Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace

slip_and_fall-work-compFalls are a persistent hazard found in all occupational settings. A fall can occur during the simple acts of walking or climbing a ladder to change a light fixture or as a result of a complex series of events affecting an ironworker 80 feet above the ground. According to the 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 605 workers were killed and an estimated 212,760 workers were seriously injured by falls to the same or lower level.

via CDC – Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace – NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic.

Candle Safety Tips – Holiday Survival Guide

rules_137Candles start almost half of all home fires related to decorations.  Minimize your risk with these candle safety tips:

  • Avoid using candles when possible.  Consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
  • Never leave an open flame unattended.  Keep burning candles within sight.
  • Place lighted candles away from combustible material such as other decorations and wrapping paper.
  • Take care to place candle displays in locations where they cannot be knocked over.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other greenery.
  • Extinguish all candles before you go to sleep, leave the room, or leave the house.

via Candle Safety Tips – 2012 Holiday Survival Guide – ESFi :: Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Control Banding – Workplace Safety and Health

ehs_control-bandingWhat is CONTROL BANDING?

Control banding (CB) is a technique used to guide the assessment and management of workplace risks. It is a generic technique that determines a control measure (for example dilution ventilation, engineering controls, containment, etc.) based on a range or “band” of hazards (such as skin/eye irritant, very toxic, carcinogenic, etc) and exposures (small, medium, large exposure). It is an approach that is based on two pillars; the fact that there are a limited number of control approaches, and that many problems have been met and solved before. CB uses the solutions that experts have developed previously to control occupational chemical exposures, and suggesting them to other tasks with similar exposure situations. It is an approach that focuses resources on exposure controls and describes how strictly a risk needs to be managed. NIOSH considers CB a potentially useful tool for small businesses.

Control banding must be used in conjunction with health and safety practices such as substitution. Substitution for a less hazardous chemical is still highly recommended to prevent exposure. It is important to note that Control Banding is NOT a replacement for experts in occupational safety and health nor does it eliminate the need to perform exposure monitoring. CB highly recommends the use of professionals to provide recommendations. The fourth band specifically recommends seeking professional assistance for highly hazardous exposures. Furthermore, CB recommends exposure monitoring to follow the CB intervention to ensure the installed controls are working properly.

via CDC – Control Banding – NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic.

Self-care for the flu

fluWhat can I do at home to recover from the flu?

  • Flu symptoms typically begin one or two days after your exposure to the virus and may seem to hit you suddenly. Among healthy people, flu symptoms vary in severity. Signs and symptoms range from a sore throat and runny nose to fever, chills and muscle aches.
  • Flu symptoms can make you feel awful, but if you’re otherwise healthy and you’re not pregnant, take care of yourself at home rather than going to your doctor. Try these remedies:
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to reduce fever and muscle aches. Don’t give products containing aspirin to children or young adults recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms, as these drugs have been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.
  • Drink clear fluids, such as water, broth or sports drinks.
  • Rest as long as you continue to feel tired, and sleep as much as you can.

From James M. Steckelberg, M.D., Mayo Clinic


via Self-care for the flu – MayoClinic.com.

Managing People Risk

8635434-background-concept-wordcloud-illustration-of-business-managing-peopleTo effectively manage risk it’s critical to get everyone in the company involved, from senior leadership down to hourly workers and everyone in between including managers. What do good managers do?

  • Sets objectives. The manager sets goals for the group, and decides what work needs to be done to meet those goals.
  • Organizes. The manager divides the work into manageable activities, and selects people to accomplish the tasks that need to be done.
  • Motivates and communicates. The manager creates a team out of his people, through decisions on pay, placement, promotion, and through his communications with the team. Drucker also referred to this as the “integrating” function of the manager.
  • Measures. The manager establishes appropriate targets and yardsticks, and analyzes, appraises and interprets performance.
  • Develops people. With the rise of the knowledge worker, this task has taken on added importance. In a knowledge economy, people are the company’s most important asset, and it is up to the manager to develop that asset.

via What do Managers do? – Management – WSJ.com.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

ZIW_Ice-Snow-LogoDriving in Snow and Ice

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle road conditions.

It’s helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you’re familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Driving safely on icy roads

  • Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  • Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

via weather.com – Driving Safety Tips – Driving in Snow and Ice.

