6 Easy Steps to becoming an Industrial Athlete

Start Your Day Off Right: Warm up your muscles with stretching and simple exercises. This activity followed by breakfast is a great way to “prepare” for your day. And whatever you do, don’t skip your breakfast. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger. Studies suggest that people tend to accumulate more body fat when they eat fewer, larger meals than when they eat the same number of calories in smaller, more frequent meals. It is as easy as grabbing a banana, handful of nuts, and a bottled water to get your day going in the right direction.

Get Plenty of Sleep: Not getting enough rest can have serious effects on your body, brain, and immune system. There are many side effects associated with lack of sleep, some seem trivial and not that serious, but they can progress and be dangerous for your health and also the well-being of others. Seven to eight hours is the current recommended amount of sleep for adults. It is worth noting that all bodies are different, so it may be that you need six or even nine hours; Children and teenagers need more sleep, usually between eight and twelve hours, depending on their ages. Their bodies are still developing and sleep is needed to help this development be as full as possible. Most of us know how much sleep we need to be refreshed the next day. The challenge is to make sure we get it.

Pay Attention to Your Nutrition: It is very important to eat a well balanced diet. Eating several smaller meals a day will boost your metabolism and provide you with energy more efficiently than eating all of your calories at one time. Meals should be balanced with several food types and colorful (fruits and vegetables providing the color). Skipping meals is also a bad idea and can lead to a slower metabolism because your body is going to want to store calories, instead of using them. This can even lead to weight gain and a decrease in energy levels. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests the idea that adults are recommended to eat 6 to 11 servings associated with whole grains, 3 to 5 helpings of fresh vegetables, 3 to 5 servings of fruit, 2 to 3 or more servings of milk and 2 to 3 helpings of meat on a daily basis. However, due to the complexity of these recommendations, the USDA recently announced the new recommendations using the “Food Guide Plate”. These recommendations can be viewed at http://www.choosemyplate.gov

Avoid Excessive Alcohol and Caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics (meaning it increases urination and flushes water from the body). This can cause minor to major dehydration, depending on the amount of intake, medications taken, other medical conditions, or prior fluid consumption. Alcohol also contains many toxins that require more water to help flush them out and reduces our store of vitamins and minerals.
Dehydration caused by drinking excessive alcohol and caffeine drains potassium from the body, resulting in thirst, muscle cramps, dizziness and faintness. Alcohol dehydration also leads to the body turning off its anti-dehydration processes in body, which is a basic, vital function of our bodies. It is best, if at all, to drink only moderate amounts of alcohol and to use the one drink per one glass rule. In other words, for every drink of alcohol you have, you will need one glass of water to replace what is lost. Some medical experts also recommend taking a multi-vitamin and mineral replacements after a night of binge drinking.

Use Proper Ergonomics Everywhere: Ergonomics in the home is just as important as it is at work. Considering that we spend a lot of time at work, it’s true that ergonomic safety is a top priority. But when was the last time you considered your ergonomic health where you spend the other major portion of your daily life, at home? It may come as a surprise to you, but many ailments spurred by the neglect of ergonomics are fostered in the home. Take a look at these areas at home and see if you can make any ergonomic improvements.

Ergonomics in the Kitchen: Most of us cook at least one meal per day at home. In preparing and consuming our foods, there may be risks we are not identifying. There are now designs of common kitchen tools that try to eliminate excessive strains to the body. Try incorporating some of these products to make your kitchen experience a healthier one.

Ergonomics in the Garden: This area can be a place to retreat, relax, and even rejuvenate from a long day at work. What exists as a relaxation hobby for most can actually be an activity which puts incredible strain on our body. It generally involves bending over or kneeling for long periods of time and using tools which, can put excessive pressure on the hands and wrists. It is generally inadvisable to bend over for long periods of time in any situation. If possible, wear kneepads and try kneeling to do work at lower levels. Regardless of whether you bend or kneel, remember to take breaks and alternate tasks. Second, as in the kitchen, there are tool alternatives which alleviate pressure points while gardening. Search out tools such as spades and pruners that have have “natural” or “pistol” grips and feel comfortable when grasping them. This will insure gardening is not contributing to an unforeseen ergonomic issue.

Ergonomics in the Family Room: It is important to be comfortable and able to relax in your home. Unfortunately however, what “feels good” when relaxing might not always be the safest option. Many couches and chairs, for example, promote incorrect sitting positions which, when assumed for extended periods of time, can cause injury. And just like at work, it is important to make sure your sitting furniture provides the type of support your back needs. And remember, your favorite recliner is not a bed, falling asleep in it repetitively can have severe effects to your neck and back health.

