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8 Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety in the Workplace

8 Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety in the WorkplaceThe simple act of living is often stressful. Even happy times--from putting on a party or getting ready to go out, to big events like getting married--can bring on bouts of stress and anxiety. While these feelings can be particularly overwhelming at work, keep in mind that you hold the key to managing stress and anxiety not only at work, but in all areas of your life. When you make self-care a priority, you take control of your life.When you look at managing stress and anxiety from the view of taking care of yourself, it shifts the emphasis back to you--where it should rightly be. You have the power to make good choices, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep, so that you feel well and healthy. It is tempting when stress hits to turn to alcohol, drugs, sugar, or junk food to help yourself cope, but this often makes the situation worse. Focusing on yourself and your own personal needs not only reduces stress, but can helpyou to keep chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, at bay. Here are several tips that employees can implement at and outside of the workplace to help practice self-care and reduce stress.Tip 1: Begin self-care at homeMake sure you get enough sleep. The actual amount differs from person to person, so pay attention to how much sleep you need to feel rested. Research suggests that it is a good idea to avoid screens (phones, tablets, and laptops), difficult or emotional reading, and vigorous exercise before bed, but everyone is different and if you need the TV to fall asleep, that's fine as long as it isn't a disruption. If you are having serious sleep problems, consult a professional.Before you leave for work, give yourself time to prepare nutritional and balanced snacks and a healthy lunch. Worrying about what to eat can cause stress and anxiety. You are less likely to hit the vending machines or fast food places if you come to work prepared.Tip 2: While at work, be mindful of your physical environmentTake some time to figure out what you need in order to create a space that is conducive to a nice working environment. If your company allows it, personalize your work area with items that are meaningful to you, such as favorite artwork, photos, or plants. Arrange furniture in a way that makes you comfortable and allows for easy access to files or reference materials that you use frequently. Place items that you need to do your job, such as pens, note pads or staplers, within easy reach. This cuts down on those little frustrations and annoyances that can build up into stress over time. Some companies don't allow you to rearrange furniture or decorate your work space. If this is the case, at least keep ergonomics in mind. Maintaining the correct physical alignment throughout the day--head over shoulders, waist, and hips—will reduce stress on your back. Adjust your chair for good lumbar support and add small pillows if you need them. Paying attention to how your body feels in the work environment can go a long way to helping reduce stress and anxiety.Tip 3: Take breaks Even with perfect posture, sitting for too long a time isn't good. Get up and walk around or stretch every half hour or so to keep the blood moving. Even if you exercise regularly, prolonged sitting is not good for the heart, so build activity into your work day. Get up and make copies, refill office supplies, or visit the water cooler. Rather than emailing a co-worker, get up and walk over to personally interact. Movement is important for reducing stress and anxiety, but so is stillness. Don't underestimate the power of closing your eyes and breathing. Deep breathing increases the oxygen in the blood, improves mental clarity, relaxes muscles, and lowers blood pressure. Slowly inhale on a count of four, hold for a count of eight, and exhale for a count of four. A few minutes of deep breathing will clear the mind and help you refocus your energy.Tip 4: Lighten up on caffeineA trip to the coffee pot can be a good way to take a break from sitting at the computer, but consuming too much caffeine comes with its own issues. While research suggests some therapeutic effect from moderate coffee intake, caffeine is a stimulant and can be addictive. Excessive consumption is also linked to many chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and headaches. Moderation is the key here. If you are experiencing the jitters, try cutting down on the number of cups you drink a day or changing to decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea. Adding sugar to your cup can affect your energy level and bring on that afternoon crash, so it is a good idea to limit sweeteners, too.Tip 5: Frame your work relationships in a positive lightWhatever steps you choose to take to manage workplace stress and anxiety, your attitude makes a big difference. A positive outlook on life and work can reduce stress across the board and you always have a choice to view a situation in a positive or negative light. Yet even with a positive attitude, conflicts will still arise. When this happens, don't respond immediately; take a few deep breaths and calm down. If you are feeling overwhelmed, changing your physical environment, such as taking a walk or going to the gym, can help. Once you have calmed down, process what happened and try to understand the other person’s perspective. See it through their eyes. Acknowledge your feelings as valid and see their feelings' validity, as well. Tip 6: Take time offNo matter how positive your outlook, stepping away from the job from time to time is important. Many people are reluctant to take time off and are afraid that it will make them appear less dedicated to their work, but people who take vacations come back relaxed and are more productive. Taking a break to do something you enjoy can give you new perspective and energy. A break doesn't have to be a trip to the Bahamas to be effective. Taking short breaks during the work day helps you come back more refreshed and awake. Go outside and walk to a restaurant instead of eating lunch at your desk. Volunteer to make a delivery to a branch office, or take a bit of personal time and run errands. Taking a few minutes away from work can also help you fight off illnesses that can lead to work backups and more stress.Tip 7: Take part in company sponsored wellness eventsExercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, and many companies offer programs and incentives to help you develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Check with human resources and see if your employer has company-wide fitness, exercise, or weight-loss challenges. There may be a meditation room or yoga classes at lunch time or after work. If your company doesn't offer these programs, consider starting some yourself. They are very popular right now, and some employers offer rewards for this kind of initiative, such as discounts on insurance premiums or increases in coverage.Tip 8: Be creativeWhat you do in your free time can have an important effect on the amount of stress in your life. Hobbies and classes can help you relax during your down time and make you more effective at work. Pick up hobbies that inspire you, such as drawing and painting, photography, ceramics, or music. Classes involving movement like dance, yoga, meditation, or tai chi contribute to better mental and physical health by strengthening mind, body, and spirit. When you feel relaxed and balanced, it helps reduce overall stress both at home and in the workplace. It’s impossible to avoid stress completely, but by listening to your body's needs you can create a more positive working environment. By paying attention to diet and exercise, taking breaks, and including creative outlets, you can keep stress and anxiety from taking over your workplace.Gregory Lane, DACM, LAc, is the Director of Clinical Services at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.Posted on Sep 12, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Six Personalities Walked Into a Risk Assessment . . . Optimizing Evaluations by Addressing Personality Types

