Construction Safety Talk Series − The Fatal Four

4/4/2016 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

So many different activities occur in the construction industry, and with those activities come risk; at times, high risk. In 2014, 20% of workplace fatalities occurred in the construction industry, totaling 874 deaths.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics identified four causes of death that were responsible for over half of those construction worker fatalities.

Nicknamed the Fatal Four (also, the Focus Four), they are:
•  Falls (accounted for 349 deaths)
•  Electrocutions (74 deaths)
•  Struck by Object (73 deaths)
•  Caught-in / Between (12 deaths)

These hazards are not exclusive to the construction industry, and these hazards, no matter where you are, can have similar results. After all, a fall is a fall, and electricity is electricity.

Over the next four weeks we will discuss each hazard in greater detail, including:
•  Fall prevention
•  Dropped items / swinging items
•  Pinch points and collapse areas
•  Electricity dangers

We will cover how to be proactive in the prevention of these hazards (which is most important!), and how to react effectively if an incident occurs. Stay tuned, stay safe, and For Safety’s Sake – Do Something!



Emoticons Can Kill?

3/21/2016 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

Do you text? Read emails on your phone? Look at social updates? View your calendar? Browse the internet? I know, you may be thinking…”Well I don’t do that while I am driving!” If that’s the case, then I cannot be more proud of you and the decision you have made regarding safety! However, this is not a message regarding phone usage while driving, This message is about the dangers of texting and walking. By the way, the article on the newspaper is a true story!

Did you know that the number of emergency room visits for distracted walking injuries doubled between 2005 and 2010 to more than 1,500? This is just one of many statistics showing that distracted walking injuries are on the rise. And in 2011, for the first time ever, the National Safety Council started including distracted walking as a category in its annual report on unintentional deaths and injuries. This ongoing trend has even inspired a new word for these distracted walkers: Petextrian (n. one who texts while walking, usually unaware of their surroundings).

Why has this become such an issue? Texting while walking divides our attention on what we are doing, what we are looking at, and what we are paying attention to. This increases our chance of angering those around us (running into people, talking too loud on your phone in a public area, etc.), or worse, getting injured (falling, running into objects, getting hit by a car, etc). Ultimately, texting and walking is a lose-lose situation; and you don’t want it to be your life that you lose!

Remember the Basics (they’re important to everyone’s safety)

  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Keep your eyes on the road, sidewalk, or path….slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of accidents and injuries.
  • Use caution when on the phone at all times, no matter what you are doing.
  • Take a break from the phone and social media when in route…it will be okay.


Emergency Preparedness

3/7/2016 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

Many people are concerned about the possibility of a public health emergency such as a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or disease outbreak. You can take steps now to help you prepare for an emergency and cope if an emergency happens. To help you prepare, we’ve provided step-by-step actions you can take beforehand to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Prepare A Kit (Plan for at least a three day supply)

  • Food and water: one gallon of water per person per day, foods that won’t spoil, can opener, and basic utensils.
  • Health supplies: medicines, medical supplies.
  • Personal care items: soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, baby wipes, etc.
  • Safety supplies: first aid kit, emergency blanket, multipurpose tool (that can act as a knife, file, pliers, and screwdriver), and whistle.
  • Electronics: flashlight, radio (battery-powered, solar, or hand-crank), cell phone with chargers, and extra batteries.
  • Misc: map, cash, keys, and copies of important documents.
  • Children supplies: bottles, formula, baby food, diapers, games and activities.
  • Pets supplies: food, water, litter box, cleaning supplies, transport supplies, toys.

NOTE: Check and replace your supplies throughout the year to keep it fresh. Know Your House: Find out where your gas, electric, and water shut-off locations are, and how to turn them off. Prepare For Everywhere: Emergencies can happen anywhere. Remember to prepare supplies for home, work, and vehicles.

Make A Plan
Family communication plan. Know emergency phone numbers. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to text. Text messages may go through even when phone lines are busy.

Family disaster plan. Know the types of emergencies in your area, what the warning signs are, and where to seek shelter. Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. Determine the best escape routes from your home. Review these plans with all members of your family. Practice your disaster plans by running drills with the whole family.

Be Informed
Check with your local emergency management agency to find out what kinds of emergencies could happen in your area. Then: Find out how to get local emergency alerts. Check with your local health department or emergency management agency to see how they share emergency information.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issues severe weather watches, warnings and advisories to alert the public when dangerous weather conditions are expected in the US. Do you know what each of them means?

Watch – A weather watch means there is the potential or conditions exist for a dangerous weather event.

Warning – A weather warning means that a dangerous weather event is imminent. Immediate action must be taken to protect life and property.

Advisory – A weather advisory means weather conditions that are less serious than a warning are imminent. These events may cause a significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to a situation that may be threatening to life and property.

