Monday, December 29, 2014

Listen Up! Protect Your Hearing


Hearing injuries are often overlooked, being labeled insignificant and temporary. However, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration would say otherwise. According to, 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise each year. Thousands of these workers suffer from preventable hearing loss as a result of high workplace noise levels. 

The most common form of hearing loss is short term. Short-term exposure to loud noise typically results in only a temporary change in hearing. Your ears may begin to feel stuffed up or you may experience a constant ringing. For example, people commonly have these side effects after attending a rock concert without using anything to protect their hearing. These short-term problems tend to relieve themselves after a few minutes or hours after leaving the loud environment. 

However, the short term hearing loss becomes serious when repeated exposures to these loud noises take place, resulting in permanent hearing loss. Since 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss. Furthermore, they report that in 2009 alone there were more than 21,000 hearing loss cases. The good news is that the majority of these cases could have been prevented if they would have taken the appropriate cautionary measures. provides several options to control and reduce worker exposure to noise in a workplace. They define the following as:

1) Engineering Controls
These deal with modifying or replacing equipment, or making physical changes at the noise source or along the transmission path to reduce the noise level at the worker's ear. Some examples of these are utilizing low noise tools and machines, maintaining and lubricating machinery and equipment, placing a barrier between the noise source and employee, and enclosing or isolating the noise source.

2) Administrative Controls
These are defined as changes in the workplace that will reduce or eliminate a worker’s exposure to noise. Common examples of these are operating noisy machines during shifts when fewer people are exposed, limiting the amount of time a person spends at a noise source, or restricting worker presence to a suitable distance away from noisy equipment to name a few.

3) Hearing protection devices (HPDs)
These are the most common devices to the average person; however, in the workplace an employer should seek to utilize more engineering and administrative controls. Some examples of these are earmuffs and plugs.

Taking these listed controls and applying them will minimize the risk for hearing injuries at the workplace. By reducing the noise by only a few levels, communication can be significantly improved and lead to a more productive and healthy workforce.

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, December 22, 2014

You Are The Air You Breathe


Every day we all face a variety of risks to our health and our safety as we go about our day-to-day lives. Driving in cars, flying in planes, walking on ice, taking showers, etc. Most of these risks are simply unavoidable but there are some risks and safety hazards that despite being unavoidable, we can reduce the level of risk involved with them. Indoor air quality in both your home and your workplace is one risk that you can do something about.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Also, some specific diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants or indoor environments, like asthma with damp indoor environments. In addition, some exposures, such as asbestos and radon, do not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer after many years.

Some of the main causes of poor IAQ are, but are not limited to:

  • Poor Ventilation
  • Unregulated Temperatures.
  • High/Low Humidity.
  • Fumes from airborne chemicals in the workplace. 
  • Dust, Mold, Pesticides, Etc. 

It’s important to be aware of these potential hazards to your air quality and to consult with your building manager or employer about potential solutions. The most important step you can take to improve IAQ is having the right ventilation and building care. Also, if you work with any airborne chemicals or substances that you could breath in, it’s important to take extra precautions and wear masks when appropriate. 

Indoor air quality concerns are a fact of life for building owners, business owners, managers, and occupants. It’s almost impossible to make everyone completely happy with temperatures, humidity, etc., however, it is possible to provide a work environment that is healthy and safe. You should establish clear lines of communication so that IAQ issues can be detected and resolved as soon as possible. A building/company managed with an eye for preventing IAQ problems greatly reduces the likelihood of discomfort and will likely increase your employees’ productivity.

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, December 15, 2014

Oh My Back! 4 Ways Lift Hand Trucks Can Reduce Ergonomic & Safety Concerns | Cisco-Eagle


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, employers reported 3 million workplace nonfatal injuries and illnesses during 2013.

Due to stringent OSHA regulations, workplace safety inspections, and liability concerns, employee safety in industrial applications has become a primary concern for many companies.  Statistics demonstrate that warehouse workers are particularly susceptible to strains and injuries.  As a result, companies are working hard to promote more ergonomically-friendly workplaces for employees.

These progressive companies are looking at new processes, new technology, and equipment to help reduce the kind of long-term ergonomic issues that are both dangerous and costly.

