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LFCHD Employee Newsletter

Archive for the category “Safety Committee”

Decorate safely for the holidays

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Keep your holidays happy with safe decorations. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.

Be fire smart as you deck the halls for a festive holiday season with these USFA tips:

  • Water Christmas trees every day. A dry tree is dangerous because it can catch fire easily.
  • Make sure Christmas trees are at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents. Also, make sure the tree does not block exits.
  • Inspect holiday lights each year before you put them up. Throw away strands with frayed or pinched wires. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
  • Turn off all holiday lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
  • If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where you can not knock them down.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns. Never leave a burning candle alone in an empty room.

Find more holiday, Christmas tree, and fire safety information on the USFA Holiday Safety page.

New safety feature: blue signs on entrances

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Have you noticed those big, blue letters on the outside doors of the main health department building? The Safety Committee requested these signs as a way for first responders to clearly identify the different stairwells and back exits for our building. In case of an emergency, fire, police and other emergency personnel will have a better idea where an incident is occurring or where staff may be sheltering or exiting.

This is another small step in the development of our Active Shooter/Armed Aggressor policy and plan. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Safety Chair Doraine Bailey.

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Tips for walking safely in slippery conditions

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Walking to and from your car during the winter requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries that occur among LFCHD staff.

No matter how well the snow and ice is removed from parking lots and sidewalks, we can still encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. It is important for each of us to recognize the hazards of slippery walks and roadways.

Here are some helpful tips:

Clothing

  • Wear boots or shoes with nonslip or grip soles, such as rubber and neoprene composite. Slick leather or plastic soles on shoes will definitely increase the risk of slipping. Consider bringing “inside” shoes and changing when you arrive.
  • Dark winter coats can make it hard for motorists to see you, especially if they aren’t expecting you. Consider wearing a brightly-colored scarf or hat, or reflective gear, especially if you have to walk in the street.
  • Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic, whether outside or while driving.

Parking lots and sidewalks

  • Maintenance can clear and spread salt to melt ice today but it can freeze again overnight. In cold temperatures, assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy (black ice). This is especially true in the morning and in shady spots during the day.
  • Before getting out of your vehicle, look down at the surface. If it’s coated with ice you might want to park in a different place. Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them.
  • Use special care when entering or exiting vehicles. Use the vehicle for support. Before standing, brace yourself with the vehicle door and seat back. This will give you some stability.

Walking

  • Place your full attention on walking. Bend your knees a little and take slower or short, shuffling steps in very icy areas.
  • Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance. Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets. This reduces the ability to use your arms for balance if you do slip.
  • Don’t carry heavy loads, such as large boxes, cases or purses. They can alter your sense of balance and increase the chance of falling.
  • If you use a rolling cart or carry box, remember that it can also slip on ice as you push or pull it.
  • Watch for uneven surfaces. Avoid curbs with ice on them.
  • When walking up or down stairs, be sure to grip handrails firmly and plant your feet securely on each step.
  • Look up. Be careful about what you walk under. Injuries can also result from falling snow/ice as it blows, melts, or breaks away from awnings, buildings, etc.
  • Because of road conditions, motorists may not be able to stop at traffic signals or slow down for pedestrians. Before you step off of the curb into the street, make sure that any approaching vehicles have come to a complete stop.

Inside

  • When you come inside, be sure to look at the floor as you enter the building. The floor may be wet with melted snow and ice.
  • Before leaving the entryway, brush or shake off garments with a lot of snow. Shake water from umbrellas. Avoid bringing ice or water into work areas.
  • If you find a dangerous patch of ice or puddle of water, let Maintenance know. Use the “Facilities Maintenance Request” tab on the Intranet or call the Switchboard.

 

Resources:

Safety Committee offers tips to avoid car break-ins

‘Tis the season … for vehicle break-ins.

The Safety Committee has compiled a list below to prevent vehicle break-ins. Your Sonitrol badge should also be stored safely and not in your vehicle.

Top 5 Tips to Prevent Vehicle Break-Ins
1. Lock your doors
• 25 percent of car thefts are from unlocked vehicles.
2. Keep it clean
• Empty shopping bags can be seen as valuable. Don’t keep extra bags or other objects in sight.
3. Conceal all evidence
• Hide all evidence of electronics, even car chargers for cell phones.
4. Stash before you leave, not after you park
• Car thieves will watch people put their valuables in the trunk. Put them in the trunk before you leave for your destination.
5. Park for visibility
• Aim for a high visibility area around lights and other vehicles. Avoid concealment from oversized vehicles, fences or trees.

