Awareness

Vaping & E-Cigarettes: New Trend, New Risks

As cigarettes have faded out of mainstream use with increased education around health concerns, a new addictive habit has risen to prominence. Vaping and e-cigarettes are now a part of mainstream culture, but they still have a risk factor, just like traditional cigarettes.

Vaping proponents maintain that it is much safer than traditional cigarettes, contributing to a surge in usage, especially among youth. As many as 8 in 10 middle school students have reported seeing advertising around e-cigarettes. With ever present advertising combined with the belief vaping is less harmful, the lower cost, and the abundance of flavors, it’s unsurprising that from 2017 to 2018, vaping usage in high school students jumped from 12 percent to 21 percent.

The vaping market is primarily people ages 13 to 35 years of age. That group from 13 to 25 are still in prime brain development years. Vaping can hinder and alter this development because, just like cigarettes, it contains high levels of nicotine. Nicotine is known to harm parts of the brain that control attention, learning, impulse control, and mood control. Some e-cigarette cartridges can have as much nicotine as a full pack of traditional cigarettes.

In addition to the nicotine, e-cigarettes and vaping pose a safety risk because the cartridges and juices can contain ultra fine particles and additives like vitamin e acetate, pine oils, mineral oils, and terpenes. All these things are entering the lungs, affecting normal lung functions.

The injuries and deaths from this new trend are growing. In 2011 Poison Control reported 271 calls regarding vaping. That number rose to 4,000 by 2014. The growth is so much, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) now tracks vaping injuries on a weekly basis. Last week the reported injuries rose to 2,172, up 121 from the previous week. Deaths are also not unheard of due to vaping injuries. Indiana is currently the state with the highest vaping related deaths.

This month the CDC released a report investigating lung injuries related to vaping. This is the first step forward in measuring and addressing the safety risks of e-cigarettes and vaping products.

Want to know more? Listen in as attorney Kevin King discusses the safety risks associated with the new vaping trend on People’s Law Talk.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

For more information on vaping safety, please read:

What is Your Fall Risk?

It’s fall so let’s talk about falls. While they affect the older population more than the young, fall injuries are still very real for everyone. Did you know you have a 1 in 114 chance of dying from a fall? In comparison your chance of dying in a plane is only 1 in 188,000. The probability of you dying from a fall are almost equal to the probability of dying in a car crash at 1 in 103.

More than 9 million Americans are treated in the emergency room for falls each year. One of every three nonfatal injuries in the U.S. comes from falls. With all of this in mind, it’s important to understand your risk for falls and how they can be prevented.

First, take this self-assessment from the CDC. If you answer yes to four or more of the questions, you are at an increased risk for falls. To help prevent them in your home, here is a list if things you can control:

  • Keep floors clear of clutter
  • Keep drawers and cabinets closed
  • Keep electrical cords out of traffic areas
  • Create open pathways with at least 3 feet of space between furniture
  • Ensure good lighting in each room

Next, learn how to choose and use a ladder safely for your home projects.

  • Consider the size and weight of the ladder in comparison to who will use it, what gear will be used, and what the purpose is for (Ladders do have weight limits)
  • Angle your ladder 1 foot away from the surface for every 4 feet in height where you are working
  • Extend the ladder at least 3 feet over the edge of where you are working
  • Fasten the top of the ladder to a support
  • Do not stand any higher than the third rung of the ladder
  • Have someone support the bottom of your ladder
  • Ensure cleats on the bottom of the ladder are anchoring the ladder
  • Do not lean sideways on the ladder
  • Do not wear loose clothing that could be caught on the ladder
  • Keep a 25-foot clearance from power lines
  • Choose fiberglass when you can (especially when working anywhere near power lines)
  • Maintain 3-point-control when climbing, with hands on the rungs, not the sides (Read Looking Up: An Eye on Ladder Safety)

Ready to learn more? Listen in as Kevin King discusses your fall prevention assessment and ladder safety on People’s Law Talk.

For more information on choosing fall prevention and ladder safety read:

 

Are You…Yawn…Tired?

Are you…yawn…tired at work? Nearly 40% of U.S. workers are sleep deprived causing them to be fatigued.

It is recommended the average adult get 7-9 hours of sleep per day, but the majority don’t. In fact, only two of every 100 workers state they get more than 7-9 hours. Eight percent surveyed said they get less than five hours of sleep per day. After 10 days of losing just two hours of sleep per day, it is like your body has lost an entire day of sleep!

When you work against biology and a body does not get the necessary sleep needed, it can become fatigued. When you have two or more of the risk factors for fatigue, the ability to perform your job at an adequate level is reduced. How many of these risk factors for fatigue do you have?

