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Stay Safe While Working in Hot Conditions Indoors

Stay Safe While Working in Hot Conditions Indoors

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Tips: Working in Hot Conditions Indoors
Ergonomics Tips: Working in Hot Conditions While Indoors

“In 2010, 4,190 workers suffered from heat illness and 40 died from heat stroke and other related causes on the job,” Bureau of Labor Statistics

Each year, thousands of workers experience serious illnesses and injury due to hot working conditions. One may think only outdoor workers should be cautious of the heat, but many indoor workers are exposed to heat on the job too.

It is important that workers who are required to work in hot environments avoid overheating and other heat related injuries.

Who is at risk?

The obvious occupations that involve hot work environments would be a steel worker in a steel foundry or workers in a boiler room, but there are many jobs that involve high heat environments. For example, bakeries and commercial kitchens require work in high heat. Additionally, distribution warehouses and material handling industrial plants may involve high heat as well.

Other high heat environments include: iron foundries, nonferrous foundries, brick-firing and ceramic plants, glass products facilities, rubber products factories, electrical utilities (particularly boiler rooms), confectioneries, commercial kitchens, laundries, food canneries, chemical plants, steam tunnels, and hazardous waste sites.

How do you know when you’re overheating on the job?

Working in hot conditions could lead to heat exhaustion, heat stress, heat cramps, and more. It is important to recognize the warning signs of heat related injury.

Here are a few symptoms to watch for according to the CDC: high body temperature, confusion, loss of coordination, hot/dry skin or profuse sweating, throbbing headaches, rapid heartbeat, heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shallow breathing.

A few ergonomics tips to prevent heat related injury

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment. Whenever possible, it is recommended that an ergonomics expert be consulted to evaluate a worksite that is at high risk for heat related injury.

Along with proper air conditioning and air ventilation, employers should provide workers with break rooms that contain cool water and a place to rest. Workers should take turns taking water breaks, providing relief workers or extra workers will make this a more practical practice and will reduce the physical demands of being understaffed.

Foundrymag recommends “wearing light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton and avoiding non-breathing synthetic clothing.”

Additionally, newer workers should be eased in to working in hot environments. New employees should be exposed to hot work environments in stages, slowly becoming acclimated to the hot conditions over time.

In conclusion

Knowing the warning signs, along with plenty of rest and plenty of water is truly the key to avoiding heat related injury. For more depth and detail, contact one of our ergonomics experts for a consultation.

As always, be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Renton, Kent, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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Being a Boss vs Being Bossy

Being a Boss vs Being Bossy

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)


Management Tips: Being a Boss vs Being Bossy
“50% of 7,200 adults surveyed left a job to get away from their manager” Gallup Poll 2015

Whether you’re a new manager or seasoned supervisor, it is important to know the difference between being the boss and just being plain bossy. The workplace can be a stressful place, there is no reason to contribute to your own stress or the stress of others on the job.

In fact, it will benefit your workplace productivity if you treat your staff right versus bossing them around just because you can.

Know the consequences of being a bad boss

The stats are in, “50% of 7,200 adults surveyed left a job to get away from their manager” according to Gallup. Poor leadership can create a poor working environment, which leads to employees fleeing the job. As a supervisor, admin, or owner, it is important you create a positive work environment for your subordinates.

According to 5Dynamics, “happy employees have been shown to be up to 20 percent more effective in the workplace than unhappy employees. The NY Times has indicated that both employees and managers are spending more and more time working in collaborative teams than working individually, showing the value of creating strong, positive team interactions.”

Give credit where credit is due

As a leader, it may be tempting to take credit for all of the work your team is doing, but if you don’t properly acknowledge your team’s hard work, then your success may not last very long.

Studies reveal that “79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving. People don’t leave companies. They leave bosses,” according to Forbes.

