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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Motorists Should ‘Share the Road’ With Motorcyclists

Safe riding practices, helmet use and cooperation from all drivers will reduce fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways

WASHINGTON – To kick off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding all drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for, and share the road with, motorcycle riders. A motorcyclist has the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as any other motorist on the roadway. “Motorcyclists will be out in force as the weather gets warmer, which is why May is the perfect month for Motorcycle Safety Awareness,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Fatal crashes with motorcycles are on the rise. We all need to be more aware of motorcyclists in order to save lives and make sure we all ‘Share the Road’. ” NHTSA statistics show an increase in motorcycle fatalities in recent years: in 2012, 4,927 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a continued increase from 2011 (4,630). Those deaths accounted for 15 percent of the total highway fatalities that year, despite motorcycle registrations representing only 3 percent of all vehicles in the United States in 2012. Injured motorcyclists also increased from 81,000 in 2011 to 93,000 in 2012. On a per vehicle mile basis, motorcyclists are more than 26 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of cars, and five times more likely to be injured. Helmet usage is also on the decline, dropping from 66 percent of motorcyclists wearing helmets in 2011 to only 60 percent in 2012. Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. NHTSA estimates that 1,699 lives were saved in 2012 because of proper helmet usage, but another 781lives could have been saved if helmets had been worn. Nineteen states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a universal helmet law, requiring helmets for all riders. “Wearing a helmet on every ride is an important way for a motorcyclist to stay safe, but we all play a part. It’s up to all motorists and motorcyclists to make our roads safer,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “All road users need to share the responsibility of keeping the roadways safe. By following road signs, obeying speed limits, and always staying focused on the road, deaths could be prevented.” Alcohol continues to be a factor in motorcycle fatalities. The percentage of motorcycle riders who were intoxicated in fatal crashes (27 percent) was greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers of passenger cars (23 percent) and light trucks (22 percent) in fatal crashes in 2012. Also 29 percent of all fatally injured motorcycle riders had BAC levels of .08 or higher. The problem is especially acute at night. Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were over 3 times (3.2) more likely to have BAC levels of .08 or higher than those killed during the day. To prevent motorcyclist's deaths and injuries, NHTSA offers the following safety tips: For motorcyclists:
  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.
  • Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions.
For drivers:
  • Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
  • Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
  • Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.
  • Motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
For more information on motorcycle safety, visit nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles Stay connected with NHTSA via: Facebook.com/NHTSA | Twitter.com/NHTSAgov | YouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA | SaferCar.gov

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Revisions to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Counts

Revisions to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Counts

The final count of fatal work injuries in the United States in 2012 was 4,628, up from the preliminary count of 4,383 reported in August 2013. The final 2012 total was the second-lowest annual total recorded since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992. The overall fatal work injury rate for the United States in 2012 was 3.4 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down slightly from the final rate of 3.5 reported for 2011. The final fatal work injury rate for 2012 is the lowest rate published by the program since the conversion to hours-based rates in 2006. The final 2012 numbers reflect updates to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) file made after the release of preliminary results in August 2013. Revisions and additions to the 2012 CFOI counts result from the identification of new cases and the revision of existing cases based on source documents received after the release of preliminary results. A table summarizing the results of the update process appears on the next page. Among the changes resulting from the updates: • The total number of contractors fatally injured on the job in 2012 rose to 715 fatalities after updates were included. Contract workers accounted for over 15 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012.  For more information, see the table on contractor data. • Roadway incidents were higher by 109 cases (or 10 percent) from the preliminary count, increasing the total number of fatal work-related roadway incidents in 2012 to 1,153 cases. The final 2012 total represented a 5-percent increase over the final 2011 count. • The number of fatal work injuries involving Hispanic workers was higher by 40 fatalities after updates were added, bringing the total number of fatally injured Hispanic workers to 748. That total was about the same as the 2011 total (749), but the fatality rate for Hispanic workers declined to 3.7 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012, down from 4.0 in 2011. • Work-related suicides increased by 24 cases to a total of 249 after updates were added. Workplace homicides were higher by 12 cases after the updates, raising the workplace homicide total in 2012 to 475 cases. • In the private transportation and warehousing sector, fatal injuries increased by 9 percent from the preliminary count, led by a net increase of 44 cases in the truck transportation sector. • A net increase of 31 fatal work injuries in the private construction sector led to a revised count of 806 for that sector. The 2012 total was an increase of 9 percent over the 2011 total and represented the first increase in fatal work injuries in private construction since 2006. • Overall, 36 States revised their counts upward as a result of the update process. CFOI has compiled an annual count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. since 1992 by using diverse data sources to identify, verify, and profile fatal work injuries.  For more information, see Chapter 9 of the BLS Handbook of Methods.  The revised data can be accessed using the following tools: Create Customized Tables (Multiple Screens), Create Customized Tables (Single Screen), and the Online Profiles System. The original August 2013 press release with the preliminary results can be found here: National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2012.  Additional tables and charts can be found on the CFOI homepage and on the CFOI State page. Workers under the age of 16 years, volunteer workers, and members of the resident military are not included in rate calculations to maintain consistency with the Current Population Survey (CPS) employment. 2 May include volunteers and workers receiving other types of compensation. 3 Includes self-employed workers, owners of unincorporated businesses and farms, paid and unpaid family workers, members of partnerships, and may include owners of incorporated businesses. 4 Persons identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. The race categories shown exclude Hispanic and Latino workers. 5 Based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification system. 6 Includes fatal injuries to persons identified as resident armed forces regardless of individual occupation listed. 7 Based on the North American Industry Classification System, 2007. 8 Includes fatalities to workers employed by governmental organizations regardless of industry. 9 Based on the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS), version 2.01. Note: Totals for major categories may include subcategories not shown separately. N/A indicates that this type of data is not available for this data element.  CFOI fatality counts exclude illness-related deaths unless precipitated by an injury event. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in cooperation with state, New York City, District of Columbia, and federal agencies, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2014. Characteristics Number Rate1  

