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Safety

July 2019 Risk and Safety Newsletter

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Stay Safe While Driving

  1. Refrain from using your cell phone while driving, even hands-free.

  2. Put your cell phone on silent or put it in the glovebox to avoid temptation.

  3. Pull over and put your vehicle in park if you must make a call.

  4. Change your voicemail message to say you are unavailable when driving but will return any calls once you’ve reached your destination.

  5. Safety belts are one of the most effective devices in your vehicle. Always wear it when you are driving and ensure your passengers are properly buckled up also.

  6. Aggressive driving behaviors include speeding, making frequent unnecessary lane changes, tailgating, and running lights/stop signs. These behaviors create unsafe situations for you and other drivers and can lead to road rage.

  7. Keep your emotions in check and don’t take your frustrations out on other drivers.

  8. Plan ahead to allow enough time for delays.

  9. Focus on your driving: avoid eating, drinking, phones, changing radio stations, adjusting GPS settings, grooming, or doing work while driving.

  10. Do not tailgate.  Allow at least 3 seconds distance between you and vehicles you are following.

  11. Use your horn sparingly.

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Stop, Think and Act - A Useful Approach to Safety

Essentially our goal is to work safe, all day, everyday:

  • Stop long enough to think about what you are about to do

  • Think about how you are going to do it. Is it the safest way? If not, how can you do it better?

  • Act in the safest way possible

 If you can get yourself and your coworkers to think for only a few seconds before doing anything, you can prevent a lot of injuries.

 Apply Stop, Think and Act:

These suggestions take only moments to implement, but offer lifelong benefits:

  1. Start with yourself. Develop your own Stop, Think, Act habit so you are keeping yourself safe and constantly demonstrating the desired safe behavior.

  2. Build it into orientation training, so that everyone hears the message from the beginning.

  3. Reinforce it during your weekly or daily meetings. These meetings are an ideal opportunity for everyone to discuss hazards and how to stay safe.

  4. Coach workers one on one. Before someone starts a new task, work through the Stop, Think, Act process together. Watch for people acting impulsively, they may not take into account what could go wrong. They start at point “A” and don’t think of consequences that may occur at points “B” and “C”.

Remember: Safety is everybody’s job, all day, every day.

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Avoid Cross Bore Disasters

Directional drilling is a fast and efficient way to install underground pipe and conduit, but when a gas line is bored through a sewer line, disaster can ensue.

Cross Bores – when a line bores through a sewer line – have been the cause of catastrophic events in the past. To combat this issue, municipalities, utilities, contractors, and the trenchless industry must join forces to ensure proper pre- and post-inspections are conducted and avoid disaster.

There are almost always more connections than what surface observation suggests. The reality is that subsurface most likely there are more connections than marked after an 811 call. Municipal utilities must learn to spatially map out subsurface infrastructure during routine maintenance to improve accuracy for 811 locator requests.

Auditory systems with GPS capabilities (SL-Rat) and CCTV Camera systems have made an incredible positive impact on finding the missing conditions. By using an auditory inspection system like the SL-Rat (OMAG has several to loan to municipalities) a municipality can map their sewer system.  Then they can use a CCTV camera (OMAG has grants available for these) through sewer mains.  In this way, line taps can be identified and recorded to inform utilities or system owners, and potential hazards can be addressed prior to drilling. Equally important is to make post-drill inspections to confirm lines have not been breached during installation of a utility.

While gas or communication lines are typically what we think of when we hear the term cross bore, directional drilling of other utilities can negatively impact the integrity of our sewer systems as well.

Developing a partnership between utility owners and municipalities is critical if cross boring events are to be identified and addressed to keep communities safe. Developing a comprehensive prevention program between the municipality and utility owners where they share the costs and get cross bore inspection work done economically and responsibly is a win-win for the municipality, utility, and the customers.

NASSCO, whose mission it is to set standards for the assessment, maintenance, and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure, identified the need to set standards for proper cross bore prevention and detection. The worst thing that can happen is if an operator finds a cross bore and does nothing about it. Standard assessment and cleaning of mainlines could also potentially uncover cross bores masked by roots. If a cross bore is hiding behind roots that have infiltrated a pipe and the roots are cut, disaster could occur. A significant benefit of a regular chemical root control maintenance program is the ability to kill the roots without cutting or damaging pipes (OMAG has a root control grant with Duke’s Roots).

