Accident Prevention |
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Winter Preparation | Holiday Safety
| Hot Weather
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Summer Safety |
Severe Weather Planning
The Environmental Safety Department shares brief safety
and risk management principles, practices and ideas identified as a
"Safety Minute" for your consideration and application across the
campus. The first Safety Minute relates to accident prevention.
According to the National Safety Council, these are some of the most
common human factors that contribute to accidents:
- Negligence - Failure to observe safety rules or instructions
or to maintain equipment.
- Anger/Temper - Causes one to become irrational and to
disregard common sense.
- Hasty Decisions - Acting before thinking can lead people to
take hazardous shortcuts.
- Indifference - Lack of attention to the task; not alert;
- Distractions - Interruptions by others (perhaps caused by
family troubles, bad news, horseplay) while someone performs normal job
duties or non-routine hazardous tasks.
- Curiosity - Workers do something unexpected just to see what
- Inadequate Instruction - Results in an untrained or
improperly trained worker.
- Poor Work Habits - Cluttered work place, floor, loose
clothing, wearing jewelry.
Supervisors, please print this information and distribute to those
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The office can be as dangerous as any other work environment. The
potential exists for cuts, burns, slips, trips and falls, crushing
injuries, repetitive motion syndrome, eyestrain and other injuries. The
following safety practices apply to any office setting:
- Furniture with sharp corners, projecting edges or wobbly legs should
be reported to Physical Plant for modification, repair or replacement.
Chairs should be used properly and well maintained to
Chairs, desks, tables or other furniture should not be used in lieu
of a ladder.
File, desk and table drawers should be closed when not in use to
avoid tripping or striking injuries.
Only one file drawer should be opened at a time and never
open while unattended.
Ideally, the top file cabinet
drawer should be less filled
than other drawers.
Close file drawers slowly to avoid pinching fingers.
Blades of paper cutters should be closed when not in use.
Hands should be kept clear of printer carriages,
when in use.
Paper cuts can be minimized by use of rubber finger guards and
sponges for moistening.
Scissors, paperclips, thumbtacks, razorblades, etc. should be
stored and used cautiously.
Floors and walkway surfaces must be kept clean, dry and
Stored or stacked objects must not be placed where they are hard to
reach or where they might fall.
Office "avalanches" can result from faulty stacking of heavy boxes,
papers, books and other office materials above your head on the top
Hallways, stairs and lobbies shall not be used for storage of any
- Replace all frayed wiring, improper grounding and malfunctioning
- Remain alert for telephone, extension and electrical cords,
loose carpeting, and objects that might cause a trip and fall.
For a safe work place, report, repair and replace all potential
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The following is a checklist for your automobile to prepare for
motoring safety in the winter season. Please post for those without
access to a computer.
- Check battery - make sure connections are tight and
corrosion-free; have a mechanic perform a load test on the battery.
Mechanics generally recommend replacing a battery with less than a year
remaining on the warranty.
- Check fluids: check coolant level and if the mixture of
water/antifreeze is correct (usually 50/50); windshield wiper fluid
(winter type); check brake fluid; and check clutch or transmission
- Check filters: check oil and filter for replacement; check
air filter for replacement; check service records to see if other filter
replacements are due.
- Check belts and hoses: push and pull on belts and squeeze
hoses (a rule of thumb is belts that give more than one inch of movement
with push and pull might need adjustment); hoses should return to
original shape and not be extremely soft; replace cracked or fraying
belts or weak hoses.
- Check tires: inspect tread depth - use the penny test (insert
a penny into the tread groove and if you can see the top of Lincoln's
head, the tire needs to be replaced); monitor tire pressure twice per
month during the winter. A tire inflated to 32 psi on a 70 degree day
will register as (under-inflated) 26 psi in freezing weather.
- Check wiper blades: inspect for cracks and wear.
- Check all light bulbs: inspect bulb operation including brake
lights and high beams; also test emergency flashers.
- Lubricate all door and trunk locks with WD-40 or graphite to
keep them from freezing; never use hot water to thaw locks or to de-ice
windshields. If you are alerted to an ice storm or snow, try covering
your windshield with an old doormat or carpet sample - I learned this
trick from a volunteer firefighter.
- Check repair records to see if general tune-up is due - spark
plugs, ignition coils, fuel injection, emission controls, brakes, etc.
- Prepare an EMERGENCY KIT - flashlight, flares, first-aid
blanket, warm clothes, gloves, hat, paper towels, snow shovel, snow
brush, ice scraper, washer fluid, packaged food, and water. Kitty litter
can be poured under tires to improve traction if the vehicle gets stuck
in the snow. Put all these in an inexpensive nylon duffle bag and keep
it in your trunk. The bag can be easily moved around, when necessary.
