizations, community groups, and other construction industry stakeholders will participate in virtual or socially distanced Stand-Down events from May 3-7. 

To kick-off the week leaders from OSHA, NIOSH and CPWR will share some of the latest data related to OSHA enforcement, incident rates, and underlying causes of falls, as well as real-life stories and new fall prevention resources to use during the Stand-Down week and beyond.

 

PLAN ahead to get the job done safely.

PROVIDE the right equipment.

TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely.

FALLS FROM LADDERS, SCAFFOLDS AND ROOFS CAN BE PREVENTED!

 

 

Am I in danger?

If you use a ladder on a construction site, then the answer is

YES!

Falls are the leading cause of deaths and injuries in the construction industry. 

• Each year, more than 4,000 construction workers are injured so seriously by ladder falls that they miss work. 

• Each year, about 70 construction workers DIE in falls from ladders.

To avoid a fall from a ladder …

  1. Inspect the ladder before every use. Inspect the rails, rungs, feet, and spreaders or rung locks of your ladder for defects or damage every time you use it. If you see any damage, tag it “do not use” and request another ladder in proper working order. And check your ladder’s duty rating – certain ladders may not support you and your toolbelt! All defects are not clearly obvious.

  2. Position your ladder properly. 

For all ladders: 

• Make sure you have level, solid footing for your ladder. 

• Position the ladder near your work to avoid overreaching. 

For extension ladders: 

• Set the base one foot away from the building for every four feet of height. 

• Tie off the ladder at the top – and bottom where possible! The minute you take to tie off could save your life.

  1. Use the ladder safely. 

• Maintain three-point contact with the ladder at all times. 

• Do not stand on the top two rungs of a stepladder, or the top four rungs of an extension ladder. 

• Have your partner hold the ladder to steady it as you ascend. 

• Don’t carry tools and materials while climbing. Use a rope to haul or hoist materials to the upper level!

 

National Electrical Safety Month

National Electrical Safety Month

May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is launching its annual effort to help reduce electrically-related fatalities, injuries, and property loss. This year's campaign theme is “Connected to Safety,” which aims to educate the workforce about solar panel and temporary power safety precautions, and helps businesses prepare their facilities for electric vehicle charging.

There were 166 electrical fatalities in 2019, a 3.75% increase over 2018, and the highest amount of electrical fatalities since 2011. ESFI created this year’s National Electrical Safety Month resources to address workplace safety needs to prevent these avoidable injuries and deaths. “Contact with electricity is one of the leading causes of construction workplace fatalities,” said ESFI’s President Brett Brenner. “This is why workers must receive proper training on how to work with or around electricity safely.”

Mental Distress
EVSE CHARGING SAFETY

National Electrical Safety Month

 

Featured National Electrical Safety Month resources include Solar PV Electrical Safety, which highlights that solar photovoltaic installer jobs are expected to increase at a much higher rate than the average of all occupations. These installers must learn how to stay safe while working with or around solar panels. Temporary Power Safety details the proper safety procedures for working with or around temporary power. Temporary power is essential to construction worksites but poses a risk to workers. Following safety procedures is imperative to prevent accidents with temporary power. Installing Electrical Vehicle Chargers delivers information for businesses interested in installing electric vehicle chargers in their building. As many consumers consider or purchase electric vehicles, business owners may want to consider installing chargers in their facility as an incentive to employees while showing their corporate social responsibility. Electrical safety awareness and education among employees and employers will prevent future workplace electrical injuries and fatalities. 

Electricity is vital to every building, whether residential, industrial, or commercial.  It’s what helps run our businesses and our society as a whole. The importance of electricity cannot be under estimated, in the same way that its danger cannot be taken for granted.

Contact with electricity is a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities, but many of these deaths can be prevented by ensuring qualified electrical workers perform all electrical work. This not only ensures that the work is done right, but also that it is done safely

Trained electrical workers know and understand the requirements of the National Electrical Code and are experienced at compliance with NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

These men and women follow strict safety principles that include daily inspections and evaluating the electrical equipment; planning out every job and conducting job hazard analysis; and identifying the electrical hazards and reducing the associated risks.

A typical safety program that qualified electrical workers go through includes the importance of personal protective equipment, safe work practices, special precautionary techniques, and risk assessment.