In addition to municipalities and utilities working closely together, the relationship between utilities and contractors is extremely important for the implementation of a successful cross bore program. Developing a relationship with contractors laying pipe or conduits and working with them to identify hazards or challenges and working to develop unique solutions, provides better quality data and a higher level of confidence that we are keeping our communities, homes and businesses protected.

The most common question pertaining to cross bore inspection and remediation is always “Who is responsible?”  The answer: “When is comes to keeping our community safe, we all are.”

For more information about the SL-Rat, CCTV camera, or Duke’s Roots grants contact William Sheppard, OMAG Risk Management Specialist at wsheppard@omag.org.

 

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Changes to Public Works Safety Equipment Grants

OMAG is proud to announce we are making some increases to our Public Works Safety Grants for certain types of safety equipment. The changes will be effective fall 2019.

All safety equipment for Public Works Departments such as basic PPE, first aid kits, fireproof cabinets, light bars, work zone signage and barriers will remain a 2:1 value up to $2,000 for a $1,000+ investment.

Safety and rescue equipment for confined spaces such as harnesses, tripods, and gas sniffers, etc. will be a 3:1 value up to $3,000 for a $1,000+ investment.

Safety and rescue equipment for excavations, such as trench boxes and shoring equipment will be a 5:1 value up to $5,000 for a $1,000+ investment.

To apply for a Public Works Safety Grant complete the OMAG grant application and provide a quote from the vendor you are wanting to purchase the equipment from, by the deadline dates. These dates are:  Fall (July 1-Sept. 30) and Spring (Jan. 1- Mar. 31). The grant instructions and applications can be found on our webpage: at www.omag.org in the grants and scholarships section of the Risk Management Services Free Services page.

Please read the qualifications/instructions page carefully before submitting your application. Cities and towns must still wait 2 years before applying for a grant once they have received a grant.

Contact Kip Prichard, OMAG Risk Management Specialist kprichard@omag.org  if you have questions or need assistance applying for a Public Works Safety Grant.

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Preventing Backing Collisions

National statistics indicate that backing collisions account for about one-quarter of all collisions. OMAG’s claims records support this fact in regard to our members’ claims. The growing number of rear-vision camera systems should decrease the occurrence of these collisions in the future but do not rely only on your camera system. Utilizing “old school” methods along with a rear-vision camera will increase your hazard awareness. Backing will always carry its own set of risks. The following is a list of tips aimed at preventing backing collisions:

  1. Get to know a vehicle’s blind spots. Mirrors can never give the whole picture when backing.

  2. Think in advance. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary backing situations.

  3. Park defensively. Choose easy-exit parking spaces that don’t crowd neighboring vehicles. Park in the center of your parking space.

  4. Take extra precautionary measures when parking in an alley. Remember to think ahead. If the alley doesn’t permit driving all the way through, back into the alley space. That way you can drive forward to pull into the street.

  5. Perform a walk-around. Walking around your vehicle gives you a first-hand view of the backing area and will alert you to limitations or hazards. Watch for children, muddy areas, poles, pipes, or other obstacles you could hit.

  6. Know the clearances. When performing a walk-around check for obstructions, low hanging trees, wires, or canopies.

  7. Every backing situation is new and different. You may back out of the same spot day after day, but don’t allow yourself to get complacent and relax. Be watchful every time for changes and new obstacles.

  8. Use a spotter. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s help when backing. Use hand signals you’ve both agreed on. Don’t have the spotter walking backwards or standing directly behind your vehicle while giving you instructions.

  9. Don’t delay after doing your walk-around. Get back in your vehicle and start backing within a few seconds. This will allow very little time for people or new obstacles to change behind your vehicle.

  10. Ensure your mirrors are clean and properly adjusted to give you the widest possible view.

  11. Tap the horn twice prior to backing to alert others in the area.

  12. Crack your driver’s window so you can hear any warnings, such as a car horn. Stop immediately if you hear a warning.

  13. Keep your backing distance to a minimum and go slow while covering your brake.

  14. If you are unsure of the clearance around and above your vehicle, get out and look. Check behind, both sides, and above your vehicle before proceeding.

Being proactive and careful while backing can save lives, property damage, and time for all in the long run.

