Workplace Safety

Warm Weather Safety

SummerSafety_May2014_webSpring is here! And, as we get closer to the summer months it’s important that everyone understands the signs of heat illness and practices prevention.

3 Degrees of Heat Illness
Although there are many types of heat illness, here are three basic types to be aware of:

  1. Heat stress often involves confusion and heat cramps. If you are experiencing muscle cramps due to heat, tell someone, move to a cool shaded area, and drink lots of fluids like water, a light juice, or sports drinks. You can return to work if the cramps subside and you are feeling better, but you should not return to strenuous duty. If you’re not better in an hour, discuss taking the rest of the day off with your supervisor.
  2. Heat exhaustion is more severe. Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness or confusion, nausea, clammy skin, pale complexion, cramps, high body temperature, and shallow breathing. The treatment is the same for heat exhaustion and heat stress, but the focus should be on drinking cool water.  It is also a good idea to cool the body with a cool shower or wet cloth. If you experience heat exhaustion, you should not return to work that day.
  3. Heat stroke is very serious and can even be life threatening. Signs include profuse sweating or the extreme – sweat suddenly stopping. You may also suffer from hallucinations, chills, a throbbing headache, high body temperature, and slurred speech. Contact a supervisor and seek medical treatment immediately if you think you or someone you work with is experiencing heat stroke. The body must be cooled immediately during heat stroke. Soaking or dousing the body in cool water is recommended.

Preventing Heat Illness
To prevent heat illness, it is best to begin drinking fluids before your shift begins and to drink water at least every 15 minutes. Preparing in advance of heat exposure is the best way to avoid heat illness.  Water helps the body stay cool internally and prepares you for losing moisture through sweating. Sweat cools us by evaporating into the air, releasing heat. Remember to include regular breaks in shaded areas as well.

As the temperature outside continue to increase, it’s important to remember these heat safety tips to protect yourself and those around you. How do you avoid heat illness when it’s warm outside? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Focus On Your Health for American Heart Month

heart_month_webHeart disease affects all areas of your life, including your career. Since February is American Heart Month, it’s a great time to understand the risks of heart disease and learn ways you can stay healthy on the job.

Cardiovascular disease and strokes are not only common, they’re costly. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) says that the total economic cost of heart disease five years ago was $320 billion. By 2030, those costs are expected to reach $918 billion.

According to recent research, heart patients spent an average of $4,400 on medical care for heart-related issues. Given that cost, it’s important to know how you can protect yourself from heart diease and help keep your friends, family, and co-workers healthy at the same time.

Get Screened
The AHA suggests regular screenings to make sure you’re health is in check. Health care is easily accessible, which makes it a great time to get screened for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and more. Contact your doctor to find out how you can schedule a screening.

Eat Right
We all know the importance of eating healthy. Proper nutrition helps cut your risk of cardiovascular disease, so be sure to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your meals. Instead of frying your food, consider grilling it when you can. Consider bringing your lunch to work and packing healthy food like fruits, light sandwiches, and juice.

Exercise Regularly
Exercising can be as easy as going for a walk around the block. When it comes to staying healthy, you just have to put forth the effort. It’s recommended that adults engage in moderate to intense exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. But don’t give up if you can’t reach that goal. Small activities can add up quickly, like taking the stairs, walking the dog, or cleaning the house.

Cut Out Stress
One of the biggest factors in heart disease is stress. And let’s be honest, we’re all a bit stressed from time to time. While stress is natural, it can negatively effect your health. Consider adding a few techniques to your every day routine that may help cut down on the stress you put on your mind and body. Try meditation, relaxation exercises, or counseling to reduce stress and improve your health.

Learn to spot the events or activities that bring you stress and turn them around before you become overwhelmed. Know your limits, eliminate stressful relationships, and analyze your priorities before starting projects. If you feel overwhelemed at work, don’t hesitate to talk to your supervisor about your workload and make suggestions for how you can better accomplish your tasks without the extra stress.

How do you protect your heart health? Share your tips in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Staying Safe During the Holiday Season

wokplace holidaysIt’s the height of the holiday season, which means many retailers are experiencing a sharp increase in staff, stock, and customers. And while the spike in store traffic is great for job seekers and business alike, it also means an increase in hazards and risks on the job.

To help keep yourself, your co-workers, and the customers safe during busy holiday shopping days, check out these tips!

Know the risks.
Some of the risks associated with the holiday shopping season are ones that exist in the workplace every day, regardless of the time of year. Such risks include ergonomic issues that lead to numbness and pain, like carpel tunnel syndrome or muscle and joint problems. During the holiday season, workers may experience an increased need to reach high places and work at a more frantic pace, increasing the risk of injuries.

Establish safety guidelines.
Your employers should have safety procedures in place to help protect you and other workers from injury. It’s your job to follow those procedures. Retail employers need to be sure the workplace is properly staffed, properly organized, and that employees are not so rushed to complete tasks that they overlook basic safety procedures. All employees should report any unsafe or hazardous conditions to their supervisors so they can respond to reports quickly and safely.

Protect yourself.
To protect yourself on the job, make sure you use proper lifting techniques, avoid twisting and reaching overhead as much as you can, and communicate any difficulties you experience to your supervisor.