Reference:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/04/15/aa.avoid.car.break.ins/

Lazy, hazy and dangerous days of summer-don’t overdo it!

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Summer is probably the favorite season for many of you, but it does have special dangers. Refresh your awareness with an overview of the dangers of working in hot weather. Here are the basics on heat-related medical conditions:

  1. Heat rash
    Symptoms: red, bumpy rash that can be itchy.
    Treatment: rest in a cool place and keep skin dry and clean.
  2. Heat cramps
    Symptoms: painful muscle cramps.
    Treatment: drink electrolyte fluids to replace lost water and salt.
  3. Heat Exhaustion
    Symptoms: weakness, dizziness or nausea; clammy skin; complexion pale or flushed; vomiting and loss of consciousness in severe cases.
    Treatment: rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids, preferably electrolyte fluids to replace lost salt as well as body fluids.
  4. Heatstroke
    Symptoms: stops sweating; skin hot and dry; confusion, convulsions, and loss of consciousness possible.
    Treatment: call for an ambulance immediately; remove heavy outer clothing and keep victim cool by soaking clothes with water or spraying with mists of water; place ice packs under the armpits and groin area. Give only liquids to conscious victim.

Why it matters:

  • In addition to the very young and the very old, those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include the overweight, those with high blood pressure or heart disease, and people taking certain medications.
  • Medications that can increase your risk of heat-related illness include psychotropics; medications for Parkinson’s disease; tranquilizers such as phenothiazines, butyrophenones, and thiozanthenes; and diuretic medications or “water pills.”
  • Everyone can experience a heat-related illness if they do not take the hazard seriously and follow safety precautions.

6 Health-Smart Tips for Beating Heat Hazards

It is recommended that you follow these health-smart tips for beating summer heat hazards, both on and off the job.

  1. Practice pre-hydration. Before the activity starts, you should drink up to 16 ounces of fluid. After the activity begins, you should drink 8 ounces every 20 minutes during the activity.
  2. Drink the right stuff. Studies have shown that flavored water is more effective than plain water at providing hydration. This is simply because plain water is much better at quenching thirst and, therefore, people drink less of it. People will drink a larger volume of flavored water because they will continue to feel thirsty.
  3. Become acclimated to the heat slowly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a heat acclimation schedule can be induced in 5 to 7 days of exposure. For workers who have had previous experience with the job, CDC recommends an exposure regimen of 50 percent on day 1, 60 percent on day 2, 80 percent on day 3, and 100 percent on day 4. For new workers, CDC recommends 20 percent exposure on day 1 and a 20 percent increase on each additional day. Remember that after approximately 4 days of working in cool conditions, your heat acclimation will decrease.
  4. Take off that hat. The body loses a lot of heat out of the top of the head. In winter, you want to wear a hat to keep the heat in. But in summer, you want to release body heat. If you are in hot shade, advise them against wearing a hat. If you are in direct sun and need shading, wear a visor rather than a cap.
  5. Wear the right fabric. Cotton is great at absorbing moisture from the skin while sweating, but it can create a problem if the fabric becomes soaked. If possible, it is recommended that you wear a loose, thin, white, synthetic t-shirt while working in the heat. Synthetic material does not absorb sweat, but instead, sends it off the skin to be quickly evaporated. Synthetic fabrics will keep you cooler and safer from dangers of heat illness.

Signs of trouble:

The hotter it gets, the more stress on the body. The first signs of trouble include symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • Thirst
  • Discomfort
  • Lightheadedness

Simple heat stress, however, can quickly become heat exhaustion if early symptoms are ignored.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Pale or flushed appearance
  • Moist, clammy skin
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Untreated heat exhaustion can become heat stroke.

The heat stroke victim:

  • Stops sweating and has hot, dry, reddish skin
  • Has a rapid pulse and feels hot to the touch
  • May become confused or delirious
  • May suffer convulsions
  • May become unconscious

Twenty percent of heat stroke victims die. Those who survive may suffer brain and kidney damage.