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Safety Considerations When Using Lawn-Care Equipment

Workers operating riding mowers face serious safety issues. Their employers need to make sure the equipment in use is designed and maintained with safety in mind. Employers must make sure that workers are trained to avoid hazardous surroundings. Finally, the employer must ensure that mowing operations are performed safely.

Employers Must Ensure Equipment Safety

Use and maintain all available safety equipment. Pay attention to the following points:

  • Some riding mowers are designed by their manufacturer to be equipped with a roll-over protective system (ROPS). The ROPS can either be standard or optional equipment.

  • If the mower a worker will be using does not have a ROPS, look for unused bolt holes or brackets near the seat or frame to see if the mower has the capacity to be equipped with a ROPS. Do not operate any mower that was intended to be equipped with a ROPS without the ROPS in place. In many cases, retrofit kits are available. Contact the manufacturer to see if there is a kit for the mower you are using.

  • Mowers with a ROPS should also be equipped with seat belts. Provide and use approved seat belt assemblies on all riding lawn mowers on which a ROPS has been installed.

  • Where vertical clearance does not allow for a ROPS to be in the raised position, the ROPS may be temporarily placed in the lowered position. Also, workers should not wear a seat belt while operating a mower with the ROPS in the lowered position. Return the ROPS to the raised position as soon as the mower is in an area where the vertical clearance allows its use and reconnect the seat belt.

  • Equip riding mowers with an “operator presence control system”. This system shuts off the blades when the operator dismounts the machine or rises out of the seat.

  • Equip riding mowers with interlocks that ensure the engine cannot start while the mower is in gear or if the blade is engaged. Inspect mowers to ensure the “operator presence control system” and all safety features are always in place and operable.

  • Keep riding mowers in good working order, and inspect them periodically for insecurely or incorrectly attached ROPS and seat belts.

  • Mower operators should use a standard checklist to do a general inspection of the equipment before use. For example, the checklist should include checking tire pressure and check for missing or damaged safety guards.

  • Experienced service personnel should inspect mowers for necessary safety features and overall maintenance at least annually. Only qualified personnel should service and repair riding mowers.

While it is essential to have the proper safety equipment in place on riding mowers, you should think of that as just the beginning of your safety program. 

Determining the Safety of the Surroundings 

Employers should be familiar with the conditions of the terrain on which their mowers are being used. They should ensure their workers take the following precautions:

  • Do not operate mowers on slopes that exceed the “angle limits” specified by the manufacturer. Look for a label on the mower for this information or check the owner’s manual.

  • When the manufacturer’s instructions are not available or do not specify the angle limits for operating on slopes, evaluate the terrain and slope conditions to ensure the mower is operated in a safe manner. Avoid mowing on slopes that exceed 15 degrees if there is no other information available.

  • Use a slope indicator, aka clinometer or inclinometer, if you need one. These are used to determine slope angles and can be attached to equipment or used as an application on a mobile device.  There are also printable versions that can be downloaded online.

  • Always remove the key when you are leaving a mower unattended, but never leave mowers unattended on a slope. After turning off the mower, the operator should set the brake, remove the key, and wait to make sure all moving parts have stopped before leaving the area. The operator should not assume moving parts will stop.

  • Do not operate mowers in areas where the drive wheels are within five feet, as measured from the outside wheel edge, of unprotected edges of retaining walls, embankments, levees, ditches, culverts, excavations, or similar locations that present an overturn or roll-over hazard. Use a string trimmer or push mower in these areas.

  • When it is necessary to operate riding mowers near ponds, creeks, lakes, canals, sloughs, golf course water hazards, or similar bodies of water, evaluate the terrain and any slope conditions. Establish a safety zone to ensure the mower is operated at a safe distance from such hazards. 

Training Workers 

Employers are responsible for providing workers with training before they can operate any lawn mowing/landscaping machinery. Training ensures each operator is competent to operate the machinery safely. Training must be provided in a language and vocabulary that workers can understand. Training should cover topics on the safe operation of specific riding mowers and other equipment that worker will be using. Never assume a worker knows how to use a piece of equipment or take their word for it that they know how to use it - train them and make sure they are competent with operating the equipment. Training topics include:

  • A review of all safety devices to ensure that ROPS, guards, seat belts, and shields are securely in place and properly used.

  • The importance of surveying the terrain and picking up hazards before mowing.

