Posted on Leave a comment

Does fall arrest equipment have an EXPIRY DATE?

Yes and NO is the simple note:

1 It must be check and inspected yearly by an agency plus INSPECTED DAILY FULLY BY THE PERSON WEARING IT!

2 It must not have any defects if so its is out service

Although a well cared for or seldom used safety harness can last longer than five years, it is still recommended that you remove it from service at the five year mark. Not only may your safety harness be out of warranty, but you have no way of knowing that the internal structure of your safety harness is sound — even if it’s passed regular inspection and shows no outward signs of damage. When it comes to personal fall protection, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Each harness and lanyard is accompanied by specific instructions for use, inspection, and cleaning that must be understood and followed. Industry requires all fall protection products, including harnesses and lanyards be visually inspected prior to use and regularly inspected by a Competent Person, such as defined by OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety Administration) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association). When not in use, products should be stored at room temperature away from chemicals, moisture and ultra-violet light.

Following these instructions may still necessitate removing the harness or lanyard from service prior to any life expectancy guideline, due to the normal wear and tear of everyday use. Likewise, proper adherence to the inspection and maintenance criteria may extend the useful life. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the end-user to determine when a harness or lanyard is unfit for use and should be removed from service.

In Canada Full Body Harnesses CAN/CSA/Z259.10-M90 does NOT give an expiry date but STATES MUST MEET THESE STANDARDS AT ALL TIME, if not it is out of service.

  • Use the right equipment for the job. Refer to the series of Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standards Z259, including:
    • Z259.1-05 (R2010) “Body belts and saddles for work positioning and travel restraint”,
    • Z259.2.3-12 “Descent devices”,
    • Z259.10-12 “Full Body Harnesses”,
    • Z259.11-05 (R2010) “Energy absorbers and lanyards”,
    • Z259.12-01 (R2011) “Connecting components for personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)”,
    • and any other standards or legislation that may apply.

Rest assured the equipment has tremendous excess capacity, and the degradation that is common (not normal…) in a 3-5 year period does not render the device worthless on the 1st day of the 6th year. The manufacturer knows that a harness worn every day will likely not make the 5 year mark, not by a long shot. A heavy form carpenter or an iron worker can wear out a harness in less than a year. On the other hand, a harness that is properly stored and worn only for inspections and riding in boom lifts and on roofs, that is used once a week or once a month, may last a lifetime. The Competent Person is the deciding factor. Also note, lanyards have a recommended 3 year use limit.

ANSI and OSHA do not reference a maximum service life for synthetic fiber products. ANSI and OSHA standards require that the user remove the equipment from service if it has been subject to the forces of arresting a fall. ANSI A10.32-2012 does not specify a 5 year harness and lanyard service life. It states that “fall protection equipment shall be removed from service upon evidence of defects, damage or deterioration; once it has been subjected to impact loading; or upon expiration of the manufacturer’s specified service life, whichever comes first.”

ANSI and OSHA standards require that the user remove the equipment from service if it has been subject to the forces of arresting a fall. They also states that when inspection reveals defects in, damage to, or inadequate maintenance of equipment, the equipment shall be permanently removed from service or undergo adequate corrective maintenance before return to service.

Posted on Leave a comment

Six Sigma Safety is not just phrase, it is a way of hazard assessment and elimination

It is about that simple: Six Sigma methodology provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their safety business processes and starts by asking fundamental questions based around customer requirements.

Six Sigma projects that can focus on risk management. Actually many of the tools used by a Six Sigma project manager are used by Risk Managers such as flowcharts, check sheets, probability and statistics.

A team working on a risk management project should:

  1. Identify loss exposures
  2. Analyze loss exposures
  3. Determine the appropriate techniques to treat the exposures
  4. Implement and monitor (control)

A team can look for opportunities to control the risk by:

  1. Risk Avoidance
  2. Loss Prevention
  3. Loss Reduction

Six Sigma has been around for more than a decade. Lean for nearly as long. Each is unique and yet shares a number of common attributes with the other. By applying the 5S (Sort, Sift or Simplify, Sweep, Standardize, and Sustain) and then proceed onto the next Lean tool. In most cases multiple applications of 5S are utilized to reach optimal performance before more complicated tools are applied. Loss reduction can include ideas that reduce the severity of the loss after it occurs. These ideas include notification alarms, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, storing valuables offsite with two copies, Health and Safety programs, emergency action programs, defibrillators, seat belts, and airbags.

All of these can contribute to savings in the eyes of the insurer. Your company risk manager should be aware and involved in these improvements and negotiate lower premiums.

Applying rigorous analysis to all processes in the business, Six Sigma can assess whether customer safety requirements are being met. Since ‘Metrics’ lie at the heart of Six Sigma, the basic approach is to measure performance on an existing process, compare it with a statistically valid ideal and figure out how to eliminate any variation each time the process fails to deliver and a defect is found. Six Sigma rigorously works towards uncovering the root cause of these defects and eliminating them time and again, resulting in reduced defects, declining costs and ultimately achieving a highly improved state of customer satisfaction.

It Defines Opportunity-What is important?

  • Identify and validate business improvement opportunity
  • Document and analyze business processes
  • Define customer requirements
  • Build and launch effective project teams

It Measures Performance – How are we doing?

  • Achieve an in-depth understanding of the process using value stream mapping
  • Determine what to measure
  • Develop effective data collection methods
  • Understand and measure variation
  • Evaluate measurement systems
  • Determine process performance

It has Analyze Opportunity – What is wrong?

  • Identify process constraints and bottlenecks
  • Narrow down to the Potential Root Causes
  • Confirm Root Cause to Output Relationship
  • Estimate Impact of Root Causes on Key Outputs and assess the impact of process complexity
  • Prioritize Root Causes

It will Improve Performance – What needs to be done?

  • Develop potential solutions
  • Evaluate and select solutions
  • Develop “To Be” Value Stream Map
  • Develop and implement pilot run
  • Confirm attainment of project goals
  • Develop full scale implementation plan

It has and it will Control Performance – How do we guarantee performance

  • Mistake-proof the process to eliminate defects from the process
  • Complete all documentation including SOPs, Process Control Plans, and Training Plans
  • Develop a monitoring system and implement SPC and Visual Process Controls to provide feedback on the process
Posted on Leave a comment

When you think Illegal Drugs and street problems are you thinking GHS, Hazmat or TDG risks and why they are called Dangerous Goods.

Never once not in any TDG/Hazmat or GHS or WHMIS 2015 class will any instructor bring up the use of NARCOTICS and THEFT risks of chemical in Class! And in law enforcement it is seldom brought up not unless you are Narcotics officer, and Occupational Health and Safety will say were they trained, trained in what, chemicals or narcotic detection and prevention!

