Thursday, May 26, 2011

CPSC announces recall of over two million Stihl yard power tools at risk of fuel leaks

CPSC announces recall of over two million yard power tools at risk of fuel leaks.

The AP (5/25) reported the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of over two million lawn power tools "because of a potential fire or burn danger." The CPSC said fuel caps on "gas-powered Stihl (steel) trimmers, brush cutters, KombiMotors, hedge trimmers, edgers, clearing saws, pole pruners and backpack blowers" were subject to fuel spills because "the level of ethanol and other fuel additives in the product can distort the cap."

CNNMoney (5/25) reported, "Stihl said it has received 81 reports 'of difficulty installing and/or removing the fuel caps and fuel spillage,' but no reports of injuries." According to the CPSC, the products "have been manufactured in the United States since 2002." Stihl customers are advised to "immediately stop using" the tools and bring them to a Stihl site for repairs at no cost.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toyota Slow to Respond to Customer Complaints

Toyota panel says company outlook made it slow to respond to acceleration complaints.

The New York Times (5/24, Bunkley, B1, Subscription Publication) reported, "Toyota's tendency to dismiss customer complaints and lack of a clear procedure for handling safety problems were among flaws identified Monday by a panel investigating the automaker's recalls of more than 14 million vehicles because of problems that included acceleration and floor mats." The panel was convened by Toyota and led by former "former United States transportation secretary, Rodney E. Slater." The panel found that Toyota is "slow to discover" problems "because it viewed complaints made to the company or to federal regulators about sudden acceleration skeptically and defensively."

The AP (5/24) reported, "The panel says Toyota should appoint executives who are responsible for safety and should give more power to regional executives outside Japan." And panel member Brian O'Neill "said data from dealers, customers, government regulators and other test groups can be cumbersome and difficult to decipher. But it's crucial to pay attention to it and use it to track potential defects and improve design."

Bloomberg News (5/24, Ohnsman) reported the North American Quality Advisory Panel "led by former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, reviewed Toyota's operations for more than a year before issuing a report yesterday." In response, "Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies, a Rehoboth, Massachusetts-based advocacy group that researches auto defects and works with attorneys suing carmakers, said yesterday that NASA's report showed 'deficiencies' in Toyota's vehicle electronics. 'NASA identified numerous failures in Toyota electronics that could lead to unwanted acceleration,' Kane said in an e- mailed statement."

The Washington Post (5/24, Whoriskey) reported the panel found that "Toyota management gave too little weight to feedback from customers, regulators and independent rating agencies, and centered too much control in its Japanese headquarters." The Post notes that "in February, NASA investigators rejected claims that electronic defects caused Toyota cars and trucks to accelerate out of control."

The Los Angeles Times (5/24, Bensinger) reported, "Toyota Motor Corp. responded slowly and ineffectually to a growing sudden-acceleration crisis because it was hampered by a top-down management style that gave short shrift to customer complaints." While pointing out that the panel did not consider the causes of unintended acceleration, "Toyota has held up the NASA report, which was released in February, as an indication that it was not to blame for the rash of sudden-acceleration complaints, first brought to national attention after a 2009 crash near San Diego killed four people." An unidentified DOT spokeswoman "said the agency would not be commenting on the panel's report."

USA Today (5/23, Woodyard) reported on its "DriveOn" blog that the panel "came up with some concrete recommendations. For instance, the panel argues for putting a single Toyota executive in charge of North American operations. It should also create a 'Customer Representative Team' to ferret out criticisms and outsiders' views of Toyota and take the beefs directly to the company's president."

Monday, May 23, 2011



"Gear Up For Safety!"

Friday May 27, 2011

WHO: Atlee, Hall and Brookhart, LLP, East Hempfield Township Police Dept., Local Fire Depts. and the Hempfield Rec Center, join forces in a campaign to educate and seek to prevent accidental childhood injury - a leading killer of children

WHAT: SafetyFest: Bicycle Rodeo, Fire Safety, and Child Seat Safety Inspections

WHERE: Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center, 101 Champ Blvd., Manheim, PA 17545

WHEN: Friday May 27, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

WHAT: This family-style interactive SafetyFest will be fun and educational for the entire family, learn about bicycle safety, fire safety and child seat safety ~ And thanks to our community partners, it's FREE ~ and so you won't want to miss it!

What to Bring: Bicycle and helmet, comfortable clothes, and child safety seat for inspection

THE RISK: Accidents to children are frequent in summer months when school is out. We don’t want families to take a break from safety and this SafetyFest will show them how!

THE KEY: SafetyFest will focus on bicycle safety, car seat safety, and fire safety.

Pre-registration is appreciated so we can plan better, contact HARC 717-898-3102. Please reference Safety Fest –Bike Rodeo # 10834 and/or Safety Fest—Car Seat Check # 10835

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Safety Hazard--Over Half of Children can undo Car-seat Restraints--Highlighting need for Safer Designs

Over half of children can undo car-seat restraints.

HealthDay (5/1, Dotinga) reported, "A team of researchers led by Dr. Lilia B. Reyes, a clinical fellow in the department of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine, surveyed 378 parents and found that just over half reported that at least one of their children had managed to unbuckle a seatbelt in a car seat at some point." Of the children who "unbuckled their seatbelts, 75 percent were aged 3 or younger; some were as old as 78 months, or over six years." In a release, Reyes said, "Perhaps passive safety locks on the seatbelt can be developed, as a potential option for intervention."

Clear Discharge Instructions from Emergency department are Critical

Verbal Discharge Instructions Are Often Incomplete

Few emergency department patients received full discharge instructions, and patients' understanding of the instructions was rarely assessed.

Clear discharge instructions are an important communication tool and an essential part of an emergency department (ED) visit. Researchers analyzed audio-recorded verbal discharge instructions for 477 adult female patients at two EDs to assess inclusion of nine components of the instructions and to evaluate the quality of each component (minimal, adequate, or excellent).

Most patients were given an opportunity to ask questions (91%), although the quality of the interaction was usually minimal. Most patients also were given instructions about medications (80%), an explanation of their symptoms (76%), instructions about follow-up care (73%), and instructions about self-care (69%). Fewer patients received an explanation of their expected course of illness (51%), recommendations for a specific time for follow-up (39%), or instructions about symptoms that should prompt return to the ED (34%). Patients were rarely given an opportunity to confirm understanding of the instructions (22%), and, when they were, the quality of the interaction was usually minimal.

Comment: Discharge instructions, at the very least, should provide each of the above components, particularly clear instructions regarding the symptoms that should prompt further evaluation. Lack of clear discharge instructions often is a key element in medical malpractice suits.

— Richard D. Zane, MD, FAAEM

Published in Journal Watch Emergency Medicine April 29, 2011