June 2001

Safety Night with the Golden Spikes

Bring your family to "Safety Night at the Golden Spikes" on June 22. General admission tickets at $.50 and reserved seats are $1.00. Tickets can be exchanged for a View Box Seat for another $1.00. Proceeds will help fund programs developed by the Safety & Health Council of Omaha's SAFE KIDS Campaign. The SAFE KIDS effort is part of a nationwide effort to prevent unintentional childhood injuries among children through the age of 14.

    * FIREWORKS to follow the game.

    * USED CHILD SAFETY SEAT BOUNTY - Due to the high risk of defaults, damage, recalls and other safety issues involved with used child safety seats, the Safety & Health Council is conducting a "used child safety seat bounty." If you, or someone you know, has a used child safety seat, bring it to the Safety Council by June 20 and you will receive 2 free tickets to the game. The Council will conduct a safety seat demolition at the game.

    * ARRIVE ALIVE - If you received an "Arrive Alive" entry blank and mailed it in, listen to KFAB (1110 AM) to see if your name was drawn for that day to receive a key for Dodge Neon being given away. Of the 110 keys given out, one will start the Neon at the game!

For more information or tickets, contact Mindy Foster at 546-6400 or mfostr@creighton.edu. Tickets can also be purchased at the Student Center Information Desk.

National Safety Month

    While all of the safety weeks are important from the Creighton standpoint, workplace safety must always be first. First not only for one week in June, but for every week and every day of the year in our working lifetimes. Just because there is a safety department and safety professionals on staff does not mean that any or all responsibility for individual safety issues rests upon them. First , last, and foremost, safety is and must be an individual responsibility. The university can provide Personal Protective Equipment and training but if it is not used it is the individual who has the resulting injuries. We can provide training and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) regarding hazardous chemicals but if proceedures arenít followed and if the data that MSDS provides is ignored injuries are bound to happen. I have always been fond of Yogi Bera sayings, and even though I donít know the source of "It hurts to get hurt" it sure sounds like Yogi. True enough, it does hurt to get hurt.

    Safety is a matter of doing it right the first time, because if you donít do it right the first time, you may not be around period to ever do it again. It all boils down to paying attention, thinking about what you are doing or going to do befor you do it, and eliminating the risk and the dangers accordingly. Real simple right-------nope--------because if it was, our accident and injury rate would be zero. So some of us donít pay attention, donít think, and donít even consider getting hurt. And that is when it usually happens. The most dangerous part of the workweek day is your drive to and from work, lets try to keep it that way by thinking safety.

Pan

Editorial: OSHA and the Bush Adminstration

t is generally considered that during Republican controlled adminstrations and Congresses that OSHA will suffer the slings and arrows of politics and have to survive on a reduced budget and no new legislation. Not so according to Patrick Tyson a former acting head of OSHA and currently a partner in the Atlanta law firm of Constangy Brooks & Smith. It was my privilege to hear Mr. Tyson speak at the Greater Omaha Safety and Health Council of Omaha EXPO 2001. An excellent speaker, he pointed out the history of OSHA legislation in the past few administrations. The realities have been that most of the really significant OSHA legislative programs have taken place during Republican dominated administrations. They included HAZCOM, Lock out / Tag Out, Confined Space and others. He also pointed out that during the previous eight years of Democrat administration, not a great deal of a positive nature was developed or enacted in the OSHA arena. One glaring exception to that was the late ergonomics standard, opposed by left and right aliked and killed by Congress. Mr. Tyson pointed out, however, that ergonomics and a standard is not in fact a dead issue, but rather one that is very much on the minds of Congress. Sen. Arlin Specter (R-Pa) appears to be the driving force behind developing a new but much more employer friendly ergonomics standard. Tyson predicted that it would be possible to see a new standard developed and on the books within four years.

