OSHA Deploying Staff to Areas in the South Affected by Tornadoes and Storms

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has deployed teams of technical experts to provide assistance as areas devastated by this week’s storms begin their recovery efforts.

OSHA staff is meeting with incident commanders at the various county emergency management centers in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia to assess safety needs and provide guidance to assist them in being sure that those responding to the devastation do so in a safe manner.

OSHA is also contacting electric power companies that will be involved in the cleanup to ensure that their workers take the proper precautions when working in these areas that contain numerous hazards. OSHA’s goal is to minimize the number of injuries and deaths that occur as people attempt cleanup activities in areas where debris creates an unstable physical environment for workers.

“Emergency response should not put you in the hospital emergency room,” said Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. “Storm recovery work encompasses a wide range of safety and health hazards, which can be minimized by knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment.”

On OSHA’s web site, there is information on recovering safely from storms:

Information from OHSA press release.


Updated: Death Toll Up To 343 from Extreme Weather in Alabama the South as Storms, Tornadoes Ravage Area

Tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27, 2011

Tornado Outbreak Death Toll Hits 343, Second-Deadliest Day From Twister In U.S. History

Update: The death toll from severe storms that roared across the South has now risen to 337 across five states with Alabama and Mississippi each reporting increases in the number of deaths in their states.

Alabama’s emergency management agency says their death toll has gone up to 128, while Mississippi officials are reporting 32 dead in that state. Another 11 have been killed in Georgia and one each in Tennessee and Virginia.

Storms and tornadoes ravaging Alabama and neighboring states have killed 173  people in the South, officials said Wednesday night.

The “deaths in Alabama were related to today’s weather,” Valerie Hayes, a spokeswoman for the state’s Emergency Management Agency, told Reuters. t least 58 people died in the state in the first day since the storms began.

The severe weather also claimed the lives of at least 11 people in Mississippi, including a Louisiana police officer who died protecting his daughter from a falling tree at their campsite. The girl was unharmed.

“She wasn’t hurt, just scared and soaking wet,” campsite volunteer Greg Maier told The Associated Press.

Casualties were also reported in Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee.

President Obama declared a state of emergency in Alabama on Wednesday night, ordering Federal aid to kick in for disaster relief.

“Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives,” he said. “Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastation, and we commend the heroic efforts of those who have been working tirelessly to respond to this disaster.”

Waltor Maddox, the mayor of Tuscaloosa, said the city was largely turned to rubble by the tornado. “The city experienced widespread damage from a tornado that cut a path of destruction deep into the heart of the city,” Maddox said in a statement.

Earlier in the evening, the extreme weather knocked out power lines and caused three nuclear reactors to trip and shut, according to Reuters. A spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency said the units seemed to have shut normally, and that generators had kicked in.

Melanie Cade, 31, said her Mississippi home sustained serious damage, but she was thankful to have escaped safely with her three children.

“I didn’t care what happened to the house,” Cade said. “I was just glad we got out of there.”

Toro Recalls 30,000 Power Clear Snowblowers and Recycler Mowers in the US & Canada Due to Fire or Burn Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product:  Toro Power Clear Snowblower and the Toro 20″ Recycler Mower

Snowblowers: About 18,000 in the U.S. and 5,000 in Canada
Mowers: About 6,000 in the U.S. and 200 in Canada

ManufacturerThe Toro Company, of Bloomington, Minn.

Hazard: The carburetors on both products develop fuel leaks and can ignite when exposed to an ignition source, posing a fire or burn hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: There have been about 500 reports of carburetor leaks. There were no reports of fire or injury.

Toro PC-421Q Snowblowers: The model/serial numbers are found on a decal on the underside of the rear of the unit. Model and serial numbers are:
Model Number Serial Number
38588 310000001 to 310999999 and 311000001 to 311003576
38589 310000001 to 310999999 and 311000001 to 311999999
Toro 20″ Recycler Mower: The model and serial numbers are found on a decal on the left rear of the mower.
Model 20323; Serial number 310000001 to 310999999.

Sold at: Toro Dealers in the United States and Canada from September 2009-March 2011.

Manufactured in: Mower in Mexico; Snowblower in the United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the products and contact a Toro Service Dealer for a free repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, including the name of a dealer near you, contact Toro toll free at 877-738-4440 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT, or visit Toro’s website:

Note: Health Canada’s press release is available at

PC-421 Snowblower
20″ Recycler Model 20323 Mower Model and Serial Number Location

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054. To join a CPSC e-mail subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to CPSC’s Web site at

Fire Prevention News: Weekly Roundup – April 26, 2011

Selected Fire Prevention related articles appearing in the past week from scores of e-sources in the news media. Updated each Monday morning.