This means that lack of recognition is a huge deal. As the boss, it is important that your team knows that you appreciate and value them.  You play a large role in whether or not they stay with the company, a survey from Accenture shows the top reasons employees quit: “1) They don’t like their boss (31%), 2) A lack of empowerment (31%), 3) Internal politics (35%) and 4) LacErgonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.k of recognition (43%).”

The trick is to find passion in your work

Whether you work in an industrial plant, an office, or retail store, it is important to love what you do. You don’t have to have a dream job, you can start just by focusing on short term goals at work. Hustle to achieve goals, encourage team work and positive communication among your staff, and realize that if you put passion into your work, you will begin to love your work.

When you love what you do, it becomes easier to give credit to your team and lead by example. Your positivity as a leader will become infectious in the work place and you will find it much easier to create a happy staff, which we now know leads to a more productive work place.

In Conclusion

If you’re to be a good supervisor or great manager, it is in your best interest to keep your workers happy, for the good of your state of mind and for the good of the company. If you push your team around, over work them, or fail to recognize their hard work, then you will find yourself on hard times.

Hopefully these workplace tips can help keep your workplace a positive and safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and occupational issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Kent, Renton, Arcadia, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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Ergonomics Tips: Computer Glasses for Office Workers

Ergonomics Tips: Computer Glasses for Office Workers

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)Ergonomics Tips: Computer Glasses for Office Work“Americans (aged 16-44) spend 7.4 hours staring at screens every day.”Internet Trends report

You may have never heard computer glasses, but with so many jobs requiring workers to stare at screens, products like computer glasses have started to gain interest among office workers and in industries that require a lot of screen time.  Jobs that require a lot of computer, tablet, or phone screen time may cause workers to experience eyestrain or eye fatigue, which is often associated with headaches, neck or back pain, sensitivity to light, dry or red eyes.

With digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome being so common in today’s work place, should you or your employees consider using computer glasses?
Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.
What are computer glasses?

Computer glasses look just like regular glasses and are usually around the $50 to $100 price range.

Unlike regular glasses, computer glasses are designed specifically to reduce eye strain associated with staring at a screen. Computer glasses are made with an anti-reflective coating to reduce screen glare and harsh light. Most of these glasses will also filter the blue light that your computer screen emits. Filtering blue light should reduce negative symptoms of staring at a screen.

Potential benefits of computer glasses

Computer glasses should make it easier to do your daily computer work. Feeling headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, dry eyes, or even neck and shoulder pain can be reduced. In fact, your posture may improve as well because you won’t have to hunch closer to the screen as much.

What if computer glasses aren’t for you?

If you try computer glasses and don’t notice any benefit, then you may want to consider doing some eye exercises instead. Eyes can be exercised to increase strength of focusing and convergence ability, build stamina, and enable you to change focus faster. Check out these 4 Simple Eye Exercises you can do at work: http://www.solutionsnw.com/2017/04/29/4-eye-exercises-rest-eyes-work/

Additionally, you can try adjusting your screen to a more comfortable setting or just taking frequent breaks at work.

In conclusion

Remember to always consult with your doctor to rule out a possible underlying cause of pain. Whether you decide to try computer glasses or do eye exercises, remain proactive to prevent workplace injuries.

Hopefully these ergonomics tips can help you avoid digital eye strain and any other negative effects that staring at a screen may cause. Be sure to share these tips with the rest office workers or employees. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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Taking Breaks Makes You More Productive at Work

Taking Breaks Makes You More Productive at Work

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)


Ergonomics TIps: Taking Breaks Makes You More Productive at Work

“Adults employed full time report working an average of 47 hours per week, which equates to nearly six days a week”Gallup 2017

For a lot of American workers, taking a break can come with a feeling of guilt when your boss or co-workers work through their breaks. In fact, the average full-time employee reports working an average of 47 hours per week, according to Gallup.

Even more telling, “54% of employees left vacation days unused in 2016” according to Travel Association research. Skipping breaks and vacation is leading tErgonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.o high stress in America’s workers.

Overworking is bad for your health

Overworking yourself will leave your body tired and your mind stressed out. Stress is bad for your health, the University College London found that stress can even impact your heart when studying 10,000 London workers. UCL found that “white-collar workers who worked 3 or more hours longer than a normal, 7 hour day had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems than white-collar workers who didn’t work overtime.” Moreover, not everyone copes with stress well, which could lead to developing poor habits to manage a stressful work day.

When you factor the risks of constant stress, with being over tired due to lack of breaks – your work quality declines and you put yourself at risk for injury and poor health.

Overworking is bad for your work

If your health isn’t enough to sway you, consider that overworking doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing a better job.

According to the University of Illinois, most people will lose focus on their task and their project will suffer if they work non-stop without breaks.  “The breaks we take to recharge, eat meals, or spend time with the people we enjoy help us step back from our work and stay mindful of how our work contributes to our goals,” the study shows.  These breaks improve our ability to finish tasks and contribute to overall better performance at work.

Find ways to take breaks during the day

Using professional sports as an example, coaches rest their players to keep them useful during critical times of the game. Knowing this, it is important to find ways to rest from the daily grind throughout the day to improve your overall performance.

If you sit in an office all day, make sure you find moments to move your body. Visit the water cooler, grab a coffee, go eat lunch outside in the sun, or just restock the printer with some new paper.

If you do repetitive tasks at work, stretch your back, neck, or hands. Try some desk exercises you can do while at work to keep your body strong and take your mind off work.

By the end of your work day, you will have enough focus and rest to finish the work day strong.

In Conclusion

Don’t feel guilty taking your breaks, it will help you do a better job in the long run. If you’re a supervisor or managing employees, be sure to let them take their breaks, so you have a rested and focused staff.

Hopefully these tips can help keep your workplace a safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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Drinking Water Improves Job Performance

Drinking Water Improves Job Performance

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)
Ergonomics Tips: Drinking Water Improves Job Performance
Drinking Water Improves Job Performance

“If you’ve noticed more joint pain and stiffness as you’ve gotten older, you may be overlooking a critical cause that most people don’t realize can affect joint health: hydration (or lack thereof).”  Dr. Williams

The water cooler is your friend. Whether you’re sitting in an office or walking the floor of a warehouse, you should always stay hydrated at work. Water will not only keep you from being thirsty, it will also provide you with health benefits and help keep you and your workers productive at work.

Learn how drinking water helps you become a better worker and just how much water should you should drink.

The benefits of water

According to organicfacts.net, the health benefits of drinking water include “the maintenance of energy levels, body temperature, metabolism, and breathing. It helps in the prevention of constipation, heartburn, migraines, gastritis, ulcers, kidney stones, cardiovascular disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, backaches, and osteoporosis.” Water also plays important roles in kidney function and skin care.

The key takeaway is that water can help you boost your energy. It may be time to consider switching from the daily coffee or energy drink to focusing on staying hydrated for that extra energy boost at work.

How much water should you drink per day?

Consuming half your body weight in ounces of water every day is recommended. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 oz. (7 ½ cups) of water every day. If it’s hot, or you are exercising you should up your water intake. When drinking something dehydrating such as a caffeinated drink or a glass of alcohol, it is recommended to drink 1.5 oz. of water for every oz. of caffeinated drink or alcohol you’ve consumed.

Remember, you don’t have to pour a glass of water to consume water, as 20% of our water intake can be fulfilled by a proper diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

How do you know if you’re not getting enough water?

If you experience any of these symptoms, try drinking more water:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dark under eye circles
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability and confusion
  • Dark colored urine
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Kidney stones
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Shriveled dry skin which lacks elasticity

In Conclusion

Drink plenty of water at work. Water is usually provided by most employers for free and is much cheaper than coffee (if you must buy it bottled). If there are no water coolers in your workplace, speak with an office administrator or supervisor to see if management will install one for you. Remember to always consult with your doctor to rule out a possible underlying cause of pain at work.

Hopefully these ergonomics tips can help keep your workplace a safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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