Now, what does this mean for Creighton? Quite a bit really. In the first place, with or without a written government mandate, Ergonomics / Work Station Reviews / Purchasing Reviews / and Risk Management Reviews will continue as they have been for the last few years. Creighton will be proactive in this area not because of legislation but rather because it is the right thing to do; it is long run cost effectice; and long run it also increases production and employee morale. Ergonomic Reviews are conducted by the Dept. of Environmental Health and Safety and can be scheduled by calling 546-6400. Usually reviews are conducted withing the same week that they are requested. Copies of the reviews go to appropriate supervisors, Purchasing and Risk Management for management actions as required and as budgets allow. Not all problems in the area of ergonomics are solved by throwing money. Often simple corrections and adjustments are adequate. Employee comfort, reduced repetitive disorders, and employee satisfaction are but a few of the examples of the positive results of effective Ergonomics Programs.

New and better ergonomically designed furniture is being engineered and developed all the time. We are doing more and more training on the subject. Ergonomic reviews are encouraged at new employee orientations, and new information on the subject is distibuted as it is received. The bottom line is that ergonomics is alive and well at Creighton University, and will continue to be so.

Student Killed, Another Injured in UT Dorm Blaze

 Adam Jacob says he would rather stay at his sister's apartment than spend the night in his room at the private University of Texas dormitory, where a fire broke out, killing one student and critically injuring another.

The cause of the fire, which was reported about 6:20 a.m. Tuesday at the private University Towers, was still unknown. Investigators believe the blaze started in an apartment's living room. The dormitory, which houses about 600 residents did not have a sprinkler system because it was built in 1968, well before a 1981 ordinance that requires all high-rise buildings to have sprinkler systems. Under the rules, the building is required to have a 24-hour alarm system, smoke detectors in each room and pressurized stairwells, but not a sprinkler system. "Grandfather clause," said Jacob, a freshman mechanical engineering student from Houston. Jacob questioned the decision to not have sprinklers in the building. Austin Fire Department spokesmen Gary Wilks would not speculate on whether sprinklers would have prevented the death in this fire. The heat of the fire melted the emergency lighting system and the fire alarm system in the hallway outside of the room where the fire erupted. Wilks said the alarm sounded before it was melted. No one at University Towers would comment on the fire, but issued a statement that said the company official's prayers are with the victims and their families.

These are articles that are received everyday from campuses around the nation. It seems every week a university has a fire emergency that takes a life. Does the question, have we done everything to protect our student body ever arise prior to an emergency? Maybe it does, but it is put on hold because the cost that it would take to upgrade older buildings or install sprinkler systems in all our dormitories? I presume that something would happen if there ever was a mortality due to a fire emergency. This is the wrong time to act on something, does it take something bad to happen to make things right? I hope NOT!

I can assure you that these questions always arise in this department. The very fact that a position was created to do one thing makes sure this campus is fire safe. Shows a lot of initiative on the part of the University to take care of our most precious commodity, Student/Faculty/Staff. The responsibility of being safe essentially lands on all of us. Where you work, make sure you know where the fire exits are and locate a second means of exiting if the primary exit is obstructed. Does your department have a head count of everyone to make sure all persons are accounted for? Locate fire extinguishers and pull stations close to you, so that you can make other people aware of an emergency. All of these quick notes can make a high adrenaline situation much smoother.

Bill Worthing
Fire Safety Specialist
Excerpts from: MSNBC Health Newsletter / University of Texas

 

Fire in University of Kentucky Administration Buildling

It was a typical Tuesday afternoon. UK President Charles T. Wethington was sitting and signing papers at his desk. Construction workers were continuing repairs to the exterior of UK's administration building that would be complete in less than two weeks. Business was being conducted as usual, but around 4 p.m., a fire erupted and chaos ensued. Around 3:55 p.m., employees in the building heard fire alarms sound.

This building has a scary resemblance to our own administration building here at Creighton, for a couple of reasons; we have ongoing construction in our admin building and it is the building our president resides in, strange coincidence. Which means that a fire can stike anywhere, and have an effect on everyone in a university setting. Could Creighton University rebound if it lost our administration building? Could the vital records that are stored in the building be replaced? Would Creighton have the space to relocate & house the Jesuits who live in the building? Plus, Nebraska would lose a historical landmark in Omaha located on this campus.