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Here are some quick
safety tips that you may benefit from:
Cold and flu season is here. What can you do to keep healthy?
A recent study estimated the economic cost of lost productivity due to the
common cold at nearly $25 billion. To help keep workers healthy and on
the job, try a back-to-basics approach. Emphasize proper handwashing
techniques, getting enough rest and practicing "respiratory etiquette."
Encourage workers who are ill to stay home to protect others. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a fact sheet
on preventing the transmission of colds and flu on the job.
CELL PHONES SPEED NEEDED
HELP: "ICE" or "In Case of Emergency"
Rescue personnel are
asking people to program emergency contacts into their cell phones'
address books as a way to easily reach a family member or emergency
contact should an illness or accident render one unconscious. It's
a good idea not only for you, but to pass along to all employees as well
as their family members.
Here's how it works:
Individuals program a new contact into their cell phone address book
with the letters ICE followed by the name and phone number of their
emergency contacts. These individuals should agree to be the ICE contact
and they should be supplied with the individual's family contacts,
primary physician, work contact and also medical history, which should
list allergies, current medication and previous medical procedures.
For more information,
Holiday safety tips from
for the HTML version.
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OSHA Tips to Protect Workers in Hot Summer
Simple precautions, such as those listed on OSHA’s Heat Stress Card,
can prevent many heat-related deaths and injuries. Please share this
information with those who work outdoors and their supervisors.
Encourage workers to drink plenty of water – about 1 cup of cool
water every 15 to 20 minutes, even if they are not thirsty – and to
avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks that
dehydrate the body.
Help workers adjust to the heat by assigning a lighter workload and
longer rest periods for the first 5 to 7 days of intense heat. This
process needs to start all over again when a worker returns from
vacation or absence from the job.
Encourage workers to wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting
clothing. Workers should change their clothes if they get completely
saturated with perspiration.
Use general ventilation and spot cooling at points of high heat
production. Good airflow increases evaporation and cooling of the
Train first aid workers to recognize and treat the signs of heat
stress and be sure all workers know who has been trained to provide
aid. Also train supervisors to detect early signs of heat-related
illness and permit workers to take a break when they become
Consider a worker’s physical condition when determining fitness to
work in hot environments. Obesity, lack of conditioning, pregnancy,
and inadequate rest can increase susceptibility to heat stress.
Shorter, more frequent work-rest cycles are best. Schedule heavy
work for cooler times of the day and use appropriate protective
clothing. Monitor temperatures, humidity, and worker’s responses to
heat at least hourly.
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Slips and Falls
Slips and falls might happen as a result of stepping on stacked
materials, water, ice, solvents, lubricants and more. These produce
conditions that are not always apparent. What can you do to avoid this?
In cold weather, be alert to the potential presence of ice and snow
patches on walkways and entrance stairs. Physical Plant treats these
areas with salt and sand. However, there may be some untreated sections
as a result of traffic. Remember that shaded areas take the longest to
thaw and require extra caution.
As you enter buildings on wet days, remember to dry your feet at the
entrance and proceed cautiously into the foyer until you determine the
traction of your footwear. Walk with smaller steps and with your hands
slightly away from your sides. DO NOT keep your hands in pockets as you
transition into a building. If you are carrying something, use added
care since these may add to balance problems. Close umbrellas before you
enter to reduce water in the building and to reduce distractions as you
move into the foyer.
IF A FALL OCCURS, you can minimize injury by falling correctly:
Bend elbows and knees to absorb shock, roll with the fall, protect your
head by tucking toward a collarbone, use hands and insides of forearms
to help break the fall, yelling and exhaling as you fall. You will fare
better in a fall if you are relatively loose and relaxed, rather than
stiff and tight - that’s one reason to yell when falling.
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Please print and post this information for those that have limited access
For 2010, the NFPA reported that 1,331,500 fires killed 3,120
people, injured 17,720 and cost 11.5 billion in property damage
in the United States. Did you know that a small flame can grow
into an out-of-control blaze in less than 30 seconds? Or that
smoke and toxic gases from a fire kill more people than flames
do? Here are some things that you can do to be prepared for a
Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and
test them monthly.
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year
(New Years Day and July 4th are easy to remember).
Keep fire extinguishers in your kitchen, garage, and
automobile (and ensure they are in working order).
Set up and practice a household fire escape plan.
Make sure that everyone in the household knows two ways
to escape from every room in your home.
Know your escape route options for your work area.
Know where the fire extinguishers are in your room or
Become familiar with how to use a fire extinguisher (training
Remember that elevators may not be used once a fire alarm
An enclosed stairwell provides up to 90 minutes of
protection from smoke and fire as long as the hallway doors
While on an upper floor of a building, individuals that
require the use of equipment for mobility should proceed to the
nearest fire exit stairwell and remain near the landing of the
stairs but clear of the door and the stairway path.
