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Where are you? A Question About Workplace Safety...

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 @ 12:16 PM

This may seem like an odd question, where are you right now? If you had to explain it to someone who had never been there before, how would you tell them to find you? You might say you’re at work, or you’re in the living room. Statements like this paint a clear picture to those who know you. However, “at work” or “at home” or “around the corner” aren’t enough for safety in the workplace.

008Recently an STS employee, working in their full-time position as a firefighter, was dispatched to a critical medical emergency. The caller was stated that the patient was at a major intersection. Crews arrived and could not locate the patient or the caller. A fire engine, and ambulance, and a battalion chief were all eventually involved in locating the patient. Several minutes passed while crews searched the area and dispatch attempted to contact the caller. 15 minutes later the patient was located inside a construction site about half a mile away from the intersection. After the patient had been transported to the hospital it was determined that the contractors at the site were not aware of the building’s address nor the names of the streets at the much nearer intersection.

It is important to have an Emergency Action Plan, it is important to drill and ensure each component operates smoothly in a workplace emergency. It cannot be stressed enough to all workers – you must know the address of your work location if you may ever have to call for outside help in an emergency. Additionally, emergency crews need the same information that you would provide to employees such as site hazards and required PPE. In the above situation an ambulance was driven into an active and fenced construction site and then driven inside an unfinished concrete building.

The goal was to reach the patient and provide emergency care, but the patient could have been reached sooner had the employees known the location of the work site and had a plan for directing emergency crews into the facility. In many cases a few minutes allows a fire to double and triple in size, and 15 minutes or less can have serious implications for medical patients. Know your work site, know the emergency response plan. Ask questions before you ever have a legitimate need to call 911 and know your roles before the emergency.

At the start of your next shift ask yourself how an emergency crew would find you. Do you know the address? Have the police or fire departments been to your facility recently to familiarize themselves with the layout and hazards? How will you communicate these things in an emergency?

Find out what kind of workplace  safety training services we offer...  CLICK HERE!

Tags: workplace safety, emergency response plan

Somehow I Manage: Workplace Safety Training Guide by Michael Scott

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

Chances are you don’t work at one of the top ten deadliest jobs, but that doesn’t mean you can brush off safety. Safety in an office setting is just as important as any other environment because the potential for injury can be just as great. Being struck by lightning at your desk may be improbable, but its not impossible. With that being said, lets look at some more common workplace injuries:

Lifting – If lifting isn’t part of your every day job, chances are you’re not going to be thinking of safety when it’s time to move the heavy printer from one room into another. Without proper awareness, you may just grab it and start moving, seriously damaging your back in the process.

Tendon Injury – Most office workers are at their computers for 8 hours a day, sitting in the same position and going through the same motions the entire time. This could cause tendon injury or carpal tunnel syndrome, leaving you unable to do much of anything. Take breaks to prevent muscle tightness. Get up and walk around, and don’t forget to stretch your fingers.

Stress – According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress on the job. Increased stress leads to health problems and can even cause heart attacks. The NYPD even automatically classifies all employee heart attacks as “work related injuries.”

Toppling Objects – Do you work in a cluttered office? If so, you may be in more danger than you think. Workers will often dangerously overload shelves due to lack of space. It’s only a matter of time before that old fax machine falls off of its overcrowded bookshelf and onto someone’s head.

There are several things you can do to prevent office injuries, many of which are included below in an infographic provided by www.resultsyoudeserve.com. If you are also a fan of the NBC show "The Office", you probably know all about Michael Scott and his hilarious yet sometimes cringeworthy antics. You may also be familiar with the episode 'Safety Training' from season 3. This episode must have been a catalyst for this infographic about real office safety issues that companies everywhere need to be aware of. It’s presented from the perspective of Michael Scott and includes quotes and pictures from the show as well as plenty of educational information about the dangers of the workplace:

Click here for infographic

Infographic Credit: “Michael Scott’s Guide to Surviving Your 9-5” from Katherman Briggs & Greenberg.

Tags: safety training tips, workplace mental health, office safety, ergonomics, workplace safety, safety training topics

Office Safety: Everyday Ergonomics

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 11:45 AM

Today's blog article comes with a great infographic to sum up its information. Courtesy of the Editors at Best Choice Reviews. They write great articles on a multitude of subjects from fitness to personal shopping to electronics/technology. Check them out!

