September 2018

Workplace Violence

  • AU Health has a zero tolerance program;
  • Verbal threats and physical contact are forms of workplace violence;
  • Workplace Violence should be immediately reported to security and /or department supervisor;
  • All workplace violence reports are taken seriously and investigated immediately.
“0” Tolerance 

Workplace violence can be any act of physical violence, threats of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. Workplace violence can affect or involve employees, visitors, patients, or contractors. It can be inflicted by an abusive employee, manager, supervisor, co-worker, patient, family member, or even a stranger.

A number of different actions can trigger workplace violence. It can also be the result of a non-work-related situation such as domestic violence or “road rage”

Tips to Avoid Workplace Violence
Assess Your Work environment

Critically examine all areas of your work environment. Do you have a method to summon assistance?

Pay Attention to the Warning Signs

Many people who become violent communicate their intentions in advance.

Trust Your Instincts

Don’t ignore your internal warning system. If you sense impending danger, react accordingly.

Use Team Approach

If you are in a situation in which hostility could occur, use the  “buddy system”.

august 2018

School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses are picking up their charges, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

If You're Dropping Off

Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. The following apply to all school zones:

  • Don't double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
  • Don't load or unload children across the street from the school
  • Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they're walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

  • Don't block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
  • Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

If you're driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you're on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
  • If you're turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door

By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.

July 2018

An important first step in practicing safety measures while using fireworks is to make sure you only use legal fireworks. Of the almost 10,000 Americans hospitalized for fireworks related injuries last year, those with the most serious injuries were as the result of lighting illegal fireworks or those intended for professional displays. Do your homework to find out what constitutes legal fireworks where you live. In the terms of fireworks, the definition of "legal" varies from one state to another and your county government may also have firework restrictions in place.

Injuries Caused by Fireworks

It won't surprise you to learn that most firework-related injuries involve the hands and fingers. This accounts for 38 percent of fireworks injuries. Another 19 percent involve the eyes, and almost 50 percent of the wounds are burns. As if these injuries aren't devastating enough, to really put it into perspective, fireworks can be life threatening if not handled properly, and they are also a fire hazard.

Top Causes of Fireworks Injuries

It's easy to become complacent and think those sparklers and bottle rockets are safe. But are they?

Class C firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets sparklers and fountains cause around two thirds of fireworks injuries. (These are illegal in many states, so be sure to check your local and state ordinances).

  • Firecrackers - 51 percent
  • Bottle rockets - 12 percent
  • Sparklers - 7 percent

Illegal fireworks account for another 29 percent of fireworks injuries.

Firework Safety Tips to Keep You Safe

Once you know which fireworks to buy, enjoy them while following these practical firework safety tips designed to keep you, your family, friends and pets safe. To start, the safest way to enjoy a fireworks display is to visit one put on by professions who are trained to handle the fireworks safely. However, if you plan to host your own fireworks celebration, put the following firework safety tips into practice:

  • Consider your pets when planning to shoot off fireworks. If you have a pet that may chase a fast moving target, or a pet that will be frightened, put them in the house to keep them safe until the display is over.
  • Don't assume you know how to use the fireworks. Read the directions and warning labels. If there are no directions or warning label, don't use them.
  • Don't carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Don't drink alcohol and light fireworks.
  • Don't let children light fireworks unless under supervision. Boys between the ages of 10-14 are injured more than any other age and gender group. In general, 40 percent of people injured by fireworks are children under the age of 14.
  • Don't light fireworks indoors.
  • Don't light fireworks on or near dry grass.
  • Don't shoot fireworks off in a glass or metal container.
  • Don't throw fireworks at people.
  • Don't wear clothes that are loose-fitting.
  • Fireworks should be kept in a cool, dry place.
  • For the sake of child safety only children above the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers
  • Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Keep "spectators" at a safe distance
  • Once you light the firework, move several feet away from it.
  • Only light one fireworks device at a time.
  • Only use fireworks legal in your area.
  • Purchase fireworks from a reliable dealer.

June 2018

Tip #1: What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke occurs after prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It often occurs in people who are also dehydrated, causing the body’s temperature regulation system to fail. Someone with heat stroke has a core body temperature of at least 105 F, along with symptoms related to the central nervous system.

Tip #2: What is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a precursor to heat stroke. It occurs when someone is exposed to high temperatures for a long period of time. If you spend a lot of time in high temperatures and don’t replace lost fluids, your body’s temperature regulation system becomes overwhelmed and produces excess heat. You should seek medical attention for heat exhaustion so it does not turn into heat stroke, which is life-threatening.

Tip #3: Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke: Signs and Symptoms

Heavy sweating, headache, and excessive thirst are among the most common symptoms of heat exhaustion. This condition also produces the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Clammy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased temperature
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps

If heat exhaustion progresses to heat stroke, the person’s body temperature may exceed 104 F. Other symptoms of heatstroke include dry skin, lack of sweating, throbbing headache, muscle cramps or weakness, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and disorientation. Untreated heat stroke may lead to heart attack and death.

