Benefits of portable fire extinguisher training in the warehouse.

By developing a yearly fire extinguisher training program in your warehouse, your employees will become knowledable in the process and means of extinguishing small fires by choosing the right extinguisher to remove one of the four elements of the fire tetrahedron.

From IFSTA Essentials 4th Edition: Fire is a rapid, self-sustaining oxidation process accompanied by the evolution of heat and light of varying intensities.  The burning process can be interrupted by removing one of the four elements in the fire tetrahedron (Heat, Fuel, Oxygen, or Chemical Chain Reaction).

Employees that know the classification of fires will also be able to choose the correct extinguisher for the four most common types of fire classes:

  • Class A or ordinary combustibles
  • Class B or flammable and combustible liquids and gases
  • Class C or energized electrical equipment
  • Class D or combustible metals

Trained employees understand that a portable fire extinguisher is the first line of defense in an emergency. Employees that are trained yearly in the use of portable fire extinguishers also can make informed and confident decisions on when it is ok to attack a fire and when it is appropriate to leave the area and let firefighters handle the emergency. Those decisions are based on some of the following factors:

  • Knowing what is burning
  • Fire is not spreading rapidly
  • Smoke and heat has not filled the area
  • You have a clear path of escape
  • Following the training the employee has received

Remember that trained and motivated employees will make confident decisions that can save the company from valuable losses and possible injuries or deaths.  This type of safety training can also save your company on valuable insurance costs as well.

Eye Safety, Prevention & Care in the Workplace

January is National Eye Safety Month! 

Your eyesight is a priceless commodity and once lost can never be brought back.  Every day in the workplace employees are exposed to numerous hazards to the eyes from chemicals to flying objects.  Protecting your eyes starts with education and utilizing the right equipment. 

There are many different types of eye protection available to you and choosing the right equipment should be based on the hazards YOU face in your environment.  Your eye protection should be;

•Strong, durable & lightweight

•Resistant to impact, penetration & heat

•Easy to clean

Eye Protection can include safety glasses,goggles,face shields or helmets.  They should always fit snugly and be comfortable without becoming obtrusive throughout the workday.  If you wear contact lenses be especially careful because they can absorb or trap particles and gases that can injure your eyes.

Remember: Regular prescription glasses can’t protect you on the job!   You must wear only “approved” protective gear (check with your employer).  OSHA requires that safety glasses or goggles meet standards developed by ANSI (American National Standards Institute).

Too many eye injuries occur because eye protection was required, issued & available- and NOT USED!!!

KNOW WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY 

♦Particles in the eyes- Flush eyes with water until the particle comes out.

♦Chemical splash or burn- Hold your eyes open and flush with water for at least 15 minutes.  Get immediate medical attention and check your MSDS for specific 1st aid treatment.

♦Blow to the eye- Apply a cold compress for 15 minutes to reduce pain & swelling.

♦Cuts near the eye- Bandage the eyes loosely and get immediate medical attention.

Always seek professional medical attention if warrented!

EYE CARE

Regular care of your eyes is also very important, eye exams on a regular basis (every 2-5 years) can uncover underlying medical problems such as diabetes , hypertension or the onset of Glaucoma.   And for eye diseases such as Glaucoma, the damage may be detected through your normal exams before you notice any signs or symptoms.

According to the study “Vision Problems in the U.S.” by Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute (NEI), there are nearly 2.3 million Americans ages 40 and older who have glaucoma.  Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world and the leading cause of blindness in African American and Hispanic populations in America. 

Pertinent risk factors for Glaucoma;

•Over 40 years of age

•Race- Leading cause of blindness in african and hispanic populations

•Family history

•Diabetes- If you have diabetes you have a higher risk of developing Glaucoma

•Nearsightedness

•Eye injury or surgery

•Extended use of steroid medications

REMEMBER TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR EYES!

 

 

If You Don’t Talk to Your Employees About Workers’ Compensation, Someone Else Will!

