Archive | December 2019


The week running up to the Holidays – In the week running up to Christmas, criminals are mainly targeting Auto Dealerships and Warehouses. Criminals target these businesses during their busiest period for the Christmas haul of cash and the valuable stock kept on site. In the week that was leading up to Christmas Day 2016, Netwatch recorded a 33% increase in attempted security breaches, with a third of all activity taking place between the hours of 6pm and 12am.”

Concerns with business parties for the holiday!

As the winter holidays approach, employees tend to deal with more distractions than usual. Planning dinners, hosting out-of-town family members, purchasing gifts and figuring out the logistics of other festive activities can easily cause people’s minds to wander when they’re at work. From a health and safety perspective, it’s worth considering how these issues affect workers on the floor, on site, on the road or at home.


People are more likely to be fatigued during the holiday season due to extra tasks and responsibilities—like last-minute shopping before or after their shift, decorating their house, or going to school plays. As a result, fatigue can pose a big problem regardless of whether or not employees are engaging in high-risk work.

Injuries in the workplace occur most often when they’re not expected and are more likely to happen when employees are tired or run down. So, although fatigue is a complex issue that lacks a single easy solution, it might be a good idea to consider longer breaks or alter work schedules to help compensate for seasonal fatigue.

Rushing and frustration

In addition to holiday stress in employees’ personal lives, many industries face their busiest times leading up to the end of the year. The added pressure in the workplace can affect employees’ emotional state, causing them to rush or become frustrated. These states may cause employees to unintentionally create hazards, miss something vital, lack patience with delicate procedures or become short-tempered. When rushing or frustrated, people are more likely to slip, trip or fall, bump into colleagues and machinery, or forget to perform small but vital tasks.

It should also be noted that some companies fail to live up to the “safety first” slogan during the holidays. Orders and production are important, but not at the cost of someone’s health or life. It’s important for management to make it clear to employees—through actions as much as words—that their safety is more important than rushing through a job.

Ladder safety

Taken by the holiday spirit, employees may choose (or be asked) to decorate the workplace. With ladders being used more frequently around the holidays, it’s important to provide a refresher on ladder safety. For example, people should ensure the ladder’s stability before use, keep three points of contact at all times and never place a ladder on a surface other than the ground. It’s also worth mentioning that decorating is much easier and safer to do if the task is not left to one person. That’s because they might be more inclined to rush or ignore the need for three points of contact in order to carry bulky decorations up the ladder.

Electrical safety

Many electrical incidents happen over the holidays. In fact, thousands of people are treated each holiday season after sustaining an electric shock or being injured in an electrical fire. These incidents are often caused by carelessness and misuse of (sometimes old and faulty) decorations. Ensure that any decorative lights have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, are undamaged and don’t overload the sockets. Employees should also be reminded about the importance of unplugging decorations for the night and never using electric lights on a metallic tree.

Slips, trips and falls

If corridors and rooms are free of decorations and cables throughout the year, people are likely to become complacent and fail to notice when suddenly there is something in their way. Holiday lights and decorations should be clearly visible and kept out of the way to prevent tripping.

But there are many other ways for people to slip and fall during the holidays. Snow, ice and rain are the main culprits, especially because they’re coupled with shorter, darker days that make it easier for people to miss or misjudge a step when walking outdoors. Snow and ice should be removed promptly from areas where people will be walking. Safety managers should also consider providing new or additional mats to stop snow and water from being brought inside working areas.

Food safety

Nobody wants to see employees get sick before the holidays. However, some workplaces don’t take adequate precautions when ordering and storing party platters for their staff holiday gatherings. Food handling guidelines must be followed whenever food is being prepared, stored and distributed.Be extra mindful of food-related allergies and make sure that anything with allergens is labeled appropriately and kept separately from other foods. If employees are contributing to potlucks or baking for their colleagues, remind them of the need to communicate the use of common food allergens.

Drunk and drowsy driving

Work and family gatherings are often an opportunity for people to have a few drinks—but it’s imperative that nobody is allowed to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. No employer wants their workers involved in a car crash. When organizing an event where alcohol is served, it’s a good idea (and a gesture of goodwill) to pay for workers’ taxis. There are also various charities and companies that drive people home in their own cars, thus preventing unnecessary worries and logistical problems concerning vehicles being left somewhere overnight.

