General Safety

Mousing with Non-Dominant Hand: Anti-Aging at Your Fingertips

Willard WebbPosted by Debra Willard Webb, MS, RN, COHN-S, WCP®

Doing the same things, the same way, every day can be harmful to our mental and physical health.  Being comfortable as creatures of habit doesn’t do much to keep our brains healthy.  Memory recall, problem solving, and even motor-memory skills can dwindle by abiding in our comfort zone.  Here’s a computer ergonomic tip that has the added benefit of challenging brain drain: Learn to use a computer mouse with your non-dominant hand.

Whether you work or play on a computer, use your non-dominant hand for mousing for a few minutes daily.  Ergonomically, the benefits include:

  • Rest for your dominant hand, this can lower strain risk
  • Slight posture changes stimulate nourishing circulation
  • Slight improvement in the workload balance between hands
  • Lastly, this provides a ‘Plan B’ should your dominant hand suddenly be unable to tolerate fulltime mousing, perhaps from an accidental sprain or other injury

Then there are the brain benefits of changing hands.  The simple exercise of learning the motor coordination for your opposite hand is brain work.  In this Wall Street Journal article, a neurobiologist explains that mental exercise can even stimulate the development of new neurons and brain pathways right on into our senior years.  This builds resilience for us as we age and improves our mental fitness. According to this Harvard Medical School article, the more challenging the brain exercise, the better for mental fitness.

The muscles, of course, know how to follow brain commands.  But your brain needs to coordinate those commands without requiring your full attention.  That is the exercise part.  This learning can be done in very small doses, so let the process be a fun one, not a frustrating one.

Trying is Believing:

Leave your mouse on the opposite side of the keyboard at the end of your workday today.

Open your computer systems with your non-dominant hand at the start of your work day tomorrow when your brain is fresh and alert.  Then stop with your non-dominant hand.  Return your mouse to your dominant hand before you get frustrated or discouraged.  (You should WANT to get back to the exercise tomorrow.)

Make a cue that helps you remember to leave your mouse on the opposite side at the end of day, so that it is already in position as a reminder to ‘exercise’ tomorrow.

After 10 days, most participants realize they are gaining coordination.  By the end of week two or three they can recognize accomplishment.  Not speed, not efficiency, but certainly progress.  Occasionally, someone moves more quickly through the steps above and becomes a 50-50 user.  But that is not required to see real benefits.  Fifteen minutes in the morning and the afternoon is 30 minutes daily that your dominant hand has a rest and your brain has a boost!

Additional reading:

Health and Safety Executive, Ergonomics of using a mouse or other non-keyboard input device

Association for Psychological Science, Learning New Skills Keeps an Aging Mind Sharp

 


Looking in the Rearview Mirror at Driver Safety

LarochellePosted by Greg LaRochelle, MS, WCP®

This year marks MEMIC’s 25th anniversary of opening its doors in 1993.  While driving down the highway in MEMIC’s inaugural year, the radio airwaves were filled with the music of Boyz II Men, Kris Kross, Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vanessa L. Williams, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Reba McEntire.  The 20th Annual American Music Awards, held on January 25, 1993, honored many of these music artists and groups for their albums and singles with titles having relevance today with regard to an increasing concern for over-the-road risk exposure.  The importance of this concern is underscored by OSHA’s recent trade release statement that “more workers lost their lives in transportation incidents than any other event in 2016, accounting for about two out of every five fatal injuries.”  Going forward in this new year, we can all learn to be a safer driver from the information and resources following these titles garnering a ’93 music award or nomination.

Favorite Pop/Rock Album: Dangerous by Michael Jackson

Driving is inherently dangerous; that’s why a license is required through education, practice, and competency demonstration.  The King of Pop’s eighth studio album contains a song titled “Gone Too Soon” which especially relates to teen driving with the CDC indicating that the leading cause of death for U.S. teens is motor vehicle crashes.  On any given day, the prevalence of motorists young and old observed with a cell phone in hand while driving is astounding and disturbing.  Texting and driving don’t mix!  MEMIC’s blog Distracted Driving Messages Abound offers tips for employers on how to protect workers operating fleet vehicles or personal vehicles for business from the dangers on the road.  

