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OSHA Training: What's the Difference Between OSHA-10 & OSHA-30?

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 @ 10:30 AM

In 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created an Outreach Training Program as a voluntary program with a purpose to promote workplace safety and health, as well as help workers become more knowledgeable about workplace hazards and their rights. Over the years OSHA has done well to expand the reach of the program and with this growth has increased training availability with their train-the-trainer format. In fact according to OSHA, between FY 2008 and FY 2013, more than 3.6 million workers were trained in job hazard recognition and avoidance through the program.

OSHA offers Outreach Training Programs for 4 industries: Construction, General Industry, Maritime, and Disaster Site work. For the sake of this article, we will be covering the construction and general industries. Although their class formats and even a few topics are similar, generally they cover a different set of topics and the atmosphere and scope is much different and taking one over the other can be unnecessary and a waste of time and money, depending on the industry you work in.

Why were these implemented?

The OSHA Outreach Training Program provides training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. Outreach classes also provide overview information regarding OSHA, including workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint.

Importance of safety training, osha 30 class, fire extinguisher serviceWhy take one over another?

The 10 hour courses are designed and intended for entry or lower level workers, due to the nature of the material covered. It is a more simplistic approach and covers a smaller scope. The 30 hour courses are designed and intended for higher level workers, those with some safety responsibility, due to the larger scope and more topics included in the 30 hour course. Although it should be noted, that any worker would benefit from either 10 hour or 30 hour courses; however as stated earlier, a worker in the construction industry would not get a proper representation of their industry in the general industry course and vice versa.

What is the difference between the two?

As per OSHA.gov’s website: “The 10 hour course provides basic awareness training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. The course also provides information regarding workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and filing a complaint.

The 30 hour course provides a greater depth and variety of training on an expanded list of topics associated with workplace hazards in each industry. OSHA provides authorized trainers procedures for each industry program on the topic outlines for each industry.”

The neat thing about these programs is that they are customizable to a company’s own wants and needs. For example, the 10 hour General Industry course covers the following mandatory topics:

  • Introduction to OSHA
  • Walking/Working Surfaces
  • Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, Fire Prevention and Protection Plans
  • Electrical Hazards
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Hazard Communication

With the following example topics being selective or optional and can be selected to best tailor to a specific company based on want/need:

  • Hazardous Material Flammable/Combustible
  • Machine Guarding
  • Confined Space Entry Awareness
  • Lock Out/Tag Out

The list becomes even longer when you look at a 30 hour OSHA course. It is a more detailedImportance of safety training, osha 30 class, hazard communication training version of the previous topics and also includes Materials Handling in the mandatory topics, but adds 6 or so additional topics to be covered. The construction industry courses include even more additional topics for individual selection. The mandatory topics are different as well, tailored to include more construction specific topics, the most important difference is that of “Focus Four Hazards” which include: Fall Protection, Electrical, Struck By, and Caught in/Between.

Can anyone take either class?

These courses are not designed to be exclusive to an age group. Everyone, of all ages, can benefit from OSHA courses. Especially the general industry as it covers a good number of general topics (as the name would imply) that can be used in any setting, even an office workplace or at home.

And again, you should be certain to verify which course (General Industry or Construction Industry) is a best fit for you when registering. At STS, we are happy to answer anyone's questions regarding this difference, as it important to attend the correct one for your industry. Find out more by contacting us! 

Interested in OSHA Training  in around Chicago? Click Here!

Importance of safety training, osha 30 class, office safetyAre these classes required?

Short answer, no. They are a recommendation from OSHA as an orientation to occupational safety and health for workers. However, some states have enacted laws that mandate the training. Also, certain employers or organizations may require this training.

What are the benefits to me?

With the courses not being mandatory for all, what is the reason you should take these courses? Well, in a perfect world, one would hope you’d want to take these courses simply to establish a good safety values and attitude at your workplace. But the reality is often times not so. So below you will find a few valuable reasons to engage yourself or your staff into OSHA compliance safety training.