  • Shift Work
    Seventeen percent of works work a non-day-shift role. Workers who work shift work regularly report fatigue.
  • High Risk Hours
    Forty-one percent of workers work during high risk times of 9 p.m. – 6 a.m. and 3 a.m. – 7 a.m..
  • Demanding Job
    Work that requires sustained attention for prolonged time contributes to fatigue. Eighty-one percent of workers maintained having demanding or repetitive jobs.
  • Long Shifts
    The long an employee works, the more tired they are and the more likely they are to make a critical mistake. Twenty -one percent of workers work shifts 10+ hours long.
  • Long Work Week
    Twenty-two percent of workers work more than 50 hours per week but work days should be limited to 5-7 consecutive days to reduce the risk of fatigue.
  • Sleep Loss
    Forty-three percent of workers don’t get at least seven hours of sleep per day.
  • No Rest Breaks
    Ten percent of workers do not get short breaks throughout their shift, but they have been proven to mitigate fatigue.
  • Quick Shift Returns
    Fourteen percent of workers have less than 12 hours between their shifts. Shift returns of less than eight hours should be avoided.
  • Long Commutes
    Thirty-one percent of workers commute 30+ minutes. This can increase fatigue development, compounded by drowsy driving risks.

If you have two or more of these risk factors, you might experience fatigue symptoms like decreased vigilance, attention, memory, and concentration as well as microsleeps. These symptoms are experienced 27 percent on the job, 16 percent on the road, and 41 percent off the job.

It’s been proven over multiple studies that a person who only sleeps 4-5 hours a day has the same crash rate as someone with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08. Also, a person who loses just two hours of sleep from eight hours is likely to perform at the same level as someone who has had 2-3 beers.

To mitigate the risk of fatigue, you are encouraged to get adequate sleep. When that is absolutely not possible, there are some other mitigation tactics that can be utilized at work.

  • Physical Activity
    NASA says pilots with seven minutes of activity during night flights can increase their alertness.
  • Naps
    Short naps for 10-20 minutes can also boost alertness.
  • As Needed Breaks
    Allowing employees to take breaks as needed can reduce accumulated of on the task fatigue.

Want to know more? Listen to People’s Law Talk as Kevin King discusses worker fatigue risks, symptoms, and mitigation steps.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

Looking for more information? The National Safety Council has a lot to share!

School is in Session: Ergonomics 101

School is back in session. The backpacks are filled, the chairs and desks are cleaned, and the teachers are refreshed. But, for all the preparations parents and teachers make for students, the environments created for learning may not be ready and conducive for learning.

According to ergonomics, the study of work in various environments and tools used to perform tasks within the environment, there is a lot that could change to improve health and learning of students. From backpacks to chairs, some simple, low-cost ergonomic changes could make great strides in the learning environment.

Backpacks:
Currently, there are 400,000 musculoskeletal injuries per year costing $15-20 million in the United States. To reduce some of the injuries happening to children, parents and teachers can help limit the weight a child carries in his/her backpack and improve the position of the backpack for carrying. The backpack should evenly distribute weight, not sag over the buttocks, and fit the child correctly. BackTpacks and rolling backpacks are great alternative options.

Weight guidelines for children’s backpacks are:

Child’s Weight Max Weight for Backpacks
60 lbs 5 lbs
60-75 lbs 10 lbs
75-100 lbs 15 lbs
100-125 lbs 18 lbs
125-150 lbs 20 lbs
150-200 lbs 25 lbs
  *Backpacks should not exceed 25 lbs in weight.

Classroom settings:
Changing the environment of the classroom can also improve learning. Rooms with more natural light have been shown to provide physical and mental comfort, reducing stress. Classes with fresh air also help student respiration, as kids are more likely to be vulnerable to pollutants and have increased breath rates.

Classroom tools:
Children can be in class up to 9 hours a day. That’s nine hours at a desk, in a chair. Poor tools and poor posture can lead to stress, muscle shortening, stress on the spine, poor blood flow, and inhibited learning. By providing chairs and desk that improve posture with correct height and leg positioning, these risks can be reduced. Tilt desks and fidget footrests are becoming more popular in offices and schools for this reason. Some classes are also opting to dump the chair or replace traditional chairs with balls, ergonomic chairs, or fidget stools as children need to get up and move to help process more complex tasks.

In addition to chairs and desks, schools need to look at computers, keyboards, and even mice usage as well. The positioning of each of these, when used a lot, can lead to strain and injury. Simple re-positioning or ergonomically designed products can reduce shoulder and neck strain.

Learn more about the ergonomics of school and the classroom and what changes you can make to help your students. Listen in as Kevin King discusses back to school ergonomics in-depth, covering everything from backpacks to pens and pencils, on People’s Law talk.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

Learn more about school ergonomics. Here are some great presentations that can help parents and teachers.

Complete Coverage: Protection From UV Rays

Child wearing sun protecting hat and sunscreenMay through September usually means warm or even hot weather here in Indiana. It also means sun, UV rays, and increased risk of skin damage, including melanoma.

