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