  • It promotes good safety culture through peer training
  • Training is intended to be participatory, using hands-on activities
  • Trainers are able to tailor the training topics based on specific needs of their audience
  • Outreach training content includes hazard recognition and avoidance, workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and hot to file a complaint; it emphasizes the value of safety and health to workers, including young workers
  • Outreach training is available in languages other than English (Spanish, Polish, etc.)
With the mindset you now have that OSHA outreach training is valuable training for any individual looking to stay safe in their workplace and promote a good safety culture, you may decide to sign up for yourself or others at your workplace. Safety Training Services, Inc. offers OSHA courses monthly, find out when the next available course is for you by clicking the PDF below.
2017 Safety Training Course Schedule

If you are looking for any other safety-related course, click below to see what other courses are available!

Show me the classes!

Tags: general safety tips, osha compliance, importance of safety training, fire extinguisher service, osha training program, general office safety, osha 30 class

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

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

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]

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


  • Base of your spine touching back of the seat.
  • Rolled towel, or some form of support filling the gap between mid rib cage 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]

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.

Work-space: [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.


  • 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]


  • 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-skeletal 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?


  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

Part Six, Office Safety Blog: Drive Safely, Recycle, and Love Trees!

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 @ 04:30 PM

This is the sixth and final installment of Safety Training Services, Inc.'s second "Office Safety" web blog series. Directly below you will find links to the previous topics:

Part One | Two | Three | Four | Five 

Series #1: Part One | Two | Three | Four 

Now that you've caught yourself up (if need be), we will now discuss two topics in this article: "Safe Driving" and "Recycling." 

Safe DrivingDriving Safety, Office Safety

OSHA really says it best, "You are your employer's most valuable asset!" When it comes to driving, we need to understand that the way you drive says everything about you and your company.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 1,766 deaths a year result from occupational transportation incidents. That number is more than 38 percent of the 4,547 annual number of fatalities from occupational injuries. While fatal highway incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal work-related event, transportation incidents accounted for nearly 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2010 and more than 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2011.

There were 152 multiple-fatality incidents in 2011 (incidents in which more than one worker was killed) in which 354 workers died.

So what do we do to address this?

Office Safety, Driving safetyLuckily, many of these incidents/injuries are preventable. As does anything else safety-related, it simply requires a bit of knowledge and making a positive statement by following some easy, but mindful guidelines. Luckily, OSHA has done some of the work for us! Here are some their work-related safe driving practices in a quick and easy format:

  • Stay Safe!
    • Use a seat belt at all times - driver and passenger(s).
    • Be well-rested before driving.
    • Avoid taking medications that make you drowsy.
    • Set a realistic goal for the number of miles that you  can drive safely each day.
    • If you are impaired by alcohol or any drug, do not drive.
  • Stay Focused!
    • Driving requires your full attention. Avoid distractions, such as adjusting the radio or other controls, eating or drinking, and talking on the phone.
    • Continually search the roadway to be alert to situations requiring quick action.
    • Stop about every two hours for a break. Get out of the vehicle to stretch, take a walk, and get refreshed.
  • Avoid Aggressive Driving!
    • Keep your cool in traffic!
    • Be patient and courteous to other drivers.
    • Do not take other drivers' actions personally.
    • Reduce your stress by planning your route ahead of time, allowing plenty of travel time, and avoiding crowded roadways and busy driving times.

We all have someplace to be, let's make sure we all get there safely!

Why Recycle?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the cornerstones of any waste reduction program are waste prevention, recycling, and buying/manufacturing recycled-content products. Waste prevention is the process of preventing or reducing the generation of waste. If this is not achievable and when waste cannot be prevented, recycling is the next best option. It saves energy and helps keep valuable materials out of landfills and incinerators. 

  • Air pollution, recycling, office safety, china air pollutionIn 2008, the EPA estimated that of the 250 million tons of waste generated in the U.S., approximately one-third, or 83 million tons, was recycled or composted.
  • Since 1985, the percentage of waste recycled in the U.S. has doubled, and the trend is likely to continue.

