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6 Ways To Prevent Accidents In The Workplace

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Traffic cones and red stop sign. Road safety and prevention of accidents during road constructionEach and every day, Canadians head to work with the expectations that they will be able to complete their daily tasks free of injury or any other health risks. Certainly, we all deserve to work in safe and clean environments. And while most businesses take measures to ensure the safety of their employees, accidents are bound to happen. However, there are ways to ensure that such accidents are minimized and unable to present serious ill effects.

Of course, it’s important for all employees to be aware of the hazards that may come along with their jobs. And, naturally, some jobs present more risks than others. Construction workers, for example, often have to work with heavy equipment and at high elevations. Clearly, protective gear must be worn and extra precautions need to be followed. There are steps, however, that we all must take in order to be safe, no matter what type of environment we work in.

Here are six ways prevent accidents in the workplace:

1. Always be alert. There’s a reason why many workers insist upon that morning coffee. Being awake and alert isn’t just important in order to complete tasks adequately, but it also helps to keep both you and your co-workers out of harm’s way. According to Julian Hall on Character-Training.com, “most of the people who become involved with accidents at work are those who feel sleepy while working.”

2. Don’t rush your work. In many workplaces, time is of the essence. Employees are given deadlines that they must meet, so there is often a sense of urgency when it comes to completing certain tasks. It’s important, however, to take the appropriate amount of time to perform your duties safely. On Arbill.com, it is explained that “it’s natural to want to get the job finished on schedule — or even ahead of time — but with a ‘get it done quick’ attitude, accidents happen.”

3. Wear required safety gear. Many jobs require uniforms. But the jobs that require the wearing of safety equipment are the ones where dress codes are the most important. “A person who works in a factory has a greater chance of being involved in an accident at work,” reminds Hall, “Thus, he should be more vigilant about the wearing of proper uniforms and other protective garments when working. Never take safety to chance so always go to work with the proper dress code.”

4. Follow instructions to a tee. Sometimes, workers get complacent. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that you’re an expert at your job, so you don’t need to follow every last instruction. However, paying attention to detail can help you to avoid making mistakes that can lead to injury. “Don’t take shortcuts,” insists Arbill.com, “stick to the instructions and work with diligence and awareness of your surroundings.”

5. Pay attention to and follow emergency drills. Workers also tend to take safety drills for granted. If they’re not “the real thing”, they often go through the motions carelessly. However, participation in such drills couldn’t be more important. As Hall points out, these emergency drills are conducted for the purpose of teaching employees what to do in the event of an emergency and so that they can avoid accidents.

6. Insist upon proper training. This is especially important if you plan on taking on a job that may present a number of risks. Knowing exactly what you’re in for and how to react during emergency situations is imperative for your safety. “It is stupid for anyone to take on a high-risk job especially if he has not been trained for the job,” states Arbill.com, “Imagine an untrained person doing the job of a fireman? Doing this will not only expose you to a great danger but will expose other people to danger as well.”

The Importance Of Ergonomics In The Workplace

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White computer mouse and hand on whiteNot every job in the world requires laborious use of the hands. Not every job entails a great deal of heavy lifting, lugging and carrying. But that doesn’t mean that jobs void of these tiring tasks aren’t hard on the body. Office workers experience their fair share of job-related injuries as well. You may be surprised just how taxing it can be on the body to sit at a desk in front of a computer all day long.

This is why ergonomics is so vital to any working environment. Ergonomics, which is the study of people’s efficiency in the workplace, is an important element when considering the health and safety of people at work. And, as Cynthia Roth points out on EHSToday.com, office environments are known for their ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses. Believe it or not, typing isn’t exactly the safest job-related task in the world!

“If an employee is able to type 40 words per minute, he or she presses 12,000 keys per 8-hour day,” she explains, “Approximately 8 ounces of force is necessary to depress one key. Almost 16 tons of force will be exercised by his or her fingers each day. The fingers of typists whose speed is 60 words per minute exert up to 25 tons of pressure each day.” So what does all of this mean? How does the pressure exerted by typists affect their health?

