Tag Archives: Ergonomics

PREVENTING BACK INJURIES IN THE WORKPLACE (GUEST POST)

 
A back injury is nothing to make light of. This type of injury can derail someone’s life, especially when it happens in the workplace. That’s why it’s important to take steps to avoid back injuries in the workplace. 

Here are some tips that will help to avoid back injuries

  • Always use correct techniques for bending, lifting, and moving loads
  • Exercising can help strengthen back and abdominal muscles, which will help support the back
  • Always wear comfortable, supportive, and nonslip shoes
  • Proper posture helps ease strain on the back
  • Losing weight helps put less strain on the back, so if you’re over weight, try losing some pounds to give your back a break

All employers in the United States adhere to Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines for proper techniques to be used for specific jobs. Following these techniques helps reduce back injuries. 

If lifting is a part of the job, here is important information to keep your back healthy even while lifting heavy objects.

  • Make sure there is enough room to lift the item. That means test its weight and make sure you’re able to do the lifting safely.
  • Get help for something that is too heavy or awkwardly shaped. Use a dolly to move heavy objects or split the load into multiple smaller loads if possible.
  • Keep loads close to the body when lifting to reduce strain.
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart to form a solid base of support
  • Grip what you’re lifting tightly
  • Always bend at the knees, not the waist
  • Do not rely on a back belt to provide necessary support for proper lifting; back belts do offer support, but shouldn’t be used as the only method of support
  • Take breaks when lifting multiple items
  • Avoiding twisting as you lift.
  • Use gloves when necessary for lifting to help with traction and protection

The Frequency of Back Injuries

According to the 
Centers for Disease Control, back injuries account for 20% of all injuries and illnesses in the workplace. These injuries cost 20 to 50 billion dollars each year. The most effective way to prevent back injuries is to implement an ergonomics program that helps redesign the work environment and work tasks to reduce any hazards associated with lifting, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 

There are many products that can help prevent back injuries in all types of industries. Whether an employee is working on a loading dock or in an office, ergonomic products help maintain proper positioning at all times so that the body stays in alignment. 

What Injuries Mean for Businesses

It’s important for businesses to keep abreast of the injuries that can and do occur in the workplace. Keeping accurate data of these cases is necessary so that all information is compiled and company heads are able to 
stay focused on the big data bottom line

This information can include everything from the number of injuries and incidents to customer satisfaction. Most of all, it helps everyone from employers to employees to stay safe and keep the flow of work steady. 



photo credit: 
Nicholas_T via photopin cc

Dana Rasmussen writes about workplace safety tips and how to prevent injuries. She’s a big fan of ergonomically correct computer accessories.

HOW TO AVOID INJURIES WHEN MOVING TO ANOTHER HOME (GUEST POST)

Moving at times can be emotionally difficult but it can be equally fun. It is possible that your body would be undergoing considerable stress. In some cases, the possibility of minor or severe injuries cannot be ruled out. Hiring a moving company is a good move to avoid such injuries. Here are some tips to keep you safer while moving.
 
Keep the box weight in mind while packing. Ensure that these boxes weigh less than 50 pounds. Any weight below 50 pounds can be easily lifted without a strain. If you feel strain while lifting the box, then it would be above 50 pounds. Ask the moving company that you have hired for lifting all heavy weights. However, if you do choose to move the boxes on your own, then you need to learn the proper way of lifting the boxes. Never bend over to lift a box, but rather sit on your heels and lift the boxes with your entire lower body. (You may consider using a lifting belt for support.)  Make sure that you have rented the proper equipment. This is necessary to save you from back strain and for moving larger items that weigh heavily. Always remember to use straps as they are needed for securing the boxes. Whenever you pass any item or box, make sure that the other person has a firm grip on it before you let it go. This is one common cause of accidents.
 
Before you start moving, take a close look at your new home. Inspect the entire property to find out for any possible dangerous areas. Always note any uneven sidewalk. Any steps that are present in the front walkway need to be clearly seen. Mark such steps with a chalk as often people are easily distracted while moving items and this may result in a fall or possible injury.If the walkway or the entrance to your new home comes out to be wet in any way, then use a mat. Any area that is more fragile needs to be made safe with a mat. This would be necessary to prevent a fall while moving items. Other possible hazards such as poles, posts or tree branches need to be looked at as they may pose a problem for your moving process. 
 
Always keep your children out of the process of moving. Keep them with a baby sitter or with a neighbor.   On the day you decide to move, always remember to wear the proper clothing and footwear that would assist rather than inhibit the process of moving. Do not wear loose sleeves to shirttails that would snag.Accidents occur without any warnings. So you need to be prepared for all situations.  Have information about the local hospital, doctor, dentist and pharmacy. With youngsters, you never know what would happen next. A chipped away tooth, a bloody lip or any possible infection may result. Hence, you need to know the nearby hospital. Always make sure that you do not run out of adult pain relievers, as well as children’s pain relievers.  Moving is a stressful time.

 Author Bio: Stephen Roshy is a passionate writer and blogger. He has years of experience in writing content on various industries. Useful information for this article is provided by http://www.help2movela.com. Get in touch with Mr. Roshy on Facebook , Twitter and Google+.

HOW TO TEACH WORKPLACE VIOLENCE SAFETY (GUEST POST)

Workplace safety involves a few topics such as personal hygiene, and personal safety against physical violence to name the most important ones. These apply to almost all fields of work whereas accidents by materials happen only in certain industries. Proper orientation and awareness and also education toward workplace safety need to be taught to all employees in order to avoid any hazard in the workplace.

Personal Health Safety: All companies should educate their employees on the relevance of personal hygiene, diseases and the most probable causes of such diseases. People working in laboratories and industries regularly come in contact with chemicals which could be allergens or irritants. Therefore, employees need to be aware of the use of protective gloves, masks and skin cream etc. in order to safeguard themselves from these health issues.

How to Teach Personal Health Safety: · Posters can be hung at places where workers wash their hands, at rest rooms, and where they change their uniforms and all. A seminar or some talks can be arranged to make the employees aware of the risks involved in their workplace in case they do not take care of themselves properly.  Tours to such other companies can be organized in order to show the workers how other companies manage to be risk-free.

Slip and fall safety: This is one of the most common causes for workplace accidents. Several steps can be taken to prevent these accidents. It is highly essential to be aware of the possible spots of danger namely water spills, spots of grease or oil. Every employee needs to know these spots and be on alert when negotiating these places.  Slopes or low-lying areas pose dangers and employees should wear proper foot wear which would save them from the possible mishaps.   Hanging posters or holding meetings, or awareness programs would help a great deal in protecting oneself from workplace accidents.

Workplace Violence Safety: Workplace safety is a point of serious concern since violence could happen due to misbehavior’s of other employees let alone the accidents that happen by environmental conditions.

How to Teach Workplace Violence Safety: · Pamphlets and seminars would be of a great help to employees. Since workplace violence is a sensitive issue workers should have a provision to complain  anonymously about the issues they face at the workplace.  Employees could also hold group discussions on these issues and share the possible remedies that they can think of.  Visuals always give extra effect to all things. Showing videos on workplace violence would have a great impact on workers.

Ergonomics: Ergonomics is the scientific discipline which concerns with the understanding of humans and other systems. In simple terms, this would involve keeping things at the proper heights in the workplace to prevent muscular, skeletal and other injuries. Ergonomics could also be taught to employees by way of distributing pamphlets, by holding talks and seminars for workers etc. Companies could also bring ergonomic experts to personally teach the employees how to take care of themselves while at work.

This article was sent to us by Christy Nelson of buyessays.us.

INTERESTING OFFICE SAFETY TIPS (GUEST POST)

Ensuring office safety is a serious thing. As an office is a place housing hundreds to thousands of employees, business owners and managers must consider office safety a high priority. They should create a safe workplace for their employees, implementing safety mandates and ensure a hazard-free office environment. 

Ergonomics

Heard about this term before? For those who have no idea what ergonomics is, it is a science which main concern is between workers and their environment. It looks at how employees do their work and ensure body safety of the employees when doing such work. We can basically say that ergonomics protects and prevents employees from strain and injury. 

In a workplace, for example, an employee must be provided with a desk and a chair that he or she can adjust to her body size. He or she should be able to sit straight and comfortably when working. For the flooring, a special padded rubber mat that absorbs shock is needed if a worker must stand while doing his or her work. These things may seem unimportant but provide protection and prevent casualties in a workplace. 

Housekeeping

It is a normal scene in restaurants and fast-food chains to see cleaners put on warning signs when the floor is wet to prevent accidents. This should be done also in offices where a worker could trip or fall. General housekeeping must be safely done both by directing janitorial crews to clearly mark wet floor areas and in-house electricians to prevent damaged cords out in the open. It is recommended that office cleaning be scheduled when most workers are out of the office. 

Fire Hazards

Fire hazards pose a big danger in the workplace. Professional should regularly check both the computer systems, as well as electrical systems.  Workers should be warned about the dangers of overloading single outlets and using too many extension cords. Offices must run regular fire drills and develop  a fire escape plan for employees. 

Lighting

Employees who spend most of their working time in front of a computer are more prone to getting headaches and eyestrain, sometimes caused by either too much lighting from sun or inadequate light fixtures.  This problem can be avoided by placing computer monitors in appropriate positions. Cornell University Ergonomics Web recommends that the computer be positioned directly in front of the user and the lighting isn’t too bright. To block the sun’s rays, shades should be provided by the company. 

Seating

Many employees develop sciatic pain in their backs and legs from hours of sitting. Our bodies were not designed to be in a seated position for a long time. Workers can avoid this problem by taking several break periods though the day. Employees should stand up and move around the office as much as they are permitted. Aside from using ergonomic chairs, employees can do arm and neck stretching and other simple exercises while in the workplace. 

AUTHOR BIO 

Shiela Flakes works as a Research Associate for help.plagtracker.com. Aside from doing research, she also does writing and editing consultations to many different people. Reach Shiela through her Google+.ele

DO YOU HAVE A “STAND-UP JOB?”

Is your job a stand-only one?   Any prolonged position can hurt your body, and standing is no exception.  The best position is standing in a variety of ways, where you equally distribute loads on different parts of the body but causes no physical strain.  There is no single, ideal body position for several hours of remaining upright while working.

 Workers often sit or stand for long periods of time, for example:   salesperson, machine operator, assembly-line worker, bank teller, store clerk, nurse, cooks, and waitresses.  They suffer many discomforts, such as muscular fatigue, low back pain, sore feet, or stiffness in the shoulders and neck. 

Excessive standing also causes the joints in the spine, hips, knees and feet to become temporarily locked.  This immobility can later lead to rheumatic diseases due to degenerative damage to the tendons and ligaments.  Those whose jobs require standing most of the time, should take frequent breaks and do some walking around the workplace to exercise their joints from being in the same position.  Stretching before and after work could help. If you spend most of your time at work standing, here are some tips you can do to improve your posture and reduce the ill effects: 

Proper position

If you work in a standing position, always face what you’re working on, keeping your body close to the work.  Adjust the workspace so that you have enough space to change positions. Use a foot rail or portable footrest to shift your body weight from both legs to one or the other leg. Use a seat whenever possible while working, or at least during rest breaks. Avoid over-reaching behind or above the shoulder line, or beyond the point of what is comfortable. Instead of reaching, shift your feet to face the object.  If you must stand to work, take frequent rest breaks.  Stretching through the day will relax your muscles. Bank tellers or convenience store clerks could have a stool located behind them, in order to sit while not attending to a customer.

Proper standing surface

The floor you stand on also greatly affects your level of comfort. Wooden, cork or rubber-covered floors are better than concrete or metal, but if you must stand on hard floors, stand on mats. Floor mats should have slanted edges to help prevent tripping. They must be dense enough to cushion the feet, but not too thick. Too much cushioning, from thick foam-rubber mats, for example, can cause fatigue and increase the hazard of tripping.

Workstation set up

Any stand-up workstation should be adjusted according to your height, using elbow height as the guide. For example, precision work, such as writing or electronic assembly, requires a work surface that’s 5 cm above elbow height; your elbows should be supported. Light work, such as assembly-line or mechanical jobs, require a work surface that is 5 to 10 cm below elbow height. Heavy work, demanding downward forces, requires a surface that is 20 to 40 cm below elbow height.

Wear Comfortable footwear

If your feet hurt, your legs, back and hips will also hurt.  The comfort of your feet depends largely on your footwear. Choose footwear that accommodates the hazards in your workplace. Your shoes should be as wide as your feet, leaving room to move your toes. They should have arch supports to prevent flattening of the feet, and a heel with a firm grip to prevent slipping.  Lace-up shoes are best, because they allow you to tighten the instep of your footwear, keeping your foot from slipping inside the shoe or boot. The footwear should have heels that are not flat, but are no higher than 5 cm (2 inches). Wear padding under the tongue if you suffer from tenderness over the bones at the top of the foot. And if you work on a metal or cement floor, cushion your foot with a shock-absorbing insole.

Many professional women –  attorneys, legislative employees, and others are required to dress for the job, including dress shoes, some with very high heels. The only advice to give them is to wear a pair of walking shoes while climbing up stairs or walking to their jobs, and don the heels once their day at work actually begins. Years later, they will possibly pay the price for standing all day in 4-5″ heels (to be fashionable).

Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety

Note: Texas America Safety Company recommends using posters to promote ergonomic safety for those workers who have to stand or sit in the same position all day.

WHAT ARE WORKPLACE INJURIES? HOW CAN THEY BE STOPPED? (GUEST POST)

Accidents can happen in the workplace, we all know that. 600,000 of them happened in the year 2010-2011, over a third of which resulted in an employee taking more than three days off work. What’s more, you’ll be surprised how many accidents in the workplace occur as a result of poor practice from the employer.

Whether in a white-collar environment or a busy warehouse, employers that don’t care for their staff with proper health and safety will invariably see them get hurt – harming morale and costing the business in sick pay and diminished productivity.

What are the most common workplace injuries?

Irresponsible health and safety at work can result in illnesses, injuries and maladies of all shapes and sizes. From fractured limbs and bruising from slips, trips and falls to posture-related back and neck injuries as well as the psychological effects of stress and depression, there’s barely a condition that can’t be contracted at work.

However, because blue-collar workers are traditionally moving around more and exerting themselves more physically than their counterparts in offices, it makes sense that more injuries occur in warehouses, factories and industrial areas than in white-collar locations. According to the Health and Safety Executive in the UK, slips, trips and falls account for more than half of all major injuries and nearly a third of serious over 3-day injuries.

When it comes to fatal injuries, falling from height remains the biggest threat for employees with 40 dying in 2011/12 – again something that affects workers on construction sites and warehouses.

Why do employers neglect health and safety?

There’s no denying that businesses have cleaned up their act over the last 20 years and industrial areas are significantly safer than they were a few decades ago. But there are still employers out there that endanger their staff by flouting their health and safety responsibilities.

Why do employers ignore health and safety? There are a number of reasons. Although it’s tempting to think that injuries arise as a result of prudent penny-pinching businesses, it’s not quite as simple as that. Very often, a serious injury will occur not because a company has neglected to invest the necessary time and money, but because of failed communication or through the fault of individuals.

How to protect employees from injury at work

To be successfully implemented, health and safety in the workplace needs to be dealt with from top to bottom – from senior managers deciding the safest course of action through to supervisors ensuring that the directions are being safely and completely carried out. It also requires full training for all employees – and for all workers to feel comfortable enough to regulate themselves. By letting their seniors know if any work that they’re due to carry out carries a risk they’re not only reducing the risk for themselves at work, but for their colleagues too.

AuthorAccident at work solicitors at Hugh James specialise in assisting employees and family members to make a claim if workers were injured on the job. From agricultural and manual handling accidents to slipping and tripping at work and workplace violence, the Hugh James team can help injured workers to receive the compensation they’re due if employers were found to flout their responsibilities.

Our thanks to Ben Magee for sending this article regarding the importance of employers living up to their responsibilities.  Every employee should be well trained, and understand the hazards and risks associated with their particular job description. pb

 

THERE’S MORE TO BEAUTY THAN MEETS THE EYE (PART II)

As stated in yesterdays’ post, there is more to the beauty business than meets the eye.  As in any profession, health risks are involved.  Our salon workers are exposed to certain chemicals as well as ergonomic issues.  We want to share with you a couple of more things to think about the next time you want to enhance your beauty! 

Nail Salons:  Note that the risk to chemicals is very low, because three OSHA-regulated ingredients – dibutyl phthalate (DBP , toluene, and formaldehyde ), have been eliminated from leading nail polish brands.  A European Union ban on these products is given credit for this action.  The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics contends that the U.S. ban was the result of a coalition of 160 organizations that organized salon workers and pressured polish makers to remove harmful chemicals.  The director of this campaign states that cosmetics requirements in this country have not been significantly updated since the late 1930’s.  Very little research on nail salon workers or customers has been done.  Due to this Campaign, several hundred cosmetics companies have taken a voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals banned by health agencies outside the U.S. and to fully disclose product ingredients. 

Massage Salons:  Because spas are among the fastest growing elements of beauty business, massage is the main attraction.  A knowledge of ergonomics is important to massage therapists because many of them have experienced pain or musculoskeletal symptoms related to massage work.  Overuse syndrome and tendonitis affecting the neck, wrist and lower back have been reported.

 Massage therapists can prevent injury by keeping their bodies in a neutral posture.  An example of this is: head over the shoulders, shoulders over the hips, hips over the knees and knees over the ankles.  Keeping the body “stacked” in this way helps maintain the normal curves of the spine and it ensures that the muscles alone aren’t holding one upright.  It is also important for massage therapists to maintain good overall health. 

Through the information we have provided, last but not least, is the responsibility of the employer.  They have an important role to play in keeping their personnel injury-free and working longer.  Training is of vital importance and keeping the workplace free of clutter to prevent employees from tripping and falling are expected from the owners.

We all owe a debt of thanks to our beauticians, who not only serve as hair stylists, and more, but also have to be our therapists as well, listening to all our problems.  They are very patient and strive to please their customers, therefore building their clientele. 

Congress is currently considering two proposed laws to make safer cosmetics.  Let’s hope these laws will keep all workers in this field of service to the public safer.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

WHY ERGONOMICS MATTERS: THE SCIENCE OF SAFETY IN THE OFFICE (GUEST POST)

Dictionary.com defines ergonomics as “the study of efficiency in working environments.” This one word encompasses just about everything about your workplace, including the size and brightness of your monitor, the space on your desk, and even how you hold your hands when typing an email. An improper ergonomic workspace can leave you feeling unnecessarily tired, grouchy, and sore. Over time, the wrong ergonomic setup can even cause debilitating and painful degenerative problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are five common physical problems improper ergonomics can cause, along with ways to combat them!

1)      Bad Posture

Sitting hunched over a keyboard or a steering wheel all day can lead to painful lower back problems such as bulging discs and strained muscles. The human body is designed to be in motion and can only sustain a single position for about twenty minutes without pain. In common seated-job scenarios, people tend to sit toward the front of their seats to focus more intently on the road or the computer. The best way to combat this is simple: sit back so the seat’s lumbar and neck supports can do their job. Place your feet flat on the floor. Finally, shift positions or stand up and move around as often as possible, but no less than five minutes per twenty minutes of sitting time.

2)      Carpal tunnel syndrome

Many professional writers and people who spend a lot of time typing are prone to this extremely painful degenerative disease. Carpal tunnel is so named because when the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel into the palm, thumb, index, and middle fingers becomes inflamed, it can affect the range of motion and strength in the hand, as well as causing numbness, tingling, and pain. To combat this, you can use a special ergonomic brace for your keyboard or lower your desk so your wrists don’t raise upward while you’re typing.

3)      Eye Strain

Eye strain is one of the most common problems an ergonomically incorrect workspace can cause. If left uncorrected long enough, this can result in degenerative eye diseases such as astigmatism and nearsightedness. These can frequently result in the need for corrective lenses or eye surgery. Keeping your computer screen dimmed, especially when you are using it for long periods, and making sure your workspace is well lit can help prevent this problem. It’s also a good idea to take frequent breaks, especially when staring at a computer monitor or plan text for long periods. If possible, arrange your computer screen so it’s 18-24 inches from your face and you’re reading it from a downward angle.

4)      Repetitive Strain Injury

Anything you do repetitively day in and day out can cause RSI. This applies equally to typing and pushing wheelbarrows, as well as using a hammer, turning a wrench…just about anything your job requires on a regular basis can bring on RSI. Keeping a good posture and using appropriate safety equipment (see Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, above) can help reduce or eliminate RSI symptoms.

5)      Twisted Posture

This may seem to tie in with bad posture, and in some ways it does. However, in many offices, space is at a premium, forcing employees to sit in awkward positions. If possible, arrange your desk, monitor, and chair so everything sits in a straight line. Keep your desk phone and other things you use frequently close, so you can reach them without straining. If there’s not a way to reorganize your cubicle, ask your employer if it’s possible to move the wall back enough to give you a proper alignment to prevent posture and RSI problems.

Our thanks to Joe Shervall, of  www.officefurnitureexpress.co.uk, UK office furniture specialists.

Please note: Texas America Safety Company has the perfect Ergonomics Poster for your office. 

 

EIGHT WAYS ERGONOMICS CAN HELP YOUR OFFICE (GUEST POST)

When people think of “workplace accidents,” images of construction sites or nuclear power plants usually come to mind. But the truth is, most office jobs don’t involve hazardous chemicals or dangerous heights. The less-than-thrilling reality is that some of the most common workplace injuries come from standard office environments, and even though 4.1 million individuals sustain work injuries or illnesses, most workplace injuries are preventable. In this post, you’ll find eight ways ergonomics can help your office, and ideas to improve your workplace environment. 

1. Improve your employee’s physical health…

Ergonomics studies how the equipment and environment of a workplace interact with the human body for optimal performance. The obvious benefit of a sound ergonomic office is that employees are less susceptible to workplace injuries or illnesses. I particularly like this course about common office safety tips; it gives easy ways to avoid workplace injuries. If your employees are kept safe and healthy, you’ve already got an essential part of a successful business. 

2. And improve your employee’s mental health

Physical injuries are not the only type of harm that afflict workers in an office environment. There is a whole field of ergonomics, called “engineering psychology” that studies the relationships between humans and machines. Engineering psychology tries to improve how users interact with the technology around them. For example, in the 1920s, Lillian Gilbreth invented the pedal bin, which allowed individuals to more easily throw away their trash. This type of ergonomic improvement, making people feel more comfortable using their equipment, is essential in the modern, technology-filled workplace.  

3. Minimize costs in your workplace

If an employee sustains a workplace injury, they are often entitled to “worker’s compensation,” which can cost your company thousands of dollars. By keeping all of your employees safe, you avoid this expensive cost.  

4. Increase your employee’s productivity

Happy and safe employees are productive employees. Workplace injuries prevent not only the injured from working, but take time away from their coworkers, your personnel department, and anyone else involved in the accident. Minimizing the number of injuries in your office allows your employees to devote more time to their job. 

5. Make you in compliance with OSHA standards

Keeping your employees safe isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. OSHA has a set of regulations that businesses must follow to keep their workers safe. These online OSHA training courses can show you how your company can comply with OSHA regulations to keep your workplace safe. 

6. Prevent nasty lawsuits

If an employee feels their company has neglected to provide them a safe workplace environment, they might feel the need to sue their company for endangerment. And even if they lose the suit, the legal proceedings can cost your company thousands of dollars in legal fees. Keeping a safe workplace avoids these costly suits. 

7. Improve your company’s reputation

Workplace injuries don’t just harm your employees, they hurt your business’s reputation. If you can’t keep your workers safe, it will be hard to find other companies who want to do business with you. Having safe and healthy employees expands your business opportunities.  

8. Brighten your workplace atmosphere

Knowing that they are working in a safe and healthy environment will have an immediate improvement on your employee’s attitude and well-being. Every person in your company will feel the effect of having a safe workplace.

 

Micaela Deitch is a Business Development intern working at Open Sesame. She is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University and interested in learning about online education. You can connect her at micaela.deitch@opensesame.com.

Micaela, we really appreciate this your sending us the informative article.  Those who work in offices are subject to injury, as well as those out in the field or warehouses.  Their comfort and safety is very important to successful business.  pb

 

AN ANNUAL REMINDER: JUNE IS NATIONAL SAFETY MONTH

 

The National Safety Council is the organizer of  “June – National Safety Month”.  This year’s theme is “Safety 24/7”, because the National Safety Council says, “injuries and deaths off the job greatly outnumber those on the job.” 

That is a pretty frightening thought; however, if you think back, you may remember some close calls you have already had this year.  Maybe you started daydreaming while driving, and ventured a little too far into another lane on the road.  Maybe you thought you could do that one text while driving, only to look up to another close call.  Did you do something at work, that could have hurt someone else, or yourself?  This could be a good time to focus on staying safe, both at home, work, or play. 

There is a different safety focus for each week in June.  Week #1 is Employee Wellness and PALA+ Challenge.  (PALA stands for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Plus challenge.  PALA+ is designed for anyone who wants to improve ones lifestyle by eating healthier and exercising more.  Employers will be showing their commitment to their employees’ health and safety by starting this program up.   It’s just common-sense that by eating well and exercising, we all feel better.  What better time to start exercising either at work, or after work than now?  Many industries offer fitness centers for their employees to utilize.  Exercise and proper diet are important to every individual that desires to get healthy and stay that way. 

Week #2 is focusing on Ergonomics.  This is the science of fitting the job to the worker by designing tasks and furnishing equipment to suit the capability of each worker.  The secret is to prevent injury before it occurs.  Those workers in the healthcare field who are constantly lifting and assisting patients come to mind when thinking of ergonomics.  Also, those who work in warehouses, or office workers require proper ergonomics training.  Sitting at a desk all day requires proper posture, lighting, and ergonomically correct furniture. 

Week #3 focus is on Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls.  Falls are one of the most common injuries in the workplace.  Falls usually result from a slip or trip.  Housekeeping is essential to protecting workers by keeping obstacles out of the walkways, furnishing good lighting, and mopping and waxing floors when workers are away from the work area.  Loose carpet or rugs, and poorly placed electric cords have also been known to cause nasty falls. 

(One more thing about falls: recently, an elderly man we know fell and lay on the floor all night, until his daughter checked on him the next day.  He couldn’t reach his cell phone and wasn’t wearing a call-alert button.  If you know someone who stays at home alone, please see that they get this life-saving device that can immediately summon someone to help.) 

Last, but not least: Week #4 is “Driving Safely!”  How on earth to we get the message across to drivers to be safe?  It seems that we all truly want to be careful drivers, yet when we get behind the wheel, our personalities change!  (Maybe not all, but some of us!)  We just published an article about “Click It or Ticket” – these officers mean business about fastening that seatbelt.  They also are very serious if a driver is caught drinking while driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugsThere’s several culprits that contribute to distracted driving, especially cell phones.  Please, don’t text and drive!  Surely you have time to share that conversation through text or talk after you get home!  Please, for the safety of others on the road, do the right thing and turn the phone off.  The last thing my husband instructs me to do before I leave for a road trip alone is to Drive Defensively, as he has always said you never know what the other person is going to do.   

We hope you will use this information to keep yourselves and others safe.  We have wrapped up National Safety Month in one article; however, all these subjects we have written about or will continue to in future posts.  Texas America Safety Company and Blog4Safety are dedicated to helping keep you safe.