Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Follow
While some industries are inherently more dangerous than others, workplace injuries and deaths can occur at any job. This is why it is essential that all workers follow general safety guidelines while on the job. The following list of workplace safety tips can benefit employees of any industry.
General Safety Tips for All Workers
- Always follow correct procedures when completing a task. Taking shortcuts or ignore safety protocols can drastically increase your risk of injury.
- Clean up messes, even if you didn’t make the mess to begin with. Whether this means picking up a tipped over tool box at a construction site or cleaning a spill in the office break room, be proactive in maintain a safe workspace.
- Keep your work station clean and organized. A cluttered workspace can be dangerous.
- Be alert and awake. This is especially true if you are working with machinery or operating a vehicle as part of your job.
- Be attentive to your surroundings. When we are not paying attention, avoidable accidents can occur.
- Read and obey safety signs, stickers, and tags. Whether it be on a tool, a piece of machinery, or the office coffee pot, warnings are there for a reason.
- Take short breaks. Throughout the day, take moments to sit, stand, stretch, or walk to reduce the risk of muscle strains and repetitive motion injuries.
- Report any and all injuries immediately. If are injured on the job, report your injury to a supervisor immediately. If the injury is serious, seek emergency assistance.
Working as a Team
- Educate others. Others can benefit from your experience. If you see someone behaving in a manner that is unsafe, address the action and advice them on the proper way to complete the task.
- If you see something, say something. If you observe a hazard, make sure your team members are aware of it and report the hazard to a supervisor.
- Be conscious of those around you. When working as part of a team, be sure you are aware of the work that is happening around you. Do your best to ensure you don’t pose a hazard to your coworkers and that they do not pose a hazard to you.
- Communication is key in a work environment. Make sure others are aware of where you are and the actions you are taking if either may pose a hazard.
Hurt in a Workplace Accident?
There are certain steps you can take to help preserve your rights as a victim of a workplace accident. By following these guidelines, you can put yourself in a better position to achieve the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you suffered a work injury, follow these steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries.
- Report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible.
- Be sure your employer makes a written report of the accident.
- Collect names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Take photos of the accident area, including of any tools or equipment involved in the accident.
- Write a detailed account of how the accident took place.
- Contact an experienced work accident lawyer to discuss your rights as an injured worker.
Contact an Experienced Workplace Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured on the job, contact Thomas J. Henry. Workplace accident victims deserve quality, dynamic representation from attorneys with the experience and legal resources to properly develop their case. Oftentimes, workplace injuries are severe and debilitating and put individuals out of work for an extended period of time.
Our work accident lawyers will take immediate action on your case and make sure you are comfortable and informed throughout the entire legal process. Contact us today for a free case review. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.
An Introduction to Burn Injuries and National Burn Awareness Week
Everyone has suffered a burn injury at some point in their life. Generally, while painful, the burns suffered are relatively minor, perhaps resulting in a blister that will heal within a few days. However, in more severe cases, burns can result in infection, permanent scarring, deep tissue damage, nerve damage, and even death.
In support of the National Burn Awareness Week, Thomas J. Henry will be running an online awareness campaign featuring blogs on types of burn injuries, treatment, and prevention.
What is National Burn Awareness Week?
National Burn Awareness Week is observed during the first full week of February and is an opportunity for safety experts to educate the public on burn awareness, prevention, and methods of treatment.
While fire safety and burn prevention campaigns are generally something we associate with children and parents, adults without children should not exclude themselves as every demographic can benefit from the information presented.
Over the course of the week, our blog will include entries meant to raise awareness and help prevent life-altering burn injuries. Among items that will be covered are the different types of burn injuries, the different severities, at-risk demographics, and different methods of treatment and prevention.
Why is National Burn Awareness Week Important?
As mentioned above, we have all suffered a burn injury at some point in our life. What many of us often fail to realize is just how lucky we are that our injuries were minor.