But wait even Health Canada in June 2016, ( you know the agency that talks about WHMIS2015) is talking about and is concerned about this topic. The diversion of controlled substances and precursor chemicals frequently used in the production of illegal drugs is a worldwide problem that requires a global solution. Health Canada is an active team player in the fight to control the illicit use of these controlled substances and precursor chemicals.

Health Canada’s Role

  • Develop regulations for the import, export, production, distribution, possession and sale of controlled substances and precursor chemicals,
  • Administer legislation and activities related to controlled drugs and substances through the Office of Controlled Substances,
  • Work in collaboration with Canadian and international stakeholders to ensure that controlled substances and precursor chemicals are handled effectively and remain in legal distribution channels, and
  • Analyze, through the Drug Analysis Service, suspected illegal drugs that are seized by Canadian police forces (RCMP, provincial, regional and municipal) and Canada Customs.

What Are Controlled Substances?

A controlled substance is any type of drug that the federal government has categorized as having a higher-than-average potential for abuse or addiction. Such drugs are divided into categories based on their potential for abuse or addiction. Controlled substances range from illegal street drugs to prescription medications.

Even the United Nations is weighting down on precursors and chemicals frequently used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. You remember the United Nations in your safety training they are the folks that brought you GHS and TDG standards world!   The CND is the central policy-making body within the U.N. system dealing with drug-related matters. The INCB is a quasi-judicial independent body that monitors the implementation of the three U.N. international drug control conventions. The harmless desire of man which commenced as a curious pursuit to explore and then synthesize certain hidden treasures of Mother Nature consisting of strange chemical compositions, which she herself produces niggardly has today gained monstrous propositions. It has become a curse spoiling generations and crippling nations. The illicit production, trafficking, consumption and abuse of drugs is a major global challenge eating into the fabrics of society, fuelling divisions along ethnic and religious lines, violating values of human dignity, harbouring crime and creating psychological wrecks. It spreads senseless violence, damaging fragile economy of developing nations, creating a climate of hate, fear and mistrust between neighbouring countries and last but not the least providing skeletal financial seamless support to transcontinental terrorism termed aptly as “Narcoterrorism”

“Precursor” and “essential” chemicals play two critical roles in the production of illegal drugs: as compounds required in the production of synthetic drugs or as refining agents and solvents for processing plant-based materials such as coca into cocaine and opium poppy into heroin. Chemicals used in synthetic drug production are known as “precursor” chemicals because they are incorporated into the drug product and are less likely to be substituted by other chemicals. Chemicals used to refine and process plant-based drugs are referred to as “essential” or “precursor” chemicals and can be readily replaced by other chemicals with similar properties. Drug “cooks” have little regard for themselves or the welfare and safety of the community.

Because of the mix of precursor chemicals and substances used in drug production, drug lab sites have been known to cause explosions, flash burns, fires (including house fires), toxic fumes, poisonous gases, damage to the environment, injury to members of the community and even death.

Exposure to the toxic by-products of these substances can cause immediate harm and can be life threatening. Prolonged exposure to chemicals used in drug labs may contribute to serious long term health issues (including brain, liver and kidney damage and cancer).

The location of drug labs in highly built-up and residential areas is always a concern for law enforcement and other government agencies. The waste produced from drug labs may also cause harm to the environment.

International efforts have long targeted the illicit diversion of the most common precursors for cocaine and heroin, potassium permanganate and acetic anhydride, respectively. The large licit market for these chemicals makes this a difficult task. For instance, diversion of less than one percent of worldwide licit commercial use of these chemicals would be sufficient to produce the world’s supply of heroin. Precursors can also be obtained from licit medicines as is the case for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in finished cold medicine products.

Heroin. The main precursor chemical used to produce heroin is acetic anhydride, a substance that is also widely used in legitimate industry. Drug trafficking organizations continue to channel acetic anhydride to illicit producers through diversion, or smuggling. With increased heroin consumption in and trafficking to the United States, as well as continuing production in Afghanistan, the United States has expanded its cooperative efforts to target acetic anhydride diversion and smuggling.

Methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is produced using a variety of methods, but most require one or more of the following precursor chemicals; pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, pharmaceutical products containing these chemicals, phenyl-2-propanone (P-2-P), and phenylacetic acid. As these precursor chemicals have become more difficult to obtain due to increased diversion controls, traffickers have started using other chemicals, or seeking non-controlled pre-precursor chemicals or esters, and derivatives of phenylacetic acid to produce the precursor chemicals necessary for methamphetamine production. New production methods have also emerged. Traffickers, particularly in Europe, began using a pre-precursor, APAAN, or alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile.

Cocaine. Potassium permanganate, an oxidizer, is the primary chemical used to remove the impurities from cocaine base. It has many legitimate industrial uses, including waste water treatment, disinfectant, and deodorizer. Potassium permanganate also can be combined with pseudoephedrine to produce methcathinone, a synthetic stimulant that is a controlled substance.

They could well be consumer products also

Increasingly, drug traffickers use chemicals that are not controlled under the convention or the domestic laws of the source or importing country. They exploit countries that have limited enforcement and regulatory capacity. International cooperation against chemical diversion has also pushed trafficking groups to exploit domestic industry in a significant way. Traffickers continue to obtain chemicals produced in the country where illicit drugs are produced, thereby escaping international monitoring, surveillance, and interdiction efforts.

Canada’s “Controlled Drugs and Substances Act” (CDSA) and its regulations provide a legislative framework for the control of chemical precursors. Scheduling of substances under the CDSA and its regulations provides law enforcement agencies with the authority to take action against activities that are not in accordance with the law. These instruments also authorize Health Canada to communicate information collected to law enforcement agencies, border control officers, foreign competent authorities and the INCB if necessary.

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is an illegal drug – a Class II controlled substance. It belongs to a group of stimulants known as amphetamines and it has psychoactive properties. It has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Common short term effects of using meth include: an intense high, elevated levels of energy and focus, euphoria, and loss of appetite. Long term effects include: insomnia, paranoia, agitation, irritability, signs of schizophrenia, tooth decay, weight loss, and cardiovascular damage. because of the tremendous risks associated with methamphetamine consumption and production and because, unlike cocaine and heroin, there is no drug crop to eradicate since methamphetamine is a completely synthetic drug. The chemicals used in methamphetamine production are pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and pharmaceutical preparations containing these substances (commonly known as “combination products”). Additionally, producers have developed chemicals similar to these products– called analogues – in an effort to evade chemical control laws.

The following, often in combination, may indicate the presence of a methamphetamine laboratory and the product noted are TDG regulated:

·        Unusual odors (ether, ammonia, acetone, or other chemicals)

·        Excessive amounts of trash, particularly chemical containers, coffee filters or pieces of cloth that are stained red, and duct tape rolls

·        Curtains always drawn or windows covered with aluminum foil or blackened on residences, garages, sheds, or other structures

·        Evidence of chemical waste or dumping

·        Frequent visitors, particularly at unusual times

·        Extensive security measures or attempts to ensure privacy (no trespassing or beware of dog signs, fences, large trees or shrubs)

·        Secretive or unfriendly occupants

Safe handling and disposal of chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs

These chemicals are designated as those that are used in the manufacture of the controlled substances.