Recycling really deserves it own blog article, but for now, I want to hit on two main topics in an office setting-recycling paper and batteries.

Top 5 Reasons to Recycle Paper:

  1. Economic Benefits - Creates new jobs, can make extra money for communities, you can re-sell the paper.
  2. Preservation of Trees - Do we really still not know how much trees do for us? Here are 22 benefits of trees; need I say more?
  3. Reduce Pollution - Air & water; these are necessities of life! Let's keep it clean, folks.
  4. Health Benefits - Indirectly, but yes, less pollution=better air/water. Better air/water=better health. Healthy people don't have to go to the doctor as much and don't need as much medications. You like saving money, right?
  5. Greater Sustainability - There's only one Earth that I know of, so we need it to last as long as possible. Recycling paper uses less natural resources and that equates to longer life on Earth. Unless, you're working on a plan for sustainability on other planets in your spare time, check out which bin you're tossing that paper into.

Bad, Bad, Batteries: The Facts

  • Inside a battery, heavy metals react with chemical electrolyte toBatteries, recycle, office safety produce the battery’s power. 
  • Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which can contaminate the environment when batteries are improperly disposed of.
  • One way to reduce the number of batteries in the waste stream is to purchase rechargeable batteries.
  • Recycling batteries is good for the environment. It keeps them out of landfill, where heavy metals may leak into the ground when the battery casing corrodes, causing soil and water pollution.
  • When incinerated, certain metals might be released into the air or can concentrate in the ash produced by the combustion process.
  • If you put your batteries into the normal garbage, they will be taken to landfill sites and the resources lost.

And for more general information on OSHA's Recycling Standards & Hazards, click here.

And, as always, contact Safety Training Services with any further questions, or simply leave it in our comments section below.

Contact Safety Training Services Today!

Tags: driving safety, recycle, batteries, air pollution, safe driving, office safety, general office 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


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

Web Series on General Office Safety - Part 4 of 4

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 @ 03:01 PM

We're finally here! Welcome back to the 4th (and final) part of Safety Training Service's web series on general office safety! If you haven't had a chance to read parts 1 through 3, you may find them here:

 Part One | Part Two | Part Three

According to OSHA, the majority of general industry accidents come in the form of slips, trips, and falls. These can result in back injuries, strains and sprains, contusions, and fractures.

OSHA also states that 15% of all accidental deaths are caused by slips, trips, and falls. In fact, they are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. The standards for slips, trips, and falls are in the Code of Federal Regulations, under the heading "Subpart D" or 29 CFR 1910.22-30. This covers cause and prevention and included are housekeeping, ladder safety, floor openings and stairways.

Simpsons - Fall SafetySlips can occur when floors or other working surfaces become slippery due to wet or oily processes, floor cleaning, leaks, or from materials and debris left in walkways.

Trips can occur due to uneven floor or working surfaces, protruding nails and boards, from stretched carpet or bunched floor mats intended to prevent slipping, from holes or depressions in working surfaces, and from step-risers that are not uniform in height.

Falls can be a result of both slips and trips. In addition, improper ladder maintenance/use and stairways or elevated working surfaces that are not designed properly can result in a fall accident.

What can cause slips, trips, and falls? Just to name a few, ice, wet spots, grease, polished floors, loose flooring or carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, clutter, electrical cords, open desk drawers/filing cabinets, damaged ladder steps.

