Back Injuries

lumbar-injury-1Your back is made of bones, muscles, and other tissues extending from your neck to your pelvis. Back injuries can result from sports injuries, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident. The lower back is the most common site of back injuries and back pain. Common back injuries include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Herniated disks
  • Fractured vertebrae

These injuries can cause pain and limit your movement. Treatments vary but might include medicines, icing, bed rest, physical therapy, or surgery. You might be able to prevent some back injuries by maintaining a healthy weight, lifting objects with your legs, and using lower-back support when you sit.

via Back Injuries: MedlinePlus.

Winter Weather: Avoid Slip and Fall Injuries

slip-fall-iceOutdoor surfaces, such as parking lots, sidewalks, and walkways, are one of the leading areas for slip and fall injuries. Snow, ice, and rain often make these areas slippery and dangerous. Winter conditions factor heavily into outdoor slip and fall injuries. Keep icy walkways clear.

via Managing Slip and Fall Injuries | Culture of Safety.

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.

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.

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.

The Understated Injury: Overexertion

82183-GettyImages_83665722Injuries related to overexertion account for over 3 million hospital visits a year. Most of these injuries are preventable. Use your head; avoid pushing your body past its limits.

Physical Overexertion

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), physical overexertion is the most common cause of workers compensation claims. These types of injuries usually occur through repetitive motion such as typing, lifting heavy objects, or working in an awkward position. The pain is often acute, though it will decrease after medical care and preventative measures are taken. However, if the overexertion is constant, acute pain can become chronic, leading to problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis.

via The Understated Injury: Overexertion.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

yoga-carpet-tunnelIf you spend a lot of time doing activities that involve forceful or repetitive hand or wrist movement or use of vibrating equipment, you have an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These activities can include driving, working with small instruments, knitting, or using a sander. You can reduce your risk-and any hand pain or weakness you may already have-by taking a few simple steps.

Key points

  • Many health conditions and diseases make you more likely to get carpal tunnel symptoms. But if you exercise, stay at a healthy weight, control other health conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, and avoid smoking, you can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Arranging your activity and work space using ergonomic guidelines can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Office ergonomics focuses on how a workstation is set up, including the placement of your desk, computer monitor, paperwork, chair, and associated tools, such as a computer keyboard and mouse. The same ideas can help you arrange your position for other daily activities.
  • Proper body mechanics are key to preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Evaluate your daily routine for activities that increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Take frequent breaks from activities to rest, stretch, change positions, or alternate with another activity.

via How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Safety Tip: Keep Exits Clear

lMake sure your workplace entrances and exits are fully operational and easily accessible. If your employees need to get out of the building quickly, make sure that their exits aren’t blocked by any large or unmovable objects. This is more than just a workplace violation: this is a potential life or death matter.

via How to Reduce Accidents in the Workplace: 11 Steps.

Integrating Employee Health at NASA

nasaThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) employs a highly skilled workforce accustomed to working under high pressure, short deadlines, and limited budgets. A healthy, productive workforce is integral to the success of NASA’s technically challenging high-risk missions.

In 2003, the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer requested that the Institute of Medicine form a committee to review NASA’s occupational health programs, employees awareness of and attitudes toward those programs, and recommend specific options for future worksite preventive health programs focusing on, but not limited to:

  • nutrition, fitness, and psychological well-being,
  • incentives or methods to encourage employees to voluntarily enlist and sustain participation in worksite preventive health programs,
  • ways to create healthier workplace environments that are conducive to more active lifestyles,
  • supportive nutrition options to reduce risk factors for chronic disease,and
  • ways to evaluate the effectiveness of such programs.

via Integrating Employee Health: A Model Program for NASA – Institute of Medicine.