1.  Acetic anhydride

2.  Acetone

3.  Benzyl chloride

4.  Ethyl ether

5.  Potassium permanganate

6.  2-Butanone (or Methyl Ethyl Ketone or MEK)

7.  Toluene

8.  Hydrochloric acid (including anhydrous Hydrogen chloride)

9.  Sulfuric acid

10. Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)

11. Sodium permanganate

Special Observation list chemicals to be watching of in thefts or transport are!

This includes supplements which contain a listed chemical, regardless of their dosage form or packaging and regardless of whether the chemical mixture, drug product or dietary supplement is exempt from regulatory controls.

·        Ammonia gas

·        Ammonium formate

·        Bromobenzene

·        Carbonyldiimidazole

·        Cyclohexanone

·        1,1-Dichloro-1-fluoroethane (e.g. freon 141B)

·        Diethylamine and its salts

·        2,5-Dimethoxyphenethylamine and its salts

·        Formamide

·        Formic acid

·        Lithium metal

·        Lithium aluminum hydride

·        Magnesium metal (turnings)

·        Mercuric chloride

·        N-Methylformamide

·        Organomagnesium halides (Grignard reagents) (e.g. ethylmagnesium bromide and phenylmagnesium bromide)

·        Phenylethanolamine and its salts

·        Phosphorus pentachloride

·        Potassium dichromate

·        Pyridine and its salts

·        Sodium dichromate

·        Sodium metal

·        Thionyl chloride

·        ortho-Toluidine

·        Trichloromonofluoromethane (e.g. freon-11, carrene-2)

·        1,1,2-Trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane (e.g. freon 113)

What hazards are associated with them?

The chemicals used to produce methamphetamine are extremely hazardous. Some are highly volatile and may ignite or explode if mixed or stored improperly. Fire and explosion pose risks not only to the individuals producing the drug but also to anyone in the surrounding area, including children, neighbors, and passersby.

Even when fire or explosion does not occur, methamphetamine production is dangerous. Simply being exposed to the toxic chemicals used to produce the drug poses a variety of health risks, including intoxication, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, lack of coordination, pulmonary edema, serious respiratory problems, severe chemical burns, and damage to internal organs.

Inhalation. Inhaling chemical vapors and gases resulting from methamphetamine production causes shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain. Exposure to these vapors and gases may also cause intoxication, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, lack of coordination, pulmonary edema, chemical pneumonitis, and other serious respiratory problems when absorbed into the body through the lungs.

Skin Contact. The chemicals used to produce methamphetamine may cause serious burns if they come into contact with the skin.

Ingestion. Toxic chemicals can be ingested either by consuming contaminated food or beverages or by inadvertently consuming the chemicals directly. (Young children present at laboratory sites are at particular risk of ingesting chemicals.) Ingesting toxic chemicals–or methamphetamine itself–may result in potentially fatal poisoning, internal chemical burns, damage to organ function, and harm to neurological and immunologic functioning.

In addition, methamphetamine production threatens the environment. The average methamphetamine laboratory produces 5 to 7 pounds of toxic waste for every pound of methamphetamine produced. Operators often dispose of this waste improperly, simply by dumping it near the laboratory. This can cause contamination of the soil and nearby water supplies.

Methamphetamine Laboratory Hazards




Ingestion of doses greater than 240 mg causes hypertension, arrhythmia, anxiety, dizziness, and vomiting. Ingestion of doses greater than 600 mg can lead to renal failure and seizures.

Acetone/ ethyl alcohol


Extremely flammable, posing a fire risk in and around the laboratory. Inhalation or ingestion of these solvents causes severe gastric irritation, narcosis, or coma.


Inhalation can cause sudden cardiac arrest or severe lung damage. It is corrosive if ingested.

Anhydrous ammonia

A colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor. Inhalation causes edema of the respiratory tract and asphyxia. Contact with vapors damages eyes and mucous membranes.

Red phosphorus

May explode as a result of contact or friction. Ignites if heated above 260° C. Vapor from ignited phosphorus severely irritates the nose, throat, lungs, and eyes.

Hypophosphorous acid

Extremely dangerous substitute for red phosphorus. If overheated, deadly phosphine gas is released. Poses a serious fire and explosion hazard.

Lithium metal

Extremely caustic to all body tissues. Reacts violently with water and poses a fire or explosion hazard.

Hydriodic acid

A corrosive acid with vapors that are irritating to the respiratory system, eyes, and skin. If ingested, causes severe internal irritation and damage that may cause death.

Iodine crystals

Give off vapor that is irritating to respiratory system and eyes. Solid form irritates the eyes and may burn skin. If ingested, cause severe internal damage.


Ingestion of doses greater than 75 mg causes hypertension, arrhythmia, anxiety, and dizziness. Quantities greater than 300 mg can lead to renal failure, seizures, stroke, and death.

What can I do?

If you suspect that someone in your neighborhood is operating a methamphetamine laboratory, report your concerns to the local police department or sheriff’s office immediately. For your own safety, do not investigate the suspected laboratory or confront the occupants. In addition to the hazards discussed above, many laboratories are equipped with security devices or booby traps that could cause serious injuries or death.

Products Used in Methamphetamine Production


Alcohol (isopropyl or rubbing)

Anhydrous ammonia (fertilizer)

Ephedrine (cold medications)

Ether (engine starter)

Hydrochloric acid (pool supply)

Iodine (flakes or crystal)

Kitty litter

Lithium (batteries)

Methanol (gasoline additive)

MSM (nutritional supplement)

Pseudoephedrine (cold medications)

Red phosphorus (matches or road flares)

Salt (table or rock)

Sodium hydroxide (lye)

Sodium metal

Sulfuric acid (drain cleaner)

Toluene (brake cleaner)

Trichloroethane (gun cleaner)

Name a Precursor and Dangerous goods at the same time!