Warehouse equipment such as lift hand trucks can greatly reduce safety concerns while driving increased efficiency and worker productivity. Here’s a look at how:

1) Weight Capacity
Lift hand trucks are used for stacking and transporting goods that are less than a pallet load. With the capacity to handle loads weighing up to 350 lbs and measuring 36”, they make getting heavy loads from floor level to workbenches, shelves, rack, or truck bed height easy.

In the world of material handling, heavy lifting safety is especially critical. Lift hand trucks shouldn't replace safety guidelines for heavy lifting; they should serve to enforce some of the ergonomic practices designed to make tasks safer for workers. Since workers who are younger and stronger (and typically in these types of jobs) tend to disregard safe lifting processes, lift-enabled hand trucks can help them work smarter. 

2) Maneuverability 
In addition to weight capacity, lift hand trucks also save on the need for a forklift by allowing pallets to be broken at the shipping area, then transported by hand.  Workers don’t need to send a forklift to different areas where it can elevate a pallet for carton or piece putaway. Lift hand trucks can also fit into areas forklifts can’t, like office areas, shelving aisles, and other cramped confines.  This maneuverability makes them suitable for a number of different warehouse tasks, including shipping & receiving and anywhere else with limited work space.

While traditional stackers can accommodate heavy loads, they can’t travel on uneven floors, in and out of trucks, up and down inclines, etc., all of which can hamper productivity. Lift hand trucks can go places powered stackers cannot, including tight areas such as elevators or narrow hallways.

3) Adjustable Height Platform
With the BLS estimating that musculoskeletal disorders account for roughly a third of all worker injuries and illnesses, finding ways to reduce worker strain and fatigue is crucial. An EHS Today article on workplace ergonomics states “Some things that can be done to reduce the risk factors related to injuries from receiving and shipping tasks include: 1) Using proper lifting techniques, and 2) Using mechanical assist when possible.”

Built with an adjustable height platform, lift hand trucks allow workers to lift and lower goods to the precise height needed to load and unload. This adjustable platform eliminates the need for workers to bend and lift, thus making the environment safer and more ergonomically friendly.

4) Simplicity & Efficiency
One of the best things about lift hand trucks is their simplicity. Workers can be up and running with little or no training, in no time, so they can spend more time loading and unloading materials  in a way that helps minimize strains and injuries.

How do they work? A simple button control fob is tethered to the main mast console and rests in a special holder until taken out for remote use at one side or the other of the lift. The controller manipulates the height of the platform smoothly and precisely, making work quicker and easier. Once goods have been loaded, the worker easily tips the entire load back somewhat and transports much like using a traditional hand truck. Once ready to unload, the controller can adjust height of platform and easily slide goods off onto new surface.

 Final Thoughts
“The primary injuries occurring in a warehouse stem from lifting, straining, and turning,” as noted by Joel Anderson, president and CEO of the International Warehouse Logistics Association. With so much at stake (employee safety, lost productivity, higher insurance bills, government fines, etc.), forward-thinking companies have invested in warehouse equipment such as lift hand trucks to promote workplace safety and drive warehouse efficiency.

Hand lift trucks are costlier than simple hand trucks, but companies shouldn’t treat them that way. They provide an ergonomic boost and a productivity shot in the arm for many types of loads and operations.

How is your organization making workplace safety a priority?

Scott Stone is the E-business manager for Cisco-Eagle, Inc, a provider of integrated material handling and storage systems for industrial operations. Scott has over 23 years experience in industrial operations and marketing.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Staying Safe on the Lakes this Winter


Now that this cold, winter like weather is finally upon us, it’s important to keep in mind some extra safety advice. During this winter season many of us will travel out onto frozen lakes and it’s important to remember the dangers of thin or unsafe ice. 

There is no such thing as 100% safe ice. It’s important that you don’t try to judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, the time of year, or the current temperature. Although these are important things to remember, the true strength of the ice is based off much more. All of the aforementioned factors are important, but other factors to take into consideration are, but are not limited to: the depth of the water under the ice, the size of the body of water, water currents, and the distribution of your weight. 

There are however, some general guidelines given by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the thickness of ice depending on your weight, as seen in the picture below.  