Safety Committee: Keep warm, but do it safely!

The following is shared on behalf of the Safety Committee:

During the winter, it is common for some areas of the building to be cooler as our HVAC units work harder to heat the building. Some staff choose to utilize space heaters to help keep their work areas warm and fans to circulate the air. Now is a good time to remind folks to use these devices safely.

According to consumerreports.org, space heaters cause an estimated 21,000 fires per year! Follow the tips below when choosing a space heater to decrease the chances of fire or malfunction:

• Look for a safety certification label such as UL, ETL or CSA
• Check power cords for cracks, fraying, loose connections or broken plugs
• Never use on uneven surfaces or on tables
• Always unplug at the end of the day or when space heater or fan is not in use!
• Furthermore, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has a HVAC policy that staff should be familiar with, especially if they choose to use a space heater/fan. The policy can be found here: HVAC policy.

Any employee using a space heater/fan must sign the “Space Heater Agreement Form” located on the Intranet under Safety>Safety Forms and return the form to Bill Cooper by Friday, Feb. 26. Any employee who is non-compliant with these rules will be asked to remove the heater immediately.

Keep warm, but do it safely!

Please contact a member of the Safety Committee if you have any questions: Doraine Bailey (chair), Carla Basanta, Yvonne Beatty, Russell Cantrell, Karen Cecil, Bill Cooper, Jack Cornett, Lindsay Earlywine, Sara Gabbard, Jeanette Hart, Alyson Lane, Tara Mason, Estephany Romero and Rebekah Shoopman.

Safety Committee hosts training

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All staff is invited to attend a presentation by Officer Purdy with the Kentucky State Police on Thursday, January 28 from 8-9 AM in Conference Room C.

Presentation Topics:

  • De-escalating combative clients (addressing a combative individual, terroristic threat, individual ‘under the influence’, etc.).
  • Dealing with difficult clients.
  • Dealing with an Active Shooter situation (how to safely shelter when evacuating the building).

Safety Committee offers tips for medical emergencies

The following is submitted from the Safety Committee:

“Helping Lexington be well” is what we do as employees of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. Even though our main focus is outside the doors of 650 Newtown Pike, we need to also take time to focus on ourselves, our clients, and our co-workers and make sure we know what to do in the event of a medical emergency.

Please take time to read and understand the Medical Emergency Policy located on the intranet under PoliciesSafety and SecurityMedical Emergency or by clicking here.

If you witness a medical emergency take the following actions:
1. Call 9-911
2. Alert nearby staff to retrieve a nurse/medical staff member
3. Alert supervisor of the situation
4. Stay with the individual and provide first aid if needed
5. Complete an Incident Report Form WITHIN 24 HOURS

It is also important that you update your emergency contact information with Human Resources. Your supervisor will use that information to contact those individuals if/when necessary.

After reviewing the Medical Emergency policy, if you have any questions, please contact your supervisor.

Safety Committee offers tips to avoid car break-ins

Due to several incident reports involving LFCHD employee’s vehicles being broken into at fitness facilities (outside of work time), we have compiled a list below to prevent vehicle break-ins. Your Sonitrol badge should also be stored safely and not in your vehicle.

Top 5 Tips to Prevent Vehicle Break-Ins
1. Lock your doors
• 25 percent of car thefts are from unlocked vehicles.
2. it clean
• Empty shopping bags can be seen as valuable. Don’t keep extra bags or other objects in sight.
3. Conceal all evidence
• Hide all evidence of electronics, even car chargers for cell phones.
4. Stash before you park, not after
• Car thieves will watch people put their valuables in the trunk. Put them in the trunk before you leave your destination.
5. Park for visibility
• Aim for a high visibility area around lights and other vehicles. Avoid concealment from oversized vehicles, fences or trees.

Reference:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/04/15/aa.avoid.car.break.ins/

Safety Committee wants you to STOP!

Safety Committee and stop sign

Members of the Safety Committee are helping draw attention to the new stop sign in the employee parking lot. Be sure to watch for the two-way stop (incoming traffic from Loudon Avenue will not be required to stop) as you exit the parking lot! Pictured are Doraine Bailey, Rebekah Shoopman, Carla Basanta, Estephany Romero, Tara Mason, Sara Gabbard and Karen Cecil.

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