“House Fires Caused By Storage of 9 Volt, AA Batteries In Junk Drawers & Other Places Rising”

* If You Know of a Fire Incident in Your Town Caused by 9 Volt, AA or AAA Battery Storage in a Home, Please Note it in the comments Section of this Post! Thank You!

Click here for the recent Hastings, Nebraska House Fire on January 16, 2017

If you are storing loose 9 volt or AA or other batteries in a kitchen drawer or a “junk” drawer in your home, watch how you store them. Above all don’t store them loose and rolling around with other metal items, like small tools, paper clips, nails and more of the lovely mix of things we keep in our junk drawers. You also don’t want them loose and rolling around in other items like a camera case, luggage, etc.

All you need to have happened is for a metal object like steel wool or a paper clip short out across the top of a 9-volt battery and ignite paper or other easily ignited materials and you’ll have a potential disaster in your home. As indicated in the YouTube Video below, it doesn’t take much to heat a metallic object or cause a spark in order to start a fire. *Please Do Not Do This At Home*

What to do with a 9 Volt Battery

I teach safety to the public, common sense tells most of us what to do in situations that could become life threatening. I speak to 50-60 people at a time about fire safety in the home on a monthly basis. I get the same reaction from every group when I hold up a 9-volt battery and announce that it is a fire hazard and it could burn down your house.

They all kinda look at me funny, as if to ask, “Did you just say a 9-volt battery could burn down my house?” That look is almost comical.

Q: Where do you store your batteries?

A: Throw them in  in a “junk” drawer

I then hold up a brillo pad. (just one example)

Q: What do you do with the batteries when you are done with them?

A: Throw them in the trash.

A 9-volt battery (see video) is a fire hazard because the positive and negative posts are on top, right next to one another. If this comes in contact with anything metal (aluminum foil, brillo, etc…) it will spark, and if there is a fuel for this spark you will have a fire. (fire needs heat, fuel and oxygen to burn) To test this theory, put a 9-volt battery or a couple of AA batteries in your pocket with some loose change or your key chain full of keys, (use common sense) this will bring on a whole new meaning to the words, Hot Pants.

When you dispose of this type of battery (positive and negative on top) Make sure it is safely wrapped in electrical tape or something to keep it separated from anything else that may come in contact with it. A small box or zip lock bag if kept in a junk drawer should suffice.  I have seen in some stores now that the manufacturers are now packaging them with plastic caps. If you need to purchase a 9-volt battery try to find those that are packaged in this manner.

Try to be just as diligent with AA or AAA batteries. Keep them in their original packaging if stored in a “junk drawer”. Don’t let them roll around freely with all the other wonderful miscellaneous items we unknowingly toss in the drawer and don’t think twice about it.

 

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Workers Comp Exclusive Remedy Challenged

By Roberto Ceniceros   

Nebraska grain elevator suit could affect all industries

October 9, 2011 – 6:00am

Firefighters cut a hole in a Zachow, Wis., grain elevator in June 2010 in searching for an employee who became engulfed in the grain at Sorensen Grain L.L.C. and died. 2010 was a record year for grain entrapment accidents.AP -Firefighters cut a hole in a Zachow, Wis., grain elevator in June 2010 in searching for an employee who became engulfed in the grain at Sorensen Grain L.L.C. and died. 2010 was a record year for grain entrapment accidents, according to Purdue University researchers.

 

A case argued before Nebraska’s Supreme Court last week in the death of an 18-year-old grain elevator company worker seeks to circumvent the exclusivity rule common in many states’ workers compensation laws.

“It’s a big deal,” because the plaintiffs in Estate of Joseph Teague vs. Crossroads Cooperative Assn. want Nebraska’s Supreme Court to create an exception to the exclusivity rule when employers engage in intentional actions, said Steven W. Olsen, a partner at Simmons Olsen Law Firm P.C. in Scottsbluff, Neb.

State exclusivity laws typically bar civil litigation by making workers comp law the exclusive remedy for work-related accidents.