Tip #4: What to Do for Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

If you suspect you have heat exhaustion, there are several things you should do. The best thing to do is go indoors and sit in an air-conditioned room or a room with a fan. If you are at work and can’t go inside, move to a shady spot outdoors. Replace lost fluids by drinking cool water or a sports drink containing electrolytes. Avoid icy-cold drinks in favor of cool liquids. Cool off by spritzing cold water on your skin, taking a cold shower, or immersing yourself in a swimming pool or bathtub filled with cool water.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you suspect someone you know has heat stroke, call 911 or take the person to the hospital immediately. While you wait for the paramedics to arrive, move the person to a cooler environment and remove socks, long-sleeved shirts, and other unnecessary pieces of clothing. Fanning the person, applying ice packs, or immersing the person in a tub of cold water are all ways to reduce core body temperature to a safer level.

Tip #5: Preventing Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

You should always take steps to prevent heat stroke, whether you are working outdoors or enjoying fun in the sun. Always wear lightweight clothing, drink plenty of water, and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day. If you take prescription medications, take special precautions to avoid extreme temperatures and dehydration.

If you work outdoors or in a hot warehouse, wear light-colored clothing made with breathable fabrics. When you get to work, build up to strenuous activities instead of starting with your most strenuous tasks. Take plenty of breaks to drink cool liquids and spend some time out of the heat. Avoiding alcohol and sugary drinks will help you prevent dehydration and reduce the risk of heat stroke.

Tip #6: Seeking Medical Attention

If you have the symptoms of heat exhaustion, come to Physicians Now to see an experienced healthcare professional. We’ll examine you thoroughly and administer fluids or medications to help you feel better.


May 2018

severe weather


April 2018

Financial Preparedness

Americans at all income levels have experienced the challenges of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. In these stressful circumstances, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records is crucial for starting the process of recovery quickly and efficiently. Taking the time now to collect and secure these critical records will give you peace of mind and, in the event of an emergency, will ensure that you have the documentation needed to start the recovery process without delay.

  • Gather financial and critical personal, household, and medical information.
  • Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATMs and credit cards may not work during a disaster
    when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
  • Obtain property (homeowners or renters), health, and life insurance if you do no\t have them. Review existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Scroll down for more helpful financial preparedness tips and download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to get started planning today. The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a joint publication from Operation Hope and FEMA’s Citizen Corps, to help you prepare financially and provide tips to reduce the impact disasters can leave you with financially.
At Home

Using the EFFAK as a guide, or by downloading a secure mobile app on your phone, store important documents either in a safety deposit box, an external drive, on the cloud to make it easy to access during a disaster. Having your financial and medical records and important contact information will be crucial to help you start the recovery process quickly. Take time now to safeguard these critical documents.

Household Identification
  • Photo ID to prove identity of household members
  • Birth certificate to maintain or re-establish contact with family members
  • Social security card to apply for FEMA disaster assistance
  • Military service
  • Pet ID tags
Financial and Legal Documentation
  • Housing Payments to identify financial records and obligations
  • Insurance policies to re-establish financial accounts
  • Sources of income to maintain payments and credit
  • Tax statements to provide contact information for financial and legal providers and apply for FEMA disaster assistance
Medical Information
  • Physician information to provide doctors with health information if medical care is needed
  • Copies of health insurance information to ensure existing care continues uninterrupted
  • Immunization records
  • Medications
Insurance Information
  • Having insurance for your home or business property is the best way to ensure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild, or replace whatever is damaged. Document and insure your property now.
Household Contact information
  • Banking Institutions
  • Insurance agent
  • Health professionals
  • Service providers
  • Place of worship
Get your benefits electronically

A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is a simple, significant way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:

  • Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or sign up online
  • The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper

March 2018

COMPUTER WORKSTATIONS

Performing tasks at a computer workstation involves repeating the same types of motions over and over again. These types of repetitive motions put stress on muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Prolonged repetitive motion stress can result in repetitive motion injuries. In addition, continuous sitting at a computer workstation can cause pressure on the discs between the vertebra of the back and pooling of blood in the legs. This safety note provides information to reduce the potential for repetitive motion injuries and increase comfort while sitting for long periods of time.

Recommended Computer Workstation Practices

Adjust chair height so that feet are flat on the floor or footrest at about shoulder width.

