President Obama is faced with the daunting predicament of keeping his campaign promises or maintaining a relationship with Canada. Obama must make a decision soon on allowing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline, if approved, will span 2,000 miles and connects Canadian oil sands to refineries in Houston and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed pipeline will reduce the United State's dependence on oil import and OPEC. Environmentalist disapprove of the pipeline because it will carry oil derived from toxic tar sands.
Obama may lose the support of the environmental groups he won over while campaigning for re-election. The approval of the pipeline would go against his environmental promises because of the carbon emissions caused by the production of tar sands oil. This decision may backtrack all of the environmental strides the President has made. For the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, they view the approval of the pipeline as a betrayal and a contradiction to Obama's promises to make the climate change a top priority of his second term.
Canada's government has stated that the country's economy, employment and national security will benefit from the Keystone project despite being widely protested by environmental groups. According to the New York Times, Canada has powerful allies in the United States labor movement, which is pushing for the pipeline because proponents say it would generate tens of thousands of jobs, and in big companies like Exxon Mobile and Chevron that are heavily invested in the oil sands fields. "The signal of a rejection of a permit by the president would be a significant change in the Canada - U.S. relationship," said Greg Stringham, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers' vice president for oil sands and markets.
Reuters sources say the decision may be delayed until June.
It is common knowledge that more accidents occur during the holiday season than any other time of the year. The best way to prevent an injury is to learn what the most common reasons are that bring a person into the ER.
Car accidents this time of year are extremely dangerous due to weather conditions and a higher-percentage of intoxicated drivers on the road than usual. Avoid driving in hazardous weather conditions when possible and winterize your vehicle before traveling. Above all else, never drink and drive.
When it comes to holiday decorating a variety of accidents can happen. Over 5,000 each year involve falling off of a ladder hanging Christmas lights and decorations. The month of December is responsible for 25 percent of all home decorating fires. Fires caused by Christmas trees and decorative lights claim an average of 500 homes annually.
Many people do not realize how dangerous winter sports can be and end up with extreme consequences. Skiing and snowboarding accidents cause hundreds of physical injuries, as well as frostbite, hypothermia and severe sun burns. 35,000 sledding injuries occur each year. In 2004, 11,000 children sought medical attention from ice skating injuries.
Fire departments across the country plead with the public to be careful in the kitchen during the holidays to avoid kitchen fires. Three out of ten home fires began in the kitchen. To reduce the risk of a kitchen fire, do not leave cooking food unattended and keeping flammable materials away from heat sources.
From cooking to wrapping presents, if it’s sharp it can cut the skin. Hundreds of people cut themselves every year working hard to create the perfect holiday mood. Be careful with sharp objects and keep out of the reach of children. Make sure that first aid kits are available when needed.
Poisonous Christmas Plants
The many holiday plants are poisonous and can cause severe reactions if ingested. Keeping poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis out of the reach of small children and pets is the best way to ensure that there will be no need to call poison control.
Electrical decoration mishaps bring an average of 5,000 people to the emergency room each year. Only use extension cords that are in good condition (not frayed) and never run them underneath any kind of fabric, including rugs. Be careful to overload electrical sockets and unplug devices when they are no longer in use.
Shoveling Snow and Snow Blowers
Removing snow and ice from walkways and driveways provides protection from potential lawsuits, but each year 100,000 injuries are result of this chore. When shoveling snow, lift with knees bent and a straight back to prevent back injury. Permission from a physician is necessary for those with heart conditions and should stop immediately if chest pains occur. When using a snow blower, the fourth leading cause of finger amputation, always wear protective eyewear and keep hands away from the auger. Make sure that all safety devices are in working condition and read safety instructions before operating.
To learn more about SafetySkills™, visit http://www.safetyskills.com.
Loved ones coming together is what the holidays are all about, but first you have to get there. This holiday season is expected to receive more travel on the roads than in previous years due to the recession, which means that more safety measures need to be taken to avoid accidents. SafetySkills™ is providing these safe driving tips:
- Know the weather conditions and how to drive in them. 75 percent of all winter weather related deaths can be attributed to driving in dangerous weather conditions. Take SafetySkills™ free Hazardous Driving Conditions online course to learn how to minimize your risk at http://www.safetyskills.com/winter-driving.
