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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default News, Safety And Other Things.

    I seem to have taken a bit of a hyatus, so it seems best just to 'jump in the pool' again with a wide range of topics in one.

    This one came from my weekly safety brief:

    August 11, 2004

    Painter charged in truck inferno
    Worker is accused of using his lighter to ignite deadly blaze.

    The trouble started in the back of a truck rolling down I-465 as two painters traded racial taunts. Arguments among some RPT Painting Co. workers had spiraled into dangerous stunts before, but this time the pranks would turn deadly, prosecutors say.

    Fed up with Tommy C. McElroy, Otis Turner dumped paint thinner on the truck's floor, court records say, and threatened to light it if McElroy wouldn't leave him alone.

    Then, records say, McElroy bent down, clicked his lighter and said: "Like this?"

    The fire that erupted on July 29, 2003, killed two of the 13 painters inside the truck's cargo area and left the 11 others badly burned. On Tuesday, police arrested McElroy, and Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi charged him with three felonies in connection with the blaze.

    "What we hope to do is hold McElroy accountable for his reckless acts and restore some sense of justice to the people whose lives he affected," Brizzi said at a news conference. Family members of the victims and several surviving painters joined him.

    McElroy faces two counts of reckless homicide and one count of criminal recklessness. If convicted, he could spend a maximum of eight years in prison, Brizzi said. McElroy, who could not be reached for comment, remained in the Marion County Jail on Tuesday night, with bond set at $150,000.

    The fire led to the deaths of Turner, 46, and John Webster, 30, both of Greenwood.

    Webster died later that evening. Webster's mother, Gail Matheson, of Greenwood, said her son had been so badly burned that death was a blessing.

    McElroy deserves to be punished, she said.

    "He needs to be put where he can't do this to someone else," she said.

    Turner lingered in the hospital for two weeks before he died Aug. 12.

    Several survivors were hospitalized for months, and some still are undergoing rehabilitation. Four men riding in the cab were not injured.

    "It was stupidity," said Joe Gallagher, a 29-year-old crew supervisor who suffered burns to about 85 percent of his body. "There's a price to be paid for stupidity."

    Gallagher's injuries have left him in a wheelchair. He hopes to recover and get back to work someday, but he said he has many surgeries to go.

    Danny Maple, 33, suffered burns to more than 40 percent of his body, injuries that seared him with unimaginable pain.

    "The nightmares, the skin grafts, the surgery, having staples all over your body," he said. "Every time I close my eyes, I see the fire. My colleagues say the same thing. The mental anguish is unbearable."

    He remains with the company, but his injuries prevent him from doing painting jobs in certain temperatures. He said the company has made changes to improve safety, including new passenger vans that take workers to their assignments.

    The painters often played practical jokes on each other, he said. Maple once lit a pack of firecrackers near McElroy, he said, in retaliation for a similar prank.

    Owners William and Jeremy Rollins would have fired workers, said Craig Helmreich, the company's lawyer, if they had known they were engaging in dangerous horseplay.

    "This is a company that is committed to safety," Helmreich said, "and really, from the minute this happened, just wants to take the approach to protect its workers."

    McElroy was a member of one of two RPT paint crews riding in the back of a box truck traveling south on I-465 that July day, court records say. They sat on makeshift seats alongside the paint, thinner and other supplies. For ventilation, they propped open the overhead door with a ladder and bungee cord.

    McElroy, who is white, and Turner, who was black, argued for about 10 minutes, trading racial slurs. Then the fire broke out.

    The panic-stricken men pounded on the truck's wall. The driver stopped near Indianapolis International Airport, and the victims quickly jumped or fell out of the inferno.

    "It basically set off an explosion in the back of this truck," said Rick Batza, a battalion chief for the Wayne Township Fire Department, which fought the blaze. "I believe the best description for the back of this was a furnace."

    Batza's department deployed a 500-gallon tanker truck that virtually emptied its tank to douse the fire.

    In January, Franklin-based RPT agreed to pay a $21,000 fine and change its training and safety procedures in a settlement with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

    RPT employs about 100 painters, said Helmreich.

    Maple and J.R. Bryant, who suffered second- and third-degree burns, filed lawsuits against RPT in August 2003. They agreed to dismiss the suits the next month, court records show.

    www.indystar.com/articles/0/169376-1830-009.html

    Call Star reporter Vic Ryckaert at (317) 444-2750.

