Work Safe Kentucky: The KEMI Safety Blog
The American traditions of parades, cookouts, and fireworks help us celebrate the summer season, especially our nation’s birthday on the Fourth of July. However, fireworks can turn a joyful celebration into a painful memory when children and adults are injured or killed while using fireworks.
Although legal consumer fireworks that comply with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations can be relatively safe when used responsibly, all fireworks, by their nature, are hazardous and can cause injuries. Fireworks are classified as hazardous substances under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). Some fireworks, such as illegal firecracker-type devices (M-80s, quarter sticks) and professional display fireworks should never be handled by consumers, due to the risk of serious injury and death.
CPSC estimates that in 2017, about 12,900 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. Sixty-seven percent of these estimated injuries occurred in a one-month special study period (June 16, 2017 – July 16, 2017) around July 4. Most of the injuries involved hands and fingers, the head (including face, eyes, and ears), legs and arms. Children under the age of 15 years old accounted for 36 percent of the estimated injuries. Fireworks should be used only with extreme caution.
Before using fireworks, make sure they are permitted in your state or local area. Regardless of location, consumers who intend to use fireworks must comply with federal regulations.
To help consumers use fireworks more safely, the CPSC offers these recommendations:
- Do not allow young children to play with fireworks. Sparklers, a firework often considered by many to be the ideal “safe” device for the young, burn at very high temperatures and should be not be handled by young children. Children may not understand the danger involved with fireworks and may not act appropriately while using the devices or in case of emergency.
- Older children should be permitted to use fireworks only under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.
- Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves, or grass and other flammable materials.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
- Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
- Check instructions for special storage directions.
- Observe local laws.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
If you have other ideas, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org!
National Nurses Week and Teachers Appreciation Week are coming soon, and while KEMI promotes workplace safety with these groups year-round we thought it would be fun to share some creative ideas to help you express your gratitude for these two important professions!
- Homemade Treats – Bonus points if they are nurse-themed!
- Lifesavers Candies – Snag a few bags of Lifesavers gummies or hard candies and attach a sweet note!
- Pens – Tablets and computers are more common in hospitals and medical offices, but who doesn’t love a good pen?
- Handwritten Note – Personalized thank you cards cut right to the heart and give nurses all the feels.
- Discounts – If your business offers a product or service that could benefit nurses, offer a discount or promotion to say “thanks!”
- Gifts – An insulated tumbler, an umbrella, or even a simple gift card are great gifts for nurses.
- Catered Meals – Nurses are often too busy catering to the needs of their patients that they don’t have time to leave and grab a good meal, so consider bringing a good meal to them!
- Ice Cream Bar – Put out a variety of ice cream flavors and toppings to let nurses know they are cool!
- Flowers – Encourage each kid in the class to bring in one flower, then put them all together making a one-of-a-kind classroom bouquet!
- Personal Notes – Write a note to express your appreciation to a teacher (cursive writing is not required).
- Discounts – You don’t have to be a math teacher to appreciate a good discount. Why not offer a deal for teachers when they present their ID badge at checkout?
- Lunch – Soups, sandwiches, salads, or taco bars are great options.
- School Supplies – Gather a handful of school supplies that can be used in the classroom.
- Sweet, Salty, or Healthy Treats – Fill the teachers’ lounge with themed snacks or desserts (visit Pinterest for fun theme ideas)!
- Volunteer – Time is one of the most valuable (and fleeting) commodities in a teacher’s day. Offering to help in the classroom is one of the best ways to say thanks and show that you care!
These are just a handful of ideas to show nurses and teachers that you care about them. KEMI also offers a variety of safety resources to help keep nurses and teachers safe on the job.
If you have other ideas, we’d love to hear from you at email@example.com!
KEMI is encouraging employers to participate in the OSHA National Safety Stand-Down, a voluntary event where employers will talk directly to employees about safety. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime during May 6-10, 2019.
How does it work?
This year, the focus of the Stand-Down is on “fall hazards” and reinforcing the importance of “fall prevention.” Your organization may participate simply by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards.
Register today and receive a link to KEMI’s Stand-Down for Safety page which contains helpful resources you can share! Additionally, employers will be able to provide feedback to OSHA about their Stand-Down and download a Certificate of Participation signed by Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez following the Stand-Down.