  1. Campaigns / Other Fire Prevention Efforts
  2. Campus Fire Safety
  3. CO Detectors
  4. Inspections/Code enforcement
  5. Smoke Alarms
  6. Sprinklers
  7. Wildland Fire Safety
  8. Other Fire Safety News
  9. Saves
  10. International News

Campaigns/ Other Fire Prevention Activities

  1. Philadelphia Fire Department uses data to stop fires before they start Fackel said it also can use the data for several efforts, such as to provide those households with fire alarms or to send them direct-mail flyers about fire safety. Indeed, the data lets the fire department focus its fire-prevention efforts, …
  2. Fond du Lac Firefighters Deliver Pizzas and Smoke Detectors Responding to calls of a different nature, firefighters in Fond du Lac took up pizza delivery Wednesday night, hoping to educate Domino’s customers on fire safety by inspecting smoke detectors. “If the smoke detectors work and everything is set to go …
  3. Students learn cooking, fire safety – The dangers of cooking are in every place where the art is performed. Long the subject of jokes, pouring water on hot grease can be anything except funny. The Sealy Volunteer Fire Department showed Sealy High School chemistry and physics students why. ..
  4. Fire Department Offering Several Community Outreach Programs Topics will include fire safety, water safety, weather safety, bicycle and pedestrian safety, motor vehicle safety and much more. To learn more about any of these community outreach programs, or to register, please visit the Fire Department Web site at …
  5. Fort Edward prepares to roll out smoke detectors won by students in national … Fort Edward firefighters could have a busy schedule in upcoming weeks, thanks to awareness efforts led by an eighth-grader. Money teenager Caitlyn Hunt won through the national Pepsi Refresh Project contest funded 150 new smoke detectors …

Campus Fire Safety

  1. Students lobby at Capitol For example, funding could provide for the installation of fire sprinklers, which are currently absent in 61 percent of Greek housing across the nation. Every week throughout the country, two off-campus fires arise, but no deaths ever have been …
  2. Normal Fire Department fights flames at Illinois State fraternity house Groves added that the home didn’t have sprinklers. He says the home was scheduled to be retrofitted for sprinklers this summer.
  3. Desks removed because of fire hazard After two days of students using the desks, the Fire Marshal determined the amount of the large desks in two of the classrooms to be a fire hazard. With the amount of desks necessary to hold the amount of students within the course, the larger desks …
  4. ASSE Offers Campus Fire Prevention Safety Tips – According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), US fire departments responded to an estimated 3570 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks in 2003-2006. In light of the fraternity house fire at Illinois …

CO Detectors

  1. Nothing to report

Inspections / Code enforcement

  1. Proposed fire code changes may help attract businesses – The vote is still two weeks away, but proposed changes to the Independence fire code received plenty of feedback and discussion Monday night. Local fire officials, along with City Council members, …
  2. Vacant and Abandoned Building Marking Systems Our fire prevention bureau performs the inspection on a vacant or abandoned building, and files the report with the local construction subcode official. An additional copy of this report is given to the responders, and the information is updated into …
  3. Bellevue senior-care facility warned of fire code violations“The alarm system must alert an outside agency with a 24-hour dialer on the system that calls 911,” Beaver said. Beaver said the building also did not have strobe lights and smoke detectors in every room and that Burpee recently submitted plans to the …
  4. Fire Department loses housing inspections in new city plan Regulatory services will oversee the inspections program “for a period of two years, or as determined by the City Council,” Hodges’ amendment states, and an independent audit will be conducted of the Fire Department’s inspection program in the second …
  5. Renters want stronger code enforcement The city is looking at allocating grant money to fund an additional code enforcement position for two years. Barrett says the Fire Department made more than 500 inspections in 2010 but he would like to make the overall inspection process more …
  6. Amish have trouble with government rules The non-profit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty sued Middletown, NY, on behalf of 12 Amish residents who said their religious rights were violated by building codes requiring smoke detectors, certain window sizes and specific types of lumber. …