    Update on case

    Status of survivors

    • Greg Atchley, 29, Indianapolis, was burned over 40 percent to 60 percent of his body. As a result of injuries, he lost muscle mass in his arms and legs. He must undergo kidney dialysis.
    • David "Charlie" Newell, 19, Indianapolis, was burned over 40 percent of his body but was one of the least injured.
    • J.R. Bryant, 21, Indianapolis, suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face, arms and legs.
    • Jason Hofstetter, 19, Whiteland, was burned over 40 percent of his body, including his face, arms and legs.
    • Joshua Littleton, 28, Indianapolis, was burned over 30 percent of his body.
    • Christopher Cox, 31, Albany, was burned over 50 percent of his body.
    • Joe Gallagher, 29, Indianapolis, was burned over 85 percent of his body.
    • Jason Miller, 28, Indianapolis, was burned over 60 percent of his body.
    • Danny Maple, 33, Indianapolis, was burned over 42 percent of his body. He has returned to work for RPT.
    • Edmundo Nava, 25, Indianapolis, was burned over 70 percent of his body.
    • Tommy McElroy, 27, Indianapolis, who prosecutors say ignited the fire, was burned on his arms and legs.
    Workers' compensation

    The painters received compensation, figured at about two-thirds of a worker's average weekly wage. In this case, the salary range was $210 to $426. Compensation covered all medical bills. Hospital bills for Gallagher, one of the most seriously injured painters, exceeded $360,000 after the first month.

    Civil suits dismissed

    Last September, Maple and Bryant agreed to dismiss lawsuits they had filed the previous month against RPT. They were unable to meet the legal standards set by the state workers' compensation law. Workers have to prove their employers knew the dangers and intentionally placed them in harm's way.

    By Vic Ryckaert and Tom Spalding
    vic.ryckaert@indystar.com
    ------------

    Insulator link a little-known lifesaver

    Occupational safety officials are hoping that the best little-known law in Texas will save more US crane operators from electrocution deaths.

    The obscure “insulator link” just won’t go away and continues to make news as enforcement continues across the state.

    The device is attached between a crane’s load line and lift hook and is designed to guard against electrocution when the crane contacts a power line.

    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), electrocution from power line contact is the biggest single cause of death and injury in the crane industry.

    But very few crane operators are aware of the insulator link and its benefits.

    Lawyers still argue that 21-year-old Rory Moore of Texas would be alive today if the crane he was working on was equipped with a proper insulator link. Moore was electrocuted more than two years ago when the crane came in contact with overhead power lines.

    The Moore family sued the employer and won a $4 million settlement.

    Texas was ahead of the nation when it passed the law requiring all cranes to have insulator links.

    OSHA has caught on with a revised crane and derrick standard for the construction industry. Besides a new certification program for operators, the proposed revision states that employers must choose from a list of options to ensure that equipment does not come within a prescribed distance of power lines.

    Communications director Frank Meilinger said OSHA doesn’t have a federal standard (yet) on insulator links. Therefore, it is not enforcing their use.

    When work is performed on electrical equipment, safe procedures include: have the equipment de-energized, use grounding lines when required, use insulating equipment, and keep a safe distance from energized parts.

    Other tips include:

    Don’t operate equipment around overhead power lines unless trained and authorized.
    Have a competent worker on the ground observe safe clearance distances.
    Never assume that lines are dead or de-energized.
    When a machine comes in contact with a power line, stay away until it is de-energized.
    Never touch a person who comes in contact with a power line.
    Retired crane operator Doyle Peeks from Florida advocates the use of an insulator link, but says crane operators should always be one-and-a-half boom lengths from all power lines when working.

    Long-time crane operator and instructor Dave Ritchie of St. Paul Travelers says the insulator link is not used on a regular basis. In fact, he notes it may give some operators a false sense of security.

    “It’s a bad idea to use it as a primary safety device, only as a backup. You are only protected if the insulator link is between you and the power source.”

    Ritchie says the Texas law is largely unclear and open to interpretation.

    For more information about crane safety, visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/cranehoistsafety/index.html
    ----------

    Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in their newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

    Dioxin Carcinogens cause cancer. Especially breast cancer. Don't freeze plastic water bottles with water in them as this also releases dioxin from the plastic. Dr. Edward Fujimoto from Castle hospital was on a TV program explaining this health hazard. (He is the manager of the Wellness Program at the hospital.) He was talking about dioxins and how bad they are for us.

    He said we should not heat our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This applies particularly to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Dioxins are carcinogens and highly toxic to the cells of our bodies. Instead, he recommends using glass, or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, without the dioxin.

    So such things as TV dinners, instant Ramin and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. Just safer to use tempered glass,etc.

    Remember when some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper? The dioxin problem is one of the reasons. To add to this: Saran wrap placed over foods as they are nuked, with the high heat, actually drips poisonous toxins into the food, use paper towels instead.