Watch out for the customers.
A safety concern that is easily overlooked is the increased hazards to the public while shopping in the aisles of retail stores. Stocking activity can be much higher during hours customers are present, and many employees will be performing stocking tasks in close proximity to customers. Due to the high business volume of the season, customers are often exposed to more equipment and stock on the sales floor and activity above their heads and feet. To deal with this additional liability, employers can move merchandise and equipment through stores using an additional employee to direct traffic on the aisles, stock heavier items on lower shelves, and ensure everyone is trained and aware of the special hazards associated with customer interaction.

Understand the regulations.
Crowd safety has become an important topic during peak holiday hours like Black Friday. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a website dedicated to helping retail employees manage crowds on special shopping days. They encourage employers and their employees to plan, communicate, and have an emergency response procedure in place. Check out OSHA’s website for more information.

As with other days of the year, it’s very important to maintain safe working conditions during the busy season. Making sure you’re following proper procedures can ensure that you go home healthy and happy to enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Safety Month: The Truth About Workplace Injuries

June is National Safety Month in the United States. Observed annually, the month focuses on bringing awareness to the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes in an effort to reduce the amount of injuries sustained. To help you learn more about workplace injuries, take a look at the infographic below.

COM15SM_SafetyMonth

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Is Your Desk Job Hurting Your Health?

desk_job_killing_you_webCould too much of a good thing be bad for your health? While it’s exciting to land that office job, it’s also important to remember that your body is made to move. Did you know that sitting in front a screen, like a computer, for extended periods of time can increase your risk of certain diseases? Check out these tips to make sure you’re staying healthy both at home and in the workplace.

Stay healthy.
Sitting is often unavoidable and, when broken up into smaller periods of time, won’t do too much damage. The key to staying healthy at your desk job is making sure you take breaks that get you out of your chair. In fact, experts suggest standing every 30 minutes, if possible. To help you get moving, try out these tips:

Stand Up

  • Set reminders. Try using your email or calendar to set reminders that will pop up and remind you to stand for a few minutes. You can also try this trick at home by using TV commercials as a signal for you to stand up and get moving.
  • Stand up and straighten your office or workspace. De-cluttering can also help you cut down on stress.
  • If you like to drink a lot of coffee or other beverage, use a smaller cup in the morning. This will force you to make more trips to fill up your cup throughout the day.
  • Stand up and get a glass of water if you’ve been sitting for too long.
  • When you’re eating lunch or talking on the phone, stand up if possible.
  • Instead of using email or interoffice mail, hand deliver papers to a co-worker.
  • If possible, use a printer that’s stationed away from your work area so you have to walk to retrieve your documents.
  • On lunch breaks, take a walk around the building or nearby area.

Rest Your Eyes

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break from your screen and stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to help the focusing muscles in your eyes relax.
  • Make a conscious effort to blink every 10-15 seconds so you coat your cornea and nourish your eyes with oxygen.
  • Try increasing the brightness level on your computer’s monitor to decrease eye fatigue. Also, it’s recommended that your computer screen be positioned 20-28 inches from your eyes.
  • Eat eye-friendly foods like kale and spinach to lower your chance of developing a cataract.

Protect Yourself

  • To lessen the strain on your back, try sitting at a 135-degree angle while you work.
  • Keep hand sanitizer at your desk and wash your hands regularly. According to IdealBite.com, the average office keyboard harbors five times more germs than a public restroom.

Even though there are risks associated with desk jobs, the good news is that there are ways to minimize these risks and stay healthy.

How do you keep your health in check while working in the office? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Tis the Season to Be Aware of Conveyor Belt Hazards

conveyor_belt_safety_webDuring the holiday season, many products are being sorted and moved around facilities by conveyor belts. Because these machines can cause injury if used incorrectly, it’s a great time to be reminded about the hazards associated with conveyors and how you can stay safe on the job.

Know the Pinch Points
Although the tops of conveyor belts are flat and don’t appear to present extraordinary risks, the areas where the belt meets the rollers are serious pinch points. No matter how much slack a belt may appear to have, it’s always heavy and dangerous. In fact, thousands of hand and other body injuries are attributed to conveyor belts every year.

Dress Appropriately
If you work around conveyor belts, it’s vitally important that you avoid wearing loose clothing, jewelry, or accessories that dangle. Also, remember to keep long hair secured and away from any machinery. If hair or improper clothing items become caught between the rollers of a conveyor belt, the belt can drag the item along and potentially cause serious injury.

Stick to Your Job
Remember to perform the job you have been trained to do, and don’t step outside of those guidelines. Injuries often occur because someone sees a string or another part of the belt dangling and tries to pull the damaged piece off. In doing so, one’s hand can be pulled into the moving parts. Likewise, if a product or package gets caught on the belt, do not grab it to remove it. Instead, leave that to co-workers who are specifically trained in performing lockout and tagout procedures to avoid serious injury.

If you’re simply placing materials on the conveyor belt or removing items from it, your job should be relatively safe. But, taking a small step outside of your duties or wearing the wrong clothing can lead to serious injury.

While last minute shopping orders are going out and post-holiday sales begin, these machines will experience heavy use. Remember to dress safely, stick to your job, and keep yourself and your co-workers safe.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.