Smoke Alarms

  1. Pastor’s death raises questions about smoke detectors – Many of us think testing a smoke detector is as simple as pushing a button and listening for the beep. But that’s not necessarily the case, and investigators say it may have been a factor in a fire that killed a Grand …
  2. Why you should have a smoke alarm In both the Finley house fire last week and the Ellensburg duplex fire over the weekend, smoke alarms were missing batteries. Firefighters say more than half of the house fires they respond to don’t have working smoke alarms, and it is a huge problem. …
  3. Firefighters Stress the Basics of Fire Safety They are also frequently seeing homes with missing or dead batteries in smoke alarms. “These fires are preventable and often survivable, yet they continue to result in tragedy,” stated Fire Marshal Jakki MacLean. “We need to understand that fire can …
  4. Firefighters give out smoke detectors – There have been five fire-related deaths in Terre Haute so far this year. That’s why the Fire Department reached out to the community Saturday. Recent fire tragedies caused the Terre Haute Fire Department to take action in …


  1. Home fire sprinkler systems a practical investment – If you’re building a new home, you will likely spend thousands of dollars in upgrades designed to make your home more beautiful. Carpet, cabinet and lighting upgrades can easily drive up the total cost of the home significantly. …
  2. Citation Issued for Faulty Sprinklers in N.C. – Fire investigators have concluded the sprinklers were not working during a four-alarm fire at an Uptown apartment complex this week, and one legal expert said that makes lawsuits more likely. “In our society, when there’s negligence — and that means …
  3. Volunteer firefighter in Pennsylvania responds to vote on sprinklers In response to an editorial regarding the recent House vote to repeal the mandate for sprinkler system installation in all new construction, volunteer firefighter Pat Egan indicated that those in support of the the bill often inflate the cost of sprinklers to validate their case for anti-sprinkler legislation. “It has never been more affordable to protect your life, home and belongings from fire damage.” says firefighter Egan. “Gone are the days of ugly pipes running across the ceiling.…
  4. Independence sprinkler code could change – That is true even though the firefighters steadfastly support sprinkler systems, Klick said. “It is proven that fire sprinklers save lives,” Klick said. When answering fire calls, he added, “we have a very short time window when conditions inside these …
  5. Greeley Council nixes required indoor sprinklers – The Greeley City Council tonight eliminated a requirement they had previously approved for sprinklers to be installed inside all new residential homes in Greeley. The city two years ago adopted new guidelines to require sprinklers as of Jan. 1, 2011. …
  6. Home fire sprinkler systems a practical investment The reality is that for the same amount of money it would cost to upgrade your carpet or cabinets, you could install a life-saving fire sprinkler system. On average, the cost to install a fire sprinkler system in a new home is 1 to 1.5 percent of the …
  7. Sprinklers in homes can reduce damage and even save lives – You’ve seen fire sprinklers in commercial buildings with silvery heads spotted across the ceiling ready to shower the area with water. The fire -suppression system has protected many commercial and …
  8. Corbett will sign repeal of mandate for home sprinklers – Advocates for sprinkler systems argued that the technology saves lives of not only residents but firefighters, too. Single-family dwelling fires resulted in the highest fire death rates, …
  9. Gov. vetoes sprinkler bill Brian Schweitzer on Monday vetoed a Bozeman lawmaker’s bill that would have prohibited state building codes from requiring fire sprinklers in some residential buildings. House Bill 307, by Republican Rep. Tom Burnett of House Dist. …
  10. Delaware government: Sprinkler proposal on New Castle County Council agenda A controversial plan to require sprinkler systems in new homes and town houses goes before New Castle County Council on Tuesday. Fire companies are expected to make their case for requiring sprinklers in new homes, while county home builders are likely …

Wildland Fire Safety

  1. Preparation is key to fire prevention – This wasn’t exactly the “Welcome to Austin” that Steven Schrage was hoping for. The former New Yorker who moved to Austin just three months ago lost most of his backyard in the fires that devastated the Oak Hill section of Southwest …
  2. Prepping your property for fire Arizona Firewise, a cooperative effort of state and federal forest, wildfire and wildlife organizations, has published a booklet called “Living With Wildfire: Homeowner’s Firewise Guide for Arizona” to help educate residents about how to lessen the …
  3. Week designated for wildfire awareness According to Mark Hansen, Michigan State University Extension wildfire specialist and co-coordinator for Michigan’s Firewise Communities Project, many of those fires occur in the spring, partly due to dead vegetation that remains after the snow melts, …
  4. CalFire Is Offering Free Defensible Space Inspections For Home CalFire is now offering free defensible space inspections to get your home closer to being fire-proof . State law requires homeowners to create one hundred feet of defensible space around your home, which is the distance between your house and a fire. …
  5. Woodlands Community is ‘Firewise’ – Texas – A single community in southeast Texas has earned the distinction of being “firewise.” Simply put, that means residents of Windsor Hills in the Woodlands have done everything they can to protect their community from flames. …