·        N-acetylanthranilic acid

·        methaqualone

·        anthranilic acid

·        methaqualone

·        benzaldehyde

·        amphetamine

·        phenyl-2-propanone

·        benzyl cyanide

·        phenyl-2-propanone

·        ephedrine and pseudoephedrine

·        methamphetamine

·        methcathinone

·        ergocristineergonovine and ergotamine

·        LSD

·        ethylamine

·        ethylamphetamine

·        GBL

·        GHB

·        safroleisosafrole and 3,4-methylenedioxyphenylpropan-2-one


·        methylamine

·        methamphetamine

·        N-methylephedrine and N-methylpseudoephedrine

·        dimethylamphetamine

·        N-phenethyl-4-piperidone (NPP)

·        fentanyl and analogues

·        nitroethane

·        amphetamine

·        MDA

·        phenyl-2-propanone

·        norpseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine

·        amphetamine

·        4-methylaminorex

·        phenylacetic acid

·        phenyl-2-propanone

·        piperidine

·        phencyclidine (PCP)

·        piperonal (heliotropin)


·        propionic anhydride

·        fentanyl and analogues

·        acetic anhydride

·        heroin

·        methaqualone

·        phenyl-2-propanone

·        benzyl chloride

·        methamphetamine


·        hydriodic acid

·        methamphetamine

·        hypophosphorous acid

·        amphetamine

·        methamphetamine

·        iodine

·        amphetamine

·        methamphetamine

·        red phosphorus and white phosphorus

·        amphetamine

·        methamphetamine

·        potassium permanganate

·        cocaine

·        sodium permanganate

·        cocaine

·        hydrochloric acid (hydrogen chloride)

·        Amphetamine

·        Cocaine

·        N,N-Dimethylamphetamine

·        Ethylamphetamine

·        Fentanyl and analogues

·        Heroin

·        LSD

·        MDA

·        MDE

·        MDMA

·        Methamphetamine

·        Methaqualone

·        Methcathinone

·        Phencyclidine (PCP)

·        sulfuric acid

·        Amphetamine

·        Cocaine

·        MDA

·        MDE

·        MDMA

·        Methamphetamine

·        Methaqualone

·        Phenyl-2-propanone


·        acetone

·        cocaine

·        Heroin

·        LSD

·        MDA

·        MDE

·        MDMA

·        Methamphetamine

·        diethyl ether

·        Amphetamine

·        Cocaine

·        Fentanyl and analogues

·        Heroin

·        LSD

·        MDA

·        MDE

·        MDMA

·        Methamphetamine

·        Methaqualone

·        Methcathinone

·        Phencyclidine (PCP)

·        Phenyl-2-propanone

·        methylethylketone (butanone) and methyl isobutyl ketone

·        cocaine

·        heroin

·        MDA

·        MDEA

·        methamphetamine

·        toluene

·        cocaine

·        fentanyl and analogues

·        methaqualone

·        phencyclidine (PCP)

·        phenyl-2-propanone

Posted on Leave a comment

How time flies in your safety program at work; is it Reactive or Proactive

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot”

When business looks at progress they see your at boys and equally your what the heck were you thinking moments as progress or what we in safety refer to as Lead and Lag events in your program. It all comes down to running activity logs or tracking what a company does instead of a person. A commitment to safety should not be a priority, but a value that shapes decision making all the time, at every level.

In Business and People activities you may also see that you are energetic in some parts of the day, and flat in other parts. Lead and Lag measurement in your program are identical to this and so are the measurements in progress.

Every company desires safe operations, but the challenge is to translate this desire into action. Written rules, standards and procedures while important and necessary, are not enough. Companies must develop a culture in which the value of safety is embedded in every level of the workforce. We define culture as the unwritten standards and norms that shape mind-sets, attitudes and behaviours. A culture of safety starts with leadership, because leadership drives culture and culture drives behaviour. Leaders influence culture by setting expectations, building structure, teaching others and demonstrating stewardship. A commitment to safety and operational integrity begins with management. But management alone cannot drive the entire culture. For a culture of safety to flourish, it must be embedded throughout the organisation.

A lot of this can depend on how you or the safety culture via your staff are running and doing. Once you’ve analyzed your Activity Log, you should be able to boost your productivity by applying one of the following actions to various activities:

1.   Eliminate or delegate  jobs that aren’t part of your role, or that don’t help you meet your objectives. These may include tasks that someone else in the organization should be doing (possibly at a lower pay rate) or personal activities such as sending non-work e-mails or surfing the Internet.

2.   Schedule your most challenging tasks for the times of day when your energy levels are highest. That way, your work will be of better quality, and it should take you less time to do.

3.   Minimize the number of times you switch between types of task. For example, could you check and reply to e-mails at only a few times of the day, or process all of your invoices at the same time each week?

4.   Reduce the amount of time you spend on legitimate personal activities such as making drinks. (Take turns in your team to do this – it saves time and strengthens team spirit!)  In the big picture you are doing the exact same thing in your safety program but on a larger scale via your lead and lag principles.

When peaks of demand in one area match troughs in another, life can be good. However, when demands are in synch we can experience dissatisfaction, stress, anxiety, depression and a whole host of other ills. A major incident is generally the result of a number of factors interacting in unanticipated ways. Many of these factors will be psychological or behavioural, and are in turn influenced by the prevailing Safety Culture. A strong Safety Culture is not in itself an absolute guarantee against incidents, but it is a barrier against the complacency, omissions and violations which are so commonly listed in incident reports as causal factors. A Management System that is not backed-up by a positive Safety Culture might not give the desired outcomes.

“Lagging” Metrics – a retrospective set of metrics that are based on incidents that meet the threshold of severity that should be reported as part of the industry-wide process safety metric.

“Leading” Metrics – a forward looking set of metrics which indicate the performance of the key work processes, operating discipline, or layers of protection that prevent incidents

“Near Miss” and other internal Lagging Metrics – the description of less severe incidents (i.e., below the threshold for inclusion in the industry lagging metric), or unsafe conditions which activated one or more layers of protection. Although these events are actual events (i.e., a “lagging” metric), they are generally considered to be a good indicator of conditions which could ultimately lead to a more severe incident.

Measurement is an important part of any management process and forms the basis for continuous improvement. Measuring safety performance is no different and effectively doing so will compound the success of your improvement efforts.

Finding the perfect measure of safety is a difficult task. What you want is to measure both the bottom-line results of safety as well as how well your facility is doing at preventing accidents and incidents. Building a Safety Culture is a complex process, which is influenced by a number of factors, for example: • leadership commitment to safety; • employee involvement and motivation; • employee values, beliefs, assumptions (affected by the national or geographical culture of the workforce); • employee perceptions of safety at their workplace (safety climate); • myths and stories; • policies and procedures; • supervisor priorities; • responsibilities and accountability; • production and bottom line pressures versus quality issues; and • actions, or lack of action, to correct unsafe behaviours and unsafe conditions. In a strong positive Safety Culture everyone feels responsible for safety and pursues it on a daily basis; employees go beyond “the call of duty” to identify unsafe conditions and behaviours, and are comfortable intervening to correct them.

Leading indicators are focused on future safety performance and continuous improvement. These measures are proactive in nature and report what employees are doing on a regular basis to prevent injuries.

Best practices for using leading indicators

Companies dedicated to safety excellence are shifting their focus to using leading indicators to drive continuous improvement. Lagging indicators measure failure; leading indicators measure performance, and that’s what we’re after!

Safety Life Culture Stages:

When Super developed his model, people’s lives tended to move through five clearly defined “Life Stages”, which were a major feature of the model. Today, people’s careers tend to follow a less predictable pattern, so if you want to use the Life Stage idea (which may or may not be appropriate) we recommend you adjust them to fit the pattern of your own life.