There are some employers who believe that communicating the details of how workers’ compensation works with their employees will increase the likelihood that their employees will file a work comp claim. For this reason, many of these employers decide not to talk to their employees about workers’ compensation.

While they may think that this is saving them money, it may actually be costing them more than they think. Generally, employees who have questions about workers’ compensation are going to seek out the answers to those questions and if you are unwilling to give them the answers they are searching for, they will be forced to get their information elsewhere. Most of the time, if the employer does not answer an employee’s questions about workers’ compensation, the employee then decides to seek out the advice of a lawyer. So, now the employee is not only getting their information from an outside source rather than from you, but you have also just successfully alienated yourself as the “bad guy” in the situation.

I cannot stress enough the importance of good communication in any employer/employee relationship. Answering an employee’s questions fully and honestly will not only give you more control over the situation, but it will also serve to build up their level of trust in your company which, we all know, results in higher productivity and a lower turn-around rate.

Good Habits are Formed in Health and Wellness Rooms

Learning occurs when the brain creates a pathway of neurological activity through connections and repetition. When actions are repeated, your brain learns patterns of behavior and makes what we call a habit. Our brain acts similarly to a computer, whose cache memory stores frequently used information and makes it faster and easier to process. Fortunately, and sometimes unfortunately, once a habit is formed it is very hard to break.

Continuing the routine of rising for work and participating in a work environment preserves your employees’ daily habits. In the Health and Wellness Room, a full work week and daily schedule is maintained. This prevents a “slump” and/or the potential of developing bad habits.

Physical therapy and mental stimulation keep the mind and body active, all the while providing recuperation and bringing your employees back to the pre-injury workplace. Sometimes, even in better condition than they were prior to the injury. We encourage your employees to create new good habits that will follow them throughout their lives, professionally and personally.

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A Stressed Employee Can Be An Expensive Employee

Studies show that Americans today are more stressed than ever. Experiencing and coping with high levels of stress for an extended period of time can factor into many different negative health-related outcomes such as; depression, anxiety, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and increased risk of injury.

High levels of stress are also related to workplace violence and absenteeism. The United States has the highest violent crime rate of any industrialized nation with 18,000 non-fatal violent crimes and 20 people murdered while on the job every week. The number of employees calling in sick because of stress increases every year and in very large companies, this could add up to costs of millions of dollars annually.

Stress also differs between men and women. Studies have shown that women reported a higher level of overall job stress than men. Stress had the highest level of association with migraines and psychological distress in men and with work-related injuries in women. Also, blue-collar workers experienced the highest amount of stress induced work injuries.

You may be asking how you can protect your employees from the dangers associated with stress. A few examples of things that employers can do to help reduce the stress levels of their employees are:

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Is Perfume Sensitivity a Work Comp Concern?

Second hand smoke kills. But what about second hand perfume? Do you have an employee that you know has clocked in because of the cologne or perfume trail leading to their cubicle?  In 2003, there was a disability discrimination claim filed by an employee with perfume sensitivity. The case was eventually dismissed, but only because the employer made reasonable accommodations to help the employee with her situation.

Strong perfume may be easy enough to ignore for many, but some people can experience sneezing frenzies, asthma symptoms, watery eyes, and other allergy symptoms. For most, the symptoms subside when the odor is no longer present, but for some, being exposed over and over leads to sensitivity for longer periods of time even after the scent is gone.

Now, at home those pesky smells are easily gotten rid of. The magazine insert is easily thrown away, maybe the soaps and candles are fragrance free, but at work it is difficult. Employers can help in many ways to make the environment a little easier to breathe in just by doing a few of the following:

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Crutches, Canes and Walkers – Are They Being Used Correctly?

Do you have employees that are injured and require one of these aids to get around? Have you ever tried to walk using crutches or a walker? It is really not all that easy to get used to. Many people use these aids improperly and are risking further injury to themselves.