This information is brought to you from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For more detailed information about emergency preparedness visit: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/index.asp


Are You Committed to Safety?

2/29/2016 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

Are you a gambler?  Are you willing to risk it all? 
What happens when we “knowingly” commit an unsafe act or risky behavior?  Ask yourself – Who loses the most?  Who is affected by YOUR actions?

No matter if the risky behavior is on the job, at home or even on vacation, the consequences can be the same.  The personal injury, financial burden, business impact, tarnished image and even death are all a reality when we are unsafe.  With all this in mind, people need to make a decision that can lower and hopefully remove unsafe situations and bad behaviors.

The Weekly Safety Tips are one tool to help you learn about what can cause problems in your life.  Sometimes they fit and sometimes they don’t but when they don’t, should you just ignore it?  NO. We have an obligation to, not just protect ourselves but, protect others.  Maybe it is a coworker, a friend, a stranger or even a family member.

For Safety’s Sake – Do Something to prevent a bad situation from occurring!

To learn more about safety training, safety knowledge, or safety issues please visit:
Safety Council of Northwest Ohio at www.scnwo.net

National Safety Council website at http://www.nsc.org

Make A Commitment.

One way to impact your own personal safety is to make a commitment.

So what is commitment? It is defined in Webster as:

1. An agreement or pledge to do something in the future.

2. Something pledged.

3. The state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled.

The true purpose is to help you understand the consequences and to strive to be safer at work, home, and play.



ALERT! Poor Communication Is A Safety Issue

2/15/2016 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

Although we spend 80% of our day communicating, 50% of that time is spent listening, while retaining only 25% of what we hear!

Communicating effectively is not always easy, but it helps us avoid conflicts, reduce errors, promote a positive environment, and eliminate misunderstandings with others. Poor communications can be a safety hazard since the message may not be clear or understood. As professionals, we all have an obligation to protect others. If there is a hazard or if someone is at risk – SAY SOMETHING!


Communicating and Listening

Communicating what we want to say is more than just words that are coming out of our mouth. The rest of the message is expressed through our tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, and how we engage the listener; are you making eye contact, are you giving your full attention?

To be a good communicator:

  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Know what you want to say
  • Stick to the point
  • Have the right body language


Just hearing the message is why we only retain 25% of what we hear. We can improve our listening skills by being active listeners. Active listening is not just hearing what is being said, but understanding the whole message.

To be an active listener:

  • Pay attention. Do not interrupt!
  • Show that you are listening.
  • Provide feedback.
  • Defer judgment.
  • Respond appropriately.


For more information on active listening, visit: www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.htm



2/1/2016 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

Sign Collage“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign” is a great song from Five Man Electrical Band that puts into perspective our attitude about the overabundance of signage everywhere we go. Today we really do have signs for everything; signs that tell us what do and how to do it, where to go and how to get there, where we can’t go, what we have to wear, what will harm us and where to go if we get harmed…

But do we really pay attention to them?

This clutter of cultural communication is a direct result of our need for it, and we do need to pay attention.

What would happen if…

  • we ran stop signs or drove the wrong way down the highway?
  • we disregarded poison warnings on chemicals and cleaners?
  • we didn’t pay attention to slippery when wet or hard hat zone signs?
  • we didn’t have warning labels on moving machinery or construction equipment?

Signs tell us, quickly and to the point, what is going on and what we need to be aware of. They are standardized so we can travel to different places and still understand their message. These seemingly restrictive icons protect us.

Think of them as colorful reminders that seep into our subconscious so that we can navigate our day safely, and without incident.

If YOU don’t pay attention to signs,
you may be headed in the WRONG direction!



1/11/2016 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

Now that January is here, it is time to review past injury and near miss reports. Analyzing these trends can improve workplace safety for the entire company by showing us possible safety concerns, and making us aware of the need for hazard prevention. A very important way to help predict incidents is to use the new SSOE Group “For Safety’s Sake – Do Something” Safety Observation Cards.

How This Works and Who is Involved

Safety Observation Cards
•Are a key tool to help employees become engaged in workplace safety.
•Help identify possible hazards and document corrective actions.
•Make it easy to identify behaviors with a simple to use, standardized card.
•Allow you to reward someone else for a safe work behavior.

The Safety Management Team
•Collects the Safety Observation Cards, records, and reviews the data.
•Identifies hazardous behaviors or situations.
•Takes corrective actions to prevent future incidents.

Employees (YOU)
•Should always try to “Do Something” to prevent a coworker from getting injured.
•Should utilize the Safety Observation Cards.
•Should STOP unsafe behavior.
•Identify hazards to improve safety through discussion with others.
•Share your findings with the company and also to others in the area.

•Identifying an at risk behavior should always lead to a corrective action.
•Positive communication must always be given no matter if at risk or safe.

The more Safety Observation Cards completed, the better chance we have of preventing workplace injuries.