 

 

 

HOME CHARGING: ELECTRIC VEHICLE SUPPLY EQUIPMENT (EVSE)

LEVEL 1 EVSE CHARGING

Level 1 provides charging through a standard household plug. 2-5 miles of range per hour charged

  • Ensure your charger or receptacle has GFCI protection to prevent accidental shocks and electrocution 

  • Ensure you are using a dedicated circuit to charge your vehicle. The circuit should not provide power to any other appliance 

  • Use a manufacturer-provided charging cord

LEVEL 2 EVSE CHARGING

Provides charging through specialized 240v charging equipment. 10 - 60 miles of range per hour charged

  • Must be installed by a qualified electrician

  • May require an electrical service upgrade to install

  • Only use outdoor-rated charging stations outdoors

  • Ensure the charging station cannot come in contact with the electrical vehicle

  • Keep the charging cable off the floor to avoid tripping hazards and maintain the life of the cord

LEVEL 3 EVSE CHARGING

Fastest charging option. Not available for residential installation

 

Electrical Safety

June is National Safety Month

 

 

In honor of National Safety Month, here are some Dos and Don'ts to keep you safe on the job site.

DO

✔ Always wear the proper PPE on the job

✔ Always ream your conduits to avoid nicked conductors

✔ Always perform proper lockout tagout procedures on the job

✔ Always inspect your tools and meters to ensure they are safe to use

DON'T

✖ Pull a meter socket out under load

✖ Work on any circuits assuming that it's deenergized

✖ Turn a circuit back on before identifying why it was turned off

✖ Dig or trench without calling the proper company to ensure that it's safe to dig

Below are some safety features on a couple great products from IDEAL

Insulated Hand Tools

➤ 1000V certified

➤ Double insulated handles with non-slip guard for added safety

➤ High visibility handles for maximum comfort and control

Non-Conductive Fish Tapes

➤ 1000V certified

➤ Fiberglass eyelet to help prevent against arc flash

➤ For use around live circuits

 

EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN

EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN

 

Workplace emergencies can happen at any company and may have the potential for severe injury to workers and even extreme property damages. Emergency Action Plans provide procedures in a workplace so workers know what is expected and what to do in the event of an emergency.

According to OSHA, the purpose of an Emergency Action Plan (or EAP for short) is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies.

The goal with any EAP is to prevent employee injuries and structural damage to the facility during emergencies.

 

OSHA Standard 1910.38(b) Written and oral emergency action plans. An emergency action plan must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and available to employees for review. However, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees.

 

In the event of an emergency all personnel must know to do or be aware of:

  • how to report any emergency situation
  • the procedure for emergency evacuation, including the type of evacuation and exit route assignments
  • what does the alarm system look or sound like to alert workers of emergencies
  • designated employees that may be required stay behind to continue critical plant operations
  • how to account for all employees after evacuation
  • procedures for employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • name or job title of employees to contact for plan information

Here is an example of an assembly (muster) point sign that might be found outside of a workplace:

 

Examples of potential workplace emergencies that all staff must be prepared for include:

  • Fires and Explosions
  • Tornadoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Chemical Spills
  • Bomb or Terrorism Threats
  • Active Shooter

The most common type of emergency in a workplace is fire.

OSHA defines an exit route as a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety. An exit route consists of three parts:

  1. Exit access – Designated walkways to the exit that are permanent
  2. Exit – Openings to allow access for exit, most likely doors
  3. Exit discharge – After the exit, a path that leads directly to another location away from the location of the potential emergency, typically a designated area outside
  • Exit signs must be clearly visible and emergency exits must not be blocked.
  • Evacuation maps should be posted in the workplace.
  • Assembly points at the exit discharge should be identified ahead of time and known by the employees.
  • Workers should report immediately to the designated assembly area upon evacuation.
  • No one should go home or to an offsite location other than assembly area during an emergency evacuation.

 

Emergency exits should be clearly labeled, lighted and visible at all times. Emergency exits should NEVER be blocked, even temporarily.

 

While most employees are familiar with fire and emergency drills that lead them to an outdoor assembly point, an EAP will also have shelter in place procedures for other types of emergencies.

When there is a chemical, biological, or radiological release into the environment in such quantity and/or proximity to a place of business, then it may be safer to remain indoors rather than to evacuate employees.

In the case of a tornado warning in the area, employees should proceed to the nearest tornado shelter or designated area inside the building, like an inner hallway.

 

Do your employees know what to do if there is an emergency at your workplace? Does the staff know when to evacuate and when to shelter-in-place?