Serious burn injuries result in more than just physical pain. The traumas of a serious burn injury combined with the scarring and disfigurement that can result from such an incident take an emotional and psychological toll as well.
Combine that with the fact that serious burn injuries are much more prevalent than many of us may believe, and you’ll begin to understand why National Burn Awareness Week is observed.
How Common Are Serous Burn Injuries?
- According to the American Burn Association, about 450,000 patients receive hospital treatment for burns every year. Keep in mind that this excludes burn injuries treated in clinics, private medical offices, or community health centers.
- Roughly 3,400 deaths occur due to burn injuries per year.
- According to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, burns and fires are the 3rd leading cause of death in the home.
- Scalding is most common in children under 4 years old responsible for 200,000 injuries per year.
- 50% of scalds result from spilled food and drinks, and the other 50% are typically from hot tap water; irons; stoves; and heaters.
- 250,000 children per year under 17 seek medical attention for burn injuries
- Approximately 15,000 children require hospital treatment after burn injuries
- Roughly 1,100 children per year die from fires and burn injuries
- Out of the 3,400 U.S burn injury deaths per year:
- 2,550 deaths are due to residential fires
- 300 of the deaths are due to vehicle crashes
- 550 of the deaths are due to multiple other causes such as scalding, flames, smoke inhalation, and electricity
Have You Suffered a Serious Burn Injury?
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a severe burn injury, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. Our experience burn injury lawyers are available to assist you. If you sustained your burn injury due to the negligence of an individual or company, you may be entitled to collect damages for medical costs, lost wages from missing work, future earnings, and more. We will handle your case with care and ensure that you are in the best position to achieve the real results you deserve.
5 Winter Safety Tips for Children
With the cold weather we have had this winter, it can be tempting to get bundled up on the couch and stay inside. However, it is important to remember that children benefit for outdoor physical activity, even in the winter. Here are some quick tips to keep you kids safe and healthy as they enjoy the cold weather.
Children, especially infants and toddlers, are more likely to suffer from low body temperature and develop hypothermia. Dressing your child in layers is a great way to add warmth during colder weather. A general rule to keep in mind is that a child should wear one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear – so if you are comfortable in long sleeves and a cardigan or sweater, consider adding a jacket over your child’s sweater.
Jackets are always a great option as they can be removed if the weather starts to warm up of if direct sunlight and physical activity result in increased body temperature.
Other items to add to you child’s wardrobe should include, mittens and/or glove, thicker socks, and hats and hoods. Scarves and drawstrings hoodies are not recommended due to potential strangulation hazards.
Also, keep a dry set of clothing at your child’s school or daycare incase their clothes become wet.
Practice Active Supervision
Cold weather presents unique hazards. If you live in an area with ice or snow, be sure you are aware of any potential slip and fall hazards. This is especially true for playground equipment.
If sledding, make sure your child is aware of and avoids hazards such as cars, trees, ponds, and ditches.
When playing outdoors, encourage you child to keep moving. This will help generate body heat. If your child displays any symptoms of hypothermia, move your activities back indoors immediately.
Sunscreen Is Still a Necessity
Just because it’s cold, that does not mean you can skip the sunscreen. Sunlight reflects off of the snow and ice, creating a risk of sunburn. Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.
Make Sure Your Kids Eat and Drink
Dehydration can increase your child’s risk of developing hypothermia. Have your kids drink plenty of fluids when playing (this is true for any weather). Also, provide your child plenty of health snack as they play. This can include trail mix, fruit, and bread.
Know When Outdoor Play is Appropriate
Freezing temperatures and wind can result in hypothermia and even frostbit. Check weather forecasts when planning outdoor activities and check for updates throughout the day.
Fire Safety Tips for Winter Weather
With record low temperatures being recorded all across the United States, it is important for people to remember how to stay safe while also staying warm. Space heaters, fireplaces, and even standard in-home heaters can pose significant fire hazards when in use. In 2016 alone, house fires killed 2,735 people and injured an additional 10,750, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Please ensure your safety by reviewing the following tips.
