Prevent Fatal Fires With Periodic Inspection

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

On average, explosions and fires account for 3% of workplace injuries and have the highest casualty rate of all probable workplace accidents as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association provides the following statistics:

In 2016, there were 1,342,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,390 civilian deaths, 14,650 civilian injuries, and $10.6 billion in property damage.

The 2016, U.S. fire loss clock a fire department responded to a fire every 24 seconds.
. One structure fire was reported every 66 seconds.
. One home structure fire was reported every 90 seconds.
. One civilian fire injury was reported every 34 minutes.
. One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Fires are still fatal; 81 percent of all fire deaths occur in home fires.

An effective approach at preventing these fires is by performing periodic inspections of portable fire extinguishers, exit signage and access on our properties. The following checklists are provided for this purpose:

Additionally, ensure that your local fire department is familiar with your facility, its location and specific hazards, and inspect and maintain all fire monitoring and suppression systems.

Should you require assistance with portable fire extinguisher training and/or training staff to conduct periodic inspections of extinguishers, exit signage and access, please contact Gary L. Smith, CRM, CSRM, MLIR, Director of Risk Control at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Resources:

MIOSHA General Industry Part 6. Fire Exits (amended 4/22/15): https://www.michigan.gov/documents/CIS_WSH_part6_38111_7.pdf

MIOSHA General Industry Part 8. Portable Fire Extinguishers (amended 1/10/13): https://www.michigan.gov/documents/CIS_WSH_part8_51042_7.pdf

NFPA Research: http://www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/fire-statistics/fires-in-the-us/overall-fire-problem/fire-loss-in-the-united-states

Posted in 2018, AUGUST 2018, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Prevent Fatal Fires With Periodic Inspection

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Uniform Landlord and Tenant Legislation Drafted

The Michigan Legislative Service Bureau has recently completed a draft of potential legislation which would affect landlord-tenant law in Michigan. In 2015 the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) released a revised version of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) for proposed adoption by every state in the U.S. The ULC is an organization made up of practicing lawyers, judges, legislators and law professors, all of whom are appointed by state governments. ULC seeks to draft model legislation for certain areas of critical state law in an effort to create uniformity and save states from the cost of preparing legislation themselves. The revised version of URLTA updates the original version released in 1972. Michigan is not considered a uniform landlord-tenant law state but utilized parts of the 1972 model legislation as a basis for state laws affecting landlord and tenant relationships. AAM will be forming a work group in the months to come to compare current Michigan law to the draft legislation and outline comments/concerns.

Election Season Is Here!

Wait … isn’t it still summer? Sorry folks, we are now in that dreaded of all seasons – election. The primaries are decided this month, and then get ready for the three month general election slog ending on November 6. Here in Michigan, all key leadership posts (Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State) and legislative offices are up for grabs. To better quantify how important this election is for our state, consider that out of our 38 state senate seats, 27 will have new senators. On the House side, at least 40 of our 110 state representatives will be new. In this era of term limits, your Apartment Association’s role in researching and financially supporting candidates for state office is vitally important to the health of the multifamily rental property industry. One great way you can assist us in this effort is by supporting AAM-PAC. AAM-PAC is the Apartment Association’s political action committee, which utilizes contributions from members and aggregates them into one fund. This fund is used to financially support those candidates who understand the important role of rental housing in Michigan’s economy. In short, we do the legwork for you to find the candidates who will best represent your business, and then we support their campaigns. Please call me at 248-862-1004 to make your contribution today! AAM-PAC contributions must be made via personal, partnership, LLP, or LLC check or credit cards. Thank you.

Posted in 2018, AUGUST 2018 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Distracted Driving Danger Update

Written by Gary Smith, Apartment Building Management Workers Compensation Self Insured Fund

Driver distraction is a significant contributor to crashes and cell phone use has played an increasingly larger role. Since last writing about the dangers of cognitive distraction in 2016, more information has become available to share.

First, consider these crash-related statistics:

Transportation incidents (i.e., largely motor vehicle crashes) were the No. 1 cause of work-related fatalities in the United States during 2016 and 2017.1

In 2016, motor vehicle crashes resulted in 37,461 deaths in the United States.2

In 2017, most drivers believe that texting and emailing while driving and talking on cellphones while driving are serious threats. Yet, 45% of drivers were found to read texts and emails while driving and 35% of drivers were found to send texts and emails while driving.3

Second, let’s review some cognitive distraction insights from the National Safety Council and the University of Utah:

What Are The Risks?

Cell phones are unique from other forms of driver distraction because they usually involve all three forms of distraction (i.e., manual, visual and cognitive). Many people tend to focus on manual and visual distractions. However, cognitive distraction is very risky because drivers do not always recognize they are cognitively distracted and this distraction lasts much longer than the other two types.

Handheld and hands-free devices create the same level of distraction, which are both assigned a category 2 level of distraction. Ironically, surveys show that 3 out of 4 Americans believe hands-free devices are safer to use behind the wheel, but the research shows no safety benefits to hands-free phones.

Voice-to-text technology (i.e., voice command) creates an even higher level of distraction (category 3), which can last up to 27 seconds afterwards. On average, reaction times tripled as a result of the mind being occupied.

Multitasking Is A Myth

Driving and cell phone conversations both require a great deal of thought. When doing them at the same time, your brain is unable to do either well. For example, it’s nearly impossible to read a book and have a phone conversation. While driving, this often results in crashes due to delayed braking times and not seeing traffic signals.