Let us return to Kentucky University for their tragic story, and keep in mind how quickly things can change to the worse. It was a surprise to many including Katherine Adams, associate general council, who works in the basement of the building. "Like every fire alarm you've heard, we thought it wasn't real, but then someone started screaming, "it's a fire, get out!" Adams was not the only employee surprised at the fire. The fire began when a construction worker soldering copper eaves with a propane torch on the roof ignited wood rafters in the administration building's attic, according to Lexington Fire Chief William Holleran. The fire spread through the attic, third floor and parts of the second floor. Among those called to the scene were 40 firefighters, two aerial trucks and seven pumper trucks, according to Holleran. No one was seriously injured, according to UK's spokesmen. "The entire building was virtually flooded, " Wethington said. "It was an absolute soggy mess."

Bill Worthing
Fire Safety Specialist
Excerpts from: Kentucky Kernel / University of Kentucky

Mercury Spills


    Often while I am cleaning up a mercury spill from a broken thermometer, someone will say, "I remember playing with this stuff when I was a child. So, what's the big deal?" Well, mercury is a toxic heavy metal and it is a big deal.

    Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature, thus mercury can be vaporized and absorbed through the lungs. In fact, primary intake is by mercury vapor in the lungs, with up to 90% of the mercury taken in by this route being absorbed. Poisoning due to inhalation and absorbtion of mercury vapors results in a number of symptoms. Among these are personality and physiological changes such as nervousness, insomnia, irritability, depression, memory loss, fatigue and headaches. Physical effects may be manifested by tremors and general unsteadiness. Prolonged exposure may result in loosening of the teeth, excessive salivation, kidney damage or kidney failure.

    So, how can you reduce your potential exposure to mercury? Well...metallic mercury is commonly used in instruments and apparatus such as: barometers, thermometers, gauges, switches, sphygmomanometers, fluorescent lamps and manometers, just to name a few. One way of eliminating potential exposure is by "source reduction" or reducing the amount of mercury used. If you are setting up a lab or work area where you may use mercury containing equipment, please consider alternatives. One solution is to purchase red alcohol thermometers instead of mercury. Many of the spills that the Dept. of Environmental Health and Safety respond to, on campus, are due to broken mercury thermometers. Mercury waste is not only hard to clean up, due to small beads getting into cracks and seams in the flooring, it is expensive to dispose of as hazardous waste. To mimize the potential for future spills and associated health risks, clean-out old, unwanted elemental mercury and mercury compounds and use environmentally friendly alternatives.

Proper Disposal of Insulin Use Syringes

Often the Dept. of Environmental Health and Safety receives calls regarding insulin type syringes disposed of in inappropriate places. Sometimes its under a table in a dorm commons area or the dirty needle is in the regular trash in a restroom. Unfortunately, this places the cleaning personnel at risk for getting a needle stick while emptying the trash.

One safe method for disposing of insulin syringes is for diabetics to purchase a small zipper case to carry syringes, insulin and other supplies. Used needles/syringes may be placed in the case for later disposal at home. Health care workers cannot recap needles, but a self-administering diabetic can, since it would not pose an exposure risk to blood borne pathogens.

Disposal of needles by diabetics at home can safely be done by using a thick sealable plastic bottle. Bleach bottles or vinegar bottles work well for this. Cardboard containers may still allow puncture and should not be used.

 

Summer Road Trip Tips

With the rising fuel prices this summer, try these suggestions to maximize every gallon on your summer vacation.

    * Regular vehicle servicing - This is pretty obvious but many people do not follow this rule.

    * Tire air pressure - Even something as minor as having your tires inflated to the maximum can increase gas mileage by as much as 6 percent.

    * Lose the weight - Clean out your trunk or cargo area of unwanted / unneeded materials. It's been said that every 2000 pounds shave 1 mile per gallon off your fuel mileage.

    * Think ahead - If possible, plan trips so that you are not driving during the most congested part of the day, especially if you will need to use your air conditioning.

    * No idling - If you are going to be stuck in a drive thru, don't sit and let your car idle. Get out and walk in, it's better for your body also! Idling the engine uses more fuel than turning the engine off and restarting.

Excerpts from CNN.com

Safe Fourth of July

    In 2000 alone: There were 155 individuals who were injured as a result of fireworks misuse. This is a record high number, since the Nebraska State Fire Marshal's Office began keeping statistics on firework-related injuries. Individuals receiving 2nd-degree burns increased by 30%. Three people lost fingers or a hand, while 6 people suffered partial sight loss and 1 became totally blind. Injuries are only part of the problem. In 2000, there were 16 fires caused from the use of fireworks, resulting in hundreds of dollars in damaged property.