Six Personalities Walked Into a Risk Assessment . . . Optimizing Evaluations by Addressing Personality TypesSome believe that they can be one person at work and another person outside of work. In fact, our personalities are key parts of our work life that when properly addressed can actually lead to process optimization, especially during risk assessments. A risk assessor who is able to identify different personality types and appropriately adjust the process for the various personality types can actually achieve more comprehensive and correct assessments. Facilitators need to identify and adjust to the different personalities in the room to ensure a successful facilitation. Over the years, we've encountered a variety of personality types from introverts to extroverts and everything in between, but here are a few personalities we’ve encountered consistently and how we’ve learned to successfully incorporate them into the process.The Boss: Not necessarily the boss, but someone who likes to take charge. The danger is that others might be afraid to speak up if someone uses the facilitation as their bully pulpit. Facilitators must rein in the "boss" by explaining the ground rules of the facilitation and, if necessary, pulling the person aside during a break to explain what needs to be accomplished and how the team must work together to get there.The Analyst: Thoroughness is the prerequisite of any risk assessment. However, if there's one person who overanalyzes and second-guesses seemingly everything, it will slow down the facilitation and, potentially, disengage other participants. A good facilitator will note some of the "analyst's" concerns and get the meeting back on track. Those worries can then be addressed at a separate meeting with the "analyst."The Mistaken: Make no mistake about it: Mistakes happen. It's an unavoidable thing, but the "mistaken" won't have any of it and will insist that, if things are run properly, then there's no need to worry about mistakes. As a facilitator, it's important to get the "mistaken" to understand that mistakes are unavoidable and explain that documenting potential for mistakes is not an indictment on anyone's abilities, its just a way of doing a thorough facilitation to mitigate risk.The Gladiators: Some co-workers just can't get along, whether it's in a meeting, working on a project, or participating in a risk facilitation. Any infighting can slow down the process and shift the rest of the team's focus away from the task at hand. A good facilitator will be able to control the meeting and firmly yet politely let the "gladiators" know that their interactions are counterproductive and putting the company at risk of missing potential risks.The Techie: We love our gadgets. From smartphones to tablets to any number of electronic gizmos, today's technology follows us wherever we go. The problem is some "techies" can't focus on the risk assessment because they're too busy checking emails, texting, web surfing, or even playing games. Internet access is important during a facilitation, but if attention is diverted to devices for other reasons, then it's best to restrict access or take the facilitation off site and explain that electronics should be used for facilitation purposes only except during scheduled breaks.The Timid: Some people are shy; it's just their personality, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, if someone is too afraid to speak up during a risk assessment, it could cause a major risk to go undocumented. Every member of the facilitation team is there for a reason—to share their input so that risks get addressed. A strong facilitator will be able to allay the "timid" participant's concerns and encourage the person to participate. Knowing that personality and predictability go hand in hand, a savvy risk facilitator will be able to guide your company through a risk assessment successfully, regardless of who's in the room with them.As Sphera’s founding president and CEO, Paul Marushka is responsible for providing overall strategic leadership for the company in developing, directing and implementing go-to-market, service, product and operational plans. He has grown businesses by bringing innovative solutions to market in leveraging software, analytics and technology services. Prior to joining Sphera, he served as president of Marsh ClearSight, a business unit of Marsh & McLennan and a leading provider of software, services, and analytics for enterprise risk management, safety and compliance management and claims administration. He also has held executive positions at software and data companies such as Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) and CCC Information Services.During his career, Marushka has developed and launched a variety of software and analytics products recognized by the Gartner Group for their impact on the industry. He has authored numerous articles on the use of analytics and technology in decision-making and has spoken in a variety of forums including the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Gartner Technology Summit and the Risk and Insurance Management Society. He has a J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law and an MBA and AB from the University of Chicago.Posted on Sep 07, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

The Need for Speed

The Need for SpeedIn this hurry-up world, life moves quickly. We find ourselves rushing to complete nearly every task. One dictionary definition of rushing is "to act swiftly with too little reflection." Another definition I've seen is "moving (mentally and/or physically) at a pace where you are not able to maintain control of hazard awareness – too fast for prevailing conditions." Moving at all due speed is commendable, but rushing can cause problems when we are not in full control of our actions.Those who seem to be in the greatest hurry are drivers on the highway. Out of curiosity, I decided to count the number of cars that passed me as I drove at the speed limit on a number of highways in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I compiled data over a total of 361 miles, during trips of varying lengths. I counted 734 cars driving over the speed limit that passed me. It seems that many drivers don't realize that excessive speed is one of the top two causes of motor vehicle accidents, which claim more than 30,000 lives and injure more than 2 million each year.What can cause you to be rushed at work?Production deadlines in the production cycle when all of the delays that occur