Winter 2009 Volume 46

Feature Articles

First Aid People

As an emergency medical technician for a volunteer fire department, Jim Stotser was always grateful for the assistance of civilians trained to handle emergency situations. Today, as an EMC loss control engineer, Stotser works with EMC policyholders on issues relating to first aid and assists them in compliance with OSHA requirements.

According to Stotser, OSHA’s first aid requirement breaks down into three basic parts: (1) employers must ensure the ready availability of medical personnel for advice and consultation; (2) in the absence of a medical facility in near proximity to the workplace, a person or personnel shall be adequately trained to render first aid, and adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available; and (3) whenever the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided.

“As simple as it may sound, understanding the finer points of the OSHA guidelines can be a bit confusing,” admits Stotser, “and fines for non-compliance can be expensive.” We asked Stotser to address some of the most frequently asked questions he fields from policyholders about their first aid programs.

When is an injury reportable?
A reportable injury is one that requires the injured person to return to the doctor or medical facility for a follow-up visit. For example, if a worker suffers a cut, visits an emergency facility for stitches and has to return to have the stitches removed, it is a reportable injury.

What needs to be in a first aid kit?
At a minimum, we recommend having adequate supplies on hand to control bleeding, as well as a cold pack to control swelling. (See article inside for additional recommendations.)

Do I need to train people on CPR?
Although CPR training is not mandated by OSHA, we encourage policyholders to train employees on the use of CPR. This is particularly important for policyholders who deal with the public.

Can you clarify OSHA’s requirement for a bloodborne pathogen program?
Your bloodborne pathogen program should address how you plan to handle situations where blood is present. That includes procedures for cleaning up the blood and disposal of blood-soaked cleaning materials. The plan can usually be stated in less than a page.

What’s the most important element of a first aid program?
From my experience as an EMT, there is no substitute for training personnel on how to respond in emergency situations. That means everything from comforting victims to calling emergency personnel.

Who can I call for objective advice about first aid equipment and services?
Companies who sell first aid resources often provide compelling reasons why their equipment or services will help you comply with OSHA requirements. For a more objective viewpoint, call your EMC loss control representative. Our focus is on helping you protect your workers and reducing the chances of facing OSHA citations.

More information about OSHA’s first aid requirement is available in the Loss Prevention Information Manual at emcins.com.

Photos above: far left and middle photo by Rick Rodriguez/American Red Cross; far right photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross

Text Messaging Ban
President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order prohibiting federal employees from text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles. “This ban sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unaccepted,” commented Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

OSHA’S National Emphasis Program On Recordkeeping
OSHA recently initiated a National Emphasis Program (NEP) on recordkeeping to identify and control underrecorded or incorrectly recorded workplace injuries and illnesses. Industries with high injury and illness rates will be targeted in the NEP. For details, visit osha.gov

Update: Permissible Exposure Limits For Pregnant Workers
According to an OSHA letter of interpretation, the permissible exposure limit for nitric oxide is the same for all employees, including pregnant women OSHA advises pregnant employees and their employers to consult Material Safety Data Sheets to find out whether certain chemicals present reproductive or pregnancy-related hazards. For details, visit osha.gov

WC Claims Decline
The overall frequency of workers’ compensation claims has dropped for the second straight year, according to a report from the National Council on Compensation Insurance. Go to ncci.com to download the complete report.

Matthew Marc Henry, a former EMT who has served on several Cal/OSHA advisory committees and the Associated General Contractors Safety Committee, offers recommendations for a well-balanced first aid kit.

First Aid

In addition to the items noted in the photo, Henry also recommends the following supplies for a complete first aid kit.

Latex-Free Wraps
Latex-free wraps or triangle slings are a must for splinting and binding.

Gloves/Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment is for the safety of the rescuer and the comfort of the injured employee. Gloves should always be latex-free.

Cold Packs/Instant Cold Compresses
Cold treatment is needed for sprains, strains, bumps and bruises.

Pain Meds
Aspirin, nonaspirin and other pain relief items should be available in single-dose packages.

Eye Injury First Aid
Don’t ignore eye injuries. Our list includes eye wash, eye pads and eye drops.

Burn Care
Burns can happen frequently in every line of work, so be prepared with burn treatment materials that match your workplace’s hazards.

First Aid Guide
Remember, not everyone has attended a first aid course or remembers what was taught if they did attend.

