Texas Mutual Named One of 2013 Best Companies to Work for in Texas

8 Jan

Originally posted on Texas Mutual Insurance Company blog:

Texas Mutual Insurance Company, the state’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance, was recently named as one of the 2013 Best Companies to Work for in Texas. The awards program was created in 2006 and is a project of Texas Monthly, the Texas Association of Business (TAB), the Texas State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (TSC-SHRM) and Best Companies Group.

This statewide program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places to work in Texas. The 2013 Best Companies to Work for in Texas list is made up of 100 companies. Texas Mutual has been named one of the Best Companies to Work for in Texas for the third consecutive year.

“Texas Mutual makes it a priority to provide our customers with exceptional service, which would not be possible without the commitment of our employees throughout the company,” said Ron Wright, president of Texas Mutual…

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Halloween at Summit is Spooktacular!

31 Oct

Is a Spray-On Tan Dangerous?

23 Oct

The short answer: Yes.  But why?  Millions of people get spray tans each year.  Once thought to be the safer route for getting a tan vs the harmful sunlight and tanning bed rays, now experts say this alternative could be just as harmful, if not worse.

Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, also known as glycerone, is a simple carbohydrate (a triose) and is primarily used as an ingredient in sunless tanning products. It is often derived from plant sources such as sugar beets and sugar cane, and by the fermentation of glycerin.

The active chemical used in spray tans, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage, according to a panel of medical experts who reviewed 10 of the most-current publicly available scientific studies on DHA for ABC News, including a federal report ABC News obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Six medical experts in areas ranging across the fields of dermatology, toxicology and pulmonary medicine said they “have concerns” after reviewing the literature and reports about DHA, the main chemical in the popular “spray-on” tan, which has conventionally been referred to as the “safe” alternative to tanning under ultraviolet lights.

None of the reviewed studies tested on actual human subjects, but some found DHA altered genes of multiple types of cells and organisms when tested in different labs by different scientists after the chemical was approved for use in the consumer market.

Dr. Rey Panettieri, a toxicologist and lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine said “I have concerns. The reason I’m concerned is the deposition of the tanning agents into the lungs could really facilitate or aid systemic absorption — that is, getting into the bloodstream.”

Panettieri, like all the experts ABC News consulted with, said more studies should be done. He emphasized the available scientific literature is limited. Still, he said, he has seen enough to say the warning signs of serious health concerns exist. “These compounds in some cells could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies,” he said, “and if that’s the case then we need to be wary of them.”

To read the full article, click here. >>

Summit wants you to stay safe!

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Danger in Your Backyard: Trampolines

19 Oct

This post is about a dangerous Off-the-Job Safety issue that many people with families face: Trampolines.  Trampolines provides your kids (even some adults) hours of fun – but at what cost?

Trampolines can lead to serious life-altering injuries. In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) required manufacturers to add safety features like surrounding safety nets to mitigate risk.  In most cases, safety measures taken to reduce injuries, such as enclosed netting and padding, have not been enough to significantly reduce the number of people who are getting hurt. But now, after assessing years of findings, the AAP says the features provide a false sense of security, and the group is urging pediatricians to discourage parents from setting up trampolines at their homes. Though the estimated number of trampoline injuries nationwide has been decreasing, the recreational devices are still considered dangerous.

Take a look at the numbers behind this risky contraption:

  • 111,851 - Trampoline-related injuries treated in the ER in 2004
  • 97,908 - Trampoline-related injuries treated in 2009
  • 3,100 - Those who were required to remain in the hospital in 2009
  • 10,700 - Children in the U.S. hospitalized every year as a result of bicycle crashes
  • 61,000 - Children in the U.S. injured every year because of skateboarding
  • 85 - Percentage of the approximately 900,000 consumer trampolines sold each year that include a safety net
  • 75 - Percentage of trampoline-related injuries resulting from multiple people jumping on the mat at the same time
  • 48 - Percentage of injuries in the 5-and-under age range that result in fractures or dislocations
  • 27 to 39 - Percentage of all injuries caused by falls.
  • 20 - Percentage of injuries caused by direct contact with the springs or frame
  • 50 - Percentage of injuries that damaged the lower extremities, including ankle sprains
  • 10 to 17 - Percentage of injuries to the head and neck, which are less common but can cause “permanent neurological damage”

Click here to read the full article. >>

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Get Ready for the NSC Congress & Expo 2012!

16 Oct

The NSC Congress and Expo is coming up… and you won’t want to miss it!  Make sure to visit Summit in Booth #1816 to learn about our innovative products and services!

This year, the 2012 NSC Congress & Expo will be in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center (West building), October 20 – 25.   Join more than 12,000 safety, health and environmental professionals who demonstrate their commitment to safety excellence  by attending the conference.  The steady attendance over 2010 is evidence of the importance companies continue to place on building and sustaining an inclusive safety culture within their company.

Safety excellence is not a destination but an ongoing journey. Measure your progress and continue your journey at Together we will accomplish the most and travel the furthest on this shared journey to safety excellence.