- Prepare you vehicle for winter driving. It is recommended to check the tire pressure, windshield wipers and fluid, and the battery to avoid car trouble and keep the windshield and windows clean for proper visibility. Stocking the car with self-sustaining technologies and supplies is also encouraged, such as a first aid kit, blankets, matches, safety flares, flashlight, fully-charged cell phone and bottled water.
- Stay alert. Driver distraction is becoming, in the words of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, an “epidemic” that caused 500,000 car accidents and 6,000 fatalities last year. Drivers need to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times.
- Never drink and drive. 36 percent of all Christmas accidents on the road are alcohol-related. Those who become too festive for their own good should never get behind the wheel and should use a taxi service.
- Plan for daytime driving. Three times as many fatalities occur during the night (6 p.m. - 6 a.m.) than during the day according to both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC).
“Driving this time of year is simply chaotic,” said Trey Greene, CEO of noodleStream.com. “The roads are busy and that mixed with the weather creates a dangerous environment for driving. Using these tips will help reduce the chance of car accidents and more importantly injuries and even deaths.”
To learn more about SafetySkills™ and to take their free Hazardous Driving Conditions course, visit http://www.safetyskills.com/winter-driving.
Safety in the kitchen will save a perfect holiday dinner from ending with the fire department hosing down your Christmas ham. Kitchen fires are a major concern during the holidays and some simple safety tips could prevent a Christmas disaster.
Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking. Leaving cooking food unattended is the number 1 cause of kitchen fires.
Keep cloth items away from heat sources. Wearing long sleeves while cooking and leaving potholders and dishtowels lying near the stove are great ways to accidentally start a fire. Roll up long sleeves and place potholders and dishtowels away from the stove and oven.
Do not have too many cooks in the kitchen. Make sure there is enough room for everyone to cook well and safely. Nobody wants to get burned or cut, but chaos in the kitchen leads to accidents so keep things calm.
Cleanliness is godliness. Many people do not realize that keeping kitchens clean reduces the risk of fire. Leftover grease and food can catch fire in burners, the oven, pots and pans.
Grease is the enemy. Grease and oil can easily ignite if they get too hot. Cook very carefully and lower the heat whenever smoke appears. If a grease fire occurs, try to smother it with a lid. Never attempt to put it out with water, this will cause the fire to spread further.
Call 911. Every home should have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen as a precaution, but sometimes the fire department still needs to be called. If a fire occurs and you are unable to put it out, call 911 immediately and flee the home.
“Our goal is to give people the information they need to enjoy life while being safe,” said Trey Greene, CEO of noodleStream.com and creator of SafetySkills™. “Everyone should have a great holiday, especially with the hardships so many are experiencing. Helping out in any way we can is what holiday spirit is all about.”
To learn more about SafetySkills™, visit http://www.safetyskills.com.
These past few days have been horrific across the U.S. The stunning tragedy at Fort Hood claiming the lives of 13 people along with many injured, and then today’s workplace shooting in Orlando. All that seems to come to mind is, what is wrong with people today and why is it that signs of danger get ignored until it is too late?
In Fort Hood, Texas on Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m. suspected shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, gunned down the very soldiers who he was there to help. 13 have died and 30 are seriously wounded. So what made this man crack to the point of violence and were there any signs that could have been an indication of what was to come?
It was reported by several individuals that Hasan was frequently expressing anger about his upcoming deployment. He was also involved in many office arguments about his disapproval of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. His final and most explosive outburst took the lives of his fellow soldiers and he now lies in a hospital bed breathing on a ventilator. Now don’t get me wrong, not foreseeing the future is nobody’s fault in this tragic situation. But being aware and alert to possible dangers is important to everyone. Unfortunately, it seems that our soldiers can’t even feel safe on their own base. It’s hard enough to have to become mentally prepared for the dangers of war without having to worry about your safety at home.