To reiterate the problems of fatigue above, you should treat drowsy driving with the same level of conviction as drunk driving because it is also risky and most people are so complacent with driving tired that they don’t even give it a second thought. And the combination of a late night and a couple of drinks compounds the risk to disastrous levels. For more on drowsy driving, take a look at this free webinar on how to deal with worker fatigue.

Prepare for the winter hazards

While the holidays are an exciting time, people are more likely to fall ill or be involved in a workplace incident if they don’t keep their minds and eyes on task. Provide longer breaks when possible to combat fatigue, ensure ladder safety is adhered to, discuss relevant holiday safety topics during toolbox talks to fight human error, and be diligent about everyone’s safety when ordering food and consuming alcohol.

If you don’t have enough time to prepare relevant winter safety materials or design presentations for safety meetings, there are free materials available that outline the most common holiday hazards and provide information on how to avoid them. Many people think they’re safe enough already, but they care deeply about the safety of their loved ones, so such ready-made materials can encourage workers to take winter safety more seriously if they’re designed with their families in mind. For example, a holiday safety activity booklet for children or a brochure for them to take home may make them think twice about certain hazards themselves.

It’s important to consider that safety doesn’t only apply to the workplace. If training and culture are strong in an organization, safety becomes a state of mind and not an item on a to-do list. So when the winter holidays get nearer, it’s time to take some additional training out of storage and remind workers that safety doesn’t take a vacation just because they do. After all, holidays are supposed to be a joyous time and everyone wants to make it through the season incident-free.


“Bleeding disorders are a group of conditions that result when the blood cannot clot properly.  In normal clotting, platelets, a type of blood cell, stick together and form a plug at the site of an injured blood vessel. Bleeding can result from either too few or abnormal platelets, abnormal or low amounts of clotting proteins, or abnormal blood vessels.”

American Society of Hematology

Bleeding Disorders Hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease!

Bleeding disorders are a group of conditions that result when the blood cannot clot properly. In normal clotting, platelets, a type of blood cell, stick together and form a plug at the site of an injured blood vessel. Proteins in the blood called clotting factors then interact to form a fibrin clot, essentially a gel plug, which holds the platelets in place and allows healing to occur at the site of the injury while preventing blood from escaping the blood vessel. While too much clotting can lead to conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, the inability to form clots can be very dangerous as well, as it can result in excessive bleeding. Bleeding can result from either too few or abnormal platelets, abnormal or low amounts of clotting proteins, or abnormal blood vessels.

Hemophilia is perhaps the most well-known inherited bleeding disorder, although it is relatively rare. It affects mostly males.

Many more people are affected by von Willebrand disease, the most common inherited bleeding disorder in America caused by clotting proteins. Von Willebrand disease can affect both males and females. Platelet disorders are the most common cause of bleeding disorder and are usually acquired rather than inherited. You can find information on other bleeding disorders by following the links at the bottom of this page.

How do you know if your at risk?

Bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and von Willebrand disease result when the blood lacks certain clotting factors. These diseases are almost always inherited, although in rare cases they can develop later in life if the body forms antibodies that fight against the blood’s natural clotting factors. Individuals and pregnant women with a family history of bleeding disorders should talk to their doctors about detection and treatment. Symptoms of bleeding disorders may include:

  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding gums
  • Heavy bleeding from small cuts or dental work
  • Unexplained nosebleeds
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Bleeding into joints
  • Excessive bleeding following surgery

What is Hemophilia and how is it treated?

Hemophilia is a rare, inherited bleeding disorder that can range from mild to severe, depending on how much clotting factor is present in the blood. Hemophilia is classified as type A or type B, based on which type of clotting factor is lacking (factor VIII in type A and factor IX in type B). Hemophilia results from a genetic defect found on the X chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes. Women who have one X chromosome with the defective gene are termed carriers and they can pass the disease onto their sons. Due to random chromosome activation, some women carriers may range from asymptomatic to symptomatic depending on how much of their factor VIII or IX is inactivated. In fact, some women may have “mild hemophilia,” though this is less common. Men have one X and one Y chromosome, so if their X chromosome has the defective gene, they will have hemophilia.

Because blood does not clot properly without enough clotting factor, any cut or injury carries the risk of excessive bleeding. In addition, people with hemophilia may suffer from internal bleeding that can damage joints, organs, and tissues over time.

