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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Show Me Your Muscles: The Complete Guide to Torn Biceps


Lift'n Buddy, the name of our company, can indicate an association with weight lifting.  Ask anyone one who works here, and they will tell you the association is welcomed with open arms.  Why? Because our focus is providing mechanical lift assists to "spot" you while lifing awkward, heavy and bulky materials.  Therefore, we borrow much from the world of weight lifting, especially as it pertains to REPETITIVE lifting and injury prevention.  Hey, injurious happen.  Jim Brown, Phd., wrote the following as it concerns the bicep.  This show-cased muscle has always been a measure of strength, particularly from childhood on up, thus the expression: "SHOW ME YOUR MUSCLES." This important muscle is subject to wear-and-tear. Let's see what Jim Brown as to say regarding protecting 'the guns':

The biceps, the muscles in the front of the upper arm, extend upward to the shoulder and downward to the elbow. A strained biceps, which is actually a tear in the biceps tendon, is an injury that's being reported more frequently than in the past, but the reason isn't clear.

And although the tendons can be torn at either end of the muscle, the one that attaches to the shoulder accounts for the vast majority of biceps ruptures, which occurs when the biceps tendon detaches from the bone. It's vulnerable because it goes through the shoulder joint, which is used, and sometimes overused, by athletes in almost every sport.

How Torn Biceps Happens

The tendon near the elbow is strained or torn when an athlete's arm absorbs an unexpected amount of force (e.g. a skier or snowboarder breaking a fall) or during a forceful pushing motion. The impact causes partial or complete tears in the tendon or muscle tissue, which may already be worn or frayed if the person is over 40. When the tear involves the upper part of the biceps at the shoulder, the result is the same, but it’s more likely to be caused by overuse. In older athletes, a biceps tendon rupture might be associated with a tear in one of the four rotator cuff muscles.

Torn Biceps by the Numbers

40-60 The age range of people most likely to sustain a torn biceps muscle.
The percent of torn biceps that happen near the shoulder (rather than near the elbow).

Who’s At Risk for Torn Biceps

Weightlifters are at high risk because of the load regularly placed on the biceps. Sustaining a torn biceps while performing curls is a classic example of how the injury occurs. Football players, skiers, gymnasts, tennis players, rowers, boxers, wrestlers, and throwers (javelin, shot, discus) are also at higher-than-normal risk of in. Older athletes are more susceptible than younger athletes, and men are more likely to tear the biceps tendon, but that may reflect the number of participants in a sport rather than a genetic or physiological predisposition. Anyone who has had a previously torn biceps injury is more likely to experience a similar injury.


  • Sudden pain in the upper arm, but less pain with tears at the shoulder than with those close to the elbow
  • Possible snapping sound
  • Loss of strength
  • Tenderness in the shoulder
  • A bulge in the upper arm or a dent close to the shoulder
  • Bruising from the upper arm to the elbow
  • Difficulty when trying to bend the elbow and rotating the forearm outward
  • Muscle spasms

Initial Treatment

  • Apply ice packs for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day for the first 48-72 hours.
  • Moist heat for 15-20, 3-4 times a day after the first 48-72 hours may relieve pain.
  • Avoid any activity that causes shoulder pain or weakness.
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen may relieve pain.
  • Complete tears require surgery. Partial tears may heal with more conservative treatment.
  • If a visual defect is present, you should see a doctor.

Comeback Strategy

  • For a complete tear in which surgery is needed, return to full sports participation may take 4-6 months. Supervised physical therapy is typically advised.
  • Partial tears usually heal within 3-6 weeks.
  • Resume regular training only when you have normal shoulder and upper arm strength, full range of motion, and no pain.
Incorporate these prehab exercises into your warm-up routine:
  1. Elbow Range of Motion: It's necessary to restore the normal movement of both the elbow and shoulder prior to returning to activity. To increase flexion, or bending, of the elbow, actively bend your elbow as much as you can. Continue to try and bend your elbow as you use your other hand to help give you extra pressure into the movement. To restore extension, or straightening of the elbow, reach your arm out straight and fire your triceps, the muscle located at the back of your arm. Use your other hand to gently grab your wrist, and pull back until you feel a slight stretch on your forearm and front of upper arm.
  2. Tricep Push Downs
  3. Supination/Pronation

How to Treat Torn Biceps

  • Allow for extra warm-up time in cold weather.
  • Don't increase the intensity, duration, or frequency of exercise involving the biceps muscles more than 10 percent a week.
  • Wear sport-specific equipment to protect the arms and shoulders.
  • Get help from a certified strength and conditioning coach to ensure proper lifting technique.
Incorporate these prehab and movement prep exercises into your warm-up routine:
  1. Squeeze-Release (for grip strength): Squeeze and release a stress ball for 2-3 minutes, every other day. Over-doing this exercise can make symptoms worse. Perform the exercise in a manner that doesn't cause pain.
  2. Wrist Rotation (for supination/pronation strength): Hold a light weight in one hand. Turn your palm up to the ceiling, then down to the ground. Repeat on each side, three sets of 10, every other day.
  3. 4-Way Forearm
  4. Tricep Push Downs
  5. Supination/Pronation
  6. Handwalks
Jim Brown, Ph.D. has written 14 books on health, medicine, and sports. His articles have appeared in the Washington PostNew York PostSports Illustrated for Women and Better Homes & Gardens. He also writes for the Duke School of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic and Steadman-Hawkins Research Foundation.
Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Aaron Lamb
General Manager, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Backpack & Back Pain

With kids of all ages going back to school, parents have spent time and money shopping for back to school supplies, including backpacks.  Most kids and parents picked a backpack that looked cool, had their favorite superhero character or their favorite color.  How many of you took into consideration the fit of the backpack and how it could affect the spine health of the child lugging around the bag?  Carrying too much weight in a backpack that is not distributed correctly can cause back pain and injury. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are more than 6,500 emergency room visits each year by children ages 5-18 which stem from injuries related to heavy backpacks or book bags.


According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), there are several ways to prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause.

  • Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child's back.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child's shoulders.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child's body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
  • Although the use of rollerpacks - or backpacks on wheels - has become popular in recent years, the ACA is now recommending that they be used cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack. Some school districts have begun banning the use of rollerpacks because they clutter hallways, resulting in dangerous trips and falls.
Keep your kid's backs healthy at an early age by following the guidelines shown above.  After a back injury occurs, wearing a backpack can also slow the healing process.   Keep your children happy, active and pain free this school year by spending a few extra minutes choosing a backpack that fits.

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

Nikki Lamb
Sales Manager, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company