*Note: These are Rough guidelines; always use extreme caution with ice safety

However, if the unexpected happens and you do break through the ice, it’s important to not panic and to be as mentally prepared as possible. When you’re traveling on ice, always make sure you have some sort of ice picks to help you pull yourself out of the water if needed. As you pull yourself out, remember to spread your weight out as much as possible to reduce the odds of the ice breaking underneath you again. If you do manage to get out of the water, make sure to head back in the direction you originally came from; this is important because the ice you have already traveled on is the only path you know is safe.  Finally, get to shelter and warmth as soon as possible to avoid getting frostbite or hypothermia. 

Most importantly: never travel on ice alone, always be cautious, and always be prepared for the worst.  

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, December 1, 2014

LP Tank Safety


Propane is a highly combustible gas that when compressed will turn into an easily transportable liquid. You will typically encounter propane tanks in the home as fuel sources in barbecues and portable stoves. As an industrial fuel source you will see propane used in a variety of applications including blowtorches, feed stock production, forklifts, and as automobile fuel. Safely handling and storing of propane cylinders is a major safety issue that is often overlooked by residential consumers as well as industrial users.

Here are tips to ensure that your home and business are using essential propane safety practices:

Never store propane cylinders indoors, in a house, or garage. Leaking gas will accumulate near the floor until an ignition source is reached such as the pilot light on a furnace or water heater.  

Never store propane cylinders in close proximity to other flammable or combustible materials.

Propane should not be stored on wet or soggy ground. Prolonged exposure to wet conditions can cause the tanks to rust and potentially leak. 

Cylinders should always be positioned so the relief valve is in contact with the vapor space inside the tank. The compressed liquid will always settle to the bottom of the tank which is more dangerous than the gas vapors. All consumer tanks should remain vertical. Tanks with relief valves should be rotated so the relief valve is near the top of the tank when it is placed on its side.

Do not, under any circumstances, try to modify or repair valves, regulators, or other appliance parts.

Propane leaks smell like rotten eggs. If you smell a leak, evacuate the premises, and contact your local fire department, or propane supplier. When leaving the premises, do not alter any electrical outlets or light switches.

Use team-lifts or lifting equipment for the transportation of LP cylinders. Propane tanks can get heavy, especially when full. Never roll a tank on its side to transport it from one point to another. Always use team-lifts, hand trucks, a Lift’n Buddy or a forklift for moving larger LP tanks.

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

Brad Lindemann
Sales Coordinator, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, November 24, 2014

Heads Up! For Head Injuries


Head injuries (also known as traumatic brain injuries) have become one of the most dangerous and common injuries present in today’s society. Although most people generally associate head injuries directly to sports, that is not always the case. In fact, the majority of head injuries occur as a result of incidental falls, vehicle-related collisions, and accidents at home, work, and the outdoors. From a minor bump on the head, to a severe concussion, all injuries should be taken seriously in order to prevent further damage such as permanent disability, or even death.

According to The Center for Head Injury Services, there are 2 million traumatic brain injuries each year, of which 500,000 require hospital admission.  In the United States alone, 75,000 – 100,000 people die from severe head injuries each year.  The majority of the deaths come as a result of further injury to the brain without allowing proper time for it to heal. In order to prevent further injury, it is important for one to fully understand and be able to recognize the symptoms associated with common head injuries.

Symptoms commonly associated with a head injury include, but not limited to:

  • Confusion: A person may act confused, not being able to remember the events leading up to the injury or right after.  They may also not be able to think clearly and appear to have a puzzled look on their face.
  • Drowsiness: If the injury is serious enough, they may lose consciousness for a short period of time and be hard to wake up.  Once the person wakes up, they may be dizzy and appear to be “out of it.” 
  • Nausea and Vomiting: In serious cases of head injuries, the patient will become very nauseous and be subject to vomiting.  
  • Vision Changes: There will often be a “fireworks display” shown over their vision of bright flashing lights. On top of this, the vision may become clouded or severely blurry.

Although these are only a few symptoms for head injuries, they are the most common and easily to detect. It is important to know that not all head injuries can be prevented.  However, by using proper safety equipment (seat belts, helmets, hard hats, etc.) during potential activities that could cause a head injury, one will minimize their risk for injury. 

The biggest way of preventing further serious injury is to pay close attention to these symptoms. If you notice someone displaying these symptoms, or are experiencing them yourself, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. For severe symptoms, contact 9-1-1 or your local medical provider. 