Safety Program Super’s stages were:

1. Growth (This Life Stages focuses on physical growth, and is a time when people begin to form ideas about their self-worth.

2. Exploration This stage is when people start learning about the different types of work available and what is required to be successful in different careers. During exploration, the more you learn, the more committed you become to a few of the choices and you start to narrow the field to those types of jobs you would like to pursue.

3. Establishment starts as people settle into their chosen career, and become productive members of  safety society. This stage is marked by increased responsibility and personal satisfaction from work and career.

4. Maintenance this is were you are maintaining their current safety programs and participating in safety audits activities that will keep them up to date in their present job.

5. Disengagement This is the stage when someone has chosen to slow down and eventually retire from their safety beliefs or values.

There’s a subtle relationship between pressure and performance. When your people experience the right amount of pressure, they do their best work. However, if there’s too much or too little pressure, then performance can suffer.

Is the hole you see in your safety program impacted by the Inverted U PROCESS?

The Inverted-U curve in reality, the shape of the curve will depend on the situation, and the individual person.

There are four main “influencers” that can affect this. These are:

1.   Skill Level.

2.   Personality.

3.   Trait Anxiety.

4.   Task Complexity.

Most importantly, start by thinking about people’s workloads, and about the pressure that they’re already experiencing. If people are overloaded, see if you can take pressure off them – this will help them increase the quality of their work. By contrast, if they’re underworked (it can happen!), you may need to keep them sharp by shortening deadlines or finding extra things for them to do.

When you’re thinking about how to develop your team’s skills, you need answers to the following questions:

·        Who needs training?

·        What training do they need?

·        Why is it important?

·        How will you deliver the training?

Training Needs Assessment is a structured way of answering these questions.

By comparing existing skills and competencies with the skills you want people to have, you can make an informed decision about the type of training each person or team needs. You can then develop or source a training program that addresses these needs.

Types of Motivation

There are two main types of motivation – extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation is when you use external factors to encourage your team to do what you want. Pay raises, time off, bonus checks, and the threat of job loss are all extrinsic motivators – some positive, some less so.

Intrinsic motivation is internal. It’s about having a personal desire to overcome a challenge, to produce high-quality work, or to interact with team members you like and trust. Intrinsically motivated people get a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from what they do.

Every team member is different, and will likely have different motivators. So, it’s important to get to know your people, discover what motivates them, and find a good mixture of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators, so that you can motivate them successfully.

The Four Dimensions of Relational Safety Work are:

1.   Influence.

2.   Interpersonal facilitation.

3.   Relational creativity.

4.   Team leadership.

Many of us are strong in at least one of these areas – but we may be strong in several areas, or in none of them.

It’s not relevant which area is stronger. What is relevant is that if we, or our team members, have a strength in one area, we should try to match their work to that strength.

Unfortunately, this is common. And it can lead to serious problems for managers, as they struggle to motivate frustrated, indifferent, uncooperative, and unproductive team members. Close supervision, motivational speeches, reward programs, progressive discipline, and department transfers – these are all part of the manager’s toolbox. However, these strategies are often not effective.

Dr David Sirota,

Three-Factor Theory of Human Motivation in the Workplace is based on three fundamental principles:

1.   The organization’s goals are not in conflict with the workers’ goals.

2.   Workers have basic needs that organizations should try to meet.

3.   Staff enthusiasm is a source of competitive advantage.

McClelland’s theory, which states that we all have one dominant motivator that moves us forward, and this motivator is based on our culture and life experiences. Achievers like to solve problems and achieve goals. Those with a strong need for affiliation don’t like to stand out or take risk, and they value relationships above anything else. Those with a strong power motivator like to control others and be in charge.

Dominant Motivator

Characteristics of This Person


·        Has a strong need to set and accomplish challenging goals.

·        Takes calculated risks to accomplish their goals.

·        Likes to receive regular feedback on their progress and achievements.

·        Often likes to work alone.


·        Wants to belong to the group.

·        Wants to be liked, and will often go along with whatever the rest of the group wants to do.

·        Favors collaboration over competition.

·        Doesn’t like high risk or uncertainty.


·        Wants to control and influence others.

·        Likes to win arguments.

·        Enjoys competition and winning.

·        Enjoys status and recognition.


Those with a strong power motivator are often divided into two groups: personal and institutional. People with a personal power drive want to control others, while people with an institutional power drive like to organize the efforts of a team to further the company’s goals. As you can probably imagine, those with an institutional power need are usually more desirable as team members!

Amabile and Kramer identified six things that you can do to give people the best chance of experiencing and recognizing meaningful progress.

These are:

1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives

When people have unclear or changing goals, they don’t know what to focus on. This means that they’re likely to be less engaged with the work they’re doing, and they’re unlikely to see the small tasks that they do as “wins.”

So, make sure that you set SMART  (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for everyone on your team; and change them only when you have to. Your people need to understand what’s expected of them, so that they know when they’ve achieved these goals.

2. Allow Autonomy

Although your people need specific goals, they need some freedom to decide how they accomplish these goals – the more control that people have over their own work, the more empowered and creative they’ll be, and the more they’ll recognize their own achievements (even on small tasks).

3. Provide Resources

Without sufficient resources in place, it will be difficult for your people to succeed consistently in their work. They may conclude that their work isn’t important, and they may waste time on non-core tasks that don’t help them reach their objectives.

4. Allow Ample Time

Your people need enough time to complete their work: consistently setting short deadlines will harm creativity, drive down work quality, and cause burnout.

That being said, there is an optimum amount of pressure that can actually enhance performance. Therefore, you need to provide the right amount of pressure – try to set deadlines that create enough pressure to motivate good performance, yet still allow people the freedom to be creative and innovative.

5. Provide Support and Expertise

Make sure that your team has access to the help and expertise of other people, so that they can move forward with their work.

As their manager, this includes you, but it also includes other managers, colleagues, outside experts, or even customers and suppliers.

6. Learn from “Failure”

No matter how well you plan and prepare, there will be times when people fail at tasks or projects. This will sometimes be because their work was careless, however, other times, people may have done their genuine best, but failed for reasons outside their control.

Clearly, sloppy work needs to be dealt with appropriately.

However, some organizations deal harshly with honest failure. This not only lowers morale and makes people afraid to try new things, but it also encourages them to see failures as wasted time, rather than as experiences that they can learn from.

Encourage people to keep track of their achievements and successes on a daily basis, for example, by keeping a diary of their achievements.

They determined that achieving consistent, small wins was the biggest indicator of a rich inner work life. This rich inner work life, in turn, enables people to be more productive, more engaged, and more creative in the work that they do.

As well as using these mechanisms, you should also encourage your people to recognize and celebrate their own successes, however small in Health and Safety. As a manager or supervisor, your aim is to get the best performance from the people who work from you. If you have high expectations of a member of your team, this can reinforce your efforts. On the other hand, if you convey lower expectations of an individual, this can undermine your efforts to improve his or her performance.