Preventing Heat Illness at Work

WATER. REST. SHADE.
Keeping Workers Safe in the Heat

 

OSHA's Campaign

OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention campaign, launched in 2011, educates employers and workers on the dangers of working in the heat. Through training sessions, outreach events, informational sessions, publications, social media messaging and media appearances, millions of workers and employers have learned how to protect workers from heat. Our safety message comes down to three key words: Water. Rest. Shade.

Dangers of Working in the Heat

Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions. There are a range of heat illnesses and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition.

Employer Responsibility to Protect Workers

Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards. This includes protecting workers from extreme heat. An employer with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program.

  • Provide workers with water, rest and shade.
  • Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
  • Plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention.
  • Monitor workers for signs of illness.

Workers can stay safe and healthy if employers watch out for their health and remember 3 simple words: Water, Rest, and Shade. Go to osha.gov/heat for more on OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention campaign.

Safety Quote
Take Time To Do It Right
Incident Reporting

Incident reporting is critical to a successful workplace safety and health program. Do your employees know how and when to submit an incident report?

 

All workplace incidents should be reported, documented, and investigated.

This includes any situation in which:

  • an employee was injured or died

  • property or equipment damage occurred

  • an employee became ill while at work due to a possible reaction of workplace conditions

  • any other person (not an employee) was injured or became ill as a possible result of actions caused by the company or an employee

  • an employee was in a motor vehicle accident while driving for their job

  • a near-miss occurred that could have resulted in injury, death, or property damage

A hazard reporting program should also be in effect in every workplace. If any employee sees or has knowledge of any potentially unsafe workplace situation, they must be provided a way to report the hazard to management. To learn more about why hazard reporting is extremely necessary for the safety of the workforce, read this article: Workplace Hazard Reporting.

Accident vs. Incident

In the past, the term "accident" was often used when referring to an unplanned, unwanted event. To many, the word "accident" suggests an event that was random, and could not have been prevented. Since nearly all worksite fatalities, injuries, illnesses are preventable, OSHA suggests using the term "incident" when referring to these events.

Why is incident reporting necessary?

  • Incident reporting provides a process in which the situation can be corrected in order to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

  • If management is not aware of what kinds of problems are occurring in the workplace that may cause or have already caused injury or property damage, then it is impossible to create improved processes that will protect the workers.

  • Prompt medical attention may be needed to ensure a minor injury doesn’t become worse, develop into an infection or become life-threatening.

  • When a minor incident or a near miss is ignored (not reported), the workplace is at an even greater risk for an even more serious incident to occur in the future because the hazard or inefficient process was never provided a chance to be corrected.

  • Documenting all incidents allows a company to track patterns, realize trends, and discover anomalies.

  • Often, a correction implemented to solve a safety hazard or prevent an incident can be translated to process and production improvements.

  • With completed incident reports, a company can protect themselves from undue lawsuits. Without a complete record of what actually happened, there is not much the company can provide in defense, if needed.

  • Reporting a near miss or a minor incident is cheaper than dealing with the costs associated with a major injury, equipment failure, fatality or significant property damage.

  • Feedback from incidents that are reported provides a way to encourage employee participation in the workplace safety improvement strategies.

  • Incident reporting is a key habit that creates a stronger safety culture.

When should an incident be reported?

All incidents, near-misses, and injuries should be reported immediately. The incident reporting process will determine the follow-up required, if any. The employee should not have to make a guess as to whether “their issue or incident” is worthy of an incident report. When in doubt, file an incident report.

How do employees know about incident reporting?

All employees should be trained on the incident reporting process for their company. Ideally, this training is included as part of the on-boarding process for every employee. Another approach is to have the safety manual, with incident reporting included, be required reading for all employees the first week on the job. Throughout the year, holding periodic safety meetings on the hazard, near-miss, and incident reporting processes is always a great idea.

How should an incident be reported?

Every company’s incident reporting process is different. Some companies may require employees to report directly to HR or their immediate supervisor to file a report. Others may have a very convenient online reporting system that employees can access through their company’s intranet. Typically, and at minimum, a company should provide a standard incident report form that every employee knows how to locate and any employee can complete and submit.

What happens after an incident is reported?

