Workers need to be trained to operate ATVs on the job. The All Terrain Vehicle is being used with greater frequency in the workplace, and on-the-job ATV accidents have claimed 100 lives in the past 10 years.
A Nebraska worker safety alert provides a guide to operation of the sporty vehicles sometimes perceived as little more than a recreational toy. The recent bulletin outlines what the operation guidelines should be and what training employees need to avoid potentially deadly accidents.
Those guidelines are meant for any vehicle that meets this definition: a motorized off-road vehicle that is made to run on low-pressure tires, with a seat straddled by the driver, and with handlebars rather than a steering wheel. The guidelines point out that these machines are meant for a lone operator without a passenger.
The Nebraska worker safety alert also points out that the risks of workplace ATV accidents can be cut back by wearing helmets, as well.
It’s important for workplace operators to remember that ATVs don’t handle like a car. In fact, handling one is entirely different.
The Nebraska worker safety alert stresses that ATV drivers are exposed to the same risks as recreational operators.
One problem is that there is a general perception that, because ATVs are used recreationally, and children drive them, the machines must be easy to operate. That’s not the case. The ATV is prone to rollovers and other accidents, and some of those accidents are fatal – or at least cause serious injuries.
The figures are grim and the trend is disturbing. In statistics for recreational users, deaths by ATV hit 470 in 2004, compared to 29 a little more than 20 years earlier, in 1982. Injuries reached 800,000 in the last decade.
Meanwhile, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor and Nebraska OSHA, the use of the ATV in the workplace is increasing, and many workers are just not receiving the training they need to operate the machines safely.
Have you heard of the latest Voluntary Protection Program the Nebraska drug free workplace program put in place? It is the Mobile Workforce Demonstration for Construction. This Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is geared for traveling construction sites and the needed worker safety. Having a drug free work environment is crucial in improving worker safety.
Substance abuse is nothing to take lightly. Drugs can have various impacts on a person’s thinking, coherence, and mobility. Aside from judgment being clouded, memory and the ability to respond to the demands a work day may entail can be greatly hindered by irresponsible or illegal drug use. Arriving to work under the influence of drugs is a safety risk for not only that person, but for the people around them.
Careless errors and hazardous mistakes are often related to drug use. A significant number of job-related accidents are related to poor drug use. The Nebraska drug free workplace program decided to pay special attention to mobile construction sites, because they are one of the types of jobs that create the most hazards, even without the influence of drugs.
Voluntary Protection Programs are some of the efforts that are recognized by the OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Since 1982, OSHA has implemented or approved many VPPs. Each proposed safety plan or program is carefully investigated by the OSHA before approval. An onsite inspection is done to ensure that the safety plans are appropriate and efficient. Any outstanding efforts to improve workplace safety and health are commended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers and employees involved in such efforts will receive official recognition.
Even though VPPs are optional, it is strongly encouraged that every company in the industry gets involved. It is extremely beneficial. Encouraging workers with drug problems to get help is a great service to them, the work environment and the community.
A recent Nebraska OSHA alert encourages employers to prepare themselves and their workplaces for a potential influenza pandemic by creating a disaster plan. The plan should include precautions to use during an epidemic and ways to prevent or reduce spreading of the virus.
According to a recent Nebraska OSHA alert, employers and their employees should have a plan in place to prepare for the possibility of a flu pandemic that includes:
Use disposable tissues, especially to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who’s sick.
If you’re sick, stay home
Clean your hands with sanitizer or wash them frequently.
An influenza outbreak is completely different from the common seasonal flu that plagues so many people in the fall and winter. The seasonal flu is not life threatening to the average healthy adult because most have developed immunity to it. Only those with compromised immune systems, the children, or the elderly are at risk of dying from the seasonal flu. An outbreak is caused by a new strain that people’s bodies don’t know how to fight off.
The most recent major influenza epidemic was inaccurately named the Spanish Flu, simply because it received more press coverage in Spain than elsewhere, due to wartime censorship.