Check Your Smoke Alarms
Be sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. If you have not done so recently, check the smoke alarms’ batteries and make sure they are in working order.
Use Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Some smoke alarms come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. If yours do not or if you are unsure, you can purchase a reliable carbon monoxide detector for about $20.
Have a working CO detector within 15 feet of each sleeping area of your home.
Use Heaters Safely
Do not use gas or electric ranges or ovens to heat your home. Not only will they be inefficient heaters, they can also be dangerous.
When using a fireplace or portable heater, keep combustible materials including newspapers, furniture, and clothes at least three feet from the heat source. Never place portable heaters at the bottom of a stairway as they may block an escape route in the event of a fire.
For portable heaters, check all cords for cracks, exposed wires, or loose connections. Do not overload electrical sockets or use power strips when using a portable heater.
Use Kerosene Heaters Correctly
Kerosene heaters can only use approved K-1 kerosene. Do NOT use gasoline!
When refilling a kerosene heater, avoid over filling and never refill the heater indoors or while it is still hot. Keep kerosene heaters away from flammable items or ignitable liquids.
Review Your Fire Escape Route
While you should always practice regular reviews of your fire escape route, it takes special precedence in the winter. Make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency and ensure all windows and doors are in working order.
Firework Safety Tips for New Year’s Eve
With the launch of each New Year, thousands of Americans are admitted to emergency rooms with burn injuries caused by fireworks. Despite growing safety initiatives, 2015 marked the worst year for fireworks injuries in at least 15 year.
New Year Firework Injury Facts and Statistics
- In 2015, 11 people died and 11,900 consumers were injured in firework accidents.
- A majority of these injuries occurred on or near the New Year and July 4th holidays.
- According to the CPSC, more than half of these injuries were the result of unexpected ignition.
- Children under the age of 15 accounted for 26 percent of firework injuries in 2015, and 42 percent emergency room-treated injuries were to individual under the age of 20.
- 1,900 emergency department-treated injuries were associated with sparklers.
Facts About Firework Injuries
- Most fireworks injuries result in burns to the head. These burns are often to the eyes, face, and ears.
- Other firework accidents result in severe hand burns which can result in the loss of fingers.
- In most accidents, sparklers, firecrackers, and flying firework devices are involved.
- Firework accident fatalities are nearly always caused by a device that malfunctions and explodes.
Firework Safety Tips
- Closely supervise children playing with fireworks.
- Never allow small children to ignite fireworks.
- When popping fireworks, always keep a bucket of water or hose close by.
- Never place any part of the body directly over a firework device.
- Never point fireworks in the direction of another person.
- Never try to relight a malfunctioning firework device.
- Never shoot off fireworks out of a glass or metal container.
- Only purchase legal fireworks.
- Never buy fireworks which come in a brown paper bag because they may not be meant for the sale to consumers.
8 Driving Tips for the Holiday Season
Along with Christmas and the winter holiday season comes the tradition of traveling to see family and friends. Whether you are traveling several hours or only a few minutes, adverse weather conditions and increased traffic can create make travel riskier than normal.
By practicing the following safe driving tips, you can help ensure you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and happy holiday.
Check Your Vehicle’s Maintenance List
Before traveling, take the time to fully inspect your vehicle. This includes making sure your lights are in working order, your tires are properly inflated and in good condition, your windshield wipers are operational and in good condition, and that there is enough wiper fluid in your vehicle.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before Long Trips
Driver fatigue is dangerous – combine it with the other hazards that come with holiday travels and it can quickly become deadly. Not getting enough sleep can impact your motor skills and reaction time. Being well-rested will allow you to remain alert over the course of your trip. If you find your concentration slipping, take a break or consider allowing a passenger to take over driving duties for a while.
Plan Your Route
Map out and become familiar with your route ahead of time. Congested roadways could mean you have to prepare for lane changes and exits much earlier than usual. Being unprepared can add unnecessary stress and increase the risk of collision. Also take into account local traffic and weather reports when planning your route.
