Contrary to what has been suggested in recent media reports, there is no Constitutional right for women to be topless in public. A recently publicized opinion from the 10th Circuit did not alter that legal reality. In this post, we will discuss what the 10th Circuit did, and did not hold and how you might respond to that recent opinion.
In this 3 part blog post, OMAG will discuss how Oklahoma’s medical marijuana statutes might impact search and seizure caselaw.
Oklahoma’s Courts will likely be guided by rulings from other States in deciding how medical marijuana might have impacted search and seizure caselaw. This post will discuss how those other States addressed the issue.
A practical guide for Oklahoma Law Enforcement on preparing for eventual Court rulings on how medical marijuana might have impacted search and seizure caselaw.
Is lawfully possessed medical marijuana contraband or property when it comes into the possession of law enforcement?
If marijuana is now “Medical”, does this mean that municipalities must allow employees to use marijuana on or off duty as a Reasonable Accommodation under the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act?
In an instant and without notice, an unsupported trench can give way and a worker can be buried alive. “Even though small amounts of dirt may not seem treacherous, a single cubic yard of dirt can weigh more than 3,000 pounds, which can fatally crush or suffocate workers,” NIOSH states. OSHA notes that excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations, with cave-ins being perhaps the most feared trenching hazard. Other hazards in this line of operation include: falls, hazardous atmospheres, and falling loads.
How can employers help keep workers safe? NIOSH recommends that employers do the following before beginning a trenching or excavation project:
· Designate a trained “competent person” to check that all safety precautions are in place. In relation to trenching, OSHA defines a competent person as “an individual who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards or working conditions that are hazardous, unsanitary, or dangerous to workers, soil types and protective systems required, and who is authorized to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate these hazards and conditions.”
· Call 8-1-1 to ensure no utility lines are in the job area and to mark any existing lines.
· Locate safe places away from the trench to place spoil piles and heavy equipment paths.
· Ask the competent person to determine what kinds of protective systems will be needed for the job and have the systems in place before workers are allowed in the trench or excavation.
· Enforce the rule that workers who are younger than 18 are not allowed in the trench or excavation.
· Assign workers to the job only if they have been trained about hazards and work practices in a language and at a literacy level they understand.
· Have a written emergency action plan in place that details the steps to take in the event of a trench incident and do hands-on training of that emergency action plan.
· Make sure all workers know to never enter an unprotected trench.
· Teach workers to immediately exit a trench and call for the competent person if they find any evidence of problems with the protective system.
A dispatch call for a trench emergency rescue is not common for EMS and fire departments. But when a call like this comes, is your department prepared to respond to a trench rescue incident? Are your providers trained in what to do? This article provides some awareness-level information for responding to a technical rescue in a trench.
While trench rescues may not be common, trenches in municipal public works are. Often at construction sites, trenches are dug for workers to install or repair underground utilities, including water pipes, sewer pipes, and electric lines. These types of trenches are often narrow and deep, descending anywhere from four to 20- plus feet. These excavations differ from other trenches that are wide and deep, often used for repairs of streets, gas lines, or water main repairs. At times workers operating in excavations will be using a protective trench box or shoring.
If an emergency occurs in a trench, it could be a cave-in or a non-cave-in situation. Cave-ins are generally due to changing weather conditions, machinery, or vibrations that cause the walls to collapse, or removed dirt from the spoil pile falling back into the trench. A non-cave-in situation may be a medical emergency in the trench, entrapment of a worker under a pipe or machinery, flooding, or equipment failure.
It is crucial that first-arriving emergency units establish command, contain the incident, and request the appropriate resources. To establish command, follow your written “incident command guidelines.”
· Notify dispatch
· Size up the situation and determine if it is a cave-in or non-cave-in
· Determine the number and types of victims
· Determine the nature of the emergency
· Determine the hazards on the scene (utilities, weather, water, hazmat, machinery)
· Determine the approximate depth of the trench
· Determine if it is a rescue or recovery operation
· Establish “hot, warm, and cold” zones (hot= only trained rescuers, warm= trained support staff, and cold = non-trained personnel are not allowed within a 10-foot radius around the trench)
· Make sure no first responders endanger themselves by urging them not to play hero and enter the “hot” zone without the proper training and technical equipment
· Establish a staging area for equipment and personnel coming to the scene
A trench rescue incident requires a technical rescue team. A minimum of 20-30 rescue technicians are needed for the operation. Since most municipalities don’t have the personnel or the training to perform a trench rescue, it is much more feasible to thoroughly and effectively plan out your trenching jobs and use the appropriate techniques to protect your workers prior to sending them into a trenching situation.
Specialized equipment will need to be brought in by rescue teams, such as airbags, struts, shoring, hand tools, buckets, ladders, ground pads or plywood to stabilize the area around the trench, ropes and rigging, generators, and lighting. For extended incidents consider additional resources such as food, water, and warming equipment for rescuers. Rescues are not generally done in a few minutes. Often they take hours and many times result in a recovery rather than a rescue.
Two feet of soil covering a victim can be the equivalent of 600-1000 pounds on their body. Clearly, crushing and airway compromises are strong possibilities. Once an EMS can assess a victim, the following should be treatment priorities:
· Airway access and control
· Maintain body temperature
· Intravenous access before removal of victim
· Head, eye, and ear protection
· Pain management
· Fracture management and immobilization
It is highly recommended that all responders take a trench rescue awareness and operation course that meets NFPA standards. While trench rescues are rare, they are technical operations requiring a great deal of personnel, resources, and logistics. The best way to prevent a trench rescue situation is to follow strict safety procedures in setting up your municipal trenching and excavation situations before you put workers at risk in the trenches!
OMAG offers online safety courses through LocalGovU. This is a free online training service provided to our member cities and towns. All you have to do is go to our website at www.omag.org and click on the “I want to…” tab at the top right of the page, then click on “train online” and select LocalGovU. Follow the instructions on how to access training and registration. If you have questions or issues, contact the LocalGovU staff with the phone number provided on the page. They will be able to walk you through the process.
Employees can go through the training programs individually or a supervisor/manager can hold a departmental training by connecting a computer with internet access to a TV or projector and hold a class at a location convenient to their staff and facilities. Just remember to have your staff sign a training roster and keep it in your training files. The best part of training this way is your employees will get safety training relating to their specific jobs. There are dozens of topics to choose from, and a course list is provided on the LocalGovU link.
OMAG’s partnership with LocalGovU is just another Value-Added-Service we provide to your municipality to assist you in your Risk Management program.