Disasters happen. Are you ready?

By Jodi Lombardo, BWC Employee Safety & Health Administration Manager

Disasters happen. Prepare now. Learn how.

Those three sentences form the theme for this year’s National Preparedness Month.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sponsors National Preparedness Month each September. Its goal is to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools and communities.

This month is a great time to learn how to use a fire extinguisher (every home should have one!) and how to keep safe in severe weather.

And it’s always a great time to take a course in lifesaving CPR/AED or trauma first aid. We at BWC offer this training to our own employees.

With the right planning and skills, you’re one of the people your co-workers and loved ones will turn to when disaster strikes. You’ll be instrumental in saving lives in an emergency before first responders can arrive.

This year’s weekly themes are below. Please take some time to review the information contained in each link.

Visit ready.gov or more information on National Preparedness Month.

Ohio State Fair tickets up for grabs!

We’re a proud sponsor of the 2018 Ohio State Fair

You may have noticed we’re running a safety campaign! There are commercials, online messages, YouTube videos and more – all in an effort to reach Ohioans to help keep them safe.

We know that slips, trips, falls, overexertions and driving-related accidents in Ohio make up approximately 60 percent of all serious BWC claims each year.

BeSafeOhio.com is a new website with all kinds of good information to help prevent these kinds of accidents. Whether at work or at home, we want people to think about how they are in control of their own safety and are the first line of defense to prevent injuries that would cause them to miss work or disrupt their normal day-to-day lives.

We are teaming up with the Ohio State Fair to raise awareness about BeSafeOhio.com, and we need your help!

As part of our partnership with the Ohio State Fair, we received a number of admission tickets and a variety of concert tickets.

Help us spread the word about BeSafeOhio.com and you could win some of these tickets.

Here’s how to win!

  1. Follow us on Twitter @OhioBWC so we can direct message you for contact info. (If you don’t have a Twitter account, it’s easy to create one – all you need is an email address and a password).
  2. Look for our tweet about BeSafeOhio.com, starting on July 17. It will include this message: “Ohio State Fair tickets up for grabs! See details, follow us and retweet! https://t.co/zo9uoqitDg #Ohio #giveaway”
  3. Retweet that message to your followers and you could win.

Note: Please check your settings under “privacy and safety” so you can “receive direct messages from anyone.”

The first 50 to retweet will receive a four-pack of admission tickets.

The next 50 to retweet will receive a two-pack of admission tickets.

We’ll keep an eye on retweets and if you’re one of the winners, we’ll contact you privately from @OhioBWC via Twitter direct messaging for your name and mailing address. Winners will be identified using the Twitter date/time stamp.

We also have concert tickets to State Fair entertainment: Reba McEntire, Lee Brice, Styx/Cheap Trick, and Kidz Bop Live. Look out for the tweet promoting those at 1 p.m. Monday, July 23. It will have the message: “Ohio State Fair concert tickets up for grabs! See details, follow us and retweet! #Ohio #giveaway.” There are only five sets of four tickets for those so retweet fast! Again, we’ll direct message winners to see which tickets they’d like, in the order in which they retweeted.

Organizations that do business with BWC, such as third-party administrators, group-rating sponsors, safety council sponsors and managed care organizations aren’t eligible to win. But your non-employee followers are eligible, so make sure to retweet so they benefit. Also, BWC employees and family members are not eligible to participate. Limit one set of fair tickets or one set of concert tickets per Twitter account.

Thank you for helping us raise awareness about safety at home and in the workplace! And, whether you win or not, please stop by our booth in the Marketplace building to see and hear our safety campaign messages first-hand. We look forward to seeing you at the Ohio State Fair.

For safety campaign tips and resources, please visit www.BeSafeOhio.com.

Eight hot safety tips for summer

By Michelle Francisco, BWC Safety Council Program Manager

Heat is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the U.S. It’s also one of the most preventable.

Summer isn’t officially here yet, but now’s as good a time as any to remind folks they can still enjoy the summertime weather without putting themselves or others in danger.

Below are eight helpful tips to be heat smart this summer:

  1. If you’re working outside, stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade often. Don’t wait to drink water until you’re thirsty!
  2. Use a buddy system if you’re working in excessive temperature conditions.
  3. Don’t leave kids or pets alone in the car.
  4. Limit strenuous outdoor activities, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Scheduling strenuous activities in the early a.m. hours can reduce your risk as well.
  5. Wear light colored and loose clothing. Dark colors absorb the sun’s rays.
  6. If you do not have air conditioning, create a plan for where you can go for heat relief – especially during the hottest parts of the day (libraries, theaters, malls, etc.).
  7. Ensure your pets have shade and plenty of water if they’re outside.
  8. Check on family, friends and neighbors who are elderly and sick and may not have adequate protection from the heat.

For those who work outside as part of their job, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration has a wealth of information on its Occupational Exposure to Heat webpage.

Whether at work or at play, symptoms of heat overexertion can range from mild (heat exhaustion) to life-threatening (heat stroke). Preparing yourself for the heat is an often overlooked first step. Watch the weather forecast, get enough rest, stay hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol and dress appropriately.

For more safety tips and information to stay safe this summer, visit BeSafeOhio.com.

We want you to present at OSC19!