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Essential Training for Childcare Workers

Essential Training for Childcare Workers

Barbara Batista still remembers the first time she intervened as a 13-month-old choked on a goldfish cracker--a ubiquitous snack for young children--in her preschool classroom. Although the incident happened more than 20 years ago, "I could still tell you what she was wearing at the time," said Batista, director of the Child Development Lab School at Collin College in Plano, Texas. "It was really traumatic, and it sticks with you." She first coached the girl to continue coughing, but as soon as the toddler became unable to cough, Batista leapt to her aid, administering the quick abdominal thrusts that immediately dislodged the cracker and reopened the airway. "If I wasn't trained in what to do, I would have froze," Batista said. "I wouldn't have known what to do.” First aid training is an important skill for everyone, but especially for childcare providers, who are required to undergo training every two years in most states. That frequent training is important for two reasons: It helps to ensure they're trained in the most current and effective skills and research that helps us learn new ways to respond, and also it helps to shake off the dust of skills they've learned earlier. The National Association for Education for Young Children holds a higher standard for its accredited programs, such as the one Batista runs. It requires both classroom teachers and support staff to undergo such training. The ability to respond effectively in an emergency is critical because unintentional injuries, such as those caused by burns, drowning, falls, poisoning, and road traffic, are the leading cause of death for U.S. children. Each year, more than 12,000 kids age 19 and younger die from accidental injuries and more than 9.2 million are treated in the ER for nonfatal injuries, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, most nonfatal injuries stem from five causes: falls, being struck by or against an object, animal bites or insect stings, overexertion, and motor vehicle accidents.
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  Training Focused on Four Key Steps So what do we mean by first aid? First aid training encompasses many important skills, ranging from the most basic steps, such as how to create a safe environment to discourage injuries from occurring in the first place, to additional life-saving skills, such as how to perform CPR. Getting formal training, from robust programs such as the American Heart Association's Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR/AED course, is important because our natural impulse to help may not be effective if we don't have the right skills. Untrained, our reaction may rely on something we've seen in the media or long-held beliefs about how to treat certain injuries. For example, treating burns with butter, an approach many of us may have heard from our grandmothers, could cause more damage. That's because the fat in butter seals the otherwise porous skin, trapping heat inside, where it can further damage the tissue. Or, if a child running with a pencil falls, causing it to impale his or her body, your inclination may be to pull it out. But it actually would be better to leave it in because removal could cause life-threatening hemorrhaging of key organs. The Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR/AED course, which is designed to meet the regulatory requirements for childcare workers in all 50 states, teaches childcare providers and others to respond to and manage illnesses and injuries in a child or infant in the first few minutes until professional help arrives. Training is available in both classroom settings and online and covers the four steps of first aid and first aid skills, such as finding the problem, stopping bleeding, bandaging, and using an epinephrine pen, as well as child CPR/AED and infant CPR. Additional training may include adult CPR/AED, child mask, infant mask, and asthma care training. More simply, the training focuses on four key steps: prevention, being safe, calling 911, and taking action:
  • Prevention is the best way to keep kids from getting hurt in the first place. Studies show more than half of fatal injuries to children are preventable. For childcare providers, that can include everything from making sure electrical outlets are properly protected to ensuring seat belts are fastened and car seats are properly installed. Prevention also includes simple but important steps such as using sunscreen when kids are outside to prevent damage from sun exposure or keeping them well hydrated to avoid becoming sick from the heat.
  • Being safe when an emergency occurs is another important step. When responding to an emergency, it's important to make sure you or others aren't also at risk of getting hurt. For example, if a child becomes accidentally severely shocked, it's important to make sure the power is shut down at the main breaker box before touching the injured child.