During a fire emergency, faculty and/or staff should
alert emergency responders and University Police regarding the
location and need for transport for individuals unable to
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Summer is a time that many of us have occasion to travel frequently and
utilize portable gas cans for our lawn equipment or recreational
vehicles. The subject of this safety minute is fueling vehicles
and filling portable gasoline cans. The fueling process causes the
release of a significant amount of gasoline vapors near the tank fill
point on a vehicle or can. These vapors are extremely flammable
when mixed in proper proportion with air. The introduction of a
spark in the area of the vapors can cause them to ignite.
You may have occasionally noticed some (irritating) static sparks that
happen when exiting a vehicle. These usually happen while
contacting a metal part of your vehicle immediately after exiting.
If a spark such as this occurs during the fueling process, it may ignite
the vapors that are released. The chances of this may seem remote, but
it happens more frequently than you might suspect. Further, it is easy
to avoid by changing some things that you might be doing while fueling.
There is an attachment to this email that gives research findings and
preventative suggestions. I would add to these that you should always
remove a portable can from your trunk or truck bed and place the can
directly on the ground before you start fueling. Always touch the
metal on your car at a point away from the fuel door (i.e., touch the
metal on the drivers' door) to release any such static buildup EVERYTIME
you exit a vehicle to begin fueling.
Also, don't forget that cell phones are not intrinsically safe for use in
an area that has flammable vapors; it is best to leave them in the
vehicle while you are fueling!
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Severe Weather Planning
Hurricanes typically provide
advanced warning and do not pose the same type of surprise element
associated with tornados. Although the Eastern
Shore has not
historically been host to documented tornados, that may
not be the case in the future. Please utilize the
following information as guidance in the event of impending severe
weather. Please be aware that the descriptions for "tornado" may be
substituted with "hurricane".
TORNADO WATCH: Conditions are such that storms capable of producing
a tornado may develop. During tornado watch conditions, authorities
typically ask that smaller objects (such as mowers, grills, bicycles,
etc.) are moved indoors to prevent them from becoming projectiles in
TORNADO WARNING: A tornado has either been sighted or it is highly
probable that one will develop. The issuance of a "warning"
condition by the national weather service (and local news agencies) will
be followed by instructions to quickly move to shelter. This is often
referred to as "evacuate in-place".
EVACUATION IN-PLACE: Once a tornado warning has been issued it is
important to not go outdoors; the exception would be if the area did not
have an appropriate evacuation in-place (safe) area. The
alternative is to briefly go outside to relocate to the nearest
evacuation in-place location (e.g., Dogwood Village residents will
evacuate into the lowest level of the Commons and occupants of storage
buildings near the athletic fields should evacuate to Power
Professional). However, be advised that this evacuation process
currently applies to VERY FEW AREAS. Do not get in your car in an
attempt to outrun a tornado as they have been known
to toss even large trucks
DRIVING: If you are already driving and it appears that a tornado
will overtake you, take shelter in the nearest building (interior room,
lowest level, away from glass). If there is no nearby
building, find a ditch and lie flat, face down, with your hands on the
back of your head. Remember that it is difficult to determine
whether or not a tornado is moving in your general direction!
RESIDENCE HALLS: When you are alerted, grab your pillow (don't
forget your shoes) and go to the lowest floor(s) of your building.
Many buildings have basements; use the lowest floors possible based on
space availability. Stay away from windows and exterior doors.
Follow the directions of your RAs.
St. Martins and Chesapeake should use their closet space; move your
clothes to one side and place a chair in the open space. Chesapeake also
has an enclosed stairway that can be used for evacuation in-place.
Dogwood residents will evacuate to the lowest
level of the Commons and use the entrance near the post office. Move
away from glass areas into corridors that are protected.
OFFICE OR CLASSROOM: When you are alerted, go to the lowest floor
of your building if you are in an area with windows.
Remain where you are if your office or
classroom does not have windows.
Stay away from windows and exterior
doors until an "all-clear" is announced by University
LARGE AREAS: When alerted in an auditorium, gymnasium or theater
move away from areas with windows. In some cases it may be best to seek
shelter in a nearby hallway than to stay a large area with a lot of
HANDICAPPED: Handicapped persons who are mobility impaired must
also make plans to evacuate in-place. If a power outage occurs during
severe weather, elevators may not work. The mobility impaired should go
to a small interior room or closet and avoid windows and exterior walls.
If this type of safe area does not exist, the other occupants should
provide assistance to move the mobility impaired to the evacuation
PLAN AHEAD: Department Heads and their employees should seek out
their best place for everyone to take shelter if the storm happens
during working hours. Everyone should make similar plans at home. Make
sure you have a portable radio, flashlight (with extra batteries), a
first aid kit, work gloves, bottled water and canned food (with a manual
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