Awareness

Backyard Pools: Keeping the Fun Safe

Backyard pools are a staple of summer pastimes but pool and water safety must be addressed. We’ve shared about pool safety before but we’ll risk sounding like a broken record to share again to help keep summer safe and fun.

  • In 2017 200 children ages 1-14 died in pools and spas.
  • Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-2.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of death for ages 5-24.
  • It only takes two minutes for child to lose consciousness.
  • There are approximately 800 spinal cord injuries from diving annually.

So how can these tragedies be prevented? First, pool owners should ensure their backyard pool is safe with appropriate water barriers and water sensors. Keep young children from reaching the pool unsupervised. Second, remove diving boards from backyard pools. You need a minimum of 18-20 feet for safe diving but most backyard pools have a maximum depth of 8.5 feet. Next, move any pool slide to the deepest end of the pool. Adults need at least seven feet of water for safe use of a slide in a sitting position. Everyone should use the slide feet first and one person at a time. 

Outside of the pool, ensure any installed decks are water resistant or have a way to manage water. Slippery decks can lead to slips, falls, and drownings. Also, pool owners should be trained in CPR. Being prepared by knowing CPR and keeping life saving equipment around the pool could save a life in the event of an emergency.   

These are starting points for proper backyard pool safety. Listen in as Kevin King discusses pool safety and our risk perceptions on People’s Law Talk to learn more about keeping your pool safe and fun.

For more information and resources on pool safety design visit the National Safety Council and the CPSC‘s websites.

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.

How Cold is Cold?

OSHA. The cold stress equation. 1998.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog’s Day and says we’re going to have another six weeks of winter! That means many can expect cold weather through February and into March. How much of this cold can we really handle?

In terms of safety, there are limits to how much cold a person can handle at any given time. While it may vary slightly from person to person, the general rule of thumb is 15 minutes inside for every hour spent outside working in the cold to prevent cold stress like hypothermia, frost bite, trench foot, chilblains, and angina. As the temperature drops, however, these time frames need to change to prevent cold stresses.

Outside workers should consider three key factors of temperature, wind, and moisture when determining how much time outside is safe. OSHA and NIOSH have both created Cold Stress Equation guides to reference for more details in terms of temperature, wind, and safe time frames to be outside.

Learn more about cold stress, cold stress symptoms, and how cold is too cold by listening to Kevin King on People’s Law Talk.

For more information on cold stress and safety, review these articles:

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.

Fire Alert: House Fires and Cooking Dangers

It’s almost time for feasts and celebrations of all the things we hold dear. At the same time many will be celebrating all they have, some will be losing their material possessions and those they love. Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for house fires.

While there is an average of 490 cooking fires per day in the United States, on Thanksgiving that number jumps to approximately 1800! That’s 3.5 times the daily average. The day before Thanksgiving as well as Christmas also see a jump to approximately 850 cooking fires. 

The majority of Thanksgiving day cooking fires start on range tops or cooking tops, including ovens. Another leading cause of Thanksgiving day fires are Turkey Fryers. While popular for a delicious turkey, they are the leading cause of extensive fires on Thanksgiving. Due to the use of hot oil, lack of a regulator, and lack of stability, turkey fryers can very easily cause a catastrophic fire. Underwriters Laboratory will not certify a turkey fryer for consumers. Watch the video below to learn more about their research and the risks that come with turkey fryers.

Listen in below for more cooking safety information. Kevin King discusses cooking fires, turkey fryers, and how to extinguish fires properly to keep your family safe and thankful during the holidays.

For more information on kitchen fires and safety for your Thanksgiving, review these documents:

NFPA Cooking Fire Safety Infographic
NFPA Thanksgiving Safety Tips
NFIRS Snapshot: Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings
NFPA Report Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment

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.

Railroad Right-of-Ways and People

It seems simple enough. Train right-of-ways are for trains. They allow trains to safely pass through towns and cities, over well-traveled streets, safely, without stopping. But, even though the name even specifies they’re for trains, many pedestrians have taken to using these crossings to access train tracks, creating very dangerous situations.

While vehicle collisions with trains have decreased over the last 20 years, the same cannot be said for pedestrian incidents. In 2012, 850 people suffered casualties while on railroad right-of-ways.  With pedestrians accessing railroad crossings and increased train traffic around the country, this number will continue to rise.

Even with posted signs, people will continue to access railroad tracks because they find it’s convenient and they don’t perceive any danger in it. Signs cannot be the answer to preventing serious injuries and/or death because of this human factor. Behavioral changes, like getting people to not cross railroad tracks or getting people to use seat belts, can take decades.