  • How to identify obstacles in the mowing path, such as large immovable rocks, man-made hazards like signs and trash receptacles, tree stumps, etc., and areas where the use of riding mowers is prohibited.

  • Reading and understanding the operations, maintenance, limitations, and warning sections of the operator’s manual.

Speed control, steering, and maneuvering such as:

  • Decrease speed when the mower is traveling down slopes or around sharp corners to prevent tipping

  • Be particularly alert when backing up or while operating in low-light conditions

  • Do not mow from side-to-side when operating mowers on unlevel or sloped ground. Always mow slopes in the up-and-down direction.

  • A review of stability and roll-over hazards associated with operating mowers on surfaces, terrain, or areas that could pose a risk. Locations that present a roll-over risk include loading ramps, wet surfaces, slopes, and areas near drop-offs, retaining walls, embankments, streams, bodies of water, unprotected ditches, culverts, and excavations.

  • Employees should be trained to:

    • Use all required personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times: hearing and head protection, safety glasses, work boots, etc. Avoid wearing jewelry and loose-fitting clothing that could be entangled in moving parts, wear long pants.

    • Never carry passengers. Riding mowers are one-person machines.

    • Always start the mower from the driver’s seat. Never start the machine while standing beside it. Keep both feet on the machine at all times while it is running.

    • Never place the mower in motion until the operator is ready. Putting the mower in gear unintentionally could jerk it forward without warning.

    • Never mount or dismount a mower while it is running, as there may be enough space for the operator’s toes to pass under the housing and be struck by the blade. Properly shut down the mower before dismounting.

    • Never stop or start a riding mower suddenly when it is going up or down hill. Avoid all sudden stops, starts, or turns.

The safe operation of a riding mower is similar to the safe operation of a car/truck – drive defensively and expect the unexpected. Employers should train workers to operate the mower as if there were no ROPS in place. A protective structure is not unlimited in its ability to protect the operator, the best safety guard is using your head and making safe decisions.  

Retraining and evaluation are necessary to ensure workers maintain their competency to operate mowers safely. Provide refresher courses to workers when:

  • An operator has been observed operating a mower in an unsafe manner.

  • An operator has suffered and injury or been involved in a near-miss incident.

  • An operator receives a new job assignment that includes operating a mower or machinery with which the operator is unfamiliar.

  • An operator receives a new job assignment that includes mowing on terrain or surfaces that present unfamiliar hazards.

As an administrator or supervisor, it is your responsibility to make sure your employees know the hazards of the job and how to do the job safely. Remember to properly train and evaluate your workers. 

Lawn Mower & Weed Eater Safety

(based on a Loss Control Bulletin from the American National General Insurance Company)

Operating lawn mowers or weed eaters is a necessity for municipalities.  At the same time, they present certain dangers if the operator doesn’t know how to properly operate them or the proper precautions necessary to protect themselves and the people around their work area.

General Safety Precautions

Prior to operating a mower or weed eater, operators should first read and understand the operator’s manual. This will give them a basic knowledge of how the tool works and proper operating instructions. Operators should also take time to consider the appropriate protective clothing. These items include:

  • Ear and eye protection

  • Gloves to protect hands

  • Thick footwear with good traction (approved work boots is preferred)

  • Long pants and long sleeved shirts that are somewhat tight fitting 

Prior to starting the machine, make sure other people and animals are a safe distance away. Next, make sure there are no sticks, stones, wire, or other objects in the lawn that could become projectiles. Inspect the machine to ensure all of the guards, shields, and belts are in the proper place and in good working condition. Fuel equipment cautiously, and make sure the fuel is stored in an appropriate container away from ignition sources. Never attempt to fuel a weed eater while it is running or still hot (Allow 5 minutes for parts to cool down before refueling.) Remember, no smoking while fueling. Keep all body parts away from exhaust areas to prevent burns. 

If you make any repairs or adjustments, make sure the engine is turned off and pull the sparkplug before you begin. If anyone else will be operating the equipment, make sure they have been properly trained and deemed competent to use the machines. 

Mower Safety Precautions 

There are 4 main types of mower accidents of which operators should be aware: overturns, propelled objects, contact with rotating blades, and running over a victim with a riding mower. To help avoid accidents, there are some simple precautions the operator can take.