Favorite Pop/Rock Single: “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men

“End of the Road” edged out “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers which call to mind road construction/work zone safety and travel conditions during winter months.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were an estimated 96,626 crashes in work zones in 2015, an increase of 7.8% over 2014.  When driving through a work zone, stay alert, minimize distractions, heed directions on work zone warning signs, and watch out for construction workers and their equipment.  MEMIC’s blogs Distracted Driving & Work Zone Awareness, Roadway Construction Etiquette, and Traffic Work Zone Safety provide greater detail.  Be alert for signs reading “Bridge Freezes Before Road” as cold air streaming across bridges and overpasses reduces their temperature significantly faster and lower than roadways.  For safe winter driving tips, check out MEMIC’s blog Still Plenty of Winter Driving to Go!        

Favorite Adult Contemporary Album (nominee): The Comfort Zone by Vanessa L. Williams

Driving without distraction and staying within a safe comfort zone from other vehicles will help you “arrive alive”.  Maintaining a safe following distance using the “three second rule” affords the driver both time and distance to respond to problems on the road ahead.  Locate a fixed roadside object and count three seconds when the vehicle ahead passes the object.  If you reach the object before ending the count, you’re following too close.  In inclement weather, heavy traffic, or night-time driving, double your following distance to six seconds.  When driving behind a tractor trailer or snow plow, be aware of the blind spots behind and to the sides of the truck or plow and Know about the “No Zone” for safe following distance.

Favorite Country Album: For My Broken Heart by Reba McEntire

Also nominated for the award was “The Chase” by Garth Brooks with the titles raising the concern of speeding (as in a chase) along with the tragic consequences of a fatal crash impacting family and friends.  With the kinetic energy formula (Ek = ½ mv2) showing velocity (v) to be the exponential variable as compared to the mass (m), it becomes more obvious that speed (velocity) is the critical factor for an object’s energy in motion.  Interestingly, driving faster for whatever reason doesn’t save much time at all so keep it under the speed limit.  For a blog that “brakes” it down further, click on “I Feel the Need for Speed” and remember “speed kills.”

Looking in the rearview mirror as well as both side mirrors with a quick glance every 5 seconds helps you to be continually aware of your surroundings as a defensive driver.  Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel so no one is left with an “Achy Breaky Heart” which incidentally was the AMA’s favorite country single award given to Billy Ray Cyrus in 1993.

For more blog articles on driver safety, click on MEMIC’s Safety Net and use the key words transportation and travel in the search field.        

 


Make 2018 a Safe Year

KlattPosted by Randy Klatt, WCP®

Well, it’s happened again.  Another year is almost in the books; time sure does fly by doesn’t it?  As we review the events of 2017 and look forward to the new year, please be sure that workplace safety is part of the conversation. 

Here are a few questions to ask regarding 2017 and the effectiveness of your safety program:

  • Did your safety committee meet regularly and conduct activities that actually made the workplace safer? Or was everyone “too busy” to attend, some meetings were cancelled, and no one really took any proactive actions to prevent injuries?  If the latter is the case, then start 2018 with a different message:  Safety is as important as production and quality, so there are no excuses for not addressing safety issues.
  • Were there fewer injuries in 2017? Were all incidents investigated thoroughly to determine root causes with corrective action taken?  If you can’t answer “yes” to both questions it is time to devote more resources to hazard identification and remediation, and to improve the investigation process.  One injury is bad enough, but a second one from the same or similar cause is tragic. 
  • Is there open communication between all employees and management regarding safety issues? Are all concerns heard and answered in a timely manner?  Remember, the employees doing the work understand the hazards and the controls needed.  Listen to them and ensure the appropriate controls are in place.  At the same time, ensure all employees are following the safety policies and best practices. 
  • Does your organizational culture support safety at each level? A clear message should be delivered to every person:  All injuries are preventable!  Granted, this is a difficult task, but if your employees don’t think all injuries are preventable then how could they be expected to prevent all injuries?  Don’t let the mantra “it was an accident” lead you down the path of complacency.  Workplace injuries are not “accidents” - they are predictable outcomes that occur when people accept injuries as inevitable and don’t do all they can to take care of people.  We are all people, and we all make mistakes.  But focusing on safety with unyielding accountability and consistent best practices will eliminate the vast majority of injuries.

The costs of workplace injuries, both human and monetary, are simply too great to tolerate.  Thousands of people died at work in 2017 and millions more injured.  It’s time for a 2018 New Year’s Resolution that will take care of people and keep businesses profitable.  Make it your mission to see that everyone in your charge operates safely all year by conducting all appropriate training, providing all necessary tools and equipment, controlling all known hazards, communication regarding safety is open and effective, and all incidents are investigated completely with appropriate follow up actions taken.  That’s a lot for one sentence, but it sums up what needs to be done by all of us to keep ourselves and our fellow workers safe and healthy.  Make your 2018 a banner year for workplace safety! 


Upon a Tranquil Morn

LarochellePosted by Greg LaRochelle, MS, WCP®

Upon a tranquil morn, ice crystals form a paisley pattern frosting the frozen windowpanes in his comfortable study.  Having braved the harsh elements through a stormy night, he slumps against the cushions in his favorite armchair, delighted in the joy he just delivered to children near and far.  His magical mission completed, he ponders the idea of heading south to a warmer clime, entrusting his team to carry on with exuberance.  In this calm moment, he reflects on another year of MEMIC Safety Net Blogs that served him well over the preceding months.

Over the year, he implemented a safety shoe reimbursement program to outfit his crew of craftsmen with new elfin work boots after reading Adam’s Safety Shoes – Selecting the Right Shoe for Your Workplace blog.  He surprised them even more by providing ice cleats described in Dave’s post Winter Slip, Trip, and Fall Safety Tips.  He felt it only fair as a few of them were miffed when he “recalled” their back belts from reading Rob’s article Back Belts – Do They Prevent Back Injuries?  Rob’s Employee Safety and Wellness Run Hand-in-Hand webinar promo post had him looking at worker safety from a holistic approach.  Moreover, Allan’s blog Keep Lifts Between the Knees and Shoulders acquainted him with the NIOSH lifting equation and the “green” power zone for manual lifting.  As a material handling safety improvement, a spotlight was added to the forklift after reading John’s blog Powered Industrial Truck Pedestrian Safety Lights – What a Bright Idea! 

Always a bit nervous when watching his woodworkers operate a table saw, he invested in a new saw with a built-in safety braking system and posted safety tips for optimum operation from reading Tonya’s post Table Saw Safety.  Her Ladder Safety blog came in handy when stringing up the holiday lights and topping the tree with a shimmering crystal star.  He was moved by Laurette’s piece on taking care of the caregivers in Caregivers: First Do No Harm To Yourselves.  Beth’s blog More than Love Handles gave him pause on his own waistline and reassurance that safety support is available for caregivers to avoid a strain injury.  He was made more aware of his own posture from Maureen’s Let Posture Be Your Guide article.  Most importantly, he learned to listen to his inner voice from reading Randy Morehouse’s post Personal Safety – Listen to Your Inner Voice.

A transformation begins as a new day awakens with the first glow of sunlight.

MEMIC’s loss control staff wishes everyone a safe and joyful holiday season.

 


A Science for the Art of Slipping: Take Charge of Your Traction

Willard Webb Posted by Debra Willard Webb, MS, RN, COHN-S, WCP®

Consider this all-too-common situation… coffee in hand, Sam hustles across the snow-dusted parking lot in leather sole shoes.  His phone rings.  Before he can answer “What’s up?” he’s down!  His heel slipped on black ice sending him off balance where gravity took over. 

Why?  Shouldn’t he have been able to regain his balance?  Why does one person fall on ice or a grape that fell off a lunch tray, or water in the hallway, and another just keeps on walking?

The why of a fall is partly explained by TRIBOLOGY - the science of friction, lubrication, and wear.  Tribology provides numbers that help us understand the friction between surfaces. This number is a coefficient of friction (COF), and describes the surface friction from zero (no friction) to one (high friction).  Not surprisingly, black ice has a very low COF.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) set a minimum standard COF for walking surfaces at 0.42μ (ANSI A137.1 & 326.3).  Floors with a COF below that number contribute to fall risk. CNA Financial Corporation recently published a tribometry study of hard surface floors in commercial settings and surprisingly found that barely half of the floors met this safety standard.  Clearly, there is work to be done to reduce commercial flooring slip risk. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, over one million hospital emergency room visits result from slip and fall incidents each year.  It’s time we all work together to reduce this significant hazard and keep employees, friends, and families safer.

However, simply replacing flooring with high COF flooring would not solve all the commercial building slip risk.  It is an important step (pun intended), but COF is not the only factor in slip and fall risk.  Lots of variables can decrease the COF affecting a walker.  Oil, water, cleaners, or even dry materials like dust and gravel can increase slipperiness.  Dry snow became the lubricant in Sam’s story, reducing traction between his shoe and the ice.

Maintenance routines are a crucial factor in flooring risk management.  Cleaning products, tools, and methods can increase slip hazards.  The wrong products, too much product, soap residue, failing to strip previous product, and failing to buff according to flooring guidance are all factors that can change floor safety. CNA’s report tells us that businesses would be wise to review current floor maintenance practices and ensure that surfaces are maintained according to the flooring manufacturer’s guidance. Further, knowing how snow and ice will affect the slipperiness of floors and planning accordingly makes sense as well.  

Not in charge of flooring at your workplace?  Then manage what you DO have control of.  Reduce your personal risk for a slip and fall. When rain or winter weather are in the forecast adapt your footwear.

Choose slip-resistant footwear with these characteristics:

  • High friction material
  • Larger heel contact surface
  • Tread patterns across the width of the sole to channel water away from your step

Adjust your walking style:

  • Take shorter strides with slightly flexed knees, keeping your center of gravity more stable
  • Leave a few minutes early to allow for a slower pace
  • Be aware of the walking surface and conditions
  • Have your hands free for balance; carry items in a crossbody bag

Consider your usual footwear inside and out:

  • Does the sole have traction on the surfaces you travel?
  • Does it contribute to a stable center of gravity?
  • Is your foot properly secured with laces or straps?
  • Would traction enhancers be helpful outside?

Take action when you recognize a slip hazard:

  • Promptly clean up any spilled liquids or other contaminants
  • Use “Wet Floor” signs where applicable
  • Use plenty of salt and sand outdoors in freezing weather

For more information, check these resources from EHS Today, Occupational Health and Safety, and previous Safety Net posts from Peter Koch entitled, “Stay SAFE from the Winter Slip and Fall” and “What’s on Your Feet This Winter?” 

 


MEMIC's Safe Gift Guide

Nothing is better than having a loved one come home safe, that's why we asked some of our Safety Management Consultants to share their top gift choices for the holiday season.

"It's gotta be the shoes," says Peter Koch. Peter isn't talking Air Jordans, the premier holiday gift of 1988, he's discussing the timeless necessity of slip and fall prevention. Like car tires, your shoes keep you firmly attached to the surface and there are many different tread types designed for the specific environmental conditions you may encounter. The deeper and more widely spaced the tread pattern, the more loose material - like gravel or snow - it can accommodate and still contact the stable surface below.  Because there are fewer contact points with the surface, this tread pattern isn’t great for hard wet/oily surfaces like tile or concrete. A deeply scored, but closely spaced tread pattern can readily squeeze out liquids and provide more surface area for contact with the surface underneath. Conversely, there is little room for bulky materials in the tread, allowing clogging and limiting friction. For those of you who don't love this excuse to buy more than one pair of shoes for the different conditions you encounter, you can look into traction enhancers that can be put on and taken off.

Tony Jones agrees on the importance of footwear, "When your feet hurt, you hurt all over." Tony offers tips on how to find the right fit. Not many people know it's best to buy shoes late in the afternoon when your feet are more likely to be swollen and at their maximum size. Selecting shoes made of leather or canvas, rather than synthetic materials, can also help in avoiding athlete's foot.

Ladders are like shoes says Scott Valorose, one size does not fit all and choosing the right kind of ladder for each task is important. If you see someone using a stepladder the wrong way, like folded and leaned in place of a straight ladder or using an aluminum ladder around electricity, then a gift of the right kind of ladder could literally be a life saver. Remember to choose a ladder that is capable of supporting not just their weight but also the weight of any tools, materials, and equipment they will be using.

Scott and Peter both agree that cut resistant gloves are a must-have for anyone who spends time in the kitchen around knives. For better kitchen ergonomics, Peter also recommends adjustable or telescopic handled scrubbers, dusters and sweepers to avoid overextending your reach or needing a ladder. That way no one can make an excuse when it is time to clean up after the holiday party that they are too short, tall, big or small.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow - if you have the right snow shovel says Allan Brown. Consider a shovel with a bent handle, this will reduce the amount of bending you’ll have to do when shoveling. Plastic is lighter than metal, so go light; the snow will provide plenty of weight and if the snow is so heavy you are worried it will bend or break the shovel then you are lifting too much weight. For that special someone who refuses to hire a professional for anything, get a roof rake for snow removal says Rod Stanley and declare the roof a no-go zone. For someone who uses a snow blower in the winter or a lawn mower in the summer, hearing protection is another must-have to prevent ear damage says John DeRoia (also useful for large, noisy family gatherings). For anyone hitting the slopes, the best accessory to match your skis or snowboard is a helmet says Peter.

At MEMIC, we believe safety truly is the gift that keeps on giving, so you can always find more safety tips right here on the Safety Net Blog all year round.

Santa safety net gift guide


HO! HO! HO! Gift Wrapping and Lifting Tips for the Busy Elf

 CampaneriaPosted by: Natalie Campaneria, PT, MPH, CSPHP with contributions from Allan Brown and Maureen Anderson

Choose the best place to wrap your gifts and away from prying eyes.

BEST: Standing using a work surface that is 36-42” high (kitchen bar/island, a folding table with risers or counter) provides a good height for working while standing.  Standing allows you to move freely and avoid strains that can occur when over reaching.

GOOD: Sitting on a chair at a table is ok, but try to avoid reaching too far away to get supplies, cut the full length of paper or wrap large items standing up if you have to reach.

AVOID: Wrapping gifts on the floor; this puts excessive strain on your back and causes awkward reaching and sitting postures.

Gather all your supplies and place conveniently nearby to reduce reaching...

Pic 1 - Wrapping

…such as presents, wrapping paper, ribbon, tape and scissors so you aren’t running around looking for materials.                

The need to repetitively reach across the table for these items can put stress on the low back.

Tight on Space? Consider pulling out a kitchen drawer and covering it with a cookie sheet or pan with sides, then place all of your supplies such as scissors, tape, ribbon, tags in the pan so you aren’t searching for them while wrapping.

Cutting and taping: Avoid Sawzall and Duct Tape.

Consider investing a few dollars and get the best tools for the job like this wrapping paper cutter, spring loaded scissors and weighted tape dispenser. The cutting tools reduce the stress on the hand and fingers.  The tape dispenser allows you to retrieve a piece of tape with one hand while the other hand is holding it all together.

Paper 3

Use gift bags and avoid a lot of the fancy folding and cutting.

Gift bags decrease the time you need to wrap gifts and eliminate the need to reach for paper, scissor, tape, etc.  Oversize bags are great for large or heavy items.

Take an eggnog break to change posture and stretch… grab a cookie too!!!

Take a stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes.  Open up your shoulders and take a few back bends.  Go for a little walk.

Don’t be a messy elf and clean up as you wrap. 

Scraps of paper and ribbon on the floor create a slip and fall hazard (as well as too much mulled wine).

Gift Lift Guidelines:

  • When bending and reaching, fire up your core muscles and bend your knees. Keep your head above your buttocks when bending.
  • Anything over 35 pounds is a two elf lift.
  • Over 50 pounds get the John Deere or just put a bow on it and leave it where it lies.
  • When putting packages under the tree avoid unsupported long reaches. Pad your knees when kneeling, place one hand on the ground and position lighter gifts with the free hand.
  • When you stand up, reset your body and take a few back bends.
  • Avoid over shoulder reaches when putting the star on top of the tree. Get a ladder or step stool to keep the job below shoulder level. When the ladder has printed on the top rung “this is not a step” it means, this is not a step. Falling into the tree will only “delight” the tree, if you know what I mean.

Have a very happy and safe holiday season!

 


Vehicle Lift Safety

LaCrossPosted by Jeremiah LaCross

Vehicle lifts are widely used throughout the automotive service industry and are very effective pieces of equipment when proper safety procedures are followed. There are different types of lifts which include two-post surface mounted, four post, in-ground, mobile, etc. Each type of lift has specific safety procedures for safely lifting the vehicles.

Since 2007, OSHA has conducted several automotive lift inspections, 11 of which resulted from fatalities. Click here to read more about one of these fatalities.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a total of 15,000 workers were treated in hospitals for automotive lift, jack or jack stand injuries.

What are the employers responsibilities?

  • Ensure that annual inspections are conducted by a qualified lift service company.
  • Ensure daily inspections and proper operation of arm restraints, locking devices, shut off devices for over travel, lift controls, drive chains, wire rope, hoses, wiring, hydraulic leaks, floor cracks, and anchors.
  • Ensure that all users of the vehicle lifts are properly trained in the safe operation and maintain the training logs.
    • Many lift service companies provide training as an additional value added service.
  • Maintain all vehicle lift maintenance and/or repair logs.
  • Ensure a lockout/tagout program is in place for all vehicle lifts in the facility.

What are the operators responsibilities?

  • Immediately report any unsafe conditions identified during the daily inspection to your Supervisor.
  • Never use a vehicle lift without receiving proper safety training.
  • Always utilize all safety features per the manufacturer’s instruction.
    • Example: ALWAYS lower the lift onto the safety locks before proceeding to work under the vehicle.
  • Become familiar with vehicle lift points, which can be found in the service manuals and/or manufacturer’s instructions.
  • ALWAYS inspect the vehicle prior to lifting. Certain conditions may change the vehicles stability such as snow or ice buildup in a truck bed, a plumbing or mechanical van with excessive weight in the back.  
  • Maintain a clean work area to avoid slip or trip hazards that can cause injury.

What are some common violations that we see?

  • Failure to properly lower the vehicle onto the safety locks. This places the entire load force on the hydraulics, which creates a significant crush-by hazard should the hydraulics fail.
  • Failure to conduct vehicle lift safety training for all operators.
  • Failure to retain the proper documentation of the following:
    • Safety training.
    • Maintenance/repair logs.
    • Lift inspections.

More information regarding vehicle lift safety is available from the Automotive Lift Institute and the Automotive Equipment Technical Institute. 

Please reach out to your MEMIC Loss Control Representative with any questions or for further assistance.  


Office Ergonomics is Music to My Ears

LarochellePosted by Greg LaRochelle, WCP®

As a fan of most music genres, especially alternative and classic rock, several song titles come to mind that I believe fit nicely with the topic of office ergonomics.  Unlike the Billboard Top 100, these 12 songs are not ranked in any particular order but rather correspond to sound advice on avoiding repetitive stress or cumulative trauma injuries related to computer use.  And with a one and a two and a three…

IStock-528906123

  • Mighty Mouse by Tesla from the album Into the Now released in 2004: While the mouse is a mighty input device, it can be a source of significant stress to the wrist, forearm, elbow, and even the shoulder and lateral side of the neck. Keep the mouse in close proximity to the keyboard within short reach.  Consider using a vertically designed mouse to approximate a more neutral forearm posture.  Navigate into the mouse properties via the control panel to speed up the pointer motion speed from the default halfway setting.  You won’t have to wrestle with the mouse so much to move the cursor arrow across the monitor screen.

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Not All Mice Are Created Equal posted in 2014

  • Codes and Keys by Death Cab for Cutie from the album Codes and Keys released in 2011: Use shortcut keys as a quicker and easier method of navigating and executing commands in software programs. Keep the keyboard flat on the work surface to minimize hand/wrist extension.  Consider using an ergonomic keyboard for a less constrained typing posture.

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Ten Tips for a Perfect Fit posted in 2008

  • The Big Screen by Travis from the album Where You Stand released in 2013: Monitor technology has come a long way from the days of the 15 inch CRT design. Large 24 inch screens help to spare the eyes from straining to see the display items.  When using two monitors, keep the primary monitor front and center or if both are shared virtually equally, mate them symmetrically with the centerline of the keyboard with roughly a 30 degree angle between the two.

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Dealing with Dual Monitors posted in 2012

  • Far Away Eyes by The Rolling Stones from the album Some Girls released in 1978: To avoid a forward head posture (anterior head carriage) with torso flexion, position the monitor(s) within a range of 18 to 24 inches from your eyes. To reduce eyestrain, apply the 20/20/20 rule (for every 20 minutes of fixed gaze on the monitor screen, look at an object about 20 feet away for 20 seconds).

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You posted in 2015

  • Hold Your Head Up by Argent from the album All Together Now released in 1972: Depending on prescription eyewear, adjust the height of the monitor(s) to promote a neutral, upright head posture.  A ream of paper (2 inches thick) or two inserted under the base of the monitor is a frugal way to increase the screen height.  Use a document holder or inline adjustable angle copy stand to minimize downward head tilt.

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Heads-up! “Text Neck” on the Rise posted in 2013

  • The Phone Call by The Pretenders from the album Pretenders released in 1980: The phone should be positioned on the side of the keyboard and monitor for the hand favored in grabbing the handset to prevent a crossover reach. Use a phone headset if cradling the handset between the neck and shoulder is a constant and prolonged task when conversing with the party on the other end of the line.

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Sherlock Holmes, the Ergonomist posted in 2015

  • Someone Keeps Moving My Chair by They Might Be Giants from the album Flood released in 1990: Ah, the shared chair that someone adjusts to their own liking. Get to know the chair’s adjustment features such as backrest tilt and height, seat pan height, depth, and angle, lumbar support, and armrest movement to restore it back to a comfortable fit.

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Ergonomics by the Seat of Your Pants posted in 2016

  • Blinded by the Light by Bruce Springsteen from the album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. released in 1973: Ambient light in the office environment is oftentimes too much, resulting in decreased contrast on the monitor screen. This can lead to the unconscious behavior of squinting and leaning forward straining the eyes, neck, and shoulders.   A small desktop task lamp can provide adequate illumination in a half-light ambience.   