Other Fire Safety News

  1. Outdoor fireplaces may pose fire threat Sunjoy Industries has recalled about 20400 freestanding steel outdoor fireplaces sold exclusively at Lowe’s stores due to a fire hazard. The decorative bronze powder coat finish on the fireplace chimney can ignite during use, posing a fire hazard to …
  2. Texas Fires Could Happen Anywhere: 5 Fire Safety Tips But if there’s any good in this tragic situation it’s that such fires remind us all about the importance of fire safety. So, I’ve compiled a list of 5 fire safety tips you might want to make sure your family is following…
  3. Firefighters Stress the Basics of Fire Safety In light of the recent fire casualties in Washington, the Yakima County Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding the public to get back to the basics of fire safety.
  4. Cooking fire-prevention tips from the chief Think fast: The fried chicken you are cooking on the stove has suddenly caught fire. Do you: a) throw water on it and hope for the best; b) grab your fire extinguisher from the garage and extinguish the flames; …
  5. Weird fire tales can help teach prevention How many of us have responded to fires that were caused by people doing stupid things? Put another way, how many of our fires were caused by intelligent rational thoughts? While we are tasked with educating our community …
  6. Fire hazard prompts massive candle recall – More than 7 million candles are being recalled because of concerns the cup holding the candle could melt or catch fire. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the tea lights were sold under the Chesapeake Bay Candle and Modern …
  7. Fire Safety for Children on the Autism Spectrum – Lately, much attention has been given to the problems of autism wandering and the risky interaction between autistic individuals and the police. A less discussed and equally important issue that combines elements of the other two is fire safety for …
  8. Easter Safety Tips From The El Paso Fire Department If cooking outside please take the necessary fire safety precautions when utilizing outdoor grills. — Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure all tubes and lines are not blocked. …


  1. Fire causes major damage to home; family members escape harm thanks to smoke alarm The smoke alarm sounded, waking the male adult occupant. The father was then able to reach his two teenage sons in a nearby bedroom and safely exit the home. No injuries were sustained. Damage to the interior and content of the home is estimated at …
  2. Candle Blamed For Binghamton Fire Fire Marshals say the house had working smoke detectors, which woke the couple up and helped them get out safely. The home was heavily damaged by the fire and water and the couple can’t live there right now, but the fire department says the house is …
  3. Kilbourn Fire responds to two house fires, river rescue Two people were home asleep when they were alerted by their smoke detectors and escaped the home unharmed. When the 17 firefighters and seven units arrived they found the house filled with smoke to such an extent it could not be entered without …
  4. Residential structure fire causes $2000 of damage Orange County EMS transported the apartment’s occupant to the hospital to receive treatment for smoke inhalation. The investigation following the fire found that neighbors woke the occupant after hearing a smoke alarm and attempted to put out the fire …
  5. Crews Put Out Mobile Home Fire West of Springfield Tuesday Night A Brookline fire spokesman tells KSPR that the fire started in the kitchen of the trailer, and spread to the bathroom. Crews were able to contain the flames to those 2 rooms. The home had working smoke detectors, and everyone who lived there made it …
  6. Two saved from fire; smoke alarm credited At least two lives were saved early Tuesday morning when the occupants of a Wildwood apartment complex were awakened by their smoke alarm, county officials said. Shortly after 4 am, Willie McCants was awakened by the sound of the smoke alarm in the …
  7. Small fire at Cobb County nursing home The sprinkler system helped prevent a fire from spreading Wednesday night at an east Cobb County nursing home. A ventilation fan in a bathroom caught fire and fell to the floor, igniting a floor mat and causing flames to spread to the …
  8. Sprinklers douse Siam Orchid kitchen fire No one was injured, and the flames were quickly extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system, according to the Concord Fire Department. Fire crews arrived on Main Street shortly after the building’s alarm system sounded, and safety inspectors stayed …
  9. Sprinkler douses afterhours in Coon Rapids restaurant fire Damage was minimal, about $1000 to property and contents, according to the fire department run report. “There was just minor smoke and water cleanup,” Williams said. The restaurant reopened for lunch April 15 following an inspection by the Anoka County …
  10. 12-year-old boy saves sister, house from fire Durham said that fire safety education in McKinney is stressed at elementary schools but that it’s taught to all ages, including to people in assistant living homes. It starts in preschool through the program, “Learn Not to Burn,” which teaches …
  11. Pontiac family escapes overnight house fire – A fire in a two-story home in Pontiac caused damage to the upper floor Thursday morning, but officials say a smoke alarm awoke a family of six and enabled them to escape the fire that was discovered around 12:30 am Two adults and four …