7 Practices for Safety Leaders

137505843What Great Safety Leaders Do

Many of us have known great safety leaders whose commitment to safety, combined with excellence in leadership, have had an enormous positive impact on their organizations. The hard part is pinning down exactly what it is they do that distinguishes them from other leaders. Our experience is that these people tend to use certain practices that define how they interact with others in the organization and how they go about their day-to-day work. Not surprisingly, these behaviours have been shown to correlate positively with culture and climate attributes that support good safety outcomes:

  • Vision – The effective leader is able to “see” what safety excellence would look like and conveys that vision in a compelling way throughout the organization. This leader acts in a way that communicates high personal standards in safety, helps others question and rethink their assumptions about safety, and describes a compelling picture of what the future can be.
  • Credibility – The effective leader fosters a high level of trust in his or her peers and reports. This leader is willing to admit mistakes with others, advocate for direct reports and the interests of the group, and giving honest information about safety even it if is not well received.
  • Collaboration – The effective leader works well with other people, promotes cooperation and collaboration in safety, actively seeks input from people on issues that affect them, and encourages others to implement their decisions and solutions for improving safety.
  • Communication – The effective leader is a great communicator. He or she encourages people to give honest and complete information about safety even if the information is unfavorable. This leader keeps people informed about the big picture in safety, and communicates frequently and effectively up, down, and across the organization.
  • Action-Orientation – The effective leader is proactive rather than reactive in addressing safety issues. This leader gives timely, considered responses for safety concerns, demonstrates a sense of personal urgency and energy to achieve safety results, and demonstrates a performance-driven focus by delivering results with speed and excellence.
  • Feedback & Recognition – The effective leader is good at providing feedback and recognizing people for their accomplishments. This person publicly recognizes the contributions of others, uses praise more often than criticism, gives positive feedback and recognition for good performance, and finds ways to celebrate accomplishments in safety.
  • Accountability – Finally, the effective leader practices accountability. He or she gives people a fair appraisal of the efforts and results in safety, clearly communicates people’s roles in the safety effort, and fosters the sense that every person is responsible for the level of safety in their organisational unit. It is important to note that this practice is placed last; accountability, absent the context of the other practices, can be counterproductive. Employees will know they will be held accountable, but not necessarily given the resources, information, leadership, support, and encouragement they need to accomplish the task. When used as part of the other six practices, however, accountability complements the work begun.

via 7 Practices for Safety Leaders.

Food Safety

Health-concerns-Food-poisoning-symptoms-signs-remedies-and-treatments-650x426Each year, an estimated 76 million Americans get sick from eating contaminated or improperly prepared foods. Many of these people get sick from foods prepared in their home.

Food safety can prevent vomiting and diarrhea caused by food. People can get sick from food that is not properly prepared or stored. For example, when meat and poultry are not fully cooked, bacteria can survive and make us sick. Use a food thermometer to cook meat and poultry to proper temperatures. Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood and their juices from ready-to-eat foods to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Illness can also occur when food eaten in the home has been contaminated in the field or factory. Wash produce thoroughly under running water. Good hand washing, thorough surface disinfection, safe food handling, and safe food storage can reduce the risk of illness from food.

Health and Safety Tips

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food.
  • Wash produce and cutting boards often. 
  • Use a food thermometer to cook meat and poultry to proper temperatures. 
  • Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food. 
  • Refrigerate food within 2 hours of serving. 

via CDC – Healthy Homes | Health Topics | Food Safety.

Why Have a Safety Committee?

Health-Safety-Hard-Hat-Label-HH-0135Health and Safety Committees should be established for the following purposes:

  1. To increase and maintain the interest of employees in health and safety issues.
  2. To convince managers, supervisors and employees through awareness and training activities that they are primarily responsible for the prevention of workplace accidents.
  3. To help make health and safety activities an integral part of the organization’s operating procedures, culture and programs.
  4. To provide an opportunity for the free discussion of health and safety problems and possible solutions.
  5. To inform and educate employees and supervisors about health and safety issues, new standards, research findings, etc.
  6. To help reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses.
  7. To help insure compliance with federal and state health and safety standards.

via Safety Committee Guidelines.

Avoiding Shoulder Pain at Work

desk460Preventing Shoulder Pain

For most people, the key to minimizing neck and shoulder pain is to perfect the workspace or work environment, develop better posture, and to reduce the stress your daily routine puts on your body. The streamlining of equipment and devices so that they function well with the human body is called “ergonomics.” Here are a few suggestions to adjust the ergonomics of your workplace and to reduce shoulder pain at work.

Sit Correctly

Consider these full-body posture tips when sitting at your desk:

  • feet should be firmly planted and flat on the floor or on a stable footrest
  • thighs should be parallel to the ground
  • elbows should be supported and close to your body
  • wrists and hands should lay in-line with your forearms.
  • lower back (the lumbar region) should be supported
  • shoulders should be relaxed

via Avoiding Sholder Pain at Work.