This is what happened during the Spanish Flu from 1918 to 1920. The new influenza virus was released to the public from a military base in Kansas. It spread globally from there killing more than 50 million people in 18 months.
Wartime censorship prevented publishing stories about the flu, so there isn’t much written about it. Spanish newspapers, however, were able to publish more stories about it, which is why this pandemic is referred to as the Spanish Flu. Those who died from it, died within days of contracting the virus. Even healthy young adults.
A worldwide epidemic that infects up to 20% of all humans seems like the plot synopsis for a science fiction movie. According to a recent Nebraska OSHA alert, however, it’s only too possible.
OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, suggests that such plans should be made. A pandemic could disrupt the local and global economies, upsetting food and other supply chains, and wreaking havoc in the travel, trade, and tourism businesses. Consumer buying would be in disorder. Overall, the impact could be greater than a terrorist attack. Normal deliveries would be interrupted. Consumers in search of goods to stock up on might crowd grocery stores. Hospitals and healthcare facilities in general could see overcrowding. But people might stay away from crowded locations, knowing that flu spreads from person to person.
While there is no flu pandemic in the world now, a recent Nebraska OSHA alert issued recently suggests that employers should prepare for one. Most employers, including those in Nebraska, have probably developed plans for power failures, fires, hurricanes, and floods. But what is the likelihood that plans are in place for an influenza pandemic, or worldwide outbreak of the disease?
Employee absentee rates might soar, suggests the Nebraska OSHA alert.So malls, restaurants and movie theaters could very well be almost empty. Buyers might to stay home and download films and other entertainment from the Internet.
Most employers in Nebraska probably have plans for natural disasters, like floods and hurricanes. They may have plans for power outages or fires. When it comes to a plan for an influenza pandemic, OSHA suggests that, “As with any catastrophe, having a contingency plan is essential.”
At the end of World War I, in 1918, the Spanish Flu pandemic killed 50 to 100 million people, at least 5 to 20 times the number of soldiers killed in that war.
The Agriculture industry is one of Nebraska’s major employers. Nebraska Governor Heineman recently announced the speakers for the 2007 Governor’s Agriculture Conference, scheduled February 28 through March 1 in Kearney. The theme for the conference will be “Agriculture – Nebraska’s Rural Development Opportunity.”
According to the Governor, “The new investments made in Nebraska’s agriculture industry during the past year have opened a new door in terms of providing opportunities for rural development in Nebraska,” Gov. Heineman said.
He emphasized the importance of the industry and the Nebraska Agriculture Conference to the state’s economic health. “With the latest expansion in renewable fuels production taking place here in Nebraska and new opportunities to explore stronger trade relationships in foreign markets, it’s important we consider ways for our state to continue to build on the successes we’ve achieved.” Governor Heineman added, “This conference is an opportunity to look closely at the relationship between biofuels, grain and livestock production, and to get an update on how policy changes at the federal level could influence these important segments of Nebraska’s agriculture industry.”
Pre-conference activities will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, with the “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception, featuring foods produced by Nebraska farmers and ranchers. The evening also will include entertainment with comedian Jay Hendren.
The Nebraska Agriculture Conference will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 1. Mark Keenum, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, will deliver the keynote address during this year’s conference, focusing on USDA positions on Farm Bill reauthorization and trade opportunities.
Nebraska Ag Director Greg Ibach said, “This is a critical time for discussions on farm program, renewable energy and trade policy issues. We’re very excited to have Under Secretary Keenum joining us, and look forward to putting on an informative conference.”
The conference will also feature presentations on the relationship between livestock and grain production and development of renewable fuels with remarks from: Dan Dye, president of Cargill AgHorizons; Sally Schuff, a Nebraska native and senior staff writer for Feedstuffs; Walt Armbruster, president of The Farm Foundation; and a representative from the Renewable Fuels Association, the national trade association for the U.S. ethanol industry.