Anyways, today's subject will be "Everyday Ergonomics." Thank you again Best Choice Reviews for providing this information!

Everyday Ergonomics
Image source: Best Choice Reviews

Everyday Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of efficient work. Use our guide to promote health and focus at home, on the road, and in the office.

Commuting
The average commute is 25.5 minutes, or 51 minutes a day. And 8.1% of Americans commute for an hour or more both ways.[1] That’s a long time to mistreat your back and neck.

Train or bus?[5]
Essentials:

  • Loose clothes
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Feet flat
  • Use railing to balance

Car?[4]
Essentials:

  • Base of your spine touching back of the seat.
  • Rolled towel, or some form of support filling the gap between mid ribcage area and seat
  • Don’t slump
  • Lift your back up
  • Adjust headrest and tilt head back onto it
  • It takes time to adjust to sitting correctly. With practice it will feel comfortable.

Back pain is the second most common reason for missed work. Don’t ruin your day before it starts.[9]

Work
Workplace health is a marathon, not a sprint. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t an “industrial athlete.” Let us coach you into the right place.

Workspace: [7][6][10]

  • Monitor 15 degrees above eye level horizon is easiest on eyes and neck.
  • Tilt monitor back slightly.
  • Feet flat on floor.
  • Lower back supported.
  • Monitor one arms’ length away.
  • Forearms and hands in straight line.
  • Should be comfortable to look at the center of the screen for prolonged periods.
  • Lighting should only be as bright as the room’s lighting.
  • Avoid glare from the sun.

Habits:[8]

  • Get up and walk/ stretch at least once an hour.
  • Talk to colleagues in person instead of sending intra-office emails.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Hold “walking meetings.”
  • Walk to a farther bathroom.

The Average worker spends 5 hours 41 minutes sitting at work. Leading to higher rate of sedentary lifestyle, decreased mental stability, and increased muskulo-skeletal problems.[11]
Almost 60% of work related injuries can be avoided with proper ergonomics. Why risk it?[9]

Luggage 

  • Push, don’t pull rolling bags.
  • Use bags with two straps to spread weight equally across body.
  • Choose longer straps when using single strap bags and drape across body on the opposite shoulder.
  • Only carry what you need.

Manual Labor [3]

  • Use knee pads for prolonged kneeling
  • Mix up repetitive actions
  • Store heavy items within reach (see “work zone”)

Core concepts

In 1700 Ramazzini, a Paduan professor of medicine, outlined the importance of neutral posture and the “work zone” in maintaining muskulo-skelatal health. [12]
We’ve known about ergonomics for hundreds of years. It’s up to you to change.

The Neutral Posture [2]
The position where each joint is resting. Least tension on nerves, muscles, tendons, and bones.
Often seen in astronauts under conditions of weightlessness.

Fingers: gently curved, not spread apart.
Wrists: in line with forearm
Forearms: With thumb up.
Elbows: Bent from 90-110 degrees. Close to torso.
Upper Arms: hangs straight down
Shoulders: resting. not up, down, forward, or back.
Neck: balanced on the spinal column.
Spine: an ‘s’ shape. Upper region bends out. Lower region gently bends in.
Lower body: hip and knee joints slightly bent.

The greater the deviation from the neutral posture, the greater the risk of injury and discomfort.
Cumulative trauma disorders develop over weeks, months, or years from the repeated stress on a particular body part. Start changing your habits now.
Repetitive motion disorders are muscular ailments.
Examples: Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Dequervain’s Disease,Tendinitis, Trigger Finger

The “work zone” [3]
The best work zone:

  • Never do heavy lifting outside of it.
  • As far forward as your wrist with arms slightly bent.
  • As wide as your shoulders.
  • Upper level at about heart height.
  • Lower level at about waist height.

The “ok” work zone:

  • As far forward as your hand with arm outstretched.
  • A foot to either side of shoulders.
  • Upper level at shoulder height.
  • Lower level at fingertips when arms relaxed at sides.

If you could make the choice to live without pain. Wouldn’t you make the choice everyday?