Be sure you are ready for any potential emergencies. Store coats and blankets as well as water and food in case your vehicle stalls on an empty stretch of road and pack first aid kits and traffic signals in case you are involved in a collision.
Avoid anything that distracts you from driving. This includes electronic devices like cell phones, GPSs, and even the radio. You should also avoid eating while driving, applying makeup, or allowing a passenger to divert your full attention from the task at hand.
Control Your Speed
Speeding is the most common cause of automobile accidents and becomes especially dangerous when combined with increased traffic and poor weather conditions. Be sure to slow down for inclement weather, road construction, and heavy traffic.
Don’t Drive Drunk
This is self-explanatory. When you drive under the influence, you are putting yourself, your passenger, and everyone else on the road at risk. Don’t do it.
Seatbelts greatly reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a collision. Make sure everyone in your vehicle is making proper use of these essential safety devices.
12 Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 14,700 holiday decorating-related injuries are treated in emergency rooms every year. This averages to about 240 injuries per day during the holiday season of November and December.
Thomas J. Henry would like to remind you to practice safety when decorating for the holidays. Please be aware of decorating dangers and review the following safety tips.
Safety Tips for Christmas Trees and Decorations
- Check Your Tree for Freshness. If you are purchasing a live tree, be sure your tree is fresh. A fresh tree will be green, and its needles should be healthy. Healthy needles are hard to pull from branches and should not break when bent between your fingers. Also check the bottom of the tree as there should be a sticky resin.
- Do Not Place Your Tree Near a Heat Source. Always place your tree away from heat sources, including fire places, vents, and radiators. Also, heated rooms can rapidly dry out live treats, so be sure to check water levels daily and keep tree well watered.
- For Artificial Trees, Check for “Fire Resistant” Label. While this does not mean the tree if immune from catching fire, it does mean the tree is more resistant to flames and heat sources.
- Use Age Appropriate Decorations with Children. If you have a small child, avoid sharp or breakable decorations. Also, keep trimming s and small removable parts well out of reach of children as they can swallow or inhale the small pieces.
Safety Tips for Decorative Candles
- Do Not Leave Burning Candles Unintended. If you are leaving a room, extinguish all candle prior to exiting.
- Keep Candles on a Safe Surface. If a candle is burning, be sure it is on a stable surface where it cannot be knocked over by children or pets. Also, place your candle on a heat-resistant surface away from items that may catch fire, including plants, decorations, curtains, and furniture.
Safety Tips for Christmas Lights
- Only Use Lights that Have Been Tested. Both indoor and outdoor Christmas lights must meet strict standards that testing laboratories are able to verify. Tested lights will be marked with a seal or label.
- Check for Defects. Always check your lights for broken sockets, frayed or exposed wires, or loose connections. Even new lights should be examined. Throughout any damaged sets.
- Check Extension Cords for Damage. Damage may include cuts, fraying, or exposed wires.
- Use the Right Lights for the Job. Lights are designated as indoor or as outdoor. Make sure you are using the appropriate type of light when decorating. Also, always plug outdoor lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacle.
Safety Tips for Fireplaces
- Be Careful When Using “Fire Salts.” Fire salts are used to produce colored flames when thrown onto woods. They also contain heavy metals that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if ingested. Keep them out of reach from children.
- Keep Wrapping Paper Away From the Fireplace. Wrapping paper burns rapidly and intensely and may cause a flash fire. Never place them near a fireplace, and never put wrapping paper in the fire place.
Winter Safety Reminder: Coats and Car Seats
It is a common mistake which could prove deadly: putting your child in a car seat without removing his or her winter coat. With the arrival of the winter season, experts and safety advocates are working to remind parents that even though it may feel like your child is strapped snugly into their car seat, a large or puffy winter coat can result in a catastrophic car seat failure.
How Do I Know if My Child’s Coat or Jacket is Too Large for a Car Seat?