Automated Electric Defibrillator (AED)
Although an AED will not fit in your first aid kit, you should give serious consideration to the lifesaving value of placing an AED in your workplace.

Antiseptics and Cleansers for sterilizing a wound.

Antibiotics to protect wounds against infection.

Latex-Free First Aid Tapes to secure gauze.

Scissors to trim gauze.

Gauze Rolls/Gauze Pads/Trauma Dressing for stopping severe bleeding and protecting an injury.

Finding What You Need
First aid is required by OSHA for all businesses, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot for quality first aid items, good service and selection. We found that the top natural searches under “first aid products” on the internet (not the “sponsored” listings) offered everything on our list, along with fair prices, fast service, reasonable shipping and live customer service available though a toll-free number.

Source (with permission): Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, March 2009

Every year, emergencies take their toll on business and industry—in lives and dollars. But something can be done. Businesses can limit injuries and damages and return more quickly to normal operations if they develop an emergency action plan.

Plan Checklist
EMC loss control professionals refer to OSHA’s emergency action plan checklist when developing and/or evaluating such plans. Below are some of the key points from that checklist.

The plan should:

  • Consider all potential natural or man-made emergencies that could disrupt the workplace
  • Contain a list of key personnel with contact information, as well as contact information for local emergency responders, agencies and contractors
  • Identify the conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary
  • Identify how and when employees will be trained so they understand their responsibilities and actions as outlined in the plan

Count on EMC To Help
As you can see, there are numerous details to consider when developing an emergency action plan. The loss control staff at EMC can assist your organization in developing a plan or evaluating a plan you already have in place. EMC also recommends the following online resources to help in the process:

Other Topics

EMC Vice President-Risk Improvement Norm Anderson talks about the EMC difference.

Norm Anderson

EMC's loss control operations are really nontypical for a company ranked in the top 60 property and casualty insurers. In fact, according to the Ward Group (an operational consulting firm that benchmarks insurance companies), EMC spends approximately twice the amount on loss control that our competitors spend.

While other companies our size may have comparable field operations, they have very limited home office functions. For example, many of our competitors' underwriters use a calculator checklist to get a replacement estimate on a building, while EMC has a dedicated cost estimating team.

Generally, only the largest insurers have the expertise to handle sprinkler designs or tackle problems such as mold or dangerous school chemicals. And most of the bigger companies limit such assistance to only their largest accounts. But, EMC bucks the trend by providing those same 'larger insurer' services to all of our commercial policyholders.

All told, EMC is able to combine the more sophisticated service offerings of a larger insurer while still maintaining the personal touch of a smaller operation. That's why our policyholders can always Count on EMC!

It can be difficult to navigate the rules of many agencies that regulate your workplace. Between OSHA, NFPA, ADA and other regulatory agencies, it’s natural to be unsure about what measures you should take to keep your employees safe. EMC’s loss control specialists can identify noncompliance issues that may be hazardous to your employees and offer practical solutions for improvement.

Compliance Benchmarking at EMC involves three steps: on-site inspection; a review of your written safety program and training programs; and a report detailing the findings and offering possible solutions to help bring you into compliance.

Count on EMC to help your workplace meet regulatory standards. To set up a Compliance Benchmarking consultation, contact your independent insurance agent, local EMC loss control representative or email losscontrol@emcins.com.

If you have suggestions for articles to appear in EMC’s Loss Control Insights, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us about some of the loss control challenges your organization faces. Share some of your loss control best practices. Send us a question that you’ve been struggling with. Your insights will help make our Insights even better. Send your ideas, suggestions and questions to losscontrol@emcins.com.

Insights Online

by Bruce Cunningham

Preparing roofs for winter is a task often overlooked by many building owners, because they believe if the roof is not leaking, there are no problems. Checking roof areas for the following items before snow, high winds, and other associated winter weather problems set in may prevent costly leaks during these adverse weather conditions.

Active Leaks
A qualified contractor should be notified to make repairs as soon as leaks occur. If the roof system is under warranty, the manufacturer should also be notified of any leaks.

 Field Membrane
Walk over the roof area to see if anything looks out of place, such as blistering, ridges in the membrane, eroded areas, misplaced ballast, or misaligned or loose pavers. If these deficiencies are occurring, they should be corrected as soon as possible by a qualified contractor.

Penetration Flashings
All penetrations should be checked to ensure they are sealed and secured.