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, November 17, 2014

Holiday Fire Safety


With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, it’s important to remember how to be extra cautious this holiday season. According to the United States Fire Administration, home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season; some of the main causes of winter house fires are: electrical issues, heating equipment, cooking accidents, and candles. 

According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), from 2011 alone, there was an estimated 47,000 home structure fires that involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction. These fires resulted in over 418 civilian deaths and over 1500 injuries.  Also in 2011, there was an estimated 53,000 home fires caused by heating equipment, 39,000 from cooking accidents, and another 10,000 from candles. These incidents resulted in many casualties and thousands of injuries. 

Some basic fire safety tips for the holiday season are, but not limited to:

  • Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords.  During the holiday season it’s easy to try and plug in an abundance of decorative lights into one extension cord to decorate your holiday tree. Try to use multiple outlets to power your tree to reduce the likelihood of an electrical fire that could start your tree or even your house on fire.
  • Don’t leave portable heaters running while unattended. Portable heaters (Space Heaters), account for a significant amount of fires per year. Turn off any portable heating appliances when leaving your home or going to sleep at night. Always have at least 3 feet of clearance between heating equipment and anything that could burn.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended on the stovetop. The holiday season can be a hectic time of life. When you’re trying to get everything ready at once it’s important to remember safety. Make sure there is always someone watching your stovetop while you’re cooking to make sure no unexpected fires break out. 
  • Install and maintain working smoke detectors. According to the National Weather service, many home fire deaths occur in houses that don’t have working smoke detectors. Check your smoke detectors on a monthly basis, making sure to replace batteries as needed. 

These are just a few of the many things you can do to reduce the chance of a fire in your home this holiday season. For more ideas and potential fire hazards, please visit the National Fire Protection Association website or contact your local Fire Marshall.  

We know it’s easy to cut corners when you’re in a rush and getting ready for your whole extended family to show up at your doorstep.  Just remember, no matter how much you clean up or how good you think your meal tastes, if you risk burning down the house in the process, it isn’t worth it.  We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. 

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, November 10, 2014

Put On Those Safety Goggles


We all can relate to the common “grumble” that occurs when requested to wear safety goggles in the workplace.  Whether they are severely uncomfortable or just plain ugly, workers today are not always aware of the importance of eye protection on the job. Nearly three out of five injured workers were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident or were wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job. This not only puts a hurt in one’s eye, but in a businesses pocket as well. According to EHS Today, eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and worker compensation. Although this is a significant amount of money, the good news is that your company can easily avoid this by implementing proper eye protection measures in the workplace.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), states, “the majority of workplace eye injuries are caused by small particles or objects striking or abrading the eye.” Some common particles or objects to be cautious of are:
  • Metal slivers
  • Wood chips or dust
  • Splashes from grease or oil
  • Ultraviolet or infrared radiation exposure

Often times these particles find their way into one’s eye by flying through the air; however, each and every business is different and provides different risks for their workers. The type of eye protection that should be utilized greatly depends on the types of dangers involved. American Optometric Association has a standard guideline to reference which eye protection is best:
  • If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields).
  • If you are working with chemicals, you must wear goggles.
  • If you are working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers, or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed for that task.

As an employer, it is important to assess which type of environment your business is subject to and then attempt to remove or reduce eye hazards where possible.  It is also the employer’s responsibility to provide the appropriate safety eyewear and require the employees to wear it.  One way to help improve employee compliance is to provide a comfortable and stylish form of eye protection that workers will be content with wearing all day long. By following these simple eye safety guidelines one will greatly reduce the risks of eye injuries in their respective workplace.

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, November 3, 2014

It's Time to Tackle Stress at Work


Stress is a widely accepted aspect of the workplace; you often have countless things to get done and countless deadlines to meet. You have coworkers, clients, and bosses who are all depending on you to get everything done. Some workplace stress is normal and unavoidable; however, excessive stress can interfere with your physical and emotional health and often times you have little or no control over your workplace responsibilities. Luckily, this doesn’t mean you have no control over managing your stress level.