1/4/2016 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

Who is responsible for the creation of safety rules? It was the guy we’ve all heard about who cut off two of his fingers after he removed the guard on a saw. He was helped by the machinist who didn’t have the time to go back to the lunch room for safety glasses and lost an eye when the bit broke in the drill press. They both got advice from a co-worker who had his head split open by a falling hammer because he “just plain didn’t like to wear hard hats.” Why write the rules? EACH AND EVERY SAFETY RULE CAME ABOUT BECAUSE SOMEONE WAS HURT, MAIMED – OR KILLED. Their misfortune contributed to our knowledge of how accidents happen; and how to prevent them. Rules are created in order to help avoid similar accidents or injuries. Who is protected by these rules? You. Your safety practices help you avoid life altering accidents, including death and dismemberment. Your company. Investing in employee safety ensures that your company will have employees to drive the success of the business. No employees; no business. Your company provides the tools, equipment, and conditions that will help employees do their best, while providing an overall safe place to work. In return, the company expects that employees will follow work and safety rules, and the Governmental standards that must legally be followed.

Employee Benefits:

  • Healthy, happy employees
  • Lower cost employeepremiums
  • Increased profit sharing
  • Increased jobs, more work
  • Job security at work
  • Increased profits

Employer Benefits:

  • Reduced fatalities, injuries
  • Lower insurance costs
  • Improved competitive edge
  • Positive customer relations
  • Longevity in business
  • Lower operating costs


Anticipated Results:

By working together, a win-win situation is created!


Plan Ahead for Holiday and Winter Travel

12/14/2015 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

The holidays are fast approaching and so is the need to prepare and protect yourself during the hazardous winter driving ahead. Your car needs to be mechanically fit and you need to be mentally prepared for the travel ahead of you.

Think about your family and friends that are counting on you to deliver them safely during the cold, ice, and snow over the winter months. Consider others who have not planned ahead and are not cautious drivers. They are the drivers you will have to be ready to avoid on the slippery winter roads.

Car: Your car needs to be winterized and running at peak performance for safe winter driving. Have a strong battery, fluids checked and full, fresh windshield wipers, and good tires for traction and control. Now is a good time to have all of the car’s systems checked before the first surprise snow and ice storm hit. Keep the gas tank full and your cell phone charged.

Plan Your Trip: Always check the weather and plan accordingly – expect the unexpected. Program your car radio for traffic reports and emergency messages and check the weather apps on your phone. Let others know your route and travel times and give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination. Keep a minimum of extra clothing, a blanket, high calorie non-perishable food, and a first aid kit in your car. Depending on your travels, you will likely need to customize your survival kit.

Prepare Yourself: Stay rested – stay alert. Driving in ice and snow requires you to be mentally alert and rely on past driving experience to analyze situations and stay safe. Visibility is often less, while reaction and stopping times are greater, during winter driving. Slow down, increase your distance between cars, and avoid texting and talking on the phone when driving in winter conditions.

Protect Yourself: Always buckle up and make sure your passengers are, too. Slow down and leave plenty of room for snow plows to pass by, as they may cover your windshield with plowed snow as they pass, possibly eliminating visibility until your wipers can clear the snow. If your vehicle breaks down, pull as far off of the road as possible. Stay in the car and call for help. For road emergencies call 911.


Remember: Most accidents are caused by drivers following too closely and failing to yield and maintain control.

For more winter driving tips please visit: AAA Winter Driving Tips



“For Safety’s Sake – Do Something!”

11/2/2015 - Posted by Ronda Friesel

Everyday activities including work, play, school, shopping, travel, and just about everything we do involves some sort of safety risk. So how do we protect ourselves and others from these potential injuries?

By far the most important way to prevent injuries is to train ourselves to be vigilant and be able to recognize conditions that could cause injury to ourselves and others. It’s great to be able to recognize and avoid injuries, but that is not enough!

What do we do after that? Do we just walk on by? Do we tell someone or file an Incident Report? Still not enough!

If possible, you should always try to “Do Something” to eliminate that risk.

  1. If you see a spill or trip hazard clean it up, mark it, or move it if you can.
  2. If you see someone struggling with an awkward or heavy load help them out.
  3. If you see someone working without the correct PPE or using the wrong tool, talk to them about the safe way.
  4. If you see someone working safely, compliment and thank them to reinforce their safe behaviors.
  5. If you see something that you can’t immediately address then you need to tell someone who can eliminate the safety risk and/or file an Incident Report for immediate attention.

Safety Observation Cards

  1. Safety Observation Cards make it easy to record items that need to be corrected, items that could be improved, or to recognize and reward safe behavior and work practices.
  2. Safety observations are a key action to measure how well workers are engaged with safety.
  3. Safety observations help to create a safe and healthy environment for everybody!