It’s a special year for this event – the 2012 NSC Congress & Expo is the Celebration of the Century!  The Celebration of the Century symbolizes 100 years of collaboration, lessons learned and progress for safety across the nation. NSC will honor the advancements and accomplishments of organizations and individuals who have helped make safety what it is today.

One hundred years ago, corporate leaders came together for the first Safety Congress and envisioned a national organization solely dedicated to the promotion of safety – the National Safety Council.

Learn more about the NSC Congress & Expo here! >>

Remember to stop by Summit’s booth #1816 to enter to win a drawing for a $200 gift card to Disney!  The drawing will be held in the evening after the first day of the show.  Now you have the opportunity to fuse learning about new solutions to your safety challenges with some fun in the sun at any of the Disney parks.

We hope to see you there!

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OSHA and the Movies

12 Oct

If you really think about it, how many of you have ever been watching a movie and thought, “Wow, that doesn’t look safe at all,” or “That doesn’t happen in real life,”?  If you are a safety person, your thoughts might go a little more like this, “There is no way that this scene could ever be regulated by OSHA.”  I’m not going to lie; I have thoughts like this all the time, even in my day-to-day activities.

But have you ever thought about what actually happens behind the scenes to movies?   Facilities that movies are filmed in  are also often referred to as “Smoke and Fire Factories”, in reference to the fact that the function of the building is rarely explained, with smoke and fire (the movie scenes) as its only discernible outputs.  Sometimes these facilities include some very unsafe attributes, such as: narrow catwalks, cranes, ladders, and control switches.  What goes on inside them can also be dangerous depending on the movie genre, with mock fighting, explosions, or car chases.

Would OSHA approve?  That depends.  At a time when movie stunt accidents are increasingly publicized, concern over behind-the-scenes safety involving construction of movie sets have been known to quietly trigger heated disputes between Hollywood and state labor officials.

The most recent involvement from OSHA is an investigation that has been launched into the shocking death of a crew member on the set of “The Lone Ranger” … with a government agency vowing to leave no stone unturned until it discovers the truth.

welder/water safety expert named Mike Bridger died on the L.A. movie set while working inside a large water tank. Law enforcement sources tell us it appeared Bridger suffered a heart attack. 

Cal/OSHA has launched an investigation to see if there was any negligence or wrongdoing on the part of Bridger’s employer, which is a standard operating procedure following a death on a movie set. Cal/Osha will look into how workers responded once they realized Bridger was unresponsive – Did they follow proper emergency protocol? Was there a proper emergency protocol? etc.

A rep for Cal/Osha tells us the org. is also looking into the equipment and the tank … and will also review the medical condition of the victim before his death. Cal/Osha will also conduct interviews with everyone who was on the set during the incident.

To read the full story, click here. >>

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This Week is NFPA Fire Prevention Week!

8 Oct

This week is the NFPA-declared Fire Prevention Week.  It was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire that occurred October 8-9, 1871 and killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres.

Those who survived the Chicago and Peshtigo fires never forgot what they’d been through; both blazes produced countless tales of bravery and heroism. But the fires also changed the way that firefighters and public officials thought about fire safety. On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America, decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should henceforth be observed not with festivities, but in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.  The commemoration grew incrementally official over the years.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.

Read the whole story! >>

The reality is that when fire strikes, your home could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes.  This years theme for Fire Prevention Week is “Have 2 Ways Out!”, which focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

It is imperative to have a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames?  That’s why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan. Here are some tips from Safe Kids USA:

Put a smoke alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom.

  • Smoke alarms can be battery-operated or electrically hardwired in your home and are available at a variety of price points.
  • If you have hearing problems, use alarms with flashing strobe lights and vibration.
  • Test smoke alarms every month. Replace batteries once a year, even if alarms are hardwired.
  • Test your smoke alarms at night to see if your child will wake up and respond to the alarm. Children sleep more deeply and may not wake up. If your child does not wake up to the alarm, try an alarm where you can program your voice to alert him or her.
  • Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings since smoke rises. Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least 4 inches away from the nearest wall. Wall-mounted alarms should be installed 4 to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • Consider installing both ionization alarms, which are better at sensing flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms, which are better at sensing slow, smoky fires, or dual sensor alarms.
  • Consider installing a home sprinkler system.

Plan and practice several escape routes and a safe place to meet outside.

  • Plan and practice two escape routes out of each room of the house. It is important to have an alternate escape route in case one is blocked by fire.
  • Have a designated person to help young children and others who might have difficulty escaping.
  • Fire drills should be practiced at least twice a year. Home fires and home fire-related deaths are more likely to occur during cold-weather months, December through February.
  • Practice your escape plan at night to see if your child awakes to the smoke alarms.
  • Designate an outside meeting place, so all members of the family can be accounted for quickly. Once you are outside, call the fire department or 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s phone.

While at work, it is also important to know how to prevent fires, as well as what to do should a fire strike.   Fire ravages hundreds of businesses a year, killing over 200 workers and costing companies millions of dollars.  Summit can help prevent one of the most common, costly, and deadly workplace accidents from happening at your site.

Check out Summit’s Fire Prevention Programs! >>

 

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Can Obese Employees Hurt Bottom Line?