Perimeter Flashings
The perimeter flashings should be checked for securement, and any openings that could allow water to enter the building.

Roof Related Sheet Metal
All roof related sheet metal should be checked for securement, sealed joint laps, and missing components. These items could cause problems during winter months.

Drainage
Poor drainage is one of the most common problems during winter months. The following items should be checked:

  • Make sure all drains are open and allowing water to exit
  • Clean all debris in and around drains that could plug strainers and restrict water flow
  • Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are secured and that all debris is removed
  • If heat tapes are in place in the gutters, down-spouts, or drains, make sure they are in working order

Miscellaneous / Adjacent Conditions
The following items are also often overlooked prior to winter setting in, and should be checked for deficiencies: ductwork, door seals, open joints in walls, skylights and penetrations through walls.

By making sure all these items are checked prior to winter, a building owner can save themselves a few headaches, and money. It’s usually more costly to hire a contractor during winter when it’s more difficult for them to find and repair a problem.

Determining And Controlling Snow Loads
Deep snow can be deep trouble and rain on top of snow can significantly add to the weight. Even a partial roof collapse can cause extensive damage to the interior contents of a business. When all that snow comes in, it melts and can flood the building.

The age of the building can be a major factor in the snow load risk. Newer building codes provide much better guidance for estimating snow loads, particularly the increased loads near changes in roof elevations where snow drifts and snow falling from the upper roof can build up on the lower roof near the step. Older roofs can also suffer from corrosion of members and connections, which can reduce its ability to resist high snow loads. Buildings with lightweight roofs, such as metal buildings or built up roofs on bar joists, generally provide less protection from overload than heavy roofs. The safety margins used by engineers are based on a combination of the weight of the roof and the snow loads. Consequently, there is usually a larger margin of safety against excess snow loads for heavy roofs than for lightweight roofs.

For flat roofs, the step-down area between roof sections is particularly susceptible to roof overload because of the tendency for ice and snow collection, especially during periods of windy weather. Roof top equipment and roof projections, such as mechanical equipment that is over 2 feet tall, causes snow accumulation due to drift, creating the need for higher snow load consideration in these areas. An even more serious condition can be created when a taller building or a taller addition is built adjacent to an existing building. Unless the existing building is strengthened in the area next to the new taller building or addition, snow accumulation on the lower roof near the step could produce much higher loads than those considered by the original designer for the existing building.

roof danger


The best source for determining how much snow load a building can handle is the design plan. These designs can range from having a snow load of 10 to 20 lbs per square foot in Mid-Atlantic States, to between 40 and 70 lbs per square foot in New England. IBHS offers these general guidelines to help estimate the weight of snow:

  • Fresh snow: 10-12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water or about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space, so you could have up to 4 feet of new snow before you need to worry.
  • Packed snow: 3-5 inches of old snow is equal to one inch of water or about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space, so anything more than 2 feet of old snow could be dangerous.
  • The total accumulated weight of two feet of old snow and two feet of new snow could be as high as 60 lbs per square foot of roof space, which is getting toward the design limits of even the best designed roof.
  • If there's ice it's much heavier, with one inch equaling about a foot of fresh snow.
roof danger


For safe removal that won't endanger you or damage your roof, consult a roofing contractor.

Watch For Ice Dams
Avoid the costly collision of hot and cold and reduce the risk that ice dams will form and create a soggy mess. When heat from the interior of a building with a sloped roof escapes into the attic space, it warms the underside of the roof. Meanwhile, the roof eave outside the heated space remains a colder temperature. As snow accumulates on the rooftop, it melts over the warmer portion of the attic and runs down the roof. When it encounters the cold edge of the roof it refreezes.

The refrozen water along the roof edge creates an "ice damming" condition, and consequently, the melted snow running down the roof begins to back up underneath the roof covering. This water will soak the roof sheathing and leak into the attic unless there is a barrier above the sheathing. An appropriately installed secondary moisture barrier will help prevent the water from entering your business and damaging your structure and its contents.

roof danger


Consider the following recommendations to help prevent your business from experiencing damage from freezing temperatures:

  • If your roof covering is going to be replaced in the near future, ensure that a secondary moisture barrier is installed using at least two layers of underlayment cemented together or a self-adhering polymer modified bitumen sheet (similar to underlayment). The moisture barrier should extend from the edge of the eaves to at least 24" beyond the inside of the exterior wall.
  • To help prevent ice damming, remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open areas directly under the roof, such as an attic or mechanical room.
  • Light fixtures in the ceiling below the open area that are directly under your roof, such as attic space or a mechanical room, should be insulated. Recessed light fixtures release heat if they are not insulated. Check to see if there is any visible light from these fixtures in the attic. If there is, they probably are not adequately sealed or insulated. You should seal or insulate those light fixtures immediately.
  • If you have penetrations into the attic (e.g. partition walls, stack vents, electric chase, etc.), seal and insulate them so that daylight cannot be seen and airflow is minimal. Also, insulate, seal, weatherstrip or gasket all attic access doors.
  • Attic penetrations and access doors that are not properly sealed and insulated allow for heated air to escape into the attic and can contribute to an ice damming condition.

Severe winter weather can't be avoided, but following these guidelines will help your business avoid the costly pitfalls that often accompany it. Maintaining your building is critical to continue to serve the customers and employees that have come to count on you.

Reprinted with permission from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (disastersafety.org)

Contractors

The Construction Safety Council developed a training kit in an easy-to-understand format for non-English speaking workers. The kit addresses four major construction hazards and methods to avoid those hazards.

The demographics of the construction worker population in the United States. has been shifting markedly in the last several decades from one with substantial skills sets and experience in the respective construction trades (laborers, carpenters, operators, electricians, plumbers, iron workers, etc.) to a growing population of untrained and inexperienced workers. Along with a deficiency in skills training and work experience among this growing population has come a lack of knowledge of relevant basic safety and health information. This has contributed to the persistence in the relatively high number of workplace fatalities, especially among those workers underserved by traditional apprentice training, those lacking in English language skills and those whose immigration status has caused them to avoid government-, corporate- or union- sponsored training programs in occupational skills, as well as health and safety training.

The Construction Safety Council (CSC) has created a basic construction safety training and education kit in English, Spanish and Polish that addresses the recognition and prevention of safety and health hazards, including pertaining to fall hazards, electrical hazards, struck-by hazards, caught-in-between hazards and health hazards.

The learning modules are designed for facilitation by faith-based groups and community organizations that have already garnered the trust and respect of the at-risk populations, as well as contractors who employ these populations. The modules fit into a system that is delivered to the facilitators with training notes that make delivery of the modules possible for people with some construction background, but who are not health and safety professionals. The modules promote an interactive discussion about the subjects introduced in the pictograms.

The learning system is in the form of an 11'' x 17'' flip chart stylebook, made from thick stock and laminated for durability. The large size accommodates for the delivery method of the program, where a facilitator holds up one side of the book revealing a pictorial of hazards and control measures while reading instructor notes on the reverse side of the book. A take-home book with all lessons is also provided for each student under the grant. The materials are free. The only requirement is that trainers must turn in a simple sign-in sheet and evaluation for each class to the council. Return envelopes will be provided.

Training topics include:

  • Employee General Safety
  • Housekeeping
  • Material Handling Safety
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Health Hazards
  • Ladder Safety
  • Fall Protection
  • Scaffolds
  • Aerial Lifts
  • Overhead Power Lines
  • Electrical Safety
  • Power Tool Hazards
  • Machine Guarding
  • Trench and Excavation Safety
  • Cranes and Rigging
  • Work Zone Traffic Safety

If these bilingual training materials could be helpful in your safety training efforts, call the Construction Safety Council at 800-552-7744, ext. 202.

Source: Construction Safety Council

Construction workers in seven states are now required by law to complete the OSHA 10-hour construction safety training courses before they can work on certain projects.

Seven states now have laws on the books that require construction workers to complete the OSHA 10-hour construction safety training course before they can work on certain construction projects. The states with an OSHA law already in effect are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and, most recently, Missouri. The state of Nevada OSHA training law becomes effective Jan. 1, 2010.

Most of the state laws restrict the required training to workers on publicly funded construction sites, such as public roads, bridge construction projects and public school buildings. However, the state of Nevada, whose law takes effect Jan. 1, 2010, requires all construction workers to complete the course. The state laws also vary on exactly which workers need the training, according to Curtis Chambers, vice president of OSHA Pros, Inc., an OSHA training company with national coverage. While all seven state laws require the same 10-hour training class, there are slight nuances from state to state.