Citations

  1. http://www.census.gov/hhes/commuting/files/2012/ACS-20.pdf
  2. http://www.oehc.uchc.edu/ergo_neutralposture.asp
  3. https://www.osha.gov/ergonomics/guidelines/retailgrocery/retailgrocery.html#stocking
  4. http://www.wikihow.com/Sit-in-a-Car-Without-Back-Pain
  5. http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/gfx/uploads/member%20area/Posture%20sheets/Mind%20your%20posture%20-%20commuting.pdf
  6. http://ergocanada.com/ergo/monitors/monitor_height_guidelines.html
  7. http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/sr/dohs/Documents/ORS_Ergonomics_Poster_Rd5.pdf
  8. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alisongriswold/2012/06/12/to-work-better-just-get-up-from-your-desk/
  9. http://www.nclabor.com/osha/etta/A_to_Z_Topics/ergo.pdf
  10. http://www.gatoroffice.com/monitor_ergonomics.htm
  11. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113210203.htm
  12. http://ergonomenon.com/ergonomics-articles/bernardino-ramazzini-the-first-ergonomist-and-what-have-we-learned-from-him/

Tags: safe work environment, general safety tips, office safety, general office safety, ergonomics, workplace safety, osha general industry training

Office Safety Series, Part 5: Know First Aid, Know Workplace Safety!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 12:15 PM

To have or not have....that is the question.

Oh wait--no its not! When it comes to workplace first aid kits, the answer is HAVE! In fact, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a First Aid standard (29 CFR 1910.151) that requires trained first-aid providers at all workplaces of any size if there is no "infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees." And what is a band without its instruments? A first aid kit is a necessity for ANY workplace!

Before we jump too far into specifics of standards, first aid kits, and contents of, let us take a moment to discuss the full purpose of these items and how they fit into a workplace first aid program.

What is First Aid?

first aid training, office safety, workplace first aid kitsAs stated by OSHA, first aid is emergency care provided for injury or sudden illness before emergency medical treatment is available. The first aid provider in the workplace is someone who is trained in the delivery of initial medical emergency procedures, using a limited amount of equipment to perform a primary assessment and intervention while awaiting arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.

A workplace first aid program is part of a comprehensive safety and health management system that includes the following four essential elements.

  1. Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
  2. Worksite Analysis
  3. Hazard Prevention and Control
  4. Safety and Health Training

When designing and implementing a workplace first aid program remember to:

  • Aim to minimize the outcome of accidents or exposures.
  • Comply with OSHA requirements relating to first aid.
  • Include sufficient quantities of appropriate and readily accessible first aid supplies and first aid equipment (*cough* automated external defibrillators or 'AEDs' *cough*)
  • Assign and train first aid providers who:
    • receive first aid training suitable to the specific workplace.
    • receive periodic refresher courses on first aid skills and knowledge.

What's the Risk?

Let's talk numbers for a moment. In 2004, the private industry had 5,703 work-relatedworkplace first aid kits, office safety, supplies for first aid kits fatalities. That same year had 4.3 million total workplace injuries and illnesses, with 1.3 million resulting in days away from work.

Occupational illnesses, injuries and fatalities in 2004 cost the United States’ economy $142.2 billion, according to National Safety Council estimates. The average cost per occupational fatality in 2004 exceeded one million dollars.

To cover the costs to employers from workplace injuries, it has been calculated that each and every employee in this country would have had to generate $1,010 in revenue.

OSHA Requirements

In addition to first aid requirements of 29 CFR 1910.151, several OSHA standards also require training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) because sudden cardiac arrest from asphyxiation, electrocution, or exertion may occur. CPR may keep the victim alive until EMS arrives to provide the next level of medical care.

If an employee is expected to render first aid as part of his or her job duties, the employee is covered by the requirements of the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030). This standard includes specific training requirements.

Automated External Defibrillators

aed training, workplace safety, office first aid kits

As we are in 2013, AEDs are no longer just a tool used by non-medical personnel such as police, fire service personnel, flight attendants or security guards; these are potentially life-saving devices used by anyone trained to used them (and even then, there are some that ANYONE can use with no prior knowledge). The best part, these devices are now widely available, safe, effective, portable and just plain easy to use! Using AEDs as soon as possible after sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), within 3-4 minutes, can lead to a 60% survival rate. CPR is of value because it supports the circulation and ventilation of the victim until an electric shock delivered by an AED can restore the fibrillating heart to normal. Do not neglect to include AEDs in your workplace safety program, they can and WILL save lives!

What Goes in my Workplace First Aid Kit?

At this point, we should discuss what actual items should be included in a first aid kit. For this, we will reference the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard (ANSI Z308.1-2009) which was revised in 2009. This standard is the minimum fill for workplace first aid kits. The new changes in the standard brought two new items and eliminated latex from first aid kits altogether. Here are the ten items for a minimum workplace first aid kit fill.

