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Archive for July, 2014

6 Ways To Ensure That Your Workplace Is A Safe One

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construction safety conceptIf there’s something that we can all agree on – most of us, anyway – it’s that nothing is more important than our health and safety. This is why it’s incumbent upon all of us to do our best to practice safety measures in our daily lives. The old parent-taught adage of “always look both ways before you cross the street” rings true for us all no matter our ages. So when it comes to being on the job, there’s no reason to stop taking care.

In fact, practicing safety at work is more than mandatory. Naturally, employers want their employees to work in an environment that promotes high levels of productivity. And that requires a workspace that is safe and fun to conduct business in. According to health specialist, Langdon Dement on EHSToday.com, “thousands of workers are injured on the job every year.” So what can you do to ensure your workplace is a safe one? Here are six top suggestions.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you can’t reach something, if something is too heavy, if you’re unsure of how to manoeuvre around something (you get the picture), simply request assistance. Dement writes that injuries due to bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling are incredibly common. When one overexerts him or herself, it is bound to lead to some type of injury. Get help instead.

2. Be prepared for a fire. People tend to not take fire drills very seriously. Often, they’ll stroll through the doors while having casual conversations with their co-workers. That doesn’t mean that your business shouldn’t be conducting fire drills. WikiHow.com states that “fires are potentially devastating occurrences, putting many businesses, especially restaurants, in jeopardy”. The site also insists that you make sure that working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are always installed.

3. Be mindful of where you walk. Yes, it may sound like a no-brainer to “watch your step”. But taking your surroundings for granted can often lead to injury. Dement writes that being struck by an object has accounted for 8 per cent of workplace injuries and $4.10 billion in direct costs, based on the 2012 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. He recommends implementing policies that include the wearing of hardhats, glasses and goggles to protect workers in certain environments.

4. Clearly mark potential safety concerns with the proper signage and instructions. WikiHow.com provides us with this pertinent advice: “If an electrician is rewiring an area of the workplace, or if a crew is doing construction on a piece of railing, inform your employees by memo and by placing an appropriate, visible sign near where the potential hazard could occur. Don’t assume that people are smart enough to act accordingly. Spell it out for them very clearly.”

5. Maintain proper housekeeping. Who doesn’t like a tidy place? Keeping your office clean isn’t just great for aesthetics, it makes things safer. Dement writes that falling is among the top five ways that employees get injured on the job. The solution? “Proper housekeeping is one way to reduce injuries from falls,” he writes, “Keeping your work area clean and clutter-free is very important in preventing these kinds of injuries.”

6. Have an easily accessible first aid kit in the office. No matter what, accidents are bound to happen. So unfortunately, you won’t be able to prevent them all from taking place. However, you can certainly minimize the damage done by having help nearby. WikiHow.com recommends that you “consider investing in first-aid training or, at the very least, a first aid kit. First-aid training won’t keep the accident from happening in the first place, but it could help keep any injuries incurred during an accident from getting out of control.”

Why Ergonomics In The Workplace Is So Important

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Happy Executive in Ergonomic ChairWhen an employee is ill or injured, it’s so important to get that person back to a state where he or she is healthy enough to be capable of carrying out their duties. Making working environments as comfortable for employees as possible is key factor in having a productive workforce. However, it shouldn’t require an illness or injury to occur in order for adequate ergonomics in the workplace to be considered.

What exactly is ergonomics, you ask? It’s all about the environment within which one works and how that person is able to complete tasks within it. The tools used by employees to carry out their job requirements are considered in the study of ergonomics as well. The importance of ergonomics in the workplace lies in each employee’s ability to work within a space that is ideal for them to do their jobs well.

On WebMD.com, it is explained that attention to ergonomics is found through setting up one’s workstation in such a way that it lessens risk of headaches, eyestrains, back pain, neck pain and even bursitis or tendon problems that are often linked to doing the same tasks over and over again. The site actually goes on to note that most injuries that occur on the job are related to making repetitive movements, poor posture, bending over, lifting heavy objects and falling.

Ergonomics, as you may have guessed, can help to prevent all of these pitfalls. Naturally, there are numerous benefits to keeping employees healthy. Obviously, there are benefits to both the employees and the employers who depend on them to make their companies successful. On Ergo-Plus.com, Mark Middlesworth writes that “leading companies are integrating ergonomics deeply into all of their operations” and goes on to list their proven benefits.

Ergonomics improves productivity. Middlesworth notes that designing a workplace that promotes good health can only make workers more efficient. Creating an environment that allows for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and better heights and reaches, he says, will help to create a much more productive staff. After all, as human beings, we all share a need to be comfortable, no matter where we are.

Ergonomics improves quality. Speaking of being comfortable, no one likes being frustrated and tired. Middlesworth points out that people aren’t able to work properly when feeling such strains. “When the job task is too physically taxing on the worker, they may not perform their job like they were trained,” he writes, “For example, an employee might not fasten a screw tight enough due to a high force requirement which could create a product quality issue.”

Ergonomics improves employee engagement. It is often said that a happy staff is a productive staff. And this often entails strong relationships among the various members of a working team. When a company puts forth efforts to ensure health and safety, says Middlesworth, employees notice and it often boosts morale. In addition, high energy levels on the job help to decrease absenteeism.

Ergonomics creates a better safety culture. “Ergonomics shows your company’s commitment to safety and health as a core value,” writes Middlesworth, “The cumulative effect of the previous four benefits of ergonomics is a stronger safety culture for your company. Healthy employees are your most valuable asset; creating and fostering the safety & health culture at your company will lead to better human performance for your organization.”

At Independence Incorporated, we offer an “Ergonomic Assessment” to closely examine the relationships between employees and their work environments. We seek to ensure that the individual needs of employees are being met and that there is a match between workers and their activities, equipment, tools and systems. We provide written assessments and evaluate all factors before following up with our clients.

For more information about our “Ergonomic Assessment”, please feel free to call us at 204-478-6644.