A particular state law may require all laborers and supervisors to complete the class, whereas another state law may require the class just for laborers, says Chambers. “There are also varying thresholds for the dollar amounts of the contracts that dictate when the states laws become effective. However, each of these state laws contain a provision that says failure to comply with their rule can result in fines and penalties being assessed, typically to the employer of the noncompliant workers. So affected workers are required to obtain the OSHA 10-hour construction training wallet card to prove they completed the course”, warns Chambers.

The OSHA 10-hour construction outreach training course was developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) as a voluntary safety course to teach workers about the hazards of construction work and the regulations applicable to their worksite. But these seven states have decided to make the training course mandatory for construction workers in hopes of reducing the number of injuries and fatalities afflicting construction workers. The OSHA 10-hour construction outreach training course can be conducted by instructors who are authorized by OSHA to conduct this training and issue the OSHA cards. Some large companies even have their own authorized OSHA trainer on staff. Private safety consultants and companies also conduct the training for a fee for companies or groups needing the course. Additionally, OSHA has authorized an online OSHA 10-hour construction outreach training course, allowing a worker to take the required class on the internet and have the wallet card subsequently mailed to the trainee. Carrie Braswell, administrator for the internet-based online OSHA training website says, “Business has really boomed since these state laws have taken effect, especially right before a particular state deadline comes along.”

The state laws and links to those laws appear below:

Source: PRNewswire

Local Governments

Learn how you can enhance emergency vehicle visibility and roadway operations safety for both emergency responders and the general public.

The importance of addressing vehicle characteristics and human factors to help positively affect the safety of emergency workers operating along the nation’s roadways is starkly established by first responders’ morbidity and mortality experience. Over the past decade, numerous law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMS workers were injured or killed in roadside crashes throughout the United States.

Previous studies conducted across the United States and in other countries suggest that steps to improve emergency vehicle visibility and conspicuity hold promise for enhancing first responders’ safety when exposed to traffic both inside and outside their response vehicles (e.g., patrol cars, motorcycles, fire apparatus and ambulances). A recent study conducted by the U.S. Fire Administration explored commercially available vehicle conspicuity products with the goal of increasing their use in helping to enhance emergency vehicle visibility and roadway operations safety for both emergency responders and the general public. Features such as retroreflective striping and chevrons, high visibility paint, built-in passive lighting and other reflectors were examined.

Key Findings
Some of the key findings from the U.S. Fire Administration’s report are as follows:

  • The increased use of retroreflective materials holds great promise for enhancing the conspicuity of emergency vehicles.
  • Both visibility and recognition are important facets of emergency vehicle conspicuity.
  • The use of contrasting colors can assist drivers with locating a hazard amid the visual clutter of the roadway.
  • Fluorescent colors (especially fluorescent yellow-green and orange) offer higher visibility during daylight hours.
  • There is limited scientific evidence that drivers are “drawn into” highly visible emergency vehicles.
  • It is theoretically possible to “over-do” the use of retroreflective materials and interfere with drivers’ ability to recognize other hazards.

Opportunities For Improvement
In addition to the key findings, the report cited the following opportunities for improvement:

  • Outline vehicle boundaries with contour markings using retroreflective material, especially on large vehicles.
  • Concentrate retroreflective material lower on emergency vehicles to optimize interaction with approaching vehicles’ headlamps.
  • Consider (and allow) the use of fluorescent retroreflective materials in applications where a high degree of day-/night-time visibility is desired.
  • Use high-efficiency retroreflective material to improve conspicuity while reducing the amount of vehicle surface area requiring treatment.
  • For law enforcement vehicles, retroreflective material can be concentrated on the rear to maintain stealth when facing traffic or patrolling.
  • Apply distinctive logos or emblems made with retroreflective material to improve emergency vehicle visibility and recognition.

A PDF of the full report, which concludes with a call for additional research into the subject matter, can be downloaded at usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/ fa_323.pdf.

Source: U. S. Fire Administration

Recent reports from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) detail the leading causes of death among these professionals.

Heart Attacks Remain Leading Cause Of Firefighter Deaths
Despite a decline, stress or overexertion remains the most frequent cause of death for firefighters, according to the latest fatality report from the USFA. Of the 118 firefighter deaths in 2008, 52 were caused by stress and overexertion, with the vast majority (45) due to heart attacks. This represents a decline from 2007, when 55 firefighters died from stress or overexertion.

Vehicle crashes, the second most frequent cause of death, killed 28 firefighters in 2008, one more than the year prior.