I spent many years working in an ER and found that most people are not able to get up and use crutches or walkers on their first try. I can recall spending quite a bit of time with patients, teaching them the proper way to use these aids. Having your injured employees understand how to use these aids is crucial to their recovery, and even for possible prevention of further injury.

Crutches, walkers, and even canes help your legs heal by bearing the weight you would normally put on your legs. However, the benefits can only be realized if the devices are used properly. Crutches that are too long can press on the nerves in your underarms, causing tingling, numbness and/or loss of muscle strength. Crutches, walkers, and canes that are too short, or mismatched, can cause back pain and falls.

In Health and Wellness Rooms, injured employees are taught, among other things, how to properly use their walking aids. Through guidance and self studies, an employee can learn the proper way to use these aids and help prevent the prolonging of their recovery. Knowledge helps create confidence that can help them when taking those steps towards recovery and returning to work. An added benefit: when employees feel that their employer has their best interest in mind, they are more inclined to return to work.

The Rights Tools and Education Can Help You Save!

Do your employees have the right tools for the job? Are their tools ergonomic, do they fit right, and are they the right ones for the specific task they are performing? Some research suggests that the improper use of tools at work can cause musculoskeletal disorders. This can lead to lost time at work and costly worker compensation claims. Implementing a program to prevent these injuries is extremely important. Larger companies realize the need for safety programs and so should smaller businesses. Work related injuries for big or small companies can severely damage your profits.

Tools are marketed in many different ways. Some say ergonomic and some say ‘impact resistant’ or ‘lightweight.’ All of these descriptions sound beneficial! But what if the workers hand is too small for that handle, or because it is so lightweight it really does not do the job effectively? When the tool fits, or is the right tool for the job, there is less risk of injury or repetitive injuries to your employees. When tools get used improperly, a whole list of risks pops up. Your employees may develop carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis or muscle strain.

Here are some considerations from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to help you select tools that are ergonomically correct for the employee and the job:

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Knowledge is Contagious – Give Your Employees the Forum to Learn

Many factors affect our health. Some are beyond our control, such as genetic makeup and age – but we can make changes to our lifestyle. By encouraging your employees to take steps toward healthy living, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and other serious diseases. Obvious practices are to eat well, maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and see a doctor for regular screenings.  

Incorporating these practices into lifestyles and routines can be difficult for those people who don’t realize their significance. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place where your employees can learn this information while on the job and also have it available to your injured employees?  A Health and Wellness Room can help employees learn about a healthy lifestyle, which in return produces a healthy and productive employee. Knowledge is contagious and when one employee shares his knowledge about health or safety, it spreads to others.

Proof:Positive can provide your employee with a wealth of knowledge that will spread throughout your business. Proof:Positive can decrease your workers compensation costs through preventative measures or by educating the injured. All this can be done while they remain on normal payroll so lost time is reduced. Let us help you create a workplace filled with informed employees who are motivated to perform their duties safely.

Osteoarthritis, the Result of “Wear and Tear” on the Body?

Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis (OA): The notion is widespread that exercise or intensive physical labor can cause osteoarthritis in the knees and other joints of the body, especially in older people, and yes even those professional athletes who succumb to the constant wear and tear on their bodies season after season. In the wake of the NBA playoff series now underway, several athletes are not battling one another up and down the hardwood, but rather battling something of a different opponent. To date, the NBA injury report reads…

  • 5 knee surgery’s, out for season
  • 5 knee soreness, out 4-6 weeks
  • 3 torn knee ligament’s, out 6-8 weeks
  • 3 knee sprains
  • 1 torn meniscus, out for season
  • 1 torn cartilage

The prevailing idea is that too much pounding can bring about the cartilage loss, and the subsequent pain, that is the combatant OA.  However, a recent study published in the February 2007 issue of Arthritis Care & Research finds that, contrary to popular belief, exercise and a physical demanding job has no effect on the risk of developing OA. More…

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