  • Sit straight in chair with lower back firmly supported against the backrest. The upper back should be lightly touching the backrest.
  • Position the computer monitor so it is at a distance of about 24 inches from the user and away from lighting that causes screen glare.
  • The computer monitor should be located in front of the keyboard and user.
  • The top of the computer monitor screen should be at eye level when the user is sitting upright. Users that wear bifocals should position the computer screen slightly lower.
  • The keyboard should be located close to the computer user and at a height whereby the user’s shoulders remain relaxed and forearms are parallel to the floor. The bottom of the user’s elbows should be at the same height as the keyboard.
  • The mouse should be located adjacent to the keyboard on the same surface.
  • Movement of a mouse should alternately take place from the both the shoulder and wrist.
  • When typing, the wrists should remain straight. If necessary, use a padded wrist rest to maintain a straight wrist position.
  • While typing, fingers, hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders should be relaxed.
  • Locate work materials in front of the computer user. If necessary, employ a document holder to position work materials in front of the user.
  • Frequently change body positions and take short stretch breaks every 30 minutes.
  • Rest the eyes hourly by looking away from the monitor and focusing on distant objects.
  • Intersperse other work activities with computer typing tasks, especially those that allow the worker to leave their chair and stand or walk.

February 2018

The dangers of canned air

Canned air is commonly used in offices to clean dust from equipment such as computers and shredders. These products often are used without incident; however, lack of training in proper use can lead to flash fires and injuries, warns the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Canned air is different from the air we breathe. The products are made of a gas that is compressed into a liquid and canned. The types of gases used vary, and some are dangerous when used improperly. Some of the more common dangers include:

  • Flammable ingredients. When canned gas is tilted, the liquefied and highly flammable gas can be released into the air and onto surfaces it contacts. This can be especially dangerous in poorly ventilated areas. When a flammable atmosphere is created, flames, sparks and electrical switches can ignite the concentrated gas, causing a flash fire.
  • Frostbite. The liquid inside canned air can cause frostbite when the skin is exposed to a steady stream. This can vary from an intense burning sensation to serious physical injuries such as skin cracking, and damage to muscles, blood vessels and nerves.
  • Asphyxiation and toxicity. When high concentrations of the gas are released into a nonventilated area, oxygen deficiency and possible asphyxiation can occur. The effects of inhalation vary depending on the type of chemical used, as well as the intensity and duration of exposure. When used properly, a serious breathing problem is unlikely to occur.

Simple steps in the workplace can help keep workers safe from these dangers associated with canned air products. Washington L&I recommends the following measures:

  • Find out who uses canned air and in what areas of the workplace it is used.
  • Determine whether the areas are properly ventilated. If they are not, move use to an open and well-ventilated area.
  • Check the contents of the canned air products in use at your workplace. If the product is flammable, switch to a nonflammable alternative.
  • Consider whether the use of eye, face and skin protection is needed when using canned air.
  • Make sure all canned air users – and those in charge of purchasing – are aware of potential hazards associated with use of the products.
  • Make sure users read the label on the can and follow all instructions for proper use.
  • Keep Material Safety Data Sheets available for complete information.

Canned-air products commonly are used in offices to remove dust from computers, shredders and other electronic equipment. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries warns employers that without proper training, employees may not follow safe practices because they assume the products are harmless. However, a variety of gases used in canned-air products are highly flammable. Follow these basic steps from Washington L&I to help keep your employees safe from hazards associated with canned-air products:

  • Ensure the products are used in an open and well-ventilated area.
  • Check that a non-flammable version is being used.
  • Make sure users read the label on the can and follow instructions on using the product safely. Post the Material Safety Data Sheet (or Safety Data Sheet) so more thorough hazard information is available to employees.
  • Consider whether eye, face or skin protection is needed.

January 2018

More than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 others are hospitalized.

Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that often goes undetected, striking victims caught off guard or in their sleep.

This "silent killer" is produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators or furnaces. When the gas builds up in enclosed spaces, people or animals who breathe it can be poisoned. Ventilation does not guarantee safety.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says about 170 people in the United States die every year from carbon monoxide produced by non-automotive consumer products, such as room heaters. So as the weather turns colder, it's important to take extra precautions.

Who is at Risk?

Exposure to carbon monoxide can result in permanent neurological damage or death, and anyone can be at risk.

The CDC says infants, the elderly, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems are more prone to illness or death, but carbon monoxide doesn't discriminate – especially if certain conditions are present.

In July 2015, for example, four young people and a dog were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning inside a cabin in Maine. Authorities believe they went to bed without shutting off a gas-powered generator running in the basement.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in My Home?

Winter can be a prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning as people turn on their heating systems and mistakenly warm their cars in garages.

The National Safety Council recommends you install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home near the bedrooms. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. The CDC offers these additional tips:

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly
  • Never use a gas oven for heating your home
  • Never let a car idle in the garage
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Steps to Take When Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounds

The CPSC says never ignore a carbon monoxide alarm, and do not try to find the source of the gas. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Immediately move outside to fresh air
  • Call emergency services, fire department or 911
  • Do a head count to check that all persons are accounted for
  • Do not reenter the premises until emergency responders have given you permission to do so

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The U.S. Fire Administration has put together materials on the dangers of carbon monoxide. Included is a list of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.

Low to moderate carbon monoxide poisoning is characterized by:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High level carbon monoxide poisoning results in:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

Symptom severity varies depending on the level of carbon monoxide and duration of exposure. Mild symptoms sometimes are mistaken for flu.