When a winter coat is too big or too puffy, it can leave your child’s car seat harness too loose to be effective in the event of a collision. When checking if your child’s coat creates a hazard, Consumer Reports recommends parents take the following steps:
- Put the coat on your child, sit him or her in their car seat, and fasten the harness. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any part of the strap between your thumb and forefinger.
- Without loosening the harness, unhook it, and remove your child from the car seat. Take off your child’s coat, put him or her back in the car seat, and buckle them back up without tightening the harness.
- Try to pinch the straps between your thumb and forefinger. If you are able to pinch any part of the webbing successfully, the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.
Of course, the safest option for your child is to simply not allow any coat to be worn while he or she is in a car seat.
What Are Some Car Seat-Safe Alternative to Coats?
Instead of having your child wear a coat while in a car seat, consider the following:
- Put a blanket over small children to keep them warm as they ride in their car seat.
- Use fitted covers that are approved by the car-seat manufacturer for your specific car seat. Approved covers will have been tested with the seat to ensure your child’s safety is not compromised.
- For bigger children, simply turn the coat around and put it on backward (with arms through the sleeves) after the child is secured in their car seat. This will allow the coat to serve as a blanket resting on top of the harness.
Halloween Safety Tips: Avoiding Scary Accidents and Injuries
Don’t get tricked into an accident this Halloween! Enjoy trick-or-treating and other festivities safely by following these Halloween tips.
Trick-or-Treat Safety for Children
The Texas Department of Public Safety has several suggestions for maintaining your child’s safety while trick-or-treating on Halloween:
- Before heading out to trick-or-treat in your area, check the route for sex offenders on the Department of Public Safety sex offender registry.
- Children should travel in groups with supervision from an adult.
- Adults and children should avoid entering the homes or vehicles of strangers along the route. Tell your children to avoid homes with their porch light off.
- Trick-or-treaters should wear costumes that are light colored or have reflective materials. Carrying a glow stick or light source helps drivers see them in the dark.
- Avoid costumes with fake guns or knives so they are not confused for real weapons in the dark.
- Consider costumes without masks. Masks can limit visibility and peripheral vision.
- After trick-or-treating is over, check your child’s candy thoroughly before allowing them to eat it. Discard any candy with broken or open wrappers.
Trick-or-Treat Safety for Drivers
As Halloween approaches, we urge all drivers to practice cautious and safe driving on Tuesday evening as children and adults hit the streets across the United States for trick-or-treating. Follow these tips to keep yourself and pedestrians safe this Halloween:
- Do not drink and drive. Period. October 31st is no different than any other day — drunk driving is a careless, dangerous, life-threatening choice to yourself and others.
- When traveling through areas with heavy foot traffic, drive below the posted speed limit to give yourself additional time in case a pedestrian suddenly appears in the road.
- Be aware that children may not be focusing on their own safety while trick-or-treating. Stay alert and anticipate pedestrians walking on and across the road.
- Obey traffic signs and signals and respect the pedestrian right of way.
Tips for Halloween Partygoers
Children are not the only segment of the population that can enjoy the festivities of Halloween. While children focus on trick-or-treating safely, adults should take responsible actions when planning on drinking alcohol at a Halloween party. Whether it’s a costume party at a person’s house, a bar, or restaurant, adults should follow these safety tips:
- Do not drink and drive.
- Designate a sober person as your driver at the end of the night. Alternatively, plan on taking a taxi or ridesharing service home.
- Don’t let your friends or family drive home after drinking. Over to pay for a cab ride or rideshare service.
- If you don’t plan on drinking on Halloween, offer to drive others home.
- Hosting a Halloween party at your home? Do not let visitors who have drank alcohol drive home. In some cases, you may be held liable for an auto accident caused by a person who became inebriated under your roof. Arrange for guests to stay the night or to take a taxi or ridesharing service home.
Halloween Costume Safety Tips
Whether you are dressing up as a pirate, a celebrity, or an inanimate object, there are steps you can take to ensure that your costume won’t cause you any harm. Here are some tips from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Wear costumes that are flame resistant or made of flame resistant materials, such as nylon and polyester.
