Retailers Insurance Safety Tips

Retailers Insurance Company is a Michigan-based insurer established by Michigan Retailers Association. Currently, Retailers Insurance provides workers’ compensation insurance and group dental insurance to Michigan businesses of all types and sizes.

Retailers Insurance believes safe, healthy employees are key to a successful business. These tips are designed to help.

Drowsy driving doubles risk

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that drivers who miss between 1 and 2 sleep hours, out of the recommended 7 in a 24-hour period, nearly double their risk for a crash.

That’s especially concerning in view of the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 35 percent of U.S. drivers get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.

Drowsy driving, AAA says, is involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year.

Notes David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation, “You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel. Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than 5 hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.”

Drivers who missed 2 to 3 hours of sleep more than quadrupled the risk of a crash. The research also found that over a 24-hour period, the crash risk for sleep-deprived drivers increased steadily, compared to that of drivers who slept 7 or more hours.

Know Perils
Drivers seem to know the perils of taking the wheel while sleepy. While 97 percent told the AAA Foundation they view drowsy driving as completely unacceptable and a serious threat to their safety, nearly one in three admits to driving at least once in the past month when being so tired it was difficult keeping the eyes open.

Signs of drowsy driving include drifting from lanes and not remembering the last few miles driven. Especially scary is the fact that more than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel.

AAA urges drivers not to rely on their body to indicate they’re at risk. Instead, make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep. For longer trips, AAA recommends that drivers:
• Travel at a time when they’re normally awake;
• Schedule a break every 2 hours or every 100 miles;
• Travel with an alert passenger and take turns at the wheel;
• Avoid heavy foods; and
• Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.

Seatbelts do save lives
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study shows daytime seatbelt use reached 90.1 percent in 2015, up from 88.5 percent in 2014.

Even with higher use, NHTSA notes that nearly half (48 percent) of people killed in crashes in 2015 were not wearing their belts.

When used properly, lap/shoulder belts reduce the risk of death to front-seat occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.

In 2015, seat belts saved nearly 14,000 lives, and since 1975, seat belts have saved an estimated 375,000 lives.

Take caution while cleaning
If you have cleaning responsibilities at work, follow safe work practices.

To protect workers from the hazards of cleaning products, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have produced a bulletin titled Protecting Workers Who Use Cleaning Chemicals, at

The document addresses several subjects, including safe work practices when using cleaning chemicals. Here’s what you need to know:
• Never mix cleaning products that contain bleach and ammonia.
• Know which chemicals must be diluted and how to correctly dilute them.
• Attend training and apply what you learn about the use and storage of cleaning chemicals, and about emergency spill procedures for cleaning chemicals.
• Wear the required personal protective equipment needed for each chemical, such as gloves and/or goggles.
• Know how to read the labels on all containers of cleaning products and chemicals to identify content and hazards. Report containers that are not labeled, and don’t use the chemicals from those containers.
• Check with your supervisor about ventilation systems that may be needed during cleaning to allow sufficient airflow and prevent buildup of hazardous vapors.

Know where you can wash up after using cleaning chemicals.

Stay safe during tree trimming
If you are involved in trimming or pruning trees, whether at work or at home, understand the hazards and how to stay safe.

Breaking tree trunks can be a hazard to workers in the tree or on the ground. Protect yourself by inspecting each tree’s condition before beginning work.

Look for rot, which can occur at the base of the tree or at any point along its length. If one trunk of a multi-trunk tree is rotten, treat all of the trunks -as rotten.

For trees that will be felled rather than pruned, use an increment core to determine the internal condition. For trees that are too rotten to be climbed and felled, use alternate methods, such as cranes, tying in to nearby trees, or felling the tree whole.

Falling wood can be a hazard during “chunking” operations, when sections of the tree are being removed from the top and are allowed to fall to the ground.

Protect yourself during chunking operations by clearly marking landing zones and maintaining good communication between workers at height and ground workers.

The worker in the tree should warn the ground crew using a prearranged, clearly audible or visible warning signal. Ground crew should acknowledge the signal and indicate whether the landing zone is clear.

Power lines. You can be injured or killed if you contact a power line. Protect yourself by always assuming that power lines are energized.

When possible, have the utility company de-energize and ground or shield power lines. Keep ladders, boom trucks and other equipment a safe distance from power lines:
• 10 feet for lines carrying 50,000 to 345,000 volts
• 16 feet for lines carrying 345,000 to 750,000 volts.
• 20 feet for lines carrying more than 750,000 volts.