Here's a great compiled list of possible solutions for prevention. Some should be obvious, but ignored:
  • Keep walkways and stairs clear of scrap and debrisSimpsons - Slips, Trips, and Falls
  • Coiling up extension cords, lines, and hoses when not in use
  • Keeping electrical and other wires out of the way
  • Wearing lug soles in icy weather
  • Clearing parking lots, stairs, and walkways in snowy weather
  • Using salt/sand as needed
  • Where wet or potentially wet working conditions, maintain proper drainage and provide false floors, platforms, nonslip mats or floor surfaces, or other dry standing places (where practicable)
  • Create nonslip surfaces in slippery areas by using no-skid waxes and/or grit-coated products
  • Use slip-resistant footwear
  • If a floor or working surface becomes wet, clean promptly and frequently
  • Use/provide warning signs for wet floors
  • Power/electrical cords that must cross walkways/aisles should be taped down (it is preferable to avoid this entirely by using floor plugs, if possible)
  • Walkways/aisles should be kept clear at all times and should be wide enough for easy movement
  • Carpet bulges or bunched up areas of carpet should be re-laid or stretched to prevent tripping
  • Keep cabinets/drawers closed
  • Eliminate clutter, obstructed work areas, and uneven floor surfaces
  • Good lighting should be provided for all halls and stairwells, especially at night
  • Stairs should have proper handrails and treads/risers should be maintained with slip-resistant surfaces, if possible
  • Use handrails on stairs, don't run, and request help managing bulky loads. You must have an unobstructed view of the stairs
  • Elevated storage and work surfaces should have guardrails, toe boards, and a permanent means of access
  • Floor drains, pits, or any other floor opening should be covered or protected with guardrails
  • Ladders should be properly maintained and have evenly spaced rungs and nonslip safety feet to reach items.
  • Stools, chairs, boxes are NOT substitutes for ladders!
  • Employees should be properly trained in the safe use of ladders

Ergonomics in the workplace

Having a comfortable work environment promotes a healthy physical and mental lifestyle. Adapting the workplace to you as a worker is the goal of an ergonomics program. But what really is "ergonomics?" It is a term often used and often misunderstood.
Ergonomics (according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary) is "an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely." Ergonomics aims to improve the practicality, efficiency, and safety of a person working with a single machine or device (e.g., using a telephone, driving a car, or operating a computer terminal).
Setting up your workspace

You should set up your workspace into THREE zones:
  1. Primary Zone - This will be all the items you use on a very regular basis. This is the distance from your elbow to your hand. Such items may include your keyboard, mouse, and a notepad.
  2. Secondary Zone - These are the items within your arm's reach. Position the items that you use often but not as frequently as the ones in your primary zone. What do you use periodically? Maybe its your phone, calculator, and some trays for paperwork.
  3. Reference Zone - This is for your least-often used items. This zone is outside your arm's reach. Could be whatever you personally use least, it might be a utensil cup, plant(s), clock or even photos.

Ergonomics includes adjustments to your "body" as well. Listed below is 10 things to adjust, if necessary, to "you" in order to enhance your comfort at in your workplace.

  1. Take frequent recovery pauses from typing.Simpsons - Ergonomics
  2. Maintain a straight wrist position when typing.
  3. Avoid resting on your wrists while typing.
  4. Use a light touch on mouse and keys while typing.
  5. Maintain good health habits.
  6. Adjust keyboard and chair height to keep wrists straight.
  7. Place mouse next to the keyboard.
  8. Keep your feet on the floor or use a footrest for support.
  9. Support your lower back and use armrests, if possible, to comfortably support your arms.
  10. Throughout the day, adjust your chair positions, your posture and vary your tasks.

If you are using a laptop computer, optimizing its work surface, ergonomically speaking, can be a bit tricky. A special base that helps adjust the height and angle of a laptop monitor for a healthier and more comfortable work experience has been developed for exactly this situation.

Visual Discomfort
Research to date has not found any permanent effects on vision from computer use. However, eye strain and visual discomfort can result in reduced performance. In fact, it is the most common complaint among computer users. 
So what do you DO about it? Its 2012, so chances are, computers are not going anywere anytime soon so here are some tips to help avoid eye strain at the computer:
  • Blink more! We blink only 1/5th as much looking at a computer monitor as reading a newspaper. Try lowering your monitor so you are looking down, in order to help promote this.
  • Move your monitor back a little bit. Our eyes are adapted for distance vision. Yet, most office work is done close to our eyes. Compensate for this by moving your chair periodically or adjust the distance/height of your monitor.
  • Have a bigger monitor? Try increasing the size of your font/images. And of course, move back further from the screen.
  • Try moving documents/items on your screen to different sides. Right eye dominant? Left eye? Try moving your email/documents to the left or the right and see if that is more comfortable for you.
  • What about after all these tips, you still seem to have some discomfort? Try some glasses or seeing an eye care specialist. Seriously, its not the 70's/80's anymore, that stigma of the nerdy kid with glasses is gone! Get a sweet pair for the sole purpose of reading/working with computer monitors or similar devices. I am wearing mine as I type this, but use them generally just for this purpose and take them off when not working.
Regarding lighting of the work surface; it is suggested to have a ceiling light hung right above your computer monitor. This maximizes lighting of the overall work surface with minimal glare on the monitor itself. Not possible? Completely understandable. But lighting can have a considerable effect on both your comfort and performance. How? Oh, I'm so glad you asked. Let's take a look:

Fluorescent lights?

Harsh, excessively bright. Causes eye strains and glare.

Too little lighting?

Eye strain with paper documents, "gloomy" work atmosphere.


Can cause lighting/glare problems, but given the choice most people would probably prefer having natural light and a view.

Direct Sunlight?

Not adjustable, unfortunately. Can be much brighter then what is actually needed.

Improving lighting has many benefits. It can reduce glare, increase work productivity and quality, and save on energy! Lighting should be lower then that for reading (many due to the computer monitor giving off its own light). The best way to optimize light levels should be to set a low level overall (overhead/indirect lighting), and use task lighting for situational use (desk lamps, undercabinet lights, etc.). 

Two things I would like to mention, but won't spend as much time on is temperature/humidity and noise.

Its pretty simple actually, too high of a temperature cause fatigue and uncomfortablity which leads to slumping & slouching. Awkward postures are too be avoided, as they are bad for your health. Too cold of a temperature can lead to muscle tension, increased risk for tendinitis, and other such health risks/issues. Humidity also falls into this discussion, seeing as too low a level can cause dry skin and reduced snsation in your fingertips (increasing the amount of force necessary for various tasks). Too much humidity can make your environment feel "stuffy" and the temperature seems higher than it actually is. Humidity also has an effect on actual or perceived indoor air quality.
Noise usually is not an issue as far as being damaging to our hearing in an office environment, but the fact that it can be darn distracting to some makes it potentially devastating to worker productivity and/or performance. I can go on and on (I probably will later in another blog specifically geared towards noise in the workplace) but will cut to the important stuff for right now--what to DO when a noise problem arises!
  • Reduce or eliminate at the source whenever possible.Office Space - Milton
  • Maintain equipment to prevent noisy malfunctions.
  • Isolate or enclose equipment that generates noise even when it's in good repair.
  • Have conference rooms available for meetings and conversations.
As far as just a neighbor who playing music too loud? Be polite and ask them to turn it down or use headphones (if possible). 


Simpsons - Proper LiftingIf lifting is included in an employee's tasks, then the employer is obligated to teach the employee the best way to lift. You may choose to have safety training for your employees covering ergonomics and lifting limits. Ultimately employees should know how to properly lift, when to get help, and when to use mechanical means rather than manually lifting an object.
Well, I am here to help with 5 solid tips to lift by:
  • Keep object close to the body, don't reach out for an object.
  • Move slowly and purposefully, don't jerk or twist.
  • Feet should be shoulder width apart.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back!
  • Keep the back in a neutral position, bending should be done at the hips and knees. Keep knees slightly bent, never locked straight.
Proper Lift Technique
Rest/Stretch/Exercise Breaks
Breaks are encouraged! They help workers with a few minutes of recovery from the mental and physical demands of their jobs. This doesn't mean I'm trying to telling you to be a slacker, but micro breaks (1-3 minutes every hour, or half hour even) has shown to reduce discomfort while improving productivity. Use this time to get something to drink, have a quick stretch or even do some light exercise. 

Remember for more relevant safety information, be sure to subscribe to our STS Blog & 'LIKE' us on Facebook. Feel free to leave a comment below to let us know what you think, and remember if you have any questions/concerns about your or your company's safety, you can contact Safety Training Services, Inc. by clicking the button below! 