It is often difficult to recognize the warning signs of excess stress vs. the signs of normal stress. Some of the signs and symptoms you should look out for are: 

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Problems sleeping and/or fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating and/or getting headaches more than usual
  • A loss of interest in work or other daily activities

Often times these symptoms are caused by the fear of being laid off, excessive overtime, rising expectations, or excessive pressure to work at a high level at every moment. Most of us will face one or more of these issues at some point throughout our career and it’s important to know what we can do to best handle the stress that comes with these issues. 

A few steps you can take to reduce stress levels are, but not limited to: 

  • Exercise Daily. Regular exercise is a powerful stress reliever; it’s an effective way to lift your mood, increase your energy, and relax both your mind and your body. 
  • Eat Healthy.  Eating healthy balanced meals throughout stressful days can help your body maintain a healthy blood sugar level and increase energy. 
  • Get Enough Sleep. This can be tricky due to the fact that excessive stress often leads to problems sleeping. However, a lack of sleep can often cause even more stress. Research ways to keep a consistent sleep schedule and aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. 
  • Stay Organized. Staying organized can help you properly prioritize projects, and balance out your schedule. Make sure to make ‘to-do’ lists, break projects up into smaller steps, and delegate responsibility if possible. Plan time throughout your day to take short breaks to relax and recharge. 
  • Realize When You’re Getting Stressed. Being able to recognize your stress level rising is a very valuable tool. Attempt to be more aware of your emotions and their impact on your mood. If you feel like you’re starting to get overly stressed out, take a short break and do something to sooth your emotions. 

There are many more methods to reducing stress; however, we’re all unique individuals. It’s important to figure out what methods work best for reducing the stress in your life. 

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 27, 2014

Heavy Lifting Safety


In the world of material handling, it is common that workers may be subject to lifting heavy products on a daily basis. How to properly lift an item may seem like a no-brainer, but in fact back injuries are one of the leading causes of time off. In 2001, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over 36 percent of injuries involving missed workdays were the result of shoulder and back injuries.  The majority of back injuries occurring at the workplace involve using bad posture while lifting or by attempting to lift a load that is too heavy for their own strength.  Today we are going to give a brief reminder on how to properly lift heavy objects in the workplace, in attempts to minimize avoidable lower back injuries. 

Expert orthopedic medical doctor, Jonathan Cluett, sets out an easy to follow guideline on lifting heavy materials:

  1. Plan ahead before lifting. Always be sure that you are aware of your surroundings before lifting a heavy object.  Make sure there are no obstructions on your path and that everyone is on the same page if you are lifting with a partner.
  2. Lift close to your body. You will be a stronger, and more stable lifter if the object is held close to your body rather than at the end of your reach. Make sure you have a firm hold on the object you are lifting, and keep it balanced close to your body. 
  3. Feet shoulder width apart. A solid base of support is important while lifting. Holding your feet too close together will be unstable, too far apart will hinder movement. Keep the feet about shoulder width apart and take short steps. 
  4. Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Practice the lifting motion before you lift the object, and think about your motion before you lift. Focus on keeping you spine straight--raise and lower to the ground by bending your knees. 
  5. Tighten your stomach muscles. Tightening your abdominal muscles will hold your back in a good lifting position and will help prevent excessive force on the spine. 
  6. Lift with your legs. Your legs are many times stronger than your back muscles--let your strength work in your favor. Again, lower to the ground by bending your knees, not your back. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps to keep your back straight. 
  7. If you're straining, get help. If an object is too heavy, or awkward in shape, make sure you have someone around who can help you lift.
  8. Wear a belt or back support. If you are lifting in your job or often at home a back belt can help you maintain a better lifting posture.

The biggest thing to take out of today’s blog is don’t overdo it! Do not ever try to lift something too heavy for you, as this is when the potential for injury is highest. If you find that you are incapable to lift a certain load, do not hesitate to seek assistance and get help.  By refreshing your knowledge with these simple tips, you will be taking the necessary steps to a healthy lower back.

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, October 20, 2014

Ladder Safety 101


Sometimes one of the biggest safety issues is too much confidence; thinking that you will never get hurt can often lead to cutting corners and increasing your risk of injury. Climbing ladders is one of the activities that are often a source of injury due to over-confidence. 

