Ten ways to take action for National Preparedness Month

Whether natural or man-made, disaster can strike at any time. Which is why it’s so important to be prepared.

Next week marks the beginning of National Preparedness Month, so it’s a great time to check on your planning – at home and in the workplace. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, this year’s theme is Prepared, Not Scared. Weekly themes cover everything from saving early for disaster costs to teaching children to be prepared.

From fires and floods to devastating tornadoes like those that touched down in Ohio earlier this year, there are simple steps you can take to be ready when disaster strikes. Below are some tips to help you and your workplace be more prepared and resilient.

  1. Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps, and check access for wireless emergency alerts.
  2. Create and practice emergency communication and action plans.
  3. Participate in a preparedness training or class.
  4. Learn lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid.
  5. Assemble or update emergency supplies, including flashlights, batteries, food, water, and medicine.
  6. Collect and safeguard critical documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
  7. Document property and check your insurance policies for relevant hazards, such as flood, fire, and tornadoes.
  8. Consider the costs associated with disasters and save for emergencies.
  9. Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage.
  10. Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.

Studies show that when employers urge workers to prepare for disasters, employees are 75% more likely to take preparedness actions.

Don’t wait until a disaster or emergency strikes. Take action now to protect yourself, your family and your workplace and be prepared for anything.

Big news! Your Safety Innovation could be worth $10,000

BWC increases prize amount for annual awards

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

Have you thought about applying for our Safety Innovation Awards in years past but put it off or forgot to do it? We have at least 4,000 more reasons for you to not delay any further!

To encourage applications and reward innovation more than ever, we have raised the prize amounts for our 2020 Safety Innovation Awards. The top prize is now $10,000, up from $6,000! Second place receives $6,000, third place $4,000, and honorable mention receives $1,500.

Our Safety Innovation Awards celebrate creative solutions that improve the safety and health in Ohio workplaces. Examples of innovations include:

  • Technological advancements.
  • Creative use of existing equipment.
  • Unique processes and practices.
  • Development of new equipment.

If your organization has developed any of the above to reduce the workplace risks faced by Ohio workers, we want to hear from you. Don’t wait, you have only until Sept. 30 to apply.

Winners in past years include a Mercer County company that captured first place with a device it developed for loading hogs into a trailer with minimal stress to the hogs and potential for injury to workers. Last year, the Springfield company Navistar captured first place with a robotic system that minimized worker exposure to a particularly strenuous procedure involved in the tearing down and welding of truck cabs.

This year’s finalists will receive the previously-mentioned cash awards and statewide recognition at our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo in Columbus March 11-13, 2020. You can check out descriptions of all the 2019 finalists’ innovations here.

We hope the past finalists and their ideas will inspire you to apply for the 2020 awards. If you have any questions about the program, email bwcsafetyinnovations@bwc.state.oh.us or call 1-800-644-6292.

We look forward to seeing your innovations!

Visit us at the Ohio State Fair!

Stop by our booth to learn about our safety and wellness programs  

Hello from the 2019 Ohio State Fair! We’re in the Bricker Marketplace – booth 02 to be exact – and we’re excited to share how we’ve got you covered!

At work – Our safety services make workplaces and jobs safer; we’re also here if you get hurt on the job.

Your health and wellness – We’re keeping Ohioans healthy with wellness initiatives like Better You, Better Ohio!®

On and off the clock – A lot of safe practices overlap between work and home. Recognizing hazards is the first step to avoiding them.

Stop by our booth to learn more! Stick around to play safety plinko, get a photo, or check your eligibility for our Better You, Better Ohio! wellness program.

We’re honored to be part of this traditional event for Ohioans and one of the largest state fairs in the nation.

We hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take these safety steps whether mowing at work or home

By Kennedy Gardner, BWC Occupational Safety and Hygiene Fellow

In recent weeks, four Ohio workers suffered serious injuries while operating lawn mowers.

The injured workers included:

  • A 44-year-old male working in Massillon who died in a mower rollover.
  • A 21-year-old male working in North Canton who suffered multiple injuries in a mower rollover.
  • A 47-year-old male working in Cleveland who suffered multiple amputations from contact with a running mower blade.
  • A 75-year-old male in Chillicothe who suffered multiple injuries in a mower rollover.

Events like these are reminders of the dangers associated with lawn mowing. Whether you’re mowing for work or in your own yard, below are safety tips for operating either a push or riding lawn mower this summer.

Before using any type of lawn mower, make sure to read the instruction manual and ensure the mower is in good working order. Many injuries come from items being thrown from the spinning blades of the lawn mower. Before starting, clear the mowing area of potential flying objects such as:

  • Toys.
  • Stones.
  • Sticks and smaller tree limbs.
  • Trash and other debris.

Avoid running over any objects and steer clear of immovable objects (e.g., trees and large rocks). Also, users should always wear personal protective equipment, including hearing/eye protection and closed-toe shoes.

Another common injury from lawn mowers are cuts. These injuries often occur when sharp mower blades contact hands, feet or other body parts. It may seem like common sense, but never insert hands or feet into the mower or the discharge chute to remove grass or debris. Even if the lawnmower is turned off, the blades could still be spinning and cause a serious injury. Also, only use a mower that has protection from the hot and sharp parts of the equipment, and never remove these safety devices.