  • (1) First Aid Guide
  • (1) Absorbent Compress 4"x8" minimum
  • (16) 1"x3" Adhesive Bandages
  • (1) Adhesive Tape 2.5 yard roll
  • (10) Antiseptic Treatment 0.9 grams
  • (6) Burn Treatment 0.9 grams
  • (4) 3"x3" Sterile Gauze Pads
  • (2) Pair Medical Exam Gloves
  • (1) Triangular Bandage 40"x40"x56" minimum
  • (6) Antibiotic Ointment 0.5 grams

The following are not required, but recommended items:

  • Analgesic (oral, non-drowsy formula)
  • Bandage Compress 2"x2" minimum
  • Breathing Barrier (single-use)
  • Burn Dressing 12 sq. in.
  • Cold Pack 4"x5" minimum
  • Eye Covering 1/4" thick minimum
  • Eye/Face Wash (Sterile) 4 oz. minimum
  • Roller Bandage 2"x4" yards minimum
  • Hand Sanitizer

The above required kits may be suitable for your company. However, keep in mind, that more adequate means may be necessary for certain hazards of individual work environments. This may be evaluated by a competent person in your workplace, or by another safety professional. Safety Training services, Inc. is available for said service and our safety professionals provide free "walkthroughs" of your workplace and will help prescribe a first aid kits modeled to your workplaces' individual hazards and/or needs.

Training

OSHA recommends 5 key elements in a first aid training program for the workplace. 

  1. AED training, aed training chicago, first aid kit training, first aid training services"Hands-on," skill based teaching methods.
  2. Instruction and discussion in preparing to respond to a health emergency with an emphasis on prevention as a strategy.
  3. Including logical and well-informed assessment of the scene and victims.
  4. Designed and adapted for the specific workplace in responding to life-threatening emergencies.
  5. Designed and adapted for the specific workplace in responding to non-life-threatening emergencies including management of wounds, burns, bites/stings, and bodily injuries.

Always make sure to keep updated on proper first aid requirements and trainings. The first aid program should be reviewed periodically to determine if it continues to address the needs of the specific workplace. The first aid training program should be kept up-to-date with current first aid techniques and knowledge. Outdated training and reference materials should be replaced or removed. If you do not have an adequate first aid training program, or feel that your hands are full with other workplace duties, allow Safety Training Services, Inc. to be your first aid training provider! Your facility or ours, we provide "Real Training" in hands-on scenarios with state-of-the-art equipment. CPR and AED can be included in the training program to be certain you and your employees will be ready and able to respond immediately and correctly in the event of a workplace emergency!

Tell me more about your First Aid Training!

Tags: supplies for first aid kits, aed training chicago, workplace first aid kits, first aid training, aed training, office safety, workplace safety

Office Safety? More Like Hospital Trips for the Uninformed!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jul 01, 2013 @ 12:30 PM

Slips, trips, and falls are some of the worst yet most common type of office injuries in the workplace, but they are also the easiest to correct.

Office safety is very essential in today's world. Not only is it essential but it is also very important to be aware of several safety rules and regulations as this could hamper the smooth functioning of your office due to legal issues. This article does not focus on the legislation regarding workplace safety, but on providing several tips for ensuring that you and your employees have a safe working environment. Staying alert minimizing the risk!

Be sure take time to look around your work area and help to prevent these hazards. Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents and can result in back injuries, sprains and strains, contusions, and fractures. Slips, trips and falls, sidelined 25,790 workers in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS). The National Safety Council says employees are twice as likely to suffer a disabling fall in an office setting as anywhere else. Falling, specifically, is the most common office accident and results in numerous and disabling injuries.

Slips & Falls

Office safety, slips, trips, fallsStanding on chairs – particularly rolling office chairs – is a significant fall hazard. Workers who need to reach something at an elevated height should use a stepladder.  Stepladders must be fully opened and placed on level, firm ground. Workers should never climb higher than the step indicated as the highest safe standing level. 

Carpeting and other skid-resistant surfaces can serve to reduce falls. Marble or tile can become very slippery – particularly when wet, according to the National Safety Council. Placing carpets down can be especially helpful at entranceways, where workers are likely to be coming in with shoes wet from rain or snow.

Some other simple changes to the workspace can be effective in eliminating hazards and reducing the number of fall injuries. 

