Idaho Transportation

Office of Communications
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707
Fax: 208.334.8563


Suggestions offered to improve home safety

Provided by Cheryl D. Rost
ITD Employee Safety and Risk Management
Many of us took the opportunity, with the changing of time from Daylight Saving to Standard time, to check home smoke detectors and replace batteries. That is an excellent practice twice a year, when we adjust our clocks. Smoke detectors should be inspected, cleaned of accumulated dust and equipped with a new battery at least annually or semi-annually.
Carbon monoxide alarms should get the same treatment as instructed by the manufacturer. And remember: alarms don’t last forever. They should be replaced about every 10 years, or on a schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

This is also a good time to see if your home fire extinguishers need replacement and to review the family fire escape drill.

Below are tips from a recent safety newsletter

By Richard Hawk
5 Weird Off-the-Job Safety Tips

Over the years, we’ve all used miscellaneous safety tips to add a bit of spice to an otherwise humdrum safety meeting or newsletter. But where do you find these tidbits? Here are five off-the-beaten-path beauties from my vast collection.

Tip 1: Rake leaves, not nerves
Here’s a nifty little hint for autumn. Placing foam rubber over the handles of rakes - or simply wrapping the handles in foam tape to fatten them - makes them easier to hold and reduces the stress placed on the tendons and median nerve in the palm. The same technique works great with brooms and other handled tools.

Tip 2: Pump up the tires
It’s a common misconception that keeping less air in tires improves traction in hot weather, on snow or when you’re carrying a heavy load. In fact, just the opposite is true. Under-inflated tires are much more likely to blow out, come off the rims or “hydroplane” on wet roadways. For better handling and mileage, you should inflate tires to the maximum air pressure recommended by the manufacturer.

Tip 3: Paint it bright
With darkness setting in earlier, it’s a good idea to dab spots of fluorescent paint around keyholes and the edges of driveways, stairs and house numbers. This will make them more visible in the dark. Fluorescent tape will have the same effect but it doesn’t last as long.

Tip 4: Ditch damaged drains
Replace cracked or broken drain inspection covers to guard against the risk of disease-carrying bacteria being released or carried away by flies. Falling leaves and other debris may also fall through the cracks and block the drain.

Tip 5: Don’t slay the stinger
For many of us, stinging insects are no longer a problem at this time of year. But if you’re stung by a yellow jacket, don’t smash it, especially if there’s a nest nearby. When destroyed, a yellow jacket’s venom sac releases a chemical that incites other yellow jackets to attack.

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By Catherine Jones
Ladder Safety Basics

A common autumn chore is cleaning the eaves. That means that in the next few weeks, many of us will be climbing up ladders. And, as everyone knows, what goes up must eventually come up-one way or another.
If ladder safety isn’t a concern in your workplace, add it to your list of off-the-job safety talk topics, to keep your workers safe at home, too. And share these ladder safety pointers with your workers:

1.     Do a safety inspection. Never use a ladder with broken, missing, or loose  parts. Check for oil or grease on the rungs. Ensure that ropes, pulleys, and  locks are in good condition and the feet have clean, sturdy non-slip soles.  
2.     Wear appropriate shoes. Your shoes should also have clean non-slip soles, and  a definite heel to prevent your foot from slipping through the ladder.  
3.     Conduct a perimeter check.  Look around. What’s overhead? Beside? In front?  Behind? See any electrical lines?
4.     Position the ladder  correctly. Set the base of the  ladder one foot out from the structure for every four feet of height. Don’t  over-extend the sections. Use a rope or strap to secure the ladder so that  it won’t slip or fall.
5.     Be seen. Let others know you’re there. Enlist your youngster  as a lookout, and post warning signs. If you have to work in a doorway,  block it and lock it.
6.     Keep steady. To climb a long ladder, try a “bearclimb,” which  lessens bouncing. Move the right hand and foot together, and then the left  hand and foot. It takes a bit of practice.
7.     Don’t go all the way up.  Stop climbing when you are at least three rungs  from the top.
8.     Use a tool belt. Keep your hands free for climbing. Secure tools in a  tool belt and hoist larger tools in an approved container after you have  reached your work height. Carrying heavy or bulky objects up a ladder can  cause you to lose your grip and balance.
9.     No reaching. Always climb down and move the ladder if you cannot  easily reach your work.
10. Ladder use is a solo act.  Only one person at a time on the ladder. There  should be no backseat drivers with this job.

Have a safe fall, I mean autumn, everybody!

Published 11-7-8