  • Before engaging the blade, make sure you know how to operate all aspects of the mower. This may include taking a practice run with the blade disengaged first.

  • Never allow passengers on a riding mower. This is true even for larger commercial riding mowers/tractors.

  • When possible, move forward, not backward. Many new mowers have a safety device that disengages the blade when traveling in reverse. If you go backwards pay special attention to potential hazards such as holes, drop-offs, buildings, and other obstacles in and around the mowing area.

  • Never leave the mower running and unattended.

  • Disengage the blade before getting off the machine. Many new models have safety devices that automatically disengage the blade or shuts off the mower when the operator gets up from the seat. Do not disengage this safety device.

  • Turn the mower off and pull the sparkplug wire prior to repairs or maintenance.

  • When mowing on a slope, use caution, slow down, and avoid making sharp turns. It is best to mow steep slopes up and down rather than across the slope on a riding mower. Use a push mower across slopes, never up and down. Never mow a slope that is so steep your tires and feet have no traction.  Use a weed eater if it is necessary to mow that area.

  • Only operate a riding mower from the driver’s seat. Do not attempt to walk beside or behind it and push over difficult terrain.

Weed Eater Safety Precautions

  • When fueling the weed eater, make sure you have the correct fuel mixture. Most weed eaters take a mixture of fuel and two-cycle engine oil.

  • When you start the weed eater, make sure you have good balance and footing. Hold the machine with two hands, and make sure you are in an open area away from other people.

  • The cutting part of the weed eater should never be raised above waist height.

  • The speed of the string should never be faster than what is required to cut vegetation.

  • Do not operate a weed eater in the immediate vicinity of others; debris can fly over 30 feet from your location. Give at least 50 feet when people or pets approach your work area. Stop the machine until they are safely past.

  • Keep in mind it is better to weed eat an embankment or slope, rather than trying to mow it.

  • When you have completed weed eating, let the machine idle a few minutes to cool down before shutting it off.

  • Supervisors must make sure operators understand the machines they are using and are competent in their operation and safety issues.

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Medical Marijuana Unity Bill

House Bill 2612, the “Unity Bill,” passed the House and the Senate and was signed by Governor Stitt into law on March 14, 2019.  The effective date of the new law is August 29, 2019.  This bill clarifies and fills in gaps in the regulatory framework for medical marijuana in the State of Oklahoma.  A number of questions are addressed by the bill, however, there is still discussion at the State Capitol regarding further refinement of the regulatory scheme.  Additional modifications may be made before the legislative session ends in May.  We will update our information as needed after the legislature adjourns.


Governmental officials have been working diligently to solidify the regulatory framework within which medical marijuana allowed by the voters of the state with passage of State Question 788 (SQ788) last summer.  In August 2018, OMAG provided information on its website based on the regulatory efforts of the State Department of Health and others.  These attempts, through regulation, to add details to SQ788 were met with much opposition resulting in some of the earlier efforts being withdrawn.  Since that time, a working group of state legislators and others began meeting last fall to discuss the parameters of legislation that could be sponsored and supported to fill in some of the unknown gaps in the regulatory framework for medical marijuana in the State of Oklahoma. 

This legislative session House Bill 2612, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, more commonly called the “Unity Bill” was introduced in early February.  The measure passed the House by the end of the month and was introduced in the Senate in early March.  The measure passed the Senate on March 11th and was sent to Governor on March 12th.  Governor Stitt signed the measure into law on March 14, 2019.  The effective date of the new laws is August 29, 2019. 

Provisions contained in HB2612 include the following: 

  • State issued patient or caregiver license only.  Municipal and county governing bodies may not enact medical marijuana guidelines which restrict or interfere with the rights of a licensed patient or caregiver to possess, purchase, cultivate or transport medical marijuana within the legal limits set forth in this act or Section 420 et seq. of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes or require patients or caregivers to obtain permits or licenses in addition to the state-required licenses provided herein.

  • Rights to firearms protected. A medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee shall not be denied the right to own, purchase or possess a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories based solely on his or her status as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee. No state or local agency, municipal or county governing authority shall restrict, revoke, suspend or otherwise infringe upon the right of a person to own, purchase or possess a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories or any related firearms license or certification based solely on their status as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee.