- Planning on trick-or-treating or walking around on Halloween? Make sure your costume is either brightly colored or contains a strip of reflective material so motorists can more easily spot you. Pedestrians are at an increased risk of being struck by a vehicle on Halloween night.
- Decorative, colored, or non-prescription contact lenses should be avoided unless an eye care professional has been consulted. These lenses have not received FDA approval, can carry contaminants if not cleansed properly, and can cause damage to the eye due to not being fitted properly.
- Test makeup on your arm before applying to the face to see if you are allergic. You may want to consider ditching face paint altogether and go with a hat instead. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics conducted a study that found traces of heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, in many Halloween face paints marketed to kids. These and other heavy metals, some considered carcinogenic, can cause serious health effects including reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption.
- Exercise caution when wearing a mask or a long costume, both of which can cause tripping hazards.
Fire Prevention Week 2017: Prevention and Planning for Fires
October 8th – 14th marks the 92nd annual Fire Prevention Week in the United States. During Fire Prevention Week, Americans are reminded of the dangers of fires and the importance of practicing fire prevention and planning every day.
Every year in the United States, thousands of people are affected by fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated 365,500 house fires required assistance from a fire department. Of these home structure fires, more than 2,560 people died and more than 11,000 people were injured. Burn injuries can be catastrophic in nature, resulting in extensive scarring and years of surgical procedures.
In many cases, house fires and loss of life could be prevented. The NFPA urges Americans to take time this week to ensure that proper fire safety measures are being taken in their home and that an escape plan is in place if a fire does occur.
How to Prevent Fires in Your Home
Cooking equipment, heating equipment, and smoking materials are three of the top culprits in causing house fire-related injuries and deaths. Half of all deaths caused by home fires occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., despite only one out of five home fires reported during these hours.
Here are some tips to avoid fires from cooking equipment, heating equipment, and smoking materials:
- Never leave a stove or oven unattended when in use. Always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case a fire occurs.
- Space heaters are the most common cause of heating-related fire injuries and deaths. Be sure to keep flammable materials such as furniture, clothes, and paper away from the heater at all times.
- Most injuries and deaths caused by smoking materials in the home occur in the living room, family room, or bedroom. Choose to smoke outside and keep smoking materials (lighters, matches, cigarettes) out of the reach of children.
Although they cannot prevent a fire from occurring, smoke alarms are essential to alert you and your family in the event of a fire inside your home. The NFPA says that working smoke alarms in the home cut the risk of dying in house fires by 50 percent. In addition, three out of five home fire deaths between 2010 and 2014 occurred in houses without working smoke alarms.
Remember, it’s not enough to simply have smoke alarms in your home: they must be working! Test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the battery once a year.
Creating an Escape Plan for Your Family
In the unfortunate event of a fire in your home, a fire escape plan can help get you and your family out safely. The NFPA’s theme for Fire Prevention Week in 2017 is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
According to the NFPA, here are some safety tips on how to devise and execute an escape plan if a fire breaks out inside your home:
- With your family, draw a map of your house and mark two exits from each room and a path outside from each exit.
- Practice a fire drill with your family twice a year, conducting one drill at night and one during the day. Walk through your escape plan using different ways out of the house.
- Make sure that exits are not blocked by pieces of furniture.
- Show your children how to escape on their own in case you aren’t there to help them.
- Pick a meeting spot outside of your house, and a safe distance away, to meet with your family after escaping.
- Never return inside a burning building! There is no item inside that is worth more than your life.
According to NFPA, only one-third of all Americans have developed and practiced a fire escape plan. Oftentimes, there is less than 6 minutes before a house fire becomes life-threatening. Devising and walking through an escape plan with your family can help you evacuate quickly and increase your chances of avoiding serious injury and death.
Have you or a loved one suffered a severe burn injury due to someone else’s negligence? Learn more about your legal options in our blog post: Who can be sued in a burn case?