Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Create a Healthy Workstation

If sitting at your computer for hours gives you aches and pains, eye strain or other discomforts, take a look at the following strategies for improving the setup of your workstation. Following some of these recommendations may help you prevent both immediate and chronic problems.

Source: Berkeley Wellness

Thursday, October 12, 2017

High-tech Cars Even More Dangerous Than Texting for Drivers

Don’t SatNav and drive.

Many in-built features in the latest crop of cars are so distracting they should not be enabled while a vehicle is in motion, according to a new study released Thursday by University of Utah researchers. The study, led by psychology professor David Strayer, found in-vehicle information systems — including SatNav, MP3 players, radios, cellphones and messaging devices — take drivers’ attention off the road for too long to be safe, much like texting.

Texting is not the most distracting thing you can do while driving:
• The No. 1 most distracting task: Programming navigation devices
• The No. 2. most distracting task: Sending or receiving text messages
• The No. 2. most distracting task: Audio entertainment and making calls

Accident data shows people still text when they drive, but SatNav is actually more dangerous when used while the car is in motion. “With the best intentions, we will put some technology in the car that we think will make the car safer, but people being people will use that technology in ways that we don’t anticipate,” Strayer said. Greater consideration should be given to what manufacturers install in cars in order to make them more appealing to drivers, he added.

The study, which was conducted for the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit organization in Heathrow, Fla., reviewed found in-vehicle information systems in 30 different 2017 vehicles. Participants were required to engage in four types of tasks using voice, touch screen and other interactive technologies. The tasks were to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation while driving.

Why should drivers be alarmed about these findings?
Drivers using features such as voice-based and touch-screen technology took their hands, eyes and mind off the road for more than 24 seconds to complete tasks, the study found. This is enough to put the drive at risk of a serious accident: Previous research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the risk of a crash doubles when a driver takes his or her eyes off the road for two seconds. Worse, programming navigation took an average of 40 seconds to complete.

Federal law prohibits train engineers from using cellphones, but there’s no federal ban on car drivers. Some 15 states and the District of Columbia, however, do have bans on handheld cellphone use — including New York, New Jersey and California — and 47 states and D.C. explicitly ban texting (Washington was the first state to ban texting, in 2007). That means it’s up to drivers to regulate their own behavior, especially when it comes to the car’s in-built features.

What have other studies found causes automobile accidents?
Driving while using a cellphone reduces brain activity associated with driving — “spatial processing” that helps drivers remember and make sense of the objects on the street — by 37%, according to a 2008 research paper by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Some 10% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes and 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015 were reported as “distraction affected” crashes.

Cellphone use is estimated to be involved in 26% of all motor vehicle crashes, a 2013 National Safety Council study found. But it’s not texting — widely regarded as the scourge of road accidents — that’s the biggest problem. Only 5% of cellphone-related crashes involve texting, while the other 21% involve drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cellphones. This risky behavior obviously poses a danger to vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.

What’s been done to reduce accidents due to distracted driving?
New York state’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, told the Associated Press in July that the state is testing technology that will allow police to identify drivers who are texting and driving. “This review will examine the effectiveness of using this new emerging technology to crack down on this reckless behavior and thoroughly evaluate its implications,” he told the AP. The technology is being developed by Cellebrite, an Israeli-based technology company.

Apple  wants to stop drivers from texting in the first place by hanging a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” sign on their iPhone’s iOS 11. It allows a driver to mute text messages without having to turn the phone off. The screen will go black. Again, this relies on the driver to initiate and doesn’t deal with the multiple distractions or “must-have features” that already exist in most cars — including Apple CarPlay, which can show everything from messaging apps to audiobooks.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Appy Hour Contest Winners!

Appy Hour Contest Winners:
Over the past two months we have been conducting our Appy Hour Contest, which consisted of uploading CIRSA's mobile app and scoring 100% on the most recent safety quiz.  We had a great response as 126 members participated in the contest totalling more than 700 entries into the drawing. 

We are now happy to announce our winners, just click here to see a video of the results.  For the three winning members, we will be contacting our primary contact to coordinate a date, time, location, and additional details for your employee Appy Hour.

Download the App Today:
Just go to the Apple Store or Google Play Store (please note these links will only take you to the store if you are on a mobile device), search for "CIRSA," and install it on your device.  It's that easy!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ensuring Your Disaster Relief Donations Are Well Received

With Hurricane Harvey’s effects being felt in Texas and Louisiana for some time to come, businesses may want to help victims by making corporate donations. Corporate decision-makers should carefully consider ways to contribute, since some recent post-disaster efforts have not helped as intended.

Depending on your organizaton's size, you may have access to supplies or a service that will be useful to victims and aid workers. The New York Times recently listed the local organizations that will accept certain donations. Your efforts can be coordinated with an accredited organization or the local government to determine whether your donations qualify.

Risk management professionals who would like to help Harvey victims directly can visit the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF) IICF Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund. The fund was established in response to a surge of inquiries from its community as to how it can help. The fund has already received $80,000 in commitments, and the IICF will forward all contributions to local nonprofits assisting victims in the area, including the American Red Cross and specifically its Hurricane Harvey disaster fund.

During catastrophes, experts generally encourage these sorts of finance-based efforts in lieu of sending tangible items without a partnership with a local non-profit. Many organizations suggest that it is best to let the aid workers on the ground use their allocated funds to get necessity items like water, toiletries and food. In its Tips For Giving In Times Of Crisis page, dissuades companies from sending supplies ad hoc:
“[This] type of philanthropy is simply not practical or efficient. Even if mail could get to an impacted region, no one is set up to receive these goods, much less organize and distribute them to the victims.” 

It has been well documented that donations of tangible items – especially used ones – can cause unintended problems. Some never reach those in need and eventually wind up in landfills; and certain used clothes, like old shoes and Halloween costumes, might insult survivors.

According to Kansas disaster response coordinator Hollie Tapley, about 75% of donated goods will go to waste despite the donors’ good intentions. “Money is the best way because we know culturally what people need,” Tapley told Kansas State Network before Harvey hit Texas. “One group needs something totally different than another group.”

Blood donations are always in high demand following a disaster and national blood banks sometimes hold emergency drives to allocate blood to the affected areas, which might not have the resources to hold their own. If you are determined to reach the affected area, confirm those details with the donation center’s organizer. Bloodsource’s donation locations can be found on the group’s website. The Red Cross also provides information for potential donors online.