Fire Prevention News: International

  1. Fire safety plans at fatal blaze care home ‘seriously defective’ – FIRE safety plans at a residential care home where a blaze killed 14 residents were “systematically and seriously defective”, a fatal accident inquiry concluded today. The fire at Rosepark care home in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, broke out in a cupboard …
  2. Bushfire survey to target Hills residents … about topics including what the communities knew about bushfire safety prior to the fires, how they interpret and respond to messages the fire services send out before and during fires, and how communities understand their role in fire safety. …
  3. Why was fire risk ‘ignored’ at Rose Park? As exclusively reported in yesterday’s Evening Times, a Fatal Accident UInquiry found that the 14 elderly victims at Rosepark Care Home in Uddingston were let down by lax fire safety and faulty electrical installations which were never properly …
  4. WEYMOUTH: Free fire home safety checks This is all free of charge with the aim of encouraging residents to think about fire safety in the home. The new online form for requesting one of these home safety checks can be found at Individuals need to fill out the form …
  5. Fire safety plea from surviving children’s father – The father of the two children rescued from a Kapiti house fire nearly two weeks ago speaks for the first time about the blaze that killed their Mum. The fire on April 13 gutted the Paraparaumu house on Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington, killing mother …

Tornado Season 2011 Is Upon Us – Are You Ready??

As evidenced by the multiple tornadoes that struck the St. Louis area this past weekend, the 2011 tornado season is upon us! Rapidly moving violent storms can cause tornadoes with little, if any, warning. It is very important to always maintain a level of situational awareness when at home, work and on travel. Extreme weather conditions this time of the year can be deadly, so be alert to local news broadcasts and have your NOAA Weather Radio with Specific Area Message Encoder technology (SAME) at the ready, so you’ll know when to take protective cover.

Tornado Watch

A Tornado Watch essentially means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. In this case you should be alert to changes in the weather and take precautions to protect yourself, family, and your property. Particular attention should be made when attending outdoor events, traveling and partaking in recreational activities. When a Tornado Watch has been declared by the National Weather Service, you should at least take the following precautions.

  • Move vehicles inside a garage or carport for protection and/or rapid accessibility. Keep your car keys and house keys with you.
  • Move lawn furniture and yard equipment such as lawnmowers inside if time permits. If you have a pool, you can throw lawn furniture into the water so it does not become a “flying projectile hazard”.
  • Account for family members at home, work, day care or school.
  • Have your emergency kit ready.
  • Keep your radio, local television and, especially your NOAA Weather Radio, tuned into the weather reports for your area.

Tornado Warning

A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted. If you are fortunate, some communities may sound a tornado siren warning of the approaching tornado. Tornadoes can be violent, deadly and devastating storms, with wind speeds of up to 260 miles per hour. If a Tornado Warning is issued for your area, seek protective shelter immediately! There is little time for closing windows or looking for flashlights. It’s a good idea to know where things are and to have an emergency preparedness system already staged and ready to go.

Tornado Preparedness

  • Know the warning signals used in your community. If a siren sounds, that means stay inside and take cover. Many communities like ours here in Greene County Virginia, have a computerized telephone notification that automatically calls home and cell phones with emergency alerts.
  • Have an actionable emergency plan.
  • Put together an emergency sustainment system including a NOAA Weather Radio, flashlight, spare batteries, first-aid medical supplies, water and food items in a rugged waterproof container.
  • Make a complete detailed video/photographic and written inventory of your household and personal possessions for insurance purposes.
  • Conduct tornado drills in your office and a home with your family. Make sure each employee and/or family member knows the correct procedures if they are at work or school when a tornado hits. This includes the location of the storm safe room.