Three firefighters were killed in shootings in 2008. Only two other years had as many gunshot deaths of firefighters (2000 with three deaths and 1996 with four).

For 32 years, the USFA has tracked the number of firefighter fatalities and conducted an annual analysis. Through the collection of information on the causes of firefighter deaths, the USFA is able to focus on specific problems and direct efforts toward finding solutions to reduce the number of firefighter fatalities in the future. This information can also be used by many organizations to measure the effectiveness of their current efforts directed toward firefighter health and safety.

The complete report is available at usfa.dfm.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/ff_fat08.pdf

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Traffic-Related Incidents Are A Leading Cause Of Law Enforcement Deaths
Comparing the first six months of 2008 with the same period of 2009, all major categories of officer fatalities increased, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Traffic-related incidents rose by nearly 17%, from 30 to 35. This year’s midyear total included 26 officers killed in automobile crashes, 2 in motorcycle accidents, and 7 struck and killed while outside their vehicles. If current trends continue, 2009 will be the 12th year in a row in which more officers are killed in traffic-related incidents than dying from any other cause. For the second straight year, traffic incidents make up a clear majority of officer deaths. 2008 marked the first time in U.S. history that more than 50% of officer fatalities in a single year involved traffic-related incidents—just over 53%. Midyear 2009, the percentage has remained at just above 53%, with automobile accidents accounting for nearly 40% of fatalities.

Officers killed in firearm-related incidents increased, from 20 to 22. Deaths from other causes nearly doubled, from 5 to 9, with all but one death involving a job-related physical incident.

Nationwide, 26 officers died in the line of duty during the months of July, August and September 2009. By comparison, 43 officers were killed during the third quarter of 2008. As of Oct. 2, officer fatalities are down 7% from the same time last year: 92 in 2009, compared with 99 in 2008. In all of 2008, 133 officers died in the line of duty, the lowest annual total since 1960, when there were 127 officer deaths. If current trends continue, this year’s total would break that five-decade low.

For more information on law enforcement officer fatality trends, visit nleomf.org.

Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

A recent report of an individual using his laptop to listen to a live feed of local dispatchers has caused some officials in the South Carolina law enforcement community to take note. The internet site, www.radioreference.com/, streams a number of public radio channels, including those used by police and EMS. Scanners have been widely available for years. This tool is neither new nor illegal. However, the web gives a new level of mobility and easy access to police scanners to a larger number of people.

Source: Municipal Association of South Carolina

Petroleum Marketers

A new federal rule decreases stopping distance requirements for heavy truck tractors. The rule requires new heavy truck tractors to achieve a 30% reduction in stopping distance from current levels.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued stringent new airbrake standards that will save lives by improving large truck stopping distance by 30%. NHTSA estimates that the new airbrake requirement will save 227 lives annually and will also prevent 300 serious injuries. It is estimated to reduce property damage costs by over $169 million annually.

?Safety is our highest priority,? Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said. ?Motorists deserve to know they are sharing the road with large trucks that are up to the safest possible standards, so they can get home alive to their families.? The new standard requires that a tractor-trailer traveling at 60 miles per hour come to a comlete stop in 250 feet. The old standard required a complete stop within 355 feet.

The new regulation will be phased in over four years beginning with 2012 models. The new rule should speed up the introduction of the latest airbrake technology into America?s freight hauling fleets and will help truck drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles. The new rule applies only to truck tractors and does not include single-unit trucks, trailers and buses.

The latest statistics from NHTSA show that large commercial vehicles continue to show a decrease in their involvement in fatal crashes. In 2008, 4,229 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks, down 12% from the 4,822 deaths recorded in 2007.

To read the final rule, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Brakes.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Drive-offs are how most gas thefts occur, but during the past few years, gasoline theft rings with trucks specifically designed to siphon large amounts of fuel have emerged.

Gasoline thieves are going for more than just a tank of fuel. Thieves made off with more than 10,400 gallons of unleaded gasoline in Florida. A man in California has been arrested for stealing 20,000 gallons of fuel from 15 retailers. And a man in Richmond, Texas, has been arrested for stealing 1,400 gallons of diesel from two underground storage tanks.

