Monday, April 20, 2015

Prevention Workouts: Back Strength and Stretching

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Back injuries can be very devastating, not only for the person that is experiencing them, but also the company that employs the injured person.  The person with a back injury is usually out from work and the company has to pay for the workers compensation if the injury happened while on the job.  There are ways to help prevent back injuries on the job, but there are ways to help strengthen your back at home.  Preventions workouts can be done at home every day to help stretch and strengthen your back to help prevent injuries.

There are some workouts and stretches that can help strengthen your back.  The first one will start with you lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.  You will lift one knee toward your chest and pull it closer with both of your hands.  Then switch legs and do the same thing.  Finally, do both legs at the same time.  Repeat this stretch two to three times.

Another stretch starts off in the same position as the last one.  This time keep both of your knees and ankles together, and shoulders flat on the floor.  Twist your back so that your right side of your right knee is touching the floor.  Hold for ten seconds and then do the same thing for the left side.  Switch sides for a three to five times.

This next stretch starts off in the same position as the last two.  For this one keep your feet and shoulders flat on the floor with your knees together.  Start by lifting your lower back while keeping your hips on the floor.  Hold this for five seconds and go back to the original position.  Next lift your hips off the floor as well as your lower back.  Hold for five seconds and then return to the original position.  Go through this cycle three to five times.


This next stretch will require a different starting position.  Start with your hands and both of your knees on the floor.  Have your body positioned so that your arms and legs are parallel to each other and are perpendicular to the floor.  Once you are in this position start the stretch by arching your back up and hold for five seconds.  Then curve your back downward and hold for five seconds.  Keep your head looking at the floor and repeat the cycle three to five times.

Now sit in a chair that allows you sit up straight.  An armless chair works best for this exercise.   Sit up straight with your feet on the floor.  Fold your right leg over your left and twist your back to the right.  Hold this position for five seconds and then repeat for the left.  Repeat this exercise three to five times.

To finish off your back exercises for the day continue sitting straight up in the chair.  While maintaining good posture pull your shoulder blades together and hold for five seconds.  Relax and then repeat three to five times.


After doing all those stretches your back should be loose and stronger.  It is important to do them ideally once a day, but at least a few times a week.  Make sure you are physically able to do some of the floor exercises before you try them.  Doing these more often, and doing more repetitions when you are doing them, will only strengthen your back more.  



Thank you for your time and attention! Let's make it safe this Monday!

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, April 13, 2015

What is NIOSH?

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If you’re someone who is currently reading this blog you’re probably very familiar with what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is. However, OSHA has a less known counterpart in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  Today we are going to look at the difference between OSHA and NIOSH, what NIOSH is, and the importance/purpose that it serves.


On December 29th, 1970, President Nixon created both NIOSH and OSHA under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. According to OSHA.gov, its mission is to “assure safe and healthy working conditions for both men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance." OSHA is charged with creating and enforcing health and safety laws whereas NIOSH is more focused on developing recommendations for health and safety standards and conducting extensive research on new health and safety concepts. Simply speaking, OSHA is the lawmaker whereas NIOSH is the researcher.

As seen on cdc.gov, NIOSH’s vision is “Delivering on the nation's promise—safety and health at work for all people through research and prevention.” With the mission to “provide national and world leadership to prevent work-related illnesses and injuries.” NIOSH is a research center institution with three primary goals:

1.      Conduct research to reduce work-related illnesses and injuries.
2.      Promote safe and healthy workplaces through interventions, recommendations and capacity building.
3.      Enhance international workplace safety and health through global collaborations.

NIOSH is part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and lacks the authority to establish laws and regulations that OSHA has. However, OSHA tends to listen to any recommendations that NIOSH discover through their research. To learn more about what NIOSH is, visit the website at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/.



NIOSH has played a crucial part in creating the safety that is found in workplaces throughout the U.S. today and will continue to serve an important purpose for many years to come. It’s important to recognize the importance of NIOSH and to keep up with the safety research they might be doing in your field.

Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.


Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, March 23, 2015

Aerial Lift Safety

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According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, every year an average of 26 constructor workers die while using aerial lifts. These fatalities most commonly occur from falls, electrocutions, or collapses / tip-overs. Around 70% of these fatalities occur while using boom lifts, while 25% occur while using scissor lifts. It’s important to realize what the potential dangers are while operating aerial lift equipment and to take the necessary precautions to minimize any potential risks. 

There are some basic safety recommendations given by the Center for Construction Research and Training that are important to remember while operating aerial lifts. When working with or near electricity it’s important that you abide by the following guidelines:

  • Anyone not electrically trained should stay at least 10 feet away from any live overhead power lines. 
  • Avoid any sudden movements while controlling the aerial lift to avoid accidental contact with live power lines.
  • Always follow OSHA guidelines for both wearing the proper electrical safety gear and using the properly insulated tools when necessary. 

When it comes to the safe operational use of aerial lifts, OSHA has an extensive list of proper safety requirements and recommendations. Some of the main requirements and recommendations are listed below:

  • Every worked involved in the operation of an aerial lift must be trained by a properly qualified individual.
  • Workers shall always stand firmly on the floor of the lift basket, and shall not sit or climb on the edge of the basket. 
  • A body belt shall be worn and attached to the basket while working in a lift. 
  • The aerial lift truck shall not be moved when the lift is in an elevated position with workers in the basket. 
  • All manufacturer set weight and load limits shall not be exceeded. 

For more extensive rules and regulations visit the following OSHA webpage: (https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=10754)

It’s important to remember that no matter how confident you feel, that there is always a chance of making a mistake. When operating aerial lifts or other construction equipment, overconfidence can very quickly result in injury or death. Always follow the proper safety procedures and remember that your well-being is more important than spending a few less minutes accomplishing the task at hand.

Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, March 16, 2015

Heavy Lifting Techniques and Tips

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Improper lifting techniques may result in many health issues, but the most common is back related injuries. Back injuries can be extremely painful and once they occur, they can be hard to heal and leave long lasting effects. The best option is avoiding situations that could put unnecessary strain on your back. One way of doing that is using proper lifting techniques. 

Proper lifting techniques are extremely important when lifting heavy, bulky, or awkwardly shaped objects.  There are several things you can do while lifting to ensure the minimum chance of injury. One of these things is keeping a wide base of support.  Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and one of your feet should be slightly ahead of the other.  This will ensure that you disperse the weight of the object evenly to your feet and that you don’t fall or stumble when picking it up.


Another tip is to keep proper posture when lifting the object. Your posture starts when you bend down to initially get a hold of the object. When bending down it is important to bend with your knees and keep your back straight, when bending down and when actually lifting the object.  Your legs have some of the strongest muscles in them. If you use these muscles rather than your back muscles it will take a huge amount of stress off your back. A tip when bending down is to keep your head up and looking forward. This will greatly help with keeping your back straight and forcing you to bend with your knees.

When lifting the object you have to make sure you have a solid grip on it in a position that will not hurt your hands. Also, lifting slowly helps you from jerking up and causing the object to slip away or causing harm to your back. If an object could cut or put undistributed pressure on your hands, it is best to use gloves with good grips to help protect them. There is also no shame in asking for help when lifting an object.  Some things are just too much to handle for one person, just make sure your partner uses proper lifting techniques too. 

When carrying the object it is important to move at a safe pace.  Don’t run or move too quickly, this could result in dropping the object or tripping. When walking with the object try your best to hold it as closely as possible to you.  This usually happens without even thinking about it, but when you do it, it keeps your center of balance closer to normal. When carrying, avoid twisting your torso. 
Twisting adds extra stress on your lower back and could cause injury.  

When setting down the object it is important to use similar techniques to when you picked it up. Bend with your knees again, while having your feet shoulder-width apart and one slightly ahead of the other.  Be careful when setting the object down not to squish your fingers. When setting down an object with a partner, make sure you are moving at the same time to ensure no one drops it. Following these techniques and tips will greatly help reduce injury and keep you lifting healthier longer.      

Thank you for your time and attention! Let's make it safe this Monday!

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, March 9, 2015

Workplace Tobacco Policies

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Across the world toady, tobacco use is the cause of nearly 5 million deaths per year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, cigarette smoking is among the lead in preventable cause of death in the United States, being held responsible for an estimated 438,000 deaths per year, or roughly one out of every five deaths. Tobacco use can also lead to a long list of complicated diseases, including: cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, multiple cancers, emphysema, and bronchitis. Second-hand smoke is also responsible for numerous pediatric illnesses.


In addition to the negative side effects of tobacco use, the estimated costs of smoking-related medical expenses and loss of productivity are well over $167 billion annually (CDC). Employers experience a significant share in this overall cost as well. A recent analysis performed by Tobacco Control found that employees who smoke cost an employer $5,816 more than a non-smoking employee. They further state this is due to increased absenteeism, loss of productivity related to nicotine addiction, smoke breaks, and extra health care costs.

This is where implementing a tobacco-free workplace policy comes into play. There exists a long list of benefits that can be associated to a tobacco-free workplace.  The Capital District Tobacco Free Coalition (CDTFC) lists the benefits in their article titled, “Good Health is Good Business,” as:
  • Protects employees, visitors and clients from harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Lowers absenteeism due to smoking-related illnesses. People who smoke, on average, miss 6.2 days of work per year due to sickness compared to nonsmokers, who miss 3.9 days of work per year.
  • Increases worker productivity. Lost production time estimates for workers who report smoking or at least one pack of cigarettes per day were 75% higher than for nonsmoking employees or for employees who had previously quit.
  • May reduce direct healthcare costs. Employees exposed to secondhand smoke on the job are 12% to 19% more likely to get lung cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart attack by 25% to 35%.
They also list extra benefits to tobacco free workplace policies such as reducing the risk of fires, reducing maintenance costs by eliminating litter, increase the number of smokers who are motivated to quit and promotes consistency and equity in how smoking and non-smoking employees are treated.

If you are interested in making your workplace tobacco-free, or are just simply interested in learning more about workplace tobacco policies, please contact the CDTFC at 518-459-2388 or at www.SmokeFreeCapital.org. Together, they will help your business reach your tobacco-free policy goals by providing sample policies, sample employee outreach materials, FAQs, and so much more. By implementing workplace tobacco policies, you can put thousands of dollars back into your business and improve the lives of your employees.

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Kolton Larson
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, March 2, 2015

Chemical Spills

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When your workplace or home requires the use of chemicals it’s important to remember to be extra cautious. Never forget to follow all of the necessary safety and storage procedures to reduce any possible risk of injury or illness.  According to the University of Delaware, some of first steps you should take to reduce the chances of a chemical spill are, but not limited to:

  • Maintaining a neat and organized work area.
  • Storing liquid chemicals in secondary containment bins.
  • Keeping reagent chemical containers sealed or closed at all times, except when removing contents.
  • Using secondary containment to store and move chemicals.

While it’s important to have the proper training in place to prevent chemical spills, it’s also important to have the training to know how to react if a spill occurs. If a spill does occur, the first step you should take is identifying if the clean up is something you’re qualified to handle.  If the chemical spill is too large for you to handle or if it involves more than 500ml of any hazardous material, call for assistance immediately. If the chemical spill is a danger to personnel or involves any sort of toxic chemical, contact the appropriate emergency personnel immediately. 

However, if the chemical spill is minor you can appropriately clean up the spill yourself, assuming that you have the proper training and have access to the appropriate equipment. The type of clean up required is dependent on the type of chemical spill that occurs. The following steps are the most commonly used in the occurrence of a chemical spill:


  1. Identify if there is any danger to the people around you or yourself.
  2. If you know the spilled chemical is non-toxic and safe to approach: Start by setting up a perimeter around the spill area and by putting on the appropriate protective equipment.
  3. Spread a chemical spill powder over the spill. Start by pouring the powder around the edges of the spill and work your way to the center of the spill while making sure there is no free liquid.
  4. Once the liquid has been completely absorbed by the powder: Use a scoop to pick up the powder and to place the powder into an appropriate waste disposal bag.
  5. Wipe down the area with a wet paper towel and dispose of your gloves and paper towels into the same appropriate waste disposal bag. 

It’s important to realize that this guide is not a detailed guide to cleaning up all types of chemical spills. Each spill is different and should be handled differently depending on the specific chemical. If you ever have any doubt in your mind about how to handle a situation, call the appropriate emergency personnel and warn anyone who could be in danger. Both your safety and the safety of those around you is the number one priority. 

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, February 23, 2015

Stop Workplace Bullying!

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According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, surveys show that 5% of workers reported being subject to some form of harassment/bullying in 2005.  Although there are laws to deal with flagrant versions of these social interactions in the workplace, they are often glossed over in an attempt to avoid additional conflict.  These behaviors are often ignored, but this is unacceptable and sometimes dangerous. These actions between coworkers can lead to an increasingly hostile environment.


Harassment can be loosely defined as when a person is subjected to behavior that is repeated, unwelcomed, unsolicited, or offensive. Meaning that according to the survey quoted above, 5 out of every 100 workers are being subjected to some form of harassment in the workplace.

Bullying in the workplace can lead to lower self-esteem, increased stress, and trigger depression. Co-workers may think something along the lines of: ‘it’s just a joke,’ or ‘he/she will get over it.’ Although, it’s important to realize that while sometimes this might be true, there are some cases that can escalate and could result in serious side effects. If ignored, harassment can lead to lower quality output, whether in the product line or customer service, possibly leading to company ethics violations.  In extreme cases, it can lead to P.T.S.D. and even homicides and/or suicides.   Harassment is not a joking matter.

It is better to prevent harassment than to have to deal with the costs of counseling and possible compensation that may be required after the harassment has occurred. 

Five important steps to take to help prevent harassment include: 
  • Outline and clearly state unacceptable behavior.
  • Keep an up to date anti-harassment policy. 
  • Provide conflict management training. 
  • Have clear and strict consequences for harassment complaints. 
  • Maintain confidentiality with all internal issues, making sure rumors cannot be spread due to breached confidentiality.

Always report any suspected harassment, bullying, or discrimination to your PR representative, your union (if applicable), or to the proper supervisor. 

Remember: even if you get a good laugh, the potential risks of workplace harassment are not a joke. 

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company