  • Clean up all spills immediatelyworkplace safety, slips, trips and falls
  • Close all file cabinets when not in use
  • Ensure sufficient lighting
  • Always use a ladder or stepstool to retrieve anything above shoulder level
  • Remove obstacles from hallways and other high-traffice areas
  • Do not lean back in chairs
  • Regularly have the floors moped clean and dry

If you feel yourself falling, try to hit on your shoulder and roll. You are most likely to absorb more of this impact than falling straight. Don’t reach out with a hand or arm to break your fall, as it may result in a broken limb or hand.

  • Tripping over open drawers or file drawersOffice safety, trips, slips, falls
  • Tripping over electrical cords or wires that run across hallways
  • Tripping over loose carpet or broken tiles or concrete
  • Tripping over objects stored in a hallway, walkway or other areas of high traffic
  • Tripping because of poor lighting
  • Tripping over non-secure mats and rugs

Another major type of injury in the office setting comes from workers being struck by or caught by an object. Incidents of this nature accounted for 15,680 injuries in 2008, according to BLS. 

  • Shut the drawer!
    • File cabinets with too many fully extended drawers could tip over if they are not secured, the council warns. Additionally, open drawers on desks and file cabinets pose a tripping hazard, so be sure to always completely close drawers when not in use. 
  • Safe stacking
    • According to the Office of Compliance (OOC), which oversees the safety of U.S. congressional workers, proper storage of heavy items can help reduce the number of office injuries. Large stacks of materials and heavy equipment can cause major injuries if they are knocked over. OOC recommends storing heavy objects close to the floor, and warns that the load capacity of shelves or storage units should never be exceeded.

Report it

general office safety, trips and fallsAnytime you see something unsafe, report it to your facilities management department or supervisor. Things you might want to point out include sightings of:

  • Torn carpet
  • Loose tiles
  • Wobbly steps or floorboards
  • Burned out light bulbs
  • Broken chairs or desks
  • Other defective equipment
  • Stray electrical cables or obstructions of walkways
  • Possible unauthorized visitors

Promoting safety in the office can be simple with a few great office safety tips. There are many ways to share office safety tips in the workplace. You could have annual safety meetings where the entire company gets together to discuss current safety issues. They are also a great way to implement new safety rules. The biggest benefit of office safety meetings is that any person that has a question can have it answered by you or others in the group.

For the time in between safety meetings you can hang safety posters around the office. The posters can have office safety tips written on them. This will help employees to remember what they learned at the meetings long after they are over.

Safety in the workplace involves making arrangements so as to avoid accidents. At the same time, it also involves being alert to certain hazards and having knowledge about the measures used to overcome them. Here are some examples of the knowledge you & your employers should have regarding office safety.

  • Keep your working area neat and clean
    • Piles of papers and stacks of files combined with a tangle of wires are a disaster waiting to happen, on several fronts. A clean work space will also enable you to identify a problem and tackle it faster and more effectively.
  • Any common area break room should be kept clean.
    • There should be trash cans that are emptied on a daily basis. A broom, mop and other cleaning supplies should be in a closet or close by encase of spills.

Knowledge is power. Safety should be everyone’s top concern.

Training is, again, and extremely important tool in promoting office safety. We can prevent or greatly reduce these types of accidents if we train our people to:

  • Not run in the office
  • Avoid excessive bending, twisting, or leaning backwards while are seated
  • Always use a ladder and not a chair for reaching
  • Wear stable shoes
  • Do not carry anything that obstructs your vision

Administrative controls

In addition to employee training and improved equipment, certain administrative controls can aid hazard recognition and the elimination of potentially dangerous situations. 

  • Conduct walkthroughs.Periodically walking around the office can help with hazard recognition and maintenance of ergonomic task design.

  • Monitor signs of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Recognizing the symptoms of MSDs can alert employees of the need to make an ergonomics alteration to their workstation. But workers need to know what those warning signs are.
     
  • Talk to employees about their concerns. Simply asking workers how they are feeling can go a long way toward recognizing hazards.
     
  • Establish employee reporting systems. Establishing an employee reporting system can be the best way for organizations to get a handle on potential hazards before they cause injury. Consider creating an anonymous reporting process that encourages workers to come forward with their concerns. 

general office safety, trips and fallsAn office environment is considered to be one of the safest work environments, therefore to ensure a safe work environment; each individual must employ common sense, know physical limitations, display an attentive attitude towards their surroundings, and become aware of applicable compliance codes.

