by Solutions Northwest | Jun 28, 2017 | Ergonomics Solutions, Health, Human Resources, Seattle Blog
By Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Solutions Northwest, Inc. – Arcata, California
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily activities at least once a week.” This statistic becomes even more worrisome for those that work the night shift or have a rotating shift schedule, as they may be more likely to experience trouble sleeping.
What are the risks of working an irregular work schedule?
According to the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, “there is a 27.9% increase in work-related injuries during night shifts when compared to morning shifts.” This is likely due to the body experiencing disrupted sleep patterns. An example of a disrupted sleep pattern would be an employee that normally works night shifts, but returns to a daytime schedule on her days off. A disrupted sleep schedule makes it difficult for the body to adjust and could lead to Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD).
What is Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)?
Shift Work Sleep Disorder occurs when you have trouble sleeping due to working an irregular work schedule. SWSD is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder defined as: insomnia and excessive sleepiness affecting people whose work hours overlap with the typical sleep period. There are numerous shift work schedules, and they may be permanent, intermittent, or rotating; consequently, the manifestations of SWSD are quite variable.
How can you be proactive about your sleep?
While not everyone with an unconventional work schedule will suffer from SWSD, it is important to remain proactive about your sleeping habits. Here are a few tips from the Human Factor and Ergonomics perspective:
- Stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule, consistency is important.
- Choose a job location that is close to home, a short commute will give you more time to sleep.
- Work with all of the lights on to stay alert.
- Purchase items such as blackout blinds to block sunlight or circadian lighting gadgets that slowly brighten until you wake up.
- Limit caffeine during the end of your shift.
- Silence your cell phone during your sleep hours.
- Avoid bright light after work, wear sunglasses and avoid running errands.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you survive a night shift or rotating shift schedule. Remember to always listen to your body and be sure to consult with your doctor for more information. For more guidance on all things ergonomics, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact our Ergonomics Consultants for more information.
by Solutions Northwest | May 12, 2017 | Ergonomics Solutions
By Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Solutions Northwest, Inc. – San Diego, California
I used to think grab bars in the shower were just for the elderly and disabled. I’ve changed my mind. Grab bars are a good idea to have in every shower. The number of pro athletes who have been injured by falling in the shower goes to show that even if you are in peak physical condition, it can happen to you.
Reds’ Raisel Iglesias injured back and elbow in shower | MLB.com
Falcons’ Tevin Coleman is in the league’s concussion protocol. The rookie third-round pick slipped in the shower Wednesday at the team facility.
Dolphins’ Laremy Tunsil’s ankle injury caused by slipping in shower
That’s not even a complete list of all the pro players who have been injured by slip and fall accidents in the shower.
When we first bought our house, we did some major remodeling. One thing I wanted to do was take out the institutional looking grab bars in the guest bathroom’s shower. The contractors told me I would have to re-tile the entire bathroom to do it, so I decided to leave the grab bars in there for now and just put up a shower curtain. Below is a picture. Architectural Digest, it is not.
As I lived with this grab bar situation, I realized that while it was not attractive, it had some perks. I could hang a wash cloth on it like a towel bar. I could put a bottle of dog shampoo on the bottom bar while my dog was wiggling around and trying to escape. If I started to slip in the shower, I could grab it to stop a fall. If I did fall, I could pull myself back up with it. If I wanted to stay in this house as I age, like the Age In Place movement promotes, it’s a smart idea.
I started thinking that I liked having grab bars in showers, I just didn’t like how the grab bars in my shower looked. Manufacturers must have caught on that people like me wanted attractive grab bars, because there are great options available now. Many new models of grab bars look like towel bars, shelves, and shower door handles. They come in finishes to match existing bathroom fixtures such as chrome, nickel, and ORB. They look nothing like the institutional grab bars which are in my shower.
Here are links to attractive grab bars:
Moen Grab Bars
Delta Grab Bars
Kohler Grab Bars
With new grab bar designs, a safe shower can look like it came from the pages of House Beautiful. There are other safety considerations such as the best way to install grab bars and the slip resistance rating of tiles, but I’ll save that for another day.
P.S. The funniest sports injury I came across while researching for this article was from Steve the Ump’s List of Strange Sports Injuries. “Red Sox rookie Clarence Blethen thought he looked older and meaner if he took his false teeth out when he pitched. He forgot to put them back in his mouth when he was batting. While sliding into second base to break up a double play, his own teeth bit himself in the butt.”
For more guidance on all things Ergonomics, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.
by | Apr 5, 2017 | Ergonomics Solutions
By Celeste McLaughlin, BA, CEOE, CDMS, CPDM
It’s funny to look at pictures of safety fails which were caught before anyone actually got hurt. The funniness ends when the people creating the safety fails are employees at your company. Pictures of Funny Safety Fails
People are social creatures and naturally emulate one another. While this behavior has sociological benefits, it can be a disaster when an employee’s behavior is creating a safety hazard. We’ve seen it happen many times at different companies.
If one employee has an idea to stack a filing cabinet on top of his desk to create a standing desk, that is a problem. If 20 other employees see his desk before you do and then go on to create their own makeshift desks, that is an even bigger problem. The filing cabinet on top of the desk scenario was a real situation I saw while doing an ergonomics evaluation. When we see safety fails while doing ergonomics evaluations at companies, we always let employers know about them.
I bring up the filing cabinet on top of the desk scenario because we often see things employees have stacked on top of their desks to create standing desks when we go out to companies to do ergonomics evaluations. Besides the obvious danger of things falling and injuring someone or breaking equipment, there are ergonomics risk factors which are created when employees create their own standing desks out of different objects.
There are standards for workplace equipment which we follow when recommending equipment. If standards are not followed, injury can occur. That’s why it’s so important to stop bad safety habits before they spread throughout a company. ANSI Standards
For more expert ergonomics advice, Contact SolutionsNW.com and we’ll be happy to help.