The risk of rollover increases when using a riding lawn mower on a hill or slope. When using a riding mower on a slope:

  • Make sure the roll over protection system (ROPS) is in place.
  • Never use a riding lawn mower on a slope greater than 15%.
  • Slow down and use caution when making turns and changing directions.
  • Never start or stop a riding mower when it is going uphill or downhill. Avoid all sudden starts, stops or turns.
  • If the tires lose traction, disengage the blades and proceed slowly straight down the slope.

Unfortunately, lawn mower accidents are the leading cause of amputations among children, with 600 of the 800 injuries involving children in the United States resulting in an amputation. The best way to avoid these horrific accidents is to keep children inside during mowing, and never let a child ride or sit on the lap of the mower operator. Also, keep pets inside when mowing the lawn as well to avoid unnecessary injuries or accidents.

Always keep safety as a priority and be cautious when mowing the lawn this summer. #summertimesafety

BWC chief executive visits southwest Ohio businesses to mark National Safety Month

Companies used BWC safety grants to reduce workplace hazards

BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud, second from left, visits staff at the nonprofit Friends of the Castle in Centerville. The business used a $20,000 BWC safety grant to purchase an elevator for clients with mental and physical disabilities.

BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud visited a nonprofit business in Centerville and a craft brewery in Cincinnati today to mark National Safety Month and thank the businesses for investing in safety.

In her morning visit to the nonprofit Friends of the Castle in the Dayton suburb of Centerville, McCloud watched staff operate an elevator the business purchased last year with a $20,000 safety grant from BWC. She later joined staff at MadTree Brewing Co. in Cincinnati to watch a $40,000 safety grant in action inside the brewery’s production area.

“It is truly gratifying to see our grant dollars at work for such a good cause — keeping employees safe on the job so they can return home healthy and whole each day,” said McCloud. “We are creating a culture of safety across this state, and it’s my hope employers across the state will follow the example of Friends of the Castle and MadTree Brewing.”

Friends of the Castle is a drop-in facility that annually serves 150 people with severe and persistent mental health disorders. Located at a converted residence, the facility offers peer support and activities that foster life and social skills. The company used BWC’s grant to purchase and install a vertical platform lift, similar to an elevator, to help staff and clients who struggle with stairs access the second floor.

 “We are a safe haven and a stepping stone for people who want to be a productive part of our community,” said Lisa Hansford, Executive Director of Friends of the Castle. “This grant made an immediate impact here, not only by reducing the risk of injuries, but by allowing us to expand our programs and services.”

BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud talks to head brewer Ryan Blevins at MadTree Brewing Tuesday about the dry-hop injection system, left, the business purchased with a BWC safety grant.

MadTree used BWC’s grant to purchase a dry hop injection system and an in-line bottle labeler and ink jet coder. The injection system eliminated the need for workers to climb ladders to add hops to fermentation tanks; the labeler reduced the risk for repetitive stress injuries.

“I have no doubt that we’ve avoided numerous injuries with the equipment the BWC grant helped us purchase,” said Ryan Blevins, MadTree Brewing’s head brewer. “Having to carry heavy buckets of hops up 40-foot ladders 20-plus times a day was a disaster waiting to happen.”

BWC allocates $20 million a year to its Safety Grant program, which funds equipment designed to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses for employers covered by the BWC system.

Observed each June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in homes and communities.

“We promote safety all year long,” said McCloud, “but National Safety Month is a great time for employers to reassess safety in their workplaces and commit to a safety mindset each and every day.”

National Safety Month targets preventable accidents

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

According to the National Safety Council’s (NSC’s) Injury Facts, three people in the U.S. die every 10 minutes from preventable accidents.

To raise awareness of the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes and communities, the NSC designates each June as National Safety Month. Once again, the NSC will focus on a safety issue each week of the month.

This first week starts with a logical topic: Hazard recognition. After all, the best way to avoid a hazard is to recognize it exists. The NSC says, “Once you train yourself to spot hazards, you’ll notice them all around you. They may not always be obvious or immediate concerns, but they can still pose a risk to you and your co-workers. The sooner they’re fixed, the better.”

This Learn to See Hazards tip sheet has helpful information to get you started. In the coming weeks the NSC will focus on:

  • Slips, trips and falls.
  • Fatigue.
  • And impairment.

The NSC has free materials, including posters, tip sheets, articles, family activities, special offers, social graphics and more. Go to the NSC website to sign up to receive these materials.

We encourage you to take advantage of the resources the NSC offers to keep you, your co-workers and your family safe this month and throughout the year.

Share your knowledge at OSC20!

By Julie Darby Martin, BWC Safety Congress Manager

Do you have the experience to help make workplaces safer and healthier? Are you comfortable speaking to a crowd?

If so, you could be a presenter at our Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2020 (OSC20), the nation’s largest occupational-focused safety and health event. We’re now accepting presentation proposals for this multi-day event, scheduled for March 11 – 13, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.

OSC20 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, 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.

OSC20 will also offer a virtual conference element. This live-stream format will allow viewers to attend a track of sessions from their personal computer or mobile device. When submitting your proposal, you will have the option to express interest in, opt-out of or pose questions regarding your session being considered for the virtual conference.

We’re accepting applications until July 19. For application guidelines and to submit your proposal, visit our call for presentations site. Want to see highlights from our most recent event? Check out our OSC19 Twitter recap.