    Please pass this on to your family & friends, & those who are important in your life.
    --------------

    Police chief injured in bicycling accident

    Jeff Bell Times Colonist August 24, 2004

    Just as the capital region is campaigning to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe from motorists, one driver sent Victoria's police chief head-first over the handlebars of his bike.

    Chief Paul Battershill plans to be back to a regular work routine by the beginning of September after suffering a broken collar bone and cuts when a car forced his bicycle off the road in Oak Bay.

    The 50-year-old police chief, who was planning to compete in several triathlons this fall, was on an afternoon training ride on Beach Drive last Friday when he was hurt.

    He said he had just passed Victoria Golf Course and was near the Oak Bay Beach Hotel about 3 p.m. when a passing car slid across the traffic lane toward him.

    He hit the curb and was sent over the handle bars.

    "I don't think the guy even knew he did it," Battershill said Monday, his right arm fastened snugly in a sling due to the collar bone injury.

    "I was on Beach Drive and I had a vague awareness that they were sightseeing and started to drift into my lane. I think it brushed me or got so close I ended up heading to the curb."

    The car kept on going, said Oak Bay police Sgt. Ian Craib.

    "There were no witnesses, and we're looking for any information that would help us find who the driver was," said Craib.

    The vehicle may have been a red Mazda with three or four occupants, according to investigators.

    Craib said the area of Beach Drive where Battershill was injured has not been dangerous for cyclists in the past, but a similar incident happened elsewhere in the municipality a few weeks ago.

    Police occasionally receive complaints about vehicles being driven too close to cyclists, he added.

    The Capital Regional District's Traffic Safety Commission is trying to reduce the deaths and injuries on Greater Victoria's streets with a campaign for better enforcement and better education of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

    Twenty-five people died in traffic accidents last year, including eight pedestrians. Three pedestrians and one cyclist have died so far this year.

    Joining Battershill as he recounted his mishap was Const. Jeff Vance, who had a similar cycling accident in July when he lost control going over a speed bump and ended up with a broken collarbone, broken ribs and a concussion.

    Both men showed off their damaged bike helmets, which they credit with saving them from far more severe damage.

    "The helmets did exactly what they were supposed to do, they 'spider-cracked,'" Battershill said.

    "I think both of us might well be dead or seriously brain injured without them."

    Battershill pointed out that Vance is an expert in accident reconstruction and has seen first-hand what can happen in all types of collisions.

    He said he hopes the protection he and Vance received from their helmets is an example to other cyclists.

    Victoria police Const. Rick Anthony called Battershill's experience "a true testament to the benefit of wearing a helmet."

    "That helmet was the saving grace."

    © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2004
    --------------

    Guard handed $25,000 reward from FBI for fugitive's capture

    Richard Watts Times Colonist Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    The FBI reached out its long arm across the U.S./Canadian border Monday to deliver a $25,000 cheque to a Victoria security guard who captured one of the U.S.'s most wanted fugitives.

    At a special ceremony at Victoria police headquarters, Tony Bunting, the store security guard who snagged a shoplifter whose name sat on the FBI's most-wanted list, was handed $25,000 reward from a grateful bureau. (That's $25,000 US, which converts to about $32,500 Cdn.)

    Bunting, who works for Island Loss Prevention, was on the job at the Canadian Tire Store on Douglas Street on March 13 when he noticed a man trying to hide a pair of bolt cutters under his clothes. He stopped and held the struggling man until police arrived.

    The man turned out to be Michael Scarpitti, 30, also known as Tre Arrow, an environmental activist the FBI considers a domestic terrorist, who has eluded capture for about two years.

    Bunting, a father of three and grandfather of one, said he hasn't figured out how he will spend the money.

    He remembers stopping the man, who immediately tried to get away and needed to be placed in a hold that left him bleeding from the ears.

    "He fought pretty hard," said Bunting. "He did not want to be there."

    Ramon Garcia, FBI assistant legal attache to Canada based in Vancouver, said it's always a pleasure to pass along thanks from the bureau.

    "But it's even more of a pleasure when a citizen is going to be rewarded as well," said Garcia.

    The FBI also singled out three Victoria police officers with letters of appreciation from FBI director Robert Mueller.

    When he was first arrested, Scarpitti failed to produce convincing identification. So arresting officers Sgt. Glenn Vermette and constables Kristi Ross and Wayne Cox phoned more than 25 people across Canada in an effort to confirm his identification.

    When they failed, the officers contacted Canadian Immigration officials thinking he might be an American. American law enforcement officials matched the fingerprints taken in Victoria with Scarpitti's.