As if that wasn’t enough horror for one week, another shooting occured in Orlando, Florida at the office of Reynolds, Smith and Hills. This shooting left Otis Beckford, 26, dead and five others injured. This incident reportedly occured due to the anger of disgruntled former employee, Jason Rodriguez. Rodriguez is currently in police custody facing a charge of first-degree murder.
With two fatal episodes of workplace violence taking place within two days, one has to wonder – could anything have been done to prevent such tragedies? From 1992 to 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) found that 11,613 workplace homicides took place. Many have even indicated that this type of violence is expected to grow due to the stress of the economy and job market. Employers need to take the extra time to ensure their employees’ safety by taking extra security precautions as well as training efforts.
Here are some helpful tips on creating a safer work environment to avoid workplace violence:
- Do thorough background checks on employees.
Many employers currently do this, but some have become more lax due to financial reasons. If you find out that a potential employee has a violent past, it may be in everyone’s best interest if you pass.
- Provide proper training.
All employees should be administered not only training for the physical hazards of their jobs, but the emotional ones as well. There is a reason companies have a Human Resources department. Take advantage of all of the recommended HR training, such as Violence in the Workplace at www.safetyskills.com.
- Create an open-door policy and protocols for safety concerns.
Make sure that employees feel safe when coming to a supervisor about a possible safety issue. All discussions should be respected and stay confidential. Create a protocol for reporting a concern for violence and follow-up on the matter with discretion.
- Have a no tolerance policy.
Never condone or forgive a violent matter of any kind in your workplace. It doesn’t matter how minor the incident or if it was a joke gone awry. This needs to be embedded into the minds of your staff that your number one concern is their safety.
- Get security.
Get some type of security in your workplace. This can mean an actual security guard, a monitoring system or a personal keycode system that can be removed upon the termination of an employee. The harder it is for a disgruntled employee to get into the building, the less likely they will try.
Halloween is one of the most beloved holidays by children, but also one of the most dangerous. Everyone has heard of the many real-life horror stories that could have been avoided if the proper safety precautions were taken. To ensure that trick-or-treaters experience the fun of Halloween without injury, SafetySkills™ has decided to offer its Halloween Safety course to the public at no charge at www.safetyskills.com/halloweensafety.
“Halloween is the kids’ holiday, dressing up like their favorite characters, running around with their friends in search of as much candy as they can get their hands on,” said Trey Greene, CEO of noodleStream.com. “But kids also need to learn the safe way to have a great Halloween because the sad truth is that bad things can happen. As a father, I wanted to help other parents and childcare professionals get all the information they needed to protect their children so that they can have a fun and safe Halloween.”
This Halloween Safety course provides parents and childcare professionals with information about safe trick-or-treating, decorating, cooking and even costumes. Along with everything you need to know about Halloween safety, SafetySkills™ is providing printable Halloween Safety coloring sheets that go with the online course free on their website.
“I think the video was clear, to the point and covered many great topics,” said Kim Estes, Child Safety Expert of PEACE of Mind. “I was happy to see a non-scary, simple safety video to help give us all a gentle reminder that safety counts!”
How well would your business fair if the unexpected occurred today? September is National Preparedness Month and employers are encouraged to make a plan to avoid issues that could affect their businesses in the event of a disaster. Unfortunately, due to the current economic strains companies are enduring, many businesses are cutting corners on safety.
“Any disaster, no matter how severe or minor, can result in huge costs to a business,” said Trey Greene, CEO of noodleStream.com. “Making simple preparation strategies can save thousands. Training employees how to respond in the event of a fire, severe weather or a workplace injury will not only protect your business, but save lives.”
The number of preventable accidents reported in the news is escalating at an alarming rate. These incidents are making everyone a little more nervous including government agencies. Despite the new safety legislations being proposed to Congress, some feel that simple changes made by individuals can make a big difference in safety.
“Our entire emergency management team has a role to play when it comes to preparing for and responding to the next disaster,” said W. Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator. “One of the most important parts of the team is the public. The more prepared the public is now, by getting an emergency response kit, making an emergency plan and getting a skill, like CPR, the stronger our emergency response team will be.”