  • Patient or caregiver license holder not subject to prosecution. A medical marijuana patient or caregiver in actual possession of a medical marijuana license shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner or denied any right, privilege or public assistance, under state law or municipal or county ordinance or resolution including without limitation a civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business, occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with this act.

  • Reimbursement as medical expense not required.  A government medical assistance program shall not be required to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana unless federal law requires reimbursement.

  • Statute does not require an employer, a government medical assistance program, private health insurer, worker's compensation carrier or self-insured employer providing worker's compensation benefits to reimburse a person for costs associated with the use of medical marijuana; or

  • Medical marijuana licensee job protections.  No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of such applicant's or employee's status as a medical marijuana licensee; and

  • No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of a positive test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless: a. the applicant or employee is not in possession of a valid medical marijuana license, b. the licensee possesses, consumes or is under the influence of medical marijuana or medical marijuana product while at the place of employment or during the fulfillment of employment obligations, or c. the position is one involving safety-sensitive job duties.

  • Employers are not required to permit or accommodate the use of medical marijuana on the property or premises of any place of employment or during hours of employment;

  • Statute does not prevent an employer from having written policies regarding drug testing and impairment in accordance with the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act, Section 551 et seq. of Title 40 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

  • An applicant or employee aggrieved by a willful violation of this section shall have, as his or her exclusive remedy, the same remedies as provided for in the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act set forth in Section 563 of Title 40 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

  • "Safety-sensitive" means any job that includes tasks or duties that the employer reasonably believes could affect the safety and health of the employee performing the task or others including, but not limited to, any of the following:

  1. the handling, packaging, processing, storage, disposal or transport of hazardous materials,

  2. the operation of a motor vehicle, other vehicle, equipment, machinery or power tools,

  3. repairing, maintaining or monitoring the performance or operation of any equipment, machinery or manufacturing process, the malfunction or disruption of which could result in injury or property damage,

  4. performing firefighting duties,

  5. the operation, maintenance or oversight of critical services and infrastructure including, but not limited to, electric, gas, and water utilities, power generation or distribution,

  6. the extraction, compression, processing, manufacturing, handling, packaging, storage, disposal, treatment or transport of potentially volatile, flammable, combustible materials, elements, chemicals or any other highly regulated component,

  7. dispensing pharmaceuticals,

  8. carrying a firearm, or

  9. direct patient care or direct child care; and

  • A "positive test for marijuana components or metabolites" means a result that is at or above the cutoff concentration level established by the United States Department of Transportation or Oklahoma law regarding being under the influence, whichever is lower.

  • Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces. All smokable, vaporized, vapable and e-cigarette medical marijuana product inhaled through vaporization or smoked by a medical marijuana licensee are subject to the same restrictions for tobacco under Section 1-1521 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, commonly referred to as the "Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces Act".

  • Municipal regulatory authority recognized. All relevant local licenses and permits must be issued by the municipality, including but not limited to, an occupancy permit or certificate of compliance.

    • In the event that an applicant has not received the necessary permits, certificates or licenses from a municipality, but the applicant has fulfilled all other obligations required by this act, the Authority shall grant a conditional license. A conditional license shall remain valid for a period of one (1) year or until the applicant obtains the necessary local permits, certificates or licenses. An applicant shall not transfer any medical marijuana, concentrate or products to a medical marijuana business, patient or caregiver until approval is received from the Authority.

    • A licensed medical marijuana business premises shall be subject to and responsible for compliance with applicable provisions for medical marijuana business facilities as described in the most recent versions of the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code, the International Building Code and the International Fire Code, unless granted an exemption by the Authority or municipality.

      • No city or local municipality may unduly change or restrict zoning laws to prevent the opening of a retail marijuana establishment.

      • The location of any retail marijuana establishment is specifically prohibited within one thousand (1,000) feet from any public or private school entrance.

Although the Unity Bill has been passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by the Governor, there continues to be discussion at the State Capitol regarding further refinement of the regulatory scheme.  Until the legislative session ends, normally before Memorial Day, additional modifications to the law could be considered and passed.  The Website will be updated as needed after the legislative session has adjourned.

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7 Myths About Dehydration

Myth #1: Dehydration is uncomfortable, but not dangerous.