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: See More with Less? Yes! posted in 2011

  • Within Your Reach by The Replacements from the album Hootenanny released in 1983: Applying the neutral zone principle to workstations establishes a boundary of 18 to 24 inches for the placement of most frequently used items such as the keyboard, mouse, phone, and pen & pencil container.  Less frequently used items such as reference books, desk organizers, and electric calculators should be situated within a secondary zone of 24 to 36 inches and slid closer when needed. 

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Enter the Neutral Zone posted in 2013

  • Get Up, Stand Up by The Wailers from the album Burnin’ released in 1973: Prolonged sitting leads to static muscle activity with reduced blood flow to the affected body area. A micro-break every 20-30 minutes in a standing position with stretching can help to reinvigorate fatigued, contracted muscles.   Consider a desk mount sit/stand unit or height adjustable workstation for a more dynamic work routine.   Remember the best posture is the next posture!

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Micro Breaks = Macro Benefit posted in 2010

  • Walk On by U2 from the album All That You Can’t Leave Behind released in 2000: Rather than bending to the side with an awkward extended reach to grab the copy off the adjacent desktop printer, connect to a more remote printer and walk on over to retrieve the document.

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Walk On! posted in 2010

  • In the Lap of the Gods by Queen from the album Sheer Heart Attack released in 1974: Laptop use induces a constrained upper body posture with significant downward head tilt. For prolonged use, connect a mouse and keyboard (wireless or corded) and elevate the laptop on a stand or stack of paper reams to view the screen with a neutral head position.

            MEMIC Safety Net Blog: Laptop Ergonomics posted in 2012

For MEMIC policyholders with ergonomic dilemmas, all you need is…to click on this link to the Safety Director landing page to create a personal profile.  With a little help from MEMIC’s ergonomic resources, you’ll find solutions that make working a little better all the time.

 


Be sure the “calm after the storm” is safe!

KlattPosted by Randy Klatt, WCP®  

As we mark the five year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, the northeast now has an estimated 1,000,000 homes and businesses without power. The passing of the latest storm is a big relief for the northeast U.S., but now the cleanup begins and that can present some of the most hazardous conditions encountered during the entire storm. The excerpt below is taken from an earlier Safety Net post written by Peter Koch, MEMIC Safety Management Consultant entitled The Cleanup: Don't let Irene do more damage. Take this advice seriously as you attempt to clean up downed trees, restore services, and open businesses.

IStock-174922341

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene here in the Northeast, property cleanup is at the top of everyone's to-do list. Make sure to take the time to conduct a job hazard analysis for the cleanup tasks and determine if you have the internal resources and skills to complete the cleanup safely.

Storm cleanup is one of the most dangerous tasks that can be performed with a chainsaw, placing the operator and fellow workers in challenging and unpredictable environments. Unstable elements in the canopy (including widow makers and spring poles), not to mention uneven ground and exposed root systems are all real hazards for the chainsaw operator. Experience and highly developed skills are the last lines of defense for the chainsaw operator.

Mechanical logging reduces the exposure to many hazards that the manual logger has limited ability to control. If your chainsaw operators are occasional users with limited experience and training, or your internal resources are unable to meet the demands of extensive storm cleanup, sub-contracting with a reputable logging company or certified arborist will transfer the risk and protect your most valuable resource, your employees.

If some level of cleanup at your operation is to be done with a chainsaw, you should complete a job hazard analysis which will help your operators review hazards and controls. For a sample job hazard analysis form, go to the MEMIC Safety Director. The Safety Director also contains a three part webinar covering chainsaw operation. Additional chainsaw safety resources are available in the Safety Academy, or check out this OSHA fact sheet

As you drive on the roads this week keep an eye out for downed trees and power lines. Some secondary roads may be blocked for significant time as utility workers scramble to restore power to rural communities. Many traffic lights are inoperative, so caution is the word of the day. Stay in place if you’re able. If you must travel in areas that are heavily wooded and/or lightly trafficked take your time. Never touch any downed power lines, no matter how safe you think they are. Leave that work to the trained professionals.