There are few families that have impacted the American people as much as the Kennedys. Through politics, activism, fashion, controversy and tragedy, one thing that everyone can agree upon is that this family name will be remembered. The latest tragic end has fallen upon Senator Edward M. Kennedy who died at the age of 77 on August 25th.
Kennedy spent over 3 decades of his life in the U.S. Senate and among his many contributions (over 2,500 bills), one of his passions was creating a safer workplace for American workers.
One of the most well-known rights Kennedy fought to give workers was the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act gave all workers the ability to take unpaid leave to care for themselves or family members in case of a medical illness or for maternity leave without fear of termination. Over 60 million Americans have been able to take advantage of this act thanks in part to Ted Kennedy.
Kennedy also worked to provide Americans with the right to paid sick leave by introducing the Healthy Families Act, which would ensure 7 days of paid sick leave to be used for workers’ health maintenance as well as their family members. He also saw the need for the Working Families Flexibility Act in order to allow employees the ability to meet the needs of both family and work through a flexible job arrangement.
He even made a point throughout his career to address the financial discrimination that hits women where it hurts, their wallets. Women currently earn 78 cents to every $1 earned by a man. When the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was signed by President Obama, Kennedy was a leader in its passing.
Another group Kennedy fought for are those in the mining industry, with his MINER Act legislation passed in 2006. Despite the new law being passed, Kennedy felt more needed to be done and he continued to call for safety investigations across the country concerning these workers.
He also worked tirelessly to pass the Protecting America’s Worker’s Act, which would expand the coverage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. “Enacting of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 was a major step in guaranteeing the basic right of workers to be safe on the job. Since the law was signed, however, we have not substantially amended it to improve worker protections,” said Kennedy.
Although this bill has not yet become law, even after his death it will live on through the efforts of his fellow senators. He will be missed.
Summer is coming to a close and parents are busy getting their children prepared for going back to school. This is usually the time of year where young children are experiencing a mix of emotions ranging between excitement and nervousness, but now it’s their parents that have something to worry about. Experts say that the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, could make a comeback when kids head back to school.
Here are a list of things that you can do to reduce risk of infection.
1. Do your research.
Learn about the H1N1 virus and what precautions you should be taking yourself. The Center for Disease Control (CDC.gov) is a great resource on the latest information about health threats. You can also take SafetySkills free Flu Symptoms and Prevention Strategies course. This free online course includes vital information about swine flu and how to protect yourself from infection. After taking this course, recommend it to other parents and your children’s daycare or school staff members.
2. Be clean.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people do not perform simple cleansing chores that could save them and their family members from getting sick.
- Use proper cleaning supplies in your kitchen and bathrooms, but don’t over do it with the bleach. That will cause a whole new health problem.
- Take out the trash in a timely fashion. This will prevent insect infestation and mold, plus it’s not the best smell to have in your home.
- Always use anti-bacterial soap and carry anti-bacterial gel (such as Purell) in your purse, car, etc.
- Keep tissues available in every room of your home.
- Make washing hands fun for kids – have them sing their ABC’s while washing to ensure that they have done it long enough, they’ll love it!
- Use anti-bacterial sprays around the house, like Febreeze. It really does help.
3. Ask your child’s teacher and daycare center administrator what they are doing to prevent the spread of infection.
As a parent, I know that I feel guilty enough about leaving my child at her pre-school everyday without needing to worry about if she is going to come home with a dangerous case of the flu. Having a good relationship with your child’s teachers and caregivers is extremely important for many reasons, but especially when it comes to being aware of how they are protecting your child. If you do not feel satisfied with their approach, give them a recommendation of what you would like for them to use or consider moving your child to another daycare or school that fits your criteria.
4. Use common sense.
Obviously if your child is sick, do not send your child to school. This spreads illness and it turns into an endless cycle of misery. If your child appears to have more than just a case of the sniffles, make an appointment with your pediatrician. Remember to keep your house as clean as possible when anyone in the household is sick to reduce the chances of others in the home coming down with it.
If anyone has any helpful tips to give other parents or child caregivers, please leave a comment below. Thanks.