    Also handed FBI appreciation for their cross-border work were Victoria Police Const. Rob Sorenson, RCMP members Const. Dennis Ripley, Cpl. Wayne Zimmerman and Sgt. Frank Martino, and James Murray of the Canadian Border Services Agency and Russ McNeill of Citizenship and Immigration.

    Scarpitti/Arrow is wanted in connection with the firebombing of logging trucks in 2001 in Oregon.

    He has a long history of logging protests and environmental activism and even ran for Congress in 2000 as a Green party member. He was on a university lecture tour promoting veganism, environmentalism and direct action.

    Scott Jensen, FBI assistant special agent in charge of the Portland Division, said Scarpitti/Arrow, like any other U.S. citizen, is free to protest, providing he keeps it peaceful.

    "We consider him a dangerous man," said Jensen. "Any time you commit an act of arson and set a fire there is always good potential where people can get hurt."

    Meanwhile, Scarpitti/Arrow has a bail hearing scheduled for later this month in Vancouver.

    He is being held in custody in hospital in Vancouver suffering from the effects of a hunger strike. Reports say he has dropped below 100 pounds. Prison officials have refused to supply him the special diet of raw vegetables his vegan beliefs demand.

    Originally, he was charged with theft under $5,000 for the bolt cutters in Canadian Tire. Since then, however, the U.S. Department of Justice has initiated moves to extradite him and he has begun moves to claim refugee status.

    © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2004


    I smell something that says "BOW WOW .. WOOF WOOF" in that last story.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.


  2. #2
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    I just can't believe the story about the painters........ IUt's hard to believe that people can be THAT stupid....

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Not only stupid, but that the two of them brought down a further 10 or 12 guys with them. Noth'n like "sharing with your friends" eh?
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thankfulness

    I AM THANKFUL

    FOR THE WIFE
    WHO SAYS IT'S HOT DOGS TONIGHT,
    BECAUSE SHE IS HOME WITH ME,
    AND NOT OUT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

    FOR THE HUSBAND
    WHO IS ON THE SOFA
    BEING A COUCH POTATO,
    BECAUSE HE IS HOME WITH ME
    AND NOT OUT AT THE BARS.

    FOR THE TEENAGER
    WHO IS COMPLAINING ABOUT DOING DISHES
    BECAUSE THAT MEANS SHE IS AT HOME,
    NOT ON THE STREETS.

    FOR THE TAXES
    THAT I PAY
    BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT
    I AM EMPLOYED.

    FOR THE MESS
    TO CLEAN AFTER A PARTY
    BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT I HAVE
    BEEN SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS.

    FOR THE CLOTHES
    THAT FIT A LITTLE TOO SNUG
    BECAUSE IT MEANS
    I HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.

    FOR MY SHADOW
    THAT WATCHES ME WORK
    BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM OUT IN THE SUNSHINE.

    FOR A LAWN
    THAT NEEDS MOWING,
    WINDOWS THAT NEED CLEANING,
    AND GUTTERS THAT NEED FIXING
    BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE A HOME.

    FOR ALL THE COMPLAINING
    I HEAR ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT
    BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT
    WE HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    FOR THE PARKING SPOT
    I FIND AT THE FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT
    BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM CAPABLE OF WALKING
    AND THAT I HAVE BEEN
    BLESSED WITH TRANSPORTATION.

    FOR MY HUGE HEATING BILL
    BECAUSE IT MEANS
    I AM WARM.

    FOR THE LADY
    BEHIND ME THAT SINGS OFF KEY
    BECAUSE IT MEANS
    THAT I CAN HEAR.

    FOR THE PILE
    OF LAUNDRY AND IRONING
    BECAUSE IT MEANS
    I HAVE CLOTHES TO WEAR.

    FOR WEARINESS
    AND ACHING MUSCLES
    AT THE END OF THE DAY
    BECAUSE IT MEANS
    I HAVE BEEN
    CAPABLE OF WORKING HARD.

    FOR THE ALARM
    THAT GOES OFF
    IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS
    BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT I AM ! ALIVE.

    AND FINALLY.....
    FOR TOO MUCH E-MAIL
    BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE
    FRIENDS WHO ARE THINKING OF ME.

    This is Rex Barker C.S. (Completely Satisfied) reminded that we can either see the glass "Half-full" or "Half-empty". Have an abundant day!
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  5. #5
    Forum Member martinm's Avatar
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    "It was stupidity," said Joe Gallagher, a 29-year-old crew supervisor who suffered burns to about 85 percent of his body. "There's a price to be paid for stupidity."

    That has to be the most understated moral to an incident like this I have ever heard
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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