According to the CDC, in 2011 there were 113 fatal and close to 50,000 nonfatal ladder fall injuries. These incidents occurred from fall heights of less than 6 feet to greater than 30 feet. You can see most of the height data in the graph below:  

Figure taken from (Occupational Ladder Fall Injuries, 2011)

There are many steps you can take to keep yourself safe while using ladders. Some of the most practical steps you can take are:

  • Make sure your workers are trained. This is often overlooked.  No matter how confident you or your workers are about using ladders, it’s still important to step back and make sure the risks and hazards are fully understood. 
  • Select the Right Ladder. There are many different types of ladders for different types of situations. Ladders also have a Duty Rating, which is given to them by the manufacturer to state the maximum amount of weight that can be safely supported.  
  • Examine Your Surroundings/Safe Setup. Make sure you’re not setting up your ladder in a common walkway so that it’s a tripping hazard. Also, be sure to place the base of the ladder on a level, un-moveable surface. According to the American National Standards Institute, non-self-supporting ladders should be set up at an angle of 75.5 degrees to give the most amount of resistance to sliding while providing additional balance.
  • Climb Slowly & Safely. Always face the ladder when climbing and maintain three points of contact at all times. You need all four of your appendages to keep you safe while climbing. Do not use one to carry something with you; use a rope or pulley system to pull up any equipment you might need. Never overextend yourself from the ladder to try to reach something. If your body extends over the side rail you can cause the ladder to fall over. 
  • Think Before Acting. “I can’t quite reach that nail from here, should I climb down and move the ladder a few feet over so I don’t have to overextend my reach?” Yes. “It’s getting windy, should I wait till the weather calms down to continue working?” Yes. “The ladder doesn't feel totally safe, should I climb down and double check I’m on a level and sturdy surface?” Yes. You can never be too cautious when it comes to your safety. 

Too often the most common safety issues can be fixed by just slowing down, identifying potential hazards, fixing those hazards, and proceeding cautiously. We highly encourage you to take this approach when working with every aspect of your life.  

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 13, 2014

Tips for Staying Healthy This Fall


It is no surprise that fall weather is fast approaching. The leaves are starting to change colors, the days are becoming shorter, and the air has a certain coolness to it.  Now although there are many changes in the seasons from summer to fall, there are also many changes that may take place in ones health during this time. This can be easily noticed by the numerous sniffles and coughs that are present in the workplace during the fall and winter months!

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viral illnesses are most commonly acquired and spread in the months of September through April. When an employee becomes sick with an illness, not only is he or she under the weather, but the employer and business is now losing money as a result!  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.  Have no fear though; today we are going to discuss the common illnesses found during these months and tips on how to prevent these diseases.  

Common Illnesses in the Fall
According to Kristina Duda, R.N., Cold and Flu expert, common illnesses include:

The Common Cold
Influenza (The Flu)
Ear Infections
Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Prevention of Diseases
The Center for Orthopedic Care in Bridgewater, NJ, gives out multiple tips on the prevention of these illness during peak cold and flu season:
  1. Wash your hands. In a world with public places teeming with contagious viruses and bacteria, our hands can be our greatest source of infection. We are always touching things with our hands and absentmindedly rubbing our eyes or putting food in our mouths which could be the introduction of an infection into our systems.
  2. Avoid sick people. It is important to remember that people with illnesses are often highly contagious. Try to avoid dealing with sick people altogether, but if it must be done, at least remember to wash your hands afterwards.
  3. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep allows your body to recharge and gives your immune system a chance to replenish after a long day of fighting off microscopic invaders. Failing to get enough sleep is setting your body up for easy access to infection.
  4. Cut back on the alcohol. Drinking alcohol monopolizes the resources that your body should use to prevent infections.
  5. Salt water has major benefits. Salt is a natural antibacterial agent. You can squirt salt water up your nose with a Neti Pot or use it to gargle. It cleans the bacteria-riddled mucus out of your nose and helps to fight respiratory infections.
  6. Drink lots of water. Your body will function better if not starved for its most important molecule. Your body is made up of about 60% water and is constantly using water for all vital processes. Replenish your body’s water supply to help yourself run at maximum capacity.
  7. Take vitamins and supplements. While many vitamins can be helpful supplements to your diet, Vitamin D is probably the most important, at least during the winter months. Vitamin D is absorbed into your body right from the sun’s rays, but in the winter months, more time is spent indoors than usual and supplements can help make up the difference.
  8. Eat your fruits and veggies. This helps vary your diet and allows you to get the vitamins with which fruits and veggies are rich. Giving your body the tools to stay healthy is half the battle, and eating fruits and veggies certainly does this.
  9. Try probiotics. These supplements contain live bacteria meant to balance the microflora (bacteria) in your digestive tract. By maintaining this balance, we leave ourselves less susceptible to infection.
  10. Listen to your body. Your body will give you a warning when it’s beginning to succumb to an infection. Whether that warning is a headache, a bad mood or feeling uncharacteristically tired, respond to these warnings by making sure you are keeping up with all the other tips.
It is important to be informed on these common illnesses present during the fall and upcoming winter months. By following these simple tips of prevention this cold and flu season, one will greatly increase the chances of keeping themselves (and others) from illness.  This will result in increased productivity in the workplace and a healthy, happy workforce!

