THOUGHTS & QUOTES
In July, the Childrens Gasoline Burn Prevention Act became law. The law authorizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to require that gasoline containers have child-resistant caps. Containers for other flammable liquids, such as turpentine, charcoal lighter fluid, and lamp oil have been required to have protective caps since the passage of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act in 1970. The PPPA was intended to prevent children from ingesting hazardous substances that might be stored in the home. The CSPC has reported that the PPPA has led to a remarkable decline in the number of child deaths due to unintentional poisoning. In recent years, there have been about 30 child deaths per year because of unintentional poisoning. In 2003, 78,000 children were treated for poisoning in emergency rooms, and unintentional poisoning of children leads to a million calls a year to poison control centers.
Gasoline containers have been exempt from PPPA because the law was written so that it only applied to containers with hazardous materials inside them at the time of sale. Gas containers are empty at the time of sale and therefore were not covered. The new act covering gasoline containers was introduced in 1999 by Congressman Dennis Moore of Kansas. Moores interest in the subject began when Jason and Joshua Jones of Leavenworth, Kansas were severely burned in 1994 when they opened a gasoline container and spilled its contents near a hot water heater. Jason was killed, but Josh survived with third-degree burns over 75% of his body.
Thousands of ATVs have been recalled in recent weeks due to manufacturing or engineering defects. SunL Group of Irving, Texas, recalled a small group of SLA90 ATVs because the units lacked front brakes, a manual fuel shut-off, and padding to cover sharp edges on the handlebar assembly. The defects could lead to a loss of control resulting in serious injury or death. The ATVs were painted in camouflage in colors including pink, brown, green and blue.
A much larger recall was issued for 42,000 Honda TRX Rancher ATVs. These units have a rubber CV boot that can be easily punctured or torn. Contamination of the joint can lead to a sudden loss of steering control.
ATVs are a continuing cause for concern because they result in significant numbers of injuries and deaths on a yearly basis 146,000 emergency room visits and 600-900 deaths. About 1 in 5 of these deaths is of a child. Allowing children who are too young to operate powered vehicles causes quite a few injuries. Lower power ATVs are available for teens, but younger children should never operate an ATV. Power is a key issue statistics show that children under 16 are twice as likely to be injured on a full-sized ATV as they are on one designed for their size and abilities.
Propane is a highly flammable gas, usually stored as a liquid in steel tanks at modest pressures. Propane is generally safe to handle for knowledgeable people, but propane is colorless and odorless, so an odorant is added to propane to make it stinky and easy to detect if a leak occurs. However, rust inside a propane tank can act as a catalyst and cause the odorant to lose its punch, making it more difficult to detect leaks. Keep propane tanks in good condition and be extra cautious with tanks that have visible signs of rust or corrosion.
Propane odorants can also be depleted when propane seeps through soil or gravel. In one dramatic case, a propane line was damaged when a fence post was installed, and propane traveled through the soil into a basement. Because the gas was now odorless, it was not detected until it built up to an explosive level and destroyed the house. Seven people were killed and several others were seriously burned. A propane gas detector might have prevented this tragedy.
According to a news release from the University of South Florida (Tampa) College of Public Health (COPH), the United Safety Council has been designated as an official training site for the OSHA Training Institute. The COPH is home to the Institute. The United Safety Council is based in Orlando and is part of a network of safety council offices throughout Florida. All of these offices can serve as venues for OSHA training, making this valuable training easier to access for many Florida workers.
Visit the OSHA Training Institute Web page for a complete listing of training opportunities.
There is a growing trend for people to buy small parcels of land and then use this land for small-scale farming and/or raising a few animals. Many times these individuals do not have a farming background, and so every operation they undertake, no matter how apparently simple, can present hazards of which they are unaware. A particular area of concern is the use of tractors. The majority of deaths and many injuries on farms are associated with tractors. Combine this with a lack of experience and an enthusiasm for power and you have a recipe for serious injury or worse.
Hobby farmers should seek out proper training in order to use agricultural equipment safely and efficiently. Just to highlight one hazard, tractor operators should be aware of the dangers when working with tractors equipped with front-end loaders. As useful as this equipment is, if not used properly, a front-end loader can increase the potential for tractor overturns.
Novices may assume that the weight of a tractor gives it extra stability. The weight of the tractor is not the critical factor the center of gravity is. Regardless of the weight of a tractor, if the right forces are applied, the tractor will overturn. A front-end loader increases this risk, especially when loaded and in the raised position. When raised, a front-end loader places more mass above the center of gravity. This situation makes the tractor vulnerable. The wrong bump, the wrong slope, or too sharp a turn and the whole rig can go over. What novices should understand about the weight of a tractor is that once it is in motion, it is difficult to stop. When the forces on a tractor are set up right, it can overturn with startling speed.
Another critical factor in the stability of a tractor is the distribution of the weight. This is an issue with older tractors that have close-set front wheels, so-called tricycle tractors. These tractors are sometimes equipped with front-end loaders, and they are even more susceptible to overturn than more modern tractors because of their narrow stance at the very end with the tricky load. Also, these older tractors may not be equipped with ROPS/seatbelts or have ROPS and worn-out seatbelts.
Tips to Prevent Loader-Induced Overturns
1. Use a front-end loader on cleared, level ground.
2. Do a walkaround to check unfamiliar areas for hazards such as potholes, rocks, drop-offs, etc.
3. Operate front-end-loaders with the bucket as low as possible.
4. If your tractor has a ROPS (and good tractors do!), always use your seatbelt. If your tractor starts to overturn, you will not be able to jump out of the way your only chance is to use the safety equipment as it was intended.
Another safety tip: Always have the bucket on the ground when the tractor is parked. Hydraulics can release pressure allowing a raised bucket to lower thus crushing anything or anyone who may be under it.
For more tips about using tractors on smaller holdings, read Safer Tractor Operations for Home and Acreage Owners.
To put it lightly, the recent flooding in the Midwest left some big messes. Large-scale flooding, such as the 1993 Midwest floods, the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina, or the recent flood events, demands large-scale clean-up. This often means bringing power equipment into interior spaces. If this equipment is powered by gasoline or electricity supplied by an on-site generator, there is a risk of carbon monoxide build-up.
In late June, 13 workers in Cedar Rapids , Iowa, were overcome by carbon monoxide while they were cleaning a building. A few weeks before that, 16 workers at Mercy Medical Center were poisoned by carbon monoxide because of a generator that was not adequately ventilated.
The CDC publication, MMWR (Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report) noted several similar incidents in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina. CO poisoning has become a regular feature of post-hurricane periods as more and more people purchase generators, but any situation in which people lose power for any length of time sets up the same problem.
Sometimes people do not realize what adequate ventilation really means. First, never operate a generator or other gas-powered equipment in an interior space. Second, never operate a generator or gas-powered equipment near an air intake or under a window where exhaust fumes may be drawn into a structure. Third, avoid working downwind of the exhaust from a gas-powered engine even in the open-air, as continuing exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to poisoning.