Depending on who you are, a visit to the symphony can be described in many ways. “Inspiring,” if you are a classical-music lover; “boring,” if you are not. Most, however, would agree a night at the symphony is a sophisticated event, with an expectation of refined etiquette from its audience. So it’s easy to imagine that readers of the Chicago Tribune newspaper did a double-take upon reading its recent headline: “Fight Night At Chicago Symphony Orchestra”.
Like other theme parks, the “happiest place on earth” occasionally becomes a not-so-happy place for its employees. Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Walt Disney World for safety violations as a result of a fatal accident involving a park worker. This incident follows on the heels of another high-profile death in the park of a monorail driver, as well as numerous others over the years. Sadly, while on the surface these theme parks seem a safe place to indulge in entertainment and a few thrills, they have proven to have a dangerous side for employees and guests alike.
Many on the East Coast of the United States were recently reminded how unprepared they were for Mother Nature’s whims. An unprecedented earthquake that rattled buildings and people from the Deep South to Canada was swiftly followed by Hurricane Irene which swept up the Atlantic coast from the Bahamas. While somewhat familiar with hurricanes, Easterner’s certainly could not have predicted an earthquake for the area. And lately, many areas of the U.S. have seen such unusual events, from deadly outbreak of multi-state tornadoes to devastating wildfires in drought-stricken areas. Such events remind us that not only are we not immune from nature’s wrath, but that planning now for even unlikely disasters can save lives and property.
Having children brings with it a host of hopes and fears. Every hopeful parent wishes for a happy and healthy child, and dreams of all the joys a new baby will bring. But with this anticipation also comes concerns about childhood dangers. Particularly once children begin crawling and walking, their innocent curiosity and lack of dexterity means they are easily injured. For parents, it can be hard to think of every detail, and children are notorious about finding even the tiniest overlooked pitfall. Most parents educate themselves about these dangers and take precautions to safe guard their homes. However, a recent study reveals that too often caregivers are overlooking a major cause of injury to children: falls from windows.
Every July, millions of Americans end their Independence Day celebrations with a display of fireworks. Most of us have great memories of fireworks -- sitting on a blanket under a canopy of color or using a sparkler to write our names in the air with glowing letters. However, every year the holiday also brings with it injuries and damages related to fireworks. In 2008 alone, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported seven deaths and around 7,000 injuries from fireworks. Of those injured, 40% were children under the age of fifteen. More than half of the injuries were burns, with hands and eyes the most reported areas of injury. Also in 2008, approximately 22,500 fires were caused by fireworks, resulting in $42 million in property damage. With these staggering numbers, it becomes evident both handlers and spectators must take certain precautions with fireworks.
Most of us are too familiar with the uncomfortable feeling of our car shuddering around us as a semi-truck barrels past on the freeway. Even the largest SUV can feel like a tin can when measured up against an 18-wheeler. Therefore, it’s hard to not feel concern when sharing the road with such large and powerful vehicles. Understandably so, as in 2009 alone the U.S. Department of Transportation reported about 124,000 large trucks and buses were involved in crashes. Nearly 50,000 of those crashes involved injuries, and about 3500 were fatal. Knowing the inherent potential for danger, city and state governments have taken steps to make the roads safer for passenger and commercial vehicles alike. The first step, of course, is ensuring that the persons driving these large commercial trucks are competent to be behind the wheel.
As winter fades and warm weather nears, people begin thinking those two little words of freedom: road trip! With school breaks on the horizon, college students to large families are making plans for vacation. A recent survey by AOL travel shows that over 80% of spring travelers this year will travel 250+ miles from home, and 58% will travel more than 500 miles. And the majority will reach their destination by car. With so many people hitting the road soon, it’s important that you and your family take some steps to ensure that you stay healthy and safe during your vacation.
The adoption of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 allowed for the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The function of OSHA is to reduce hazards for workers in the United States in part through the creation of required safety standards in the workplace. Today, many employers are required to adopt either OSHA’s safety standards or state-created standards that are approved and monitored by OSHA. Ideally, employers diligently comply with these standards voluntarily. However, OSHA recognizes that at times it is necessary for employees to report noncompliance and potential hazards in their workplace. In order to better educate employees on protecting their rights, OSHA created the handbook “Employee Workplace Rights”. While OSHA provides many regulations which protect worker safety, this handbook highlights two of the most vital rights an employee has -- the right to information and the right to promote safety.
When beginning a new job, workers today are usually given thorough training on performing the duties of their job. Included in this training is a run-down on safety procedures, such as proper equipment handling and usage, record-keeping and reporting, use of safety equipment, and sharing various rules and regulations. While this may seem “old hat” to most of us, it was not so long ago that workplace safety was barely, if at all, regulated or mandated. Take for instance the 1906 novel by Upton Sinclair which detailed working conditions in the meatpacking industry. “The Jungle” revealed working and sanitary conditions so dangerous and gruesome that the United States government was forced to respond with inspections and ultimately increased regulations. Today, however, a worker may find that his or her safety is under the regard of multiple large organizations, including government, private and non-profit.
On the list of concerns about our jobs are usually items such as performance reviews, salary or promotion increases, lay-offs, personality issues with your supervisor. And yet, despite a growing number of high-profile news stories on the subject, few of us actually worry about workplace violence. Understandably so, as we tend to think of these incidents in terms of the rarer, exceptionally violent events performed by disturbed individuals. But workplace violence occurs more often than you are likely aware.