After any incident report is submitted, it should be taken seriously. There should never be any punitive damages associated with any employee filing an incident report. Following the company’s incident reporting process, there should be an interview with the employee to ensure all the facts have been collected, the form is complete, and the nature of the incident is fully understood. The incident reporting follow-up process should include an investigation into the incident, medical care provided to the employee (if needed), corrective actions implemented immediately and preventive actions implemented as deemed necessary to prevent future incidents of the same nature. Only then should the incident report be closed and filed. All incident reports should be saved in a secure location.

Do I have to tell OSHA about an injury or incident that happens at work?

All employers are required to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, an amputation as a result of a work-place incident, or the loss of an eye on the job. A fatality must be reported within 8 hours. Hospitalization, amputation and eye loss must be reported within 24 hours. For more information on reporting injuries to OSHA visit this Weeklysafety.com article: Reporting Injuries & Fatalities to OSHA.

Refer to the following resources that provide more guidance on how to investigate a workplace incident.

OSHA Incident Investigation

OSHA Fact Sheet. Root Cause: The Importance of Root Cause Analysis During Incident Investigation

Hosting a safety meeting on incident reporting is an excellent way to get the word out to employees about your incident reporting process and expectations.

Do You Know The Color Of Safety?

Safety colors: A quiz

Safety-related color commands are a part of our everyday lives.

For instance, when we’re driving and see a red sign in the shape of an octagon, we know to stop without having to read the word on the sign. Likewise, green means “go.”

The American National Standards Institute has requirements indicating what specific colors should be used to communicate hazards to workers.

Take this multiple choice quiz to find out if you know what these colors mean.

 

Safety colors: A quiz | Safety+Health magazine safety tips | Safety+Health Magazine (safetyandhealthmagazine.com)

Proper Incident Reporting

Unsafe acts on the job can lead to workplace incidents resulting in injuries, illnesses, or fatalities. Time is critical when reporting an injury.

Workers should be trained and become familiar with the company incident reporting procedure and must report ALL work-related incidents quickly.

When workers report an incident quickly it can provide the company with valuable time to investigate the cause and make sure that workers receive the medical care they need.

 

OSHA Standard 1904.35(b)(1)(i) You must establish a reasonable procedure for employees to report work related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately. A procedure is not reasonable if it would deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness.

 

An injury is considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition, injury, or illness to a worker.

 

OSHA Standard 1904.35(a)(1) You must inform each employee of how he or she is to report a work-related injury or illness to you.

 

Immediately after a work-related incident occurs workers should:

  • Ensure the scene is safe before entering.

  • If needed, call local emergency personnel or 911.

  • Administer first aid if authorized and needed.

  • Not disturb the incident location.

  • Take photos of the incident scene and location, any property damage, and equipment involved.

  • Follow the company internal reporting procedure and quickly notify the appropriate personnel that an incident has occurred.

When an incident is reported quickly it allows the injured worker the opportunity to receive quick and proper treatment that may be needed.

Sometimes an employee may believe they have a “minor” injury and decide not to report it or get the injury evaluated which may cause it to become worse. However, employees should be instructed to follow the internal reporting policy for each incident.

Quickly reporting injuries allows the company the chance to provide options for proper treatment in a timely manner. Not following the reporting process can cause someone to miss out on receiving early treatment and may be a violation of company rules and procedures.

Employees should complete a written incident report promptly while the details of what happened are easy to remember and still on the mind.

OSHA requires a written incident report form be completed by the company within 7 calendar days after a work-related injury or illness has occurred.

Workers should never fear being punished or discriminated against because they reported an incident on the job.

 

OSHA Standard 1904.35(b)(1)(iii)(A)-(B) Employees have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses; and Employers are prohibited from discharging or in any manner discriminating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.

 

Employers and workers benefit from each incident that is reported quickly in these ways:

  • Workplace hazards can be identified and then corrected or removed promptly.

  • Corrective action plans developed after the reported incident can help reduce the potential for more incidents to occur.

  • Workers have the opportunity to get proper treatment after an injury.

Every company is required to notify OSHA about certain types of work-related incidents. OSHA requires all work-related fatalities to be reported within 8 hours of occurrence as well as all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of occurrence.

 

OSHA Standard 1904.39(a)(1)-(2) Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the fatality to OSHA. Within twenty-four (24) hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee's amputation or an employee's loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA.

 

How to report hazards, near misses, incidents, and injuries should all be part of employee on-boarding training, but these reporting procedures always make good topics for weekly safety meetings too!

 

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