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

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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Protect Your Feet


Every day the majority of us will take thousands of steps. Whether it’s running errands, working, or playing with our kids, our feet are often what carries us through each day. This is why it’s important to prioritize your employee’s foot safety and ensure that everyone has the proper footwear. 

Not having the proper footwear can lead to common issues such as aching feet, blisters, and sprains. More importantly improper footwear can lead to slips and falls, or even broken bones depending on the work environment. It’s important to assess possible risks in your workplace and to minimize the potential for injuries. 

Some potential foot hazards to look for:
  • Loose nails, sharp metal, or glass objects. 
  • Chain saws, unguarded motors or machinery. 
  • Slippery floors, tripping hazards, or poor lighting.
  • Unsecured heavy objects, which may fall. 

Solutions for these potential hazards are:
  • Become more organized
  • Keep walkways clear of debris or sharp objects. 
  • Have monthly walkthroughs to look for newly developed safety hazards.
  • Place appropriate matting/signage where spills occur frequently.
  • Purchase appropriate footwear, such as slip resistant or steel toed shoes. 

Serious work related injuries occur more often than some might think. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60,000 foot injuries per year result in lost workdays. Actively look for ways to improve work related safety. Taking a little bit of initiative before an accident can end up saving your company thousands of dollars in the future, because according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, the average cost of a lost workday foot injury is $9,600. Never underestimate the importance of proper footwear and safety.

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, September 29, 2014

Handicap Accessibility in the Workplace


Every single day, the average worker faces an array of challenges in the workplace.  These can commonly consist of commuting to work through traffic in the morning, finding a good parking spot, or working late after to work to meet a deadline.  Whether it is widely known or not, there are millions of people with disabilities that go to work just like the average worker. However, for these workers with disabilities the challenges can be far more difficult than what they seem to the average worker.  

To make certain that all workers are entitled to the same rights in the workplace, the United States government created the Americans with Disabilities Acts in 1990.  As a business in today’s society, it is important to know how to comply with this to create a positive workplace experience for all employees.  This article will discuss tips on making sure ones business is fully accessible, and will also discuss the benefits of making their workplace handicap accessible. 

Physical Accessibility
According to Title 1 of the ADA, it is an employer’s obligation, “to provide access for an individual applicant to participate in the job application process, and for an individual employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his/her job, including access to a building, to the work site, to needed equipment, and to all facilities used by employees.  As reported by, areas in which accessibility needs to be noted include:

  • Parking lots (handicap parking spaces
  • Entrances and exits
  • Fire alarms and emergency exits
  • Desks and personal work space
  • Hallways
  • Stairwells
  • Elevators
  • Restrooms
  • Cafeterias

Like stated previously, as an employer it is important to make sure that their business is within these parameters.  The first step could be to reach out to those with disabilities in ones workplace and assess their needs.  An employer could also seek an Ergonomics team to inspect their workplace and provide tips on how to improve accessibility.

Benefits of Handicap Accessibility Workplace
Once more referring to, an accessible workplace will help one’s business:
  • Increase productivity among workers with disabilities
  • Fully utilize the talent pool of job candidates with disabilities
  • Cultivate an inclusive workplace culture
  • Improve and expand its customer base to people with disabilities by eliminating barriers that may prevent or deter them from accessing the services and products offered
As clearly shown in these benefits, having an accessible workplace will maximize productivity of all workers in today’s society.  

