Monday, April 29, 2013

Lift Smart, Don't Be A Statistic


Back injuries in the workplace are one of the most costly musculoskeletal disorders in the United States according to a study done at the University of Minnesota.  Lower-back pain affects over 1,000,000 workers in the United States each year.  More people miss work due to back injuries than any other musculoskeletal disorder. 

What causes this back pain though?  Back injuries are very common among those who work primarily in physical labor.  It can be caused by lifting to heavy of an object, repetitive lifting, lifting in extreme cold, lifting or carrying awkwardly shaped objects, or improper lifting and carrying form.  Back injuries can also be caused by standing too long or having poor posture when sitting or standing.  Back injuries are one of the most preventable types of injuries in the workplace.  They can be prevented by proper lifting technique, having mechanical help, or having others help.   Some options are more costly and effective than others. 

Having mechanical devices such as lifts or pulleys can be more expensive but studies show that the initial investment will more than likely be cheaper in the long run compared to the cost of workers compensation for those who are injured and the cost of hiring those to replace them or the cost to pay other workers more to cover their shifts.  Back injuries are very common in the work place and can be caused many different ways, but there are ways to help try to prevent some of the injuries from happening in the first place.

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

Contributed by Dale Bromenshenkel,
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift'n Buddy, A Southworth Company.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Identifying Risk Factors and Preventing Them


Today’s Make-It-Safe Monday focuses on identifying risk factors at work and taking steps to prevent them. Every day at work we face risks, dangers, and hazards to our health, but by identifying these factors and avoiding them we can limit many injuries. By recognizing these risks and stopping them before they occur we not only remain much happier and healthier workers, but also save lots of missed time and wasted money.

Heavy Lifting- Many jobs require heavy lifting and for obvious reasons the added strain leads to an increase in injuries. When required to perform heavy lifting use the aid of equipment if possible, such as the easy to operate, efficient Lift’n Buddy. Also avoid repetitive lifting over a long period of time

Twisting- Twisting at the waist while lifting or holding a heavy loads increasing the risk of injury immensely. When lifting remember to turn your entire body, not just at the waist, to remain safe.

Reaching and Lifting- When reaching either over your head, across a table, or out the back of a truck there is already strain on the body, when combining that reaching with lifting it provides a high risk of injury and should be avoided whenever possible.

Carrying and Lifting- Risk of injury increases when carrying or lifting objects of strange shape. Always ask for help if available or use mechanical aid when necessary. Also remember to lift with your legs not back.

Awkward Positions- Similar to when reaching, awkward positions created an added amount of strain on the body that leads to injuries over time. Inappropriate posture that contributes to back pain can be caused by poor workstation layout or equipment design. Make sure to have a proper work area design to improve posture and minimize this risk.

Slips, Trips, and Falls- Common accidents from slips, trips and falls lead to many injuries, but proper setup and precautions in the workplace can greatly minimize the odds of falling. Make sure to report and fix any areas or situations that appear to be unsafe.

Sitting or standing- Many employees are probably either behind a desk or on our feet for a majority of our day. The long hours in one position creates a large amount of strain on our bodies over time and leads to injury. Make sure for every hour either sitting or standing and take a short break from that position to relax the muscles. A brief stretch can also be very beneficial.
This is a general list of many of the risk factors we face daily in the workplace. Make sure to avoid them when possible and if you see an unsafe situation be sure to report it. The safety of all workers in paramount in the workplace, so I hope you all have a safe week.

Contributed by Joe Wheatley
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lifting Tips to Avoid Injuries


                Back injuries in the workplace can create many problems when it comes to efficiency on the job. These injuries come from repeatedly sitting or standing for long hours with bad posture. Lifting improperly when moving items is another major cause for injury. Here are some helpful tips when it comes to lifting objects to avoid back injury. 
  • The first tip is crucial when it comes to picking up heavy objects. Bend at the knees first and always keep your back straight. Do not twist when lifting. If the object is too heavy or awkwardly shaped ask for help or use a mechanical devise to assist you. 
  • The second tip should be considered when carrying the load. To avoid injury when carrying an object try holding it closely to your body and make sure you have a solid grip. Using your palms rather than your fingers will be easier and less likely to injure your hands. If the object does get too heavy, set it down, just remember to set it down safely.  When turning, remember to turn with your feet first and try not to twist. 
  • The third set of tips is for setting down the object. Always keep your head up. If your head is up and you are looking straight forward it will help your back to be straight. Be sure when lifting the object to bend at your knees when you set it down.
  • Lastly, if your job requires a lot of standing or sitting try these suggestions to avoid injury. Use cushioned floor mats. These mats well help reduce stress on the discs of your back. For jobs that require excessive amounts of sitting, try keeping your back straight and have your computer monitor at eye level. Take time to sit after prolonged periods of standing, stand after long periods of sitting, take plenty of breaks, and stretch.

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

Contributed by Dale Bromenshenkel,
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift'n Buddy, A Southworth Company.

Monday, April 1, 2013

How Do I Report Unsafe Working Conditions?

Today, on Make-It-Safe Monday, we will be covering how to report an unsafe work environment. It is always in your company’s best interest to heed any warning when it comes to workers safety. Fixing a problem before someone gets hurt has the potential to save the company millions of dollars in medical bills and lawsuits.

First, it is recommended that you tell your company. Often companies are too large or your job is too specialized that employers are unaware of safety issues in the work place.  Reporting unsafe conditions gives your company a chance to address safety concerns and fix any issues. In this instance you could avoid having to take unnecessary steps to escalate the situation.

If your employer does not resolve your safety concerns, you do have other options. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government body with the sole purpose of creating a safer work environment.  There are multiple ways you can contact OSHA, each of which is listed below. For situations where an employee is in an imminent danger while on the job, OSHA will conduct an investigation within 24 hours of receiving a report. All other health and safety related issues will be handled within 3 days to couple of months, depending on the severity of the situation. If an investigation finds that conditions are deemed safe, an employee can expect a written notification within 15 days.

Do not be afraid to contact OSHA in the event of unsafe working conditions. National whistle-blower laws make it illegal for an employer to intimidate, harass, or fire you based on reports you have filed. It is highly recommended that you report any of these abusive situations to OSHA or potentially take legal action.

Ways to contact OSHA and their Links:
OSHA Area Office Telephone Numbers or 1-800-321-OSHA(6742)

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

Brad Lindemann
Sales Coordinator, Lift'n Buddy, A Southworth Company.