Is radon gas really a big deal?
YES! High levels of radon gas can cause damage to the cells lining your lungs, which can lead to lung cancer. It may take years of elevated exposure before adverse health effects appear and are diagnosed by a healthcare professional. Exposure to radon gas is the primary cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer.3
Where does radon come from?
Radon can be found both indoors and outdoors. The average indoor level is much higher than outdoor levels, and nearly one out of every 15 United-States homes is estimated to have radon levels that are at or above EPA's action level of 4pCi/L.4
Most radon enters buildings through walls and floors that are in contact with the earth. There is an increased likelihood of radon in and around basements and foundations. Radon gas can enter through cracks in solid floors, construction joists, cracks in walls, gaps in suspended floors, gaps around service pipes, cavities inside walls, and in drinking water that comes from groundwater.
Everyone can take steps to minimize exposure to radon, including following OSHA standards, conducting air monitoring, and implementing controls.
Ensure compliance with all OSHA regulations that address radon exposure. Both OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response and Ionizing Radiation standards include information on exposure limits and how to protect workers from exposures.
Air monitoring is necessary to know the level of radon exposure, and to make sure that the EPA Action Level and/or the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit are not being exceeded for workers in commercial buildings in contracting trades. Conducting air monitoring at all worksites can warn those on the frontlines about areas that have elevated radon levels.
When workers are expected to perform in areas with elevated radon levels, including radon remediation work, controls should be provided to establish a safe work environment. Some of the applicable controls may include:
Archery and Clay Target Shooting
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that archery is one of the safest sports, with an injury rate of less than one incident per 1,000 participants. Common sports like soccer, baseball, and basketball have injury rates 15 to 25 times that of archery. The Archery Trade Association has developed its own Archery Park Guide, covering specific design principles and safety buffers to keep in mind. For example, controlling access by a type of barrier is important, such as a fence or gate; and the use of signage including range rules, procedures, ordinance language, and warnings to public of unsafe areas.
In 2012, the USA High School Clay Target League was incorporated as a non-profit organization geared towards attracting youth shooting throughout the United States, amassing 20,109 participants in 15 states. All students are required to complete and submit certificates from either the league’s approved firearm safety certification program, or a hunter education program.
For information concerning safety, it is advisable to first seek out the safety rules and regulations from the club sport sanctioning body to incorporate into your safety plan. Additionally, the Boy Scouts of America have available resources, including a comprehensive shooting manual.
Recreational Skiing and Aquatics
The involvement of recreational skiing depends on the demographic of the school and transportation. Both snow and water skiing adhere to large amounts of practice or expertise, as this sport club can lead to serious injury. Proper equipment and a helmet are instrumental for safety purposes. Ski resort signage must clearly indicate specific skill levels: beginner, advanced, etc.
Aquatic clubs can be for the competitive swimmer or a fun, social way to get in shape. The instructor should address certifications, such as CPR and lifeguard-certification courses. Aquatic managers must address the principal causes of drowning and how proper safety training is required.
Lifeguards at the pool facility must hold current, valid certification from an aquatic organization (ARC, YMCA, etc.). Facilities must also be equipped with first aid kits and AEDs. Signage should state pool rules and policies. If diving boards are used, they must meet YMCA standards for minimum water depth and distance from the beginning slope of the diving well.
For information concerning safety on skiing, the USA Water Ski Safety Manual provides safety guidance, as well the Canadian Snowsports Association Risk Management Manual. For aquatics, the Boy Scouts of America, YMCA, Red Cross, and other organizations offer excellent aquatic safety guidance for reference.
Safety Considerations and Best Practices
In extracurricular activities, it is important to involve the parent or guardian in the process of execution of waivers of liability. It is prudent risk management for a school to warn of the risk so both students and parents know what risks are being assumed. Risk transfer can be done through waivers of liability and event permission slips.