Delayed Reaction

Cell phone use substantially decreases a driver’s reaction time. One driving simulator study conducted by the University of Utah found that drivers using cell phones had slower reaction times than drivers with a .08 blood alcohol content, the legal intoxication limit. Braking time also was delayed for drivers talking on cell phones – hands-free or handheld. The difference, of course, is a driver talking on a cell phone can eliminate his risk immediately by hanging up the phone whereas an impaired driver is impaired for the duration of the drive.

Solutions For Employers

Even when people know the risks, voluntary compliance is very difficult. Education alone is not an effective solution. Safety, human resource and employment law experts recommend employers implement and enforce policies banning cell phone use while driving that include:

Clear policy language

  • Documented training and employee communication
  • A requirement that employees read and sign the policy
  • Disciplinary action with firm enforcement

Currently, no state law addresses both hands-free and handheld phone use among all drivers for both talking and text messaging. Because no state law provides optimum prevention, the National Safety Council recommends employer policies exceed state law requirements. For a free cell phone policy kit, go to: http://safety.nsc.org/cellphonekit.4

Should you require assistance with distracted driving prevention in your workplace, please contact Gary L. Smith, CRM, CSRM, MLIR, Director of Risk Control at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Footnotes:

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) – Motor Vehicle Safety at Work: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/motorvehicle/resources/crashdata/facts.html

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Highway Loss Data Institute: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview

AAA Foundation – 2017 Traffic Safety Culture Index: http://aaafoundation.org/2017-traffic-safety-culture-index/

National Safety Council (NSC) – Cell Phone Distracted Driving: http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving-problem-of-cell-phone-distracted-driving.aspx

 

Posted in 2018, JULY 2018 | Comments Off on Distracted Driving Danger Update

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

MCRC Votes To Expand Discrimination Prohibitions; AG Opinion Sought

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) has approved an interpretive statement declaring that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) includes protection against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. The action comes after two requests for an interpretive statement were tabled in 2017 by the Commission due to questions of legality. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office previously testified that only the Michigan Legislature could reinterpret the act, and if the commission issued such a rule it could be subject to a lawsuit. Multiple legislative attempts to expand the civil rights act have failed, so MCRC was petitioned by Equality Michigan to provide the interpretive statement. After the Commission’s action, a letter requesting a formal opinion from Attorney General Bill Schuette on the interpretive statement was sent by House Speaker Tom Leonard and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. However, MCRC has begun processing complaints, with the scope of ELCRA covering housing, employment and public accommodations.

Legislation Proposes Change to Security Deposits

Legislation introduced in June proposes to amend a security deposit requirement under Michigan’s Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act. House Bill 6126 would change the current security deposit standard of an amount no more than 1 ½ months’ rent to no more than 2 months’ rent plus $100.00. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary in the Michigan House of Representatives for action.

Posted in 2018, JULY 2018 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Pool Chemical Safety

WRITTEN BY GARY SMITH, APARTMENT BUILDING MANAGEMENT WORKERS COMPENSATION SELF INSURED FUND

It’s that time of year again to focus on safe use of pool chemicals through employee education and training.

Chemicals are added to pool water to kill disease-causing germs, maximize the efficacy of the disinfection process (for example, pH control), improve water quality, stop corrosion and scaling of equipment, and protect against algal growth. However, pool chemicals can also lead to injury when mixed together or when appropriate personal protective equipment is not used during handling. In typical years, there are about 4,000 emergency room visits related to pool chemicals1. In other years, the total is nearer to 5,000 emergency room visits.

Follow these guidelines for the safe use and storage of pool chemicals:

Before Using and Storing Pool Chemicals

  • Provide education and training to employees (see resource list).
  • Encourage employees to ask for help if NOT trained for specific tasks.
  • Review the entire product label or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) before using pool chemicals.
  • Develop an Emergency Chemical Response Plan for the pool and practice it.

Using Pool Chemicals Safely

  • Provide, and require the use of, appropriate safety equipment such as safety goggles, gloves and mask.
  • Handle chemicals in well-ventilated areas.
  • Open one product container at a time and close it before opening another.

Never mix:

  • Chlorine products with acid, this could create toxic gases.
  • Different pool chemicals / chlorine products with each other or with any other substance.
  • Minimize dust, fumes and splashes.
  • Measure carefully.
  • Only pre-dissolve pool chemicals when directed by the product label. If the product label directs pre-dissolving, add pool chemical to water; NEVER add water to pool chemical because violent (potentially explosive) reaction can occur.

Storing Pool Chemicals Safely

  • Follow product label directions for chemical storage:
  • Require use of appropriate safety equipment, such as safety goggles, gloves, and mask.
  • Separate incompatible chemicals (e.g., acid and chlorine).
  • Lock chemicals up to protect people and animals.
  • Keep chemicals dry and do not mix different chemicals / chlorine products.
  • Keep chemicals cool in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep chemicals closed in original, labeled container.
  • Store liquid chemicals low to prevent accidental contact (e.g., by leaking) with chemicals or substances stored below them.
  • Secure the chemical storage area and pump room to limit access.
  • Provide locking mechanisms for the chemical controller to prevent unauthorized tampering.
  • Follow product label directions for safe disposal; never reuse containers.

Resource List

Should you require additional assistance with pool chemical safety training in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or gary.smith@yorkrsg.com.

Footnote:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Recommendations for Preventing Pool Chemical-Associated Injuries.

 

Posted in 2018, June 2018 | Comments Off on Pool Chemical Safety