Without knowing it, you may show low expectations by delegating less challenging and interesting work. You may pay less attention to team members’ performance and give them less support and praise. In return, the team member may feel undervalued and untrusted, and his or her confidence may be undermined. And so your lower expectations, albeit unconsciously communicated, can demotivate the team member, creating the exact opposite effect of the performance improvement that you want.

More than this, the effect of low expectations can create a vicious circle – you expect less, you get less, you lower your expectations and further demotivate, and so on.

Posted on Leave a comment

ADDIE Model in Safety Training, how does yours measure up!

In Health and Safety we are constantly challenged to produce or find a better learning tool for our staff and contractors, and not that some are worse or better than others but do they meet training grades not only in the corporation but in industry and how are they delivered to the workers.

Collaborative Learning is a process in which two or more individuals obtain knowledge together, or in a group setting. Such events may include participation by an individual who facilitates the mutual learning process, but who does not act in a traditional instructor role, but the ADDIE model takes it a few steps further.

General Instructional Objective (GIO)

·        GIOs state general purpose for the course

·        They are generally made up of a variety of sub-behaviors

Specific Learner outcomes (SLO)

·        You will always have multiple SLOs for each GIO.

·        SLOs “indicator behaviors” – no one of them by themselves is sufficient, but together they provide evidence that the GIO has been acheived.

·        SLOs are not prerequisite behaviors for the GIO (that would be a different GIO).

Evaluating Objectives

When evaluating objectives, one should look for the following:

·        Comprehensiveness

·        Congruency with societal values and prescribed school functions

·        Psychological soundness

·        Practical utility

·        Feasibility

·        Consistency

·        Completeness

The ADDIE model is the generic process traditionally used by instructional designers and training developers. The five phases—Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation—represent a dynamic, flexible guideline for building effective training and performance support tools.

The ADDIE Model of instruction systems design (ISD) was first developed for the U.S. Army during the 1970s by Florida State University’s Center for Educational Technology. this model of safety training Theories such as behaviorism, constructivism, social learning and cognitivism help shape and define the outcome of instructional materials. ADDIE was later adapted for use by all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. It has become a widely used and frequently modified best practice within the private sector. It is often employed for compliance training and other learning events that are not time sensitive.

Is it better than the other Learning models in industry and teaching safety you decide

  • 4C-ID Model (Jeroen van Merriënboer)
  • Algo-Heuristic Theory (Lev Landa)
  • ARCS (John Keller)
  • ASSURE (Heinich, Molenda, Russel, and Smaldino)
  • Backward Design (Wiggins & McTighe)
  • Conditions of Learning (Robert Gagne)
  • Component Display Theory (David Merrill)
  • Criterion Referenced Instruction (Robert Mager)
  • Dick and Carey
  • Elaboration Theory
  • Gerlach-Ely Model
  • Hannafin-Peck Model
  • Kirk and Gustafson Model
  • Instructional Systems Design ISD
  • Integrative Learning Design Framework for Online Learning (Debbaugh)
  • Iterative Design
  • Spiral Model (Boehm)
  • Rapid Prototyping (Tripp & Bichelmeyer)
  • Kemp Design Model (Morrison, Ross, and Kemp)
  • Organizational Elements Model (OEM) (Roger Kaufman)
  • Transactional Distance (Michael Moore)
  • Cognitive Apprenticeship
  • Discovery Learning
  • Empathic instructional design
  • Goal-based scenarios

Analysis phase

The analysis phase clarifies the instructional problems and objectives, and identifies the learning environment and learner’s existing knowledge and skills. Questions the analysis phase addresses include:

·        Who are the learners and what are their characteristics?

·        What is the desired new behavior?

·        What types of learning constraints exist?

·        What are the delivery options?

·        What are the pedagogical considerations?

·        What adult learning theory considerations apply?

·        What is the timeline for project completion?

Design phase

The design phase deals with learning objectives, assessment instruments, exercises, content, subject matter analysis, lesson planning, and media selection. The design phase should be systematic and specific. Systematic means a logical, orderly method of identifying, developing and evaluating a set of planned strategies targeted for attaining the project’s goals. Specific means each element of the instructional design plan must be executed with attention to details.

Development phase

In the development phase, instructional designers and developers create and assemble content assets blueprinted in the design phase. In this phase, the designers create storyboards and graphics. If e-learning is involved, programmers develop or integrate technologies. Testers debug materials and procedures. The project is reviewed and revised according to feedback.

Implementation phase

The implementation phase develops procedures for training facilitators and learners. Training facilitators cover the course curriculum, learning outcomes, method of delivery, and testing procedures. Preparation for learners includes training them on new tools (software or hardware) and student registration. Implementation includes evaluation of the design.

Evaluation phase[

The evaluation phase consists of two aspects: formative and summative. Formative evaluation is present in each stage of the ADDIE process, while summative evaluation is conducted on finished instructional programs or products.

Some institutions have modified the ADDIE model for their needs. One version of note is the United States Navy version. It is called PADDIE+M. The P phase is the planning phase. In this phase, the project goals, project objectives, budget, and schedules are developed. The M phase is the Maintenance phase. This phase involves the life cycle maintenance of the training product using continuous improvement methodsThis model is gaining acceptance in the United States government as a more complete model of ADDIE. Some organizations have adopted the PADDIE model without the M phase.

In your safety training and programs do you understand these phrase and needs within you programs

Androgogy – Refers to the instruction and training of adults (people who are not in school anymore).

Cognitivism – A learning theory.

Constuctivism – A philosophy masquerading as a theory. A way of looking at the world that says that people construct their view of the world based on their previous experiences. People construct their own unique knowledge from raw materials..

Instructional Theory – Specifications for how to bring about a desired set of circumstances. Technological. Compare with Learning Theory.

Instructional Design Theory – How to design/create artifacts. This includes tools for design.

Learnability – how easy is it for the user to learn how to complete the processes needed within the system. Learnability can be tested by exposing the user to a system and then bringing them back later to see if they still understand how to complete a task.

Learning Theory – An attempt to describe how people learn. Examples include constructivism, behaviorism, and social cognitivism. Scientific. Compare with Instructional Theory and Instructional Design Theory.

Multi-user Dimensions (MUDs) – A very popular format for gaming are Multi-user Dimensions. MUDs are also used in educational or training simulations

MOOs (Multi-user Object Oriented programs) –

Multi-user Virtual Environments (MUVEs) – A MUVE is a user interface that attempt to create a virtual environment for presenting information. This is an interface that is often in video games..

Prototype – a prototype is a physical model of a product. A miniature version of what a new car would look like is an example of a prototype. Prototypes can be working or non-working.

Simulation – a simulation is a virtual model of a product. A simulation is essentially the same thing as a prototype, but it generally uses some sort of software to create the product virtually.