During the Tornado

The safest place to be during a tornado is underground. This includes the basement, cellar or underground storm shelter. In any case you want something strong and safe above your head. If there’s no basement or cellar in your home, a small room in the middle of the house — like a bathroom or a closet — is best. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.

Stay away from windows, as broken glass shards become deadly airborne projectiles in high winds.  Never take time to open windows.  There is a myth which claims opening windows can reduce damage to a home.  Not true!  First things to go during a tornado are those windows which are immediately converted to flying shrapnel!

Mobile Homes

  • Residents in mobile homes (even those with tie-downs) should seek safe shelter elsewhere at the first sign of severe weather.  Hurricane straps or mobile home tie-downs do not protect against the severe winds and flying debris associated with tornadoes.
  • Evacuate to a community storm shelter or make arrangements with friends or relatives ahead of time to their house when the weather gets ugly.
  • If you live in a mobile home park, talk to management about the availability and location of a nearby shelter.  Often times such parks will have recreational or laundry facilities which can be used for shelter in case of tornadoes.
  • As a last resort, seek shelter by laying flat in a ditch or culvert with your hands over your head and neck to offer some protection against flying debris. However, do be alert for flash floods that often accompany such storms.

Driving in a Vehicle During a Tornado

  • Just two days ago, the tornado that ripped through Lambert-St. Louis  International Airport lifted a 128,000 lb. (empty weight) Boeing 757 full of passengers into the air and relocated the aircraft 20 feet distant from where it was originally parked.  Just think what a tornado can do to the family sedan!  Tornadoes toss cars and large trucks around like toys. Never try to outrun a tornado.  Even if the tornado doesn’t directly impact your vehicle, the strong winds associated with any such storm can easily flip a vehicle of just about any size.
  • If you see a funnel cloud or hear a tornado warning issued on the radio or by siren, get out of your vehicle and seek a safe structure.  In the worst case scenario, lie down in a ditch, culvert or other low area with your hands covering the back of your head and neck for protection.  Just remember to keep alert for flash floods!
  • Do not seek shelter under an overpass or bridge.  These might seem like safe havens during a tornado, but, in fact, are just the opposite.


  • All public schools are required to have a reliable method for monitoring for severe weather – including tornadoes.  They are also required to have emergency evacuation plans with designated personnel to facilitate such plans.  Educate yourself!  Make sure you know what those plans are for whatever school facility in which you may be.
  • If a specific shelter area does not exist, move into interior hallways or small rooms on the building’s lowest level. Avoid areas with glass and wide, free-span roofs such as gymnasiums and auditoriums.
  • If you can’t get into a basement or designated shelter, move to the center of the lowest level of the building, away from windows, lie flat, and cover the back of your head and neck for protection with your hands.

Office Buildings, Stores, Shopping Malls or Airports

  • First, seek the designated shelter area.
  • If you can’t reach the shelter, take refuge in an interior hallway on a low floor.  A closet or bathroom may also provide you some protection against flying debris or collapsing structures. Deaths in large buildings are often attributed to the collapse of wide-span roofs or walls.
  • Stay away from large, open rooms and windows. Never seek shelter in cars in the parking lot.

This is a safety list that can certainly be improved upon, so do your research and stay safe during storm season!

Video Courtesy of NBC & The Weather Channel®

Trench Collapse Leads to $63,360 Fine for Ohio Company

An OSHA inspector was performing a work site inspection when he directed an employee to exit the trench, believing collapse was imminent. Within five minutes the trench collapsed and could have buried the worker under 6 to 7 feet of soil.

OSHA has issued Trimat Construction Inc. of Bidwell, Ohio, six safety citations after a trench collapsed at a job site in Mercerville on March 8. The company faces penalties of $63,360.

An OSHA inspector was performing a work site inspection when he directed an employee to exit the trench, believing collapse was imminent. Within five minutes the trench collapsed and could have buried the worker under 6 to 7 feet of soil.

"The actions of the compliance officer likely saved this worker’s life," said David Wilson, assistant area director of OSHA’s Columbus Area Office. "Cave-ins are a leading cause of worker fatalities during excavations."

Two willful citations were issued for allowing a Trimat employee to work in a trench at a depth greater than 10 feet without cave-in protection or a safe means of egress.

The company also was issued four serious citations for failing to require employees to wear head protection, failing to provide training on proper set-up and inspection procedures for maintaining channelization devices between the work area and road to protect workers from traffic hazards; failure to provide a road zone barrier; and failing to keep excavated material and equipment 2 feet from the edge of an excavation to prevent a cave-in.