Contact STS Today!

Tags: proper lifting technique, fall safety, slips, general office safety, ergonomics, trips and falls, safety training topics

Web Series on General Office Safety - Part 2 of 4

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 @ 09:09 AM

Welcome back to part 2 of our 4 part series on general office safety! If you missed out on part one, you may check it out here!

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Simpsons - PPE 01PPE is designed to protect you from hazards related to your work. Examples of PPE are hard hats, foot guards, safety shoes, leggings, glasses/goggles, shields, earplugs, respirators, gloves, vests and coveralls. OSHA requires you to complete a Hazard Assessment to determine what these hazards are, provide workers with appropriate PPE and require them to use and maintain it in a sanitary and reliable condition. 

Pictured examples of safety equipment along with other some information on safety equipment can be found (rentals & sales) through the STS Equipment Page.



SDS (Safety Data Sheets; formerly known as MSDS)

Simpsons - Chemical SDSGlobal Harmonization changed the label from MSDS to SDS, with a permanent change that came in 2015. OSHA requires that these data sheets be available to employees for potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace. Basically, these are intended to provide the workers and also emergency personnel the information necessary to safely handle/work with said substances. This information may include physical and/or chemical data and format may differ (currently there is no official way to format SDS). Below are some examples of what information you may find on SDS.

Melting Point

Boiling Point

Flash Point


Health Effects

First Aid




Protective Equipment

Spill-Handling Procedures



Ladder Safety

OSHA states that falls from portable ladders are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries.

General Ladder Safety - 01

Well, the first thing I am going to say about ladder safety is that it does not matter if you are a backyard amateur wrestler (people still do that, right?), putting up lights on the roof, cleaning your gutter, or simply photographing a rock climber, knowing and following some easy-to-remember tips can very easily make a difference in your life.

Ever heard of the three point-of-contact climb?

Chances are, a lot of you readers have heard of this concept. Essentially, it is used to keep the climber stable so that if one limb slips, they still will likely be able to keep on the ladder. 

10 Tips to Remember About Ladder Safety

  1. Simpsons - Ladder SafetyALWAYS read/follow the labels on the ladder. Until the climber is familiar with this information, they are not considered "adequately" trained!
  2. Never jump down from a ladder/slide down the rungs. Hopefully that is common sense to you, but also remember not to climb up or down more then one rung at a time either.
  3. Inspect the ladder prior to using it! What kind of environment is around? Any water? Any electrical apparatuses? And make sure if a ladder is damaged to remove it and tag it for service or replace it.
  4. Make sure to select the correct ladder/size for the job. How do you know? Well the ladder must be long enough so that the climber does not use the top rung. The only exception should be if said rung/step was designed for that purpose.
  5. All locks should be properly engaged on extension ladders. 
  6. The maximum load rating is there for a reason! Adhere to it! And make sure to note that added tools and equipment need to be factored in, not just YOUR weight.
  7. Ladder's don't care about the "buddy system." As in, only ONE climber on a ladder at a time (again, the exception is when the ladder is designed otherwise).
  8. Wind/storms are BAD. Do not use ladders in such conditions.
  9. Are you tired? Dizzy? Discombobulated? Accident prone? Do not get on a ladder. 
  10. Lastly, ladders should be used on stable surfaces, preferably level. Make sure to secure ladder (both top and bottom) so as to eliminate the ladder falling over. And PLEASE do not set up ladders on boxes or barrels or OTHER ladders or any other ridiculously ingenious (but TOTALLY UNSAFE) thing I've seen.
Ladder Safety 02<----- Don't do this ------>Ladder Safety 03

I hope you enjoyed reading a little more about PPE, SDS, and Ladder Safety. Remember for all your relevant safety news, like us on Facebook or contact us below. 
Contact STS Today!

Tags: sds, ppe, safety data sheets, ladder safety, general office safety, safety training topics

Web Series on General Office Safety - Part 1 of 4

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Thu, Dec 06, 2012 @ 08:13 AM

When you think of office safety, what are some of the first things to come into your head?