Organizations are also encouraged to highlight their participation by sharing photos with KEMI via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on social media (tag @KEMIworkerscomp and use the hashtag #standdown4safety).
Click here to register for the 2019 Stand Down for Safety campaign.
BLS data shows drop in rate of recordable nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses for Kentucky workers
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2019) – Officials from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet today applauded recent reports by the federal government that show continued improvement in workplace safety throughout Kentucky, including the lowest rate of nonfatal incidents recorded in more than two decades.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the rate of recordable nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses for all industries dropped to 3.3 cases per 100 full-time employees in 2017 – a decrease from the previous rate of 3.4 in 2016 and the rate of 3.7 in 2015. This marks the lowest rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in Kentucky since BLS began tracking this data in 1996. Additionally, BLS reported that 70 work-related fatalities occurred in Kentucky in 2017, a decrease from the 92 work-related fatalities reported in 2016.
“I am encouraged to see a continued decline in workplace injuries throughout Kentucky during 2017,” said Acting Secretary David A. Dickerson. “But no rate of injury and, more importantly, no workplace fatality number – except zero – will ever be acceptable. It is the goal of this Cabinet and this Administration to do whatever it takes to ensure that both of these numbers continue to fall.”
Partnering with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Labor Cabinet has the statutory responsibility to enforce occupational safety and health (OSH) standards in Kentucky. In performing this duty, investigators with the Labor Cabinet’s Division of OSH Compliance inspect workplaces throughout the Commonwealth to identify hazardous, unsafe, or unhealthy environments that may exist and, when necessary, cite or stop employers that permit such conditions to occur. The Labor Cabinet also provides free consultation and training services for employers that wish to identify and address OSH concerns proactively through KYSafe, a program overseen by the Division of OSH Education & Training.
“Kentucky has a real opportunity to establish itself as the ‘gold standard’ for safe and healthful workplaces across the country,” said Department of Workplace Standards Commissioner Dwayne Depp. “It will take a lot of effort to reach that goal, but we have a team of employees who dedicate themselves every single day to answering the paramount question of how to make the Commonwealth safer, healthier, and more productive for the 1.9 million people who work here. I am proud of what we have accomplished since I came on board six months ago, and I look forward to implementing further initiatives to make our program, and the services we provide, even better.”
“Improving the OSH program is my number one policy priority,” added Secretary Dickerson. “The recently published injury and illness rates by BLS provide us with good news, but we can do better. In the coming months, the public should expect to see additional reforms within the Labor Cabinet for this purpose. Whether it be reducing response times, embracing new technologies, re-thinking priorities, or incentivizing employee performance, everything is on the table.”
Additional information is available at http://labor.kentucky.gov.
Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) recognized twenty Kentucky organizations for their commitment to workplace safety by presenting each of them with the 2018 KEMI Destiny Award.
The Destiny Awards are presented annually by KEMI to policyholders that best exemplify KEMI’s motto, “Control your own destiny.” The awards symbolize what can be accomplished when organizations work together to improve workplace safety. Policyholders who earn the KEMI Destiny Award effectively demonstrate to KEMI their ability to manage a formal safety program, provide on-site training and regular safety meetings for employees, and display an ongoing commitment to safety from all levels throughout their organizations.
The following policyholders were selected after meeting a stringent set of criteria set forth by KEMI:
- Ale 8 One Bottling Company
- Alutrim North America Corporation
- Big Rivers Electric Corporation
- Brandenburg Telephone Company
- Brighton Center
- C & S Construction
- City of Central City
- Clinton County Board of Education
- D C Elevator
- Frankfort Plant Board
- Glenwood Electric
- Graf Brothers Flooring
- Harrison Memorial Hospital
- Hibbs Electromechanical
- Independent II
- L G Fox
- Northern Kentucky Water District
- Metcalfe County Board of Education
- Utility Management Group
“We are proud to honor these twenty organizations and highlight their commitment to workplace safety,” said Jon Stewart, President & CEO of KEMI. “Earning the KEMI Destiny Award requires a clear focus, teamwork, and a management philosophy that truly values the well-being of employees.”