In the past, people with hemophilia were treated with transfusions of factor VIII obtained from donor blood, but by the early 1980s these products were discovered to be transmitting blood-borne viruses, including hepatitis and HIV. Thanks to improved screening techniques, and a major breakthrough that enabled scientists to create synthetic blood factors in the laboratory by cloning the genes responsible for specific clotting factors, today’s factor-replacement therapies are pure and much safer than ever before.

What Is von Willebrand Disease and How Is It Treated?

Von Willebrand disease is an inherited condition that results when the blood lacks functioning von Willebrand factor, a protein that helps the blood to clot and also carries another clotting protein, factor VIII. It is usually milder than hemophilia and can affect both males and females. Women are especially affected by von WIllebrand disease during menses. Von Willebrand disease is classified into three different types (Types 1, 2, and 3), based on the levels of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII activity in the blood. Type 1 is the mildest and most common form; Type 3 is the most severe and least common form.

With early diagnosis, people with von Willebrand disease can lead normal, active lives. People with mild cases may not require treatment, but should avoid taking drugs that could aggravate bleeding, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, without first consulting with a doctor. More serious cases may be treated with drugs that increase the level of von Willebrand factor in the blood or with infusions of blood factor concentrates. It is important for people with von Willebrand disease to consult with their doctors before having surgery, having dental work, or giving birth, so that proper precautions can be taken to prevent excessive bleeding. You may be referred to a hematologist, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of blood disorders.


“The holiday season is an exciting time for families, friends, and loved ones. When it comes to toys and gifts, the excitement and desire to get your children their favorite toys could cause shoppers to forget about safety factors associated with them. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries throughout the United States. Most of the injuries affect children under the age of 15.


Part II National Toys and Gifts Month

When it comes to toys and gifts, it is critical to remember to consider the safety and age range of the toys.

Prevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. The group encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suits the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age three.

This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:

  • Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
  • When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it.
  • Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
  • Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
  • Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)

Toy Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when shopping for toys:

  • Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Stuffed toys should be washable.
  • Painted toys must use lead-free paint.
  • Art materials should say nontoxic.
  • Crayons and paint should say ASTM D-4236 on the package – which means that they they’ve been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
  • Try to steer clear of older toys, even some hand-me-downs from friends and family as these might not meet the current safety standards.
  • Make sure the toy isn’t too loud – the noise of some rattles, squeak toys, and musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn or even louder if the child holds it directly to their ear, which can damage hearing.

The Right Toys for the Right Age

When buying a gift or toy for a child, always read the label to make sure the toy is appropriate and safe for their age. Also, consider your child’s temper, habits, and behavior before buying a new toy. Children who can seem advanced compared to other children of their age, shouldn’t use toys meant for older kids. Age level toys are determined by safety factors, not intelligence or maturity.

Babies – babies about 4 months old begin to reach for and grasp objects. By 6 or 7 months, they can switch between hands. At 9 months, they can pick up smaller objects, like blocks. Some smart toys for babies could include a nursery mobile, a ring stack toy, and push-pull toys.

Toddlers – Toddlers start to become aware of the function of objects. They like to stack blocks, babble into toy phones, drink from “big kid” cups, and the pretend play starts now. Smart toys for toddlers could be balls, shape-sorting toys, mechanical toys, or role-play toys like play kitchens, toy doctor’s kits, and child golf sets.

Pre-school – preschoolers are at the age and development level of using objects for their intended purpose. Often, they may have imaginary friends or fantasy worlds that they play in. This is also the period where they will be learning new little tricks and connecting with other children. Safe toys and gifts for children of this age could consist of arts and crafts, blocks and construction sets, puzzles and other games.

Elementary School – Children of this age group have begun to grasp an understanding of the world around them and start to show talents and interests. Physical abilities and motor skills are being refined during this age and peer relationships take on a larger importance. Some smart toy and gifts options could include a jump rope, or other physical activity toys, card and board games, musical instruments, and science toys.

Safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season

When picking out toys and gifts for your children, you should not only consider what is appropriate for their age and ability, but you should also keep in mind safety tips for that age range and toy. A toy could be the perfect fit for their age and development, but there are still safety factors that need to be evaluated.

Giving your children a safe holiday season can be achievable by taking the proper precautions. You’ll be able to better protect your child from toy-related injuries by providing safe toys, environments, and adult supervision for when they open and play and with their toys.

Too often, accidents involving children and toys occur and may result in eye injuries. Each year, thousands of children age 14 and younger suffered serious eye injuries, even blindness, from toys.