early in the process place undue pressure on the workers at the end of the cycleUnreasonable time constraintsTrying to do too many things at onceTrying to get the job done as quickly as possibleThere are plenty of times when you can also feel rushed off the job. You know the feeling!There are times when speed is highly desirable, as in competitive sports such as:Running trackA swim meetA tennis serve (first one, anyway)A pitcher's fastballDrag racingThere are, however, many more instances when competitors must balance speed with pace and efficiency, in order to maintain equipment, avoid accidents, and to not run out of steam in the long run, such as:Tour de FranceRunning a marathonPitching a complete baseball gameThe Daytona 500A tennis second serveConsequences of rushing are not often positive, including:Injuries, such as sprains/strains; slips, trips, and falls; and running into objectsErrors and mistakesDropped itemsLoss of focusFrustrationConfusionMissing something importantLooking for shortcutsSkipped stepsRushing reduces your margin for error. To stay in control, to work effectively, and to avoid accidents or ergonomic injuries, we need to be able to pace ourselves.What, then, is an optimum pace, at which a task can be completed safely? It varies with the task, ranging from the routine to emergency situations. Is faster safe? More productive? There needs to be a among between productivity, safety, and minimization of errors. Not that it seems to matter today, but the optimum fuel economy (in miles per gallon) on an automobile is attained somewhere around 55 miles per hour.Who sets speed limits when it comes to human activities?On a production line time study, professionals take into account variability in talents, operator comfort zones, and performance that improves with experience and repetition (time needs to be allowed in order to develop prowess with a job, along with recovery time for strenuous jobs) to optimize production rates. (I once toured a gun manufacturing plant. Watching a handgun being assembled, I asked the operator how long it took to become adept at assembling a gun. I was told that, as a trainee, it took a week to assemble a gun. As an experienced assembler, the task took a few hours.)Equipment manufacturers who specify how fast tools and machinery can operate safely without failure.Supervisors who want to get the work out at all costs.YOU need to recognize when you are losing control by moving too quickly.When rushed, can you be effective? Maybe. Will you make mistakes? Probably, due to increased stress and tension.Determining optimum speed is a balance between productivity and risk. Working up to speed while learning about and meeting challenges of the job as you becomes more experienced with an activity helps you to maximize your productivity. Trying to move beyond that point can only lead to errors, which can lead to accidents, injuries, or defective product.Keeping all these facts in mind, each activity must be evaluated based on balancing the requirements of the task and the capabilities of the individual performing the job. Keeping within reasonable and sustainable limits can maintain a working balance between productivity and safety.Joseph Werbicki is a Safety Consultant, Trainer, Author, and Lecturer with more than 25 years of teaching experience. He has served as chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Safety Council and as president of the Safety Association of Rhode Island. He is the author and presenter of a comprehensive safety training course, "Safety: Core to Edge." His articles have been published in Occupational Health & Safety, EHS Today, American Jewelry Manufacturer, Products Finishing, Metal Finishing, the Journal of the American Electroplaters' Society, and newsletters of the Boston, Springfield (MA), and Worcester (MA) ASSE chapters. Contact him at [email protected] on Sep 06, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Growing Mobile Workforce Creates New Safety Challenges for Businesses

Growing Mobile Workforce Creates New Safety Challenges for BusinessesThe traditional business day is changing across many industries in the United States. People are no longer putting on suits, ties, jackets, and slacks to report into an office for an eight-hour workday at a desk. According to IDC Research, 72 percent of the U.S. workforce is expected to be made up of mobile workers by 2020. When employees are not operating in an office or controlled environment, it makes it more difficult for businesses to manage the risks those workers invariably encounter. Further, it becomes increasingly more difficult to know when a worker needs emergency assistance. This shift away from traditional workplace settings creates a need for companies to develop new safety protocols and invest in different technologies that secure the safety of mobile workers.While proper training in safety procedures remains crucial, providing mobile workers with the right tools to request and receive help in an emergency situation becomes more important and critical in avoiding negative outcomes. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 95 percent of Americans now own a cell phone of some type, and more than one-third own a smartphone. While these devices provide many conveniences, in emergency situations they remain highly limited, especially in environments that have poor reception or that limit a user's ability to reach and operate the device.For example, a cell phone is not able to detect whether someone slipped and fell, caught a limb in a piece of machinery, or experienced one of the thousands of other emergencies that can occur on the job. With a cell phone, the user is still required to be conscious and within range of the phone to be able to make a call for help. In the case of mobile workers and lone workers, cell phones are not the most reliable or function-rich options for tracking and monitoring employee safety and health. Additionally, in the case where a lone worker is confronted by a hostile third party, the cell phone is the first item often taken so as to prevent a call for help.In emergency situations, there is a better solution than traditional cell phones or smartphones. These situations are good candidates for easily worn devices (i.e., wearables or wearable devices) that automatically report changes that could indicate an emergency, or a device that a worker could easily utilize to express the need for help without having to speak or make much of a movement.Already there are products such as smart hard hats, smart safety vests, smart eyewear, and even stick-on patches that can monitor everything from an employee's location to body temperature and positioning. These devices eliminate the need for a worker proactively to report an emergency but, like cell phones, they have their limitations, as well. For example, while the devices are able to transmit certain information about a situation to a manager or human resources department, they do not create a direct line of communication between the worker and responder. If verbal communication is possible in the emergency situation, the worker would still need to place a call on a phone.A better option would be Mobile Personal Emergency Response System (mPERS) devices similar to those used by seniors for years -- essentially, a help button that can be pressed after a fall to alert emergency responders that assistance is needed. These types of technologies have become more beneficial because they no longer require a base station device to place calls, limiting their range of use.Like other wearables, mPERS devices are small and lightweight. They provide state-of-the-art location technologies and also offer built-in fall advisory capabilities. Wearables with this type of functionality are able to detect horizontal and vertical movement, but they take safety a step further than simply reporting a fall on the job via a text message or red flag in a software system. mPERS devices also can eliminate the need for the worker to initiate a call for help. Instead, they can trigger one automatically. And cloud-based technologies make it possible for Central Stations to immediately respond to the call for help.Another benefit of mPERS devices over cell phones is long battery life. Unlike phones that sometimes have to be charged multiple times a day, mPERS devices have fewer functions and do not need to be fully functional at all times. They can be left off or essentially in a hibernation mode until the SOS button on the device is pressed. Once this action occurs, location information can be sent to a central reporting destination and an emergency call can be placed. This enables mPERS devices to run on a single charge between two and 30 days, depending upon the configuration and use of the device.Whatever wearable device makes the most sense for a particular company, the most important factor is that business owners and managers take advantage of these new technologies that could save lives and improve the safety and health of their lone worker, mobile employees.Chris Holbert is the CEO of SecuraTrac®. Founded in 2008 and based in Hermosa Beach, Calif., SecuraTrac develops, markets, and sells a suite of mobile safety solutions focused on improving senior and employee health and safety through mobile, location-based technology and state-of-the-art, cloud-based platforms.Posted on Sep 06, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Six Steps to Prevent Lifting Injuries

Six Steps to Prevent Lifting InjuriesAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.9 million injuries in 2015, with 3.5 percent of these injuries being in the construction industry. Construction work in general takes a heavy toll on the body. When you perform the same heavy lifting for several hours every day, you are putting a lot of strain on your body.The injuries may occur as random accidents like ignoring basic safety rules, such as failure to wear sturdy work boots, or even wearing uncomfortable low-resistance safety equipment. Fortunately, there are various ways to avert these painful injuries. If you are an employer, you need to take the necessary steps to ensure your employees are safe from lifting related injuries.Let's at the six steps to prevent injuries inflicted by lifting objects in the workplace.1. Restructure the Work Environment and Work TasksThis is one of the most effective ways to minimize lifting hazards in a construction site and prevent injuries. Namely, you need to take a keen look at lifting tasks and redesign them in a way that they are safer. For instance, you can redesign a task so your workers do a less-strenuous manual lifting. To achieve this, you need to implement some engineering controls, which include the following:Decreasing load size or weightAdjusting the work environment to ensure your employees can keep loads close to their body, between shoulder and knee height, without the need to twistInstalling load handling equipment and mechanical lifting aids; these may include hand trucks, conveyors, hoists, slides, and adjustable lift tables2. Implement Administrative and Work Practice ControlsWhen it comes to implementing administrative and work practice controls, you need to carefully select and train your employees, so they understand how to undertake lifting tasks in a safe manner.Let's look at some of the most significant elements of administrative and work practice controls:Conducting medical evaluation of a worker's lifting capabilitiesSetting size, weight, as well as frequency limits on manual lifting jobsOffering physical conditioning for workersConsidering the need to use multiple-person teams in the absence of mechanical lift aidsTraining workers to apply appropriate lifting techniques3. Path to Safe LiftingBefore you start lifting, evaluate the load in front of you. Something may be small, but that doesn't mean it is light. Push on the load lightly with your feet or hands; you can tell how heavy it is by how easy it moves.Make sure the load's weight is balanced as unbalanced loads may become loose when you're lifting, causing accidents. Assess you surrounding before lifting to ensure there is a clear path for you to carry your load. It's also imperative that you know where you're going to put your load down.It is advisable to lift a load using the straps or handles if they exist. Be sure to have an easy and tight grip before picking the load up. Use your legs, arms, and core body to lift; avoid using your back.Moreover, you should bend your knees to pick up a load, and not from your waist. Uphold good posture and avoid arching your back. Otherwise, you may suffer a back injury as a result of using the wrong muscles. Always use a ladder when lifting a load overhead to avoid a back injury.4. Stretch Your Muscles Before LiftingYou should do some simple stretches before you start lifting. This will warm up your muscles and enhance your ease of movements. Once you're done lifting, stretch some more to cool down and minimize potential stiffness. It's also advisable to stretch occasionally during the day.OSHA provides a guide for stretching and flexing as a preventive way to get workers ready for their daily lifting routines.5. Make Sure the Load Height is Within Your Safe Lifting ZoneWhere's the safe lifting zone? It is between your shoulders and knees. So if the load is below your knee level, you should bend your knees and lift it with the legs. If it is above your shoulders, consider using a ladder or a stool. If the load is too heavy, it is advisable to get help.6. Lifting Don'tsWhen lifting, you should avoid the following practices to prevent injuries:Lifting from the groundTwisting and liftingLifting a load across obstaclesLifting a heavy load with one handLifting while stretching to reach the loadLifting from an uncomfortable postureHolding your breath while liftingStruggling to recover a dropped loadFinal ThoughtsInjuries related to lifting continue to be a major occupational health and safety issue. There are various reasons why these injuries occur. Some of them are just random accidents, while others are a result of simple safety rules not being observed or implemented. Luckily, there are simple measures one can take to prevent these lifting-related injuries from happening. This article takes you through the most important steps. Follow them diligently, and you'll significantly reduce such injuries at your workplace.Amanda Wilks is a writer, researcher, and contributor to numerous prestigious online publications – see her Twitter feed for more details – who is interested not only in constructions and technological developments but also in the safe and humane way this progress occurs.Posted on Aug 31, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Summer or Winter, Be Alert Near Water!

Summer or Winter, Be Alert Near Water!A few years ago, my daughter brought our two grandchildren, Owen, 3 and Lauren, 5 to swim at our house. Lauren had taken lessons and could swim the length of the pool without pushing off the side. Owen is learning and currently loves our spa, about 50 feet from the pool near our bedroom door. He does great in the spa and can easily stand up anywhere. The danger is when he is in the spa and Lauren in the pool, our attention is divided.In addition to being a professional safety speaker, I have been a trained lifeguard -- and there is only one safe approach. There must be someone watching each of the children. The illusion is you would hear something wrong and quickly run to their aid. At the very first National Safety Council Annual Congress I attended, I learned from a retired Coast Guard instructor that when people drown, they do so quietly.Think about it! What is someone who is drowning desperately trying to do? Get air! They are breathing in. Noise happens when you expel air and yell. Because they are out of breath, they often can't make noise. One of the original Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson, who was a surfer and great swimmer, drowned at the side of a boat, a few feet from other people at a party. No one saw him go under or heard him.I witnessed this at a Boy Scout camp with our troop. I was scoutmaster and serving as the lookout at a troop swim at a public lake. We had a buddy board with about 16 scouts in the water. The shore swimming area had about 150 people in or near the water. As I was watching our scouts, I noticed a father with a young daughter by his side. He was busy talking to a friend when the little girl slipped on the muddy bottom and went underwater. I stood up and noted her position. Of all the people at the beach, two people had seen her disappear. I headed to her location as did the other guy who saw her. We arrived about 20 seconds after she went under water. The other guy reached down into the water and pulled the little girl out. It was then the father's attention was attained. The father was upset at this guy for grabbing his daughter. I stepped in and explained she had been underwater for at least 20 seconds and this guy just saved her life. We were thanked and after a quick visual count of my scouts, I went back to my post.Remind your employees the only safe way for children to be in water is to have someone actually watching them. The time of year doesn't matter, as hot tubs and spas are in use year round.To see a video of how silently someone slips below the water unnoticed, go to: week after publishing the above article, I received a very emotional email in response. The author has given me permission to share it with you."Thanks for this very timely message, although a little late in my case. Unfortunately, I can endorse your topic from a very recent, painful experience. Less than 2 weeks ago, my almost 3 year-old grandson drowned at a family party in his parents' backyard pool. I was there but in the house at the time. My wife, with several adults, were sitting poolside watching the children (approximately 4 in the hot tub and another 4 in the pool). She watched our grandson jump into the hot tub and then climb back out, then turned to watch his older brother swim across the pool. She actually timed him at 1 minute, 15 seconds for the round-trip. When she looked back up to the hot tub and didn’t see our grandson, she asked if anyone had seen him and someone responded they thought he may have gone into the house. After confirming he wasn’t in the house, he was found floating face down in the hot tub. Three other children in the hot tub were unaware of his condition. It is estimated that less than 3-4 minutes elapsed between the time he was seen jumping into and climbing back out of the hot tub and when he was found unconscious. Although a nurse, a Navy rescue swimmer/paramedic and two other trained adults immediately administered CPR, it was to no avail. His heart was revived upon arriving at the hospital and he did some breathing assisted by a ventilator, but never regained consciousness and was finally taken off life support and allowed to pass quietly wrapped in the arms of his parents 3 days later."As you said, attention was divided between children, and the hot tub was raised above the level of the pool, so the adults sitting at pool level could not see the water surface of the hot tub. Even the other children in the hot tub with our grandson did not realize he was in trouble. It cannot be emphasized enough - adults must be actively watching from a vantage point where they can see the surface of the water, and cannot afford to be distracted by casual conversation or other things going on around them. Drowning happens quickly and silently. This message needs to get out to every adult. I have become a spokesman to spare others my family's grief."John Drebinger Jr., international safety speaker and best-selling author, has been speaking for 27 years and is known for injecting humor and passion to engage audiences to help people work safely. Drebinger developed the technique and book, Would You Watch Out For My Safety?®, which teaches people a comfortable way they can point out safety to others. His first book, Mastering Safety Communication, has communication tools and techniques to enhance safety programs and is recognized by members of the safety industry as an outstanding training resource. Its popularity has resulted in selling more than 80,000 copies.John Drebinger Jr., [email protected],, 209-745-9419, blog address: on Aug 25, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Staying Safe When Working at Height: The Downfalls

Staying Safe When Working at Height: The DownfallsFalls from height have become one of the UK's biggest killers in workplace accidents, making up a quarter of all on-the-job deaths. Not only that, they account for more than 37,000 cases of non-fatal injuries, as well as being responsible for the biggest number of estimated working days lost when compared to any other accident.When you look at these statistics, it's not difficult to see that there is major room for improvement when it comes to the safety of height workers. Yet it isn't only construction workers who are a risk from falls; most industries involve some sort of working at height, whether it's in agriculture, manufacturing, or emergency services. So how can we stay safe while working at height?Carry Out Risk AssessmentsBy law, employers and self-employed contractors are responsible for assessing the proposed risks before work is carried out. A plan needs to be created in order for the work to be carried out safely and reliably by all involved parties.Implement measures in accordance to the result of the risk assessment, whether it includes safety nets, scaffold platforms, toeboards, or double guardrails. The objective is to ensure all work at height is properly planned, supervised and conducted safely.Check Equipment Before UseSurface and access equipment should be stable and secure, and able to comfortably support the worker’s weight plus that of any equipment. Whether it’s a combination ladder or mechanical access platform, it needs to be inspected for faults and damage before use in order to establish its safety.Regardless of whether it's raised 6 feet or 60 feet off the ground, defective equipment will result in serious injury, so regular assessments should be made a priority.Complete Health and Safety TrainingWorkers who are involved with regular at-height activities should undertake a working at height training course. The courses are specifically designed for a range of industries and ensure a competent level of ability to remain safe at height (in compliance with the Working at Height Regulations 2005). These can include, but are not limited to, ladder rescue, safety harness inspection, wind turbine training, and tower access.Consider Environmental Factors and Weather ConditionsSurfaces become slippery when wet, and even more so in icy conditions. Poor surface conditions are not always obvious, so be sure to evaluate the platform or walkway before use, especially for outdoor apparatus.Avoid working in bad weather conditions, including on windy days. A gust of wind can easily cause someone to lose his or her balance. This is also the case for nighttime working or poorly lit locations, where workers are at higher risk of missteps and trips. Adequate measures should be introduced to combat these conditions, with an option to completely avoid or delay the work until conditions are more suitable.Beware of Fragile SurfacesFragile surfaces are the leading cause of falls from height. Falls through weak roofs, roof lights, non-reinforced fiber cement sheets, corroded metal, glass, rotted chipboard, or unsecured slates/tiles are all common on construction sites, factories, warehouses, and farm buildings. If the fragile surface cannot be avoided, control the situation with a combination of fall restraints, safety nets, staging and guard rails, as well as fixing clear warning notices to the area. All workers, clients, designers, and contractors should be aware of fragile surfaces and treat the risk as a priority hazard.Get Support from Your ColleagueHaving a reliable colleague or team of people to support you while you carry out potentially hazardous work is an easy yet valuable method to reduce accidents. This may be an obvious one, but a lot of people think they're capable of handling all equipment and apparatus on their own.Extra support for ladders, holding tools, or sometimes just another set of eyes can all be the difference between a job done safely and a serious accident. Nevertheless, this should not be used as a main safety procedure, but as an added extra -- because human error and limited capability can be a prominent issue.Beth Meakin is a digital marketer writing on behalf of MRS Training & Rescue, trusted specialists in providing health, safety, and rescue training.Posted on Aug 23, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Integrated EHSQ: What it is and Why it Matters

Integrated EHSQ: What it is and Why it MattersSpace exploration, pharmaceuticals, coal mining, renewable energy, health insurance, government initiatives-- they all have something in common. Today, every industry faces rising customer expectations, evolving competition and changing compliance requirements. Beyond risk mitigation and compliance, effective Environment, Health, Safety, and Quality (EHSQ) programs give organizations a competitive advantage. Harnessing data to gain insight and proactively improve operations can be the difference between market leadership and market obscurity.Regulatory compliance, while important, is not the only factor driving a focus on strategic EHSQ– it's good for business and it's good for society.Whether it's reducing emissions, protecting the surrounding community, or ensuring your workers' overall well-being, EHSQ can have a huge impact on your business. Companies that generate the best outcomes for their stakeholders also strive for excellence in these areas.Research shows that companies with exemplary safety, health, and environmental programs outperformed the S&P 500 by 3-5 percent (Fabius R, Thayer R, Dixon BA, et al. 2013). These companies aren't driven by regulations and as laws get more lax, they don't get sloppy. Loose practices cost lots of money (upwards of billions of dollars), risk brand reputation, and decrease productivity.Those who lag behind will struggle to survive in a global economy. The future of EHSQ and the success of your EHSQ program rests in three main areas: worker well-being, operational excellence, and compliance.There is an emphasis on EHSQ management in organizations and industries of all sizes. EHSQ programs have become more comprehensive, and companies are investing more in programs, staffing, and software solutions.The software that supports these programs should streamline management throughout the process and serve as an internal database, ready to pull and add information at the drop of a hat. It must be equipped with speedy, intuitive controls and include excellent customer support and user interface.Value cannot be derived from a software management solution if it does not go into production in a reasonable and predictable amount of time, if users do not adopt the system, or if it fails to generate a tangible ROI. This can only be enabled through successful delivery on requirements, world-class ongoing support, and "dial tone"-grade operations. There will be a "culling of the EHSQ herd" based on this evolution.There are several ways that organizations are working to increase their focus on EHSQ programs using innovative software:Integrated EHSQCompanies are standardizing processes across geographies, disciplines, supply chains, and more. They are also moving from a siloed strategy - where EHSQ teams are working separately - to an integrated approach where these departments openly communicate and work together to improve outcomes. From car manufacturers to fossil fuel harvesters to pharmaceutical researchers, organizations are beginning to understand the importance of an EHSQ program that includes transparent access to all areas of the company.Connected EHSQToday’s businesses demand EHSQ software platforms that are available on any device for every user. Organizations are not willing to tolerate limitations on functionality or workflows, nor are they willing to use a solution that requires the download of a native app or is only available on certain devices. Having a connected solution allows EHSQ professionals to better monitor employees with greater consistency and clarity.UCOR is a partnership of AECOM and CH2M HILL, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to safely and efficiently clean up areas within the Oak Ridge Reservation that were affiliated with the Manhattan Project during World War II. UCOR's highly skilled workforce operates in an extremely challenging environment. Due to the presence of aging structures, facilities and infrastructures that were left behind by the Manhattan Project during World War II, UCOR employees are faced with potential radiological, chemical, biological and other industrial hazards.In this high-stakes environment, it's vital that the company has an integrated EHS system structured in a way that's easy to coordinate and add data across departments. With a connected EHS program, UCOR's medical professionals have a detailed picture of each employee's health, including SEG (Similar Exposure Group) listing, laboratory blood testing, vital signs, historical diagnoses and medication list.With the ability to connect with other departments through EHS software, UCOR's safety team is able to manage and eliminate any hazards, so that its employees leave the work site each day in the same condition in which they arrived. This has helped UCOR outperform the Bureau of Labor Statistics industry benchmarks by nearly 70 percent for more than three years.Predictive EHSQConnected, integrated EHSQ programs also gives users instant access to a centralized data repository and predictive analytics.Westmoreland Coal Company is the sixth-largest coal producer in North America. The company had an immense amount of data dispersed among its 17 operational facilities across the central portion of the United States and Canada, but no way to turn that data into actionable insight until it implemented a safety management software suite. By doing so, it was able to see the data in one clear place, make changes to programs based on success rates, and predict and prevent incidents through data analysis."If we had an employee who slipped and fell from a dozer in Ohio and a similar incident in another location, it could be several weeks before we realized that the same type of incident was occurring," said Jim Furlong, Westmoreland's VP of Global Safety. "Now, we can look at trend data quickly, conduct a root cause analysis, and put fixes in place to resolve issues. We can hold people more accountable."Many EHSQ management solutions are already working on machine learning algorithms that will make this even easier and more accurate.Within five years, the types of machine learning algorithms that we experience in everyday life (Netflix suggestions, Google's predictive search, etc.) will have a decided impact on EHSQ. This will enable companies to benchmark themselves against peer group comparators, see correlations in their data that they may have not been aware of, and receive predictive and prescriptive insights to improve their EHSQ programs.The amount of helpful data pulled in from innovative tools like individual wearable devices will also enable exciting developments in predictive analytics, as companies are able to discover more about their employees' health and well-being.Demographic EHSQChanging demographics and fast technological production changes will continue resulting in the introduction of new and changing EHSQ hazards. Aging workforces in developed countries will require new health and safety approaches. Millennial workers expect and demand a different relationship with their employers from the structure of their contracts through to the use of technology in the workplace. These challenges will drive a greater need for employee engagement in EHSQ programs, including more use of innovative technologies such as wearable sensors and health monitors.Secure EHSQThe next five years will see the threat to data security grow. Online attackers will increasingly target EHSQ and other types of valuable data, especially as security in the financial and personal data space grows. As more data is stored and shared, more sophisticated requirements for data security and data privacy will arise.Organizations such sa NASA, UCOR, and OHS need to have EHSQ programs that ensure that safety of their data, while keeping the convenience of an integrated and well-connected system.The market will continue towards an integrated approach when it comes to EHSQ management, and software providers must be ready.During the next five years, we see a continuing increase in demand for integrated EHSQ systems and processes and an increasing demand for predictive capabilities alongside them. This integration takes on multiple dimensions for multinational organizations seeking to achieve standardization of EHS and EHSQ practices. It includes integration of functional disciplines, supply chains, and other company aspects that work with environmental, health, and safety standards to provide efficient, safe, and environmentally conscious programs.If you don't want your company to get left behind, focus on improving safety standards and protecting employees while cutting down on safety-related expenses. Find an integrated EHSQ solution that works for you and implement it now.Pam Bobbit is Director Product Marketing and Channels at Cority.Posted on Aug 17, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Industry Group Develops VR Crane Game

Industry Group Develops VR Crane GameThe Overhead Alliance (OA) plans to introduce a virtual reality game in September to engage students who want to learn about the technologies OA's member companies represent. OA is a marketing vehicle for trade association MHI's overhead lifting product groups, promoting the collective interests of the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA), Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI), and Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA).Using various media to reach target audiences, the alliance has developed a VR crane game to be a fun, educational window into what it's like to operate an overhead crane. The alliance promises it uses cutting-edge technology that "brings you inside a realistic manufacturing shop floor" and gives a user a 360-degree perspective inside the headset."With this game, we hope to effectively educate users on overhead lifting. The advanced technology that the programmers used to create this life-like experience is incredible. Not only does the virtual reality seem extremely realistic, but the game helps users to learn about overhead lifting while having fun at the same time! It gives everyone the chance to take a step into a virtual crane world," explained Karen Norheim, executive vice president at American Crane and Equipment Corporation, a CMAA member company.The game should take players 10 to 20 minutes to complete; they can use different paths to move boxes inside a bay. "The concept creates a purpose to participation and will make it more challenging for the users. We hope that they will get a better understanding of what our equipment is and how it works. Technology has created an opportunity for us to create an environment close to what they would experience at a facility using overhead cranes and hoists. It's a great way to allow them to see into our world—and hopefully they want to become part of it in real life," Norheim said.OA's goal is to have the game available in three different options: virtual reality using Oculus Rift; a PC using keyboard; and a PC using an X-box controller, and eventually to offer a version for the other major VR products available, such as HTC Vive, Lenova, and Microsoft. The primary audience for the new game is people who have never before been exposed to overhead lifting. The game is a combined effort of CMAA, HMI, and MMA member companies in conjunction with Vern Shurtz and John Berryman from the Stratus Technology Group. It will be available on in September and select gaming portals later this year.Posted on Aug 16, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)

Active Threats in the Workplace: What Are Some Keys to Success?

Active Threats in the Workplace: What Are Some Keys to Success?Any ordinary day can turn extraordinary. Just ask the growing number of victims who started a day that promised to be like every other; yet instead, they ended up smack in the middle of a violent incident. Active threat incidents can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time—in a store, an office building, in shopping malls, on campus, in open parking lots, in movie theaters and even on military bases. The time to think about what you would do in an emergency should not be as the events unravel before you, but rather well before the incident occurs.First responders (law enforcement, fire, EMTs) take, on average, 8 to 10 minutes to arrive on an active threat scene. Those 8 to 10 minutes are an eternity if you are in the pathway of an individual on a rampage. Those crucial first minutes of the attack may well determine who survives and who does not. Often, by the time the first responders arrive at the scene, the assailant will have already achieved his objective and committed suicide, or staged himself for the final gun battle with law enforcement. What this means is that the average citizen is now the new first responder; that our survivability from a violent attack will depend on the preparedness, confidence and capabilities of our coworkers, our employees, our neighbors and our friends. Security is not only personal, but it also makes common sense.  Violence in the workplace, including active shooter events, is no longer a rarity, nor confined to any particular type or place of business. A list of active shooter incidents that occurred between 2000 and mid-2016 was recently published by the FBI and illustrates the diversity of targets and, when known, motivations. Generally speaking, active threats are defined as incidents involving active shooters, terrorism and workplace violence.The Run–Hide–Fight platform, developed and promoted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provides basic guidance to the public for responding to shootings and other types of threats. This national campaign provides universal guidance but is not meant to be strictly linear in nature. The Run-Hide-Fight options may be limited by the circumstances of the active threat, but make no mistake—choices will need to be made. The best choice, always, is to get away from the attackers and signal for assistance; however, if that option is not practical, or could further endanger the lives of individuals by drawing attention to them or putting them directly in the line of fire, using any form of concealment is recommended. These hiding places should be identified in advance, be easy to reach and not encumbered by excess storage of personal property, for instance under a desk or in a locked closet. The last option when all avenues of escape have been limited and concealment is not possible is to engage an aggressor with any form of weapon that is available. Common, ordinary items in the workplace—to include a fire extinguisher, desk chair and/or desk items—can quickly be repurposed and used as a weapon, potentially impeding the movement of an aggressor and gaining the advantage of time and distance.Why Security Sense Makes Common SenseWhen individuals are prepared, they are also confident and capable of responding quickly and appropriately; if they have planned, practiced and, most importantly, accepted the fact that violence can occur where we work, where we learn, where we find recreation and where we worship, they will know how to respond. There are many common-sense safety practices already entrenched in our everyday lives that contribute to the overall safety in society—obeying traffic signals, wearing seat belts, using smoke detectors—yet securing our personal safety has somehow been relegated to someone else, usually first responders. Security should be embraced as not only a personal responsibility, but as a welcome obligation, as routine as buckling up or brushing your teeth. Security sense is common sense and should be a part of our everyday life. Here are a few common-sense tips to help you stay out of harm’s way. Be Aware of Surroundings. Developing a sense of awareness for what is going on around us is the first step to preventing or avoiding a violent incident. People often miss important early warning indicators that could identify a person on the pathway to violence because they are themselves distracted or just not paying attention to what is going on around them—unusual coworker behavior, an escalating conflict between employees and/or supervisors or a stressful potential layoff situation. Observing human behavior and recognizing an abnormal behavior when you see one can be the first warning sign that something may be about to happen. It’s not just paying attention to those gut instincts when something is off, but also acting on them.Find the Exits. Before a movie begins, suggesting that patrons locate the exits is standard procedure for theaters. This common-sense practice should hold true for the workplace as well. All personnel should be familiar with the closest exits, no matter where they are currently located in the building. For example, depending on which floor you are on when an incident occurs, a window might serve as an emergency exit. However, if workers cannot exit quickly and safely, they should immediately seek refuge in a room that they can secure from the inside.Secure and Harden the Location. Barricading, locking, and/or tying a door off are the first steps to "hardening" an area. Lights should be turned off and blinds should be closed. Cell phones, particularly alerting tones, should be silenced and illumination minimized to prevent unintentional signals to an aggressor that people are concealed nearby. Texts and email can still be sent to summon outside assistance. Use Everyday Items as Weapons. What can be used as a weapon in a worker's immediate proximity? Fire extinguishers, letter openers, scissors, umbrellas can all be repurposed and used as weapons. Raising a chair in defense can catch an assailant off-guard; and simple door wedges kept nearby every door can be inserted to prevent the attacker from entering an otherwise unlockable door. Have a plan. Recently, Dorian DeSantis, a senior instructor with Kiernan Group Holdings and former Washington Metropolitan Police Department SWAT team member, conducted a security exercise at a scientific facility. This full-scale exercise tested law enforcement's response, facility notification procedures, and employee response. As DeSantis walked into one room where five scientists wearing masks, gloves, and surgical gowns continued working on an experiment, he asked them what they would do if a shooter made it into their lab. The scientists calmly stated that they had a plan and were committed to do what they needed save their lives; one pointed to a bucket of acid and an array of surgical knives, which they were prepared to use on an attacker. The fact is that they had thought through what was available to them within their environment and were confident that they could use these items as personal defense if required. The Right Mindset as a Key to SuccessWithin most occupations, there are essentially blueprints for professional success. These blueprints identify technical skillsets from entry positions to executive level, provide metrics to assess career progress and develop training programs designed to facilitate employee forward momentum as well as augment material job experience. While qualitative in nature, there are also gauges of professional development for mature interpersonal skills, established leadership style, creative vision and a mindset predicated on building the success of the business. These same measures can be applied to preparation for active threat incidents.   A key to increasing workplace resiliency is having an integrated response plan that is practiced and tested regularly by the personnel throughout the organization. Complete familiarity with the plan and knowledge of alternate options when improvisation is required—an egress path is suddenly blocked or access to predetermined assembly location is directly in the pathway of the attacker—becomes essential to survival. These are all skill sets that can be learned and measured and improved upon through practice and evaluation.One such approach, the Preparedness Without Paranoia™ concept, is predicated on the fact that understanding the modern threat environment does not have to be an intimidating or overwhelming task. From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, the resiliency of any organization in a threatening situation depends on the extent to which its employees are prepared, confident and capable of reacting appropriately and effectively. In this way, Preparedness Without Paranoia™ seeks to foster and develop an educated and engaged workforce through teaching heightened situational awareness and increasing everyone’s security efficacy. More specifically, Preparedness Without Paranoia™ emphasizes the importance of understanding today’s threat environment, recognizing telltale signs of an evolving threat and empowering people to take effective action. Kathleen L. Kiernan, Ed.D. is the CEO and Founder of Kiernan Group Holdings, Inc. (KGH, Alexandria, Va.). She oversees KGH's work as an intelligence, law-enforcement and national security consulting, training and problem-solving firm that provides tailored solutions to today’s most complex challenges. She has innovated the concept of Preparedness Without Paranoia™, which is predicated on the fact that understanding the modern threat environment does not have to be an intimidating or overwhelming task. She is a 29-year veteran of federal law enforcement and previously served as the Assistant Director for the Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), where she was responsible for the design and implementation of an intelligence-led organizational strategy to mine and disseminate data related to explosives, firearms and illegal tobacco diversion, the traditional and non-traditional tools of terrorism. She completed her doctorate in Education at Northern Illinois University and her Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence at the Joint Military Intelligence College in Washington, D.C.Posted on Aug 10, 2017Let's block ads! (Why?)