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

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

How to Handle your Hand Truck


Hand trucks are tools intended to make most jobs easier and safer. This may sound like a minor issue but the proper use of a hand truck can reduce one of the most common workplace injuries - back trauma. Like any other tool it is important for the operator to take safety precautions and know how to properly use the device. If not used accordingly the machine intended for safety will end up causing an accident.

The most important thing to remember is choosing the right hand truck for the job. There are many designs depending on what you’re intending to move. Hand trucks come with different size lift plates, 2-wheel or 4-wheel options, electric lifts plates, stair climbing attachments, appliance dollies, and drum handling kits just to name a few. Be sure to do your research and pick the right machine for the job. Some units will be more expensive than others but having the right tool for the job will pay for itself in the long run. If you only need a specific hand truck for one time use, check with your local equipment rental business.

The most common time for injuring yourself is when loading or unloading the hand truck. 2-wheelers look easy to handle, but it's just as easy to lose the load and injury someone. Review this simple guideline for tips on how to safely operate your hand truck.

  • Always place the heaviest objects at the bottom.
  • Do not exceed the manufacturer’s load capacity rating.
  • Place the load so it is over the axle, the weight should not be carried by the handles.
  • Make sure the load is secure so it won’t slip, shift, or fall. Ratchet straps or bungee cords may be needed.
  • Walk forward with a 2-wheeler, don’t walk backwards. 
  • Keep the load in front of you when going downhill and behind you when going uphill.
  • The stacked load should be no taller than shoulder height. You should be able to see over the load.
  • Do not operate the hand truck with wet or greasy hands.
  • Enter elevators by backing in.
  • Never ride or let others to ride on the truck.
  • Make sure the hand truck has received proper maintenance: properly inflated tires, no loose bolts, greased axle and bearings, charged battery, inspect for rust and damage, etc. 
  • Follow proper lifting techniques to place the load on the hand truck. Use your legs, and keep your back straight.

The most important thing to remember is take it slow and be cautious. If you have questions on the capacity rating or proper operation of your hand truck try to locate a model number stamped in the frame or a serial number tag. A quick Google search will usually pull up all pertinent information. Follow these simple tips to ensure a safe experience with your hand truck and good luck with all of your moving and lifting jobs.

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

Brad Lindemann
Sales Coordinator, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

Monday, September 15, 2014

Is a spare tire causing your back pain?


A recent Gallup poll conducted from 2008 to 2010 found that overweight individuals (BMI 25+) reported that they had 20% more back pain than normal weight people. As the weight of individuals surveyed increased to a BMI 40+ the amount of pain reported increased to 254% over those that had a BMI under 25! 

Every pound that an individual gains adds strain to the muscles and ligaments of the spine. To make up for added weight, specifically around the midsection, the spine becomes crooked and stressed. The spine develops sciatica and lower back pain from a herniated disc or pinched nerve trying to compensate for the excess weight. You will notice someone with this condition by a crooked torso and an unnatural curve when standing upright. This only gets worse as people age. By the time someone reaches middle age, bone strength, muscle elasticity, and muscle tone will all start to decline.

Individuals that have back pain also tend to lead more sedentary lifestyle. The pain makes it difficult to move around, play sports, or enjoy outdoor activities. This will lead to increased weight gains causing even more back pain. This begins a downward spiral that can be difficult to snap out of. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program not only reduces existing back pain, but will also help prevent chronic and acute back pain problems in the future.

There are many other factors that could be contributing factors to weight gain and back pain. Individuals that are stressed will tend to sleep poorly, have a poor diet and get little exercise. Stress also increases muscle tightness leading to acute back pain. Smokers are much more at risk to develop lower back pain. According to the University of Michigan, nicotine thickens the walls of the blood vessels. The restricted blood flow through the lower back and increases the amount of time for healing and recovery if you have a back injury.

If you are overweight, obese, or working at maintaining a healthy weight, there are many tools at your disposal. Join a gym, go for a walk, or setup a meeting with a dietitian. YouTube can be a great resource for instructions on how to prepare a healthy meal or to find workout videos that can be done in your living room. It’s time to stop procrastinating, start shedding those extra pounds, and rid yourself of that debilitating back pain.

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

Brad Lindemann
Sales Coordinator, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company