Listen in as Kevin King discusses this growing nationwide issue, how it’s affecting his local community in Columbus, IN, and what can be done to prevent a disaster.

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.

Early Bird or Night Owl: Fatigue and Worker Safety

Both early birds and night owls have specific circadian rhythm that affect when they’re sleepy or tired and when they’re energized and ready to work. Back at the turn of the 20th century, people followed these rhythms, sleeping on average 9 hours a day, living and working during regular daylight hours.

Now society is going all day and night thanks to the spread of electricity and technology. With this alteration to cycles, there has been an increase in fatigue, defined as a body’s response to sleepiness or prolonged exertion.

In our 24/7 world, 38 percent of workers sleep less than seven hours a night. The lack of sleep results in increased fatigue and a 13 percent increase in risk of death or serious injury. Ultimately, fatigue related US losses cost almost $2000 per worker each year with a loss of 1.2 million work days a year.

Listen in as Kevin King discusses this pattern of fatigue, the risks resulting from fatigue, and risk management practices for fatigued workers.

Looking for further resources for fatigue management? Visit the National Safety Council’s website.

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.

Distracted Driving by the Numbers

Distracted driving due to technology is a real threat. As drivers we recognize the hazards yet we continue to ignore what we know.

This is distracted driving by the numbers:

  • 3,000 people die each year as a result of distractive technology.
  • 2 in 3 drivers reported talking on their cell phone while driving in the past month.
  • 1 in 3 (31.5 percent) drivers admit to typing or sending a text message or email while driving.
  • 2 in 5 (42.3 percent) drivers report reading a text message or email while driving.
  • People are more accepting of hands-free cell phone use than hand-held (63.1 percent vs. 30.8 percent).
  • Research indicates drivers using handheld and hands-free phones only see about 50 percent of all the information in their driving environment.
  • Less than half (42.4 percent) of drivers support an outright ban on using any type of cell phone (including hands-free) while driving.
  • 58 percent of drivers believe it is acceptable to use cellphones while driving
  • 60 percent of college students admit they maybe addicted to their cellphones.

The numbers clearly show distractive technology is a hazard. As drivers we know it but we don’t change our behavior. Why? As human beings we are so closely connected to cellphones that it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, not to “sneak a peek” at while driving. That is why distractions from technology while driving a vehicle must be achieved through design.  It is possible. The following are some interesting ideas for consideration:

In 2005, Patent Application US 2005/0119002 A1 discussed a system for controlling wireless communication from a moving vehicle. The patent claimed an innovation regarding a system for preventing mobile phone conversations in vehicles traveling above a pre-defined speed without cutting off communication. The patent addresses previous art recognizing patent applications from the year 2001. In 2007, the above patent application was granted, US Patent No. 7,187, 953 B2.

In 2012, US Patent No. 8,131,205 B2 (filed April 30, 2009) discussed a mobile phone detection and interruption system method for vehicles. The patent discussed a system capable of being mounted in a vehicle and blocking communications between a mobile phone and cellular network responsive to the velocity of the vehicle and/or detection of a mobile phone communication in the vehicle.

In 2013, US Patent No. 8,384,555 B2 (filed January 11, 2010) discussed method and system for automated detection of mobile phone usage. In the patent, it discusses previous art related to the system.

In 2012, an article in a technical journal discussed a system to detect and block only driver’s usage of cellphone signals, but allowing passengers in a vehicle to continue to use their cellphones. The system involved a noninvasive, small size, mobile detection system with a jammer to detect the driver’s use of mobile phone and not the phone used by fellow passengers. The blocking of the mobile communication only occurred in the driver seating area.

The above systems do not rely upon our decisions as drives on whether or not to use a cellphone app to block a signal while driving. The design eliminates the hazard without our behavior becoming a factor. These designs are one piece of the puzzle in achieving Vision Zero.

Sources:
www.distraction.gov
www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/Technology-Reduces-Cell-Phone-Distracted-Driving.aspx
www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2015_TSCI.pdf
James A. Roberts, Luc Honore Petnji Yaya and Chris Manolis, (2104). The Invisible Addiction: Cell-Phone Activities and Addiction Among Male and Female College Students. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 3(4), p. 254-265. 
For further in-depth reading on the complexities required for everyday driving, see John Groeger, 2000, Understanding Driving, Applying Cognitive Psychology to a Complex Everyday Task. Psychology Press.
H. Abdul Shabeer, R.S.D. Wahida Banu, H. Abdul Zubar, (2012). Technology to prevent mobile phone accidents. Int. J. Enterprise Network Management, Vol. 5, No. 23, 2012.