 

Safety Training Services, Inc. can help! Whether its general office safety training topics like OSHA-compliance training (OSHA-10 General Industry), safety auditing or even rescue serices available to your company, contact us to find out how we can become your all-inclusive safety company!

Contact STS Today!

Tags: general safety tips, osha compliance, fall safety, slips, office safety, general office safety, workplace safety, trips and falls, safety training topics

Ergonomics: Office Biotechnology and Improving Your Quality of Work!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

History

Since the beginning of mankind, humans have adapted a sense of using the right tool for theErgonomics, Office Safety job. In ancient times, it was tying rocks or bones to sticks for use as a hammer or sharpened to make hunting easier. Essentially, they established that using crude items could be used to make life easier. Ergonomics is just that, an applied science (not just a buzzword for marketers!) of work. That is, it’s intended to maximize productivity of workers by reducing/eliminating fatigue or discomfort. The literal definition of ergonomics, as Dictionary.com states, is “the study of the relationship between workers and their environment.” Also known as “biotechnology,” and first coined by Wojciech Jastrzebowski in 1857.

However, these early adoptions were merely used to optimize tasks. Ergonomics has since evolved into learning how to include worker safety and health by addressing muscle force, cardiovascular activity, maximum weight, etc. This is seen by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 19th century in which he used his “Scientific Method” (AKA ergonomics) to assist coal workers in tripling their productivity by designing shovels that were lighter and smaller. Also in the 1900s Frank and Lillian Gilbreth further expanded Taylor’s methods by coming up with the “Time and Motion Studies.” This was meant to reduce the amount of unnecessary motions required to perform a task. With this approach, they reduced the number of motions bricklayers used (from 18 to 4.5) and allowed them to increase productivity from 120 bricks per hour to 350.

“Formal” ergonomics is generally credited to the development of more complicated machinery in WWI and WWII. As aircrafts, tanks and other complex machines were being developed; human errors were piling up, resulting in catastrophes. Non-combat casualties were an outcome of bad engineering and design. This begged the necessity of better results through better designing, and the most “modern” form of ergonomics (how we know it today) is now becoming the norm.

Office Ergonomics, Office Safety

Engineers and psychologists are working together in collaboration to improve our daily lives through better design. A multi-disciplinary approach has been taken to include anthropologists, industrial engineers, cognitive scientists and physiologists in order to understand the human operators and to design systems and machines to fit said user.

Today, most of us know ergonomics in a workplace context. As the average worker in America works for about 8 hours a day, the need for ergonomic office furniture and practices is of the upmost importance. The idea is to be sure that as technology and design make our homes safer and more comfortable, and in the case of the workplace, to increase productivity, increase comfort and prevent injuries and fatigue.

Hazards Associated with Ergonomics

Back injuries - Common back injuries include sprains, herniated disks and fractured vertebrae. Lower back pain is often the result of incorrect lifting methods/habits and poor posture.

  • Tips include:

    • Properly train employees on appropriate lifting techniquesBack injuries, office safety

    • Utilize material handling equipment (carts, dollies, hand trucks)

    • Encourage stretching for employees to reduce muscle strain

Carpal tunnel syndrome - A nervous system disorder causing parethesia (limbs falling sleep), pain and numbness. Carpal tunnel can be caused by environmental factors such as heavy manual work or work with vibrating tools. There is even a small amount of clinical data to suggest that lighter, repetitive tasks can cause it. This includes activities when frequent/constant wrist flexion is needed or when there is pressure against the underside of the wrist.

  • Tips include:

    • Use of ergonomics equipment (includes ergo chairs, mouse pads, wrist rests, etc.)

    • Taking proper breaks and stretches

    • Use keyboard alternatives (voice recognition, digital pens)

Industrial/occupational noise - A hazard generally associated with heavy industries, in which sustained exposure can cause permanent hearing damage. However, it should be noted that OSHA identifies noise as "hazardous to worker safety and health" in many different places of employment (office work included) and by a variety of causes. Noise not only can cause hearing loss/impairment, but can be a factor in raising stress levels or even raising blood pressure. Lastly, it can impede concentration and be a factor in work accidents (office or otherwise).

  • Tips include:

    • Use earplugs or earmuffs

    • Be mindful of noise control strategies (architectural design, sound insulation/absorption, vibration damping, etc.)