During the past few years, gasoline theft rings have emerged, with trucks specifically designed to siphon large amounts of fuel. Mostly, these types of thefts happen overnight after business hours, but sometimes they occur at busy times. Large quantities of stolen fuel are probably sold to another gasoline retailer. “If you’re stealing thousands of gallons of fuel, you have a customer lined up who can handle it,” said National Association of Convenience Stores spokesperson Jeff Lenard.

On a positive note, Lenard noted that paying before pumping has cut down on the amount of fuel stolen across the nation from convenience stores by more than half and that large-scale gasoline thefts are very rare.

Source: National Association of Convenience Stores

Schools

Researchers from Safe Kids USA noted a high number of drivers are distracted in school zones. Of the 41,426 cars observed traveling through an active school zone, one in every six drivers was distracted, and about 10% were observed using handheld electronics.

One out of every six drivers in school zones is distracted, according to a recent study from Safe Kids USA, a member of a network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. With cell phones, email and text messaging being added to the list of more traditional distractions like eating and grooming, drivers are more distracted than ever, which can be potentially dangerous to children as they walk to and from school.

Researchers from Safe Kids USA conducted roadside observations of drivers in active school zones at 20 middle schools located in 15 states. Of the 41,426 cars observed, about 10% of drivers were caught using handheld electronics such as cell phones, PDAs and Smartphones. These devices were the leading type of distraction observed. And while laws on using electronics while driving are still being hotly debated, the study shows that states that have laws are 13% less likely to have distracted drivers in school zones.

More Research Results

  • Seat belt use: Drivers who don’t wear a seatbelt are 34% more likely to be distracted than drivers who are buckled up. As a driver, if you engage in one risky behavior, you are more likely to engage in multiple unsafe driving behaviors.
  • Time of day: Afternoon drivers are 22% more likely to be distracted than morning drivers. Throughout the year, one in three child pedestrian deaths occur between 3 and 7 p.m., making afternoon the most dangerous time for children to walk.
  • Gender: Female drivers are 21% more likely to be distracted than male drivers. That doesn’t mean male drivers are off the hook—their rate of distraction was still very high.
  • Traffic volume: People driving on roads with a lot of traffic are 16% more likely to be distracted than those driving on roads with less traffic.

Recent studies have measured the driving skills of distracted drivers showing they perform as badly as or worse than drivers who are drunk. This is frightening for anyone on the road, but it’s a particularly dangerous situation when kids are added into the mix.

To learn more about Safe Kids USA, visit their website at http://www.safekids.org/.

Source: Safe Kids USA

Find out what risks your school may be facing by reviewing the latest statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics.

Our nation's schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence. Any instance of crime or violence at school not only affects the individuals involved, but also may disrupt the educational process and affect bystanders, the school itself and the surrounding community.

Ensuring safer schools requires establishing good indicators of the current state of school crime and safety across the nation and regularly updating and monitoring these indicators. This is the aim of Indicators of School Crime and Safety, a report issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics.

Some key findings of the report are as follows:

  • From July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007, there were 27 homicides and 8 suicides of school-age youth (ages 5-18) at school, or about 1 homicide or suicide per 1.6 million students enrolled during the 2006?07 school year.
  • In 2006, students ages 12-18 were victims of about 1.7 million nonfatal crimes at school, including thefts and violent crimes.
  • In 2007, 4% of students ages 12-18 reported being victimized at school during the previous six months: 3% reported theft and 2% reported violent victimization. Less than half of a percent of students reported serious violent victimization.
  • In 2007, 22% of all students in grades 9-12 reported that someone had offered, sold or given them an illegal drug on school property in the past 12 months.
  • In 2007, 32% of students ages 12-18 reported having been bullied at school during the school year.
  • In 2007, 36% of students in grades 9-12 reported they had been in a fight anywhere, and 12% said they had been in a fight on school property during the preceding 12 months.
  • In 2007, 18% of students in grades 9-12 reported they had carried a weapon anywhere, and 6% reported they had carried a weapon on school property during the previous 30 days.
  • In 2007, 7% of students ages 12-18 reported that they had avoided a school activity or one or more places in school in the previous six months because of fear of attack or harm: 3% of students avoided a school activity, and 6% avoided one or more places in school.
  • The majority of students ages 12-18 reported that their school had a student code of conduct and a requirement that visitors sign in during 2007.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics, the statistics noted in this report are intended to serve as a reference for policymakers and practitioners so that they can develop effective programs and policies aimed at violence and school crime prevention. A PDF of the complete report can be downloaded at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009022 .

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics