Monday, April 14, 2014

Are You a Cell Phone Addict?

MAKE-IT-SAFE MONDAY


It’s a fairly obvious fact that Americans in today’s world love their cell phones. In fact, recent statistics from the website www.pewinternet.org show that over 91% of all adults have a cell phone, and of this 91%, 55% own smart phones in particular. It is definitely not uncommon in today’s world for people to consider themselves addicted to their mobile devices. Though these complex devices have managed to benefit our world in many ways, what many people don’t consider is the health risk of over-using their phones. 

There are a broad range of side-effects to over-using your cell phone. According to the website www.bostonglobe.com, some of these proven side-effects include sore hands and fore-arms from texting, sore and dry eyes, headaches, sore neck, and dizziness to name a few common ones. There are even side-effects such as “Nomophobia” which is the fear of having to go without your cell phone and “Phantom cell phone vibration syndrome” which is when you believe you feel a vibration from your phone when it really hasn't vibrated. 

So how does one avoid these symptoms? The website www.webMD.com advises these three techniques to help control your usage:
  • Be conscious of the situations and emotions that make you want to check your phone. Is it boredom? Loneliness? Anxiety? Maybe something else would soothe you.
  • Be strong when your phone beeps or rings. You don't always have to answer it. In fact, you can avoid temptation by turning off the alert signals.
  • Be disciplined about not using your device in certain situations (such as when you're with children, driving, or in a meeting) or at certain hours ( for instance, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.). "You'll be surprised and pleased to rediscover the pleasures of being in control of your attention," Carr says.

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

Phil Kwitek
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, April 7, 2014

Staying Healthy at a Desk Job

MAKE-IT-SAFE MONDAY

Many Americans have jobs where they sit at a desk all day and there is nothing wrong with this, but these people are susceptible to certain health risks.  These jobs can facilitate in a sedentary life style and ergonomic health issues. 

If employees work in an environment that is mostly desk-bound it is important that the office is ergonomically designed with the employees in mind.  Without proper design workers could experience back issues after sitting improperly in chairs or have chairs that can hurt their backs over time.  When sitting in chairs for a prolonged period it is important to sit up straight, have your feet flat on the floor and hands out in a comfortable position.  It is also important for employers to provide chairs that appropriate for the job.  The chairs should be adjustable so they can be fit to the correct height for each employee.  The chairs should have lower back support to prevent lower back strain.  It is also important for desks to be ergonomically designed.  Not only should the chairs be adjustable, but the desks too.  Desks should be set at the correct height for each individual worker.  They also make desks that can be adjusted instantly and can even be raised high enough for a person to stand and work.  Switching between standing and sitting can help prevent skeletal and muscle issues.  


Workers that sit at a desk have a higher chance at living an inactive lifestyle.  This lifestyle can lead to anxiety, cardiovascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, depression, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. People should have 150 minutes of exercise every week. Although it can be difficult to find time it is important to stay find ways to stay active throughout the day. Every so often workers should stand up, stretch, and walk around a bit.  People are supposed to walk about an average of 10,000 steps a day.  For me personally 10,000 steps is equivalent to 4.5 miles.  Taking this many steps will keep you active throughout the day.  Most people have smart phones now and there are plenty of free apps that will track your step count.  My personal favorite is Pedometer++.  I encourage you to download one and see how many steps you take a day.   

There are some other issues facing workers that work in office settings.  One is eye strain.  Focusing on a computer can be very strenuous of the eyes, so it is important to take a break from the computer every once in a while.  If your job requires you to be on the phone a lot you should have a Bluetooth headset rather than using a phone.  When using a phone you have to either hold it up with one hand or kink your neck to hold it.  Kinking your neck several times a day could become strenuous on your neck.  The height of computer screens could also be an issue that could cause strain on your neck.  If the screens are placed too high or too low you may find yourself kinking your neck up or down.  The top of the computer screen should be eye level when the worker is sitting straight up.

Millions of people work at a desk every day and it is important to keep health and safety in mind.  Maintain good posture when working and take a break every once in a while to stretch your legs and give your eyes a break.

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 31, 2014

Don't Let Allergies Ruin Your Spring

MAKE-IT-SAFE MONDAY

With the cold weather that has been sweeping the nation, it might be hard to believe that spring and warmer days are just around the corner. However, for many people such as myself, spring comes with the challenge of seasonal allergies. According to WebMD, “About 40 million people in the U.S. have some time of ‘indoor/outdoor’ allergy.” Seasonal allergies in the spring can be a major hassle for those who have to work in outdoor career fields such as farming, landscaping, roofing, and many others. Allergies treated improperly can lead to safety issues on the job site, for the allergic person and for their co-workers. 



Although there is no foolproof ‘cure’ for seasonal allergies, there are definitely options to make them less miserable. Things such as pollen, mold, dust, or chemical toxins and their byproducts can trigger allergies.  Some helpful tips for reducing your allergy symptoms include, but are not limited to: 
  • Discover your most effective allergy medicine. There are a few different over the counter options for seasonal allergies, and each medicine will perform differently. Experiment until you find the best option to reduce your symptoms.
  • Start taking your medication before spring arrives. According to WebMD, the time to start taking your medicine is late February, not late March. The time-frame is different depending on the climate you live in, however, once things start thawing, it will help you to start your medication before the pollen starts to peak. 
  • Change the air filter(s) in your company’s air system to reduce indoor allergies. This helps avoid having the air conditioning suck in pollen from outdoors and spread it throughout your business, because the filters aren't working well. 
  • If you work outside, consider wearing a face mask, especially if the pollen count is high that day, or if the company is doing work inside that is producing chemical gasses.  Be aware that if you need to filter out chemical toxins, you will need a different face mask from the ones that filter out dust and pollen.  You can check the pollen count online, or on an allergy based phone apps. When wearing a face mask, it might seem uncomfortable at first, however, it will help reduce the amount of pollen and reduce the effect of the inflammatory response caused by allergies. 
If allergies have made you miserable in the past, use these methods to reduce the effects. If the symptoms are still unbearable, see an allergist for alternative solutions. No one wants to dread going to work on a beautiful day; be prepared to reduce your allergies this spring.

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 24, 2014

Keeping it Cool - How to Handle Workplace Stress

MAKE-IT-SAFE MONDAY


Workplace stress is a very real thing that happens to many people. Having to meet quotas, balancing family life with work, and the ever-so-constant concern of money and how it's spent are all major issues that the typical worker has to deal with. Think you might be stressed? Here is a list of some of the common symptoms of workplace stress: 

Emotional symptoms
  • Negative or depressive feeling
  • Disappointment with yourself
  • Increased emotional reactions – more tearful or sensitive or aggressive
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of motivation, commitment and confidence
  • Mood swings

Mental Symptoms
  • Confusion, indecision
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor memory

Changes from your normal behavior
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Increased smoking, drinking or drug taking ‘to cope’
  • Mood swings affecting your behavior
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Twitchy, nervous behavior
  • Changes in attendance such as arriving later or taking more time off
  • Increase in errors and accidents
So how do you deal with workplace stress? All it requires is a little bit of patience and some self-confidence. Tackle each assignment you are given as a challenge and tell yourself that you WILL get each task done. Make sure to take frequent breaks from work when you feel it is needed. If you feel crammed in your cubicle then make a goal to get up out of your chair every hour and go on a little walk. You can even take your walk outside and get some fresh air. One of the most common causes for stress is a lack of fresh air and exercise. By going on a leisure walk outside you are killing two birds with one stone!

Another really helpful thing to do in order to defeat stress is to consider your diet. Have you been consuming unhealthy amounts of sugary foods? All of that sugar causes the human body to feel bogged down after a while. Though the initial rush of caffeine might make you feel good, the crash afterwards is often very rough. Start eating healthy snacks instead such as fruits, vegetables, and granola bars. 

And lastly, learn to perfect your time management skills. A major reason why most people feel stressed at work suddenly is because they just realize that a project or assignment is near deadline and most of the work has been procrastinated. Make the investment of buying a personal planner. With a planner handy, you will be able to jot down all of your tasks in an organized manner and will have something to use as a reminder so you won't procrastinate on things. Mark off time in your schedule for fun stuff too! After all, part of staying stress free is to balance work with play! 


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

Phil Kwitek
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Flooding

MAKE-IT-SAFE MONDAY

It’s getting to the time of the year where we forget about the cold winter behind us and look ahead to the warm weather that spring brings with it.  Walking home for lunch I hear the sound of water flowing down the sides of the streets and into the drain.  That sound lets me know that the snow is melting and spring is on its way.  The snow melting is nice but when it melts it can bring disaster.  In some areas, especially those areas around rivers, the snow melting can lead to flooding conditions.  Floods can also be caused by excess rain, or a dam or levee breaking. Floods can ruin lives, create millions of dollars in damages, ruin whole houses, destroy cars, and even be deadly.  

What can be done to stop these terrible rising waters from harming you, your family, and your property?  The biggest thing is to know if you are in a high risk location.  If your house is located below sea level, like New Orleans for example, you are in danger of flooding.  Being below sea level is not the only high risk area though.  If you live in a town next to a river or if your house is close to a river you could be in a high risk location when spring comes along and the water level of the river rises.  You can be away from bodies of water like rivers and oceans and still be at risk though.  If your house is at the bottom of a hill or in the bottom of a bowl like formation, during a heavy rain fall you could still be in danger of flooding.  

If you are in a higher risk area it is important to be prepared in case a flood was to occur. Things you can do are to sand bag.  Many towns that are close to rivers that have been known to flood have volunteers filling and placing sandbags to form a wall to prevent the water from flowing into the town.  If you live in a town like this it is important to do your part and help your community.

Things you can do to help yourself are to have an evacuation plan, have an emergency kit, and always try to have your essential electronics charged.  Your evacuation plan should include having bags already packed, pets ready to go, and in a safe location.  A flood emergency kit should include flash lights, radio, tarps, batteries, drinking water, first aid equipment, emergency blankets, plastic bags, and flares.  For your electronics, such as a cell phone, it is important to have them charged and in plastic bags so the water doesn't damage them.      
   
Once the waters are coming in it is important to follow safety protocol.  Staying informed is very important; the radio in your emergency kit can help with that.  Get to higher ground.  It may seem obvious but if your house is flooding you have to leave and seek higher ground.  It’s not worth endangering yourself or someone else staying in your house or going back for valuables.

Floods can be very dangerous, but if you are prepared you’ll be able to beat the flood and stay safe.

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Cleaning

MAKE-IT-SAFE MONDAY

Though it might not feel like it yet, spring time is approaching very fast. A common practice during this time of year would of course be spring cleaning. If everyone else is doing it, why not join in on the fun?


One of the most common practices during spring cleaning would of course be dust removal. With many things in the house left sitting around during the winter and the lack of fresh air circulating from outside, dust often times builds up in the house. Also with the use of fireplaces during the winter (the ones that use real wood of course), smoke and ash from the fire can build up in rooms with fireplaces. So with the fireplace going out of season soon, now is the perfect time to grab a spray bottle, some paper towels, a vacuum, and a duster and go around the house for just an hour or so. You might be surprised by just how much you find in your house!

Next grab the cleaning chemicals and clean some of the appliances! Here is a list of simple supplies and how you can use them to clean, brought to you by HGTV:
  • Drains:  ½ c. baking soda with ½ c. salt – pour down drain, follow with 2 c. boiling water, and let sit overnight.
  • Bathtubs: ½ c. baking soda with white vinegar, make a paste.
  • Ovens: ½ c. baking soda with ¼ c. salt, add enough water to make a paste.

Spring cleaning doesn't have to just be cleaning up dirt and grime though, why not take some time on the weekend to clean up papers and files in your house and even your office? Having a more tidy work environment will provide you with a much more organized and efficient zone to go about your job tasks, and plus it just might get a thumbs up from the boss! 

Keeping your spaces and things clean won't only make you feel better, but you might stumble up some things that either need to be fixed or maybe you could do without! The stuff you can do without can either be sold for some extra cash or donated to a good cause!

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

Phil Kwitek
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quality Control

MAKE-IT-SAFE MONDAY

Growing up, you are constantly told that it’s okay to make mistakes, that as long as you are trying, that’s the most important thing. However, once you grow up and end up in a workplace, things change a little bit. Although mistakes are still inevitable, you must monitor them very closely. In order to keep a safe work environment and deliver safe products to your consumers, you must establish a system for quality control.


Quality control can be applied to many aspects of your company, from the quality of the products you’re sending out, to the processes used to exchange, deliver, and calculate information in the workplace. If you don’t continually keep up with your quality control, it can lead to product malfunction, accounting errors, inaccurate reports, and much more. 

Some tips for increasing and maintaining effective quality control include, but are not limited to: 
  • Define your processes. Whether it’s your manufacturing, reporting, or testing processes, you should find a repeatable way for your employees to uniformly complete the tasks at hand, so if you ever run into any issues it’s easier to track where the mistakes are coming from. 
  • Stay Organized. Making sure your workplace is organized and clean is important for reducing mistakes, improving quality, and staying as efficient as possible.  Make sure to use labels for parts or processes when it’s beneficial. 
  • Inspect your processes often and thoroughly.  Make sure you have an employee in place to inspect your work to make sure no corners are being cut and you are meeting the required and necessary guidelines.
Quality control is an aspect of safety that is often forgotten about. It’s easy to set up processes and guidelines for a safer and more efficient work place, but too often corners are cut and without monitoring, the quality of work continues to decrease over time. The benefits from a properly implemented quality control system greatly outweigh the time, energy, and costs that are needed to implement and maintain the assurance of high quality. 

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