5 Oct

Although we have heard about the rising increase of obesity, a report released a few days ago was quite a shock.

The report said that the number of obese adults is on course to increase dramatically in every state in the country over the next 20 years, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012,a report released by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

And the costs associated with this health epidemic are massive: By 2030, medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases are estimated to increase by $48 billion to $66 billion per year in the United States.

Although the medical cost of adult obesity in the United States is difficult to calculate according to the report, current estimates range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year. The prediction is that the loss in economic productivity could be between $390 billion and $580 billion annually by 2030.

If states’ obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020—and double again by 2030.

Obesity could contribute to more than 6 million cases of type 2 diabetes, 5 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, and more than 400,000 cases of cancer in the next two decades.

What to do?

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, CEO,  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says that there are two futures for America’s health.  “At every level of government, we must pursue policies that preserve health, prevent disease and reduce health care costs. Nothing less is acceptable.”

Click here to read the full article >>

 

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October is Fire Safety Month!

1 Oct

The month of October is Fire Prevention Month.  The history of this month’s theme has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 9, 1871.  In modern times, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans each year and approximately injure 20,000 more.  Additionally, U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with three-quarters of them occurring in residences.

A home is often referred to as a safe haven.  This month, make sure your home is protected; there are many things that people can do to improve their safety at home, school, or work from a FIRE!   Here are 10 simple tips to help you avoid fires and reduce the risk of injury should one occur from QuickenLoans:

1)      Smoke Alarms – These are still a very important addition to your home.  Smoke alarms are widely available and inexpensive.  Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it monthly.

2)      Prevent Electrical Fires – Don’t overload circuits or extension cords.  Cords and wires should never be placed  under rugs or in high traffic areas.  Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet.  If the plug loosely fits, inspect the outlet right away.  A poor connection between the plug and the outlet can cause overheating and can start a fire in minutes.

3)      Keep Plugs Safe Unplug all appliances when not in use.  Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and use your senses to spot any potential disasters.  If a plug is overheating, smells strange, shorts out or sparks – the appliance should be shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired.

4)      Alternate Heaters Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit.  Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away.  Inspect your chimney annually and use fire screens to help keep any fires in the fireplace.

5)      Fire Safety Sprinklers When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase your chance of surviving a fire.  Sprinklers are affordable and they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.

6)      Create An Escape Route Create and practice your escape plan with your family from every room in the house.  Practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using the back of your hand.  It’s just like a routine school fire drill – but in your home.

7)      Position Appliances Carefully Try to keep TV sets, kitchen and other appliances away from windows with curtains.  If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire quickly.  Additionally, keeping your appliances away from water sources (like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage which can lead to a fire.

8)      Clean Dryer Vents Clothes dryers often start fires in residential areas.  Clean the lint filter every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is complete.  Make sure your exhaust duct is made of metal tubing and not plastic or foil.  Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage & check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year.

9)      Be Careful Around the Holidays If you fill your home with lights during the holiday season, keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire.  Check all of your lights prior to stringing them up and dispose of anything with frayed or exposed wires.

10)   Conduct Regular Inspections Check all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month.  Taking a little time to do this each month can really pay off.

Following these simple tips could potentially save your life or the life of a loved one.  Pass this list on to your friends and family and make this fire prevention month count!

See what OSHA has to say about fire prevention in the workplace: Click here

Look at home fire safety from the CDCClick here

Need help with training your workers to understand fire safety?  Summit has your fire safety programs to help extinguish your risk today!

Call 800.842.0466 or visit us atwww.safetyontheweb.com to make your workplace fire-safe today!

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Green Sports Alliance Partners with EPA

28 Sep

In this day and age, environmental awareness is more important than ever, and there are a lot of organizations who are doing their part to conserve and clean up the environment around them.  Adding to the growing list of industries who tackle this challenge is the athletic industry.

In the beginning of September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed an agreement with the Green Sports Alliance to work together to address environmental challenges faced by sports venues, organizations, and teams. The agreement will facilitate collaboration between the two organizations on issues such as waste management, water and energy conservation, and sustainability for teams and at stadiums and sporting venues.

EPA has also agreed to share tools like the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an energy management tool that allows building owners to track and assess energy and water consumption, to help Alliance members to improve their environmental performance.

“For years, American sports teams, venues and leagues have been leaders on sustainable development and environmental stewardship, and the Green Sports Alliance has been critical to the success they’ve seen,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe.

“In order to be successful in their greening efforts, teams and venues have to start by measuring their environmental impact,” said Green Sports Alliance Executive Director Martin Tull.

Green Sports Alliance is a non-profit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent over 100 sports teams and venues from 13 different sports leagues.

The Green Sports Alliance and EPA share a commitment to supporting the U.S. sporting industry’s efforts to improve environmental awareness and promote more sustainable behavior by the sporting industry, stakeholders, partners and consumers. EPA has collaborated with a number of sporting organizations and related stakeholder groups to provide assistance to green sports projects, competitions and challenges to help organizations save money and protect people’s health and the environment.

Click HERE to read the full article. >>

 

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