    • If lighting *noise* is the issue, reduce light or retrofit fixtures

Repetitive strain injury - RSIs are as OSHA states them, "injuries to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations,Ergonomics, office safety mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions."

  • Tips include:

    • Use ergonomics tools for specific tasks (clipboards for lots of writing, pliers for example, for electricians, ergo mouse for office workers, scissors for retail workers)

Tendonitis - Is a hazard in which a tendon becomes inflamed generally due to overuse of affected limb. This is common in upper and lower limbs and is less common in hips and torso.

  • Tips include:

    • Find the cause

    • Stop the stress

    • Maintain a healthy body

    • Introduce variety

How STS Can Help

Safety Training Services, Inc. can help you in many ways with regards to providing you assistance with any office safety advice. Our toll-free number (877) 724-2744 is a free service to utilize if you have a quick question regarding ergonomics or any office safety topic. If you would like to take a step further in educating yourself or your workers on office safety, STS offers courses related to general industry OSHA topics (including ergonomics and office safety). This is a great way to help your employees to understand the importance of safety in the workplace. Click the button below for more information on our OSHA-related courses.

Click here for our  OSHA-related Courses!

Tags: general safety tips, office safety, general office safety, ergonomics, workplace safety, osha general industry training, osha safety topics

New STS "Office Safety" Web Series Next Week!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Jun 04, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

As you may remember, we previously covered the topic of “office safety” in an earlier blog, broken up into a 4-part web series. This was a great success in that it helped many to discover another side of an office setting in which hazards were uncovered and myths debunked. Still, it was meant to be a general coverage of the office setting and now we aim to uncover some more in-depth safety info, tips and practices involving office workers and those who work in an office area.

In our new 6-part weekly web series, we will spend time expanding on several subjects including workplace mental health, ergonomics, emergency plans, fire/electrical hazards, “common sense”/housekeeping practices, and the most common workplace injuries: slips, trips and falls.

So mark your calendars for this Monday, June 10th when part one, “Ergonomics: Office Biotechnology and Improving Your Quality of Work” will come out exclusively on the Safety Training Services’ Safety Blog!

Remember that the safest workplaces are ones where every employee knows and practices appropriate office safety!

Office Safety, General Office Safety

Tags: general safety tips, office safety, general office safety, workplace safety

Breaking it down | Protecting America's Workers Act (PAWA)

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

The OSH Act (That created OSHA) was passed over 40 years ago in order to protect America’s workers. Since then, great progress towards keeping America’s workers safe has been made. However, more work must still be done as we still have the statistics, almost daily, about serious injuries and/or fatalities.

In 2010 alone, over 4,600 workers were killed and 3.8 million workers reported injuries (and think about how many DIDN’T report). That makes an average of almost 13 injuries per day!

So a return to a previous idea of updating OSH Act in the form of a bill, Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA), with the intent to expand & strengthen workplace safety laws. PAWA was introduced a few different ways before in several congressional sessions, but never passed.

What is PAWA? Well it looks to update/amend OSHA to cover more workers, update penalties, strengthen protections, enhance public accountability, clarify an employer's duty to provide safe work environment. What does it entail? Let’s take a look at what PAWA aims to do:

Cover more workers
  • Over 8.5 million workers are not covered by OSHA. This includes federal, state, local public employees and some private sector.
  • PAWA would include flight attendants, state correctional officers and workers in government agencies and provides OSHA protections to these workers.
Beavis & Butthead - Breaking the LawIncrease penalties for law-breakers
  • Current law says willful OSHA violations that lead to a worker's death may be charged, at most, with a misdemeanor.
  • Repeated and willful OSHA violations that result in serious injury or death can be charged as felony.
  • Updates OSHA civil penalties (unchanged since 1990). Sets minimum penalty of $50,000 for worker death caused by a willful violation.
Protects whistle-blowers on unsafe conditions in the workplace
  • OSHA's whistleblower provisions have had no update since adoption...in 1970.
  • Updates those whistleblower protections by incorporating successful administrative procedures adopted in other laws (like the Surface Transportation Act).
Enhances the public's right to know about safety violations
  • Improves public accountability and transparency.
    • Mandates Department of Labor (DOL) investigates all cases of death or serious incidents of injury at work.
  • Gives workers (and their families) the right to meet with DOL investigators.
  • Requires employers to inform workers of their OSHA rights.
Clarifies employer's duty to provide a safe work environment, equipment and track recordable injuries/illnesses for all workers on-Caution - Recordable Injury Signsite
  • Amends the General Duty Clause to include all workers on the worksite.
  • Clarifies employer responsibility to provide the necessary safety equipment to their workers (example: PPE).
  • Directs DOL to revise regulations  for site-controlling employers to keep a site log for all recordable injuries and illnesses among all employees on the worksite.