    The only legal fireworks within the City of Omaha are Snakes and Caps. All other fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Omaha, NE. A person using fireworks within the city limits can be faced with a $500 fine and/or jail time.

    Where firework use is legal, follow these important safety tips:

    * Always have adult supervision
    * If children find fireworks, they should alert an adult who can properly dispose them.
    * Do NOT lean over fireworks or hold fireworks in your hand when lighting. Turn your head to the side when lighting. Light fireworks only with a punk stick and then dispose in a bucket of water.
    * Do not discard spent Sparklers on the ground. They are very hot - 1500 degrees. Put them in a bucket of water.
    * Fireworks can and do start fires!!! Be aware of your surroundings and where the fireworks are landing. If injury or fire does occur, call 911 immediately and wait for trained personnel.

      Remember, fireworks can add much pleasure and enjoyment to our holidays, but the Fourth of July can be even more enjoyable if you play it safe. Attend a public fireworks display put on by the professional!

      Information provided by Omaha Fire/Rescue Dept., Public Education and Affairs Bureau, with statistical information provided by the Nebraska State Fire Marshal's Office

Arrive Alive!

For the 4th consecutive year, the Campus Safety Committee has participated in the ARIVE ALIVE program. The 2001 program, initiated by the Safety & Health Council of Greater Omaha partnering with Omaha organizations passes out cups to the individuals wearing seatbelts at vehicle check points. Safety Council partners this year included Blue Cross/Blue Shield/Jim's Dodge Country, US Bank, KFAB, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Convenient Food Marts.

Two hundred-fifty cups were passed out in campus parking lots this year. Inside each cup was a chance for a drawing for a Dodge Neon automobile which was given away on Fri. May 18, 2001 at Safety Night at the Royals. Marie Schneider (Cardiology), Tracy Jackson (Campus Ministry), and Lennis Pederson (Dir. Fac. Maint.) assisted in the cup give-away. It was estimated that seat belts were being worn by better than 80% of drivers in reviewed vehicles. Creighton is a member of the National Safety Belt Honor Roll which is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the State of Nebraska.

 

Arrive Alive!

For the 4th consecutive year, the Campus Safety Committee has participated in the ARIVE ALIVE program. The 2001 program, initiated by the Safety & Health Council of Greater Omaha partnering with Omaha organizations passes out cups to the individuals wearing seatbelts at vehicle check points. Safety Council partners this year included Blue Cross/Blue Shield/Jim's Dodge Country, US Bank, KFAB, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Convenient Food Marts.

Two hundred-fifty cups were passed out in campus parking lots this year. Inside each cup was a chance for a drawing for a Dodge Neon automobile which was given away on Fri. May 18, 2001 at Safety Night at the Royals. Marie Schneider (Cardiology), Tracy Jackson (Campus Ministry), and Lennis Pederson (Dir. Fac. Maint.) assisted in the cup give-away. It was estimated that seat belts were being worn by better than 80% of drivers in reviewed vehicles. Creighton is a member of the National Safety Belt Honor Roll which is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the State of Nebraska.

 

Safety Council Award of Honor

  For the 6th consecutive year, Creighton University has received the Award of Honor for Safety Achievement from the Safety and Health Council of Greater Omaha.

The award is based upon statistics that show the organization or institution has maintained a better than national safety average for like organizations/institutions for the previous year. In addition to statistics, safety programs, initiatives, training, and promotion are all considerations for receipt of the award.

The worst way to break up.

Something to pass on to someone with children or grandchildren..especially around graduation time.

Near to the door
he paused to stand
as he took his class ring
off her hand
all who were watching
did not speak
as a silent tear
ran down his cheek
and through his mind
the memories ran
of the moments they walked
and ran in sand hand and hand
but now her eyes were so terrible cold
for he would never again have her to hold
they watched in silence as he bent near
And whispered the words...
"I LOVE YOU" in her ear
he touched her face and started to cry
as he put on his ring and wanted to die
and just then the wind began to blow
as they lowered her casket
into the snow...
this is what happens
to man alive...
when friends let friends
drink and drive.