Safe hunting is no accident

The first hunter education course was offered at a 4-H camp in 1944. But states were slow to require any kind of hunter safety program until the 1960s and ‘70s when the idea really caught on. Now nearly every state requires hunters to take an approved safety course in order to buy a hunting license.

Even if you’ve already taken such a course, or if you were exempt because of age or military service, it’s still a good idea to give hunting safety another look.

Protect yourself and the people you love.
In Wisconsin, for example, there were 28 hunting-related injuries in 2012. Eleven of those involved hunters who were injured by someone from their own group, and another 13 injuries were accidentally self-inflicted.

Primary rules of hunter education.
The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) provides resources for instructors and students nationwide. Though its programs teach many lessons for the safe and ethical use of our resources, there are four key rules that, if followed, will virtually eliminate the possibility of shooting accidents in the woods or on the range:

1. Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
It might be loaded, even if you think it’s not, so get in the habit of checking the chamber every time you pick up your firearm.

2. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.

Only point your firearm at a target you intend to shoot. If you’re not actively shooting, point the weapon to the ground or straight into the air to reduce the risk of accidental injury.

3. Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it.
According to the most recently published report by the IHEA, of the 19 hunting-related deaths that happened nationwide in 2007, 10 involved the shooter failing to properly identify a target or not recognizing that there was a person in the line of fire. Since bullets from a high-power rifle can travel more than a mile, shooters need to be especially thoughtful of where a round will go if it doesn't hit its intended target.

4. Keep your finger away from the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
Even if the firearm has a safety, it’s a mechanical device that can fail. In 2007, five of the 19 accidental hunting deaths were caused by the shooter’s finger being on the trigger while carelessly handling a firearm or tripping and stumbling. While hunters may be unable to prevent tripping over obstacles, they can make sure their fingers are away from the trigger so that a little slip doesn't become a huge tragedy.

Other tips for a safe hunt:

       Store and transport your firearms unloaded and locked.
       Wear blaze orange.
       Dress warmly and have extra dry clothes to change into.
       Tell others where you will be and when you plan to return.
       Hunt with a partner.
       Know your state and local regulations.

For a hunter education course in your area, check with your state DNR, local sportsmen’s clubs, or for an online course.

5 ways to discourage thieves

Is your business or commercial property safe from theft? Follow these five steps to protect your assets.

1. Make it difficult. It’s hard to stop a determined thief, but you can certainly slow them down. Remember, if there’s an easier target nearby, thieves will skip your business and move on.

Secure your office and shop with double cylinder deadbolt locks and metal doors. It takes more effort and makes more noise to break through a deadbolt. Go one step further and equip doors with anti-pry guards.

2. Hide it. Don’t leave computers, large-screen TVs, or valuable items where they can be seen from the outside. Thieves will case your property by peering in shop and office windows. If you can’t move valuable equipment, install curtains or blinds to hide it after hours.

Keep vehicle keys out of sight. Avoid using labeled key tags that clearly identify the corresponding vehicle or equipment. If that’s not realistic, get a locked key cabinet.

The same goes for laptops and other equipment transported in employee cars. Educate your team about the importance of concealing valuables, preferably in a locked trunk.

3. Illuminate it. While you want to hide what’s inside your building, you want to light up what’s outside. Light the entire perimeter if you can; if not, focus on doors and other possible entry points.

4. Mark it up. Mark all equipment with your company logo and a company ID, like your federal tax ID number. Put the logo somewhere conspicuous, but hide the ID number where thieves might not look. And, consider marking your equipment with fluorescent pink paint or other unusual color. 

Unique markings lower the desirability of stolen goods, and hidden ID numbers can help you identify equipment when it is recovered.

5. Alert and monitor. Alarm systems are a valuable tool for discouraging theft. Noise can alert people in the area that something is wrong and will probably reduce the time a burglar spends on your property. Surveillance systems also are available at a range of price points, from professionally monitored alarms to Internet-based camera systems that allow you to monitor and record your own facilities.

Protect your business by making yourself less of a target for crime. Take steps that will frustrate a thief and increase the likelihood they will be seen or heard if they decide to steal from you.

Use protective eyewear to avoid injury at work

If you’re exposed to eye hazards at work, such as tools, flying objects, chemicals, and radiation, you’re at risk of injury. In fact, 700,000 Americans will injure their eyes at work each year. And that adds up to an estimated $300 million lost in production time, medical expenses, and workers’ compensation insurance.

The good news is that 90 percent of all injuries are preventable with the proper eyewear.

Make sure employees know the expected hazards of the job, as well as what eyewear offers the best protection for their roles. Also, require employees or anyone passing through an area with potential eye hazards to use the appropriate eyewear.

Safety glasses 
These function like normal eyewear except the lenses are very tough. Choose a pair imprinted with American National Standards Institute ANSI Z87 or Z87+ on the frame to show they meet federal and state regulatory requirements. Also, select glasses equipped with side shields. They can be ordered with prescription safety lenses, or designed to wrap entirely around regular prescription eyewear.

Safety goggles 
Similar to safety glasses, these have impact resistance and fit tight against the face to protect against foreign objects coming from all different directions (common in grinding operations). Goggles can have direct or indirect ventilation depending on the hazard. Indirect ventilation is used around hazardous chemicals for additional protection against splashes.

Shields and helmets 
Face shields and helmets alone are not true protective eyewear — they should be used in addition to other protection. Full-face shields often are used when glare, chemicals, or heat are involved. Helmets are used around molten materials or welding, and may be equipped with special lenses to block UV radiation.

Sunglasses and tinted lenses 
Excessive exposure to sun can lead to the early formation of cataracts. Most safety glasses and goggles are available in tints and reflective coatings that protect outdoor workers from harmful UV rays. They should wrap around the face to give the eyes side protection.

Find more information from OSHA or Prevent Blindness America.

*Statistics from Prevent Blindness America and Bureau of Labor Statistics