Archive for the ‘Safety Matters’ Category

COVID-19 tips

May 13th, 2020 by admin

Running Essential Errands

Grocery shopping, meal takeouts, banking, getting gas, doctor visits — these are among the basic errands that are presenting challenges and questions as communities across the United States take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting close contact. The following information provides advice about how to meet these and other household needs in a safe and healthy manner.

Shopping for food and other household essentials:

  • Stay home if sick.
  • Avoid shopping if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
  • Order food and other items online for home delivery or curbside pickup (if possible).
  • Only visit the grocery store, or other stores selling household essentials, in person when you absolutely need to. This will limit your potential exposure to others and the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others while shopping and in lines.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when you have to go out in public.
    When you do have to visit in person, go during hours when fewer people will be there (for example, early morning or late night).
  • If you are at higher risk for severe illness, find out if the store has special hours for people at higher risk. If it does, try to shop during those hours. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
  • Disinfect the shopping cart, using disinfecting wipes if available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • If possible, use touchless payment (pay without touching money, a card or a keypad). If you must handle money or a card or use a keypad, use hand sanitizer right after paying.
  • After leaving the store, use hand sanitizer. When you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • At home, follow food safety guidelines: clean, separate, cook, chill. There is no evidence that food or food packaging has been linked to getting sick from COVID-19.

Accepting deliveries and takeout orders:

  • Limit in-person contact, if possible.
  • Pay online or on the phone when you order, if possible.
  • Accept deliveries without in-person contact whenever possible. Ask for deliveries to be left in a safe spot outside your house (such as your front porch or lobby), with no person-to-person interaction. Otherwise, stay at least 6 feet away from the delivery person.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after accepting deliveries or collecting mail.
  • After receiving your delivery or bringing home your takeout food, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • After collecting mail from a post office or home mailbox, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Banking:

  • Bank online whenever possible.
  • If you must visit the bank, use the drive-thru ATM if one is available. Clean the ATM keyboard with a disinfecting wipe before you use it.
  • When you are done, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home.

Getting gasoline:

  • Use gloves or disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons before you touch them (if available).
  • After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you get home or somewhere with soap and water.

Going to the doctor or getting medicine:

  • Use telemedicine, if available, or communicate with your doctor or nurse by phone or e-mail.
  • Talk to your doctor about rescheduling procedures that are not urgently needed.
  • If you must visit in person, protect yourself and others.
  • If you think you have COVID-19, let the office know and follow guidance.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when you have to go out in public.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Use disinfecting wipes if available on frequently touched surfaces such as handles, knobs and touchpads.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others while inside and in lines.
  • When paying, use touchless payment methods if possible. If you cannot use touchless payment, sanitize your hands after paying with card, cash or check. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home.
  • Limit in-person visits to the pharmacy.
  • Plan to order and pick up all your prescriptions at the same time.
  • If possible, call prescription orders in ahead of time. Use drive-thru windows, curbside services (wait in your car until the prescription is ready), mail order or other delivery services. Do the same for pet medicine.
  • Check with your doctor and pharmacist to see if you can get a larger supply of your medicines so you do not have to visit the pharmacy as often.

If you or a member of your household has signs of COVID-19, call your doctor first instead of going to the office or the emergency department. Call 911 if you believe it is an emergency.

Find additional information for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

The Rapp Sheet

May 13th, 2020 by admin

Each year the National Safety Council designates certain months to focus our safety efforts. April and June are two such months.

April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month. This year marked the 10th anniversary of this important safety month. We still lose roughly 90 Americans to auto accidents and injure about 700 in distracted driving crashes every day in the United States.

We all have loved ones, friends and/or co-workers who have been affected by loss from a vehicle accident. Severe weather, like icy conditions or fog, is one thing, but a distracted driving accident is something altogether different. Why? Because it is avoidable, every time.

June also has a moniker: National Safety Month. It is time to use NSC resources to promote the safety and health of your employees and/or customers for an entire month. Last year, the NSC sought to focus the month on 1) Hazard Recognition, 2) Slips, Trips, Falls, 3) Fatigue and 4) Impairment.

June 2020 looks a bit different.

June 1-7 is Emergency Preparedness week. Recently I wrote an article on the importance of knowing CPR. Well, the first week of June stresses that in particular. A quick read of the OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.151 will tell you there is not a designated amount of people who must be trained.

The regulation: “1910.151(a) The employer shall ensure the ready availability of medical personnel for advice and consultation on matters of plant health. 1910.151(b) In the absence of an infirmary, clinic or hospital in near proximity to the workplace, which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.”

No clear guideline is in place, so you will have to evaluate your facilities and employee distribution to determine who needs training.

The week of June 8-14 is set aside for Driving Safety. As I stated earlier, April was Distracted Driving Awareness Month. However, driving is a serious enough concern that it also gets a spot in June.