A ruling favoring the plaintiffs would not be limited to the case at hand, but would undermine the exclusivity rule for Nebraska employers across all industries, said Mr. Olsen, who represents the defendants in the case.

“What they want to do is to make a change in what has existed in law for years and years, which is the exclusivity provision,” Mr. Olsen said. “Their whole argument is there are certain kinds of actions that would justify somebody being able to sue.”

The case stems from the May 2007 suffocation death of Joseph Teague and comes amid a growing trend of accidents and deaths involving workers trapped in grain elevator facilities across the nation’s heartland.

Grain entrapment accidents have spiked in recent years because of harvesting conditions and the increased storage and consumption of corn used to produce ethanol, according to researchers at the Agricultural Safety and Health Program at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

They found that at least 51 grain entrapment accidents occurred in 2010, the highest since researchers began tracking the accidents in 1978. Twenty-six were fatal. A common cause of death is workers entering bins to loosen clogged grain while unloading equipment is running, often without required personal safety equipment or rescue equipment.

Flowing grain acts like quicksand and pulls workers under, according to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “Such was the case in June when three workers were killed in one week after they were buried in grain,” OSHA said in a statement.

In the case before Nebraska’s Supreme Court, Mr. Teague was shoveling grain inside a bin when an auger caused the product to flow, which pulled him under and asphyxiated him, according to court records.

Sidney, Neb.-based Crossroads operated the elevator and is the defendant in the case.

In October 2007, OSHA said it cited CCA for alleged “willful violations,” including failure to disconnect and lock out machines when an employee entered a bin, not having equipment to prevent engulfment and failure to provide emergency rescue equipment.

“Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to,” OSHA requirements, according to the agency.

OSHA also alleged “serious violations, which occur when there is substantial probability that death or serious harm could result from a hazard an employer knew of or should have known.”

CCA pleaded guilty to federal charges, court records show.

In 2009, Mr. Teague’s estate filed a civil suit, but a trial court dismissed it. In weighing the workers comp exclusivity rule, the court found that Nebraska’s Workers’ Compensation Act applied in the case. It said the accident “arose out of and in the course of (Mr. Teague’s) employment.”

The estate appealed, arguing that an exception to the exclusivity rule should be recognized for alleged intentional torts by an employer.

“The estate seeks to circumvent this rule by arguing that CCA engaged in intentional violation of a variety of safety regulations designed to protect employees from serious injury and death and that, as a result, either the (workers compensation) act should not be held applicable or the court should recognize an exception to the exclusivity rule,” the state appeals court said.

But the appeals court also ruled that the estate’s argument had no merit and agreed with the trial court that compensation for such injuries is available exclusively under Nebraska’s Workers’ Compensation Act.

Now the state Supreme Court will determine, among other things, whether “employers seeking the applicability of the (Workers’ Compensation) Act must be held to the same standard of conduct as employees. Otherwise, it improperly deprives an employee due process and equal protection under the law,” according to court records.

In a recording of last week’s arguments before the Nebraska Supreme Court, plaintiffs argued that the Workers’ Compensation Act should not apply in this case because Mr. Teague’s death was not an unforeseen accident.

They argued for an exception to the exclusivity rule for intentional torts or willful safety violations, as determined by OSHA. Otherwise, employers can insure for intentional torts and that should be against public policy, argued an attorney for the plaintiffs.

An attorney for the plaintiffs did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

In recent years, OSHA has stepped up enforcement of requirements for employers operating grain facilities across the country. Since 2009, the federal agency has issued fines exceeding $100,000 after fatalities and injuries.

During 2010 and this year, OSHA also has sent out 13,000 notification letters warning grain elevator operators about necessary safety precautions. Those include prohibiting entry into grain storage facilities while grain is flowing, prohibiting employees from “walking down the grain” to get it to move, ensuring that employees enter the bin with the proper safety equipment and providing equipment that can be used to rescue workers.

 

 

 

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