  • Fact: While most of us will only ever experience mild dehydration symptoms like headache, sluggishness, or decreased urine/sweat output, it can become severe and require medical attention. Serious complications include swelling of the brain, seizures, kidney failure, and even death, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Myth #2: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

  • Fact: It’s not too late. In fact, thirst is the body’s way of telling you to drink water, and you are not at risk of becoming dangerously dehydrated the minute you feel parched. When you get thirsty the deficit of water in your body is trivial because your body is a very sensitive gauge. You might actually have only about a 1% reduction in your overall water. The solution is to drink some fluid, preferably water.

Myth #3: Everyone needs to drink 8 glasses of water a day.

  • Fact: This general rule of thumb is outdated, influenced today mostly by bottled water companies. So how much do you need to drink? Men roughly need to drink 3 liters (102 oz.) every day, and women require about 2.2 liters (78 oz.) per day. However, body weight has a lot to do with it. A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by 2 and drink that many ounces of fluid per day (example: 200 lbs. = 100 ounces).

Myth #4: Clear urine is a sure sign of hydration.

  • Fact: While keeping an eye on your urine output maybe isn’t the most pleasant summer activity, it really can provide a measure of how hydrated (or dehydrated) you are. But it’s not clear urine that you are looking for, rather a pale yellow. (Dehydration Urine Color Chart)

Myth #5: There is no such thing as drinking too much water.

  • Fact: Over hydrating can be extremely dangerous – but it is relatively rare. Drinking too much water leads to hyponatremia, when levels of sodium in the body are so diluted your cells begin to swell. This usually causes nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion and fatigue, and can escalate to seizures and coma.

Myth #6: Exercise and hard work need sports drinks.

  • Fact: If you are working out for less than an hour, water will do just fine. You don’t deplete electrolyte and glycogen reserves until you’ve been exercising intensely or performing moderate-hard work in heat and humidity for more than an hour.

Myth #7: Coffee, tea, and soft drinks dehydrate you.

  • Fact: Only if you overdo it. While caffeine is dehydrating, the water in coffee, tea, and soda more than makes up for the effects, ultimately leaving you more hydrated than pre-coffee or pop. Consuming more than 3-5 cups of coffee or 40 ounces of soda could put you at risk for dehydration. Just remember to limit your caffeine input, drink in moderation and supplement with good old water. (see 5 Healthy Hydration Tips)

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Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac - Myth vs Fact

Myth:                Poison Ivy rash is contagious.     

Fact:                  Rubbing the rash won’t spread poison ivy to other parts of your body or to another person. You spread the rash only by transferring the urushiol oil from the plant to other body parts or individuals.


Myth:               You can catch poison ivy simply by being near the plant.

Fact:                  Direct contact is needed to release the urushiol oil. Stay away from wildfires, direct burning, or anything else that can cause the oil to become airborne such as a lawnmower, trimmer, etc. There is a danger of inhaling the oil into your lungs, which can result in catastrophic consequences.


Myth:                “Leaves of 3, let them be”

Fact:                  Poison sumac has 7-13 leaves on a branch, although poison ivy and poison oak do have 3 leaves per cluster.


Myth:               Do not worry about dead plants.

Fact:                  Urushiol oil stays active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years.


Myth:               Breaking the blisters releases urushiol oil that can then spread.

Fact:                  Not true. Wounds can become infected and you may make scarring worse. In very extreme cases, excessive fluid may need to be withdrawn by a doctor.


Myth:               I’ve been in poison ivy many times and never broken out. I’m immune.

Fact:                  Not necessarily true. Upwards of 90% of people are allergic to urushiol oil, it’s a matter of time and exposure. The more times you are exposed the more likely you will break out with an allergic rash. For the first time sufferer, it generally takes longer for the rash to show up – generally 7 to 10 days.


Help to prevent poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac is available. Though there are many products which claim to work, the following product has proven to work for about 95% of people who have used it.

Best practice for preventing Poison Ivy/Sumac: Dawn Dishwashing Soap

Within two hours of working outside around trees and bushes, thoroughly wash exposed body areas with Dawn dish soap and a wash rag. Wash and rinse thoroughly 3 times. Wash down tools and equipment with Dawn and water. Wash your clothing immediately and don’t just throw it in a hamper where it could expose others. Taking time to do these simple tasks will prevent most poison ivy/sumac rashes and reduce the number of claims pertaining to poison Ivy exposures for your municipality.

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