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March 2012

Traffic Work Zone Safety

Webb Hartley Posted by Hartley Webb

With the sudden appearance of warm spring weather we are already seeing another sign of the season:  road repair, street and parking lot sweeping, and highway cleanup crews.  Transportation incidents are the leading cause of death in the workplace, so take a minute to read over these tips if your employees are exposed to motor vehicle traffic. 

Some employers feel that placing a worker wearing a reflective vest in a traffic zone is acceptable rather than using other exposure control methods.  Employers should control traffic risks by:

  1. Eliminating the hazard.  Can the work be done when there is no vehicle traffic?
  2. Evaluating engineering controls.  For example, can barriers be used to separate workers from all moving traffic?
  3. Implementing administrative controls.  Ensure adequate training and strict work rules are enforced.  Keep workers out of the direct traffic lane when possible, and ensure they are alert and attentive to all moving vehicles including construction equipment.
  4. Lastly, use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as retro-reflective clothing, hard hats, and safety toed boots.    

Flaggers must be effectively trained, certified, and supervised in order to prevent improper traffic flagging techniques.  These can be caused by inadequate training, a low willingness to follow training objectives, or failure to properly supervise.  Following the guidelines provided by the US Department of Transportation’s publication “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices” (MUTCD Part 6) is critical for proper work zone setup.   Check out this resource here:  MUTCD

OSHA provides a “Quick Card” for Work Zone Traffic Safety that can found online -  Work Zone OSHA Quick Card.   Finally, the Center for Disease Control is a great resource for additional training documents and information regarding highway work zone safety.  Check their website at CDC Highway Work Zones.

OSHA Recordkeeping: When Is Treatment First Aid?

Clendenning Donna Posted by Donna Clendenning

Have you ever wondered if an injury is recordable on your OSHA 300 log?  If so, I recommend that you go straight to the OSHA website (, Section 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)).

Some injuries resulting in first aid care are not recordable. But what is considered first aid?  OSHA has developed a list of fourteen first aid treatments that are not recordable on the OSHA 300 log. The complete list from the OSHA website is as follows:

  1. Using a nonprescription medication at nonprescription strength.
  2. Administering tetanus immunizations.
  3. Cleaning, flushing, or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin.
  4. Using wound coverages such as bandages, Band-Aids, gauze pads, etc... or using butterfly bandages or Steristrips.
  5. Using hot or cold therapy.
  6. Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, or non-rigid back belts.
  7. Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim.
  8. Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure or draining fluid from a blister.
  9. Using eye patches.
  10. Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab.
  11. Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means.
  12. Using finger guards.
  13. Using massages.
  14. Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress.

OSHA states “this list is comprehensive, i.e. any treatment not included on this list is not considered first aid for OSHA recordkeeping purposes.”  This OSHA information regarding first aid and recordability should help you answer the question “Is it first aid or is it medical care?”


Dealing with Dual Monitors

LaRochelle Greg 2 Posted by Greg LaRochelle

Dual computer monitor use is becoming more common in today’s office environment.  As this technology increases our workload, ergonomic setup becomes even more important.   Here are some tips for proper setup:  

  1. If both monitors are used fairly equally (50/50 or 60/40) they should be positioned directly in front of the user, corresponding to the centerline of the keyboard, and angled slightly in a shallow V configuration. 
  2. If one monitor is used more frequently (70/30 or 80/20) the primary monitor should be positioned front and center with the secondary monitor flanking it on either side at a 30 degree angle.
  3. In both cases place the monitors as close together as possible.
  4. Place monitor height so the top tool bar is at eye level; this promotes neutral neck posture. 
  5. Bifocal or trifocal eyeglass wearers should adjust the monitor level lower to avoid neck extension.  
  6. Proper monitor distance from the person depends on visual accommodation, but in general should be an arm’s length away or 18-24 inches from the user’s face.
  7. When viewing the monitors, use eye movements more than head and neck rotation.
    If the monitor bases reduce available work surface space consider mounting the monitors on a single post monitor arm or add an articulating keyboard/mouse tray under the work surface.  This will free up more space to place an adjustable angle document holder on the work surface behind the keyboard.

It may take a few days to adjust to a dual monitor setup.  If discomfort sets in, review the proper setup and make sure to stretch periodically with a focus on the neck, upper back, and shoulders. 

For more information MEMIC policyholders can access online ergonomic resources within the Safety Director at

Dual computer monitors

Know about the "No Zone"

Klatt Randy Posted by Randy Klatt

Sharing the roads with large trucks is a real safety concern for those driving passenger cars.  But one important point to remember is that a large tractor trailer or snow plow creates “blind spots” that limit the truck driver’s ability to see all areas around the vehicle.  If you drive within these areas the trucker won’t be able to see your car.

This area is easy to locate.  Remember, if you can’t see the trucks mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.  Steer clear of these blind spots so that the truck driver won’t pull into your lane.  Driving in the No Zone also limits your visibility to the side or front, so please avoid them.

The diagram below illustrates the No Zones around a snow plow; very applicable this time of year.  Sharing the road with large commercial vehicles is a necessity and can be done safely.  Just be patient and avoid the NO ZONE. 

Check out these two websites for more information:

Remember:  Ice and Snow, Take it Slow!

Truck Image