The inspection was conducted under OSHA’s national emphasis program on trenching and excavation. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards, adopted by OSHA in the 1980s, is available on the agency’s website at

3 To Be Remembered During Workers Memorial Day in York, Pennsylvania

There are dangers when a "day at the office" is spent in the trench just dug, on a highway packed with construction-frustrated motorists, or in the hot, open fields of July.

Jory Raber III was buried alive. George Waltemyer was hit by an SUV. Juan Leipiz succumbed to heat stroke.

Those men, who range in age from 20 to 85, will be remembered Thursday, April 28th along with four other workers from York and Adams counties who died as a result of workplace-related injuries.

York-Adams Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will hold its 22nd annual observance of Workers Memorial Day during an hour-long program, 6 p.m. at Kiwanis Lake.

The nationwide memorial observance is held on the anniversary of the signing of the Occupational and Safety Health Act about 40 years ago. The event is open to the public, and family members, friends, and coworkers of fatally injured or disabled workers are invited to attend.

The theme of the event, "Safe Jobs Save Lives. Our Work’s Not Done," is meant to encourage public support of legislative and regulatory efforts to improve safety and health protections, said Alan Vandersloot, AFL-CIO labor liaison for the United Way of York County.

Thousands of workers are killed on job sites in the U.S. every year, and sometimes efforts to improve regulations are broken by corporations that lobby against them, he said.

"It’s not a blame thing," Vandersloot said. "Many of the major employees have very strong safety programs because it saves them money … on worker’s compensation claims. But still a lot of employees are intimidated to approach the employer, and if it’s an imminent danger, you should go to the appropriate management official."

He said labor unions, which fought to have the workplace safety legislation passed, continue to rally for improvements and spread awareness to increase the safety of their members.

Everyone should want a safe workplace, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is understaffed.

"It would take them 100 years to investigate every workplace," he said. "The only time they respond is when there’s an incident, so a lot of it is left up to the employees. Safety is really not just a political solution, it has to be in the mindset of people."

Kevin Kilp, director of the Harrisburg area office of OSHA, said multiple-injury incidents and fatalities are always investigated to ensure safety practices are being followed.

"Fatality investigations are perhaps the most important thing that we do at OSHA," he said. "Out overarching goal is to prevent fatalities."

Of the seven area deaths, only the trench collapse that killed Jory Raber is still under investigation. The other investigations have been resolved.

Kilp said OSHA officials will be involved in the observance to help raise awareness.



Feb. 17: Michael J. Sneeringer, 64, died after a fall at the Littlestown Waste Water Treatment Plant.

July 8: Juan Leipiz, 48, died after collapsing from heat stress in a field at Boyer’s Nursery in Biglerville.

Nov. 11: David L. Grove, 31, an Adams County Wildlife Conservation Officer, was shot while making an arrest in Freedom Township.


July 31: Robert Patrick Enfield, 23, died from blunt force head trauma after being trapped by a heavy metal ramp at Americold Logistics.

Oct. 12: Dale Lentz, 63, was using a piece of high-reach equipment to repair a garage door overhead at BAE Systems when he apparently hit his head and became pinned between the door and the high-reach from which he was working.

Nov. 5: George Waltemyer, 85, was struck by a vehicle in the 2400 block of South George Street while working as an Adecco flagman on a Kinsley Construction site.

Dec. 14: Jory Raber III, 20, died in a trench collapse while installing a water drainage pipe on an Eclipse Builders construction site at 1000 block of Old Trail Road in Newberry Township. Josh Gimmel, who was later rescued, was buried waist-deep. Raber was completely covered in rubble and died of compressional asphyxia.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 776

-Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436,, or follow her on Twitter at @dispatchbizwiz.

BOOST YOUR SAFETY SKILLS – May 10th, 11th & 12th – Indianapolis, Indiana

By making safety a priority in workplaces across the state, employers are investing in more than just the products produced and services offered — they are also investing in the health and safety of the employees. By attending three upcoming conferences hosted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, employers and employees alike can learn how to ensure a high level of workplace safety.

Hazard Recognition and Inspection Preparation, 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 10. Employers need to know how to recognize a potential hazard. Preparing the workplace against those hazards can help employers also deal with inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This conference will focus on the OSHA requirements for hazard recognition; how to set up and manage a successful internal audit system; which standards OSHA cites most often; communicating and managing the hazard recognition process for optimum employee involvement; and more.