Waivers of liability for high school sport clubs are legal documents and should involve legal counsel guidance in their creation. They should be issued to each student at the start of each school year or when there is a change in activities. A waiver provides a written record informing and warning participants of the inherent risk of the activity and provides exculpation of simple negligence on the part of the school. It should be important to recognize the language utilized in these documents, as well as the size of the print, can be important. The print should be readable and the wording of the waiver should be clear and unambiguous. Likewise, permission slips are documents the parent or guardian sign in order to allow their student to participate in a school activity or club. They may or may not incorporate waivers of liability, release language, or other risk-transfer language.
Student travel to club sports should factor into the safety of the activity. It should be consistent with school policy, as well as state and federal regulations. If school policy allows staff, parents, guardians, or volunteers to transport students to school-sponsored or -sanctioned events, the school should require the following:
Managing the cold chain is different for every link in the chain, and maintaining temperature integrity is most important in food service operations. Restaurants belong to the food service industry and are responsible for managing multiple links in the cold chain. Below are some best practices for managing different links in the cold chain.
Receiving goods is the first cold chain link. Before accepting a load of perishable items, the temperature should be checked to ensure the cold chain has been maintained during shipping. The load should also be inspected for unusual amounts of frost or ice, which would indicate that there was thawing and refreezing during shipping. If unusual amounts of frost or ice are found or if the temperature is several degrees higher than acceptable, the load should be rejected.
Refridgerated Food Storage
The next step in the cold chain for restaurants is refrigerated storage. Minor elevations in storage temperature can greatly increase the number of pathogenic organisms in the stored food. The risk of illness is directly related to the number of bacteria present for most foodborne illnesses. Once a load is accepted, the perishables must be moved to refrigerated storage immediately.
When moving a load to refrigerated storage, it is important to practice first-in first-out (FIFO) inventory procedures. When practicing FIFO, all older items in the refrigeration units should be checked for expiration and moved to the front of the shelves, and the new shipment should be placed behind the older items. If this practice is done correctly and consistently, expired food should never be served to patrons. Refrigerated storage units keep products cool by circulating refrigerated air throughout the unit. Because of this cooling method, it is important to maintain adequate space around cartons and pallets to ensure the cold chain is maintained during storage.
Another concern with refrigerated storage is mold growth. Allowing warm, moist air to enter refrigerated storage units can result in mold growth. If mold is allowed to grow in storage units, it can become a serious health risk and result in expensive cleaning or replacement costs.
To prevent mold growth and keep the cold chain strong, refrigerated storage units should not be opened continuously throughout the day, and the doors should never be propped open to load a shipment or remove expired food.
Because the cold chain is only as strong as its weakest link, restaurants should strive to manage all links in which they are involved. Choosing reputable shipping companies, managing deliveries, and properly storing perishables will help restaurants to strengthen their links in the cold chain.
In-Vehicle Technology: To Use, or Not to Use…
The driver must first familiarize him or herself with how to operate the technology. Features like lane departure monitoring, slow-speed autonomous braking, back-up cameras, and intelligent headlights all attempt to reduce the risk of crashes, but if the driver is not familiar with how these tools operate and their effects, the tools can potentially impact driving performance. Before operating a vehicle, particularly if it is the first time operating the vehicle, it is critical that the driver understand what features the vehicle possesses as well as when it is appropriate to use them.
Drivers should also familiarize themselves with the company's policies on the use of mobile devices and other in-vehicle technology. Different states have different regulations on what is and is not acceptable when it comes to using these technologies, so it is imperative that drivers understand the regulations that apply in the operating area. Remember that while driving, it is always safest to not operate a mobile phone at all.
Safe Usage Tips
Drivers should review and follow these best practices to reduce risks associated with in-vehicle technology:
Safe driving is the responsibility of every driver, and by familiarizing yourself with the available in-vehicle technologies, drivers can help to reduce the likelihood of a collision. Refer to your company protocols and procedures to help guide you on the best practices for the appropriate use of these features. While in-vehicle technologies can certainly provide convenience, they can also help to prevent a collision from occurring when used properly.