Monday, October 28, 2013

Fork Lift Safety


In fast paced working environments, safety is a very important priority.  Many of these fast paced environments involve the use of forklifts and can be very dangerous. According to statistics reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), they estimated that forklifts cause roughly 85 fatal accidents per year and injure roughly 35,000 others. Also, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, a loaded forklift weighs an average of close to 14,000 pounds. With this much weight, it’s not surprising how dangerous forklifts can be.

Many of these injuries could be avoided if the necessary safety precautions were taken. Proper training and use of forklifts is very important; trying to save a few seconds here and there is not worth risking the safety of yourself and others.

Three obvious but important safety tips to remember when operating forklifts or any factory machinery are:

1) Stay Focused. This might seem too obvious and simplistic, but it’s way too easy to get distracted and to mentally check out when doing something that you’re doing habitually. Focus is something that you should apply to all aspects of work, whether you’re using heavy machinery or just writing up reports.  Staying fully focused on the task at hand is a simple but effective way to stop avoidable mistakes.

2) Be Aware of Your Surroundings. This is an often overlooked safety precaution. Make sure you always look behind you the whole time you back up.  It must be more than just a quick glance before you begin to move. Surroundings can change between the beginning and the end of your travel space. Also, be aware of the location of pedestrians and slow down when you’re unsure of what is ahead. Knowing your surroundings helps you be prepared for what may lie ahead.

3) Don’t Cut Corners. From a young age we’re always told to obey the rules and do what we’re told. So it might seem unnecessary to say this. However, so often in the workplace you can be under pressure to get things done quickly and therefore feel the need to cut corners (physically and metaphorically). This can lead to going too fast and ignoring the rules you find unimportant, possibly causing accidents and potential injuries along the way. In the end cutting corners is never worth it and it’s best to realize that all safety regulations and rules have been put in place for a reason. If you suspect any corners are being cut or notice any unsafe working conditions, report it to the proper authorities immediately.

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, October 21, 2013

Overexertion in the Workplace


Overexertion is one of the most common work-related disability injuries. Overexertion injuries involve working the body or one body part too hard, causing damage to the muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage or joint. Overexertion can be caused be pulling, pushing or lifting with excessive force. There were more than 3.2 million overexertion injuries in 2009. Overexertion injuries account for almost 27% of workplace injuries in the US. These injuries are most common in young employees. In 2005, businesses paid a total of $12.7 billion in over exertion injury costs. In 2000 sprains and strains alone lead to $40 billion in lost productivity. 
Employers that want to minimize these costs should take a few steps to help reduce the risk of their employees overexerting themselves. Employers should make safety a priority for their employees. Employers should encourage employees to report all concerns about aches and pains. If aches are reported early they can often be healed early, and it will lower the risk of more severe injuries. When an employee reports an injury the employer should consider removing the employee from the task that is causing he/she an ache or pain. The employer should also make sure that their employees are never lifting something that is too heavy for them.

Employers should also teach all of their employees proper form and technique when it comes to lifting or moving an object. Teaching simple changes to an employee’s movements can prevent overexertion. The employer should make sure their employees are lifting with their arms and legs and not their backs. This helps by keeping movements slow and smooth instead of quick and jerky, and it reduces exertion. Also, when employees are lifting repetitively the employers should allow them a few short breaks to allow recover

Employers can protect workers by helping them stay healthy and fit. Many employers will offer discounts on gym memberships, nutrition programs, and exercise courses to help employees stay active, and lose weight. These discounts encourage employees to start exercise programs due to the affordability provided by their employer. These programs keep workers’ muscles strong, and help keep workers from getting winded easily on the job.

One of the best methods for employers to reduce the risk of overexertion by workers is by providing tools to make lifting easier. Employers can lower shelf height to make lifting easier for workers. The best height is from knees to shoulder height. This allows the workers to lift an object in an easy fluid motion, reducing risk of injuries among workers. Another effective way employers can reduce the risk of injuries in workers is to purchase technology that fits the needs of an employee.

Employers that take the initiative, and have taken action against overexertion injuries have seen a major reduction in costs spent on work place injuries. They have become aware of their inefficiencies and have stepped up to protect their employees.

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

Lucas Wertish
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hearing Loss

Many people work in an environment that is very loud and protecting the hearing abilities of employees is very important.  Hearing loss naturally happens with age, but when people are exposed to excessive noises or loud sounds on a regular basis it could significantly increase the rate of hearing loss.  Being able to hear is something many take for granted, but it is important to remember to protect it the best you can.  Employees who are constantly under pressure of loud noises can lose their hearing and it is a usually a painless, progressive, and a very permanent processes.  When employees are experiencing hearing loss it can reduce their quality of life and affect their work and family life.  If an employee is experiencing hearing loss they may not be able to hear alarms, warnings or other auditory signals that are important for their job.  Excessive noise has also been associated with digestive problems, irritability, loss of concentration and even high blood pressure according to Occupational Health and Safety Online.  The noise that causes problems can come from numerous locations including manufacturing equipment, vehicles, construction equipment, power tools, aircraft and even lawn maintenance tools. 

Damage to your hearing cannot be repaired, but the good news is that it is preventable.  There three steps to help prevent hearing loss. 
1) Recognize that a noise problem may exist  
2) Evaluate the potential problem
3) Control the situation
Using this three step process could be very beneficial to the hearing of employees.  

Recognizing that there is a noise problem is the first step. Inexpensive decibel readers can be found online to accurately test for ear damaging noise. Even less expensive but less accurate smartphone apps can be found in the Apple and Android markets. It also helps to pay close attention to your surroundings, for example not being able to hear someone close talking to you.  It can be difficult to identify a problem if the noise is not constant.   If you notice a potential noise problem the easiest way to protect your hearing is to cover your ears with ear muffs and ear plugs.  Many employers recognize that noise problems exist and they will provide hearing protection. It is still important that you take precautions to protect yourself and make your employer aware of any unsafe work environments.  

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, October 7, 2013

How to Survive Flu Season


With October just beginning, many are getting excited for the Halloween festivities, the changing colors of the trees, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks. While October is a favorite month for many, it is however, the beginning of the infamous flu season.

Flu season is marked in the United States as a time between October and May where there are often prevalent outbreaks of influenza, or known more commonly as “The Flu”. It is estimated by the Center for Disease and Control that US businesses loose roughly $10.4 billion dollars in any given year related to employees getting the influenza virus.

In order to stay clear of the flu this month and enjoy everything great fall has to offer, here are some precautions one can take to prevent the flu:

  1. Always wash hands to defeat germs.
  2. Get a flu shot from a local clinic or pharmacy.
  3. Stock your medicine cabinet with any drugs you use, like pain relievers or decongestants. Don’t forget tissues, soap, and hand sanitizer.
  4. Pay attention to symptoms – Symptoms of just the common cold are milder than those of the flu.
  5. Take a sick day and relax – If you work yourself too hard when you have the flu this can delay your recovery.
  6. Use throwaways – swap cloth hand towels with paper to prevent the spread of germs.
  7. Drink lots of fluids – broths, water, sports drinks, and herbal tea are all excellent for fighting the flu.

Keep yourself healthy this flu season and be sure to take preventative measures. Your family and co-workers will be thanking you for not getting them sick.

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