Terry Penney

Posted on Leave a comment

Fire Lanes like Fire Drills are in Place for Safety Reason are you paying attention now!

I see it a lot of times, company vehicle parking in the fire lanes, Ill just be a minute or ill move it if theres a fire, or it’s just a municipal bylaw! So what did your company cover off with you regarding fire safety during fire prevention week?

We all know that parking in a fire lane is illegal. Yet, many citizens do just that every day. The space outside of a business is not a loading zone if it is designated as a fire lane; it is not a special use parking space, nor is it a place to wait for passengers to exit the building. So, what is the fire lane for? The fire lane is an area reserved for fire apparatus responding to an emergency to stage, or park, at a useful distance from a structure. Put simply, the fire lane is the department’s launch pad for interior firefighting or other emergency response. You would not want to park on the launch pad of a space craft or an aircraft carrier! The same idea applies to the fire lane. For every 30 seconds of delay, a fire may double in size. Fire Lane Signs make sure that fire fighters can do their job quickly. Keep fire lanes always clear of parked or standing cars. A vehicle parked in a fire lane or a roadway is subject to towing, at owner’s risk and expense.

In urban areas in North America, a fire lane is a marked lane in a parking lot that is near a structure or a traffic lane marked “Fire Lane” that runs along the centre of a street. Parking is prohibited in fire lanes to ensure the access of safety equipment to the structure in the event of an emergency. Fire lanes are defined as passageways or access roads that allow fire apparatuses to pass through. They are not intended for normal vehicle traffic. There are certain requirements that must be met when designing a fire lane. Because fire trucks and other apparatuses are so large, there must be certain accommodations made for them. Though these can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, they are generally similar. Fire Lanes also provide clear space for egress from a burning building and should therefore be wider for larger occupancy buildings.

Cars parked illegally in fire lanes also make evacuation difficult, if not impossible. Many of the emergency exits will open into the fire lane for rapid dispersal of patrons within. Additionally, cars in the fire lane are within what firefighters call the “collapse zone.” If the building falls from fire damage, the majority of the debris will fall within that fire lane.

Fire lanes may be any width larger than 20 feet across. This gives enough room to maneuver the truck into position. They must also be at least ten feet away from any building or structure overhang to allow overhead clearance. If trees are near a fire lane, they must be trimmed to allow a 14-foot clearance over the fire lane. The fire lane must be within 150 feet of the ends of the buildings that it serves. If a fire lane goes around a curve or corner, it must have an outside turning radius of 54 feet, and an inside turning radius of 30 feet. These numbers can be a little different depending on the jurisdiction, but are usually roughly the same. The fire lanes must also be approved to carry at least 35 tons of weight.

All fire lanes must be marked as such, although the manner of marking may be different. If the lane is 20 feet across, it must be marked on both sides with red paint on the curb. If the fire lane is between 20 and 24 feet, it may only be marked on one side of the roadway. If the access road is greater than 28 feet wide, no markings need to be present. Fire lanes in front of commercial buildings may have yellow paint to mark the fire lane. The curb should be painted yellow with the words “No Parking,

Posted on Leave a comment

Safety, 911, Swatting and Doxing are all part of Crime Prevention Month Education and Detection.

Unfortunately, the technical barrier to doxxing or swatting a person is low. A doxxer can acquire information on their target through a variety of legitimate public sources. Or, more nefariously, through  social engineering techniques.

Swatting often just requires the name, phone number and address of the intended target. Swatters often use cheap or freely available anonymising technology to disguise their identity, or to “spoof” the phone number of their target, when making their false report — a move that makes their crime difficult to police.

Swatting is the act of deceiving an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into sending a police and 911 response team to another person’s address, based on the false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency, such as a bomb threat, murder, hostage-taking or other alleged incident. Swatting has been associated with online harassment campaigns, and episodes range from small events to large incidents, from a single fabricated police report meant to discredit an individual as a prank or personal vendetta to the deployment of bomb squads, heavily-armed SWAT units and other police units and the concurrent evacuations of schools and businesses.

Swatting has been described as terrorism due to its potential to cause disruption, waste the time of emergency services, divert attention from real emergencies and possibly cause a risk of injuries and psychological harm to the persons targeted and for the first responders.

Swatting is linked to the action of doxxing, which is obtaining and broadcasting, often via the Internet, the address and details of an individual with an intent to harass or endanger them. Making false reports to emergency services is punishable by prison sentences in the U.S. and is a crime in many other countries.

You’ve been “doxxed”. Your private information has been posted, perhaps by an anonymous imageboard user, who’s implored others to “do with it as you will”. Doxxing – named for “documents” or “docs” – is the act of release of someone’s personal and/or identifiable information without their consent. This can include things like their full legal name, social security numbers, home or work addresses and contact information.

There’s no set format for a “dox”; the doxxer simply publishes whatever information they’ve managed to turn up in their searches. Sometimes this even includes the names and details of their target’s family or close friends. Anonymous image boards are a continuous froth of simultaneously earnest and ironic hostility. What the anonymous denizens of these boards consider polite discourse is indistinguishable from open attack. This works in their own subculture, but when exported elsewhere, their hostility and antipathy for personal identity creates problems. This clash of anonymous imageboard culture with the parts of social media where people live and work created the divide underlying GamerGate, making it difficult for outsiders to understand.

As a tactic of harassment, doxxing serves two purposes: it intimidates the people targeted by invading and disrupting their expectations of privacy; and it provides an avenue for the perpetuation of that person’s harassment by distributing information as a resource for future harassers to use.

Don’t re-use passwords for multiple services

This can be difficult, as a new password for every service you use will be taxing to even the best of memories. The best, most complex passwords will be challenging to guess or to brute-force, but also difficult to remember.

Here’s where technology can make life easier; a password manager app, like LastPassKeePass or 1Password can help you set unique, complex passwords for each service you use, and let you secure them behind a single, more memorable password.

Terry Penney

Posted on Leave a comment

Leaves, rakes and fall risks to your yard safety hazards.

Yes it is fall and the leaves are falling every where so as you rake and swear there must be a better way or wonder if you get all the raking done, what hazards are you looking at in this fall yard activity? Fall is the season nature paints beautiful landscapes of various shades of orange, red, yellow and brown in our yards and hillsides. This is the time of year the green leaves change colors to make this magnificent scenery as they slowly fall to the ground, making this scenic wonder a chore for many homeowners and even a safety risk.

Oh did you mention snake in the list, snakes like to lurk. Don’t invite slithery trouble into your own home either: Keep your lawn trimmed, don’t leave piles of brush or debris in your yard and periodically check storage sheds, garages and basements for openings a snake may find enticing. Be especially careful around ivy: It’s the highly venomous copperhead snake’s favorite hideout.

Homeowners respond in various ways. Some choose to bury the leaves, others rake them up and bag them while others decide to make a pile and burn them. This latter decision can become a major safety hazard, especially during a drought. So let’s review some safety measures to help keep your property safe around your home in the fall to help reduce safety risks during a drought.