One bright spot you probably will not hear on the nightly news is the NSC’s estimates that motor vehicle deaths dropped 2% in 2019. They also dropped 2% in 2018 and 4% in 2017. That is all great news. According to the NSC, fatalities are estimated to have dropped more than 13% since 2018 in the District of Columbia (-21%) and in six states: Alaska (-16%), Connecticut (-14%), Nevada (-14%), New Hampshire (-30%), South Dakota (-21%) and Vermont (-31%). If you are from one of these places, you have my personal kudos.

Continue to encourage your employees to wear their seat belts, drive sober, put down their cell phones and avoid fatigue driving.

The week of June 15-21 covers ergonomics. Ergonomics is a term not many have heard for a while. It means the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. According to the NSC, poor ergonomics can lead to overexertion, the leading cause of preventable workplace injury. Listening to your body and properly setting up your workstation can reduce your chance of injury. Employers are encouraged to observe and review their employees’ working conditions and make necessary adjustments. Fit the job to the human, not the human to the job.

June 22-30 is the week to encourage Employee Engagement. Complacency kills, and complacent employees may be unaware of the hazards around them. Getting employees engaged can improve an organization’s safety culture and performance. Safety Committees are a great place to start. An engaged employee will quickly see the need for safe work practices once they learn how accidents affect insurance rates and OSHA recording. If you do not have a committee in place or you are interested in starting one, give us a call and we will help you out.

Each year companies are encouraged to share downloadable materials with employees, to create blog posts and distribute newsletters with information pertaining to this special month. The NSC will have plenty of material for June starting in May for you to use. I encourage you to visit nsc.org frequently to find the materials.

Telcom Insurance Group sends out this material as well, usually in our monthly risk management material. If there is anything you need or if you have any questions, please call, text or email me or any of our staff.

Craig Rapp: 903-424-7453 or csr@telcominsgrp.com

The Rapp Sheet

February 12th, 2020 by admin

This quarter I’ve been tasked with writing about the importance of first-aid/CPR training. I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve been a First Aid/CPR Instructor for over 20 years now. I enjoy knowing that there is a possibility I may have inadvertently helped save someone’s life by teaching a basic lesson sometime in my career. If there ever were a more poignant phrase than “knowing and not needing vs. needing and not knowing,” I don’t know it.

My wife, Melissa, is a cardiac cath lab nurse who spent half of her career in the emergency department. I’ve heard the stories, seen the outcome and learned the importance of heart health.

The history of life-saving activities is an interesting one and worth the research. A quick recap, however, is in order. Way back in the mid-1700s, about 400 or so people died in the canals of Amsterdam every year. As a result, a group of citizens formed the Society for Recovery of Drowned Persons, and they dedicated themselves to saving people from the canals. I love that.

Today we see drastic changes from those early days. We have mechanical help at our disposal, from machines that can monitor the heart rate and shock a victim when needed (AEDs) to those that do chest compressions for first responders during transport. Amazing! Our medicines help thin the blood and reduce cholesterol levels. We have medical procedures to remove plaque from arteries in outpatient settings. It truly is a great time to be alive (pun totally intended).

But even with these advances, we still need people to step up and help our fellow citizens. Time is critical when someone isn’t breathing.
I’ve come up with eight reasons why I think training in First Aid/CPR is important. I hope you agree.

  1. First Aid/CPR saves lives. What more is there to be said? I will say more, of course. When a person is in medical crisis, the early stage of stepping in to help may be what keeps that person alive.
  2. It prevents the situation from getting worse. One of the goals of a trained person is to provide temporary treatment until professional help arrives.
  3. It can help to relieve pain and/or discomfort. Placing an ice pack, a pillow or a rolled-up jacket in the right spot can really reduce pain.
  4. It is comforting. We all know what it feels like to know that someone cares about you. When a person demonstrates that caring by action, the comforting effect can be great.
  5. It promotes an attitude of safety. Once you start the process of taking a training class, you become more aware of what is happening around you from a perspective of safety. You begin to see situations and actions that are unsafe and risky. Hopefully, that will translate into your actions changing, as well.
  6. It has been estimated that 25% of ER visits could be avoided with the administering of basic First Aid/CPR. Often people will use the ER almost as their doctor. This drives the cost up for everyone.
  7. OSHA requires it: “In the absence of an infirmary, clinic or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available. 29 CFR 1910.151(b).”
  8. We should want to help our fellow man/woman/person. This is maybe the most important.

If you’re unsure about whether you need to take a class yourself, or whether your cooperative or company needs to provide it for your employees, then I hope this article gives you some insight and influences your decision for the positive. I sincerely wish for each of you the healthiest 2020. I’m sure I’ll be seeing some of you at some point, but until then, stay safe.