According to Roth, back pain is considered the most common side effect of daily sitting and typing. But studies have shown that “the office workplace has other musculoskeletal disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tenosynovitis and myositis.” She writes that “more than 8 million people are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome each year. Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is the second-most common type of musculoskeletal surgery.”

A focus on ergonomics can help present better working conditions in an effort to avoid such physical hardships. Roth notes that it’s important to reduce the physical demands of jobs by decreasing levels of force, repetition and awkward postures. “Job descriptions are necessary to understand how tasks impact the worker: which body part is used, whether right or left side, cycle times, weights, reaches, etc.” she writes.

The benefits to implementing strong workplace ergonomics are many. On Ergo-Plus.com, Mark Middlesworth explains that ergonomics can help to reduce costs, improve productivity and boost the quality of the work being done. “Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued workers that don’t do their best work,” he writes, “When the job task is too physically taxing on the worker, they may not perform their job like they were trained.”

A focus on ergonomics in the workplace is also excellent for employee morale. It should go without saying that it’s important to have a staff made up for happy and enthusiastic people. It’s good for any company’s bottom line. “If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement,” says Middlesworth.

At Independence Incorporated, we offer Ergonomic Assessments that carefully consider the relationships between workers and their work environments. Our assessments involve the creation of matches between employees and their activities, equipment and systems to maximize both productivity and health-focused circumstances. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call Independence Incorporated at 204-478-6644 or email info@indep.ca.

6 Ways To Promote Health In The Workplace

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Smiling medical doctor woman with appleIt’s not easy running a business. You have a lot on your plate on a daily basis. And one of the most important daily tasks you have is ensuring the health and safety of all those who work for you. Without a staff that is comprised of positive-minded, well-rested, energetic members, your company is bound to endure some hardships. And, of course, the last thing you want is to have any of your employees endure an illness or injury.

It would especially be unfortunate and detrimental to your company if your employees become ill or injured while on the job. So while motivating your team members towards productive work days is always a necessity, it is equally important to keep in mind that you should be promoting health and wellness on the job. That way, you can ensure a strong and productive team that is happy to work for you.

Here are six ways to promote health in the workplace:

1. Advocate exercise. One of the most popular excuses that people give for their lack of exercise is that they have no time. By offering facilities at your place of business, you give people reasons to lose that excuse. On Inc.com, Lauren Lastowka offers up an alternative to providing gyms and showers, if doing so isn’t possible. “Implement and promote a lunch hour walking club and offer incentives for employees who participate,” she suggests.

2. Encourage better nutrition. Do you have vending machines at your place of work that include an array of chocolate bars and potato chips? If so, lose them. Food that promotes poor health is not doing your company any favours. Not only should you offer healthy options at your cafeteria but according to Dr. Jeffrey Brown in a special to Financial Post, you should “offer incentives for reaching health and weight goals.”

3. Find ways to minimize stress. Stress is bound to occur on any job. But the less of it you’re able to put on your employees, the better they’ll be able to perform their duties. “Unmanaged stress has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep trouble,” reminds Lastowka, “At the workplace, it can lead to inefficiency, job dissatisfaction, and absence from work for related health conditions.”

4. Make drinking water available. If you don’t have water fountains set up at your place of work, bring in water coolers. The importance of staying hydrated cannot be understated. Dr. Brown insists that you “educate staff to stay hydrated by drinking 8 oz. of water each working hour. Discourage caffeine, sodas and energy drinks in the office. Provide clean-filtered water. I recommend reverse-osmosis filters, which are cheap and effective.”

5. Have a doctor make “work calls”. You’ve heard of “house calls” before, right? Why not implement a similar practice at your office? “One of the most innovative trends in workplace wellness has been that of the office doctor’s office,” informs Lastowka, “On-site health clinics give employees the opportunity to schedule office visits for routine care without taking time off work. And they seem to be successful.”

6. Open up the windows. There are few things worse than a dank, congested and musty workplace. Be sure to let in fresh air and sunlight to brighten up the moods of everyone on your team. “Sunlight refreshes us, triggers are feel good chemicals, strengthens our joints and bones, and helps our immune system,” says Dr. Brown, who goes on to mention that “Sick Building Syndrome is an increasing cause of illness and lawsuits.”