The Simpsons - General Office Safety

Fire extinguishers? First aid kits? Excellent! You are on the right track, but there are some other key pieces to that puzzle we love called “safety.” However, talking about ALL of them would take me MUCH longer then one simple web blog; which is why I have decided to span the information out to a 4-part web series that will take place all throughout the month of December.

Ok, so the first thing a lot of us think is first aid kits, right? Remember these tips while searching for a kit.

  • First aid kits should be easily accessible to all employees
  • Remember to make sure the kit is adequate for the number of people in your workplace
  • Keep it stocked & fresh; no sense in having a great-looking kit with the contents expired (Don’t forget bandages & wraps have expiration dates too!)
  • Decide how you will keep it up-to-date; buy items individually, buy refill packs or just hire someone to do it for you

Don't wait until there is an emergency! Make sure you have a working, satisfactory kit that will be there ready when you are. Oh you don’t? Or you aren’t satisfied with the service you currently have? Well then I have some great news for you, Safety Training Services can help. Visit our “Technical Services” page and find out how. Or just contact us below and ask!

Contact Safety Training Services Today!

What else should be around before disaster strikes? Fire extinguishers? Exactly! No workplace (or home for that matter) should be without. Let’s take a look at how & what to look at when purchasing (or renting) fire extinguishers.Fire Extinguisher Safety

Fire extinguishers come in various shapes and sizes, and can be either rechargeable or non-rechargeable. Rechargeable are made to be reused and non-rechargeable must be replaced after use (even if only partially discharged); though both types (rechargeable & non) need to be serviced annually by a certified person/company. Servicing is also necessary whenever seal is broken. This could result from continual use, age or even just external tampering. Once a seal is broken, the unit is in danger of not working. Monthly checks should also supplement your professional annual checks. Learn how to do your own monthly extinguisher checks

Keep in mind that fire extinguisher training is available as well. There is little value in having a fire extinguisher if you do not know how to use it!

Click here for information on fire extinguisher training!

Know your fires…

Not all are the same! As you may or may not be aware, fires start from an array of materials. Because of this, they are classified into 4 groups:

The Simpsons - Fire Safety
  • Class A – These are fires started with ordinary solid combustibles (things such as wood, cloth, paper, etc.).
  • Class B – These are fires started with flammable gases and liquids (things like paints, grease, tar, alcohol, etc.).
  • Class C – These are fires started by energized electrical equipment (things like short-circuiting, overloaded cables, etc.).
  • Class D - These are fires caused by the combustion of metals such as Aluminum, Magnesium, Lithium, Sodium, Potassium and their alloys.
  • Class E - These are fires involving electrical apparatus. 
  • Class F/K – These are fires started generally in the kitchen or a kitchen-like setting (things like oils and fats).

The good news is that the first three classes of fires can be fought with one particular extinguisher. The “ABC” fire extinguishers are filled with mono ammonium phosphate, which is a dry chemical agent. Class D fires will require special purpose powder extinguishers. If you feel you may need one of these extinguishers or have questions regarding these extinguishers, please contact one of our fire extinguisher professionals here. Class E extinguishers use carbon dioxide to treat the fire. And lastly, Class F/K fire extinguishers (again, generally associated with kitchens & cooking appliances) are filled with a blend of potassium acetate and potassium citrate; which makes them ideal and very effective in combating those types of fires.

What about clean up?

Clean can be as simple as wiping the area with a towel or just vacuuming the residue up. The biggest challenge is simply knowing what chemical your extinguisher contains. I have linked a great do-it-yourself for fire extinguisher clean up found here.

Make sure to consult a professional here at Safety Training Services, Inc. when buying/renting fire equipment so you have the right tool for the job or if you have any further questions regarding the subject. We are here to help; much of our staff are career firefighters. Feeling up to more reading on the subject? Click here to be whisked away to our “Fire Extinguisher Services” page.

Click for more information on our fire extinguisher services!

Tags: fire extinguisher safety, first aid training, general office safety, safety training topics