The hazard comes for harmful UV rays. UV rays can damage skin cells. Beyond causing wrinkles, it can alter skin cell DNA resulting in cancer. The risk of exposure is not lessened because it is cloudy outside. UV rays can still reach the ground, even with cloud coverage. And the risk isn’t nu ll in the shade. UV exposure can be direct, like working shirtless or standing directly in the sun hatless, but it can also be indirect. UV rays can be reflected off many surfaces including paved roads, water, grass, sand, and more.

When UV rays alter skin cell DNA, it can result in Melanoma. There are more than 9,500 diagnoses of Melanoma daily with one person dying of Melanoma every hour. This cancer is extremely prevalent. Females under age 49 are more likely to develop Melanoma than any other cancer besides breast and thyroid cancers. Males under 49 are more likely to develop Melanoma than any other cancer.

The risk of developing skin cancer is high because UV damage is cumulative. Twenty-three percent of UV exposure occurs by the age of 18, so that still leaves a lot of UV exposure as you go into those working adult years. Risk does increase by 70 percent for those who experience five or more blistering sunburns between the ages of 15-20. Once you burn, the damage to the skin cell DNA has already been done. Those with skin type one (pale, white, freckled, always burns never tans) also have an increased risk of developing skin cancer. But anyone, age or skin type aside, can develop it.

UV Index

To help reduce your risk of being exposed to hazardous UV rays, there are steps you can take. First, check the UV Index daily. This index, developed in 1992 and adopted by the WHO in 1994, rates the risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. The scale ranges from 1 to 11, with 11 being the most risk. Again, cloud coverage does not mean it will be low. A recent cloudy Thursday afternoon had a UV Index of 7. Check it daily to ensure you’re informed and can help minimize your risk.

Also, to help protect yourself you must protect your skin. This can be done in several ways. First, choose clothing that covers your skin. Long sleeves, long pants, and wide brim hats are great. Clothing that has built in SPF protection is even better. Second, if you’re spending the day outdoors, in the sun or shade, lather up with sunscreen. A sunscreen of at least SPF 30 is recommended. It’s important to regularly reapply every two hours and to apply everywhere, including your ears! Also, avoid tanning beds. Using a tanning bed is directly exposing your skin to UV rays. Last, be preemptive in your health and get regular skin screenings.

John Foster, host of 1010 AM Columbus stumbled into a skin cancer screening clinic one day after moving to Columbus, IN. That was how he caught multiple Melanoma spots. He has since had five spots removed, including two on his legs (the result of UV rays bouncing off a road he worked on during his time in the U.S. Air Force). He now attends regular screenings to catch and address any new Melanoma spots quickly.

Listen in as Kevin King talks more about melanoma, the hazards of UV rays, and how to protect yourself.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

Learn more about sun safety and skin health from these expert sources:

You can also easily check your local UV Index with the EPA or by searching “UV Index” with your zip code.

Fixing Distracted Driving with System Safety Designs

In 1983 only 13 percent of the public regularly used seat belts. Advertising and education campaigns were undertaken and 26 years later, that number increased to approximately 85 percent. That’s more than 25 years to make a usage change of 72 percent. In the meantime, people were injured and died.

If we continue the same path and rely upon changing human behavior through campaigns for distracted driving, we can expect the same results, a long wait for a significant change. In the meantime, more than nine people a day will continue to die due to distracted driving, a number that increased from eight just two years ago. Or, society can demand, politicians can legislate, and automakers can undertake using system safety design.

Technology has existed since the early 2000s that will block cell phone signals from the driver’s seat area of vehicles. If installed in vehicles, it could greatly reduce the risks from distracted technology usage in vehicles.

Some might argue that hands free technology is enough if drivers utilize it, but it’s not. It still leads to inattention blindness, drivers missing important items such as stop signs and pedestrians. The human brain cannot process all the information coming into it when attempting to multitask. It has four attention capabilities:

  1. Sustained attention: ability to concentrate on an activity for a prolonged period without being distracted (e.g., reading a book)
  2. Selective attention: ability to select from various factors or stimuli and focus on only one (e.g., talking to one person at a noisy party)
  3. Alternating attention: ability to shift between tasks and cognitive areas of the brain (e.g., reading a recipe and then following the instructions)
  4. Divided attention: attempting to process two or more demands at the same time require the use of the same cognitive areas of the brain (e.g., on the phone and driving)

Divided attention is what happens when humans attempt to multi task. It creates inattention blindness leading to injury and death for many. Yet, according to AAA:

  • 2 in 3 drivers talk on their cell phones while driving
  • 1 in 3 drivers admit to typing and sending a text while driving
  • 2 in 5 drivers admit to reading a text or email while driving

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed by the National Safety Council felt at risk because of other drivers’ distractions due to technology. But, back to human behavior, only 25 percent of those same people said their own technology use put others at risk.

Just because we’ve done something one way before doesn’t mean we always have to do it that way. This time it’s time to change our reliance on changing human behavior. Instead, let’s rely on system safety design.

Listen in as Kevin King talks more about distracted driving and system safety design.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

Learn more about distracted technology from us and other great sources.

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