There are three important ways you can protect your child’s eyes from injuries while playing with toys:

  1. Again, only buy toys meant for their age.
  2. Show them how to use their toys safely.
  3. Keep an eye on them when they play.


“In the United States, December is observed as “Safe Toys and Gifts Month” as a means for alerting us to the need to be careful when making our toy and gift choices, and to prompt us to keep in mind their safety and suitability. Knowing what to look out for can make a big difference in preventing possible injuries from well-intentioned gifts.”.

Part I National Month for safe toys and gifts!


In recent years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has created a robust toy safety system, by requiring testing by independent, third party testing laboratories around the world; enforcing stringent lead and phthalatesPhthalates, or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic anhydride. They are mainly used as plasticizers, i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They are used primarily to soften polyvinyl chloride. ( limits for toys; imposing some of the most stringent toy standards in the world; and stopping violative and dangerous toys at the ports and in the marketplace before they reach children’s hands). These combined efforts continue to foster the confidence of American families as they prepare to shop for toys this holiday season.

Safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season:

Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard broken balloons immediately.

Small balls and other toys with small parts
For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.

Scooters and other riding toys
Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit.

High-powered magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept away from children. Whether marketed for children or adults, building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.

Once gifts are open:

  • Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before the wrapping and packaging become dangerous play things.
  • Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
  • Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.

Toy Safety Guides

The CPSC provides free safety alerts, guides, posters, brochures, handbooks and other materials which you can use to help spread consumer product safety information in your community.

During December, participate in Safe Toys and Gifts Month. Since December is the biggest gift-giving month in the world, it’s important to keep safety in mind as you’re shopping for the little ones in your life.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 251,700 toy-related injuries were treated by hospital emergency rooms around the U.S. in 2010. Of those, 72% of them were people younger than 15 years old. A few years earlier, toy makers recalled over 19 million toys across the globe due to safety concerns like lead paint and small magnets. Since then, toy safety has improved, but shoppers can take precautions to keep children in their lives safe.

Buying toys and other gifts are one of the most exciting parts about the holiday season. Who doesn’t love watching a friend or family member open a gift and seeing their eyes light up with excitement?! In all the eagerness, it’s easy to forget about simple safety. So before making any purchases this year, keep safety in mind, so the holidays don’t turn from the happiest time of the year to the scariest!

When it comes to toys and gifts, it is critical to remember to consider the safety and age range of the toys.


“Handwashing can help prevent illness. It involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


National Handwashing Week


When & How to Wash Your Hands

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

How should you wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

What should you do if you don’t have soap and clean, running water?

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals.

Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

How do you use hand sanitizers?

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

 Almost everyone has dropped food on the floor and still wanted to eat it. Some people apply the “5-second rule” — that random saying about how food won’t become contaminated with bacteria if you pick it up off the floor in 5 seconds or less.

The 5-second rule has become such a part of our culture that scientists actually tested it. As you can probably guess, they found that the “rule” is mostly myth: Bacteria can attach to food even if you pick it up super fast. So, depending on which types of bacteria happen to climb on board, you could still get sick.

Here are two facts to consider whenever you feel tempted by the 5-second rule:

  1. A clean-looking floor isn’t necessarily clean. A shiny linoleum floor is probably cleaner than a 1970s-era carpet. But even clean, dry floors can harbor bacteria. Newly washed floors are only as clean as the tools used to wash them (picture eating food off the mop in the cafeteria if you need a visual). Even with a brand-new mop or sponge, stubborn germs can still remain on the floor after cleaning.
  2. Fast is betterbut it may not be fast enough. Although a piece of food does pick up more bacteria the longer it’s on the floor, bacteria can attach to it instantly. So any food that makes contact with the floor can get contaminated if conditions are right. And foods with wet surfaces, like an apple slice, pick up bacteria easily.

When in Doubt, Toss It Out

Some bacteria are not harmful. But others can torture you with miserable stuff like diarrhea. Even if there’s no visible dirt on your food, you can still get sick. You just can’t tell what kinds of bacteria may be lurking on the floor.

So what are you to do with the piece of watermelon that just slipped from your grip? The safest choice is to throw it out. Or let the dog have it. (And there’s another thing to consider — even the 5-second rule can’t get around the fact that your food may have landed right in a spot where Fido parked his butt.)