Ergonomics in the Bedroom: In order to get the best night’s sleep possible, it is imperative to have a bedroom that keeps ergonomics in mind. The focus, primarily, should be on the bed itself and how you are lying in it. Be sure to choose a mattress that is comfortable and has enough support to provide you with spinal stability. Be sure your pillow offers good support and keeps your neck in proper alignment. Sleep on your back if possible or your side with your arms away from your body. Remember waterbeds? Sure, they were comfortable, but had no spinal stability. In addition to an ergonomically designed mattress, you should consider other ways to optimize your sleep position such as an ergonomic pillow or a leg spacer or pillow between your legs to maintain normal spinal alignment throughout the night. In doing so, you will reduce chances of injuries while you sleep and the “tossing and turning” effect, making sure you wake up as refreshed as possible. The American focus on ergonomics may have begun in the workplace, but it ought not to stop there.

Take charge of your Health and Fitness Plan: If you have an injury or illness, certainly, you should consult your doctor and find out what solutions and recommendations you should follow. However, that is not where you “shift” responsibility to your doctor for your well-being. The best patient advocate is you. Prior to your appointment, be sure to make a list of your symptoms and any questions that you want answered. Following the appointment, learn about your diagnosis, the types of treatment, and what you can do to insure the best outcome. The best patient is an educated one!

Setting Up an Ergonomic Workstation is Good For Your Employees’ Health!

Most people are unaware that the placement of their computer monitor can affect their body’s health. Not knowing a good ergonomic way to set up a workstation can take a toll on an employee’s neck and back. Many people suffer eyestrain, back pain and headaches unnecessarily and simple things can be done to improve their health.

The first thing you should consider is monitor placement. For most workstations, the best position is centered in front of them since putting the monitor off-center can cause neck and shoulder pain from twisting and sitting in an awkward position. However, there are exceptions. An employee may have several interactions with others across a desk, like a bank teller or manager. They may want to keep the monitor to the side as to not interfere with their communications. A good solution for that is to put the monitor on a swivel arm.


Could Your Employee Workstations Use an Upgrade?

Warehouse employees are subjected to a great deal of repetitive stresses on the body and as a result, musculoskeletal disorders are their most common forms of injuries. One way to significantly decrease the number of musculoskeletal injuries sustained while on the job is to make their work stations more ergonomically sound.

Ergonomics is the science behind why things are designed the way that they are. Handheld tools, for example, may have ergonomic handles on them that decrease or disperse the force that is applied to the hand. Also, workstations can be designed in a way to maximize productivity while reducing employee fatigue and risk of sustaining an injury.


Does Your Business Practice Ergonomic Principles?

Most of us have heard the term “ergonomics” at one point in our work environment. The question is do we really know what it means? The dictionary defines ergonomics as “the applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.” That seems a little too scientific to me. Ergonomics should be simple!

Evaluating your workplace for safety, and making sure your employees have the tools needed to do their job, is where you need to start. Back pain is a common injury or complaint in the workplace and often times it can be caused by simple work activities. Applying ergonomic principles can help prevent injuries in your workplace.

Most of us think of ergonomics applies only to physically demanding jobs, but what is often overlooked is the office environment. People who sit most of the day, such as those who work behind a computer, need to be concerned with ergonomics as well. Having a well planned office and computer ergonomic system can help reduce the risk of repetitive injury.


Have the Advantage Over Work Comp Claims

In tennis, the first point after deuce that puts you ahead of your opponent is called having the “advantage.” The dictionary defines the term advantage as “a beneficial factor or combination of factors.” When looking at worker’s compensation claims, you need to have the “advantage” over malingering or false claims that could cost your business a substantial amount of money.

Start by being on top of your hiring policy and standards. Look for quality employees that suit your business and keep a close watch on potential hiring risks. It is crucial for businesses to protect their “advantage” and be proactive about worker’s compensation fraud. Well developed hiring processes can help protect your “advantage” by being one step ahead of the employee. For instance, develop a firm policy when it comes to drug testing. Pre-employment and post-injury drug screening can make your workplace safer and avoid unnecessary costs related to accidents and injuries.