That about wraps up PAWA and its goals. Think for a moment about these questions and then comment what you think in the box below!
  • Does this frame of mind have merit
  • Do you think this should be passed
  • As an employee, do you feel this is headed in the right direction? 
  • As an employer, do you feel this is headed in the right direction? 
No matter what side of the fence you are on, how can workplace safety training companies continue to assist employees & employers while its being negotiated?
 
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Tags: PAWA, OSHA, safe work environment, safety training, protecting america's workers, workplace safety

Office Safety - Workplace Violence Facts & Strategies

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

"All employers have a general duty to provide employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm."

Mandate of OSH Act of 1970 Section 5(a)(1)

I will start out by saying overall; a lot of us spend more time with coworkers then our own family. When you think about it, we spend 8 to 10 hours a day with these people, 5 to 7 days a week; there's LOADS of potential there for violent acts (physical or otherwise). That was meant lightheartedly, but in all seriousness, we can spend seemingly TOO much time with our coworkers. You may ask, “Why is this relevant to me?” Well, the answer lies in the statistic that the most common motive for job-related homicide is robbery; it accounts for 85% of workplace violence deaths. How many times have you taken the last donut in the box? Have you ever stolen someone’s stapler? Many of us have seen the aftermath of what can happen if so! Also, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), in America, 2 million assaults and threats of violence occur annually at work. The most common type of workplace crime was assault (average of 1.5 million a year).

Workplace Violence3 facts we, as workers, should be aware of.

  1. Nearly 2 million Americans report they've been victims of violence at work.
  2. In 2010, 1-in-9 workplace fatalities were homicides.
  3. Homicide is the most common cause of workplace fatalities in women.

The way OSHA states it, workplace violence can strike anywhere, and no one is immune. Some workers though, are at an increased risk. Workers that exchange money with the public (banking, retail workers); deliver passengers, goods, or services (taxi drivers, couriers); or work alone or in small groups, during late night or early morning hours (utility employees, service installers), etc.

Other occupations at greatest risk include police, detectives, sheriffs, gas station workers, and security guards. In the NCVS study, retail sales workers were the most numerous victims, with 330,000 being attacked each year.

Protecting Yourself/Your Employees?

In most workplaces where risk factors can be identified, the risk of assault can be prevented or minimized if employers take appropriate precautions. According to OSHA, the best protection employers can offer is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence against or by their employees. This policy should cover all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors, and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel. OSHA believes that a well written and implemented Workplace Violence Prevention Program, combined with engineering controls, administrative controls and training can reduce the incidence of workplace violence in both the private sector and Federal workplaces.

Nothing can guarantee that an employee will not become a victim of workplace violence, however, learning to recognize, avoid, or diffuse potentially violent situations by attending personal safety training programs and supervisors to any concerns about safety or security and report all incidents immediately in writing can help reduce the odds.

3 strategies to implement:

    1. Handheld metal detectors. Facts: A Detroit hospital found that after implementing these for 6 months; 33 handguns, 1,324 knives, 97 mace-type sprays were found/confiscated.
    2. Utilizing ID badges/color-coded passes/limiting access to certain floors. Facts: A New York City hospital implemented this strategy and reduced violent crimes by 65%.
    3. A database that identified those with a history of violence. Facts: A veteran's hospital in Oregon found that this action reduced violent attacks by 91.6%.Office Safety

OSHA encourages employers to develop additional methods as necessary to protect employees in high risk industries.


In closing, if you stay vigilant in knowing your employees, you can take preemptive measures and action that may prevent an occurrence of workplace violence. 


  • Know your employees! Most importantly, know when an employee’s behavior is out of the norm.
  • Facilitate training! Train your staff/coworkers that reporting unusual behavior to Human Resources should be acceptable and expected.
Remember, workplace violence isn’t just a trope for comic books or the movies. It can happen to you or your loved ones. Be mindful, be respectful, be alert!

Tags: office violence, office safety, workplace safety, workplace violence