Use caution when burning leaves/brush. Clear leaves away from your home and other buildings. Burn leaves only when permitted and in accordance with local laws and guidelines. Use extreme caution to ensure safety and control of the fire. Currently there is a ban on burning trash, leaves or brush outdoors in Jefferson County, along with other counties throughout the state, due to drought conditions. Another reason for the burning bans has been to reduce the formation of ground-level ozone. Efforts to reduce ozone in Alabama have been very successful. May through the beginning of October is typically very dry in this state.

It is important that you develop a safety zone around your home free from tall grass, brush or other flammable vegetation.

It’s that time of year again, time for raking leaves. Did you know that raking leaves for a long period of time, without taking a break, can be dangerous to your health? This is especially true if you are a male over 40, or a female over 50, and suffer from heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

It’s very important to visit your physician before starting any new exercise program, and that includes raking. Hours of raking, non-stop, can be strenuous to the heart. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY

Speaking of backache, be sure to practice proper raking technique before, during, and after your work. Raking is a real workout, and you need to warm up your body by stretching before you start.

While you’re raking, be sure to keep a good posture and stand upright. Switch your main (bottom) hand on a regular basis, and always bend at the knees (not the back) when you stoop to pick up a pile.

Also, don’t try to do too much at once. Divide your yard into sections and work on them over a period of days. Or, if you have limited time, take breaks in between each section to drink water and rest.

As enticing as they may appear, hidden dangers could be lurking under leaf piles that parents would be wise to keep in mind.

For example, if the leaves are wet – which, given the amount it rains, is not uncommon – you risk your child coming into contact with certain bacteria such as mould.

This can be especially harmful to kids who suffer from asthma or have an allergy to the fungus.

Piles of fallen leaves could also be home to nasty parasites like ticks.

“If you rake a bunch of leaves up from (where your yard meets the woods) there is a possibility that there is a tick but only if there are ticks there to begin with.”

It also pays to be aware of potential physical hazards that could be lurking in piles of leaves.

If they’ve been raked up, stones and sharp sticks may have found their way into the stack, while if it’s been there for a few days it may be inhabited by frogs, mice and biting insects.

Scarier still, in 2014 two young girls in Oregon, US, were killed after a driver failed to spot them playing in a pile of leaves and drove an SUV straight over them.

Listen, we don’t want to spoil ALL your fun – just make sure any leaves you jump in are freshly raked and in a safe location.

Maintain your yard by keeping your trees and shrubs pruned around chimney outlets. Also keep your entire yard mowed, raked and free of dead limbs. Regularly clean your gutters and roof to make sure they are free of debris. Maintain an adequate water supply around your home.

Don’t park any motorized vehicles on the grass for several reasons, but especially during the drought because the grass/shrubs/fallen leaves are very dry. Exhaust systems can far exceed the 500 degrees it takes to start a summer/fall brush fire. It is wise to always stay on pavement at your home and even if you have to pull off to the side of the road while traveling.

Place some household tools close by just in case you need to use them before the fire department is able to arrive. These firefighting tools are items such as a rake, ax, bucket, shovel, etc.

But what about the RAKE

Raking your lawn is a necessary task when the leaves start to fall. However, there are some things that you can do to make the job easier on yourself, such as getting a quality rake and using the proper body position. You can also make the task easier by waiting until the right time to rake and wearing the proper gear for the job. By combining these techniques, your yard will be leaf free in no time. Match your rake to the type of leaves you have in your yard and to your body. At stores, try rakes on for size before you buy. Rakes with metal tines last longer than plastic ones, but plastic tines may be lighter

Use a quality rake. Many people have an old rake in the tool shed, but an older rake may not be as efficient as a new one. To make raking more efficient, invest in a quality rake.

·        Look for a rake that has an ergonomic handle and that is lightweight. This will help to reduce the strain on your back.

·        Choosing a rake that has a wide end will also help to ensure that you can rake up as many leaves a possible with every sweep.

Position your body properly. Proper body positioning is also essential to successful raking. Some things to keep in mind when you rake include:

·        Your hand positions. When you hold the rake, grasp it with both hands and change your hand positions now and then as you rake.

·        Your knees. Keep your knees slightly bent. Try not to bend too far forward at the waist.

·        Your movement. It is helpful to move backwards as you rake. Try to rake the leaves towards you as you walk backwards.

Transport your leaves with a tarp. You can also save time and energy by raking your leaves onto a tarp, sheet, or canvas cloth. Before you begin raking, lay out a tarp or other large piece of material on the ground. Then, begin raking the leaves onto the tarp.

·        Rake one area of your yard until the tarp is full, then drag the tarp to your main pile.

·        If you prefer, you can also rake your leaves directly into bags. Then, you can transport the bags to a mulch pile or other disposal area.

Stomp on your pile. As you rake leaves onto the tarp or into bags, make sure that you stomp them down now and then. This will help to ensure that you have plenty of room for all of your leaves.

·        To stomp on your leaves, simply step on them or put one foot into the leaf bag to stomp them down.

·        If you are using bags, just try to avoid filling the bags too full. You should still be able to pick the bags up easily.

Mow early fall leaves into your lawn. In early fall, there might not be enough leaves on the ground to justify raking your whole lawn. However, if you have some early fall leaves that are bothering you, then you can mow them into your lawn. This will help to give your lawn extra nutrients and save you some time.

Choose a calm day to rake. Windy conditions will make raking more difficult. If possible, wait for a calm day to do your raking. However, if you have to rake on a windy day, then try to rake the leaves with the wind and not against it.

·        For example, you could place your pile on the side of the yard that the wind is blowing towards. Then, rake all of your leaves in that direction.

Ensure that the leaves are dry. Check the leaves for dampness before you begin raking. If the leaves are wet, then they will be harder to rake. They will also weigh down the bags or other containers that you put them in, which will make it harder for you to move them.

·        To make your job a little easier, wait until the leaves are dry to start raking them. Watch the weather and check the leaves before you get started.

·        PPE  Wear gloves. Holding the handle of the rake can cause blisters on your hands. Your hands may also get dirty from picking up leaves from your pile and placing them into bags. To protect your hands, make sure that you wear a pair of heavy duty canvas or leather work gloves.

Wear long sleeves and pants. Wearing long sleeves and pants is also a good idea when you are doing yard work. Even if the weather is not cold yet, there may be insects, snakes, and other small creatures lurking in your yard. Wearing long pants and long sleeves will help to protect you from bites.

·        A pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt is a good choice for raking leaves.

·        You can wear a jacket and a hat too if the weather is cold.

Use a mask if you have allergies. If you will be mulching your leaves or if you have allergies, then you may want to wear a mask over your face. This will help to protect you from breathing in the dust and allergens released as you rake and mulch your leaves.

Terry Penney