As the dictionary states, create a beneficial combination of factors to help keep you on the “advantage” side of work comp claims. A combination of factors would include having the right tools for the job, a strong ergonomic assessment of your business environment, an understanding of Worker’s Compensation, a plan for when injuries occur, and the support and dedication from your safety team to create a safe environment before and after an injury occurs.

The beneficial factor comes from the savings you will see by reducing your claims. Workers compensation claims are part of the reality of doing business. Proof:Positive can significantly cut your costs when handling that inevitable incident. A proper and timely reaction to temporary disability claims is critical in reducing costs. Let us help you develop a business that has the “advantage” over costly and sometimes fraudulent claims.

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:


Social Capital – Funding the Trust in Workers’ Compensation

The workers’ compensation system is filled with complex relationships and competing agendas. It can be confusing or even exasperating for an employee who must navigate this system alone. Employees need an advocate they can rely on while in the workers’ compensation system.

The employer must be that advocate.

By investing in prevention and early return-to-work systems, an employer can create social capital – the trust or ‘good will’ needed to maintain relationships – even in difficult situations. The key is to select a talented employee health partner. Proof:Positive can help you make these systems your own, by involving employees during every step. Engaging employees in prevention and the return-to-work process builds trust and shuts down the avenues for over-treatment and litigation.

Ask yourself this question: Do we give a F.I.G. about our injured employees? Use this mnemonic device to assess your organization’s ability to maintain trust when an employee becomes injured and enters the workers’ compensation system.


Evaluating Your Employees Work Environment!

Evaluating the ergonomics of your employees’ work environment means looking at what kind of work your employee’s do, what tools they use, and their whole job environment. The aim is to find the best fit between them and their job conditions, in order to reduce on the job injuries and create a workplace where your employees can be more productive. Examples of ergonomic changes to an employees’ work might include:

  • Adjusting the position of their computer keyboard to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Being sure that the height of their desk chair allows their feet to rest flat on floor
  • Teaching the right way to lift heavy objects to prevent back injuries
  • Provide handle coatings or special gloves to suppress vibrations from power tools

No matter what the job is, ergonomics plays an important role in preventing injury and illness. Take the time to evaluate your jobsite. Is it safe for your employees? Does it meet OSHA standards of safety? Develop a good training system to teach safety at work. Help reduce costly worker’s compensation from injuries on the job that are preventable.

Accidents will happen! But the number and frequency can be reduced. What program do you have in place for those unfortunate injuries that will cost your company or business money? There are so many hidden costs when an employee gets injured at work. It all adds up! It’s in your best interest to pro-actively reduce workers compensation claims, and reduce the costs associated with those claims that inevitably happen.

Proof:Positive understands the need for safety at work. But, we also know that some will get injured – and we have the program to help return these injured workers back to work. We keep track of all their doctor visits and track their restrictions. Also we educate them about their injuries to help prevent future accidents and time loss. Contact us and let us help your company save money and create a safe environment for you and your employees.

Ergonomics: Minimizing Risk and Preventing Injury While on the Job

Ergonomics is derived from the Greek language -ergon meaning “to work” and nomos meaning “rules.” The “rules of work” is the process of fitting the work environment to you – the person doing the work. Ergonomics focuses on optimizing the design of equipment, tools, and workplaces to minimize risk and potential injury, and stay on the job.

Ergonomics starts with you and attempts to accommodate your strengths and limitations. Considerations include your strength, size, endurance, range of joint motion, age, gender, and physical condition (health & fitness). The goal is to design a work process that can appropriately fit you and the people that work with you.

A machine has limitations to what it can perform and so does the human body. Just as an engineer would not design a job beyond the capacity of a machine, ergonomics focuses on designing within the capabilities of the human body. When these limitations are exceeded, the potential for an on-the-job-injury increases.

Ergonomics does not need to be complicated – in most cases it is simply common sense. If something does not feel natural, chances are it may include one or more adjustments to the work process that can make a tremendous difference.

When recognizing the effect of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s) in the workplace, employers should consider initiating a partnership to identify and control ergonomic risk factors. Many labor unions across the country have recognized this importance and are working cooperatively with employers to implement the ongoing process of an Ergonomic Risk Diminish Program (ERDP).

The goal of the Proof:Positive ERDP is to ensure that all employees return home in the same condition as when they came to work; and ERDP’s vision is for all employees reach their well-deserved retirement in a physical condition that will allow them to enjoy it.

If you are interested in learning more about ERDP and/or Proof:Positive, please contact us to learn more about the range of related services we provide.

Again, the goal is to diminish the wear and tear on your body by “working smarter, not harder.”