Electrical Compliance Made Easy, Including Lockout/Tagout, 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 11. Though electrical terminology and compliance can often be complicated, understanding safe electrical practices is important. Learn more about how to understand electrical terminology; what electrical hazards to look for; wiring design and methods including marking, identifying, guarding, temporary wiring and the use of flexible cords; electrical safe work practices; portable electric equipment safety; lockout/tagout program and procedures; and more.

Forklift Safety: Train the Trainer Workshop, 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Thursday, May 12. Few things can be more dangerous to employees and more costly to employers than when the lack of training or a failure to inspect equipment leads to an accident involving a forklift. The Forklift Safety: Train the Trainer Workshop will feature an overview of the 1910.178 standard and what is applicable to workplace trucks; program training content and topics including truck-related and workplace-related topics; performance certification requirements; inspection requirements; understanding the stability triangle; testing and evaluation; and training tips.

All three conferences are presented by The Safety Firm with speaker Bobbi Samples; each is good for one credit toward the completion of the Safety Compliance Specialist Certificate.

The cost for each of the conferences is $329 or $299 with a chamber-member discount. Anyone sending three attendees to the seminars may send a fourth for free. Lunch is provided with each workshop.

All conferences will be held in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Conference Center at 115 W. Washington Street, Suite 850S in downtown Indianapolis.

To register: or call 317-264-6885 or 800-824-6885.

Michaels: OSHA’s Challenge Is How to Make 40-Year-Old Law Work in Today’s Economy

In remarks to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Dr. David Michaels said that while the agency can cite several drops in worker injuries and fatalities, “our challenge, every day, is how to make this 40-year-old law work effectively in today’s economy.”

While acknowledging that some of the drops were due to the United States moving from a manufacturing to a service economy, Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said “clearly, much of our progress is due to tougher government standards and greater awareness of workplace safety practices brought about by OSHA.”

He said while in the past, workers often did not know the names or hazards of the substances and materials they handled, but now they have a right to know. But, he said, after 40 years, far too many workers today don’t know about the hazards they face and the legal rights they have, and far too many of those who do understand these problems do not feel safe raising these issues in their workplaces.

On a more positive note, Michaels also stressed the word “preventable.” He said that under OSHA, “deaths and injuries are:

  • Preventable by basic safety precautions such as providing a safety harness and line to catch workers when they fall off a roof, shoring up a trench to make sure it doesn’t collapse, or guarding a machine so it doesn’t cut off a worker’s hand.
  • Preventable by simple compliance with OSHA standards.

He also reminded citizens that 40 years ago, President Richard M. Nixon and the United States Congress created a new law “dedicated to a series of radical propositions,” which stated:

  • All workers deserve a safe workplace
  • Workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities are not just “Acts of God,” but that they are preventable
  • Workers should not have to choose between their lives and their jobs

Addressing arguments that OSHA regulations are contributing to continued high levels of unemployment, Michaels emphasized that the “empirical evidence is clear: OSHA doesn’t kill jobs; it stops jobs from killing workers.”

NSC Free Fleet Safety Webinar – April 27, 2011 11:00 AM Central Time

Do You Really Know
What’s Going on in Your Fleet?

April 27, 11 a.m. Central

Driver errors account for more than 80% of crashes, according to the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are many underlying causes for these errors, but fleet managers often are unaware of them until a crash and the resulting investigation uncover a root cause. In this revealing presentation, you will:

  • Learn the risky behaviors, identified through video technology, that can cause collisions in your fleet
  • Understand how a video solution can reduce risky driving that leads to collisions, thereby reducing claims throughout your fleet
  • See real-life videos of risky driving and learn how to eliminate it

Join us on April 27 at 11 a.m. Central for a one-hour webinar that will reveal the risky driving behaviors safety managers face every day and provide a way for fleet managers to better evaluate and eliminate them.

Presenter: Del Lisk, vice president of safety services for DriveCam Inc., is responsible for developing safety policy and procedures and overseeing training for DriveCam’s fleet customers. His duties include administering the DriveCam Certification Program and directing the DriveCam Academy.

Online registration is now available, but space is limited, so sign up today. An archive of the webinar will be available on the Safety+Health website.

For any questions, please contact Julie Ford at Julie.Ford.

Register now!


Space is limited


Del Lisk

Del Lisk
VP of Safety Services
DriveCam Inc.


James Evans

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