By Julie Darby Martin, BWC Safety Congress Manager

Do you have knowledge to share that can keep workplaces safe and healthy? Are you good in front of a crowd?

If so, you could be a potential presenter for our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2019 (OSC19), the nation’s largest occupational-focused safety and health event. We’re now accepting presentation proposals for this multi-day event, scheduled for March 6 – 8, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio.

OSC19 will feature more than 200 educational sessions taught by experts from across the nation. Topics include:

  • Safety management;
  • Government and regulation;
  • Health, wellness and rehabilitation;
  • Emergency preparedness and response;
  • Workers’ compensation;
  • Driving and transportation;
  • Training and education;
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • And much more.

We are seeking one-hour educational sessions, panel discussions and live demonstrations as well as three-hour and six-hour workshops. Typical attendees include occupational safety and risk-management directors, workers’ compensation managers, health and wellness leaders, and individuals with an interest in occupational safety and health, wellness, and rehabilitation of injured workers.

We’re accepting applications until July 13. For application guidelines and to register, visit our call for presentations site. Want to get a glimpse of the event? Check out our OSC18 Twitter recap.

Top 5 posts of 2017

It’s been a busy year on the Ohio BWC blog!

In 119 posts, we covered topics ranging from safety during a solar eclipse to preparing for an active aggressor situation. In between were fraud updates and safety tips from our experts.

Thanks to all of our readers, and those who shared our links and left comments!

Here are the posts you read the most in 2017:

  1. Don’t look at the sun and other not-so-obvious tips!
  2. Foul! Bowling coach crosses the line, commits work comp fraud
  3. Don’t be shocked or surprised – use lockout/tagout
  4. Working hard in the yard? Remember these safety tips
  5. Are you prepared for an active aggressor incident?

We’re looking forward to another busy year of blogging in 2018.  For now, we wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Ohio safety councils gave when others needed it most

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

With Thanksgiving later this week, we’re officially entering the season of giving. However, for a group of Ohio safety councils and their members, the giving spirit arrived early this year.

In August and September, three powerful hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) ravaged the U.S. mainland as well as several U.S. territories in the Caribbean. The storms left horrific destruction, flooding and loss of life in their wake.

People from all over the country stepped up to donate their time, money and expertise to help the victims of the storms. Several Ohio safety councils and their members were no exception.

On the same date in late August, two safety councils (the Cleveland Southwest and Miami County safety councils) contacted BWC Safety Council Program Manager Michelle Francisco about a statewide initiative to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief among all Ohio safety councils.

After receiving BWC’s approval, Cleveland Southwest Safety Council Administrator Kathy Kellums and Miami County Safety Council Program Director Jessica Stein sent a joint fundraising appeal to all 83 Ohio safety councils. “We felt this was a way to say Ohio cares,” said Kellums.

With fundraising already under way for Harvey relief, hurricanes Irma and Maria hit several Caribbean islands with a vengeance, with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands taking the brunt of the storms. In the aftermath of now three devastating storms, the fundraising focus shifted to a larger relief effort. The safety councils decided to donate any funds raised to the Cleveland Salvation Army’s hurricane relief fund.

One Cleveland Southwest Safety Council member, Quadax, Inc., held an employee charity drive, raising $1,694 in employee contributions, and another company from the same safety council donated $500. In the end, the Cleveland Southwest Safety Council, led the way with more than $4,000 in donations. Overall, more than a dozen safety councils and their members collected $8,770.

On Oct. 31, Kellums and Stein delivered the donations to the Cleveland Salvation Army for its relief work in the Caribbean. The safety councils’ donations made it possible for disaster workers to provide up to 15,000 meals each day to residents of St. John, Virgin Islands.

“As BWC’s safety council program manager, I’d like to give thanks to all of Ohio’s safety councils for making our state a safer place to live and work,” said Francisco. “And for going above and beyond when fellow citizens desperately need help.”

Don’t trip for treats

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

Fading daylight, uneven sidewalks and walkways, ill-fitting or restrictive costumes: What could possibly go wrong?

Trick-or-treating is fun for families, but it is also fraught with fall hazards.

Here are some tips from STEADY U Ohio on how to have a scary good time without the slipping and tripping that can lead to a frightening fall.

  • Eat a nutritious meal before heading out to trick-or-treating to make sure you have plenty of energy, and avoid blood sugar level spikes, which can cause dizziness.
  • Carry a flashlight and watch for uneven sidewalks, curbs, debris and other tripping hazards.
  • Choose costumes that fit well: If it’s too loose, it can cause trips; too tight, it can limit movement.
  • Avoid long gowns, capes and accessories that can snag on objects or wrap around legs and trip children or adults.
  • Use makeup instead of masks that limit peripheral vision.
  • Fabulous footwear might complete a costume, but sensible shoes will be less likely to cause a tumble.
  • If you decorate your yard or home for visitors, make sure walkways are free of cords and visitors can’t trip on decorations.
  • Battery-powered luminaries and mini-lights can provide extra lighting at foot level without spoiling spooky effects.
  • If you’re going for that “big scare,” make sure the area is level and clear of objects to prevent falls when people react.

STEADY U Ohio is a statewide collaborative falls prevention initiative, supported by Ohio government and state business partners to ensure that every county, every community and every Ohioan knows how they can prevent falls, one step at a time.

Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for more tips and resources to help you and your loved ones prevent falls.