  • Calling 911. That may seem like a simple skill, but it requires training. Unlike a home setting where you can dial directly, some classroom settings can require that you dial 9 first before getting an outside line or go through a switchboard--steps that can waste precious time in an emergency if you haven't been trained on what to do at the childcare facility. It's also important to be able to determine quickly who is best capable of providing first aid and who should be dispatched to call for help.
  • Taking action. This is where training becomes more complex. We organize training to three core areas: CPR training, illnesses and injuries that have the potential to become serious very quickly, and illnesses and injuries that may not be as urgent but still have the potential to become serious.The Importance of CPR and Choking Training CPR is an especially important skill for childcare workers. Kids don't have the reserves that adults do, and their survival rates are about half of adults, in part because it can take longer to recognize that a child has stopped breathing. For example, if a child passes out, you may think they've fainted, when in fact they can be in cardiac arrest. Acting quickly to provide CPR can triple a person's chance of survival. CPR training has undergone some important changes in recent years thanks to scientific research that helped demonstrate how the life-saving technique could be more effective in an emergency. The biggest change is that the old approach of A-B-C--checking the Airway for obstructions, providing Breaths through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and then providing chest Compressions--has been changed to improve effectiveness. Training now puts a priority on chest compressions, changing the order to C-A-B for compressions, then checking the airway, and then providing breaths. The reason for the change is that chest compressions help to restore blood flow from the heart, and checking airway and providing breaths first costs precious seconds in a cardiac arrest. Responding to injuries and illnesses is the most common situation childcare providers face, but it's important to quickly assess which ones are minor and which carry the urgency of a life-threatening emergency. Cleaning and bandaging a scraped knee, for example, requires a different set of skills than a puncture wound. Likewise, identifying a bug bite that comes with annoying itching is one thing, but recognizing when it results in a severe allergic reaction is another.
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    Training for how to respond in a choking situation is a critical skill that falls into the category of situations that can become life threatening very quickly. Choking is a common hazard during childhood, with 34 children a day admitted to an emergency room because they've choked on food, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics. While that amounts to more than 12,000 cases a year, researchers point out that the problem is much more serious than that because most kids who choke don't end up going to the hospital. Choking risks are highest for children up to age 4, with hard candy being the culprit in about 15 percent of incidents. Other types of candy and gum represented 13 percent of cases. To minimize choking risks, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends cutting up food given to babies and young children into pieces no larger than a half inch. Recognizing when a child is having a severe allergic reaction requiring the intervention of an epinephrine pen--and knowing how to use it--is also crucial because it can cause a child's airway to close. In those cases, calling 911 for emergency medical assistance is important, but average response time is between 4 minutes and 6 minutes, which could be fatal if someone isn't breathing.   Risks Change For childcare workers, part of the challenge is that risks of injury change as kids develop their skills and become more independent, not to mention that caregivers must be vigilant about recognizing and reacting to symptoms of illness because kids don't always have the communication skills to describe what's wrong. "There's a potential for someone to get injured daily," Batista said. After 25 years in the field, she said she's seen many changes to first aid and CPR protocols for childcare workers. "I didn't know what an epinephrine pen was in the 1990s; now we are sure to have one if a kid has severe allergies," she said. Today, there's also more attention to the types of food offered due to allergies--no longer do they serve the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches many of us grew up with--as well as better awareness about choking risks and more awareness about cultural differences in a diverse nation. Risks such as sun exposure also get attention now as a child safety issue, ensuring kids get protection from dangerous ultraviolet rays, Batista said. Even if training weren't required every two years, Batista said it is a clear priority in ensuring childcare workers are comfortable providing first aid and CPR when something goes wrong. "There are many hats that we wear as teachers and administrators, but we definitely wear the first aid hat every day," she said.

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